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January—February 2011 Volume 10 Issue 57

The Avondale
Historical Journal
Official Publication of the Avondale-Waterview Historical
Society Incorporated

Grosvenor Dairy,

In late October 2010, the Grosvenor Dairy next to the
Hollywood Cinema was demolished. More on the dairy’s
story inside (page 2).
(top) Detail from 1950s photo, 580-1018, Sir George Grey
Special Collections, Auckland Library;
(right) April 2010, courtesy Bill Ellis;
(bottom) the dairy in 2001, Lisa
Truttman, from Heart of the Whau.

Next meeting of the
Historical Society:
Saturday, 5 February
2.30 pm
St Ninian’s Church
(Hopefully! See newsletter for
St Georges Road, Avondale
(opp. Hollywood Cinema)
The Avondale Historical Journal Volume 10 Issue 57
Page 2
Goodbye, Grosvenor Dairy,
Lisa J Truttman

The site of the Grosvenor Dairy was originally part of
John Shedden Adam’s 1843 farm. This portion was
purchased by James Palmer, the local hotelier, in the
late 1860s. After his sales and subdivisions from the
1880s, a 1915 survey plan shows that the owner of
the triangular site was then Mrs H Todd, while the
occupier was Mrs Heron.
Did Mrs Heron have a small house here? That isn’t
5 November 2010. All that remains of the Grosvenor Dairy
certain at this stage. There didn’t seem to be many
is a line of old footings, and a shadow on the wall of the
residents on this side of St Georges Road from the
Hollywood where the old building was in the way of the
Public Hall to Chalmers Street up until much later in
recent paint job there. Lisa Truttman photo.
the century.
Soon after the redevelopment of the Town Hall and Street by marksmen after a zoo or circus escape. I
the shifting of the wooden Public Hall in 1924, the think they knew she was “fresh off the boat” and were
directories list Henry Whale, brickmaker and his wife pulling her leg.
Rose Whale, confectioner, in the vicinity from c.1925.
Could Henry Whale have worked as a brickmaker at Albert Kempton Turley and Osborne Edwin Turley
the Glenburn works? Henry and William Whale, both inherited the property in 1970 on Henry Whale’s
labourers, are recorded as living on the opposite side death, and undertook a refurbishment of the old build-
from the brickworks in 1915. ing, according to Tony Goodwin. He worked on the
project, and recalls that the still existing house on the
It appears the Whales owned and operated their dairy site was purchased from James Davern, who in turn
down to the early 1950s. In 1955, Percy H Martin, said that it came originally from the Mangakino
confectioner, ran the business (but the Whales still Power Station works.
owned the building and property through to Henry
Whale’s death in 1969 aged 77. His wife Rose prede- The dairy was a very small part of the Avondale
ceased him in 1959, aged 63.) By 1959, Alan R Shopping Centre, but I’m sure it left memories behind
Williams had the dairy, followed by (or possibly in for those who wandered in during those years for a
conjunction with) Ray Rummins of R & Z Rummins pint, a loaf, or an ice cream.
Ltd. By 1963, the dairy was operated by G & A Boyle
& Co, Ltd, the in 1965 Campbell Enterprises Ltd. New Windsor Road
From 1969, it became known in the directories simply
as the Grosvenor Dairy, a name it had had since the by Robin Fazakerley
Town Hall Cinema became the Grosvenor in the early
1950s. For a time this century, it was named Eftpos. This was received in response to Sylvia Thomas’
article in Issue 55 last year — Editor.
The dairy was in a prime position in the early days of
the cinema, before Jan Grefstad introduced his own in- Thank you Sylvia for your interesting article. We did
house sales counter for ice creams and other cinematic meet once at the Donaldson’s next door to you and
snacks in the 1960s. Before then, it was a rush out the your sister Wilma. I was 3 or 4 and my mother,
door at the interval to Mrs Whale’s, buying the brother Gavin (in a pram) and I paid a visit to Little
goodies before the programme inside recommenced. Auntie Florrie to see her new baby boy (Barry). I was
The dairy featured during the cinema’s fire of June sent out the back into the orchard to play with
1939, when customers escaping the flames landed on Maureen. There was a collie dog called Kingi chained
the dairy’s roof. to a tree and I was terrified of it. We never went there
again. I think that the Donaldsons rented this place
My mother Joan Truttman arrived in Auckland in June because soon afterwards Uncle Roy started to build a
1958, and her first job here was working for Alan fibrolite house on Uncle Harvey Greep’s property in
Williams and Ray Rummins. She said either Rummins Blockhouse Bay Road.
or both of them were storytellers — one tale she never
forgot was a yarn about a lion being shot on St Judes I think Mrs Scott was my mother’s washing and scrub-
bing lady. I remember that she came on a bike about
The Avondale Historical Journal Volume 10 Issue 57
Page 3
8.00 am and in the 4 hours that she stayed did an Laren – Raboes 9. I stayed with them in Laren 1984 but
enormous amount of work. This consisted of filling and lost contact with them about 1988 when Jeanne died at
lighting the copper and boiling, rinsing, blueing and the age of 94.
wringing the clothes (sheets etc, towels, as well as per-
sonal clothes), pegging them on the line, emptying the In 1953 I attended the Ad. Ed course in German at
copper then sweeping the house (this included brushing Auckland University. Jock Asher, who lived in New
the 2 carpet squares with a corn broom), dusting, and Windsor Road, was Professor of German at this time.
scrubbing the kitchen, bathroom, and verandahs with His classes were very lively and he entertained us with
the soapy copper water. I think she also made the beds horrendous stories of smuggling coffee into Berlin.
and did some ironing if there was any time left. All this (Remember the Berlin Blockade after 1945?) I visited
for 2/6 [around $22 today— Ed.]. I remember she left Jock and his wife one morning with Dr Olga Semon. The
when she was called up to work in the Colonial conversation was all in German so I didn’t understand
Ammunition Factory in Mt Eden Quarry, next to the much. Prof. Asher was Jewish, and Dr Semon, a refugee
prison. By 1940-41 so many men were fighting over- from Nazi Germany, was a “mischling”. Olga was New
seas so women were required by law to fill the gaps. I Lynn’s GP until May 1954. Innes Asher would be one of
never knew this lady’s name, nor was I ever allowed to this couple’s children. I think her brother is Justice
speak to her. Asher. There is a strong likeness to his father.

Madge Hoyle sang in St Jude’s Choir in the 1940s. Sylvia mentioned the itinerant vendors. In Taylor Street,
When I went to Teacher’s College in 1951 she was my before the war, we had:
first “crit” teacher. I was quite friendly with Madge and Mr Johnson – the milkman who came night and morn-
occasionally I visited the Hoyles. Mr Hoyle was a dear ing. He had an A1 tested Jersey herd and I think his farm
old man with a beard who looked like Santa Claus. Mrs was along Donovan Street.
Hoyle was a small bird-like woman, sharp-tongued and Mr Foreman – the butcher in Blockhouse Bay Road.
determined. Millicent had left home and was the partner His boy would deliver orders on a butcher’s bike, a
of Phoebe Meikle. Both taught at Takapuna Grammar. modified bike with a big iron square over the front
Madge at this time was Infant Mistress at Glen Eden wheel. A big wicker basket was put in this which held
Primary. She also sang in the Auckland Choral Society the orders. (Dr Semon, as she was an enemy alien during
(conductor then was Georg Tintner). Georg had a chook the war, used one to visit her patients. Her maternity bag
farm up Forest Hill Road in Glen Eden (Oratia?) and fitted nicely into the basket.)
delivered eggs to both the Hoyles and the van Leyden’s Mr Spragg – greengrocer, Great North Road, Avondale.
in Batkin Road. His van was requisitioned by the Army at the outbreak of
When Christobel Ash’s father died she had a friend, Iris Buchanan’s Bread — we used to get ½ brown and ½
Sparrow, to live with her. They later went to live in white loaf daily.
Nelson, to join an Arts Group there. I think my first The Rawleigh’s Man.
French teacher at Auckland Diocesan, Brenda de Butts, The Rag & Bone Man — for some reason I found this
also joined this group. Brenda worked in the Censor’s Indian man terrifying and I used to hide under my bed.
Office during the war.
Sylvia mentions earth floor. The houses were built that
Mildred Spargo lived in Batkin Ave opposite the van way. Most houses had bare floors—usually dark stained.
Leydens. Batkin Ave, in those days, was a long cul-de- When we moved into 68 Taylor Street, in 1934, my
sac. On the same side as the van Leydens lived the father sold his baby Austin and bought a piano, 2 carpet
Wrights, City Councillor Mary Wright, daughter squares, 2 lino squares and a small lino remnant for the
Charmaine, and their extensive row of glasshouses. bathroom. The slump bit hard into people’s lives — a lot
They grew tomatoes for the markets. of people were almost destitute. I know that some of my
classmates at Blockhouse Bay Primary lived in unlined
The van Leydens had emigrated from Batavia, Java garages without toilet or washing facilities. We did not
(now Jakarta, Indonesia) about 1937. Piet van Leyden have mains sewerage in Taylor Street until I was about 7.
had been in banking and his wife Jeanne, daughters We had an outhouse and my father had to bury the
Ineke, Jessie and Saskia. I met this family when I contents of the can. We did have electricity, an electric
stayed with the Crums at Piha (August 1943). Mr van stove (a Moffat), a toaster and an iron. But my father
Leyden died c.1943 and Jeanne let their glass house to earned £3 a week [$264 today — Ed.], in the ASB, a
the Wrights. As Jeanne had studied piano with Dirk very good wage then. I think the dole was 10/- [$44 in
Schaeffer in Amsterdam she began to teach piano. I today’s money — Ed.] and the old age pension about the
went to her in 1952 and “did” Gr 8 R. Schools and same. (No, we didn’t have a radio.)
started to prepare my L.R.S.M. with her. They returned
to Holland in 1956 and first lived in Bussem then in
The Avondale Historical Journal Volume 10 Issue 57
Page 4

Inside an Avondale drapery Harry Burton’s bakery) for a short time, then the shop
was Miss B G McLellan’s “Avondale Book Shop and
Library”. Harry Dove’s drapery business was there
The above photo is by kind courtesy of Mr and Mrs from the mid 1930s, actually operated by Mrs E R
Neville and Olive Perkins (née Dove), via Mary Dove; their daughter Olive is the one in the photo. By
Inomata of the Mt Albert Historical Society, showing the mid 1940s, the Doves shifted their business to the
the interior of the Dove’s Drapery at 1859 Great North Mt Albert shops. Today the site of the drapery is part
Road in Avondale. of Battersbys Ltd.
This shop was part of the Fearon Building, constructed Although this photo was taken at least two decades
c.1925 after the fire at McKenzie’s Central Stores in before my time, I still remember shops in Avondale
June that year. Norman McKenzie may have had the being like this as I grew up in the 1960s — places
small store initially, then Ernest C Breeze (soft goods where there was so much to meet the eye, you could
and drapery from c.1927-c.1930. After him, Thomas be fairly certain you’d find something that would suit.
D Bell had his home cookery and tea rooms (next to — Editor

The Avondale Historical Journal
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Editor: Lisa J. Truttman Blockhouse Bay.
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