Waikato Dairy Company dines out

If anyone can shed any light on this gathering, where, when and who, we want to know.

Thirty five years ago this photo was given to the museum in Hamilton. That museum predated the current museum by some years and did not have the staff nor the facilities which now exist.

Maybe as a consequence of that shortfall, we have virtually no information about this picture. Perhaps however, the donor may not have known any detail. What information we do have is scant.

It was the annual dinner of the Waikato Dairy Company.  We do not know the year but would 1920s be a fair shot? There are some wing collars and some chaps have no collars at all. The tweed suit the older chap with the white beard is sporting was common apparel for the famous George Bernard Shaw – usually knickerbockers rather than trousers.

It is hoped this is summer because they are waiting for vegetables (I suppose) and in this photo the meat looks awful but it was probably cold roast beef or mutton apart from the rather large drumstick on a plate in the foreground. For refreshment they appear to have a choice of water or beer. With the aid of a TIFF image I can tell you one bottle shows just enough detail on the label to read ‘Hop Beer’.

Well, they look as if the deserve it – they are, at a guess, a hardy bunch who probably did most of their farm work without tractors or farm bikes or modern milking machines and it doesn’t stop there – these were ‘manual’ farmers.

Contact Perry if you know anything at all about this pic.

– Photograph copyright Hamilton City Libraries

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5 thoughts on “Waikato Dairy Company dines out

  • September 12, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Great photograph! I suspect it could be early 1920s or even earlier. On the subject of manual work: An upcoming Waikato Times obituary for Len Tarrant, of Te Awamutu, recalls when he was five years old (about 1928) he was expected to hand-milk five cows before he went to school at Piopio, and the same number again after school. When he was six the count increased to six, and when he was seven . . . you’ve guessed it. Few dairy farmers were prosperous and many, debt-ridden, walked off their land in the years of the Great Depression. Time to count blessings.

  • December 30, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    RE: Waikato Dairy Co., Dinner.
    May / September 1919 was the vote and transition period of the amalgamation of the Waikato Cheese Co., and the Waikato Dairy Co., and not long there after would have been referred to as the NZNDCo-operative. There appears to be four rows of over 40 dinners per row, but unfortunately the top table appears to be at the far end, making recognizing the officials difficult. Is the venue the old Winter Show Bld? Out with the old, and in with the new, could well have been marked with a formal dinner. The photo I would expect, would have been published at the time, possibly the Auckland Weekly News.

    – Alan.

  • June 19, 2012 at 10:01 am

    I think we maybe looking at the supper room which was under the old Hamilton Town Hall at the bottom of Victoria street. Most people remember the building as the Civic Theatre with it’s 1930’s Tudor style frontage.

  • June 19, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Thank you John. It gives me a starting point – I had never actually thought of ‘where’.

  • June 22, 2012 at 12:14 am

    The proportion of the room feels right. Perhaps there are architectural drawings of the hall or of the conversion to a cinema in the 30’s in the council archives. My grandmother told me of dancing above with supper below when they first came to Hamilton around 1910.
    I remember the (only) emergency exit stairs were on the left side for the cinema’s stalls and were quite a height. As you descended you could see through the windows of the level below a forest of wooden poles bracing the cinema floor above. A total fire trap now. How it was ‘squared’ with the Fire Brigade all those years…?!!


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