Before the Farming Family

This is the spot where a rural family moved in and occupied the land. Right here in front of the camera. Yes, it is the intersection of Ulster, Victoria, and Liverpool Streets – hardly recognisable. It’s not only showcasing how much this part of Hamilton has changed but also how much the world manufacturing economy has changed.

In this scene, photographed on the 5th March 1966, there are no Japanese cars let alone Korean or Chinese. Of the 11 cars in the immediate vicinity of the intersection, seven are English and two are Australian (unless I am very much mistaken) leaving one German and one American. Nowadays those spots are occupied by Toyotas, Hondas, Nissans and the like.

The old building on the extreme left had been a shop – most likely a grocery which succumbed to the superior forces of the supermarket – and remains in use in this photo as a TV aerial business. Television had only started in most of New Zealand in 1962 – this was a ‘new technology’ business. The future had arrived!

The building housing Neville Kane Pharmacy and offices above stands on that corner now. The supermarket building still exists but much added to. It is now the Gateway church with a two storey addition on the Liverpool St frontage. On the right is a Four Square store. How did that business fare against the might of a supermarket? Just in front on the Ulster St footpath the sign announces ‘Fish & Chips – Sausages & Chips – Rotisserie Cooked Chicken’. That shop is no longer there but chicken is – just along the street at ‘the Colonel’s’.

The very noticeable thing about this photo is the lack of traffic and pedestrians – it’s Saturday afternoon (about 2 o’clock) and the shops are all shut except for the 4 Square and the ‘chippie’. Chippies were open all through the weekend but a 4 Square (or any grocer) had to be a registered dairy to be able to open outside of normal trading hours. They could sell milk and ice cream and certain cold meats but could not sell a tin of baking powder or sticking plasters.  The veranda sign states clearly, ‘Milk’ – ‘Open 7 Days’ – ‘Cream’.

The farming family certainly adds an aesthetic aspect but it was to be 23 years after this photo that the family  arrived. They probably quite like it there, grass for the cow and trees for shade and they make the area look ‘lived in’.

In the spirit of investigative journalism, N8N met up with Mr Rice (and had a rather nice cuppa at the nearby Momento cafe) and we took a more recent photograph.  Another striking difference – the city is much greener.  And it’s not just the colour photo – where did that tree come from?

Email Perry by clicking here.

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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

3 thoughts on “Before the Farming Family

  • December 8, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    And what a fuss when the farming family arrived, courtesy of Bob Jones. It made Hamilton look like a cow town, was the mortified cry. Well, yes. And the problem is??
    I remember the Woolies supermarket well. Still think of its successor as the supermarket church. Good trip down memory lane, thanks.

  • December 10, 2011 at 9:30 am

    What a joy those photos are, and Perry’s keen eyes have stepped us back to what used to be. How many remember PK and Juicyfruit at a penny a packet, flour or sugar weighed into a brown paperbag by the grocer, and crusty unsliced Vienna loaves sold unwrapped. And what about the kids’ treat broken biscuits (the “leavings” from the bottom of the grocer’s biscuit tins) – tuppence-worth was enough to make sincere friends of the whole school!

    • January 4, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      Thanks for your continued encouragement Roy. I do not remember Juicy Fruit @ a penny a packet!! (Though some may think I would) Tuppence a packet was the inflated price in my day but definitely remember the bags of dry goods weighed out as you waited and cheese cut off the round as required and the bread the other kids picked at on the way home – I tried to stop them!! The major difference is we had no problems with recycling in those days and landfills took many decades to fill up!


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