Home' Greymouth Star : May 31st 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Saturday, May 31, 2014
Seems like only
May 22, 1989
Milk bottles to
stay here in the
Greymouth and Hokitika residents
will continue to get their milk delivered
in bottles in the near future, but, in the
long term, the bottle looks doomed to
A recent directors meeting of
Scenicland Milk and Cream discussed
doing away with the bottles, but
decided against it for the present.
“ We decided there was too much
conjecture about the safety of cartons
and we will not do anything about
dropping the bottles until reports
of dioxin levels in the cartons are
complete,” Scenicland Milk’s manager
Mr Kevin Twist said.
“ If the results are favourable towards
the cartons the bottles will eventually be
“ We are actually introducing a new
two-litre plastic bottle this week.”
Milk vendors may be on the way out
A national sur vey of the Dominion
Federation of Milk Vendors shows there
are at least 300 fewer milk vendors now
than at the same time last year.
May 23, 1989
Tourism ‘carrot’ will
not save the West Coast
The tourism carrot will not save the
West Coast economy, the Hokitika
Borough Council heard last
Cr John White said the Government
was suggesting that West Coasters
swap timber for tourism after the recent
preser vation of 311,000ha of native
forests south of Fox Glacier.
“ But you cannot ask the timber men
and families of this province of ours to
take up waitressing. ”
He said that tourism had languished
so much that the Haast and Franz
Josef THC Hotels had to be put on the
market, and the Hokitika glass blowing
factory had closed down along with
various other attractions.
“ I just wish people would stop
dangling this tourism carrot in front
of us as being the saviour of the West
Coast because it isn’t,” Cr White said.
“This tourism thing goes up and down
like a yoyo. We might get a few more
people through the West Coast but they
are cyclists, backpackers — Muesli
munchers, I call them.”
May 24, 1989
Strongman miners strike
United Mineworkers Union members
at Strongman Coal Mine today gave
14 days notice of their intention to take
full strike action.
Their decision follows similar moves
at Coalcorp Mines throughout the
The dispute with Coalcorp broke out
when it offered a 4.2% wage rise with
major clawbacks of conditions.
The union claimed an increase of 4.7%
with no clawbacks.
Strongman mine delegate, Mr Doug
Burt, said it was essential for local
miners to follow the national trend.
“There are so few of us now, we all
have to work together.”
Strongman currently employs 30 men
underground compared with more than
100 prior to corporatisation.
May 25, 1989
New flying fox at Nelson
A new flying fox at the Nelson
Creek picnic area is being upheld as an
example of what community groups
and government agencies can achieve
The Nelson Creek Reser ve Board out
up $1000 for the project and a small
detachment of New Zealand army
personnel from Burnham did the work.
The designer, Lieutenant David Pirie,
was obviously mindful of the fact that
many of the ‘kids’ who try the flying fox
will not be that small — or young.
The result has been a safe, robust
structure which should stand for many
years to come with only occasional fine
May 26, 1989
A restored relic at Kaniere
A few years ago a World War I relic
was rusting away outside the Kaniere
Now, fully restored it is more
recognisable as a 1917 Howitzer Krupp,
once the pride of the German army.
The gun, among the spoils of war
shipped out to New Zealand from the
battlefields of Europe at the end of
the Great War, apparently ended up at
Kaniere as a memento of a conflict that
cost the lives of many of its young men.
Two years ago Kaniere man, Mr
Richard Gardiner, rescued it and,
with the help of the Westland
County Council, began work on its
full restoration. Rust was sandblasted
off and the wooden spoke wheels
A fresh coat of paint in two-tone
grey took 70 years off its age and a
substantial shelter was built over the top
by a Kaniere Hall committee working
May 27, 1989
Little support so far
for men’s non-violent
A Greymouth-based men’s
organisation advocating non-violent
behaviour is hardly bursting at the
seams with enthusiastic members.
West Coast men for non-violence
comprising a core group of only three
members was formed after Greymouth’s
first anger-management course for men
earlier this year.
Only four men completed the course
but the driving force behind the
organisation, John Bergin, is hoping for
a better turnout to the second course
due to begin on July 1.
His involvement with the programme
began with a desire to work through
and rid himself of his own anger, the
brunt of which was borne by his wife
Tina Wallace, left, Debbie Mills and Karen Greenslade spin candyfloss at the Hokitika Learnabout Festival,
25 years ago this week.
The flying fox is installed at Nelson Creek.
Twenty-five years ago West Coasters were welcoming the news that their daily delivery of milk
bottles would continue, and a Hokitika Borough councillor was suggesting that “meusli munching”
tourists would not be the saviour of the region. Read more from the yellowing pages of the
Greymouth Evening Star of May, 1989.
ut the back of
on the main drag
through Oturehua, a
man is cleaning the
outside of a portable concrete mixer.
The din echoing among the town’s
few buildings would suggest he is
using an angle grinder to do so.
Across the road, the well-worn
brass handle of the door to Gilchrist ’s
Store beckons education in another
Beyond an entranceway where
boxes of horseshoe nails share shelf
space with a bottle of the curiously
named Elliotts Kidney Vaccine,
the shop’s cave-like splendour is
introduced by the chime of a bell
and the smell of wooden floorboards
maintained with a mixture of linseed
oil and kerosene.
Apparently, the latter ingredient
is used to prevent customers losing
their footing on the oiled surface.
Regardless, the store’s history offers
slippage of another sort: here, it’s
time travel sans any sci-fi machines.
Registered under the Historic
Places Act 1993, the shop is
described by the New Zealand
Historic Places Trust as “a place
of historical and cultural heritage
significance and value ... a good
example of an early 20th-century
store which still ser vices the small
rural community’’. According to a
report submitted to the trust at the
time of registration, the interior of
the store was hailed as “particularly
significant ’’ because its shelving,
bins and counters remain in original
condition and thus have “potential to
demonstrate the history of retailing
in rural New Zealand’’.
Certainly, time spent browsing
the store’s well-stocked shelves
reveals more than a few brands that
have evaporated, from Normacol
Intestinal Evacuant to pumice sand
soap, Phillips Solution “for ladies’ and
children’s soles’’ (what about those of
men?). Elsewhere, biscuit tins bearing
images of Queen Elizabeth II and a
rather imperious Winston Churchill
hover above a long row of metal bulk
bins once home to tapioca, sago,
split peas and barley, among other
Still, this place is as much about the
present as the past.
Outgoing proprietor Rhonda
Campbell, who with husband Ewart
has run the store and neighbouring
bed and breakfast for the past seven
years, says the business, like many
in the area, has benefited from the
Otago Central Rail Trail.
It is often visited on the second day
of what is typically a three-day rail
trail trip, by which time some riders
are feeling a little saddle-sore.
Following the decision by the
long-time owners, brothers Herbert
and Bruce Gilchrist, to sell in 1989,
a trust was set up to ensure such
essential infrastructure continued.
In 1995, the trust became a
company, Gilchrist ’s Oturehua Store
For the past week, the Campbells
have been introducing new owners
John and Helen Hellier to the various
facets of the business. John has
been accompanying Ewart on the
morning deliveries of mail and, at
times, groceries; Helen, meanwhile,
has been learning the shop’s various
systems, although she is avoiding
taking too many notes lest it lead to
Thomas Gilchrist jun established
the business that still bears his name
in the Ida Valley town in 1902.
Known as Rough Ridge until 1908,
the town benefited from both coal
mining and flour milling. According
to family records, Thomas jun, the
third child of Thomas and Hannah
Gilchrist, was born on June 27, 1858,
at Carngham, Victoria, Australia,
where he grew up on his parents’ farm
before leaving home at the age of 12
ship trading between Australia and
Though there is no record of
how long he spent at sea, Gilchrist
arrived in New Zealand in 1872,
eventually making his way to Hyde,
then Puketoi, where he worked on a
sheep station for some time before
returning to Australia, finding work
as a boundary rider.
Gilchrist kept an interest in the
business up to his death in 1940 at
the age of 83. His children all worked
in the business; these included Jack
and wife Jane (nee McKnight) and
their children, one of whom was
Speaking from Timaru, where he
lives with wife Dorothy, Bruce, 77,
recalls his grandfather’s motto: “Have
got it, can get it, or it isn’t made’’.
“I think it would be hard for people
to believe what we stocked. It ran
from gelignite to farm gates, stock
lick, barbed wire, right through to
drapery of all descriptions. I can
remember we had women’s frocks and
men’s sports coats, as well as working
“ We were agents for drycleaners,
watchmakers, bootmakers ... all sorts
of things. We sold curling stones
and enamelware, including chamber
pots that arrived packed in straw in
a 400-gallon steel water tank,’’ Bruce
PICTURES: Otago Daily Times
Outgoing proprietors Rhonda and Ewart Campbell, foreground, and the store’s new owners John and Helen Hellyer.
The bacon slicer.
A serving of yesteryear
Never heard of Normacol Intestinal Evacuant or Elliotts Kidney Vaccine? Well, head to Gilchrist ’s Store, Oturehua, in Central Otago. It stocks all sorts of
items, though some of them aren’t for sale, says SHANE GILCHRIST of the Otago Daily Times.
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