Friday, 25 October 2013

The Oceanside Hotel

Ocean Lodge - showing Ocean Beach, c.1925-1926
Printed by Hugh & G. K Neill Ltd., Dunedin
The Oceanside Hotel with its white plaster façade, corrugated iron roof and distinctive turrets stood on the corner of Adams Avenue and Marine Parade from 1931 to 1995.

In 1918 a Captain Tovey built the first dwelling on the prime site. The Captain sold the house to a Major Stewart of Rotorua, but from 1932 the history of the building changed forever when it was converted into a private guest house for Mr. Walker Howard.

Hotel Oceanside and Ocean Beach, Mount Maunganui, c.1950s
Published by Paul Bouchier
In 1933 the hotel was damaged by fire, it was rebuilt and sold to Bert Taylor in 1935. Florence and James Rix purchased the hotel for 17,500 pounds after World War Two. In 1954 Mr. Rix purchased the hotel’s first liquor licence.

From 1959 the Oceanside was owned by the L D Nathan Group. My parents, Bill and Jean Fenton took over as licensee’s from June of that year and for two idyllic years home was the best spot in town.From the 1970’s the hotel passed through the hands of several owners until, on April 6th 1995, one of The Mount’s iconic buildings was lost forever, demolished to make way for the second of the Oceanside Twin Tower multi-storied apartment blocks.

Images from the collection of Justine Neal

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

On this day in 1937

Lyceum Club ladies doing The Mikado, 1949
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library, Ref. 06-525
22 October 1937 - Lyceum Club formed

Sunday, 20 October 2013

On this day in 1920

Yachts on Tauranga Harbour, c.1930s
Image courtesy of Tauranga Heritage Collection
20 October 1920 - Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club formed.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Victorian Underwear

While on the subject of underwear, one interesting example from the Victorian era in the Brain-Watkins collection, is a pair of “Drawers’. These were the modern equivalent of bloomers. Though not worn as standard in the early part of the eighteenth century, they became an essential item when crinolines were introduced. They were worn next to the skin, and were necessary for both warmth and modesty in the case of an embarrassing moment.

Early drawers came well below the knee, each leg finished separately and joined together with a waistband, leaving the crotch open for easy toileting. During the 1860’s, drawers shortened to just below the knee level, which were sometimes gathered into knee bands, while the waistband had a yoke to reduce fullness. These became known as ‘knickerbockers’, from where we get the abbreviated word “knickers”.

The item in the Brain Watkins collection dates from the late 1800’s; it has openings at two sides with plackets, which are fastened with buttons. The crotch seam is closed, and the legs are straight, decorated at the bottom with a panel of broderie Anglaise, and finished with a frill of the main fabric bordered with a narrow strip of commercial lace.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

On this day in 1916

Fire on The Strand, 1916
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library, Ref. 99-1109
12 November 1916 - Strand fire destroys block between Wharf and Spring Streets

Friday, 11 October 2013

Down These Mean Streets (2): More street hazards of early Tauranga

The far from smooth surface of Willow Street, c.1880.
Image © and courtesy of Tauranga City Libraries Ref. 99-729
Mud. The Bay of Plenty was, then as now, subject to downpours of almost tropical intensity, and there were constant complaints about mud, especially on the footpaths. Grey Street in 1875 was described as an ‘unhealthy swamp’.

Potholes. The heavy rainfalls played havoc with the road surfaces, whether shell, shingle, or asphalt, and holes in the road or footpath were a common hazard. The Council was forever playing catch-up with road formation and maintenance. In 1914, to finance its road improvement programme, it borrowed ₤10,000, a sum which proved to be insufficient.
Water. There was considerable difficulty in establishing accurate and workable road levels in the town centre. Willow Street caused particular problems, and there were many protests about changes in the flow of water as the road was formed. The Roads Board became ruthless. ‘We considered that the sanitary state of the town was even of greater importance than the formation of streets of an easy gradient, and this consideration more than any other decided us upon forming Willow street. The forming of this street to its proper level will necessitate property-holders in it to fill up their allotments or have them swamped’ (Bay of Plenty Times, 28 July 1877). Drains without traps on them were noted as a hazard, both to pedestrian safety and to the Council if legal action were to ensue, as late as 1916.

Road works, 1912 style: laying drains in Wharf Street
Image © and courtesy of Tauranga City Libraries Ref. 99-746
Dust. If the streets weren’t quagmires, they were dustbowls. In 1916 a petition was circulated about the dust nuisance on Cameron Road. It got 33 signatures. The Council refused to get a water cart to lay the dust, on the grounds of expense; a hose was deemed adequate.

Weeds. There were frequent complaints about gorse and other noxious plants. Householders who let gorse get out of control on their sections were ‘named and shamed’.

Vehicles. In 1916 there was indignation about buggies blocking the streets – they were parked, in some places, three deep. A few years later it was the reckless speed of motorists which caused concern. (Parking and speeding, not surprisingly, are still problems nearly a century later.)

Darkness. Electric street lights came in with much fanfare in October 1915, and then only in the central area of the town. Until then, there was some sporadic gas lighting in the main streets, but in general householders took their lives, or a torch, in their hands if they wanted to go out at night. All the daytime hazards – potholes, cattle, dogs, road works, mud – were magnified by darkness.

Absence of Road Signs. Name plates for the streets were purchased in 1915, to be put up on the power poles as soon as the electricity scheme was complete. It is unclear how the streets were identified before this.

Road Works. Before the days of OSH and the marking-out of diggings by lights and perimeter fences, road works posed a substantial risk to the unwary traveller. The Bay of Plenty Times gave a much-needed heads-up to its readers on 10 March 1877: ’in Spring street, where the cutting to connect it with the Cameron Road is in course of formation, any one not knowing what was going on might very easily have a disagreeable drop of some twelve feet [3.6 m] or so below the level of the ordinary roadway.’

In spite of the discomforts and dangers of getting about their town, the people of Tauranga were venturesome and inquisitive. They were not likely to stay at home when they could have excitements such as shopping, visits from dignitaries, openings of public buildings, war celebrations, trips to the library or cinema, musical and theatrical performances, meetings of clubs and societies, and the perennial amusement of taking each other to court.

Monday, 7 October 2013

On this day in 1881

Hairini Bridge, undated postcard by Meers
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library, Ref. 02-189
7 October 1881 - Driving of first pile of Hairini Bridge

Friday, 4 October 2013

Dr Frank Bateson O.B.E.

Dr Frank Bateson O.B.E. (1909-1977)
“I have the opportunity of doing, if God wills, the things I have always wanted to do. By profession I am an accountant, by accident a businessman, but by nature an astronomer.”

Born in October 1909 Dr Frank Bateson O.B.E was a nationally and internationally renowned astronomer whose achievements included the establishment of the Mt John Observatory in South Canterbury. Often referred to as the father of modern New Zealand astronomy Dr Bateson lived and worked in Tauranga over a period of nearly 40 years.

His connection began in 1952 when he and his wife Doris purchased a holiday home in Greerton. In his book Paradise Beckons Frank writes that although they were shown the suburb of Otumoetai it was the county town of Greerton that impressed them both. At that time Greerton was largely citrus orchards with very few houses. In 1969, when Frank retired from his job as astronomer in charge of Mt John Observatory, the house in Pooles Road became their home.

It was from this home that Frank established a non-profit company to manage the network of variable star observers. Variable stars were his life’s work having founded the Variable Star Section of the New Zealand Astronomical Society in 1927. More than a million observations of these stars have since been recorded. In 1977 Dr Bateson’s many contributions to astronomy were recognized with an O.B.E and an honorary doctorate from Waikato University.

Dr Bateson passed away in Tauranga 16 April 2007 aged 97.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

On this day in 1948

Tauranga Library, 1960
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library, Ref. 06-299
2 October 1948 - Opening of the Children's Library at Tauranga

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

On this day in 1876

Greerton School, 1900
Miss Alice Brain is the teacher, standing at far left
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library, Ref. 04-565
1 October 1876 - Greerton School opens for classes