Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

21 March 2010

Open 7 Days 25. Wanaka Store

I wrote and illustrated ‘Open 7 Days’. It was published in 1991. It’s a series of freeze-frames of some historic New Zealand general and convenience stores as they were preserved in the last decade of the 20th century. Bit by bit, on this blog, I re-publish some of the entries from that book.

78 Ardmore Street, Wanaka, Central Otago.
Proprietors: Dave and Iris Gillespie.

Wanaka is the lake: a magnificent glacial aqua-sculpture that thrusts deep into the heart of the Southern Alps and points the way to the grandeur of the Haast Pass and southern Westland beyond.

Wanaka is one of those fortunate resorts that works as well in winter as in summer, with the consequence that there are always visitors as well as residents to make life busy at the store.

It was started in the 1870s by Robert McDougall (a legendary figure who had a kind heart as well as being postmaster, justice of the peace and registrar of birth, deaths and marriages) to supply the diggers at the Cardrona goldfields. It was taken up later and rebuilt by D.W.Jolly.

A storekeeper had to stock everything imaginable then, and Jolly’s carried men’s and women’s clothing, horseshoes, nails, picks, spades, pans, basic foods and patent medicines. They baked bread, too, and delivered to Luggate, Albert Town, Hawea Flat and Makarora. Right up to the 1950s, Wilson Bros., the then owners, were still carrying on in the same way.

The Gillespies bought the store in 1981 and started a self-service and check-out system. But tradition dies hard and the Wanaka Store, whose Four Square paint can’t hide its sturdy lines, still serves as a meeting place and information exchange for the townsfolk.

The tourist launch Ena De is pink by design, and the question I heard a local wit call out is obviously a standing joke: ‘When’re you going to give it its top coat?’


No comments:

Post a Comment


Blog Archive

Hits Counter


Loaded Web

Blog Directory for Albany, New Zealand


Blog This Here

Blog Flux

Commentary blogs
Blog Directory


  • <$BlogCommentAuthor$> // <$BlogCommentDateTime$>


By Don Donovan