Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 51, September 2007

(by Roy Neil)

A stroll along Paeroa's main street from Station Road to Victoria Street in 1933 has been recalled by Roy Neil, who was born in Paeroa and a member of a family which has its roots deep in the district and the Karangahake goldfields. He states:

I hope my memory serves me right after all I am going back almost 80 years. There will be some will say I am wrong, some of the shops and residents are left out, but if I can spark off discussion on our old town, then I will be extremely happy.

Let us make a start on the corner of Station Road and Belmont Road, left hand side first. G. B. Neil's Texaco service station (now Moore's) was on the opposite corner. There is an empty section (later Dr Haslett built his two-storeyed home and surgery), the Paeroa Hotel, Evans' paddock where we enjoyed many top world big-top circuses, D. J. Evans' grocery (later Alexander's Tyre Retreading, (later concrete works), Malone's boarding house, G. Williams' garage, McWatters' menswear.

Across Williams Street to Mrs Wood's confectionery shop, a shop, Manning's hairdresser, White Star bus depot, empty section, Mr Wright's shoe repair, Stan Welch, tailor, Victoria Bakery and a shop.

Over Hall Street and on the corner the large Farmers Trading Company store, Hing's fruit shop, Stan Hedge, chemist, Butler, tailor, Tubman's menswear, Mrs Wilson's haberdashery, Flatts' Stationery, Gee's women's dress shop (later Duggan's, later Gilmour Rogers'), Self Help grocery, Forrest's carrier office, Miss Marshall's confectionery (later L. S. Handley, later Bill Havill's florist, W. Edwards' office, a shop (later Bond and Bond), alley way to billiard room, Hauraki Plains Gazette office, Vincent's Saddlery (earlier Ellis' Blacksmith), Plummer's hairdresser, Fisher's confectionery, F. Johnson's cycles, greengrocer, shop (later Wheeler's Pyramid tearooms) Leach's bread shop (later O'Brien's) Hannah's Footwear, Isaac Brown's sports shop, (later Allan Boulton's), Prime's Hardware, E. V. Slyfield's menswear, Jaspers, Aurora Picture Theatre, Broadley's jewellers, Leacock's fish shop, Leigh's pharmacy, passageway to Herold's billiard room, O'Loughlin's hairdresser, Housewives Grocery, (later Marriotts), Blyth's stationery, corner shop.

Over Mackay Street to the National Bank of New Zealand, Williams' drapery (later McWatters' Menswear), Shanahan's boot repairs, grocery shop, crockery shop, empty section, shop, Gamble's menswear and drapery, Battson and Davies plumbers, Masters' footwear, bread and cake shop, empty section, Todd chemist, Methodist Church.

Along to the left in Thames Road was John Wall's butchery, and on the opposite corner with Willoughby Street, the Centenary Hall (formerly the Karangahake Methodist Church), which in 1940 was used as the high school department of the Paeroa District High School with 55 pupils. Back to Normanby Road, Clune's monumental mason, a shop (during the Second World War it was used as the United Services Club), a house, several shops, one was Ivan Hansen's nic nacks, an empty section, Costello's butchery (later Scanlon's), Mrs Niven's confectionery, Russell's fish shop, section, Jones' office, driveway down to C. T. Handley's garage, Pickford's petrol station, Bank of New Zealand on the corner of Victoria Street.

Now cross over Normanby Road and head back to the starting point. First is the Criterion Hotel, a house, empty section and then over Arney Street, Father's Hotel, Carden Solicitor, Paeroa Borough Council Chambers, Post Office. Opposite the Post Office in Princes Street is Fleming's garage, a big building on the corner Princess Street and Wharf Street. (replaced in 1940 by the Bank of New Zealand building).

Over Wharf Street, the Royal Mail Hotel and down Wharf Street, the Labour Rooms, Civic Dance Hall, a large hall which was from time to time a ball room, roller skating rink, Regent Picture theatre, and a doll' factory (destroyed by fire in 1948).

Now into Belmont Road, Brenan's workshop and office, Powell's butchery, across Hughendon Street (Hare Bros was along this street) with Gee's Building on the corner (later McDonnell Bakery), a small reserve, Ohinemuri County Council's chambers, Paeroa library, Loan and Mercantile Agency, stock and station agents, Brocket and Shand's grocery, Thames Valley Electric Power Board, Brenan's blacksmith and stables.

Across William Street were Well's Butchery on the corner, an empty section, Mrs Fallon's stationery, Mr Fallon tailor, house, empty section, billiard room, Bain's hairdresser, Short's coal and wood merchant office, Dunlop's confectionery, Linn's petrol station, Jesson's fish shop, Jesson's plumber, shops, Dr Davis surgery (later Dr Haslett) and across Marshall Street to the reserve which in our day a very attractive picnic area with swings, slides etc.

(Editor's Note: Should any reader be able to add to or make any alterations this walk along Paeroa's main street, please contact me. A record of businesses in the main street and where they were located will be most interesting and is being sought by the Paeroa and District Museum.)