From The Evening Star column “Woman’s World” by Diana, Saturday September 6, 1969
Roslyn Township’s Character
Have you ever stopped to consider that the Roslyn Township has a rather special character?
Although it is just a small shopping area a few hundred yards long, it seems to be slightly different from any of the other small shopping areas in the city in that it is a complete entity which does not just straggle off at either end.
The big two-storeyed wooden shops, and the little ones too, give the area a charm, but like many other older parts of Dunedin, the Roslyn township is changing in character as old buildings come down and newer ones take their place.
High on hill
High on the hill, in the middle of the residential area of Highgate, the township may perhaps have grown originally to serve the waggoners who passed through on their way to Central Otago.
The township did not change greatly over the last 40 or 50 years, but in the past four or five years new buildings have replaced the old. And in the last couple of weeks one of the oldest, a little wooden dairy, has been demolished to make, way for a new one less picturesque, but which will doubtless be much more convenient.
One who remembers the township from its early days is Mr Arthur Sherriff, whose family butchery business has been established there for 100 years but one.
Mr Sherriff, who has been retired for some years now, lives in Ann Street nearby. His family has lived in the area since 1870, when his grandfather set up in business and bought most of the properties on the upper side of the street.
“The dairy must have been over 100 years old,” Mr Sherriff told Diana, “and the two next to it, where the T.A.B. is now, were very old too. One was a laundry, the other a boot shop.”
Behind these shops lived one of the old characters of the area long since dead, who was known as “Granny Goodlett” a char lady with a sharp tongue it seems.
Before the little shop became a dairy, it was the premises of Donald Stewart, a produce merchant.
On the corner which is now a petrol station was McDonalds, coal and produce yard, run by four bachelor brothers, whom Mr Sherriff remembers 50 or 60 years ago.
Earlier still, the corner held “Pussy” White’s fruit shop – a family who ran the “Pub” on the corner of City Road where the Roslyn Fire Brigade Station is now. This hotel was burnt down.
Mr Sherriff can remember the days when next to the hotel was the cabinet-making business of Stewart and Jones.
Mr Frank Jones, who must have been the oldest resident in the township, died in his 90s a few weeks ago.
Next to that had been a Chinese laundry, a saddler and a boot repair shop, and near the overhead bridge, the premises of a well-known auctioneer, Mr Alf Washer.
Like many older parts of Dunedin, the Roslyn Township will no doubt see more modernising in the future. There will be those who will regret it.