THE CABLE CARS
Up the road a little further was a zig zag track that took pedestrians up the north side to Helensburgh Road and Riding the cable cars always had atmosphere that can not be re lived on modern transport systems. If the weather was cold we tried to ride in the enclosed areas at the back or front of the cars. In fine weather however to sit on the outwards facing seats on either side was much more fun. By the time the cable car had started up a steep part of the track, there was always room for another passenger at the uphill end of the seat. During rush hour the crowds would pile on. Holding onto the straps that hung from over head bars was like a ride in the fun park.
The Kaikorai tram started running on October 9th 1900 and brought passengers 1.8 kilometres up what is now Stuart Street from the terminus at the Robbie Burn’s statue in the Octagon.
The powerhouse was in Kaikorai where the pensioner’s cottages are now by the Nairn Street corner. In the first 23 weeks from opening, 250,000 passengers were carried. At the time of the second world war, American war ships were based or visited Dunedin. The sailor’s would ride up to Kaikorai on the Kaikorai tram and return to the city via the Roslyn tram. Mistaking the ‘coal yard’ building as a hotel the sailors called in for a beer. No beer was on hand but many friendships were made and postcards came to the Ellis’s from all over America.
The Ellis family attended the Methodist Church in the Valley, influenced no doubt by our Grandmother Martha’s father, Daniel Tucker, who was a lay Preacher for the Blue spur Methodist Church. This was near Lawrence where Martha had been brought up.
In Taieri Road the Methodists (1893) had purchased the old brick Temperance hall and converted it into their own church. An older wooden structure that had been earlier used by the church in Walton Street was shifted to the Taieri Road site and positioned at the rear of the main church which had the spire added about 1918. The wooden hall at the rear was used for gatherings as well as the Sunday school and Bible Classes.
Winnie Ellis was a dedicated worker for the Methodists and organized the collection of postage stamps that were sold to raise funds for the Missions. She attended all of the Leader’s meetings and helped with the raising of funds for the lighting and heating of the buildings. Several other groups in the organization saw her valuable input. The Roslyn Methodist Church was amalgamated in 1968 with the Kaikorai Presbyterians in Nairn Street and had at that time just celebrated their 90th anniversary.
Not far away and opposite the north end of Kaikorai valley Road was the Gospel Hall. Said that it became one of the largest of the Brethren groups in Dunedin, they were the origin of broadcast services by radio. At that time the many of the Brethren groups opposed radios in the home. Having started during 1899 the building was sold in 1964 when the group moved to the Brockville area. The building for many years has been used by the Roslyn Mower Centre.
The Gospel Hall at one time about 1889 set up a building just south of Mellor Street and almost opposite Ellis’s coal yard. However in 1908 the congregation moved up to the Roslyn township and took the building with them.
Hotels around the district
We have already mentioned that the Ellis home was built as a hotel, but further up the valley on the same side was another hotel known as ‘The Argyle’ opened in 1870 by John Whyte it changed hands to Marshall, Matheson and finally David Heffernan. David had the hotel licence from 1875 until 1892 when the licence was refused. Along with his wife Hanora they continued to live in the big two storey building until at least 1925. David was then working as a wool classer and the building was given the street number of 11.
Up Taieri Road on the corner of Helensburgh Rd., there had been another hotel. Known as Halfway Bush Inn, it’s last operator (between 1875 and 1892) was W. T. Bunting. Later it became a store but although it was later taken over by Bretherton’s the older folk in the district still referred to it as Bunting’s Corner.
Three other Hotels were the Kaikorai Junction Hotel that operated in 1881, the Volunteer Hotel and the Shepherd’s Arms Hotel in the Halfway Bush- Taieri area.
When Bretherton’s had the store, I had the misfortune to have put a soccer ball through a small window in the store room. Grabbing the ball I took off for home at a fast pace. My Aunty Jess (Still) was in a bus that pulled out at the same time. She said I was out of sight by the time the bus reached the corner. Later Jock Still (my father) took me back to the store to apologize and pay 7/6d (75 cents) for repairs. The money to be deducted from my pocket money each week until squared up. However this threat never eventuated.
At the bottom of Taieri Road and opposite the Presbyterian Church was Kemp’s Store. Here a large bag of broken biscuits could be bought for a penny (one cent). Further up Taieri Road on the same side was a little shop that was built up on very high piles (like a pole house) to make the shop level with the road which had been extensively built up to reduce a big hollow with a steep incline. I think it belonged to Olive Webster. There were two doors one to the ice-cream side of the business and the other for general groceries.
The grocery shop stayed open later on Saturday nights as they were the agents for the ‘Star Sports’ news paper that contained all the sporting and horserace results for the day and with the outer pages printed on yellow paper. In Gilmore Street where I lived, my father Jock’, Ian Walsh, and Frank McElroy took turns at collecting their ‘sports’ paper. More often than not it was the children of each family that did the trip in the hope of getting an ice-cream.
Next store up that side was Glossop the butcher and I think prior to that it was Fraser. After the war (2nd World) we still had to have coupons for many items like butter some meats possibly, tea, rice and petrol. Anyway with a shortage of money we lived on a lot of offal type meats that are rarely sold these days. There was ox tongues, tripe, pigs trotters, pigs heads and pressed meat. This latter consisted of all the meat scraps from the shop set into a jelly contained in glass dishes. The dishes were returned to the butcher for the next time. Our mother would press cooked ox tongues into a bowl with a saucer on top and a heavy weight to squash it down. This weight was generally an iron that was used for ironing clothes when heated on the coal range. The meat when set, into the bowl shape was then sliced as required. Next up that side of the road was the shoe repair business run by the Foster brothers, who I recall were very friendly folk.
Across from them was Hyslop’s grocer shop where I got free lollies if I sang my own version of ‘Oh Susannah’ in front off other customers.
On the Church side of Taieri Road there was a big two storey house next up from the church. I recall the Paget family living there and it may have been the Presbyterian Manse in earlier times. Because the road had been built up as mentioned before, houses on each side had another storey below to bring them up to street level. A Chemist shop was built maybe in the 1960’s and was set back from the road and reached by a concrete bridge. Once the road was widened the bridge was removed and the footpath was then flush with the front of the shop. A little way further up was the Methodist Couch that featured earlier.
(Original Article by Alan Gilchrist)