Interview with Hal Lawry of Remuera

Remuera Rd 456

Hal (Hassall) Lawry lived in Remuera from 1938 to 1951 at 456 Remuera Road where there are now two apartment blocks, Kingsview and Kensington Gardens.

Eppinghurst Apartments was previously the site of Norman Spencer’s house. John Gilman was a surgeon who lived at 456 Remuera Road before it was demolished.

Elmstone, owned by Victor Larner, on the corner of Remuera and Orakei Roads, had a paddock that went down to 20 Orakei Road. It was next door to Dr Henry Burrell’s house, which was demolished for the building of Kingsview and a tennis court. Andrew Patterson, plumbing merchant, had a tennis court.

Opposite the Remuera Library was the Dingwall House, owned by Sarah and her brother David Dingwall. Most of Omahu Road was a Dingwall lease. Then there were the houses of Edward Horton at 148/406 Remuera Road and Sir Stephen Allen. 458-460 Remuera Road is now an apartment block, Kingsview.

Alfred Lynch, a retired serviceman who had a Belgian wife, had a service station which sold all brands of petrol, as well as motor mowers, and was later owned by Austin Harry. The entry was off Victoria Avenue and the exit onto Remuera Road, where Peppercorn Kitchenware shop was. Milicich Fishmonger had a house next to the North Memorial Baptist Church. George Young, fishmonger, did not sell fish and chips or takeaways. George had two children Goldie and Georg.

Dr Smith Gray at 150 / 408 Remuera Road was a surgeon – the front of his house was sold for shops. His brother was the minister of Sommervell Church in the 1950s. (In the chapel is an historical bible given by Rev H. B. Gray, Minister of St Andrews to Mrs Somervell for use in the new church in 1905.

At Stonex Dairies, 81/279 Remuera Road on the corner of Armadale Road, you could get pasteurised milk. Jack Carlton ran Carlton Party Hire, next to the alley opposite number 413 Remuera Road, as a function venue – where the lighting company is now.

Reg Keene and John White had the Shell service station and sold only the one brand of petrol. Reg’s wife Beryl was a very good tennis player.

Mandalay reception rooms 320 Remuera Rd

Mandalay owned by Cliff Trillo was on the corner of Garden Road and Remuera Road and was also the caterer for the Victoria League and the Berkeley at Mission Bay, who’s Mrs Cloke owned the Mt Eden tea kiosk.

Dr Martin Ross was on the corner of Cotter Avenue and his consulting rooms were above Wylies Pharmacy on the corner of Victoria Avenue. Lloyd Richwhite was a doctor at 361 Remuera Road from 1950-1960s, and then at 377 Remuera Road, above Blotts Chemist in the 1970s. Margaret Coutts of ‘Coolangatta’ was the daughter of Dr McGregor Grant who had his practice in a large house on the corner of Norana Avenue and Remuera Road. Wylies Chemist sold yeast products and Brufax. Blott the chemist mixed his own prescriptions in a room at the front.

Robert Magill (pronounced Majill) was a butcher at 142 / 392 Remuera Road from the 1920s to the 1940s. Jimmy Jones (A J Jones) was also a butcher at 144 /394 Remuera Road from the 1940s to 1970s. He was also a ‘zambuck’, a St John’s First Aid ambulance attendant at sports gatherings and lived down Orakei Road.

Bonham Milk Bar got their milk from Prangleys at Mangere. The bread probably came from Kent’s Bakery on Osbourne Street in Newmarket in the 1940s.

Lawry Hal aged 14 yr

Hal was at Auckland Grammar School on 7th December 1941 when Pearl Harbour was bombed on the Monday morning – all the boys were sent home. His family dug a slit trench next to the hedge at home. All the AGS boys had to lie down in the bushes with a cork in their mouths. There was a schools music concert and competition in the Auckland Town Hall when VE day occurred. In World War Two, his father Aldred ran a Motorists Fire Patrol. The cars had a portable water pump and met at the Remuera Library. His father was the CEO of a tannery in Onehunga, and had a controlling interest in Bycrofts. From 1919-1925 he was an Auckland City Councillor. He negotiated for the site for the new Remuera Library on the corner of St Vincent Avenue. The Remuera library hall was separate and used for political meetings – political meetings couldn’t be held in churches because they got a rates rebate on their grounds.

411 Remuera Road was the address for the Auckland city council work depot run by Edgar Porter – his son was Albie Porter who worked as a hairdresser for Matthew Robinson at 109 Remuera Road from the 1930s to mid-1950s. Remuera was a ‘dry’ area – the nearest pub was in Newmarket.

Cafe Du Budapest Gypsy Orchestra

There was the Café du Budapest where Pat Nelson was the hostess. There is a 1960s photo of the Café du Budapest with a gypsy orchestra. Hal had a private party there after his wedding in 1969.

Trams ran down Victoria Avenue every 30 minutes (2 minutes before the hour and half hour). The conductor for tram nos. 196 and 246 was John Kerr from Scotland. The tram went to Waiata Avenue to Combes Road down to Baradene College at the bottom of Victoria Avenue. The last tram was at 10.30 pm to Newmarket. Jack Adlam ran a bus service (which is not mentioned in A Fine Prospect), which ran down Victoria Avenue to Benson Road, and also Remuera Primary School in Dromorne Road every morning.