Archive for the ‘cordial’ Category

When It Finally Dawns: Sunrise Cordial and The Galliens

In Alandale Manufacturing, chemist, Chin Nan Loh, cordial, Dominion Drug Co., Exmol embrocation, Frimley Foods, Frimley Fruit Canning Works, Gallien's Pharmacy, H.L. Gallien, Harry M. Bennett pharmacist, Henry Louis Gallien, Hocken Library and Archives, Hope and Sons Funeral Directors, James Nelson Williams, Kirkpatrick, Louis (Henry Louis II) Gallien, pharmacist, Solvo Cure, Stanmore brand, Stanmore Lungworm and Scour Specific, Sunrise cordials, The Royal Society of New Zealand, W. Kinder chemist, Wattie Cannery Ltd, Wattie's on November 5, 2012 at 10.46

Lithographed label for H.L. Gallien’s cordial, early-mid 1920s.


The story begins with me buying two gorgeous lithographed labels at auction; the brand Sunrise cordial – which I had never heard of before. The archives and engines were turning up nothing and continue to do so; the only clue I had to start with was that they were manufactured by a particular Dunedin chemist.

H.L. Gallien (HLG II, known as Louis) at the doorway of  19 Main Street, North East Valley store, early-mid 1910sCourtesy of The Otago Settler’s Museum collection. 


As I started to research one of the first things I came across was a recent newspaper article from the Otago Times about a man named Chin Nan Loh who had bought an ancient chemist shop in North Dunedin. The story was about how he had rescued a cracked and dusty stained glass window with elaborate faceted panes, and re-installed it in his new Unichem shop across the road in Gardens Mall – along with a photograph of the former long-term owner, apparently a “Louis Gallien” – to add “a bit more character, give a community feeling” as he put it.

From left: W Kinder & Co Dispensary, Thames St, Oamaru. W Kinder, Chemist & Druggist, North East Valley Dunedin (1902-1913), courtesy of ABCR Auctions. Tamar Indien Grillon cure, Paris – Gallien Chemist, Dunedin (after 1913), courtesy of ABCR Auctions. W Kinder, Chemist & Druggist, North east Valley Dunedin (1902-1913, Eucalyptus & Menthol Pastilles,courtesy of ABCR Auctions. Gallien Chemist bottle (1903-1904),  Hawkes Bay Bottle collectors magazine of December 1982, author unknown, courtesy of  Jill and Alan Griffith.


Even though the name wasn’t quite right – this had to be my man; I was sure I could work out the connection. Undertaking some cursory groundwork, I understood that the manufacturer of the cordials , H.L. Gallien, and his descendants had been in situ in North Rd, North East Valley, Dunedin for decades (and the business its self for over 100 years), primarily as a pharmacy, and that he had created and marketed several other brands – as well as being responsible for the Sunrise label. But nothing seemed to be making any sense; I had variations of names and dates and places that zig-zagged all over the country with no clear trajectory or sequence (with another year’s work under my belt I’ve found that this isn’t so unusual), but somehow I knew they were linked. And there I left it for some months.

Lithographed label for H.L. Gallien’s cordial, early-mid 1920s.


It wasn’t until much later while researching a completely different topic – jam canneries again – that I came back to the fairly perfunctory story I have posted on previously about the Frimley brand


and how it was absorbed by Wattie’s. Imagine my surprise when I read the builder of Frimley’s canneries, which I somehow missed the first time round, was named… H.L. Gallien. It’s not possible that it was the same person… or could it be? What were the chances that a company that made fruit cordial as one of their products was involved with a person with exactly the same name who also made fruit cordial – could it have any relation? Although New Zealand is a tiny country in size, as well as terms of population (especially then) –  I had one story taking place in Hastings in the mid east coast of the North Island; and the other story taking place almost at the other end of the country right down the bottom of the South Island, at the same time. I’ve run across some pretty strange coincidences before so I wasn’t ruling out that this was another one.

Spooky: Bertha’s forgery escapade is already recounted here. Louis (Henry Louis Gallien II) was later done for distributing excess Opium through his pharmacy. Charles Louis (here as Charlie) ended up involved in a quack scam (“Hermann The Healer”) that went to court. Out of 13 children, the only  three that had notoriety for their legal troubles, are in this photo together. Courtesy of Delwyn Lone collection.


The thing that I really got stuck on was that I kept finding references to a mysterious Louis or Lewis Gallien – one in Wellington in the 1860s on a committee indicating that he was already mature. Another in 1880s at a school in Hastings indicating youth, another article from the 1890s stating that he was from Auckland and had bought a business interest there. See what I mean about confusing?

Bert (Albert) Gallien, Louis Gallien’s son, at the doorway of  19 Main Street, North East Valley store, early-mid 1920s. The address had changed to 21 North Road by 1918 meaning this photo was taken after that – since the new number is on the building. This is probably either Louis’s daughter Bessie or Margaret. She’s even tinier than her brother! Courtesy of The Otago Settler’s Museum collection. 


As it turns out there was officially no Louis, and he had never lived in Auckland. And sometimes the media misquoted the name as “Lewis”, confusing the information with a Lewis Gallien who arrived in Wellington in 1864 who had nothing to do with this story. It wasn’t until it had driven me nuts over a series of weeks that I finally realized what was going on – there were three different Henry Louis Galliens with separate careers – father, son and grandson, and that both father and son sometimes referred to themselves as “H. Louis” or often just “Louis”. Once I clicked it all seemed so obvious! Imagine if you will, just how damn difficult it was to unravel this story, where three generations all had the same name.

Close-up of Bert (Albert) Gallien at the doorway of  the 21 North Road (formerly 19 Main Street), North East Valley store, early-mid 1920s. Note the leadlight window now in situ, and poster in the window for Gallien’s Sarsaparilla Blood Mixture. Courtesy of The Otago Settler’s Museum collection. 


Henry Louis Gallien , most senior (whom I will refer to as Henry from here on) was born in Magdeburg Germany in 1835, and he arrived from London aboard the Wild Duck to the Wellington port in January 1860. By 1863 he had moved to Nelson, founded a business and by April the premises were being offered for rent. By 1864 he was back in Wellington, where he had married his bride Catherine Pauline Brown. They purchased a home in Thorndon Quay and went on to have an incredible 15 children, 13 of which survived which is a pretty good strike rate for those times to say the least. Can you imagine having to bring up so many? That was huge, even for those days – I was amazed as I kept finding record after record. It must have been a real struggle just to put food on the table. I’m not sure exactly what Henry did for a living when he arrived but he was listed as a “Carpenter & Joiner” by the time he was naturalised in Wellington in 1865, and again in 1866 he is registered as having a cabinet-making enterprise in Lambton Quay. However it seems he had ambitions and made some important contacts and as a result- contracts.

Box packaging for Gallien’s Emulsion bottle. Likely dates between 1905-1912. Courtesy of the Hocken Library Collection ref MS-2961/002.


An interesting diversion here (but diversion nevertheless), is that their second child Bertha Annie Gallien (b.1867), was charged with forgery in 1886, aged just nineteen. In quite unusual circumstances that were deemed newsworthy at the time – she was placed as a serving girl with a family acquaintance rather than going to prison, possibly the fact that her father was an established and respected member of the community may have had some bearing on this for there wasn’t much other reason except that perhaps the judge was in a particularly favourable and lenient mood. Financial records of the legislative department from 1871-1872 show that they had an account with Henry, so one wonders if “friends in high places” had any bearing on the unusual outcome of the case. If he didn’t already have acquaintances to get the job then surely he had made some by the end of it – clearly he was what you would be described as “connected”.

Dose glass issued by Gallien, between 1896-1912,  from the chemist’s measure collection of and © Jill and Alan Griffith.


Henry Louis Gallien II was the fourth child in 1870, and the focus of this story (I’ll refer to him as Louis). Birth and death records tell us that the family lived in the heavily populated Thorndon Quay area of Wellington for some years and sold the property in 1872. At this point our stories more or less separate out.

Louis’s disastrous move to be closer to Hastings lasted less than twelve weeks between December 1904 and February 1905.


In 1892 a J.E. Gallien of Marton near Fielding is mentioned as passing a botanical pharmacy degree. A cousin perhaps, or just an all-so-common-for-the-times misquote of initials? I am going for the latter, and I suspect that he may have resided for a time with the family of a sibling such as his older and first born brother Charles Louis (b. 1865). Who can say where his interest in the medical, chemical, zoological and botanical realms stemmed from? What we do know is that both Henry and Louis had in their lifetime involvement with the Royal Society of New Zealand


Louis is quoted as both a canary collector and breeder of note, as well as hobby taxidermist: “Mr. Gallien, when preparing a Cuckoo for stuffing, found in its crop a complete young Sparrow, barely feathered…” 

Syrup recipes for Sunrise cordials and other products: Ginger, Sarsoe (Sarsaparilla), Peppermint and Clove. Courtesy of the Hocken Library Collection ref MS-2961/002.


In 1893 Louis passed his pharmacy examination in Auckland. A social page in a paper of the time notes him as formerly of Auckland, so he may have been temporarily residing there to finish his studies for the final exam. Wasting no time at all upon graduating, later that year he turned up with a pharmacy open in Manchester Street, Fielding (near Palmerston North) that he had bought from a T. A. Garrat, also formerly of Auckland. (Garratt also had two pharmacies in Wellington previously). It seems by 1894 he had sold up and moved on.

Raspberry syrup recipe for Sunrise cordial.Courtesy of the Hocken Library Collection ref MS-2961/002.


by 1896 Louis married into the Hill family of Winton, a notable distance from any of his previous locations to say the least – and had purchased another pharmacy from C.F.A . Whiteford in Winton. An article states Louis had already been manager of the business for some time. Likely he commenced this position in 1894 before quickly graduating to owner. He sold it on to William Dawson Cowie between 1902 and 1904. I am not sure what the explanation is for why he ended up north of Invercargill – so far away from his family. Nevertheless he settled in the Otago area for good producing four children with his wife Elizabeth Josephine (1871-1960). Later I noticed that the 1892 article about the pharmaceutical examination results that misquoted his initials as J.E., also mentions a fellow student in his class as “C.T.A . Whiteford”. Given the already-established level of inaccuracy in the article, I would say this is the connection – Whiteford was an educational acquaintance so his move to that area was purely a friendship connection turned business proposition. Following the sale of his first Winton business, he either purchased another established business – or from scratch started another pharmacy, in 1904 Louis’s premises are mentioned in Winton as being two buildings away from Railway Hotel.

Close-up of Gallien’s Solvo wall advertising at the corner of Carlyle and 21 North Road, North East Valley, early-mid 1920s. Courtesy of The Otago Settler’s Museum collection.


Of course, by now it’s clear Louis was an extremely shrewd operator with repeated business modus operandi of making an easy entree into pre-existing operations by purchasing them as well as likely the previous owner’s inventions and recipes. Point in case , is a ginger cordial label by T. Walker, chemist –  recorded in a book belonging to Louis of the 1910s-1920s. Why else would it have been retained? Clearly it was one of the various purchased businesses in Winton between 1902-1904, 0r 1905-1912.

The true definition of puff piece: on Louis, 1928. In all reality, would you expect higher quality journalism from The Truth?


In 1913 Louis bought yet another pharmacy and moved to Dunedin city. There is a possibility that he acquired  a pharmacy in Great King Street, Dunedin for a short period between 1912-13, possibly Bagley’s at 323 Great King Street, but I’ve yet to see any evidence of this. Mr. W. Kinder, chemist and druggist, was established at 19 Main Street, North East Valley in 1902 – and this became the Gallien’s Pharmacy of our story. Records refer to a “manufacturing department associated with the business”. This means that, again, probably a number of the products and recipes were created by Kinder (who headed to Oamaru and opened a pharmacy there). I am not saying that Louis wasn’t inventive himself – by the mid 1930s he had quite a line of products as follows: Solvo Cure, White Korn Kill, Stanmore Lungworm and Scour Specific, Gallien’s Emulsion, raspberry vinegar, Ginger Wine Essence, raspberry flavouring, Gallien’s Sarsaparilla Blood Mixture, Defeata eyewash, St. Thomas bay rum, Universal embrocation, Gallien & Co liquorice powders, Newtine’s Lozenges, Dr. Claude’s tonic, and Exmol embrocation.

A coupon for Gallien’s Solvo  – NZ Truth, July 1925.


Sunrise cordials were being made by the mid 1920s at latest since a revision note dated 1925 was neatly pinned between the leaves of one of the recipe books which were finally dug up in the Hocken Library. This was the motherload and I nearly fell off my chair when these actual handwritten formulas for the cordials turned up. These entailed specifics for the two labels I had – Raspberry Syrup, and the Liquid Fruits (Mixed Fruit Syrup – Raspberry, Ginger, Pear, Pineapple, orange). There were also jottings on how to create Lemon, Vanilla, Creaming Soda, Pineapple, Orange, Orange Squash, Strawberry, Black Currant, Red Currant, Ginger, Sarsoe (sarsaparilla), Peppermint, and Clove syrups. I believe that manufacture started a little earlier than this; the Egyptian motif of the Raspberry label indicates that it was probably just post the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922 when that imagery trended worldwide. It seems like Louis’s oldest son Albert Louis William Gallien (b. 1898) may have been the second generation “marketing whizz ” since Gallien’s did not start heavily advertising their own brands until around this time in the mid 1920s. Henry Louis Gallien III (b. 1907, I’ll refer to him as Harry) was a number of years younger than Albert (referred to as Bert) but also followed in a pharmaceutical degree. Sister Bessie Gallien (Elizabeth Mary Gallien 1905-1973),went on to manage Otago’s Sonata Laboratories Limited which marketed products from Scherring Drug Co and Plough N.Z, like Nova, Coppertone, and Wella. Sibling Margaret Gallien was the only exception to the rule and went on to become a nun, spending 67 years as Sister Margaret Raphael of the Sisters of Mercy, St. Mary’s Convent, Auckland.

The Frimley Foods Canning Factory, circa 1910, built by Henry Louis Gallien I.


Janice Sew Hoy, who was employed at Gallien’s from the early 1980s through to 2001: “There was also a recipe for Embalming Fluid which was made up for Hope and Sons Funeral Directors. This was made up in bulk when ordered. Eventually Hope and Sons must have changed to a commercially made product”. Josie Bray, who was at Gallien’s between the late seventies and the early Noughties remembers: “The embalming fluid was made up in twenty litre containers, I think we stopped doing that around 1994. White Korn Kill was the best stuff on the market – I still work in pharmacy and there is nothing as good made today. That, Solvo and Exmol were very popular right to the end – until the some of the ingredients were too hard to come by. There were some interesting old bits and pieces. Even some huge glass distilling containers that sat round upstairs for years. Gallien (Louis) also used to pull teeth out as he had a dentist chair out the back of the pharmacy. Some people said he was a nice man, others said he was not… I have heard many stories over the years”. Pam Kennedy, a former owner of Gallien’s Pharmacy, says: “Well, I imagine that opinion may have depended on whether you were getting a tooth pulled or not!”

Map shows Gallien Street, Hastings marked with the red balloon. The site of the family home can be seen by the pattern layout of the marked lots. Also shown is Frimley Park, the site of owner Nelson William’s homestead as well as the factory, and the green area top left is Kirkpatrick Park, bounded by Orchard and Canning Roads, This was once dozens of acres of peaches for production. 


I have to admit, that’s a very good point. Pam continues: “Apart from pulling teeth, he also treated horses. Chemists in those days treated just about anything – if you got knocked over in the street they’d bring you in. There was some kind of horse drench he made. The manufacturing was upstairs and next door. We carried on making the corn cure and Exmol – it went all over the country – people just swore by them. It (the process) sort of changed and evolved over the years”. It likely made its way even to Australia as I found a couple of ads of the early 1920s mentioning it on offer. “Louis made an awful lot of stuff. It was all sort of piled upstairs, lots of equipment. It was just left there as we eventually stopped making things when it became too difficult to get some of the ingredients”, says Pam Kennedy. A sad story of a great product that stops being made for yet another reason – not the usual story of being subsumed or abandoned.

Aaron Hodgson and Mike Doig move the early 1920s leadlight sign to it’s new home at Gardens  Shopping Mall Unichem Pharmacy. Image courtesy of and © Otago Images photo gallery and archive.


However the only person I talked to who actually had known the Galliens personally, was Barry Longstaffe – because he  worked for them. “Yes, Exmol was the big one and Solvo, which was rheumatism stuff. There was quite a big calling for veterinary products – we did good business with products like  “Horse Blister” which was  medicine put on horses hooves to stimulate them, all three sold throughout the country. I think Louis packed Stephen’s inks at one point, Jeye’s Fluid and all sorts of things like that. Stanmore lotion is another one that we used to make a lot of. There was also aftershave, inhalant, footrot cure, and writing ink,  under the Stanmore brand. Linley cream, a hand lotion, a very popular one of ours. Other items that Barry recalled were mosquito cream. goitre tablets, neuralgic cure, flea cure, strychnine, strychnine antidote, borax, stomach powder,blood and skin purifier, asthma and bronchitis, paraffin, purified benzine, camphorated oil, methylated spirits, cod liver oil, drench, worm powders, and syrup of white pine – “…oh, there was about 150 different things”.   “I started my apprenticeship there in 1959, to Bert Gallien. After Bert died, I finished my apprenticeship under the next owner. I remember there were a couple of carboys up there, and the old dentist’s chair. There were thousands of labels lying around. There were racks out the back about two and a half metres high, twenty to thirty metres long for blue castor oil bottles and things… I’m talking thousands.  The Galliens never threw any bottles out. When I started my apprenticeship I was just doing all the odd jobs. I washed them all and we recycled them in those days. I’m not sure that Harry was actually ever fully qualified as a pharmacist.  I think Harry had to work for Bert, I don’t think he could own a pharmacy in his own right because you need to be particularly qualified to do that. But Harry was a very nice person – peaceful and understanding.  Bert had a very short fuse (laughs).  I think I’m the only apprentice ever that survived the full term.  He was too hard to work for really – but I was a very stubborn person.  He would go off the end very quickly and  was very irrational.  Every time his blood pressure raised and he got at me I just let it go in one ear and out the other. Everybody else didn’t last out, but I outlasted them both!”  He certainly did; he later became an owner.

The early 1920s leadlight sign, backlit in it’s new home at Gardens  Shopping Mall Unichem Pharmacy. Original image courtesy of  Chin Nan Loh.


Louis remained in Dunedin until his death in 1936, but obviously stepped back – a photo which seems to be the very early 1920s of a couple standing outside the pharmacy show a much younger man, obviously Bert Gallien, and probably his sister Bessie, as Bert was the only one of the four offspring to marry, and the record is not showing up – meaning it was post 1932. This picture is clearly much earlier than that so must be a sibling. Also, even if it is after 1925, Harry would still be in his teens and this person is clearly a fair amount older than that. The fact that he is photographed solo also indicates some kind of jurisdiction – so there are several clues to tell who they are. Barry Longstaffe: “Harry, Bessie, and Margaret didn’t marry; Bert and Imelda had no kids. I think it may have been because of their religious beliefs,  they were a very strongly Catholic family, no sex before marriage and all that! We weren’t even allowed to sell condoms in the pharmacy! You can laugh about it now, but at the time they were quite serious about it! So, when they died it was the end of the line”. Well, what can you say to that except – religion clearly won out, although I am not sure what the benefits were in this case. However this latter part of Louis’s career was not without troubles – he received a fine in 1922, along with plenty of newspaper coverage,  when he was charged for over-selling Opium by between ten to twenty times the standard amount used on average by other chemists, and was fined on three counts the maximum charge of a whopping thirty pounds. Maybe he decided it was about time to start thinking about retirement. Meanwhile with Henry busy with his endeavours at the opposite end of the country, by 1873 there are mentions of Henry in Hastings with his family settled in Saint Leonards, known as Allerton at that time (Allerton Street runs Parallel to Gallien Street there – clearly named for the family and their property). In 1877 a mention is made of Henry having the contract to build a church in Hastings but it seems obvious they made their way straight there from Thorndon Quay.  Louis, Charlie (Charles Louis), and Bertha Gallien are noted as attending The Central School there.

Revisions of the original Solvo embrocation recipe through the 1980s by Kennedy and Simpson. Courtesy of the Hocken Library Collection ref MS-2961/004.


In 1904 the Frimley Foods company had been established by James Nelson Williams in Hastings and was operational, of which the expansive premises were built by Henry’s company. To gain such a massive contract means that he was reputable and very well established by the early 1900s. It wasn’t long before Frimley Foods had exceeded wildest expectations and by the 1906-7 season it was employing a massive 200 individuals as it produced jams in 1 lb , 2 lb and 7 lb tins, dessert fruits, vegetables, pie fruits, tomato ketchup, tomato sauce, baked beans in tomato sauce, wine, and fruit pulp (mostly sold in bulk to Auckland jam manufacturers). By the early 1910s they had added pickles, spices, baking powder, crystallised lemon peel, marmalade, jelly crystals, fruit mince, and dried peas to the range of products, and most pertinent to our story – fruit cordials. The main Frimley orchard was 145 acres, mainly peaches- a massive area that was bounded by Maraekakaho, Omahu and Ormond roads (Kirkpatrick Park, clearly named for the canning company S. Kirkpatrick & Co that I previously wrote on here, https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/branded-with-a-k-kirkpatricks-canny-colossus/ that later purchased Frimley Foods, sits within this).

 Smacked on the hand: Louis seemed to step back from the business fairly soon after this, letting his son Bert (Albert) and then Harry (HLG III) manage the running. Hawera & Normanby Star, 24 January 1922 


Looking at the satellite mapping around the area of Gallien Street today, in Saint Leonards (obviously the site of the family homestead) not more than a few blocks away is the tellingly named Frimley Park – no doubt where the homestead of Williams was situated once surrounded by 12 acres of orchard gardens. Bordering it are the aptly named Canning, Orchard and Frimley Streets. The factory was in Frimley Avenue on a two acre area. I am sure the success of the business meant rapid expansion kept Henry’s business closely involved with Williams and his Frimley enterprise. However also in 1904, Louis picked up and opened a pharmacy in Dannevirke, not far south-west of his Hastings family – yet it was over before it really got off the ground. Bizarrely, within less than three months Louis had sold the Dannevirke business to a Harry M. Bennett – and left. Nevertheless, he did in that time manage to set things up enough that he produced an embossed chemist bottle with his name; only one example I know of exists and was recorded in an obscure journal by a collector – otherwise we would not know of it.

Korn Kill label, pasted with a 1985 version of the resipe, but probably from the early 1970s. This address was the former Gallien family home a couple of doors down from the pharmacy which became the manufacturing premises for Alandale.  Courtesy of the Hocken Library Collection ref MS-2961/004.


This data really threw out the story, imagine how it would look jumbled in a slew of records about three related people with exactly the same name – it made no sense at all. What was he suddenly doing in the central North Island? But finally I conjected that Louis moved there from Winton to be closer to his family and it quickly did not work out. Something must have happened to propel this sudden change of plan? It seems that it may have been a court case over some land he owned in the suburb of Frimley, not that far away from his father’s homestead – that was the decider.

This bottle label was pasted into one of the earlier recipe books and clearly the ginger syrup recipe, that Louis later used for Sunrise cordials, was based on it. No doubt the formula was acquired with one of the pre-existing Winton businesses that Louis acquired between 1902-1904, or 1905-1912. Courtesy of the Hocken Library Collection ref MS-2961/002.


A lengthy article of August 1905 outlines how Louis contracted a Norman L. Gurr as agent to sell thirty acres – which he did. However the tenants – who were growing potatoes and wheat – refused to leave after negotiations broke down, and the new owner was unable to take possession because of this problem. The case was settled in favour of the complainant for 39 pounds,10 shillings. Today that would equal not far off $ NZ 6000.00 just for the settlement, plus court costs. Maybe not an amount that would supposedly break Louis; but in combination with having uprooted and moved two thirds of the way across the country, bought a new house, set up a new enterprise, as well as having invested in a big chunk of land – Losing the much-needed sale of a portion when he probably urgently needed funds ( and whacked with a hefty payout on top of it) may have been the financial tipping point.

NZ Truth, late August 1925. Solvo, along with Exmol, was eventually was distributed throughout Australasia.


Since Louis was unable to complete the land sale, and was in the red twice over due to having to pay reparation as well – it’s likely he may have not had a choice except to sell his business in Dannevirke immediately to free up some much needed cash, and later make a move to offload the land in Frimley once he got the tenants out, perhaps with a little more palm greasing than the “tenner (that) will get rid of them” – an assumed plan which hadn’t worked previously and had landed him in this mess. It seems he turned around and immediately headed back to Winton for by late 1905 he had an application declined by council to build corrugated iron building on the corner of Wemyss and Great North Roads on land he had purchased (it seems like his run of bad luck wasn’t quite over yet). However things eventually turned around and it was not long before he was back in business as a chemist- and here he stayed after his disastrous North Island foray. through 1908-1910 Louis is listed as the Dominion Drug Co. This was probably the manufacturing business for his products including Gallien’s Emulsion and ink (The Dominion Drug Co that was based in Otago harbour manufacturing fertiliser was not relative), and 1911-1912 saw Louis listed in Winton as writing fluid manufacturer – establishing he stayed in the town that long. Queue his move to Dunedin and the long-running pharmacy there.

On the corner of North Road and Carlyle, the old Gallien’s Pharmacy building still stands today.


Three doors down from the pharmacy was 27-29 North Road, where the Gallien family resided upstairs until the early 1960s, and it later  became the premises for Alandale Manufacturing in the 1970s and 80s.


Records show Harry operated the Dunedin pharmacy until 1959 when he passed away. His brother Bert remained until 1963 when he also died, it seems they ran it together until nearly the end. And way to go – in the final year, there is a record of a charge under the Misuse of Drugs Act. A case of “like father, like sons”, it seems. Chemist Alan Hunter took over the business.

This poster was picked out of the dumpster by a former Gallien’s staffer during a big clean-up – and thoughtfully tucked away in a recipe book at home. The fact that it says the product is originally from the north and forty years old, indicates that Louis acquired this formula with his Fielding Pharmacy in 1893-1894 and took it with him. It was a financially rewarding move long-term. Courtesy of Josie Bray.


A newspaper article listing Louis’s daughter Bessie as winning a prize in a Colgate slogan competition in 1933 noted 29 North Road as the home address. By the mid 1970s a company named Alandale was manufacturing products for Gallien’s from 27 North Road. The building, which was about three lots down the road on the same side, was actually 27-29, says Barry Longstaffe: “27 and 29 was one building – it was double story  and the family lived upstairs.  Louis’s wife, Elisabeth, and Harry were still there when I started in 1959.  I remember a frail little old lady and she used to come downstairs sometimes.  She died not long afterwards, and old Harry died three or four months after I started. After that the house was empty. Under Alan Hunter we started the Alandale Manufacturing business to supply other  pharmacies; olive oil, castor oil, methylated spirits, tablets and the like – and also sold it in our own shop. That would have been in the early to mid 1970s.  The house was turned into space for the manufacturing. It was like a separate business, the guy that looked after the manufacturing side for years was Sydney Todd”. So that explains the details on the White Korn Kill label. It probably also makes some sense of the earlier referral  to a department associated with the business where the manufacturing took place. Around 1972 Hunter then formed a partnership with former apprentice Barry Longstaffe, Alistair Kennedy, and Gordon Simpson, who also had a smaller pharmacy in Pine Hill, the next suburb – which they all took turns looking after. In the mid 1970s Alan Hunter left and Barry Longstaffe departed 1979-1980. Alistair and Pam Kennedy ended up being the next longest owners after they bought Simpson out in the late 1980s- holding onto the business for a significant amount of time until Kennedy passed away in 2000. This is where Chin Loh came into the picture, and stayed until 2008 when the business finished up at that premises for good – having spanned over 105 years. The building is still there, although now a real estate – and in a way Gallien’s still exists in memorial form, across the street – not to be forgotten for the near future thanks to the light up window. Barry Longstaffe remembers: “It was my idea to save that window . That was about the mid 1970s. We decided to rip the whole front window area out because you couldn’t get in there very well to do displays,  and also it  would frost up in the wintertime and the  first job every morning was to squeeze in and wipe the window down – because nobody could see in from the condensation.  So we decided  to replace the front window at the same time and thought that the leadlight could be taken out intact and highlighted in the new pharmacy interior, Our signwriter people did the alterations to it, they were able to box it into the frame and it was put up inside the renovated shop”. 

Managing Director Chin Nan Loh with the original Gallien leadlight window installed in his Unichem Pharmacy, just across North Road from the original building. Image courtesy of and © Chin Nan Loh.


So although my beautiful labels clearly state that “H. Louis.Gallien, Dunedin” is the manufacturer of the cordials, is it possible that the Frimley factory made the cordials and shipped them to him from their stock of raspberry – as well as pineapple, blackcurrant and lemon that they introduced in 1910? Or did Louis make them himself? Eventually, I disproved this theory by the recipes that were found buried in the Hocken Collection confirming that Louis indeed devised his own formulas for the drink syrups and it had nothing to do at all with Frimley.

As for the Frimley canning company, – it was hit with a massive frost in late 1911, losing an estimated £10,000 and was sold to Kirkpatrick & Co in 1913, a year before Henry’s death. In 1925 it was purchased by Henry Jones Co-op, Ltd, of Australia who sold to Wattie’s in the late 1930s – the behemoth’s first acquisition of someone else’s brand. That’s another story for another time! a a a


Prologue: I actually completed the bulk of this tale nearly a year ago, and it was the first real investigative piece that I threw myself into and really followed the trail from archives to dumpsters to get the whole story. As such it earmarked a serious turning point for this blog. I was amazed at the things that, with a lot of digging and persistence, I was able to find, especially in important collections – about this Dunedin business of little consequence except that it been in the same family for fifty years. This point in its self was not all that remarkable. What was remarkable, however, was that so many things had been retained and preserved, although scattered. A lot of this was just the kind of chance stuff that either makes a story or breaks it. As such I have quite a list of people to give my appreciation to who helped make this story happen, which follows below.

Thanks to former employees of Gallien’s Josie Bray (1979-2000) and Janice Sew Hoy (1983-2001). Pam Kennedy, Barry Longstaffe and Chin Nan Loh, former owners of Gallien’s Pharmacy. Jill and Alan Griffith for glass and bottle images; Jill Haley, archivist from the Otago Settler’s Museum, Dunedin City Council; Judith Clarke, Display Artist/Cataloguer, Otago Medical Alumni’s Medical and Pharmacy Museum; Faculty of Medicine, University of Otago; James Windle , Professional Practice Fellow, New Zealand’s National School of Pharmacy Archives, University of Otago. Lorraine Johnston from the Heritage Collection at Dunedin Public Libraries; and Kate Guthrie, Assistant Archivist, Archives & Manuscripts, the Hocken Library, Delwyn Lone of Funeral Notices database, Lisa Truttman of Timespanner, and Anita De Soto.

All content of Longwhitekid copyright Darian Zam © 2012. All rights reserved.




Gallien Strychnine Antidote edit desaturated SML Addendum Feb 2013: This tin came up on Trade Me last week. It contained the Strychnine Antidote  that Barry Longstaffe mentioned in his interview – when listing off the long roster of Gallien products that were being produced when he began his tenure. There’s a couple of interesting things here. Given that the tin is marked with Albert Gallien’s name only, lends some credence to the memory of Barry’s that Bert’s brother Harry was perhaps never fully qualified as a pharmacist. In my research I never ran across a second middle name for Albert so I have no idea what the W. stands for. The tin was obviously produced at some time between 1936-1963, but probably dates from some time in the 1950s, however I have no awareness of the history of Strychnine in New Zealand – and at which time it fell out of favour – which may narrow the likely date. Also, I was interested that the area was already being referred to as “The Gardens” back then;  as it sounded like the sort of  faux-cutesy corporate name people that build malls come up with – so I assumed it was quite a recent advent and came about when they built the new shopping centre there. 

Addendum May 2013: This brown glass  apothecary jar from Kinder’s stretch at 19 Main Street, North East Valley – between 1902-1912 – popped up on Trade Me this week.

W Kinder north East Valley Gardens copy  smaller


Brotherly Confection

In Chocolate, Collins Bros, Collins' Lolly Shop, confectionery, cordial, Ice Cream, jam, tomato sauce on May 20, 2012 at 10.46

A few months ago I picked up this lovely label on Trademe; you can’t see in the image but it’s also printed with gold over the rich design. I’ve seen similar labels made for jars for the St. George jams range under Irvine and Stevenson‘s in the early-mid 1920s; but this appears to be a bit older than that. This actually ended up being a bit of a disaster because it was yet another lost package courtesy of ever-unreliable New Zealand Post, but the seller was kind enough to look for the other one that she knew she had stashed away somewhere – and although it was quite stained she was happy to send it to me as a replacement free of charge in a paid envelope I provided. After quite a few emails exchanged, a lot of back and forthing to the bank and post office, scanning and some retouching to the damage – and here we are finally.

Collins’ Lolly Shop, Thames Star, 24 December 1912


There is not much to be known about Collins Bros.  From experience this may be because not only were they a small concern; but also perhaps they didn’t last very long. Based in Pollen Street, Thames they were in competition with at least two other sweet shops including Palmer’s which had been established for over  forty years by the time Collins’  arrived on the scene.  They are apparently registered as “J. Collins, confectioner” (singular)  in the pre-1930 catalogue of The Treasury – which is an archive catalogue compiled by the Coromandel Heritage Trust.

Collins’ new soda fountain, Thames Star, 20 December 1916


I can’t actually find in any record that they manufactured jam; but clearly they did, as fruit is featured in the design with a tomato as the central motif. They were in fact manufacturing tomato sauce in the early 1910s – but whether this was sold in a jar or bottles is unknown. This multi-purpose label would be applicable to either, I imagine – and may have even been pasted on boxes for other products as well.

Collins’ new chocolates, Thames Star, 8 January, 1914


As demonstrated by the ads that I found featured here, “Collins’ Lolly Shop” as it was called locally according to the papers, were best known for their confectionery though – sweets, chocolates, ice cream, as well as a range of cordials – over their sauce and jam. They must have been one of the earlier ice cream manufacturers in the country with their locally popular Vanilla Ices – pioneering the way for the boom of the 1930s; another business I can think of is Dustin’s (later Southern Cross biscuits), which I wrote on last year here,  and which much like Collins’ store, had an American-style soda fountain. One has to wonder if the parents’ tenure in the U.S. had any bearing on this, at the time, novel idea.

Seafood store for sale, Thames Star, 24 September, 1908


However food business seems to have been the consistent thing in the lead-up to this enterprise; I found an advertisement for a certain J. Collins of Pollen Street trying to offload a fish shop in 1908 – No doubt the same person.
Any further information about the mysterious “J” is unknown – with fairly common names it’s just too difficult to tease any information out – devoid of clues like a first name, or anything else that would lead me in some kind of direction.

 Thames Star, 17 May, 1913


There’s quite likely a Parawai-Morrinsville-Thames connection; I find a Selina Delbridge (born 1849) married James Collins (born 1845)  in 1869 at Gunnislake, Cornwall and they soon emigrated to America, where they had a daughter, Minnie Maud Collins (I also found a record for an Annie Collins, born in Chicago, and a Joseph Collins, also native of the U.S. – interred in the same cemetery).

Collins Brothers’ confectionery and fruit – Thames Star,  22 December, 1916


They then settled in the gold area of Thames, New Zealand (going by Wise’s Directory I’m estimating around 1886) where James Collins is on record of being in the profession of mining first in Mount Pleasant then later in  in Parawai where the family settled. It seems he also ran cattle on his property “Reservoir Road” there  by the late 1890s, where they were residing. They had a total of six children according to Minnie Adams’ great-granddaughter. I think this is somewhat of an underestimation – as there were at least five siblings that didn’t make it past 6 years. however I can only verify aforementioned Minnie, as well as Selina, Rosie, Fred and Ernest.

 Thames Star, 20 December 1916


Interestingly, Later on in the Thames Directory of 1909-1912 Ernest Collins is listed in a seemingly relative profession of fruiterer in Pollen Street. So if the descendant’s information is accurate – then who was the missing child? Let’s see – who is the odd one out? Seemingly a J. Collins working as a storeman in Paeroa is a logical choice, because he’s the only J, Jas, or James Collins over three decades who isn’t in the profession of mining in the area. I’m guessing a James Collins jnr – or the aforementioned Joseph born before they arrived in Aotearoa. I speculate that he and Ernest, by this time ex fruit and seafood respectively, set up together as “Collins Brothers”. It seems that they may have been open for business together from 1912 until Ernest died early, in his mid thirties in 1918. After that the trail fizzles out. This is conjecture of course, and I could keep going until it makes more sense – but I’m a little short of time lately and so we will leave our investigation there. Perhaps I’ll find some more pieces of the story in the future to make sense of it.

The Collins brothers, circa the mid-late 1900s, from left: Frederick, Joseph, Ernest, and James. image courtesy of Cherie Hamlin.


Addendum, late May 2012: It seems quite a lot of my guesswork was correct. This information came in later from Cherie Hamlin, a Collins descendant: I pegged the right family; but slightly wrong on the brothers who ran the shop. 

Between 1869 and 1871 James and Selina Collins emigrated to the USA, where they had four children: Rose Jane (1871), Annie (1875), Joseph (1878) and Minnie Maud (1879).  Between 1879 and 1881 the family moved to New Zealand and had another five children: Frederick James (1881), Ernest (1884), James Edgar (1888), Jessie (1890),and Selina May (1891).

Joseph was the proponent of the brand and  along with James E made up the “Bros.” Ernest – although he had his fruit shop in Pollen Street – was not involved (but probably helped procure ingredient supplies).  Joseph died in 1948  listed as a “Retired Confectioner”, and James E in 1960, as a “retired gardener”. He is also recorded as having a previous career as a copper-smith prior to enlistment in WWI (he spent a year in service while Collins Bros. was operating) and is remembered by the family as “helping” Joseph with the business.  

Iris Parkes, niece of Joseph, is still alive and can remember Joseph Collins making pastry and sweets and says he could  “could turn his hand to any delight”. Iris recalls Joseph and James as being “great mates as well as brothers, and were always together” – the fish shop, however, she is unsure of. How Joseph got into the trade is also unknown, but she speculates that since the family grew fruit and vegetables it may have been a natural progression to then use the produce. I think that although he may have had a brilliant natural talent – he undoubtedly must have trained under someone else; and it’s likely that he did so under one of the two other local established confectioners such as Palmer’s, before going out on his own.

Ernest Collins probably started his shop to utilise some of the harvests from the Reservoir Road farm and Joseph would have used the fruits in pastries and sweets, preserves, syrups and sauces.  In 1898 Joseph wins a prize in the Kidney potato category in the local flower show; and Ernest and  Fred win for lettuce, cabbage and cauliflower in 1898 – both instances  recorded in the Thames Star, demonstrating a long history and knowledge of fruit and vegetable growing. 

How It All Pans Out

In Blue Moon Ice Cream, cordial, Crystal Springs Aerated Water Factory, Dairy Products, Denne Brothers, Desserts, Fonterra, Frozen Foods, Frozen Vegetables, Hellaby's, Ice Cream, Pastry, Peter Pan Frozen Foods Ltd, Peter Pan ice cream, Rush Munro, soft drink, Tip-Top, Tokomaru Steam Engine Museum on April 9, 2012 at 10.46

This point-of-sale poster probably dates from the mid-late 1960s and was no doubt created for dairy (milkbar) promotion.


Working on this project it constantly reminds me, as well as amazes me, that something that was so popular for so long – can seemingly disappear, almost without a trace. I also find it surprising that something that has been such a part of people’s lives – in this case a district’s main employer too – can fade from the memory so quickly and be forgotten within just a few years.

When you ask people about Peter Pan ice cream most of them remember it well. Yet it has taken me about a year to scratch together information for the story on the once renowned brand that shut up shop as late as the early 1980s; and although famous for their ice creams and novelty ice confections – it actually goes back much further than their two Waipukurau-based factories which were landmarks for many years. In fact the brand was started by T.C. (Thomas Clement) Denne who had quite a history in manufacture prior to that era. Actually, Denne Brothers started as a soft drink concern that went right back to at least the 1910s.

This painted tin sign probably dates from the 1950s.


The Denne family originally hailed from Canterbury, Kent in the U.K., with T.C.’s second cousin William Henry Denne arriving to New Zealand in 1851; and T.C.’s father Clement Denne following with his wife Alice and one month old daughter Lucy aboard the “Wild Deer” – apparently in 1875. However sales records of 1873 clearly show they bought land so we can presume that William helped; he probably scouted and bought property for them at their request – or it was purchased on spec. The family settled in Mataura in the lower South Island, where we find Clement selling his land as well as a blacksmith’s business (his trade) by 1890. Several years later a smithy business in the same town is being advertised as ex a certain John Denne – perhaps Clement’s older brother (born 1829) who may have joined them and set up shop too – or just another error of details in reportage we so often encounter in newspapers of those times.

T.C was born in 1882 and apart from school notices where an Alice, Emily and Lottie Denne are also name-checked (likely sisters) the first mention of him in the media comes in 1897 when as a fifteen year old he was injured on the job in a rather nasty accident. Mataura was chiefly famous for their paper mill and still is – and it was here, presumably on his first foray into the workforce from school that T.C had his hand crushed and de-gloved between some rollers, involving skin grafts from other parts of his body to repair the serious damage.
By 1904 T.C. was located in Milton, not far from Mataura, as first secretary then later deputy bandmaster of the town’s brass band, performing with both Baritone and Euphonium Tubas. Music – particularly brass bands – was to remain a life-long love, and regardless of what lingering effects of his paper mill accident had – he did not let it hold him back in his endeavours.

This backlit perspex sign probably dates from the 1960s, likely for the interior of a milkbar or cafe.


I believe his family probably remained in the Mataura-Milton area but we can conject that T.C. somehow moved into the cordial and soft drink industry gaining experience, possibly moving to another area on his way to the lower North Island. By 1915 he had appeared in Masterton where he had opened a factory with a depot at 169 Queen Street for both retail and wholesales; Denne’s Aerated Waterworks was producing aerated water, soda, hop ale, ginger beer, ginger ale, as well as sarsaparilla and raspberry cordials, and not long after he acquired modern technology and introduced his Fruity Lemonade sealed in a new-fangled crown seal bottle.
At the same time he was producing Denne’s Golden Malt Pure Table Vinegar from an Eketahuna set-up – and a later mention in a newspaper of 1919 states that T.C. Denne “was for some years in business at Eketahuna, and has been established in Masterton four years”.  So, likely that business existed for some time before the Masterton factory; and was perhaps dispensed with sometime after 1916 since there is no mention of it again that I can find.

Denne sells up in Masterton and moves on; Wairarapa Daily Times, 2 December 1919.


Between 1916-1919 advertisements for Denne’s Delicious Drinks, as they were now being touted, make mention of Wairarapa as a “dry district” and he was marketing in both bottles and gallon jars the following refreshments- hop beer, dandy shandy, ginger beer, lime juice and soda, squash, and others. The Wairarapa electorate voted to ban production and sale of alcoholic drinks in their district in 1908, and this remained the status quo until it was overturned in 1946 so no doubt the hops ale, beer, and shandy although fermented – were non-alcoholic drink, and his move to the Wairarapa district may have tied in with this prohibition period since his strong ties to the Seventh-day Adventist movement would prescribe no alcohol and caffeine (note he also never seemed to offer cola drinks).
During this time he kept up his musical endeavours, having progressed to the role of conductor for both the Masterton Municipal Silver Band and the Masterton Central Brass Band by 1917.
In 1919 he quit the bands “for business reasons”, and then sold his Masterton factory to a Neil Wotton who renamed the brand Crystal Springs. A newspaper ad also shows him selling a motorbike from 270 Queen Street Masterton, perhaps an new or additional depot to keep up with demand, or- perhaps this was a domestic address.

Denne’s drink varieties for dry districts ; Wairarapa Daily Times , 23 December, 1916.


By March of 1920 he had departed Masterton for good – being publicly presented with a silver engraved conductor’s baton as a goodbye gift – but where he went and what he was doing for the next decade is at present unknown. That is until he crops up in the paper as having started up a new company to manufacture cordials – T.C. Denne and Co, Ltd, in 1930 in Waipukurau – and the original factory (later known as the Peter Pan No. 1 Factory, unfortunately no images I know of exist) was established in Ruataniwha Street.

Tony Smith, Napier historian and collector says that there is information on Denne drinks that goes from 1938 back to 1926 that he knows of, and these one gallon stone crocks were issued in 1928 as well as 1930, but if that was in another location besides Waipukurau is unknown at present, and still leaves at least six years of the 1920s unaccounted for.

Soft drink and cordial business continued as usual until Denne started making ice cream for sale around 1938, not long after the tragic death of his first son John Clinton Denne in an accident at 22 years old, when his motorcycle hit a truck head on on a highway outside of the town the year previously. I think it’s an interesting point to consider that T.C. embarked on a major diversion from his successful tried and true formula at this time. It must have been a roaring success for by 1940 it had far usurped the drink business – so he let that go, selling that arm of the business first to a Stan Nickle, then Bert Anderson, and later D.H. Newbiggins of Hastings – according to Tony Smith, a Napier-based historian and collector who has been compiling a book on Hawkes Bay cordials, brewery and chemist bottles. I was able to find a Waipukurau based Bert Anderson who sung bass and baritone in bands so that would be the connection; but as for the other two names – no clues (Smith likely means E.J.D. Newbigin who was a well-known Hastings brewer and cordial maker from 1881). From the records it looks like Denne didn’t officially register the Peter Pan ice cream brand until 1946, however they likely started using the name much earlier than that.

The Tokomaru Steam Engine Museum have in their collection a 1937 William Sisson & Co. Ltd. (of Gloucester) model, bought from Denne Brothers, “acquired around 1967. It was going to be used as a standby generator if there was a power cut. I presume (they divested it) when the factory no longer had a need for a steam engine. As far as we know the Dennes never used it” says Esma Stevenson, curator. It must have been bought around 1940 when there was a decisive direction to go into the ice confection business permanently.
T.C. passed away in 1950 and it seems that his two remaining sons Tom Jr. (Thomas Vernon Denne 1917-1983) and Haydn ( an unusual spelling he adopted of his birth name Maxwell Hayden Denne, 1921- 2008) inherited the business. From then on it was known unofficially as Denne Brothers, and then later on as Peter Pan Frozen Foods. They well and truly took control and redirected the branding, and were beginning to expand and market the name with fervour.

This galvanized metal and wood, hand-painted  sandwich-board sign probably dates from the 1960s, for the side walk outside of a dairy, milkbar or cafe.


There were two factories in the town that came to be known as numbers 1 and 2. Peter Pan No .1 factory was at 177-183 Ruawahine Street andthe corner of Cook Street,Waipukurau (now 2 Takapu Road). It was the original T.C. Denne & Co’s drinks building and was an expansive premises. This was where ice cream tubs and packs, waffle cones for the Trumpets and also for retail sale, and later in the early 1970s doughnuts were all made, as well as serving as “head office”. The offices and waffle-making room were on the second floor. The waffle cones were made for the Drumstick ice creams,  the slices, and they were also packed into boxes as their own individual product which were then sold throughout different shops says Pam Blackberry, who worked on that line for a couple of years in the late 1960s. This rambling establishment probably had many additions over time – records show a dispute that went to court with the local council over redevelopment in 1966. Haydn Denne lived in Cook Street opposite where No. 1 factory was until he passed away in 2008. You can see a photo of the factory in my previous post here:


Treasure Tip recreation copy WATERM copy

A reconstructed wrapper of the popular  Treasure Tip  – an ice block with a jelly baby in it. This dates from the mid to late 1960s and obviously the same artist that designed all the posters I’ve featured so far over the last year or so.

Note: Due to repetitive theft by those who take my intellectual property from this blog without my permission, and reproduce it as merchandise for sale on sites such as Ebay, Redbubble and Trade Me,  I have now watermarked some of the images. If you are interested in purchasing merch of other images you can head to my personal Redbubble store.


Approximately a kilometre further away on Takapu Road, Waipukurau was No. 2 – which was focussed on the ice confections, and frozen foodstuffs arms of the business.

As well as ice cream produced in cones, slices, Drumsticks, and a variety of pint and quart boxes in flavours like Bonanza, Cherry Chequer, Vanilla Supreme and Golden Whip – Former employees of the early 1960s onwards remember in particular the highly popular novelties Nutty Cha Chas (ice cream dipped in chocolate with nuts), Pink Elephants (pink ice cream rolled in chocolate flakes), Tutti Fruttis, Jelly Tips (ice cream coated in chocolate with a tip made of jelly ) and the popular Jolli-Lollis “which was an iceblock mix in a sachet”, says Tony Dean. “The Jolli-Lollis were like cordial mixed up in big vats then pumped through a machine into the plastic sachets and sealed, then packed into boxes and frozen, and that is how the shops got them – this was the machine I worked at, The only time I ventured into the freezer was to put the boxes of ice blocks away once they got packed, and then it was in and out fast”, recounts Pam Blackberry. “(There was a) fear of being locked in those freezers!” remembers Hazel Hori.
The ice confections were produced specifically out of the No.2 Factory and some were the Lime Ice Delite, Fruit Salad, Peter-Cream, Red Rocket, Blueberry (blackberry and lemonade flavour), Scramble, Orange Sparkle, and the Dazzle which I posted on here:


Margaret Gee was employed from 1964-1968. “I worked at Peter Pan for four years as a churn operator filling the moulds that were then placed into the brine tanks”. Tony Dean worked from the mid to late 1960s for several years and “from what I can remember the moulds in which the ice block shapes were made held about 20 items, and a stick holder was put in the top of the mould. The moulds were put in a tank of brine for about twenty minutes and when taken out were inserted in a tank of hot water for a few seconds to release the product; and were then put through the wrapping machine. The refrigerant used was ammonia”.
A Peter Pan specialty were novelty ice blocks with confectionery imbedded in them. Tony Dean recalls “the Treasure Tip, with a jelly baby in the tip – the jelly babies were inserted manually in each mould” – others were the Red Knight with a “Honey Bunny” and the Hello Dolly of the late 1960s had a “Dolly Lolly”.


There were probably many more variations perhaps capitalising on popular culture of the time.

A reconstructed wrapper of the Jolli-Lolli  – an ice block sealed in a plastic sachet and frozen.


By 1966 at the latest Peter Pan were producing frozen foods from the No. 1 factory , and Tony Dean remembers Peter Pan had a fleet of trucks to handle a contract to distribute frozen foods around the North Island for Hellaby’s (probably most well-known to Kiwis for canned corned beef), in particular – chickens, and frozen vegetables including peas. Posters advertising products of the mid-late 1960s show frozen flaky puff pastry on offer, and a range of ready-to-cook fast foods that were probably wholesaled to takeaway businesses such as spring rolls, curry rice rolls, steak cobs, fish cobs, chicken croquettes, and hamburger rolls (not bread buns – probably a deep fried meat filled pastry not unlike the Australian Chiko Roll, given the nature of the rest of the range they had at the time) . There was also a line of syrups for milkshakes, thickshakes and sundaes, probably also coming out of the No. 1 premises given the related products.

Pink Elephant recreation REVISED CROPPED WATERM copy

A reconstructed wrapper of the popular Pink Elephant  – a pink ice cream rolled in chocolate flakes. This dates from the mid to late 1960s.

Note: Due to repetitive theft by those who take my intellectual property from this blog without my permission, and reproduce it as merchandise for sale on sites such as Ebay, Redbubble and Trade Me,  I have now watermarked some of the images. If you are interested in purchasing merch of other images you can head to my personal Redbubble store.


Tony Dean says “The Dennes were excellent bosses to work for. On Friday nights every staff member used to get 1 litre of ice cream and a pack of frozen peas, and at Christmas time a frozen chook as well”. Augustine Dunbar , who worked 1972-1974 also recalls “they used to give us 3 quart boxes on Friday (I’m not sure if she means three separate quart boxes, or the three pint box).
“I used to love eating the ice cream straight out of the churn before it went into the containers and freezers. Also the jelly babies, the chocolate, strawberries and peanuts before they went into the production line. It is probably one of the best jobs I had”, says Tony Dean. “Finger-dipping into the ice-cream straight out of the churn I remember (well), the foul smell of the chocolate melting”, adds Hazel Hori.
The company even had their own “Peter Pan Bus” that travelled to and from Waipawa and Waipukurau to pick up staff of a morning and drop them off in the evening. The Dennes were known as fair and generous employers; and so many people from the surrounding area were employed it was worthwhile. Hazel Hori who worked there between 1963-1965 remembers: “Many “Ypuk” (Waipukurau) people spent part of their working lives at Peter Pan factory. My dad Henry Munday worked at Peter Pan for many years, my mother joined the staff in the 1970s, my brother Eric worked there too for a time , along with me – during the school holidays packing ice blocks and ice creams” – it was almost a rite of passage to do at least a short stint there first before leaving the security of the locale heading out into the wide world.

Trucks outside the No.1 Factory in Takapu Road. The part of the building that is still standing today on a mostly vacant lot – can be seen behind far left.


Trademark records of the early 1970s show product names Country Gold, Fudgsicle, Softee, and Captain Hook products were being manufactured as well as doughnuts being produced in the No. 1 Factory, as briefly mentioned earlier.
Although their father had passed away some time before and their mother Agnes in 1957 – the traditional family faith remained strong. By 1962 the Seventh Day Adventist movement, well-known for their involvement in food product (see my article https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/2011/11/26/healthy-curiosity/ on Sanitarium) had made the move across the Tasman to the Hawkes Bay area and assumed control of two churches to establish themselves in the local vicinity. In 1965 the devout and by now, no doubt quite prosperous, Denne family donated land for a church and a two-teacher church school. T.C.’s grandson John Denne continues that religious inheritance and is a pastor in Australia.

This point-of-sale poster probably dates from the mid-late 1960s and was no doubt created for takeaway shop promotion.


As for the mysterious Peter Pan parlour that nobody seemed to recall seeing – after writing to twenty or more people I received a reply from the Eketahuna Museum suggesting that the mystery store may be located in an enclave to the south of Waipukurau, named Norsewood, a Scandinavian-settled town established in the 1870s (hence the name). Since the Dennes never had any relation to this town that I know of – It still left the question of who built it, and more to the point – why? Doug Ellison, Caretaker at Norsewood Pioneer Museum says:
” It wasn’t specifically a Peter Pan store but it sold the ice cream which was just about all we could get (at the time) actually. It was originally just the usual country store, that sold the stuff that any grocery would sell. There was another dairy that sold Peter Pan but it didn’t have a big sign like that. The people that lived in the house did it up to look like the old store at the front, so it would resemble when it was a thriving business – which it hasn’t been for a number of years. I don’t know who owned it at the time. The house is now empty and the building is used as storage. I think it must have been someone from Dannevirke who did a bit of painting about the place to bring it back to what it was. The heritage signs were put around a few old buildings for our festival a couple of years back so that people knew what they had once been. I don’t remember any other (local) brand for sale in the area except Rush Munro, who had a place in Hastings, about 1000 Herataunga Street East – it was called Blue Moon (Rush Munro’s is still open at 704 West, and is arguably New Zealand’s oldest ice cream brand – I’ll post on this story later in the year).

The remaining part of the far left side of the Peter Pan No. 1 Factory on  the corner of Takapu Road and Cook Street, Wapukarau -which has now been somewhat remodelled. 


John Denne, Tom Denne Jr.’s son was managing the business for some time, but left the town for good in 1971. According to records I’ve found Peter Pan was offering redundancy packages to employees at the end of the 1970s so they must have hit a spot of financial troubles, that or behemoth Tip-Top had stepped in and major changes were afoot. Most people seem to remember the factory being open until at least the early eighties when the rights were probably sold to Tip-Top.
Jan Gosling, one of the curators at Waipawa Museum remembers “when we moved to Waipawa in 1990 the old Peter Pan buildings were still there (in Waipukurau), with faded labels of the ice cream factory (on the walls) and it always seemed a little sad. It’s funny how when things disappear or change into something else you forget about what was there before”. Sometime after that they were demolished; “there isn’t much left of that (factory) now” says Pam Blackberry. The only remains I can spot are the far left side of the structure which has been somewhat remodelled and serves as the Hatuma Engineering Supplies premises.
The original Ruawahine Street No. 1 factory’s site closer to town is renumbered and the street renamed; and the allotment now has a new, one story building, the Central Hawkes Bay Health Centre, set back on the corner of it but is a mostly unobstructed tract of vacant land on the corner where the expansive buildings of Peter Pan Frozen Foods used to be a town landmark.

Mystery finally solved – the tribute to Peter Pan Ice Cream in the small town of Norsewood, was created for fun to replicate an old town general store that originally had a sign like this when it was operating.


Although the brand name has remained in limbo for nearly thirty years with the trademark rights renewed to Tip-Top Investments as part of Fonterra Brands Limited, it finally lapsed and was cancelled at the end of 2010, bringing the saga of the  Peter Pan brand to a close for good. Not for me though – the story still has some gaping holes such as – how did Denne enter the business and learn his trade?, and what he was doing between 1920 in Masterton and 1930 in Wairarapa? I’m hoping that I’ll find out more so stay tuned.

As usual, I have a large rollcall of people to thank for memories, images, leads, information and tip-offs: Jana Uhlirova, curator, Central Hawkes Bay Settler’s Museum, Pam Blackberry (1968-1970) and Tony Dean (1966-1973), ex-employees of Peter Pan Frozen Foods; Andy May and Donna Gwen Hoby, one time acquaintances of the Dennes, Colin and Esma Stevenson, owners and curators at the Tokomaru Steam Museum, Doug Ellison, Caretaker at Norsewood Pioneer Museum, Tony Smith , historian and collector for information on Denne drinks, Brian Turner for image of Denne crock, Jan Gosling, curator at Waipawa Museum.

Get The Ballins Right

In Alcohol, Ballins Breweries, cordial, Frostee Drinks, soft drink on November 20, 2011 at 10.46

Bernhard Ballin supposedly set up this aerated water company in Byron Street of Christchurch in 1878 – manufacturing sparkling soft drinks, wine, quinine and cordials. Even “company lore” sticks to this date; so far as issuing a commemorative jug for their “centenary” in 1978.
However I have found more than one earlier ad for Ballin Brothers, that shows with no doubt  from 1876  were indeed making and selling cider, cordials and sasparilla from a factory in Auckland, two years prior to that date. Again it seems like another big story that might be better off to save for another post until I’ve investigated further.
Anyway regardless of the exact date and place they started up – they were definitely around from the late 1870s and by the 1910s they were manufacturing heavy fruit cordials, lemon squash, raspberry drinks, limejuice cordial, sasparilla, and ginger wine.

Ballin Brothers’ Cordials, NZ Truth , Issue 564, 8 April 1916 

Although far more famous for their sweet drinks like Frostee, alcohol making and distribution was always a major concern and the company soon became known as Ballins Breweries on all their products. In 1936 they expanded further when they acquired Hickmott’s Victoria Brewery Limited, of Bath Street. By the 1950s South Canterbury Wine & Spirits, a conglomerate formed with N.Z. Breweries Ltd, was housed in the old bottling plant of the brewery grounds. This new company snapped up the other old Canterbury companies like Chittocks and Cordials Ltd, to erase any competition in the marketplace. By the 1970s this venture had an arm that had branched into Inns and Hotels – Inns of Canterbury Ltd.

Ballins seems to have been quite a huge company in its day with bottling plants/distribution centres in Auckland; Rotorua; the Canterbury area – Christchurch, Oamaru, Timaru; Masterton- Wairarapa; Nelson in the South Island; Palmerston North area – Manuwatu and Pahiatua, to name some mentioned by former employees.
I vaguely remember Ballins as being a less prevalent brand than others that were around in the 1970s like Leed, L&P, Fanta, Jucy, Frist, Schweppes, and Coke, and probably remember seeing it more away from Auckland, on our many family holidays. It sort of seemed a bit “mock” to use a slang expression, it didn’t have a strong brand presence and it wasn’t down with us kids like “Stud”, “Spaceman” and “Kandy” was. it was just there in the background.

Nevertheless over the years they have had some great graphics, most famously the bizarre pixie dressed in fur like an eskimo, squeezing raspberries into a glass which featured on so many posters and ads, they do pop up for sale every once in a while on Trademe.
A few weeks ago this fantastic Jamaica Dry poster was up for auction. I wanted to have it, however I have been buying so much stuff lately that I need to cut back my budget somewhat – so I decided that I could try recreate it as a challenge, instead of purchasing. I love the results of the work, which was mostly done with vector shapes in Photoshop, which isn’t far removed from using Illustrator really.
Eventually Ballins was snapped up by Coca Cola-Schweppes in 1975 although an employee, Russell Lange, remembers it was Oasis Industries; most likely a subsidy of CC-S at the time in that area of New Zealand. Definitely in the late 1970s they were still manufacturing canned soft drinks such as raspberry, lime, lemonade and orange. What happened after that I don’t know – perhaps the brand was phased out as part of the larger concern as so often happens.