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Archive for the ‘Mackintosh Caley Phoenix’ Category

Popularity Contested

In AB Consolidated, Aulsebrook's, Ballins Breweries, board games, Bournville Cocoa, Cadbury Confectionery Ltd, Cadbury Fry Hudson, Cadbury Schweppes Hudson Ltd, Caley's chocolate, Chelsea Sugar Refinery, Coca-Cola Co., Coca-Cola Company of New Zealand, Crown Lynn, Cuesenaire rods, Doughnuts, Edmonds, Fanta soft drink, Fresca diet soft drink, Fresh-Up juices, Gregg & Co, Gregg's, Gregg's Instant Pudding, Gregg's jelly crystals, Griffin’s, Hi-C juice, Holdsons games, Jaytee Patty Pans, Kaiapoi blankets, Kelston Potteries, Leed soft drink, Mackintosh Caley Phoenix, Mackintosh Caley Phoenix (MCP), Mackintosh's, McAlpine, Milk delivery, Milkshakes, N.Z. Apple & Pear Marketing Board, New Zealand School Journal, Old Spice, Phoenix biscuits, Po Ha crackers, Ready To Read books, Rowntree's, Rowntree's Smarties, Sewing stuff, Sodastream soft drink, The Ministry of Education, Tip-Top, Topsy, Tourism art, Tourist souvenirs, Uncategorized on February 2, 2014 at 10.46

1  85   likes and 49 shares  The Farmers' children's playground, Auckland - this one taken in the 1970s.

The number one most popular image I’ve posted of all time, was this picture of the whimsical playground on top of the Farmers’ department store, which was next to the cafeteria to keep the kids occupied. It was shared around Facebook dozens of times. The recall of playing on the pedal cars and trikes – as well as who took ownership of the toadstool -really struck a cord with everyone. 

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One day not so long ago, I decided to look at the stats on my History Always Repeats page, and, out of curiosity – find out the impact what I’ve posted has had on my readership.
Certainly with this blog, I was really surprised to find that it wasn’t the short, snappy and visual bites people were reading the most – but the longest posts. Which I actually thought people would have less time and patience for…not at all, it seems.

The nature of Facebook is different; it’s pretty much throwaway in comparison. You post, mostly pictures in my case, add a few lines of text maybe, the reaction is pretty much immediate. It starts moving down the feed where it quickly disappears, basically to be forgotten.

Stats on pictures aren’t provided by Facebook -so I had to manually trawl through every single image (which is over 1500 pictures) and rank them in order of “likes” to each image from page members.
I’ve long criticised the unofficial list of Kiwiana icons, and I wrote an article on this topic for “In Search of the Vernacular” which was published last July in New Zealand by The Cultural Mapping Project. I have my own ideas about what is wrong and right in this respect, but even I don’t really know what is “popular” per se. Really,  the only way to really tell is to give over to the public and see what they have to say with their votes – that’s you, my readers and page members.

OK, so have you got your own mental picture of what you think are the most popular items that Kiwi Boomers, X and Y reminisce on? Is it full of Fred Dagg, ice cream cones, Pohutukawas, gumboots, kiwis, pavs and tikis? Well – wrong, wrong, and WRONG (for the most part).

So, below are the top fifty most popular images based on what I have posted since October 2012. The results were actually quite surprising. What was more surprising is what didn’t make it in. Where was Wattie’s, Cookie Bear, and Spaceman drinks? Didn’t score much with the punters, it seems. Forget beer, Beehive matches and those squeezy sauce bottles shaped like tomatoes. Not even close! Lamingtons? Forget it.

It’s quite interesting to see what really butters people’s proverbial scones when it comes to Kiwi nostalgia – and it’s certainly not the typical list of Buzzy Bees, kiwifruits, Tip-Tops and flip flops!
What does this selection tell us? It certainly indicates the way we view ourselves and culture and how very different it is from what we are fed about our own popular “image” as Kiwis.
I suppose a major factor in image ranking is that in the first few months I had an incredibly low level of members – I started with around 30 on the first day, and nothing happened for months. And people don’t often go back and check through old stuff.

It wasn’t until I posted the picture of the cafeteria playground at the flagship Farmers’ Store in Hobson Street, Auckland (ranked number one over all) that it started blowing up as the image went viral. Within a very short time I had suddenly reached 700 members.

Certainly I come from the point of view of an ex-designer and there’s always going to be a focus on the visually appealing in my edit – and thus what ends up in my final selection. To me it was interesting, that what people preferenced did generally have aesthetic appeal – but they weren’t really what I would have hand-picked as the most eye-popping items. In some ways it’s a bit of a motley selection (I mean, the Alf novelty ice cream? Really, people? Really).
I never know what people want to read or look at and try not to care too much about it, but maybe even if it’s subconsciously – I am starting to get a better idea of what content is desired and it’s not all about what I personally think or prefer. Should I change anything about the way I go about things? Probably not, otherwise it would just end up being the same as what everyone else is doing.

It seems clear the image we’ve had forced upon us is a rather false assumption – and the genre is far more subjective with a focus on childish comforts. So is it just a “popularity contest” after all? I have to say I disagree, announced while snugly wrapped in a cosy wool blanket, with a sweet bun, and a hot cup of Bournvita in a nightcap novelty mug.

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2  71  likes 22 shares Little Black Sambo

2. Second  most popular on the list is the classic Helen Bannerman children’s book about the tigers that turn into butter and are used to fry pancakes. This book is still in print and back on the market today, but apparently went through a period where it was banned.

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3 46 likes Ready to Read series, collection of Waterview School. Image courtesy of the Waterview Heritage Project

3. Any time I post a picture of the Ready To Read series from The Ministry of Education, including The Hungry Lambs (not pictured), it gets a very warm reception. Collection of Waterview School. Image © Carla Martell and  courtesy of the Waterview Heritage Project.

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4 44 likes Spirograph

4.  I remember this being around in the 1970s, and certainly was heavily advertised on television. But clearly at number four, much more popular than I recall. 

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5 39 Griffin's broken biscuits

5.  Now I knew this would be a hit. Who doesn’t remember and love broken biscuits? They hold fond memories for many, for various reasons. I remember cardboard boxes with plastic bags full of broken iced animals at the end of the aisles at Gubay’s, and also going with my grandmother and her fellow staff to the Hudson’s factory in Rosebank as a toddler to get tins of  chocolate cookie and confectionery seconds.

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6 36 likes Cadbury Bournvita bakelite Nightcap mug

6. Cadbury’s issued this novelty promo “Nightcap” mug for Bournvita in 1957. It’s not something I’m really familiar with – but apparently a lot of Baby Boomers are as it caused a bit of excitement to see it again. It was still featured on the Bournvita boxes well into 1967 so they must have kept making them for that long.

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8 29 New Zealand Hardie banknote for ten dollars

7.  Something seen by everyone just about every day for years – the Hardie banknote for New Zealand  ten dollars. Now obviously out of circulation and quite collectible.

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7 36  like Milk Deliver s

8. Red top, green top, silver top and juice. Don’t forget to put out your empties, and the right tokens. The days of milk home deliveries, long-lost  to deregulation – something people have a romantic yearning for as it’s just one of a few milk and milk-related entries in this list.

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9 29 likes chinese checkers  1 EDIT

9. The classic game of Chinese Checkers was found in the homes of most, although in my more recent day it looked a little bit different. I guess this one dates from the 1950s.

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10 29 gregg's lime jelly

10.  Gregg’s jellies were around from the 1920s, rivaling Edmonds “Sure To Set”  line, as well as about two hundred other brands over the decades. But it held its own in the marketplace and is still going strong today. Through the 1960s to the 1980s and beyond they issued albums to collect cards – and birds were a trademark theme of the brand. This one dates from around 1981. Image courtesy of Steve Williams collection.

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11 28 likes Topsy Ice Cream Wrapper, mid 1980s

11. Tip-Top’s classic Topsy is purported to be the company’s first novelty, named after one of the founder’s treasured pet cows. This is possible, however Choc Bombs and Eskimo Pies made their appearance in the same decade. This resonates with me because I definitely remember this wrapper well and it didn’t change much for quite a while.  Image courtesy of Steve Williams collection.

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12 26 likes Vintage New Zealand wool blankets.

12. Whenever I post pictures of blankets and labels they always rate highly. We have three blanket-related entries in this top fifty. These are now quite desirable, second hand and bidding at auction can be surprisingly competitive.

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13 26 likes The classic Kiwi cream bun

13. The classic Kiwi  cream doughnut – very different to the American donut – must be filled with cream, a small dollop of raspberry jam, and a dusting of sweet icing sugar over the top to be the real deal. We usually got these at the corner dairy along with a Zap flavoured milk for a Sunday morning treat. These ones seem to have currants in them which isn’t how, I think most people, consider a genuine one.

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14 26 likes milkshalke makers

14. All the ingredients from the milk bar or dairy of yesteryear that you need to make a refreshing and frothy milkshake. It makes me want a cold spearmint one from Uncle’s right now!

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15 26 likes Gregg’s instant pudding

15. The prize for earliest instant milk puddings probably goes to W. F. Tucker’s brand “Sunshine” in the 1910s. It took Gregg’s a good twenty years after that to get their version on the shelves. However, Gregg’s instant pudding is still around today, and Sunshine is long gone! These boxes from a 1972 advert.

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16 25 The camp, the cook, and the cabbage, circa 1890s.

16. This is one of the “go figure” entries that  I guess really appealed to people. I have to admit, it’s one of my very favourites too. “The camp, the cook and the cabbage, Wairarapa”. Image courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Library Manuscripts and Pictorial collection,  Ref  1/2-022483-F .

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17   25 likes Poha Fire Crackers label, image courtesy of Owain Morris Collection

17. The most popular item before and on Guy Fawkes night, was traditionally these crackers, which were available for a few cents at local dairies (milk bars).  The meaner kids would throw them at others to frighten them after school.  Image courtesy of Owain Morris collection.

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18 18 23 likes Leed lemonade by the Coca-Cola Company of New Zealand, early 1970s

18. Testament to its popularity, Leed, by the Coca-Cola Co., appears in this list twice. Ironically  their namesake drink didn’t even rank in the top 100 – but Fanta – also by this company – does as well.

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19  19 23 likes Gregg Pudding late 1970s-early 1980s

19. Appearing twice in this top fifty list means the humble pud from Gregg’s is something held dear by Kiwis. Personally I don’t get it. This range from the late 1970s, which by this time had ten flavours. I remember the orange one was particularly horrid. And I don’t much like the look of this one either. Oh well, no accounting for taste. 

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20 23 likes Crown Lynn Book Cover - Valerie Ringer Monk

20. More lurid patterns stick out for me than soft, tasteful Martha Stewart-type pastels as pictured here. Crown Lynn has come a long way since Rice Owen Clark wrapped logs in clay and burned them to fire his own pipes in Hobsonville, Auckland way back in the 1850s, then started filling orders for neighbours who liked what they saw. The rest is history. Image courtesy of Valerie Monk and  Penguin Books.

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21 22 likes the sound of the milk truck and the rattle of coins in the bottle elizabethjconz

21. Milk again, this time bottles in the classic plasticized wire holder that would nestle six in it – whether full or empty. Image courtesy of and © Elizabeth J Photography http://www.elizabethj.co.nza

22 22 likes Fanta bottles with original contents 1 EDIT copy

22. Full, unopened Fanta bottles of the 1970s.  Maybe people wouldn’t be so keen on it if they knew it had literally been invented for the Nazis by Coca-Cola. Don’t believe me? Look it up.

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23 21 likes Auckland Zoo Dragon 1970s

23. This picture was taken in 1980-1981 for a promotional postcard as reader Wendy Snookes (Tisdall) remembers posing for it; that’s her in the yellow dress on the left. The Auckland Zoo’s big concrete dragon has been around since I was little, and who knows how long before that. There’s a photo of me somewhere sitting on one of the toadstools they used to have nearby, in an orange, green and purple crochet jumpsuit. You can’t get more Seventies than that. 

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24 21 Kelston Potteries Daisydesign teacup and plate, with Alfred Meakin mustard  saucer late 1960s to early 1970s

24. This Kelston Potteries (a subsidiary of Crown Lynn, this makes it the second entry) Daisy design teacup and plate, with  an Alfred Meakin “Mustard” design  saucer dates from the late 1960s to early 1970s.

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25 21 Inside Mum's sewing kit

25. Stuffed with Tui rick-rack, Sylko or Dewey wood reels, Dorcas pins, and random beads, hat pins and ribbons – the classic contents of a sewing kit or drawer, often stashed in one of those old wood and cast iron Singer sewing machine stands, is always a big hit with my readers. Image courtesy of and  ©  Bronwyn Lloyd  at Mosehouse Studio.

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26  19 likes Old Spice aftershave bottle, 1970s-1980s

26. Old Spice by Shulton Ltd appeared on the market as an aftershave in the Sixties – and by the 1970s  the range had extended to Original, Lime and Burley each with shaving sticks and several types of deodorants. I remember my father wearing this when I was a child and his whole morning “ritual” with the aftershave, cuff-links and knotting the tie – so I can understand why it brings back fond memories for so many. It pretty much had the market locked up for a long time but I  think it lost it’s monopolyin the 1980s with the advent of designer fragrances flooding the market fell out of favour.

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27 19 likes A variety of labels from wool blankets

27. Our second blanket entry is a collage of labels from various brands. I guess they bring back comforting memories for people in a number of ways – cosy winter nights, drowsily listening to parents talk, in another room, the sound of late night TV shows in the distance, sleepovers, visiting relatives, holidays, and other special occasions. It’s no surprise they resonate so much.

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28  19 Have a Coke - Kia Ora was painted between 1943 and 1945 for the Coca-Cola Company of New Zealand

28. Much of the Coke advertising was always a run-on off from American campaigns – but this one named  “Have a Coke – Kia Ora” – was a Kiwi creation and specifically painted between 1943-1945  for the Coca-Cola Company of New Zealand, not long after the product went domestic.a

29 18 likes Toltoys Bug Catcher, 1970s

29. Along with other popular toys, just about everyone had one of these bug catchers in the 1970s. The dying days of manual fun. Not long after this small hand-held consoles like Donkey Kong were the rage and it was imperative to have one. That was the beginning of the end as toys entered the digital age, and imagination started to atrophy.

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30  18 likes School Journal Album

30. First the School Journal was wrapping up. Then maybe it wasn’t. Now I’m not sure what’s true. It seems like it is done though,  and state-owned Learning Media is closing its doors, bringing to the end possibly the longest-running magazine in Kiwi history – having had it’s first issue published in 1907, the first instance that any kind of school book was published domestically. Cover artwork by Jill McDonald, image courtesy of the Auckland Museum Collection

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31 18 likes Rowntrees Smarties box, mid 1970s.

31. Rowntree’s Smarties box, mid 1970s. Rowntree’s products were produced under licence first by Mackintosh Caley Phoenix (MCP) whose Dunedin factory as acquired along with the Bycroft business in 1961 and became known as AB Consolidated  -until it wound down in the late Seventies, and reverted to Aulsebrook’s. Image courtesy of Steve Williams collection.

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32 18 likes Leed bottle, unopened and with original contents, late 1970s-early 1980s

32. Leed, a softly lemon-flavoured fizzy drink that arrived on the scene in the 1970s to great success, and was phased out in 1984 to be replaced by the more American-style Sprite. The second entry in this top fifty list for this drink, that has proven to be very popular even in retrospect – and is still pined over to this day.

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33 18 likes kitchen stuff

33. The classic line-up from the New Zealand kitchen cupboard for baking: Cadbury’s Bournville cocoa powder, golden syrup from CSR, cake cups from Jaytee, and good old Edmonds “Sure To Rise” baking powder which has been around since 1879 and is still one of the few most successful brands today (although the range is now in the dozens of products).

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34 18 likes cuisinere rods

34. Cuesenaire rods were invented in the early 1950s in Belgium – it’s not a Kiwi creation. They were meant to help educate in matters of elementary maths using different lengths and colours from one centimetre (white) to ten (orange). Fun to play with, but the plastic material they were made from had a really nasty smell I recall. Kind of like crayons, rotten oranges and shoe polish. Gag!

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35 17 Visit New Zealand, Maori Wonderland, travel Poster, circa 1930s

35. A lovely Maori maiden features in this travel Poster, circa 1930s, by Carl Thorwald Laugesen, probably done for the New Zealand  Government Tourist Office. This is what I was talking about, when I’ve come to understand what people want. To me this is predictable. It’s a nice piece, and as exemplified in it’s ranking it has popular appeal, but generally I try to stay away from showcasing this stuff as I feel it’s territory that has been well and truly gone over a number of times by others. To the detriment of other areas of New Zealand design which have in my opinion been neglected. 

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36 17 likes Sodastream bottles from the early 1980s

36. SodaStream bottles from a plastic machine that made soft drinks at home. The carbonated bullets and syrups came separately, and no water filters back then – it was filled up straight from the taps. We used to sip the highly sugary cordial straight out of the bottles, which when I think of now is disgusting. Actually, it was disgusting, then, too!

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37 17 likes Maori souvenir doll

37. There were a variety of these souvenir Maori dolls over the years, all slightly differing and often seen in glass china cabinets along with other tacky but sentimental knick-knacks. Now often seen in junk shops and garage sales instead, they still have sentimental appeal but just not in today’s home, apparently.

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38 17 likes Classic Aeroplanes, often seen in the five, ten or twenty cent mixture bag

38. Jet Planes were popularised by Griffin’s, but soon became generic in those little glass dairy compartments along with cent lollies, wine gums and pineapple lumps. Griffin’s was established  in the 1880s  with biscuits, and in 1885 started offering confectionery. It survived several ownership changes through the Nineties and Noughties and is still going strong today.

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39 17 likes BANANA BASKET - Plastic Coated Woven Cane EDIT

39. “Banana Baskets” were around in the 1950s-1960s,  useful to hold a variety of goods for those smaller trips to the corner store, when something like this would suffice. In time they just weren’t in any way big enough to cope with the volume of goods bought for consumption from those new-fangled supermarkets – and were pretty much retired by the 1970s. I think a lot of them ended up as wool baskets. Or hanging in the garage with trowels and seeds in them.

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40 17 likes A variety of steel soft drink and juice cans, of the early 1980s

40. A variety of late 1970s steel cans – Long-running Ballins (established in Auckland prior to 1876, no matter what the official company history says about Christchurch). Like American imports such as Tab, Fresca was one of the early, popular diet drinks that was introduced onto the New Zealand market. Leed we have covered, and Fresh-Up was still a small range of three or four varieties at this time but exploded into quite a large line by the mid 1980s. Hi-C juice, I don’t think lasted very long. 

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41 17 Kaiapoi blanket label

41. The classic Kaiapoi blanket’s label.  Think of all the hours you spent examining them as you tried to fall asleep, or waited for everyone else to wake up. They are pretty much ingrained in all of our memories indelibly.

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42  16 likes The pocket version of Simon was issued in New Zealand by Milton Bradley in 1983.

42. Simon Says was a futuristic (well, it was then) electronic game that was heavily advertised on the box. It was extremely popular for a short time with it’s disco dance floor slash Buck Rogers inspired light-up panels, honks and bleeps. They now sell for a lot in working order. This is an even rarer pocket version. It sold on Trade Me for two or three hundred dollars.

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43 16 LIKES jump suits for the 1974 Commonwealth Games held in New Zealand

43. New Zealand’s snazzy uniform for the  Commonwealth Games held in our country in 1974. I think they got high jump confused with high pants.

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44 16 like Air New Zealand plastic Tiki, a common promo gift to all passengers from circa 1970

44. Ah, the complimentary plastic tiki once gifted to every passenger from Air New Zealand. Once fairly common, these are now kind of collectible. I think this one is from the 1970s.

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45 15 likes Tip-Top's Alf novelty ice cream box front, based on the wildly popular TV series of course.Issued around 1988

45. Was ALF really that popular? For those that don’t know, it was a TV series that ran until  from 1986-1990 about an extraterrestrial creature that crash-lands from space into a suburban family’s garage. This was a period when Tip-Top were releasing fairly sophisticated licensed novelties like Pink Panther and Mickey Mouse, amongst some. Image courtesy of Steve Williams collection.

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46 15 likes The Longest Drink In Town

46. Once handed to you at every takeaway across the land – there has been a  retro revival of this ubiquitous milkshake cup design of the 1970s-1980s  recently – thanks to renewed recognition of it’s cool and unique design. It can now be found on everything from tee shirts to plastic tumbler sets and cushions (and back in a lot of takeaways of course). Image courtesy of  and © Lucinda McConnon on Flickr.  

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47 15 likes Griffin's Sampler biscuit tin, circa late 1970s-early 1980s

47. Griffin’s biscuit samplers – ubiquitous at Christmas with their pink iced wafers and Cameo Cremes through the 1970s and 1980s. This brand  has remained one of the most successful in the country for more than 130 years for their biscuits and also classic confectioneries such as Deck, Minties, Sparkles, Pebbles and Snifters  among some (none of which, amazingly, made it onto the list…and Jaffas just missed out). This tin from the mid-late Eighties.

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48  15 likes Fresh-Up large apple juice and orange tin, late 1970s

48. A bulk size Fresh-Up can of the late 1970s. The drink was introduced in 1961 by the Apple and Pear Marketing board in two varieties of juice to immediate success and remained a popular brand over the decades, branching out into canned fruit, pulps, and pie fillings.

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49 likes A really nice pair of jugs

49. The classic McAlpine jug which was a promotional giveaway in the 1950s with refrigerators of the same name. Now highly collectible, they can sell into the hundreds depending on colour, like this rarer green example. I think the popularity of this image had more to do with the subtitle I gave it – ” showing you my lovely pair of jugs”.

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50  likes  Holdson's Tiddly Winks

50. And finally, the classic Tiddly Winks from Holden – an entertainment staple of every games cupboard  at the batch or for rainy days.

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All content of Longwhitekid copyright Darian Zam © 2014. All rights reserved.

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The Shelf Life of Reilly

In All Blacks, Aulsebrook's, Aulsebrook's confectionery, Bank's Box Company, C.M.C., cache, Christchurch Meat Company, CMC sheeps tongues, collecting, Convent of Sacré Coeur Catholic boarding school, Disprin, Erskine College Wellington, Farmer's Trading Co., Fresh-Up Mini drink, Garrattco, General Foods Corporation (NZ) Ltd, Grocery Archaeology, Heards confectionery, Henderson Sweets, hoard, ICI, Island Bay, Jaffas, James Smith Limited department stores, James Stedman, Kaiapoi Petunia Group Textiles Ltd, Kaiapoi Woollen Manufacturing Company, L. Reilly, LD Nathan Wholesale Ltd, Leonard Heard, Lifesavers, Lynn Mall, Mackintosh Caley Phoenix, Mackintosh's, Mackintosh's confectionery, Mackintosh's Toffee De Luxe, N.Z. Apple & Pear Marketing Board, New Zealand Railways, New Zealand Refrigerating Company, Newmans coaches, Nugget, NZ Rail, Peter Frederick Hilton Jones, Rabo, Reckitt & Colman (NZ) Ltd, Reckitt and Colman, Reckitt Colman Nugget, Sacred Heart College Island Bay, Sacred Heart College Thorndon, Sun Maid raisins, Sun-Maid Growers of California, Sweetacres, Terylene, Thorndon, Tip-Top, Transport (Nelson) Ltd, Trumpet, Wattie's, Wellington, Woolworth's Food Fair, Woolworth's supermarkets on June 16, 2013 at 10.46

1 Erskine College Stash Wellington - edit

A row of labelled cans retrieved from the hole, mostly 1960s vintage. Raro wasn’t launched until sometime in 1961, and the can looked like this from the beginning.  I have previously recreated this Wattie’s fruit salad label here, which
was definitely in stores in 1964, and Wattie’s cans were selling for 2/3 in that year. Imperial pricing pencilled on both items indicates prior to mid 1967, so  I’d date them (widely) between 1962-1967.

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Recently, a reader of this blog contacted me to ask whether I would help them date a cache of items that were found in an old school building complex. They had been discovered when vandals on the property had removed some of the floorboards in one of the old dormitories, presumably looking for copper pipes to take. Whilst attempting to secure the aperture, before there was some kind of accident, they noticed a couple of things in the recesses of the dim hole. Upon further investigation was a selection of items that had been discarded over the years by a former student, or plural.
Found repositories and the story they tell are one of my favourite things, like this lot, found inside a long forgotten American house cistern.
These types of accumulations are obviously very different from collecting in which the acquirer may be particularly discriminate about categories; or hoarding – where there is complete indiscrimination in regards to a singular, or often multiple genres. A good example of this is children’s scrap books and things that they select to keep and then edit, gluing in items that may appear to be random, but in fact are not at all – it is done with complete deliberation and within that selection of items is data that tells a tale of the time.

2 Erskine College  (Sacred Heart)  by Tom Law  TELPortfolio on Flickr

Erskine College, courtesy of and © Tom Law, TELPortfolio on Flickr.

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Discards on the other hand while equally as fascinating, have many different factors come into play that affect the agglomeration. Foremost, apart from the initial partiality involved in acquisition, what survives from that juncture is completely random – as opposed to any further intention being involved. There’s a lot of chance with what endures the circumstances and the environment – so many aspects become involved from thereon of what you will end up with. But essentially even though the items found may be just a fragment of a bigger picture, it can give you an awful lot of information about the lives of the people who discarded the items – you could write an entire thesis analysing the selection of items and the narrative it supplies.

3 Erskine College  (Sacred Heart) Adrian Pratt Life In The Land of the Long White Cloud blog

Erskine College, courtesy of and © Adrian Pratt, Life In The Land of the Long White Cloud blog.

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Wellington’s Erskine College, at the corner of Avon Street and Melbourne Road, Island Bay, Wellington was formerly known as Sacred Heart College, or in long form – the Convent of Sacré Coeur Catholic boarding school for women – until well into the 1960s when the name was changed to avoid confusion with Sacred Heart College in Thorndon. It is a collection of Category I historic buildings – as bestowed by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust – including former dormitories, and the Chapel of the Sacred Heart (considered one of the country’s best examples of Gothic architecture). Built during 1905-1906 by the Society of the Sacred Heart (Sacré Coeur), and designed by John Swan, it was not only convent and school but surrounded by a farm, gardens and a grotto.
Some of Peter Jackson’s film, The Frighteners (1996) was filmed at Erskine, especially the flashbacks, the exterior mansion shots and the chapel scenes. The flashbacks occurred on the third and fourth floors in the hallway outside the room where these items were rescued from. It also seems during the Nineties and Noughties that some of the buildings were used for art studios as well as exhibitions (Learning Connexion art school). It has also been, in the past, a very popular venue for weddings and other functions.

4 Erskine College  (Sacred Heart) Sacred Heart Convent School, Island Bay, ca 1900 Reference Number 11-002748-G Turnbull manuscript and pictorial

Sacred Heart Convent School, Island Bay, circa 1900. Courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull manuscript and pictorial collection, ref 1/1-002748-G.

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Not only is it considered a sort of teenage rite of passage to visit the abandoned buildings, but stories also abound in regards to the property being haunted which only encourages break-ins and vandalism. The current residents who say that since they have moved in to one of the accommodation wings on Erskine‘s grounds – there have been “no signs of ghosts yet” do attest to having to be vigilant and have kicked live trespassers out several times in the past. Those thinking about “exploring” inside should take into consideration that not only are some of the buildings dangerous given they are abandoned and deteriorating rapidly, but also closed off because they are earthquake prone. Options are the owners doing very costly stabilising work, or alternately demolition, discussed in an article here.

It’s a shame about all the politics surrounding the property. Quite frankly it sounds like the owner that bought it a decade ago or more, typical of developers, knew what he was in for but went in with plans to eventually try to overturn the heritage protection in any way he could, just letting it run down, tying everyone up with red tape, and then blaming everyone else for exactly the same thing. The on-going battle of wills is discussed in article here.

I predict eventually he will probably get a healthy leg up from local government for restoration as well as permission to remove all the non-heritage listed structures and build it in with apartments. I am sure he has plans to make his money out of it. In the meantime all the agitation in the community will probably only serve him to achieving his end goal I imagine. It’s one of those situations where, as they say – damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.

5 Erskine College and grounds in Island Bay Wellington courtesy Wekllington Scoop with Lindsay Shelton copy

Erskine College and grounds, © Lindsay Shelton and courtesy of Wellington Scoop.

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However, contrary to posting around the web saying there’s no electricity on the premises and nothing to restrict would-be adventurers, it is par-residential, there is a security system which is in place and working, as well as odd patrols after a break-in incident in which “youths tore up yards of flooring” according to someone who reported the incident on the College’s Facebook page. That’s obviously how the assemblage I feature here came to be inadvertently revealed – found in the main college building, one of two “red-stickered” areas on the property.

Erskine College  (Sacred Heart)    Wellington by Queenstitch blog edit replace Spiro Harvey pic copy sml

Erskine College in 2013, courtesy of and © Louise Sutherland at The Queen Stitch blog

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It is unknown whether all of the items were placed there deliberately (given that the floor board seems to have been easily removable, this is very likely), or some of the smaller bits and pieces just fell through the cracks into a cavity between the fourth floor and the third floor ceiling. It may be a bit of both. There may have been just one occupant to the room for a length of time who made a habit of doing that (unlikely that anyone else knew about the loose floorboard). Some immediate things that struck me – mostly the items were sweet things, such as snacks. Perhaps contraband, and disposed of where it would not be found. The schools may have been strict about eating anything in dorms – as well as junk food and non-school foods found in rooms. Along with the Disprins, You get the idea that these items may have been cravings that accompanied “that time of the month” perhaps. Sheep’s tongues may now seem a strange thing to have druthers for on the sly but no accounting for taste (not often seen on the lunch or tea table these days, they were extremely common in decades past; still popular even when I was a child). This tells me the person was missing domestic life and home cooking probably, and this was a little bit of “comfort”, or perhaps they were part of a care package from home. Of course a big question is – why they would put all those things under there when it was easier to put it in a bin? It does point to not wanting anyone to know about it, or for it to be found. It could be just as simple as laziness, or good old (Catholic) guilt. Or both.
It’s fun for me to try and narrow the cache down without any idea of dates or significant clues, but of course the biggest lead is a potential name . The serial litterer seems to be a fourth form boarder named L. Reilly. If we could track the person in question down, there may be some more information on the details of their life at Erskine and the motivation behind dropping this stuff into a gap under the floor. On the other hand, she may not like the idea that some things have been dredged up unexpectedly such as an English test she likely cheated on (otherwise why not just put it in the bin instead of stuffing it in a can and hiding it), or the nicked spoon that accompanied the empty tins, (which bears the college’s initials SH for Sacred Heart). Personally, I know I would feel a bit weird about people going through my old trash.

However, there’s a possibility that our culprit is included in one of the Sacré Coeur reunion photos in this archive here,  Which feature classes from 1930s onwards.

7 Erskine College Island Bay Wellington 1937 - 1938  Reference Number  12-046458-G Turnbull manuscript and pictorial

Erskine College, circa 1937-1938. Courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull manuscript and pictorial collection, ref 1/2-046458-G.

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All of the items were well-documented in detail which means quite a number of images. Ergo with the author’s permission I’ve selected and edited the most interesting and curious things for this article – either they have a good story behind them or they are the sort of thing that rarely survives the dustbin or dumpster so that in its self makes them worthy of being featured (how many used ice cream wrappers survive for example? Very few that I have seen).
The salvager is intending to use a section of the floorboard in question that had been pried up as the base for a small cabinet to protect and display the items as a fascinating microcosm of student life in days gone by.

8 Erskine College hole with can and spoon raisin packet

A shot of the hole with some of the items beginning to be retrieved – a can, a spoon and a Sun Maid raisin packet.

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So, what’s my prognosis as far as a time period on this haul? Initially I had dated it between 1965-1968.
Now I’ve gotten a good look at the Sun Maid packet below, this definitely dates between 1969-1976 – but probability is on 1971-1972. Since the Disprin bottle indicates things are as old as 1961, It’s looking likely there were multiple discarders over a successive period of up to ten years, but most of it was just one person with perhaps later items like the raisins and the NZ Rail ticket just slipping through gaps in the boards by chance. If I re-narrowed the dates to the least possible, it would still be 1967-1972.

Oh, and – L. Reilly…where are art thou, you naughty minx? No worry about getting detention now – so come out, wherever you are.

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Credits: all photos © Kylie Walker unless otherwise specified.

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9 Erskine College S H (Sacred Heart) spoon found in hole

Study of the spoon found with cans, S H (Sacred Heart) indicates it dates from before 1960 when the name of the institution changed to Erskine.

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10  Erskine College Stash Wellington - Form IV April literature test - hole copy edit  copy

On the left a page from a fourth form literature test. We suspect it may have been pinched in order to cheat, otherwise it would have been thrown in a regular bin and not hidden. The test questions, a Newman’s Coach ticket and the picture of P.F. Jones were all tucked away in a tin with removable lid. On the right, another shot of the hole in the floor.

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11 L Reilly Garment Tags copy

James Smith was a Wellington institution established in 1866 and ran until 1993 when Farmers’ purchased it from L.D. Nathan and shut it down. The five-story flagship department store was on the corner of Cuba and Manners Street. By the 1980s they had five branches around the Wellington area. By at least 1972 they were definitely known to have a devoted girls school uniform department so I would say that this dates from before that decade. I was unable to find any information on Garrattco or Rabo, indicating it was likely a company established post 1945 – the 1950s onwards. I think this came from a new uniform garment that was ordered and then fitted  in-store, and was brought with the person at the beginning of a term. Hence no price on the tag,and the measurements, as well as customer’s name scribbled on. I’m guessing early 1960s.

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12 Erskine College Stash Wellington -    L Reilly (dorm room) 35

Possibly a card with the dorm room number, as well as the name of the occupant. We do know that Reilly was in situ in the late 1950s-early 1960s, and likely around the age of 13-14 years old. ergo, born in the early 1950s.

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13 Erskine College Stash Wellington -  sweetacres jaffas box

This Jaffa Box is likely from the early-mid 1960s. I think they were running this design for a while so it could have been around up to the late 60s. Imperial weight only shows  it was definitely produced before 1972 . It was exactly the same in Australia. One clue here is the printer’s mark B.B. which likely stands for Bank’s Box (Company), who were around from at least the 1920s-1930s. They had factories in Auckland, and Wellington.

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14 Erskine College Stash Wellington - Wattie's sliced peaches early-mid 1960s cans and labels

This was in stores early-mid 1960s. Imperial indicates pre 1967. Wattie’s tended not to change some labels very often and would frequently run designs for over ten years or more. I have one almost identical except they have revised the picture of the peaches in the blue bowl, here.

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16 Erskine College Stash Wellington -  New Zealand Refrigerating Company sheep tongues CMC tin  copy

New Zealand Refrigerating Company ( also known as CMC or Christchurch Meat Company), was one of those products where they never really changed the label for decades. It pretty much looked the same from its inception back in the 1900s. As I recall CMC shut down around 1984. Given the cache are together, they probably date from the 1950s-1960s.

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17 Erskine College Stash Wellington -  PF Jones picture copy

Peter Frederick Hilton Jones played for the All Blacks in 37 matches including against the Springboks in Johannesburg in 1960 and notably scored a try in the 4th test of the 1956 South Africa tour of New Zealand. I wondered what significance the picture torn from a sporting article in a magazine has? It seems such a random choice that it’s in likelihood not random at all. There’s a few options: schoolgirl crush perhaps, or it had some kind of personal significance, or was used for some kind of drawing project. There are considerations in why someone would remove a picture to keep it, and then crumple it up throw it away stuffed in a tin where nobody would find it. Along with the test paper and the picture of P.F. Jones, the discarder obviously did not want anyone to find the items in a communal bin. I wonder if the sisters used to go through the rubbish looking for anything incriminating? I imagine it was very strict and even if not breaking a rule, it would be embarrassing to be questioned.

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18 Erskine College Stash Wellington - Musk Lifesavers  wrrapper likely 1960s

Lifesavers were actually around in New Zealand from the early 1920s. Again this was one of those products where they never really changed the label much except for minor adjustments. In later years  Parnell-based Heards confectionery, established 1914 by Leonard Heard, had the domestic license for this brand. It could date from any time between mid 1950s-mid 1970s probably, but I would guess the mid 1960s.

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19 Erskine College Stash Wellington - Kaiapoi School Wear hangtag edit

Kaiapoi Woollen Manufacturing Company was the first woollen manufacturer in Canterbury, established in 1878 , and closed in 1978 – so this item definitely dates before that time. In 1963, the company became Kaiapoi Petunia Group Textiles Ltd but there’s no indication of the company name here to help narrow things down. Again I’d guess 1960s for this school garment label.

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20 Erskine College Stash Wellington - Tip-Top Trumpet wrapper post 1964

Tip-Top Trumpet wrapper. These were launched in 1964, so this item is after that date.

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21 Giant Trumpet on a roundabout in Panmure, year unknown - ppost early 1964 although late 1950s models visible

Giant Trumpet on a roundabout in Panmure, Auckland, year unknown. Obviously post-early 1964 although late 1950s car models are visible. The design is the same as the wrapper above. Provenance of photo unknown, probably from the Fonterra Archives.

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22 Erskine College Stash Wellington - Tip-Top Trumpet wrapper post 1964 edit copy

Close-ups of the Tip-Top Trumpet wrapper. It is kind of amazing this has even survived. Given they were almost without exception tossed in the bin – or if kept easily damaged or deteriorated from contact with food, any frozen confection wrappers are extremely rare.

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23 Erskine College Stash Wellington - Aulsebrook's Chocolate Eclairs likely 1960s

I’ve never heard of this product but I would guess 1950s-1960s, more the latter. Aulsebrook’s commenced to manufacture confectionery sometime in the 1890s and were probably the biggest brand in New Zealand next to Cadbury Hudson. Wrapped candies in bags or packets seem to have popularised from the late 1950s-early 1960s. Singular indicates that it may have just slipped through the floorboards but unlikely. It is likely they were part of a Woolies pick ‘n’ mix, purchased in the bags below. There may have been other different wrappers but they have either disintegrated, been eaten by insects, or carried away by rodents to a nest.

Update early 2015: One of my readers has now claimed they remember these being made in the 1970s.

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24 Erskine College Stash Wellington - Woolworths cellophane bags likely for pick and mix candy  copy

So, these are the bags for some of the random lolly wrappers like Aulsebrook’s above. I’m theorising that because the bag is printed with “fresh” indicates it was made specifically for marketing food, the striped peppermint canes of the font pretty clearly indicates candy. Woolies didn’t really start having separate food markets until late 1963 onwards. this logo was definitely in use at that time. Before that Food Fair was always a department. I would take a stab at mid-late1960s for these items.

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25 Woolworths Variety Store  Lynnmall New Lynn night before official opening 1963 Confectionery section with Refreshment Bar near front of store

Woolworths Variety Store, Lynnmall , late 1963. This photo shows the confectionery section with Refreshment Bar near front of store. Woolies would have open glass pick and mix bins, you can see them to the left. I remember as a very young child going to (this particular) store and occasionally being allowed to get a selection. Photo courtesy of and © Lance Bates, Degilbo on Flickr.

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26 Erskine College Stash Wellington - Macintosh's Barley Sugar wrapper likely 1960s 2

I’m not familiar with this particular product, but obviously I remember the Mackintosh’s brand very well – particularly their bagged Toffee De Luxe which was extremely popular in the 1970s-1980s. I would guess 1950s-1960s for this, more the latter. These kind of snap-apart bars were popular in the late 1950s-early 1960s from ads I have seen.

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27 Erskine College Stash  mackintosh barley sugar bar inner and outer wrappers copy

Inner and outer wrappers of above , showing the embossing on the foil. You never get to see things like this outside of a scrapbook, and even then people tended not to keep foil – it was usually easily damaged in the unwrapping and not that interesting anyway in comparison to the outer.

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28 Erskine College Fresh-Up Mini  copy

Mini Drink, which was pretty much Fresh-Up in a different can –  was apparently launched by the N.Z. Apple & Pear Marketing Board in 1967, according to company literature (I don’t know if I believe this date entirely). If I had guessed without knowing anything about a date I would have guessed 1966-1970.

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29 Erskine College Stash Wellington - Sweetacres Minties and paper bag New Zealand likely 1960s 1

A dozen or so Sweetacres Minties wrappers were stuffed in a grease-proof paper bag. I do wonder why it was not in a proper Minties bag or container. I guess they were bought locally from a dairy or corner grocery and were from a bulk counter tin. Minties were present in NZ from the 1930s; Sweetacres was an Australian Brand made by Henderson Sweets/James Stedman. This was one of those products where they never really changed the label (and still haven’t much). I’m a little confused about the history of Sweetacres in Aotearoa but I believe that Griffin’s had the rights for the brand until 1984 when Pascall purchased it. So it’s one of those things that you can’t really narrow down unfortunately. I would guess 1960s.

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30 Erskine College Stash Wellington - NZ Railways ticket folder and stub and Newmans coach ticket copy

Newmans has run coaches since the 1870s but it was in the mid-late 1920s that a fleet of motor vehicles was established. It remained a family-owned business through to 1972 when it merged with Transport (Nelson) Ltd, so it’s likely this ticket on the right dates before that time. As for the New Zealand Railways cover and stub on the left – I get a late 1970s-early 1980s vibe from these graphics, giving credence to possible multiple discarders. It could not  be any later than the end of 1985 as the school shut at that time. This was the kind of ticket that was for long train journeys cross-country so obviously was from a pupil that travelled quite some distance to board at Erskine.

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31  Erskine College  (Sacred Heart) STerylene Tag copy

This label from a garment indicates it was printed in Britain and I can’t see any reason that would be done unless the whole garment was made there and imported. ICI didn’t start commercial manufacture of Terylene in England until after 1955. I am sure this fabric revolution made its way down under pretty quickly, but it still would have taken some time. I am guessing early 1960s for this item.

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32 Erskine College Stash Wellington - Sunmaid Raisin box imperial to metric changeover 1969-1976

Sun Maid raisins, imported from the Sun-Maid Growers of California in the U.S., were present in New Zealand from the 1920s and the imagery and packaging barely changed well into the 1980s. It’s probably still the same now. It would be really hard to date this item if it wasn’t for the presence of dual systems indicating the weight. Metric began to be introduced in 1969, and the bulk of the changeover was undertaken over 1971-1972. However up until as late as 1976 both were included on some products for those that were pretty slow on the uptake. However what should be taken into consideration is when both metric/imperial was included in duality on American packaging for export, even though they never switched over themselves. As far as I am aware an Act to include both on domestic products was only introduced federally in 1992. However this practice for exported goods may have commenced earlier than New Zealand introduced the metric system, to cover a multitude of different countries and accommodate their various systems.

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33 Erskine College Stash Wellington -  Disprin bottle  copy

Reckitt & Colman (NZ) Ltd changed to Reckitt, Colman, Nugget in the very early 1960s – definitely by May 1961 – so this bottle likely dates before this – perhaps stretching out the date of the stash taking into consideration that it may have been old stock, or were sitting around for a couple of years until finished and discarded. There’s a possibility that the company just didn’t bother updating the company name or had piles of packaging stock to use up that lasted some time. I’d like to think that we have a single discarder, but this indicates not – and that other boarders knew about the hidey-hole.

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