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Stores at Piha

Posted by SCe Comments Off on Stores at Piha

The first store at Piha was at the Piha Mill, run by Jack Ingram, brother of the first Mill manager Chris Ingram.

This sold food and stores to the families and single men working at the Mill, though the married women also cooked scones and cakes and sold these direct to the bushmen and millhands.

Jack Ingram ran cattle, so he was able to provide meat to the villagers as well as the cookhouse that provided meals for the single men.

When the Mill closed in 1921, that was the end of Jack’s store, as the workers and their families moved elsewhere. Jack and his wife Mary joined his brother Chris at the mill at Powelltown in Victoria.

With the demise of the Mill, supplies had to be brought in from Glen Eden and Henderson or bought or bartered from other settlers. The Piha Hotel or boarding house was established in 1921 and it too could provide milk and a few other staples, as well as offering a sit-down meal to visitors.

The first seaside store offering drinks and icecreams to visitors as well as locals was established on the Piha beachfront in 1933 by Mrs Consuelo Ketterer who came from Helensville. Her fairly makeshift store was built on Marine Parade South. It offered soft drinks,chocolates,  ice creams and snacks as well as hot water for sixpence for picnickers who wanted to make a pot of tea. In those days before any public provision of amenities, there were attached changing rooms for the public.

Thirsty beachgoers, who numbered thousands on a hot day, queued up for drinks. Mrs Ketterer stored her drinks at an old bach in Marine Parade. When my mother and her girlfriends rented this bach they found it stacked with cases of ginger beer. Mum and her girlfriends and their boyfriends helped themselves to this treasure, removing the glass marble stopper and replacing the consumed ginger beer with water. 

In 1935 Mrs Ketterer built a second store in Beach Valley Road. She already owned the old Railway Clerk’s house in Beach Valley Road, and built the store next door, opposite where today’s RSA is located. This store had tea-rooms where people could get an afternoon tea, lunch or even dinner. The store also stocked groceries, fresh bread and local milk in big churns. People could also organise to have their meat delivered via the bus for which the store was its base.

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