Coromandel Life Spring/Holiday 2013 - page 10

Garden Makeovers
specialising in all �mber work,
landscape design & plan�ng
Tracey Salkeld (Dip. Hort.)
Sam Salkeld (DaHT)
07 864 7820 • 021 240 4437
announced the building of Sir George Grey Villas on Main Road, but it is
now vacant and for sale. A dead end dream.
In a newspaper report of a fire on 11 January 1898, the hotel is referred
to as the Landing:
“The Landing Hotel, Tairua, the property of Mr Henry Laycock, was totally
destroyed by fire on Saturday night, the 5th instant. The fire was discovered about
half past six, but it spread so rapidly that very few effects were saved, in fact,
a little bedding, a piano and a few stores were the only things rescued from the
flames. The general store, gumstore, and other buildings adjoining the hotel were
totally destroyed. Though the loss will be severe, it is stated that Mr Laycock is
insured to the extent of four-fifths of the value of the property destroyed.”
Laycock later rebuilt the hotel—this time two hundred yards further
upstream—where Prescott’s garage is today. The old hotel changed
hands a few times before being bought by the government, which tore
down the building and used the lumber to build houses for the Kiwi
soldiers resettling from WWI.
This saga of the Laycock’s two hotels is fascinating.
A tale for
another day. Woven into their histories were major issues of Kiwi history:
• land use leases (won then lost) by timber companies
• the rise/fall of banking, gold mining, lumber, milling and gum
• missionaries and the Kiwi temperance movement
• hotel keepers as emergency hospitals for the injured
• the clashing cultures of lumber bushmen, gold miners, gum diggers
• the investments in roads and log retaining dams ...
Many Coromandel hotel owners hosted elaborate evenings of song,
speeches, and food following rugby matches. (See rugby story this issue.)
Mary Beach – then Mary Savage – first had a job as kitchenmaid
at Laycock’s hotel. Herewith is her description of what it was like
there on a Saturday night, speaking to the Hikuai children
on the occasion of the 75th Jubilee of their school in 1972.
“There were twenty-four rooms in Laycock’s Hotel, four bars, and, on a Sat-
urday night, up to six barmen. The hotel had high-class chefs from Auckland,
all dressed in white. The hotel never closed, and patrons were fined for certain
offences. The place was lit with acetylene lamps.
“On a Saturday night, the hotel would be full of miners and bushmen. You
could distinguish the bushmen by their better behaviour. They would always
take off their boots at the door, and dance in their socks. They used to sit in
rows on the stairs and wait for their meal. But you could also tell them by their
smell not that they were dirty; in fact they were all spruced up and spotless,
but they smelt like smoked fish. That was because the only way they had in
the bush of drying their woollen underclothes was to hang them in the big
chimneys. They were fine chaps.
“The twenty rooms of Laycock’s Hotel were not enough to accommodate the
crowds of men who wished to stay overnight at Hikuai in its heyday, espe-
cially on occasions of sports meetings, concerts, and even race-meetings,
which quickly became regular features of the settlement’s social life.
“We have seen how George Morrison was quick to get into the accommoda-
tion business by building his ‘shed’. His example was followed by Agnew,
Dufty, and even Laycock himself. Bunks were set up in these sheds, either
permanently or as needed, and patrons brought their own blankets. Joe Dufty
went a step further and provided a cookhouse and billiard room. The place
was run by Joe’s sister-in-law, Esther Dufty, and came to be known, accord-
ing to Athol Agnew, as ‘Old Aunt Esther’s”.
With this in mind we work with you to create a unique kitchen totally suited
to your lifestyle — meeting your needs, budgets and dreams.
Visit our website to view examples of kitchen projects that fit your price range.
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