Known for gold & coal mining, timber mills & forestry, but, disappointingly, forgotten for its most important ingredient, the people that made the town unique. IDENTITIES like the following.

Bogger Inn (always around the Brewery,  renowned for drinking the sediment & grain after the beer had been extracted), Tom Doughty (lived in a little hut with a dirt floor), Tom Sweeny (would sleep anywhere he could). George Lockington (contractor plus miller & farmer), Frank & Bill McCaffery (lived just past Frank Hudson's house), McElwee brothers (Charlie & Austin owners of McElwee's Butcher shop), Charlie Lawn ( owned stationery shop), Stanly Austin (Undertaker, Blacksmith plus Soft Drink distributor), Massy Knight (the little kid), Pattie & Jasper Dorin (Miners & real character's), Nat Collins (Miner), Charlie Chandler (owner of Chandlers Mill, Cronadun), the Lee Bros Jack & Herb, Whip Churchill (the Denver Dragon), Sam Wilson, Bunny Ivy, Jack Trembath, Tom Williams, Bob Helson, Slasher Thomas (the last two names were probably the first two people to cart coal off Garvey's by Motorised Trucks), Mrs Fenson, Mrs Fitzgerald, Dr Wicken, Dr Heaphy, AJ Little, you could go on forever with stories of bygone days and people that lived in Reefton and some that came from Cousin Jack Town up on Globe Hill.

A few things that I will never forget, one was when the Dorin Bros moved to town. Rumour has it Doctor Wicken put them into a house on the terrace, the Gentlemen's club - better known to all the kids in town as the haunted house. After settling in they arranged a house warming party, inviting all the dignitaries of the town. The night went off with a bang. At the end of a few kegs and the evening, every body sang Auld Lang Syne. Half way through the song the floor collapsed, taking all with it.

Great night was had by all, no casualties were reported only a few sore heads.

The other being when someone asked Charlie Chandler how many  men worked for him over  all those years. His reply was, about half of them.

And Nat Collins, when he told someone to jump in the truck and back it forward, also, when Dave Hamill and Nat took a trip to Christchurch, they went to the  cinema. In those days the Majestic Theatre's  ceiling  was painted in star's. When they  went in it was pouring with rain, half way through the movie Nat looked up at the ceiling, turned to Dave and said, “Gee Dave, it's going to be a good day tomorrow”.

Phil Lords peacock. Everybody that went into the Brewery House and would be attacked by it.

The County Foreman, Bert Neilson driving around town with his bulldog in the passenger seat (everybody had their doubts about who was the boss). Clarrie Coxall the plumber, riding his bike with a 30ft ladder over his shoulder  and his toolbox on the handlebars.

Patterson Park up the Terrace, every Sunday 10-15 soap box carts would be there, some of the names will be remembered, plus some of the people will never forget. The field looked like this: Rupee (Brian Rosanowski), Silverstreak (Peter Frazer,  better known as Hooky), Pimpernel (John Bennett), Jonny Globe (Reon Murtha),  Highland Fling (Peter Rosanowski), Mainbrace (Mart O’Malley), Pharlap,(John Blom), Kindergarten (Barry Coxall), and another five or so that have slipped my memory.

With one in the cart driving, and another one pushing, there was always going to be  a few skinned heels.

Moving on,and remembering the main street of Broadway when we were kids. I will come over the bridge, turn right, go up Broadway, name all the shops on my right,  turn round at the top,  and name all the shops on my right again,  hope you can follow.

Turning into Broadway,  big house on the corner; Dr Conlins. Where motel is now; Inangahua Herald, next, Lady Wilkinson Beresfords lolly shop, then Frank Hoys house. The vacant section was Co-op grocery shop (Jack Weir). Cross road; New Commercial Hotel (Alf Lullam), Railway Hotel (Bill Barry, now Hotel Reefton), next to that K Stores (Dave Hamill), Osbourns Garage, (Jack Osbourn),  Alan and May Taylors Baby shop, all these were where the information centre is now. Supervalue was made up of Hustons shoe shop & Dellaca’s Drapery,  across Smith Street; Hoyles Radio shop (manager Dick Booth) was where the Motels are being renovated now,   then came Barber shop, Schroeders Electrical ( WP (Bill) Schroeder), Snow Campbells Milkbar,
Grace Blackadders Crockery shop, TAB, Mrs Coopers delicatessen, Collis’s Taxi, where Reef Cottage has it’s coffee counter now, Campbell's Drapery & Shoe shop where the dining room is, next to that where Reef Cottage accommodation is, was Ken Patterson Solicitor, then came Reefton Motors. Across Walsh Street; Chalk & Co (Steve Robinson), next Clarrie Coxall’s plumbing, then Augusts Bakery, Sutherland's Jewellery, Bucks Head Hotel (Jim Hastie), Forsyth & Masters (Jack Blackmore), Greymouth Electric powerboard, Crichton,s Tearooms (Crichton's son  Neville, the owner of all the Super Yacht's), On Lee’s green grocer, Smallbourns Wine & Spirits, O’Brians Grocery, across Bridge Street, Exchange Hotel, (Fred Linch, later Seymour's), next to that was the Princess Theatre.

Now turn around and go back down Broadway. On the right National Bank, behind that was Rolleston’s boarding house, across Shield Street was the Post Office. Behind the Post Office was the Reefton School of Mine's, go a bit further along Bridge and you will see the Reefton Court House. Straight across from the Post Office  was Consolidated Gold (Jack & Herb Lee, re; Lee Brothers), back across Shield street,   Odd Fellows Lodge next to that Workingman's Club, then came the Bank of New Zealand, Wilsons Hotel is still there (prop Forbs Pamment), Bill Kings Greengrocer,    Millars Drapery, Southern Cross Hotel (prop B Barrow), Duke Box milkbar was on the corner (owner Ernie Butts). Across Walsh Street; Baileys Fish & chips, then a Barber Shop (Peter Strahan), Kate Cohens Bookshop, Home makers (Beaven Wealleans), Patersons Grocery, Barnetts fish & chips, Hec Wills Cycle Shop, vacant section then, New Commercial Garage (Jack Latham), behind that was Jim Murcotts Butchery, across road where the Emporium is now was Harold Bros Grocery/Bakery/Shoe shop. Across Shield Street; Doug Reids Transport, back to Broadway; the Post Office stands where the Globe Hotel used to be, then came McElwees Butchery, Charlie Lawns Stationery, Bill Duffs Chemist Shop. Dawsons Hotel (prop Jim Cooper), across the street the Police House, next to that was Stanly Austin's bottle shop plus he was the undertaker. Between the bridge and the race course Hobbs Buses were parked.

At the end of Broadway, down by the Racecourse, the local Brewing establishment was located, manager Phil Lord. The first Montieths Brewery, named after Billy Montieth, The Criterion Hotel (prop Eva Banks) is now The Arms Hotel, and the Gladstone Hotel (prop Percy Gallaher), used to be where the Fire Station is now. The old fire station was across from the old Council Chambers, on Buller Road.

If you travel down Buller Road  you will come across a block of shops. These were Andy McClimonts milk bar, down a bit further was the local bread shop (owner Teddy Rose). Further down a Hairdresser (Peg Rawcliff), Milkbar (Tim White),   Green Grocer (John Foreman), Grocery shop ( Gibellini Bros), and a Drapery store (Trumans), the latter burning down in 1961. Plus across the street was another Grocery shop

             (Bill and Clenda Hunts).

At the end of Buller Road down by the Railway was the Golden Coast Butter Factory (manager Tom Butterfat Williams). About ten men worked there. The Railway employed about forty men. Four railcars went through Reefton every day, these were met by three Taxis (Collis Bros). Between thirty to sixty men worked at the local mines. Twenty to thirty would be employed in the mills, Ministry of Works employed twenty to thirty. Forestry numbers would be in the sixties. As I said, Reefton was a big place to us when we were kids. Friday night down Broadway was a real treat when Mum & Dad would take us shopping with them, the street was a-buzz with people, mind you the shops closed at 9pm Friday night and never opened until Monday morning and believe it or not that is not even sixty years ago.

But even today, Reefton is a Magical place to take a  family for a vocation, be them little or grown up. The history of the place is mind boggling. The tracks and walks are out of this world,

It was the first place in the southern hemisphere to generate electricity for the town,

Jack Lovelock was born  there, The School of Mines has probably got the best collection of rocks you will see in the world. There are four wheel  drive tracks  all  around the area. And, the best thing of all is, you can walk around the town in about twenty minutes, you don't have to get a sober driver to take you out at night, as it's  only five minutes from anywhere in town, and the kid's can go with you.

BY  wayne murtha
reefton memories 1946--56

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Chandlers Mill  a log 7 & half  ft in diameter