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Mr C Boyce

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(From 'The News and Theatre Courier' 12 August 1936)

'Mr Boyce landed in Cambridge 62 years ago and for all that period, with the exception of a few years in the Hawkes Bay district, he had resided in Cambridge.'
'A cooper by trade, Mr Boyce told a highly interesting story of early Cambridge. "I came to Cambridge to work at my calling at Hally's Brewery situated in Empire Street. And let me say right here that there were not two whiter men than George and James Hally. When I arrived James asked me what salary and I replied £3 a week and that was a big wage in those days."
'With a surprisingly clear memory [Charles Boyce was aged 84 in 1936] he told of how he repaired the leaky vats of the brewery, built new ones, and how the Hally brothers were satisfied that he knew his job. "There were three Hally brothers and finer Scotchmen never walked."
Mr Boyce well remembered the town in its embryo state - a few business premises and residences - weather board structures, built with little consideration for time, in Duke, Victoria and Brewery (now Empire) streets. 'There were no sealed streets and footpaths in those days. It was a case of up to your ankles in sand or slush according to the season of the year."
'Mr Boyce recalled that the confines of the settlement and township were the three streets mentioned. There were no formed and sealed roads to Karapiro or Hamilton. Duke Street came to a practically dead end at the top of the hill; just rough paths then continued on down to the riverbank. A bridle path traversed a route round the back of what is now [1936] Mr Frank O'Toole's residence. There was a little wharf at the foot of the hill and the access was one that is now Dominion Avenue. Further down the river was Souter's Wharf with the old flour mill on the side of the riverbank about opposite the gasworks. "Yes, it [the mill] was Hally's too and it operated until 28 years ago."
"The wheat was grown locally and quite good quality, though not quite as good as imported for breadmaking." Going into the breadmaking business some years after arriving here, Mr Boyce knew what he was talking about. Bread was 2d and 3d a loaf then.'
'Hallys apparently owned most of the early town for they sold Mr Boyce the bakery business that he conducted for a great many years. Later grocery and other departments were added and Boyce's family provision store of today [1936] had a fine record behind it.'
'A member of the original Town Board, Mr Boyce talked of the early administration of the settlement; of such members as the late Thos Wells (Chairman), Carr, Dick Davies and T Hartley (the first clerk.) Mr Boyce could recall the change of administration from Board to Borough and of the first Mayor, Mr John Gwynneth.'
'In the eighteen years that followed Mr Boyce was a member of the Borough Council and played an active part in the commercial and other activities of the Borough. He was [an early member] of the Cambridge Band, secretary and treasurer for many years.'
'Arundel' where Mr Boyce has resided for so many years, is a portion of the old 'Waterside' estate originally owned by Major Wilson and from whom the street gets its name. Part of the old 'Waterside' homestead still stands further down the street and along side of it one of the original slab portions of the old barracks that provided shelter for families in earlier troublesome times.'


Ref: Cambridge Museum Archives

 

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