Supporters of Tuapeka Mouth Ferry

Contact Info

Heritage Hub: Skinner Road
Tuapeka Mouth,
Otago, NEW ZEALAND

Tuapeka Ferry: Ferry Road
Tuapeka Mouth,
Otago, NEW ZEALAND

France’s General Store – Tuapeka Mouth (1960 – 1969)

some notes from Daphne Squire(France) 

France’s General Store – Tuapeka Mouth (1960 – 1969)

The local general store at Tuapeka Mouth was purchased by Les and Thelma France in 1960 and was renamed as France’s store.  Les and Thelma, along with their two daughters, Jennifer and Daphne; arrived at the beginning of 1960.

Les and Thelma worked hard to build up the business and get to know the community.  The post office was part of the business and Les established three grocery delivery routes; travelled to Balclutha twice a week to bring fresh bread and milk to Tuapeka Mouth for the community.

During those years he was like the town ‘mayor’ as the shop was the meeting place for many discussions as there was no other meeting place apart from the local church and community hall.

Les had previously been a builder and as he established himself in the shop he also would take on building projects within the local community.  The one that I best remember are the big changes he made to Roger McGowan’s place on the main road.  The house used to have the kitchen as a separate building from the main part of the house and Les made significant alterations so that the kitchen became part of the house.

Jennifer and Daphne attended Clydevale District High School and travelled on the school bus that Roger McGowan drove.  As a family, we lived in the house behind the shop, next to the garage which was owned by the McCorkindale family.  They lived in the house on the other side of us.

Some of my memories include the week that it took to tar seal the main road.  The men on the job were billeted around the community, including and Thelma provided meals for them.

There was a time in the 1960’s when the Council decided to stop the Punt from working.  Dad heard an unusual sound in the quiet town of Tuapeka Mouth so went searching and found some heavy machinery busy trying to pull the jetty out of the water (I can’t find the paper article).  I don’t remember what he did but he did manage to stop that from happening and hence the Punt is still running today.

During this time there were several school and youth group camps staying in the railway carriages.

Photos of the General Store 1960s and today