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Heritage Hub: Skinner Road
Tuapeka Mouth,


Tuapeka Ferry: Ferry Road
Tuapeka Mouth,

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


*What great history !! I remember the Burrows name. Guess what ! my mum Rua worked in that shop, would have been in the early 40's, just cannot remember how old she was, probably about 16 or 17 years old , love this !!!

* Les France and his family run that store for many years when we were youngsters in the early to mid '60's. Good people. They sold a wide variety of goods as well as groceries. It was also a sub-Post Office branch. It looks like it was still under construction here. It was always a very tidy looking shop premises. Thanks for posting

* I well remember the big puddle out side the shop one day I looked and here was my wee son lying on his tummy lapping the dirty water! Cars, trucks animals and goodness knows all went through it!!!!!
Another day I got a message to say our pig had got out, was in the shop heading for the cabbages!

* It must have been 1967 as I had saved, by gathering bottles for refund and had 42 pennies which was the price of a Matchbox Dodge 6x4 Stake Truck which became the pride of my toys.

* Such a great post about the store, loved the photos. I well remember the France Family, our family lived next door (McCorkindales).Mrs France beautifully iced my wedding cake in 1965. The Store certainly was the Hub of the community along with the Gara...See More

* I remember the shop well. Was along with the Garage a meeting place for the locals. I remember The Frances and the Burrows owning it. I'm sure in the early fifties, the door was at the side/corner. Loved going there as a child.


Historical Scales Saved Just In Time - great article in ODT.