In this illustrated history of Old Invercargill, John Hall-Jones considers himself extremely fortunate to have inherited his father’s extensive collection of photographs of Invercargill and early descriptions of the town by the pioneers. Here is Bishop Harper’s account of a most disturbing night in the first hotel in Invercargill and Sherwood Roberts’ delightful story of the house warming parties at Invercargill’s first two hotels. Later comes the tale of a famous character in the early town, the ‘Black Doctor’, who was neither black nor a doctor. Then there are the stories of how the fire brigade suffered the embarrassment of burning its own fire station to the ground; the collection of over 1,000 ‘Birds, Beasts, Insects etc’, in Andrew McKenzie’s pie shop, which was the very beginnings of the Southland Museum; Todd’s auction market, where for many years town and country have met to auction and recycle their second-hand goods; the crisis that hit Invercargill when it voted to be ‘dry’. The book also includes chapters on the early explorers who visited the site before Invercargill was thought of; the founding of the town; its growth to become a city; its parks and playgrounds. Also a final chapter on the founding of Bluff, the port of entry to Invercargill. This book, a small ‘coffee-table’ book, would be very suitable as a gift, and of great interest to those with a historical bent and an interest in Invercargill’s history.
A well-known historian and award-winning author, this is John’s 32nd book; the majority of his books are about the history Southland and Otago.