Remuera Pharmacies

Great South Road Chemists

Only segregated 50 years ago by the incision of the Southern Motorway, this area was traditionally and integrally a part of Remuera.

These shops display one of the predictable suburban business patterns of the early 20th century, following the tram stops from the Market Road intersection, finally to the Harp of Erin.

Most notable was the pharmacy owned by Jack Dickey near the intersection of Greenlane Road. The shop was originally started by Wallace Anderson at 208 Great South Road in 1920. It was purchased by Jack Dickey in 1934, after he had completed his apprenticeship with Mr. Manning in K. Road (opposite Howe St.) and done a little relieving work.

Jack was a very high performing public figure, taking the Empire Games to Cardiff in 1958. He was also a representative on the Pharmaceutical Society of N.Z., as well as being the last Mayor of the former One Tree Hill Borough Council.

There was a very strong racing backbone to the area, residences, stables, paddocks, lots of horses ridden and led over to Ellerslie Racecourse.

Lots of trainers had their own secret formulae for horse tonics kept in the shop register and compounded up. One trainer didn’t trust anyone, bought one of each of the five compounds from five separate Pharmacies.

Tonics were performance enhancing for horses. Veterinarian Brands, such as “Bell Wonder Remedy”, from Canada was stocked.

WWII brought an added dimension to Jack’s business.

The 39th General Hospital in Cornwall Park, meant many invalided Americans and those in barracks on R&R would stroll into the pharmacy shop believing it to be a U.S. style Drug Store and asking for wallpaper, soft drinks, ice-cream, men’s cosmetics, Shick blades, etc. He found the Americans were always extremely polite.

A serviceman bought a local girl a large perfume box and he asked if it could be repackaged into separate pieces as he did not want the girls Mum to find out about their liaison.

Jack made friends with 19year old American down for his R&R in Auckland. He would regularly come into shop and have a large glass of New Zealand milk, being highly desired. He went off to Pacific Arena and was killed, Jack was very moved about this experience.

Once Joe McManemin (Jack’s stepson) qualified from his apprenticeship with Jack, he ran the shop, and after the war it was relocated along the road to 336 Great South Road.

Several other chemists came and went along Great South Road. The shop at 89 Great South Road/Market Road intersection in 1937 being run by P.G.Martin, then sold to Colin Mahon, then Stuart Hannigan and Owen Morris.

At the far end of the tram route was the Pharmacy run by David Harper and latterly Don Scorgie. A few other short-lived pharmacies have appeared in various positions between 1927 and 1932. These will need more research.