Oamaru’s Tamar St has changed a lot, according to a man who has lived there for more than 60 years.
Granville Jones, originally from Dunedin, moved to Oamaru in 1952 after living in several centres around Otago.He initially lived in Yare St, after being offered a job with local company Knights Motors.
In 1954, he moved to Tamar St where he still lives today, albeit in a different house which happens to be almost directly across the South Hill street known for its great views over Oamaru Harbour and the town.Mr Jones said his house was one of more than half a dozen state houses built on the Beach Rd side of Tamar St, and when he moved in the house was new.
“I put in for a Government state house and I got one. All these houses on the other side of the road were brand new.”The house was so new, Mr Jones had some work to do and some money to spend once he moved in.“The section was overgrown and we had to buy lino, carpets and curtains. There was absolutely nothing in it.“I brought home a wee Fergie [Massey Ferguson] tractor with a grubber on it and ripped the whole section up.”After living in the property for several years, Mr Jones decided to buy it paying it off at 26 a month.During that time, further construction in the area meant his house number changed from 49 to 55. Fortunately, that didn’t cause too many issues. After he remarried in 1991, Mr Jones sold his property and moved across the road literally. “All I had to do was grab my dog, my toothbrush and that was it,” he said with a laugh. He said life had changed a lot on the street. “It used to be quite different now than what it used to be. We hardly know anyone on the street now. We used to be in and out of each other’s houses all the time. We’d have a do on a Saturday night, and Sunday mornings were a big thing, too. “I still remember most of those people in the area.”
He described Tamar St as a “typical place” to bring up a family. “People worked and they worked hard. All the children grew up together at the same time. It was more like your own little village for a while.”
He recalled Tamar St was not sealed when he first arrived. It was finally sealed after water infrastructure was installed, which he said took an “awful long time”. “A lot of it was hand dug. They had multitudes of guys digging up the road. There was also about four or five tractors moving up and down the place.” Despite the changes he has seen, Mr Jones is content and had no plans to leave Tamar St. “I’ve got everything I need right here,” he said.