'Roadhouse Days' tells the story of Marge and her family’s involvement in the Town and Country Roadhouse Restaurant (1949 to c.1968) in Oratia, West Auckland. Written by Marge’s son, Dave Harré and Dave’s nephew, Drew Harré, this book contains entertaining anecdotes, recollections as well as accounts based on historical records. Many of Marge’s recipes are also included at the end of the book.
|Ref : JTD-13A-01995-1, Oratia Bowling Club pavilion. (Parr Homestead in background), 1963, West Auckland Research Centre|
The documented history of West Auckland has tended to focus more on the innovative and entrepreneurial activities of the men in these families. However, 'Roadhouse Days' shows that some women in these families were also very creative, skilled and enterprising.
Marge loved cooking and her restaurant clientele. The idea for the Roadhouse came from Marge’s friend, Julia Yates who had previously set up a millinery shop in Auckland with her sister Trilby. Julia got the idea from a trip to the USA. On her return from overseas, she said "Marge there is no more pulling bloody cows tits for you! You are starting a Roadhouse. I pinched a menu from this place” (p.19, 'Roadhouse Days').
Marge, however, was innovative in her cooking and didn’t need to follow anyone else’s recipes or menus. Photos of the Roadhouse menus are on display at the West Auckland Research Centre.
|Ref: Ref: 580-4030, woman preparing food, 1959-160, Sir George Grey Special Collections|
Dave Harré fondly remembers growing up amongst a close knit group of people at the Roadhouse during the 40s and 50s. It was often a lot of fun and occasionally there was drama. He recalls being involved in a cat and mouse game with the police, who sometimes called to check that the Roadhouse wasn’t illegally selling alcohol. On learning of an impending raid, he remembered that “[t]here would be panic. 10 or 11 years old I was sent upstairs, out through a window and onto the roof to lower the “Alcoholic Liquor Prohibited” sign by its chains so it hung above the main entrance. The guests were warned to drink up or hide the bottles” (p.37, 'Roadhouse Days').
|Ref: JTD-13A-01996, Parr Homestead, 1963, West Auckland Research Centre|
|Ref: JTD-13A-01995-2, Parr homestead, 1963, West Auckland Research Centre|
|Ref: 1052-R4-13, Albion Vale, now Oratia Folk Museum, 1987, Sir George Grey Special Collections|