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Transport: Street Life

Important parts of communal life took place on the street. Children played in the streets with little concern for traffic. Neighbours knew each other - not just those next door but right along the street. Workmates often walked to their workplaces together. Young people travelled to evening dances in groups, walking home if the last tram had gone. People walked, or biked, or took the trams together in an atmosphere of safety and security, by day or night.

Good behaviour was expected in public places. Those who misbehaved or broke social conventions of appropriate dress could expect to be reprimanded by an appropriate authority figure - a tram conductor, a teacher, shop manager or the local policeman.

Forbury CornerCommercial zones developed along the tram routes, especially at the important stops like Forbury Corner pictured here - with the children making a bee-line for Newton Confectioners. But the rise of the trams also limited the development of new shops in the suburbs. Southern Dunedin people could now travel cheaply, quickly and easily into the central city shopping district. (Otago Settlers Museum Collection)

PramWalking was the main form of circulation around the streets of 'the Flat'. Prams with iron or rubber wheels made it easier for mothers to go out on foot with their babies from the 1890s. They could also take the tram to town, with the pram suspended from a rack at the front of the tramcar. In town the streets were not crowded with the public during work hours. For most of the period, high rates of employment meant that men and many young women were at work while children were in school. (Otago Settlers Museum Collection)

milk deliveryMany people worked on the streets of southern Dunedin in the early twentieth century including this milk delivery man. Many of their jobs have long ago disappeared. There were Chinese vegetable growers hawking produce door to door, delivery boys and messengers moving between homes and businesses, hansom cab drivers and carters in horse-drawn vehicles. Many others earned their livings in livery stables or as saddlers and blacksmiths, catering to the needs of the hundreds of horses used in transport. (Otago Settlers Museum Collection)

telephoneThe rise in telephone usage reduced the need to use the streets for many everyday tasks. In 1910 there were 170 residential telephone subscribers in Caversham; by 1922 the number had risen to around 600. Shop orders could now be rung through and local butchers and grocers were quick to adapt to this new form of business taking customers' requests and often having them delivered to the door by a junior staff member. Pictured are a 1920s 'Ericsson' telephone and the 'telephone index' for Dunedin. (Otago Settlers Museum Collection)

Brown's BakeryIn this 1920s photo of Brown's Bakery in Marion (later Thorn) Street (the cross street was Fitzroy) the delivery vehicles and their staff are lined up outside the bakery and small shop while the firm's telephone number is prominently displayed on the bakery building itself. The principal baker supervised the doughmaking and mixing, and was usually known as the doughmaker. In small bakeries he also made the yeast and supervised the fermentation process. He would often employ men for less-skilled tasks, the cutter, moulder, drawer, a bakehouse labourer, and someone to do deliveries. (Hocken Library - Uare Taoka O Hakena, University of Otago)

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