On page 309 of the book is a picture of Guinness family members attending a reception held for Viscount Boyd, in Wellington, in September 1964, to mark the launch of Guinness brewed at Tui Brewery in Mangatainoka. One of the guests is described in the caption as “unknown”, after reasonably determined but unsuccessful research among family members to identify the gentleman. He was the only person in any picture in the book so described. Then almost predictably at a meeting of family members and Rosalie Liddle Crawford of the “Weekend Sun” soon after the books arrived in Tauranga, Paul Guinness, of Omokoroa, produced family papers which included a newspaper clipping showing the “unknown” guest clearly identified. Sidney Guinness and his brother Jack came to Tauranga with their brothers and sisters, mother Jessie and step-father John Green in 1908 (see p. 191 in the book). John bought a liquor business for Sidney and Jack which later branched out into farm implements and electrical appliances.

The most curious mystery I encountered in writing “Guinness Down Under” is the incident of the night the Ashburton Wizard took to magistrate Frank Guinness’ top hat with a pen-knife, sliced it into pieces, then handed them back to him. It must have been one of the most embarrassing moments of his life.

The good citizens of Ashburton had arranged a benefit concert for Mrs. Hill, the widow of a recently deceased entertainer, and included in the programme advertised in the Ashburton Mail on May 17th 1879 was a “Wondrous Feat by the Ashburton Wizard” (first time in the colony). Not long into the show the Wizard told the audience his trick would involve a top hat and he invited patrons to lend theirs. Just how many people would there be wearing top-hats in Ashburton in 1879? Somehow he managed to select magistrate Frank Guinness who handed over his bell-topper. At that point the magician produced a pen-knife and very calmly cut the hat to shreds.  He then said he had forgotten the rest of the trick – putting the hat back together – so he just gave an astonished Guinness back the remnants of his hat. According to the “Ashburton Mail” of 19th July 1879 the audience was highly amused. Guinness’ reaction can be imagined.

New Zealand’s All Blacks have made much history in their time, and according to one writer they’ve even left their mark in the world of Guinness. In his “Book of Guinness Advertising” published in 1985 Brian Sibley.  He credits the team as being the probable inventors of the Guinness Shandy – blending the stout with lemonade.  “It is rumoured,” he writes, “to have started with the New Zealand rugby team during a British tour. After a game they ordered Guinness and lemonade mistaking it for bitter shandy, and found it extremely refreshing”.   Apart from that brief explanation the origins of the Guinness Shandy are a mystery. Even Google appears to be at a loss, though there is some debate about whether the lemonade should be poured before or after the Guinness.  Eibhlin Colgan, Archivist at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, has advised that the company has no record of when and where the All Blacks came to be associated with the combination.

© 2019 Eyeglass Press Ltd - All Rights Reserved.