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Point Chevalier Times No. 27

Point Chevalier Times No. 27

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Published by Lisa Truttman
Newsletter for the Pt Chevalier Historical Society, Auckland. Contents: Filling the Albert Park Tunnels
Newsletter for the Pt Chevalier Historical Society, Auckland. Contents: Filling the Albert Park Tunnels

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Lisa Truttman on Nov 04, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 ewsletter for the Point Chevalier Historical Society
 o. 27, ovember 2012
cÉ|Çà V{xätÄ|xÜ 
PCHS member Ron Augustin loaned this image, a photograph by B Snowden, showing the Pt Chevalier YachtiesBoys, 1940. Ron would like to know if anyone can name any of the people shown here. Contact The Editor withinformation, please.
Meetings—201222 ovember 10.30 am at the Horticultural Centre
Helen Laurenson, history of department stores
Do You Know the ames?
(Right) A Pt Chevalier strawberry grower with a easymethod of watering his crop, his own invention.Auckland Star, 12 October 1935
Filling the Albert Park Tunnels
Looking at the mown lawns and laid-out gardens at Al- bert Park, with what statuary has survived the cruel in-dignities of vandalism over the decades, it is at timesdifficult to comprehend that beneath all that are the re-mains of one of Auckland's bits of wartime history.Come the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, precautions were hastily arranged lest our city sufferedair raids, or attack by sea. One of the ideas was to createa vast system of tunnels beneath Albert Park to Welles-ley, Kitchener and Victoria Streets, under Bowen Ave-nue to another part of Kitchener Street and across Water-loo Quadrant and Symonds Street to Constitution Hill;an air raid shelter complex capable of hosting 20,000Aucklanders working in the city centre. After all the hardwork, the shelters were opened in October 1942. Twothings, however. One: after all that, we weren't bombedfrom the skies or shot at from the Waitemata Harbour.Two: the tunnels cost money, quite a sum for mainte-nance, let alone electricity. The other councils in thearea which contributed towards the tunnels both for their construction costs and ongoing maintenance be-gan to get edgy as the war wore on, and it became ap- parent how far back from the front our country turnedout to be. The EPS was questioned, and the decisioncame to fill in the tunnels.Many sources state that the unfired clay bricks camefrom New Lynn. Perhaps a fair amount did -- but muchof the clay came from Pt Chevalier, near the old quar-ries alongside the Oakley Creek, from land purchased by Albert Crum and a consortium to quarry the clayand truck it out to the tunnels (see valuation field sheetfiles for Morrow Street, Auckland Council archives).The following is from the
 Auckland Star 
, 4 September 1945.
 Lisa J Truttman
Clay Blocks Provide Equivalent of Eight AndA Half Million Bricks To Fill In Albert Park Air Raid Tunnels
Back in the days of the Japanese invasion scare not a fewAucklanders derived considerable comfort from theknowledge that should bombs start falling there wereshelters below Albert Park where one could "sit it out."As it happened, the shelters were never used and, in fact,did not progress to the stage where seating was installed. Now, somewhere below the Auckland University Col-lege, workmen are placing in position the filling whichwill block up this reminder of stern days in the city's his-tory.The decision to fill in the tunnels at an approximate costof £54,000 was not free of the elements of controversy. Some citizens, recalling thatthe main tunnel was driven on the route of the proposed traffic outlet from the city,wanted to know why the outlet couldn't bedeveloped with the tunnel as the basis. Oth-ers wanted to know why an underground parking station couldn’t be constructed.Officially the explanation is that the expen-diture necessary for alternative schemes isout of the question at the present time. Ontop of the fact that the tunnels were con-structed as air raid shelters—there is notroom for two lines of cars in the main tunnel —maintenance costs began to rise, an un-foreseen factor in the form of fungi enteringthe picture. Dry rot occurred in the timber used for the supports and what appeared to be solid wood proved hollow when proddedwith a boot.Even after the tunnels have been filled in,however, it will not be impossible for themto be adapted at a later date for some such purpose as has been suggested. The fillingmethod used makes it
easy for the materi-als to be removed to any desired extent.As the first project of its kind in the Do-minion, the work of filling-in the tunnelssome problems for the contractors — Messrs McKenzie and Hughes, the CrumBrick and Tile Company, and F Her-ring and Son. Not only had a method to befound which would ensure the maximumcompression of filling but also it was nec-essary— once the use of clay blocks had been decided upon—to obtain an area of suitable clay.An 18-acre area bordering Oakley Creek, PointChevalier, was eventually located, the removal of sixfeet of soil over the whole area being estimated toyield 35,000 yards of good clay. The resultant level-ling will make available a very desirable subdivision property—from 50 to 60 sections. An interesting pointis that the proposed northern outlet will pass throughthe area and on across the mudflats.
 Next step was the erection of the block-making ma-chinery on the site. By the adaptation of out-of-date or used machinery, plant capable of producing up to 200yards of blocks a day—or 50,000 blocks —was set up onthe lower level of the area. Housed in a shed, the plantrequires the attention of only five men, and those men,
 Plan of the Albert Park tunnel shelters. Z Map 6508, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Library

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