21Johnston, who as a former politician
, wealthy farmer
noted businessman, landspeculator, and noted philanthropist
, also had important connections with theneighbouring district of Point Chevalier
. The land on which Point Chevalier'sAmbassador Theatre now stands once belonged to him and the Hallyburton JohnstoneSports Clubs
which he founded in that suburb still bears his name. Mr Johnston'sfarm consisted of the entire lower portion of Albert St (now Alford St) bordered byNorman St (present Saxon St)
, right down to the beach front; also the large block ofland known as the Oakley Park Estate (all the area of land between Oakley Avenueand Cowley Street)
. Mr. Johnston died at his Alford St (No.70) residence in 1949
.His original single storey timber weatherboard Colonial-style cottage still survives,though it has been substantially altered (with parts of its exterior decorated in brickveneer)
.The Elling's and Ashbury's also had farms on the left side of Dale St
(now Fir St) fromthe mid-1920s while William Gardiner Rainbow's property (his occupation is listed as agardener)
covered most of Cameron Street (now Middlesex Rd).There were manysmaller properties in the area that had connections with agricultural related activity.There were a number of gardeners, poultry farmers, market gardeners (both of Chineseand European origin) and fruiterers located on Waterview's hill and on the upperportions of the Great North Road (above Alverston Avenue) in this period.
The Oakley Park Estate
On the flat beneath Allotment 16, most of the land between what is now Alford andCowley Streets (Allotments 17 &18) was still largely undeveloped. There was only onelarge farm located in this vicinity-known as the "Oakley Farm" or the "Oakleigh [Oakley]Park Estate".
This property was once owned by Mr. Wilhelm R. Hoffmann, aprominent Auckland musical dealer and property speculator, who also had importantconnections with early Point Chevalier and Avondale in the late 19th and early 20thcenturies
Prior to that Robert Garrett, of the Garrett Bros. fame, who operated theirtannery out of the old former "Star Mill" site at the mouth of the Oakley Creek (Allotment18A), owned the property.
It was here in the late 19th Century that Mr. Garrett had a row of workers' cottages builtfor the labourers of his tannery (being in the vicinity of the present day Cowley Street,which was not formed until the 1950s). These workman's cottages still existed in thearea until the late 1930s/ mid1940s when this whole block of land was opened up forState Housing development.
The old Star Mill/Garrett's Tannery, located at the mouth of the Oakley Creek andwhich was such a significant landmark feature of the Waterview area from the 1860sonwards, went out of business in the Long Depression of the 1890s. It then fell intodisuse and was subsequently demolished c.1911/12.
According to the Thomas familyhistory, the original grindstones for the mill and tannery may well have been re-used aspart of the foundations for the North Western Motorway/Waterview interchange when itwas built in the 1950s and 1960s.