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Avondale Historical Journal No. 2

Avondale Historical Journal No. 2

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Published by Lisa Truttman
Journal of the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society, Auckland, New Zealand
Journal of the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society, Auckland, New Zealand

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Lisa Truttman on Jun 25, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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My apologies that this edition of the
is so late. Novemberis a bit busy here in Avondale, where a small group of us in andAvondale Promotions Committee have been organising the annualAvondale Santa Parade (along Great North Road and the ShoppingCentre) and the Community Fun Day, to be held this year onDecember 1 at the Avondale Primary School grounds on GreatNorth Road.
Over the Christmas/New Year period, I’ll be tapping the keyboardupdating information that’s still coming on regarding Avondalehistory. I’m pleased to say that right now research seems to be inthe air — there’s Mr Jan Grefstad’s upcoming book on the
PictureTheatres of Auckland 
to look forward to, and the Exler Familyhave had published an account of their family history including achapter on Moses Exler and the Avondale pottery he started inNew Windsor. More on these in this issue.I wish everyone all the very best for the coming festive season.
— Lisa Truttman
The AvondaleHistorical Journal
Publication of the
 Heart of the Whau
Just Some NotesJust Some NotesJust Some NotesJust Some Notes
November–December 2001 Volume
Going Downto the Hotel
2 , 4
New onRimtark
Inside this issue:
Interested in forming an incorporatedInterested in forming an incorporatedInterested in forming an incorporatedInterested in forming an incorporatedHistorical Society?Historical Society?Historical Society?Historical Society?
Of course, there is already a network of those of ustalking about local and family histories. But I’d like tosee an Incorporated Body set up, fully constituted andwith a functioning membership and committee, so thatthe present impetus of research projects and generalinterest in our histories can be kept up.
Please contact me (my details on page 4) to tell mewhether you’d prefer:
Evening (say, 6.30 – 7 pm start)
Weekday, or
 Let me know by January 31 2002, so I can work out the best arrangements for as many of us as Ican.
For over 100 years, there was a tavern in the town --three hotels, on two sites, from around 1863 andprobably before, until 1967. Their successors arethe likes of the present day Peninsula Inn in ElmStreet, and the Spiders Bar on the same site as thelast Avondale Hotel. But they aren't the same.
The First Hotels
The first Whau Hotel, on the south-west corner of Great North and Rosebank Roads, was a woodenbuilding existing around 1863. It was burned downa few years later, by 1870.According to the
 New Zealander 
(Tuesday 4 Au-
Going Down to the Hotel (Part One)Going Down to the Hotel (Part One)Going Down to the Hotel (Part One)Going Down to the Hotel (Part One)
The Avondale HistoricalJournal
Volume 1,Issue 2
 Page 2
gust 1863
one of the early newspapers), JohnPriestley held a licence for the Whau Hotel for 10 pmclosure. In 1866 the licensee was James Copland,while in 1867 David Henderson held a "publican'sbush licence".
1872 Fire
 In late 1870 James Palmer set up a lease agreementwith James Poppleton to manage the Whau Hotelhe’d built at the five-roads intersection. The leasewas for 3 years, at £2 per week, but before it couldexpire the hotel burned to the ground on 18 Decem-ber 1872. This second Whau Hotel had two storeys,and like the first hotel on the other end of the town-ship was of wood.There was a full coroner’s inquest into the fire on 28December 1872, before Dr Philson, the City Coroner,and a jury headed by John Bollard. Although JamesPoppleton gave evidence that the fire burning downin the kitchen grate was of no danger, it was revealedthat Phillipa Poppleton, his wife, had left a dresshanging in front of the fire. The flames came fromthe side of the kitchen nearest the fireplace.Poppleton was questioned by lawyers (whether act-ing for Palmer or the insurer’s lawyers is unclear) asto whether he went to bed drunk that night. Popple-ton denied that emphatically. He said that businesshad been better then than at anyother time during the lease term.The verdict remained open, dueto lack of evidence as to whatcaused the blaze.
James Poppleton went on to belicensee of the Eden Vale Hotel,corner Mt Eden and New NorthRoads, while James Palmer hadhis license renewed for theWhau Hotel in 1873 at a £20reduction.
The New Hotel
Palmer demonstrated confidence that ale would finda ready market in the young settlement of the Whau.Despite a financial loss of £400 (insurance £800, re-placement £1200), he had a new hotel built withinseven months. A housewarming dinner hosted byPalmer on July 4, 1873, opened the new 13 room es-tablishment for business.
 Mr Palmer’s hotel contains 13 rooms, a commodiousbar, kitchen, and other conveniences. There is alsoample stabling, so that at the new Whau Hotel thereis “good accommodation for man and horse.”
The locality round about, with its little church and school-house, is pleasant and picturesque, and thehotel, with its many advantages, will form a kind of rural retreat for summer visitors.
“The table last night was liberally spread with excel-lent victuals and beverages, of which sixty of Mr Palmer’s old and new friends heartily partook. Theafter-visitors were numerous. The cloth being re-
 Henry Peck’s Store (left) and the Whau Hotel, early1880s. Auckland Public Library photo, Neg. A.3039.Courtesy of Avondale Business Association.
“Palmer demonstrated con- fidence that ale would find a ready market in the young settlement of the Whau. De- spite a financial loss of £400 , he had a new hotel built within seven months.” 
collected a large number of photographs, includingthose of the New LynnBand.What interested me mostare the memories Mr Batleyhas of Bob McCrae’s Auck-land Bus Company, MrBurgess the woodwork teacher in Avondale Pri-mary School, and the trainspassing through, strainingto make it up the incline at Scroggy Hill. Keep aneye out for Mr Batley’s book in the new year — itshould be a wonder.Lastly, for those of you interested in Auckland’sMaori history, a small book I found in Avondalelibrary has held my attention.
The Peopling of the North
by S. Percy Smith,F.R.G.S., was originally published in Wellingtonin 1896, and concerns itself with being a writtenrecord, apparently from conversations Mr Smithhad with local Ngati Whatua while he was a gov-ernment surveyor in the 1860s. Its sub-title,
 Noteson the Ancient Maori History of the NorthernPeninsula
says it all — this is a history, in MrSmith’s words, but also with Maori language pas-sages of the Ngati Whatua tribe of the Kaiparaarea and, from around 1750, Auckland as well. Itgives a lot more detail on Kiwi Tamaki, the Wai-o-hua tribe’s chief who was defeated by the NgatiWhatua than I have seen ever.The book has been republished, in facsimileedition, by Kiwi Publishers of Christchurch, in1998.From what I’ve heard, there are a great deal of us ea-gerly awaiting the publication of Mr Jan Grefstad’sbook 
The Picture Theatres of Auckland 
— not leastbecause it will have a comprehensive history of Avon-dale’s very own Hollywood Cinema.This month (November), Mr Grefstad put out a specialcollection of excerpts from the Avondale chapter of hisbook, plus some wonderful pictures of Avondale 5decades ago, and images of movie memorabilia, in
 His- tory of the Whau Public Hall, Avondale Town Hall,Grosvenor Theatre, Holly-wood Cinema Avondale
. Hehas donated copies to theAvondale, Blockhouse Bay,and Central libraries so thepublic can get a small taste of what the final book will belike.Mr Grefstad has been a greathelp with information I planto see published in
 Heart of the Whau
.Also on the local front — the Exler family history hasbeen released to Waitakere City libraries (and shortly,at the time of writing, with Avondale library followingsuit). Called
The Enduring Endeavours of the Exler Family
, by Margaret Jenkin, it chronicles the descen-dants of Thomas Exlar (c.1797-1853) and his wife Annof Oxfordshire, England, including those of his sonMoses Exler (1835-1900) who founded the Exler Pot-tery in New Windsor 1877/79. Only part of this docu-ment concerns the Avondale family, but as a part of our local history this should be welcomed by all.I came across two interesting finds while looking inlocal libraries in the last month. In Glen Eden library Icame across a copy of H F (Bert) Batley’s book 
The Illustrated Only As I Remember — A Boy Grows Up in New Lynn, 1930-1940)
, published last year. I foundthis to be a delightfully written first-hand account of what is was like growing up in West Auckland, par-ticularly New Lynn in the middle of the last century.Mr Batley tells me that
Only As I Remember 
will actu-ally be part of a larger book, due out in 2002. He has
Book SightingsBook SightingsBook SightingsBook Sightings
The Avondale HistoricalJournal
Volume 1,Issue 2
 Page 3

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