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Avondale Historical Journal No. 3

Avondale Historical Journal No. 3

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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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The AvondaleHistorical Journal
Publication of the
 Heart of the Whau
Well, the New Year’s upon us all. I hope everyone had a wonderful fes-tive season, and are ready to take on what 2002 has to offer..
Otahuhu Historical Society visit
In December last year I had the opportunity to visit the offices of theOtahuhu Historical Society 12 – 16 High Street, Otahuhu. This Societyhas been in existence just over a quarter of a century, gathering togetherand collating files, news clippings, photographs and old Borough Councilrecords in rooms just in behind the community library there.They also have a mini-museum of memorabilia — a great chance to seethose tins and other odds and ends from the days gone by. I can thor-oughly recommend to anyone reading this that a visit to their offices/ museum is well worth the time you can spend there. I nearly didn’t wantto leave myself!My thanks go out to the Otahuhu Historical Society for allowing theopportunity to have a look around on that day. Some news items regard-ing Auckland history has already been installed on the Archive Room site(www.geocities.com/ArchiveRoom/index.html).Contact: Wilma Madgwick, Ph/Fax: 276-6756— Lisa Truttman
January February 2002 Volume
Going Down tothe Hotel
2 - 3
Diary Dates
Inside this issue:
Just Some NotesJust Some NotesJust Some NotesJust Some NotesReminderReminderReminderReminder
Interested in having a get together, to initiate a local historical society forAvondale? Even if you’d like a chance to get together with other people full of memories such as yourself — I’d love to hear from you.Forming a fully incorporated Society would allow that Society to fundraise, haveits own accounts, and in turn sponsor the study of history, preservation of recordsand photographs, and encourage the continuation of a heritage theme in Avondale.Please do let me know by January 31. I’ll contact everyone towards the end of February with a meeting date (hopefully the weather settles down by then!)
Going Down to the Hotel (Part two)Going Down to the Hotel (Part two)Going Down to the Hotel (Part two)Going Down to the Hotel (Part two)
The Avondale HistoricalJournal
Volume 1,Issue 3
 Page 2
Continuing from last issue.
 In 1879, Robert Da Vause was the keeper of theWhau Hotel, appearing as a signatory to the applica-tion for the then Whau Library to be incorporated.At some point from 1882 until 1889, the AvondaleHotel (as it was now called) had major alterationsdone, changing it from a wooden building, to thebrick and plaster building remembered by many to-day.
The last licensees
Michael Foley, licensee of theAvondale Hotel from around1888, helped form the AvondaleJockey Club in 1889. He hadpreviously started a racing clubat Taranaki, the Opunake RacingClub.The next licensee of the Avon-dale Hotel, John R Stych, (1845-1898) committed suicide on 20December 1898, shooting himself in the head with ashot-gun in the cellar of the Avondale Hotel. He wasapparently in financial difficulties, and after beingapproached that afternoon by a Mr. Boylan and MrAbbott, he went to get a revolver and shot-gun, andended his life. The suicide, and resulting inquestpresided over by John Bollard as district coroner,was quite a sensation in Avondale at the time, somuch so that it went into “Avondale lore” as the sui-cide of the last publican after losing the hotel licencein 1909. Only after I interviewed Mrs Vera Craw-ford, and she mentioned the name “Mr Stych”, was Iable to put Mr Stych’s death together with the suicidestory – a part of Avondale lore which turned out tohave more than a grain of truth to it. His widowEmma took over the licence for 5 years.John Stych was buried in the Rosebank Cemetery,his headstone giving no indication of the cause of hisdemise.In 1903 an application was made (to Eden LicensingCommittee) for the transfer of the licence in respectto the Avondale Hotel from the widow Mrs EmmaStych to William Baker. Mr O Nicholson (a lawyerand later Mayor of Mt Eden Borough) appeared insupport. The police report stated that the house wasin good order and well-conducted. The necessary pa-pers being in order, the transfer was granted, and alsorenewal of William Baker’s licence. (He may havebeen last licensee).Those who had imbibedtoo much at the AvondaleHotel in those latter daysof the licence ran the risk of being thrown bodilyinto the trough to sober up,and then left under theshop verandahs.
“As kids we used to sit onthe old horse trough,where the traffic island now stands, and look after the horses of anyone goingin [to the Avondale Hotel]to drink. If we were luckywe would get a bob for it.”
[Remembrance of Mr. J McCrae, aged 77, West-ern Leader, 11/8/67]
Local Option (regarding liquor licence provision indistricts) was first held in conjunction with GeneralElections on 17 November 1908. Avondale was thenpart of Eden district, which had 4 hotels at the time:Junction Hotel (Epsom), Epsom Hotel, AvondaleHotel and Henderson Hotel. The total Eden vote in1908 was: No Licence, 4010, Reduction 4015,Continuance, 2192.The narrow vote for reduction was probably over-turned by later overseas votes.Closure for 107 hotels up and down the country, in-cluding the four in Eden district, was set for 10 pm,June 30 1909. The NZ Herald of the time advisedthat both Avondale and St Heliers bars were to be putup for sale.I had an interesting conversation with Mr KeithGrubb, who has lived in and around Avondale muchof his life. He told me of some of the ways the prohi-bition of liquor in the district was circumvented. Inthe Cracroft Street billiard saloon, for instance, im-bibers would fill Coke bottles with spirits, so as to
 Avondale Hotel, at the turn of the 20th century
fool the police who regularly moni-tored that “den of iniquity”.Later, when restrictive licensingcame into force, some joined sportsclubs simply so they could enjoytheir pint legally. According to MrGrubb, the racecourse jockeys hadtheir own secret bar under the grand-stands at one time.By 1912, the old building hadbeen sold to the Post Office. “
 By1912 the postal business had grown to sufficient proportions to justify a separate building, and onFebruary 13 of that year the premises which had served for the past 26 years were occupied. Theyhad been acquired by the P. and T. Department and converted  from a hotel, “no license” havingbeen carried in the district, whichwas, at this time, part of the Edenelectorate.”
[Speech by H. G. R.Mason, Minister of Justice, 19 Au-gust 1938.]
“The Hotel was made into the Post Office (1912). It was a beautifullooking place inside. All the counter was polished and done with brass –that must have been where the bar used to be. The Post Office was alsothe manual exchange.”
[Section of Avondale Oral Histories, 1990/1991]Come general election day, a sheetwould be hung from the hotel veran-dah facing the Page’s Building, andthe results as they came in to the postoffice would be posted up on thesheet for the crowds to see under theshop verandahs. [Conversation withMrs V. Crawford, 28 June 2001]In 1938, the Post Office moved fromthe Hotel building to a purpose-builtPost Office on the corner of Rosebank Road andGreat North Road. Once more, the Hotel was up forsale.It was bought in 1940 bought by Mr Albert E. Bai-ley, and renamed Avoncourt.
“Avoncourt is listed in the AA Hotel guide as “2027 Great North Road, Avondale, 30 Beds, B.B.” as Mr  Bailey gave up the full board service in 1957. Up un-til it’s demolition in 1967, Avoncourt only hotel be-tween Symonds Street and Henderson.”
[WesternLeader, 18/8/65]For 25 years Avoncourt was as an Avondale land-mark. But in 1965 it was again put on the market forsale. In September 1967 the Avoncourt Hotel wasdemolished. Avondale’s first supermarket, Coopers,built on the site.The site of revelry and suicide, of fire and Post Of-fice, was a supermarket and small mall until 1976,then the Inner Circle Development until 1991, andnow the site of the ASB Bank, Spiders Bar, Top CatLiquor Store, Bakehouse Café, Avondale Pet Centreand Jungle Instinct.Another old landmark of Avondale, however, hasbeen lost.
The Avondale HistoricalJournal
Volume 1,Issue 3
 Page 3
Going Down to the Hotel (part two)Going Down to the Hotel (part two)Going Down to the Hotel (part two)Going Down to the Hotel (part two)
“Those who had imbibed too much at the Avondale Hotel in those lat- ter days of the li- cence ran the risk of being thrown bodily into the trough to sober up.” 
Heart of the Whau Project Publications
While compiling
 Heart of the Whau
I’ve also put together afew mini-projects in the last year:
Towards a Bright Future: The History of the Avondale Business Association 1937 to 2001. 14 pages.
 Bookmarks: A history of Avondale’s publiclibraries 1868 to 1973. 8 pages.
The Story of Victoria Hall, 1897 to 1887. 14 pages.
Anyone wishing to have copies of any of these, please letme know. $4 each should cover post and copying.

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