nitz (perhaps changed due to WWI anti-German feeling?).Ernest Croft senior helped build the service station, whichwas situated on land formerly owned by Charlie Pooley,but seemed to have been sold off after the 1925 fire.Avondale lore has it that Graven won the Irish Sweep-stake, which helped set him up in business. In those days,the Sweepstake was worth around £20,000 to £30,000.By the mid 1960s, Graven had left the business, and it hadbecome a Mobil service station. In 1989 it was replacedby the completion of the new bigger Mobil service stationacross the road (by St Ninians). The site is now a coffeehouse, after having been a collectibles shop and a restau-rant.Stewart’s garage was on Great North Road between Race-course Parade and Rosebank Road. On 18 August 1927 –
“Fire, which broke out at about 11.30 last evening, de-stroyed Stuart’s service garage, Great North road, Avon-dale, together with eight of the nine cars which werestored in it. Residents in the locality were awakened bythe sound of an explosion, probably caused by the burst-ing of a tin of benzine. The building was of galvanised iron with wooden frame-work and when the local volun-teer brigade under Superintendent Watson arrived, it wasenveloped in flames. Stuart’s garage is the largest in thedistrict, and is situated a few yards past the AvondalePost Office. It is understood it was closed up for the night early in the evening, and the cause of the outbreak is amystery.”
[NZ Herald, 19/8/27]
After serving time with Northern Steamship Company,Scotsman Jim Crawford came to Avondale and openedCrawford’s Garage on Great North Road. This later be-came Morrison & Crawfords, then under Atlantic brand,and finally replaced by Mobil station by Battersby’s whentired.Up until 1926, petrol came in 4 gallon tins, packed inwooden crates, and served to thepublic either from garages likeWaygood’s (which has a spe-cially built safe in the buildingwall to protect the petrol fromignition) or from the local gro-cery store right along with thewheat and the chaff for thedwindling horse population.In 1926 saw the appearance of kerbside fuel pumps at servicegarages. C A Trigg applied for apermit “to erect a Kerbside Ben-zine Pump” at his garage onGreat North Road (granted)
[Avondale Borough Council min-utes, 3/2/26].
The site of thesepumps can still be seen today, infront of the Avondale Spiders,where vehicles would driveacross what is now footpath to park up against the“bowsers”, and then drive off.Later that month, British Imperial Oil Co (in 1927 to be-come the Shell Company of New Zealand Ltd) asked forthe Borough regulations in relation to kerbside pumps.The Chief Inspector of Explosives of the Department of Labour wrote saying his department were in favour of tank installation for petrol storage.Suddenly, all over the city the matter of petrol pump regu-lations became an issue, Newmarket Borough calling for“uniformity “. By August George Stuart had a pump at hisgarage also (Great North Road. H M Way-good applied for his kerbside pump in July(granted).1926 saw the appearance of the GOS Sta-tion at the five-roads intersection (presentday roundabout). This was to become theBowzer Benzine Station by 1928 (Bowzerwas the tradename of the American-designed pump, and the slang of the time:“kerbside bowsers”), and by 1929 the Cen-tral Service Station, run by Albert Graven.
According to Mr Ernie Croft, AlbertGraven’s original name was Albert Grub-
The Motor Car Comes To AvondaleThe Motor Car Comes To AvondaleThe Motor Car Comes To AvondaleThe Motor Car Comes To Avondale
(part 2)(part 2)(part 2)(part 2)
The Avondale Historical Journal Official Publication of the
Volume 2 Issue 7
“Residents inthe localitywere awak-ened by thesound of anexplosion, probablycaused by thebursting of atin of ben- zine.”
“Hillman Minx, 1939”. Original artwork bu Liz Claude-Goldie.