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Avondale Historical Journal No. 12

Avondale Historical Journal No. 12

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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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Perhaps a more accurate appellation would be semi-rural, a pepper and salt district with pockets of residen-tial sections interspersed with paddocks, market gar-dens and orchards. And perhaps when we talk of Avondale we should not forget that in those daysBlockhouse Bay was known as Avondale South, andWaterview was always considered to be a part of greater Avondale, so in effect the district encompasseda wide spectrum. Accompanying this environmentwere the sounds of nature. We would be woken, notby the alarm clock but by chanticleer heralding thedawn, with immediate response from far and wideby his feathered opponents, some calls loud and bellig-erent, others more muted and timid, but each proclaim-ing his territory and warning others to keep their distance. One or two I am sure suf-fered from laryngitis.
Our own cock was a particularly handsome Black Orpington who controlled hisharem like a dictator and simply hated women, and mother in particular. We deviseda long pole with a fork at the end similar to the old clothes prop used in those days tohold up the clothes line and when mother entered the fowl run and he rushed to attack her, she would with dexterity get the prong around his neck and guide him around thepen as she collected the eggs. It was a sight to behold. Once when we wereparticularly naughty we let him out of his pen just as our sister was leavingfor work, all dressed up and immaculate and he flew at her in feathered fury,sending her screaming and in disarray through the gate. Now in her nineties Idon’t think she has yet forgiven us. But we loved the sounds of the dawn, thelowing of cattle and the concept of neurosis was simply unknown.Often times we ventured down Rosebank Road, the bread basket of the citywith its acres of vegetable gardens and orchards, mainly to visit Mr Wright of horticultural renown and benefit from his wisdom and sagacity. We, nor any-one else thought much of his vines of hairy fruit or Chinese Gooseberries, butwe did have a couple of his own “Wright’s Early” plum trees which alwaysfruited heavily prior to Christmas. We were not keen to follow his advice toalways save the contents of the chamber pot, dilute well and feed the citrustrees, but one of father’s regular chores was to bury the necessaries in atrench around the drip line of our Doris plum trees. The blossoming was somagnificent that one of these was photographed to feature in the front page of the paper captioned the “Harbinger of Spring”. Small boys were also made
 Mr. McCarthy of Station Road — fishdealer, motor launch owner, charabancdriver, and a little later Avondale’s first resident funeral undertaker. From a1916 issue of the “News
The AvondaleHistorical Journal
Official Publication of the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society Incorporated
July – August 2003Volume
1 – 2
2 – 4
Inside this issue:
Rural Avondale
by Mr. Rich Afford (member, Avondale-Waterview Historical Society)
for climbing trees, not just to construct a tree house aswe did in our old macrocarpa tree, but to spring frombranch to branch to pluck the plums without damagingthe bloom on the fruit. These would be sent off to themarkets, Turners and Growers, each fruit carefullywrapped in tissue and each box stamped with our ownbrand, and I do not remember us ever receiving a gradingless than A1. The rewards may have been small but theystill helped to keep hunger at bay especially in days of the depression.
At the top of Tiverton Road there was a small farm andsmall herd of cows and I recall the owner bringing in theanimals for milking accompanied by a large pig. Whenhe disappeared from the scene, the pig that is, we oftenspeculated as to whether he turned up as crispy bacontogether with free-range eggs on the breakfast table, andminus his oink. Our neighbour Mr Reisterer decided hewould seed and cultivate what we called horsemushrooms in his back paddock, to his regret out of sightfrom his homestead but luckily for us in full-view fromour kitchen window. They were magnificent in size andflavour and I have a sneaking suspicion that Mr R wasaware of why his crop of mushrooms was not asabundant and successful as he had expected. I wonder if today someone is benefiting from big mushrooms pop-ping up on their back lawn.
Raiding orchards was another minor misdemeanour inthose days when hunger and temptation overcametwinges of conscience, but it was a different matter whenyou became the victim and the culprit was unknown.Mother had one resounding success however. Her sharpeyes noted a trail of orange skins leading away over thefields to Bentleigh Avenue and beyond just after thebutcher boy had delivered the order. With basket in handshe followed the trail collecting the evidence as shewent. Needless to say she ended at the destination sheexpected, Mr Milichen’s Butcher shop at the cornerof New North and Richardson Roads. The result was ameat order freeand gratis ac-companied by areprimand for thecontrite butcherboy and a clip onthe ear, followedby a long walk home for mother.The halcyon daysof summer foundus pitching tent in
The Avondale Historical Journal Official Publication of the
Volume 2 Issue 12
 Page 2
Rural Avondale
(Mr Waterfield is a member of the Avondale HistoryGroup, who in 1994 published “Challenge of theWhau”, written by Mr Ron Oates. Here are some of theepisodes of life growing up in Avondale Mr Waterfield has very kindly offered to share with us all. Thank you, Eric! — editor)
The School Fancy Dress Ball
For some strange reason the Avondale School in thetwenties always held the above event in the middle of winter. On this night we had the weather to prove it. Asa ten year old I had little imagination when it came tofancy dress, so I asked Dad who suggested I look in thenewspaper ads. While scanning the pages I found a lit-tle, quite well-known ad which showed a side-on viewof a sea captain dressed in oilskin, gumboots, beard andpipe etc. carrying a huge sardine on his back.
The ad of course was advertising “Skipper Sardines”. Itwas ideal as I could find most of the “dress” around thehouse. The cardboard fish proved the most challenginghowever. I assembled all that was required in time.Came the big night and it poured but there I was dressedfor both the weather and the event. I had to walk fromthe bottom of Avondale Road to the Oddfellows hall inSt Georges Rd approximately 2 kms. I had no soonerstepped inside when my teacher ordered me outside andto take those wet things off! I tried to explain behind mybeard that I was in the parade which had started! So Ihad to shed and shake my things outside, re-entered theparade and was delighted to win “most original dress”and took home a box Brownie camera.
One Shopping Day
My mother and eldest sister set out across marketgardens to reach Riversdale Road on their way to shopat the village of Avondale. Some distance along the roadthey encountered a drover who was having difficulty
Avondale Memories
by Eric Waterfield
the orchard to spend the night under the stars so to speak,drifting off to the mournful cry of the morepork and theplaintive calls of the seabirds as they wheeled overheadon their way to and from their feeding grounds on theupper reaches of the Waitemata, and the Manukau sand-banks.
You may not hear them today due to city lights and traf-fic noise but I know they are still doing it. One very stilland quiet night not long ago they revived that lovely longlost memory.
 Artwork by Ms. Liz Claude-Goldie.
The Avondale Historical Journal
Official Publication of the
Volume 2 Issue 12
 Page 3
with one obstinate cow in his herd. He was using the whipwhich horrified my mother who had a strong compassionfor animals. An argument started and ended when thedrover said, “If you are so concerned about the b- cow whydon’t you buy it!”
Buy it, she did, which took care of the shopping money,25/- for the following week. “Ethel” the cow had 2 acres of lush grass to eat. At least we had milk and butter presuma-bly until next pay day.
Dutch Refugees
Avondale very early on was involved by the onset of World War II in Europe in as much that nationals werealready fleeing their own countries which includedHolland. Those wishing to leave, found their laws pre-vented them from taking cash outof the country so refugees to out theequivalent in building materials – inthis case pre-cut homes. As one en-ters Tiverton Road on the right handside there are several Dutch homesbuilt on the former property of MrRingrose, one of Avondale’s earlyimported brickmakers. The homeshave a slightly different appearancethan the Kiwi style and certainly de-serve a place in Avondale’s history.
On the Friendly Road
We children of the Victoria HallChurch in or around 1929 might have been one of the firstsinging groups to visit the Friendly Road studios situatedbeneath Lewis Eady’s shop in Queen Street. We travelledthere on the back of a model “T” truck and the group in-cluded my twin brother and eldest sister combining withmyself to sing as a trio. We made our way down to thebasement where we were met by Uncle Tom who organ-ised the broadcast and who stood us in front of a big black microphone hanging in a frame like a spider in its web andquite intimidating.
Meantime Mother had gone to Mr Black’s home as he hada radio to listen in. On our arrival home my sister askedMother how did the broadcast sound, and she replied,“Quite good, but why did you sing so loud and drown outyour brothers?”
“Well, Mum, I knew it had to go a long way!”
Radio was a complete mystery in those days.
Avondale’s Icon
Many stories have been told about the Avondale Spidersince their discovery there in the early twenties and whichwere discovered by my shrieking mother recently arrived
from England. Mylate friend Ray Gouldtold me of one of hisexperiences with the“A/S.” As he washaving problemsmaintaining his longdriveway he decidedto sell up. After muchadvertising he had apositive responsefrom a lady buyer.He showed her thehouse and she wasdelighted with every-thing in and outside the house, declaring her intention topurchase.
Ray was delighted. They’d actually said their goodbyeswhen she said she’d overlooked the wardrobes, so back in-side. As Ray opened one wardrobe door one hairy leg ap-peared on the hinge side followed by the remainder of theintruder. Despite his aversion to spiders he grabbed the vil-lain and as calmly as he could walked to the sink andwashed it away. His bravery was for nought as the goodlady let out one shriek and disappeared into the darkness forever! As we say, if a land agent can sell a house in Avon-dale he’s passed the ultimate test!
Victoria Hall Church
The little church was always well attended when an elo-quent handsome man took the sermon such as Mr Jamiesonwho had a “following” wherever he spoke. The musical ac-com-paniment was provided by the Chamberlain sistersWinnie (violin), May (piano) and joined sometimes by MrHancock (trumpet) and whose neck veins threatened toburst when he “blew”, a side effect we found quite fascinat-ing.
The sisters organised all our activities including the annualpicnic at Ferndale, Henderson and the carol singing atXmas, which involved the mode “T” with a pump organtied to the back of the cab. My job was to knock on thedoors of the market gardeners saying, “Please, a copper(penny) for the carol singers.” I doubt if we showed a profitwith petrol 10d a gallon, to say nothing of the newly formedSalvation Army band which outshone our pump organ bymany decibels.
Mr Capes
One of Rosebank Road’s claims to fame rested on theshoulders of Mr Capes who became quite well known forhis ability to charm warts away. Dad took my youngest sis-ter to him for “treatment” whereby he simply touched eachwart. Within two weeks her skin was clear. I have an ideathat the “treatment” was free. Some years later after we’d
 As Ray opened one wardrobedoor one hairyleg appeared onthe hinge side followed by theremainder of theintruder.
 Artwork by Ms. Liz Claude-Goldie.

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