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Avondale Historical Journal No. 46

Avondale Historical Journal No. 46

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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
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The AvondaleHistorical Journal
 
March—April 2009
Volume 8 Issue 46
Official Publication of the Avondale-Waterview Historical  Society Incorporated 
 
Next meeting of the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society:Saturday, 4 April 2009, 2.30 pm
,
Lion’s Hall, corner Blockhouse Bay Road and Great North Road
 
Please contact the Society for details.
Avondale’s oldtrain station site …
going ...… going ...… gone.
From late last year until mid January this year,Ontrack have steadily demolished the old platformsdating from 1913 to the 1920s, as well as the goodsshed. Temporary platforms are in place at Trent andTait Streets, pending completion of the new station atCrayford Street. I’ll continue to follow progress on thework, due for completion (last I heard) in the middleof this year.— Editor
 
 Page 2
Volume 8 Issue 46
The Avondale Historical Journal 
While researching the origin of certain street names inthe Waterview area, I came across a mysteriouslynamed “Nesbitt Street.” This was supposedly a formername for Hadfield Avenue, that as far as I can ascertain,was never actually used.Hadfield Avenue in Waterview was originally namedHillcrest Avenue, and first appears as such in theWise’s Auckland Street Directories circa 1928/9. Atthis stage there were only three residences located alongits length. On one side of the street was a farm belong-ing to a Mr Gordon D. Milne and on the other side weretwo houses occupied by attendants of the mental hospi-tal (the old Whau/Avondale Lunatic Asylum whichlater became known as Carrington & Oakley MentalHospital).In 1937, Hillcrest Avenue was described (on the Auck-land City Street searches website) as being 300 yardslong with 5 residences. However, it was not until the 8June 1939 that Hillcrest Avenue changed to “Hadfield”to avoid confusion with a street of the same name inNorthcote.There are two major theories as to the derivation of thisstreet name. Firstly, that it is named to honour eitherAlbert or Thomas Hadfield who were long servingcouncillors (and also an ex-mayor) of the BirkenheadBorough Council in the early part of the 20th century.Alternatively, the street may have been named afterBishop Octavius Hadfield, the third Anglican Primateof New Zealand (1814-1904). Neither choice provides atotally satisfactory explanation, as the aforementionedbishop had no known connections with the Waterviewarea and the Hadfield brothers were involved with localbody politics a long way away from Avondale, in theBirkdale/ Beachhaven area of the North Shore, wherethere is already a street named after them- HadfieldStreet. However, there appears to be no other wellknown local figure in the Avondale/ Waterview area,who fits the bill and it was common practice for coun-cils to name streets after well known figures of local ornational significance.However by the mid to late 1960s, there was a move tochange the name of this Avondale/Waterview street yetagain. The Auckland Scrap book collection (page 177)in a report published in the Auckland Star records theAuckland City Council’s intention of renaming Had-field Avenue, Avondale as “Nesbitt Avenue”, and thatthis was to come into effect in 1967.Information avail-able in AucklandCity Archives re-veals that at a fullcouncil meeting inMarch 1967, theMayor of Auckland, Dr R.G. McElroy moved that “ thecouncil was resolved by the way of special order toalter the name of Hadfield Ave, Avondale to NesbittAve”. This was seconded by Councillor A.J.R. Dreaverand this matter was then referred back to the city workscommittee for a report and recommendation on the fea-sibility of this proposal at a future council meeting.The name “Nesbitt” was presumably chosen to honourthe memory of the former Avondale Road’s BoardCommittee member (and chairman from 1918-19), MrR.B. Nesbitt, who resided in Victoria Ave (the futureVictor Street), Avondale.In a report of the Auckland City Council Works Com-mittee tabled at a full council meeting relating to thismatter it was noted that there had been strong lobbyingon behalf of the Birkenhead Borough Council in sup-port of the name change. The reasons cited for support-ing such a change noted that a street with a similarname already existed on the North Shore (HadfieldStreet), that was so named in 1905 in memory of an ex-mayor of the borough and that it wished the Avondalestreet be renamed to avoid any confusion with its ownstreet.However, the Director of Works and Auckland CityEngineer, AJ Dickson in his report to the AucklandCity Council recommended that Avondale/Waterview’sHadfield Avenue (name) should be left unchanged not-ing that although the (street) names were duplicatedthey were on opposite sides of the harbour, and the resi-dents have never encountered any confusion because of the duplication. Furthermore he cited that many morepeople would be affected by such a change in the city(only 7 dwellings were to be found on the Birkenheadstreet in 1966 while 29 dwellings were to be found onthe Avondale street), and that it was impractical andprobably unnecessary because of the previous reason tochange the name of the street. His recommendation wasto reject the Birkenhead Borough Council’s call for thestreet name to change. This is precisely what the Auck-land City Council did, hence Hadfield Avenue in theAvondale/ Waterview area still retains its current nameand very few people even remember that it was sup-posed to be renamed “Nesbitt Ave”.
Whatever happened to Nesbitt Avenue?
by Jack Dragicevich
NESBI T T A VE 
 
The Avondale Historical Journal 
Volume 8 Issue 46
 Page 3
have therefore followed up this idea, and have plantedabout 150 trees – apples, pears, plums, quinces, figs,&c., in addition to gooseberries, currants, blackberries,rhubarb, &c. I have divided the land into three parks orpaddocks, as we call them, and about an acre of orchardand half an acre of garden. I have two horses forploughing and harrowing, and a spring cart, with whichI drive to Auckland once a week on market day. I shallhave to get a cart or dray, with which to take my cropsto market when they are ready, but that cannot be forsome months yet.“We have also two cows and eighteen hens. Eggs arebringing in 1s 6d per dozen just now, and that is theonly revenue I am as yet deriving. I expect one of thecows to calve in a month, however, and we shall beable to sell butter. ------ , I am glad to say, is greatlybetter; she is able to appear at breakfast, and she cooksthe dinner and tea. -------- is the henwife, and a capitalone she makes; she is also very active in the garden.-------- is the milkmaid, and is also very diligent.------ goes daily to Auckland; she is employed by thesame firm as she served in Dunedin. They are gettingup the ‘Post Office Directory,’ and her occupation is toget the names of firms and householders to form it. Itappears to me that she will have some months of it yet.----- takes care of the horses, and works them in theharrows. &c.; he also milks the cows when required. Heis very active and useful.“There is plenty of occupation for us all, and we havescarcely an idle moment the whole day. We go to bed at9 to 9.30, and rise at 7, and time seems to me to fly. Myfingers are so stiff with work that I cannot close myhands, and my back aches. Still, these are smalltroubles compared to mental ones. We sleep sound, andeat heartily, and if I only saw my way clearer I wouldbe content. Of course, I have had incessant outlay, andno returns; and if I can only turn the corner I may beable to keep the place. I am satisfied now, however, thatI bought it cheap enough, and if I have to sell it (whichGod forbid) it will bring more than I paid for it.“We all like the place, and the climate is delightful. Itmay be more pleasant just now than in the heat of sum-mer, but the finest day in May with you is but a shadowof what to-day has been here. The air has a peculiarlyexhilarating feeling, and is so clear that distant objectsseem near. As a rule, there is less dubiety as regards theweather. When the sky is cloudy the clouds are gener-ally black and heavy, and rain comes down as a rule intorrents; then all is over, and the atmosphere clears uplike magic. We occasionally have a day or two’s raintogether, but this is rare, and I have yet to see weeks of it as at home. I used often at home to read of and hearforeigners speak of our climate, and the superiority of The following account of a farmer’s life in New Zea-land is taken from a letter, dated July 12, of a gentle-man who lately purchased a farm near the town of Auckland: -“One reason that made me resolve to settle near Auck-land is the difference of climate from Dunedin. This is700 miles farther north, and therefore warmer. Youmust remember that here the north wind is warm, andthe south cold, we being on the opposite side of theequator from you. Dunedin is nearer our home climatethan Auckland. I should say it resembles the south of England, while this is more like France or Italy. This ismid-winter here, and I read that there has been severeweather around Dunedin, and skating and curling goingon. No such thing here. Occasionally we have frostynights, with ice the thickness of a penny formed in apail, but that is the most extreme cold we have had asyet.“The one thing open for any man here in unlimitedquantity is land; but I could not fancy that at my age Iwould be likely to succeed in Otago at raising wheat,which requires an establishment and capital, besides alarge farm to work. Auckland, on the other hand, fromits climate, is better adapted for fruits of all kinds,which are quite as dear as in Glasgow, strange to say. I
Farming Life in New Zealand
A letter home from a farmer somewhere nearAvondale, July 1884 …
 
 My thanks to Society member Jack Dragicevich for  pointing me in the direction of the searchable British Library newspapers database via the Auckland City Library website (under “Digital Library”). I felt in-quisitive enough one Sunday to search for Avondaleand Auckland — and found the following. Thisappeared in the Glasgow Herald on 17 November 1884, Issue 275, and I have received very kind permis-sion from the British Library to reproduce the letter here.
 
You’ll note the reference to the farm being 1½ miles from the Avondale township, along with the writer re- ferring to a “burn” or creek where there is a waterfallunderneath which he sits for his daily bath. The writer’sidentity remains unknown, but my guess at this point isthat he was either a purchaser of land close to theSansom property in Waterview, or perhaps purchased land once part of the Chisholm estate.
 
 If anyone has any ideas as to who this person was, I’d be keen to know.
 
 — Editor 

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