Volume 8 Issue 47
after being a farmer in Papakura, and in Waima inNorthland). Amos, Sarah and young Charles arrived inAuckland for the first time on board the
fromLondon, 5 March 1864; two children were born inFreemans Bay — Amos John Thomas (16 March 1867,died 1935 in Te Atatu) and Minnie (born and died, 1869).Then, around 1870, the family left New Zealand, only toreturn 23 March 1871, on board the
. As wascommon in those days, young Amy who was born onboard during the voyage (17 January 1871, one day beforethe ship crossed the equator. She died in Ponsonby 1946)was christened with “Caduceus” as her middle name.
For a time, the family lived in Epsom where, in October1872, another child was born (and sadly died that year).On 7 June 1873, Amos Eyes wrote to the RailwaysDepartment asking for employment on the Auckland andWaikato railway. He was eventually successful. Judgingby the period of service, 25 years 1 month, noted besidehis name on the first published list of railway employeesin 1895
, Amos Eyes began working for the de-partment in May 1874. By January 1875 he was a ticketcollector on the southern Auckland suburban line.
“Breach of the Railway Act. — John Adeane was charged with a bleach of the 10th bye-law of the Auckland and One-hunga Railway, by refusing to deliver up his ticket on de-mand of the porter authorised to collect the same on the 26thinstant. — Mr. Thome prosecuted on behalf of the railwayauthorities. — Amos Eyes deposed that on Saturday the 26thinst, he was acting as ticket collector. After leaving the race-course platform at Ellerslie, witness asked the defendant for his ticket. Defendant said he had lost his ticket, and he re- fused to pay the fare. - John Kernley was called by defen-dant, and stated that he was in the train, and heard the defen-dant say that if he did not find the ticket between there and Auckland, he would pay on arrival at the Auckland station. — The defendant was further charged with making use of obscene and insulting language on the 26th instant to JamesStewart, a railway officer .— His Worship considered eachcharge proved on the evidence of the Railway Manager,ticket collector, and Constable Naughton. For refusing togive up his ticket, it being the first case of the kind brought before the Court, the defendant was ordered to pay 1s. and costs. For the second offence a fine of 40s. was imposed.”(Southern Cross, 1 January 1875)
Amos Eyes was one of the stationmasters at Papakurasouth of Auckland from around 1879 (the station openedthere in March 1875 and was for a time the last station onAuckland's suburban Southern line). He certainly ownedblocks of land in the district: 2 blocks at Kirikiri, OpahekeParish from 2 October 1879, and another smaller block atOpaheke Parish from 20 June 1881. This is according tohis will, made out on 26 September 1879, when he wasstationmaster there. Three of his children were born atPapakura: Lily Antigone (1877-1960), Lois Mable (b.1878) and Daisy Effie (b. 1882). So, he may have been atPapakura from c.1877 until 1889.He had interests in Auckland, however, during the
The Avondale Historical Journal
Papakura period – he loaned a mortgage to a Mr. Sykesfor a Mt. Eden property in 1884, and he took out a titleover part of the Gittos family’s Ingleton Estate atAvondale also in 1884 . At the opening of the AvondalePost Office in August 1938, H. G. R. Mason recited abrief history of the post offices in the district and theirpostmasters. Amos Eyes was named as combined station-master/postmaster at Avondale Railway Station from1889-1900, succeeding J. Leach (1881-1884), H. F. How-ard (1884-1885), and H Bell (1885-1889). Why, if AmosEyes was still in Papakura up to 1889, did he invest inproperty at Mt Eden and Avondale? According to thereport of his funeral in 1901, he did have a residence inPapakura. While he was here, though, he may have stayedat the house once lived in by James Gittos, which hadoccupied the site of today’s Islamic Centre.
He was our stationmaster by October 1889, when thestation was robbed. Little further is known about his timehere in Avondale, except that as at 1895 he was on anannual salary of £140, which rose to £150 by the time heleft the service. He probably retired in 1900, perhaps fromillness (he had been ill for 10 weeks before he died on 12January 1901.) From the
, 18 January 1901:
“The funeral of the late Mr. Amos Eyes, late railway station-master, of Avondale, who, after 10 weeks of severe illness,died at his residence here [in Papakura], on January 12,aged 66 years, took place on January 14, and was largelyattended by relatives and sympathising friends, who, by their attendance, and by many floral tributes, showed their last tribute of respect to the memory of one well known and muchesteemed here. The Rev. O. R. Hewlett was the officiatingminister, and he conducted an impressive service in the Anglican Church, where two suitable hymns were sung (Mr. A. G. Fallwell presiding at the organ), and at the grave. Thedeceased leaves a widow, two sons (one married), and four daughters (two of whom are married) to mourn their loss.”
The Avondale and Papakura properties were in SarahEyes’ name until she died in 1924. Her daughter Amy andson Charles inherited the estate as trustees, and in 1926subdivided the Avondale property for sale. Tait Street wasnamed by the Eyes family, after William J. Tait, the then-Mayor of Avondale Borough, and dedicated. RobertEarnest Steele and his wife Beatrice Adelaide purchasedmost of the present-day Islamic Centre site in 1929 –NA601/38 (the Seventh Day Adventist Church purchasedpart in 1937 where they built a hall – NA693/189). Thechurch purchased the remainder, up to the corner of TaitStreet and Blockhouse Bay Road, in 1955. The presentbuildings date from between 1960 and 1987. The oldwooden house from Amos Eyes’ time and possiblydecades before, if it still existed then, was demolished.
My thanks to Charles M. Eyes, his cousin Stan Eyes, staff at Archives New Zealand and Auckland City Libraries,and the Papakura and Districts Historical Society. — Lisa J Truttman