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Avondale Historical Journal No. 47

Avondale Historical Journal No. 47

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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
May—June 2009
Volume 8 Issue 47
Official Publication of the Avondale-Waterview Historical  Society Incorporated 
The photograph above is of Amos Eyes — and apparently, although it came from the Papakura & Districts Museum runby the local historical society there, it shows him during his stint as Avondale’s stationmaster, 1889-1900 (although hewas stationmaster at Papakura prior to this, c.1879-1889). The curve of the tracks behind him fit Avondale’sconfiguration. Compare this with the 1890s photo of the station published in
Challenge of the Whau
(1994).In 1884, John and James Gittos sold their family’s tannery site at Avondale, the Ingleton Estate. In 1898 Amos Eyes hadtitle to Lots 8 and 9 of Block 1 of the estate (which included the old houseby Tait Street, lived in by James Gittos and possibly by A. H. Spicer evenearlier), but Eyes had purchased Lots 1-3, 4 & 5 of the same block in 1884.This was five years before Eyes became the fourth stationmaster/ postmaster of Avondale. Much of the following information on Amos Eyescomes from his descendants’ family historical research, plus someadditional digging I’ve done to fill in some of the gaps.Amos Eyes was born in Wolverhampton, England, c.1835. He marriedSarah Ward in Stretton, County of Chester, on 30 June 1862, by which timehe was already a railway inspector for goods trains, possibly for theLondon and Northwestern Railway Company. His eldest child, Charles(1863-1933), was born at Bushbury, one of the towns along the line, on 6May 1863. (Charles in the 20th century was an early Waterview landowner,
Next meeting of theAvondale-WaterviewHistorical Society:Saturday, 6 June 2009, 2.30 pm
Lion’s Hall,corner Blockhouse Bay Road andGreat North Road
Please contact theSociety for details.
An Avondale stationmaster:Amos Eyes
 Page 2
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
Golden City
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
Weekly News
, 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
The Avondale Historical Journal 
Volume 8 Issue 47
 Page 3
In terms of Avondale’s history, the establishment of theWhau Highway District in October 1868 seems to havecome about almost as a result not so much from the set-tlers’ will as it was that of the Superintendent of the Pro-vincial Council. While there were landowners from theWhau who had put their names to the February 1866petition to the Superintendent for the Mt Albert districtboard to come into being, by the time the new HighwayDistrict was gazetted in October of that year, only asliver of Avondale had been included. All of BlockhouseBay and virtually all of New Windsor (placed under MtRoskill Highway Board control by the beginning of 1868), plus all of Rosebank and Waterview lay outsidethe Mt Albert Highway District boundaries. The newhighway district included Josiah Buttress’ Stoneleighfarm, Buchanan and Palmer’s lands leading down to theWhau River, half of today’s Avondale Racecourse, thepresent area from upper Rosebank Road to WolvertonStreet east of Great North Road, then land boundingOakley Creek until the line headed east again. The WhauPresbyterian Church, for example, was now in MtAlbert; the Whau Hotel, just down the road, and the localstore, was not.
In June 1867, and the Superintendent announcedintentions to extend the already factional Mt Albertdistrict even further – this time, including Rosebank andWaterview, as well as the Sandringham, Newton andArch Hill areas. The Mt Albert ratepayers gathered at theWhau Road schoolroom, and heard Dr. Thomas Aickin,chairman of the meeting (whose property had been out-side the 1866 district boundary). A deputation hadalready called on the Superintendent, who “was of opin-ion that the districts should be as well defined as possi-ble, as well as in many instances much more extended inarea than at present.”
(Southern Cross, 29 June 1867)
John Bollard (whose property had also been outside the1866 district boundary) attended the next public meetingon 3 July. He proposed, “That the whole of the districtshown on the plan be divided as follows, vis., thatportion of land south-east of the present Mount Albertdistrict be amalgamated with the Mount Albert district;the district between Cox's Creek and the Whau to be aseparate district; and the southern portion, near the town,as shown on the plan, to be constituted into a suburbandistrict." He thought that under the present circumstancesit would not be advisable to have the Mount Albert dis-trict enlarged.” Thomas John Sansom from Waterviewseconded the proposition. Mr. Galbraith from Mt Albertproposed instead that the Mt Albert district remain thesize it already was.
(SC 4 July 1867)
Of course, wishing for everything to remain the way itwas in 1866 was a bit like the metaphorical ostrich withits head in the sand. The Provincial Government’s gearscontinued to grind slowly toward establishing Mt Albertas a dominant territorial authority, with both suburbanand rural ratepayers and all the arguments that entailed,whether the settlers liked it or not.
The Mt Roskill Highway District was in the process of being formed by September 1867. What we now know asBlockhouse Bay was drawn into the boundaries of thisnew district, and parts of the south-eastern corner of MtAlbert wanted to join in.
Nevertheless, in December 1867, Mt Albert’s newboundaries were gazetted, taking in all of Avondale andWaterview north of Wolverton Street, but placing NewWindsor and Blockhouse Bay with the new Mt Roskilldistrict.
The Mt Albert ratepayers were not pleased. At a publicmeeting in March 1868, they instructed that the Superin-tendent be advised that they wanted the boundaries back to the way they were in 1866, with the exception of theSandringham area.
(SC, 18 March 1868)
This, however,did nothing to change the situation.
What probably did more to settle the boundaries down tothose with which we are more familiar was the establish-ment from 1868 of local educational districts. The onefor the Whau was massive then, taking in the Hendersonarea, and included Blockhouse Bay. There were contrastsbetween the Whau district and that of Mt Albert – Whausettlers voted to have a special rate for educationalpurposes, while the Mt Albert ratepayers, despite theurgings from John Buchanan, voted against such a move.
(SC 7 May 1868)
In September, the Whau settlers met at the Public Hall,and decided they wanted a separate district. A deputationfrom Mt Albert approached the Superintendent thatmonth, recommending that the Whau district be sepa-rated, and he said he’d think about it.
(SC 17 September 1868)
. Five days later, the Whau settlers held anothermeeting at the Whau Hotel, this time to vote on estab-lishing their own highway district,
(SC 23 September 1868)
and sent their own deputation to the Superinten-dent, made up of John Holloway, John Bollard, GeorgeThomas and William Motion. They asked for the OakleyCreek to be the new boundary, and to have New Win-dsor, Stoneleigh and Blockhouse Bay included. WilliamMotion, from the Low & Motion Mill at Western Springswanted to be included in the new district – which wouldhave meant that the Whau district would have taken inthe asylum grounds and possibly even Pt Chevalier aswell. Mainly, this was because he didn’t want to be in-cluded in with the Newton district.
(SC 25 September,1868)
Another meeting, this one of the Mt Albert settlers, washeld on 29 September. There were long discussionsabout the new Whau district, mainly concerning the NewNorth Road (which, with the adjusted boundaries, wouldhave its extreme western end under Whau control be-yond Oakley Creek). Mr. Phillips proposed “That, in the
Drawing the line:
the establishment of the Whau Highway District

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