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Avondale Historical Journal No. 49

Avondale Historical Journal No. 49

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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 Aug 03, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The AvondaleHistorical Journal
September—October 2009
Volume 9 Issue 49
Official Publication of the Avondale-Waterview Historical  Society Incorporated 
This is a photocopy of the front page of The New Zealand Motor & Cycle Journal of 25 February 1913, sent to me byBruce & Wilma Madgwick of the Otahuhu Historical Society.
The caption beneath the photo:
“30 h.p. two-ton Lacre lorry supplied to Messrs. Archibald Brothers, brick and pipemanufacturers, Avondale, by Messrs. Holland and Gillett, North Island agents for the Lacre Motor Company. As proof of the great saving in time effected through the employment of this vehicle, it may be mentioned that a two and a-half tonload of pipes was conveyed from the works at Avondale into the city, a distance of seven miles, in ten minutes under thehour, as compared to two and a-half hours occupied by the horse-drawn lorries."
The Archibald Brothers were: David, John, Ernest Alexander and Frank Herbert. Their father James Archibald took part inthe search for Rev. David Hamilton in July 1873 and was involved with Whau/Avondale affairs. Their pottery works wasone of the first businesses to have a telephone connection in 1913. They were to remain the owners there, running the yardat the end of Avondale Road, until bought out by the Amalgamated Brick and Tile Company.
According to Jack Diamond in Once the Wilderness: "In 1909 his[James’] sons opened a pipe works on a promontory known as Dr.Aitken's [sic] on the opposite side of the Whau and downstreamfrom their father's brickyard. Here, until it closed down in 1929,all sizes of glazed pipes were produced. One of the first motorvehicles in the district was that used by the Archibald Bros. totransport their products to Avondale Station."
Next meeting of theAvondale-Waterview Historical Society:Saturday, 10 October 2009, 2.30 pm(second Saturday in the month)
Lion’s Hall,corner Blockhouse Bay Road and GreatNorth Road
Archibald Brothersof Avondale, 1913
 Page 2
Volume 9 Issue 49
(From the Editor) Don writes in his covering letter tome: “You probably never had the doubtful pleasure of attending a Saturday matinee at the Avondale Town Hall as the pictures were advertised, long before the place had a name. Mrs. Hayward was a force to bereckoned with. It deserves to be recorded. Movie showsare no longer like I remember them. Whether that’s for better or worse I’m not sure.
Picture theatres were commonly called bug houses.They often smelled of Lysol or strong disinfectant. Mum sort of disapproved of such places. Her aunt had been bitten by some nastyinsect at one. Later, the story goes, shewas silly enough to go back to the same place, only because there was no other  place she could see a certain film. Of course, she was nipped again and theinfection went wild. We were forbiddento ever go to that theatre — ever.
I suppose all families have their petnames for things. One of ours is TheLocal Bugs. Short for local bug house,another name for the flea pit or picturetheatre. The local bugs isn’t really atheatre anyway and it hasn’t got a fancyname either. The building was made asthe Avondale Town Hall way back in1915 and reflects the style of the times, heavy classicalfaçade, columns and all, fronting a large almost win-dowless, barn like, concrete structure. But it is the pic-tures now and that makes it important in our 1940s sub-urbia.Saturday mornings are always much the same thesedays, gloriously sunny and not much to do. I wander upthe road to George’s and we sit lethargic in the sun andyarn. George is sure to ask, “Goinflicksarvo?” Goin-flicksarvo would have made a good title for this littleessay. It means “Are you going to the Local Bugs thisSaturday afternoon?” It's always a difficult question.George knows he is allowed to go, but my fate alwaysseems to be in the balance till the last minute. I alwayswant to go to the bugs though so I say, “Yes, I’m goingand what’s on anyway?”Dad works till midday. Most fathers do on Saturdays.By the time we have got through the big roast dinner,George has arrived and is fretting because it’s almosttwo o’clock. Finally the deliberations are made, the lawis laid down, my ninepence is doled out and George and
The Avondale Historical Journal 
I race off to the bug house. Mrs. Hayward is in theticket box. She surveys us with a superior air and takesour sixpence in exchange for two admit ones. The lamedoorman is there as usual. He takes the tickets andallows us to enter bedlam. Somewhere Victor Sylvesteris playing. It’s always the same record — well, the bitsthat rise above the other noise in the hall always soundthat way. Mum calls all Victor Sylvester stuff bughouse music. We’ve found seats with a good view of the screen, but safe from the richer kids upstairs whothrow things or spit on the poor beneath.As usual we are only just in time. VictorSylvester isn’t on anymore and Mrs.Hayward has decided her theatre patronsneed a dose of discipline and is nowstanding on the stage. She sucks herteeth, stands erect — and waits. Andwaits. Now it is quiet enough to beheard. Mrs. Hayward issues her weeklyplea, “Please children, don’t stand on theseats. They may collapse and trap yourlegs.” The kids aren’t impressed and aregetting noisy again. Gradually theyrealise Mrs. Hayward is going tocontinue. She waits. Quiet again. Nowshe gives us a choice of the film to beshown.
“I have two films here. There is a lovestory,
The Blue Gardenia
, a beautiful picture, lovelystory, very romantic and it has singing and dancing …”She can no longer be heard. The lady stops. Quietnessis returning. “The other film is
 Rustlers Range.
” Shesays it with obvious distaste. “Gene Autry is in it —”Her words are lost, this time in clapping and cheering.Resigned that she can’t guide us in the right culturaldirection, Mrs. Hayward stalks off the stage. The drumsare rolling. We stand and it’s
God Save The King
, onlythe first few bars to a blank screen. The lights go outand the shorts are on.
Soon it’s the serial, the climax of the shorts, alwayswith an untouchable hero, Tom Mix or Kit Carson orsome other bloke that always scrapes through anunbelievable catastrophe at the end of every episode.There it is again. The hero has survived. There he goes, jumping clear just as the train plunges off the blown upbridge. Last week he got out of an exploding barn, thetime before he escaped sure death under the wheels of the stage coach by hanging onto the frame. George isasking me, “Do you remember
The Iron Claw
?” We
The Local Bugs
 By Don Gwilliam
The Avondale Historical Journal 
Volume 9 Issue 49
 Page 3
shiver with involuntary dread. That serial was sofrightening the kids had nightmares and it had to betaken off. Now today’s episode is ending. Tom Mixcan’t survive this one. Not this time because heactually did fall right into the rock crusher. I watchedvery carefully and he didn’t jump aside. And the lightsare on again, but I will have to come next week just tobe sure. For now it’s interval.Well the Local Bugs isn’t flash like the pictures intown or even the Ambassador at Point Chev whichhave curtains. Here the big screen stares blankly outinto the auditorium, defaced by a big sewn-in patchthat isn’t visible when a film is on. Rumour has it thatwhen they showed
The Phantom of the Opera
the filmburst into flames, the heat was projected on to thescreen and burned it up too. I’m glad I wasn’t here.Anyway that was at night and I’ve only been a fewtimes at night. Once was with cousin Ronny and good-ness knows why I was allowed because the picturewas
The Uninvited 
, all very scary with curtainsblowing and windows slamming in the dark. Ugh.Actually the bug house does have a few curtains. Longblue ones that stretch down from covering the smallhigh up windows at the top of the walls. Teacher saysthey are there to stop the sound echoing when notmany people are there. Mum reckons it’s because thepaint is peeling and the walls are dirty. Perhaps that’swhy the lights are so dull too.Downstairs where the floor is flat, the seats — andthey are pretty rough ones — are screwed to longboards so they are easy to move around. The kidsoften rock them about and here we go, they’re doing itnow. Getting noisy. The bug house music iscompletely submerged in the racket. Mrs. Haywardwill be out in a minute to put down the uprising. Hereshe is. The noise is subsiding. I bet she cuts intervalshort to settle the kids down. Whales, who run thedairy next door won’t like that.No warning, no soft dimming of lights, no build up tostart the main feature here. It’s all pretty direct really.Bug house music stops, lights go out, up comes thecensor’s certificate for a moment and the show is on.Predictable stuff mostly, cowboys and Indians, Indiansand settlers, cowboys and settlers, cowboys andbandits, settlers and bandits, and Indians, and even theU.S. cavalry. Unusual to get Abbott and Costello,Harold Lloyd, George Formby or best of all the MarxBrothers, but we live in hope. Anyway today it’s GeneAutry and sadly he’s getting mixed up in some of thatsloppy singing, love time-wasting which film studiosstick into an otherwise good tale. That’s when we look around the theatre watching the projector beam flick-ing and changing as it strikes through the dusty air. Doyou know, George used to think those rays were fromthe usher’s torch upstairs? Another way of tellingWith deep regret, we record the death of DavidFrancis Gardner, the first and only honorary memberof the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society. Davedied on 23 June 2009, aged 63. The Society gavehim honorary membership in recognition for theconsiderable information he sought for us regardingthe archaeological sites along Oakley Creek and theRosebank Peninsula. Dave was a lovely person, andhe will be sadly missed.there’s a love bit on is the noise. Sometimes we allstamp and yell out and Mrs. Hayward gets mad andputs on the lights to simmer us down.Anyway this film isn’t too bad. The Indians haveattacked the pioneer’s wagon twice so far and a baddiehas just been sliced off his horse by a wire strungacross the trail. There will be a shoot out soon and I’mgoing to watch really closely cause Dad says six-shooters in cowboy pictures never need reloading. Ohno! It’s not going into a range war. The cowboys aregoing to ride slowly along in the dusk singing lovesongs. Here goes, someone’s rocking the seats againand Mrs. Hayward is roaming the aisles spotting withher torch. The projector here must be a bit sick. Aftera while the picture gets all dark and hard to see, then itgets very bright again. It just did it a moment ago sonow the fight in the bar room looks much better.Something to do with the carbons in the lamp houseaccording to Uncle Hec who knows all about showingpictures.You can tell a picture is finishing. George is standingup. The lights aren’t on yet, but it’s all over all right.Gene Autry is kissing this girl and the music is allsloppy. Yep, it’s over. The kids are pushing into theaisles. That lame joker that collects the tickets muststay at the door right through. Still there.Cor, it’s bright out here. The low sun hits straight inyour eyes as you go down the steps into St GeorgesStreet to join in crushing through into Whales dairyfor our preferred milk block and a twist of boiled lol-lies. Threepence total. We elbow a path through theincomers, stumble to the street and can breathe oncemore.In these petrol rationed and near carless days the air isfresh, the sun warm and bright. Together George and Icowboy off on the trail of some Avondale villain. TheLocal Bugs fade in the dust of our dreams as tirelesslegs speed us on and on until, breathing as if it hadbeen an easy stroll we fetch up on the railway bridge.“Gointuhtheflicks next week?’ asks George.

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