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Mount Roskill (Puketapapa) Historical Society Newsletter April 2014

Mount Roskill (Puketapapa) Historical Society Newsletter April 2014

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Published by Lisa Truttman
Newsletter of the Mt Roskill (Puketapapa) Historical Society
Newsletter of the Mt Roskill (Puketapapa) Historical Society

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Published by: Lisa Truttman on Mar 31, 2014
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03/31/2014

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Issue 2, Volume 3, April 2014
MT ROSKILL (Puketapapa)
Historical Society
NEXT MEETING
There will be no meeting in April; instead, with Anzac Day on Friday April 25
th
, we encourage as many of you as possible to attend your Anzac Day Service. For Puketapapans/Roskillites, the service will be 9.30am at the May Road War Memorial Hall. It will be followed by a special treat
 –
 an unveiling of the photograph of Lord Freyberg in the Freyberg Room, donated by our Society.
Last year’s service was well attended
 and a very memorable occasion, so please continue to support the Society and the Anzacs this year!
June Meeting
 
In June will be having a ... Mt Roskill Memories meeting!
Sunday June 3
rd
 (Queen
s Birthday Weekend) @ 2.00pm
St David’s
-in-the-Fields Church House, 202 Hillsborough Road, Hillsborough. This is a great opportunity to share memories and especially to bring along a friend or relative who has some special memories of the area. Plenty of parking and stay for afternoon tea! Please bring a gold coin to cover the rental of the rooms.
Advance Notice:
In August, we are hoping to have a speaker talk to us about the Wesleyan School. Venue and further details to be announced.
JUST PASSING THROUGH
” by Jade Reidy
 
We have copies of the recently revised (2
nd
 edition) version that the Local Board produced in 2013. $20 per copy. See Garth.
Someone who may be interested in joining the society? If so, please forward our information on to them. See back page for details.
THE NZ FEDERATION OF HISTORICAL SOCIETIES
The conference will be held at Te Awamutu 11-13 April. April 1 is the closing date for enrolments.
The theme is the invasion of the Waikato by General Cameron’s forces in 1863/64. Saturday’s tour is $25, and the bus trips on Fri (fr 
om Pukekohe to Te Awamutu) and Sunday are $20. For more information go to:
http://www.nzhistoricalsocieties.org.nz/whatwedo/conference.htm
 
 Page 2
2014 PUKETAPAPA HERITAGE FORUM
Several of the society went along on Tuesday the 25
th
 to the Fickling Centre (we were treated to tea as well, very nice!) There was some great discussion about the area, and good input. It was also excellent to have Jane Matthews of Matthews and Matthews Architects there, as well as Dr Elizabeth Pischief, Principal Specialist from the Cultural Heritage Unit, and Agnes Grenada from the Migrant Action Trust. Of interest are the main points, briefly, below: There is a need to promote
Puketapapa’s heritage to the public.
  A heritage walk and associated signage and pamphlet is being considered by the Local board, for the Three Kings area initially. We have 11 more sites noted as Scheduled Heritage Places on the Proposed Unitary Plan. There is signage planned for Keith Hay Park and Arthur Faulkner Reserve.
The Heritage Unit are carrying out a ‘cultural heritage survey’ of the
Manukau foreshore and there was some discussion over this. Several folk contributed their own memories. The War Memorial Upgrade project is now aimed at being completed by Anzac Day 2015.  Any research on other prospective heritage places can still be forwarded to the Heritage Unit via a Nomination form. If accepted, such sites will not appear on the Unitary Plan until after 2016. It was confirmed that the Bill Subritzky estate, Tropicana in Lynfield, had been sold, although how it will be developed is not known. It is the largest residential property in Auckland. It was also noted with regard to the Unitary Plan that property owners who were notified their properties were being scheduled were given barely any information on this. Letters appear to have been sent out ten days before the submission period closed, with no information on what this meant for the property owner. The upcoming Heritage Festival was discussed
 –
 the theme is World War One with a
practical conservation
 theme to it as well.
Many thanks must go to Puketapapa Local Board member Michael Wood for his work in heritage and on-going consultation with the society.
THE ST DAVID’S IN THE FIELDS CHURCH HOUSE
 
AKA The El Rey Country Club.
By Joanne Graves
The Auckland Libraries Family History blog.)
If only walls could talk
 –
 the El Rey Country Club. If you
 –
 or your ancestor
 –
 was a bright young thing in 1940s Auckland, chances are the name
El Rey 
 might ring a few bells. The El Rey Country Club was a nightclub operated out of an Arts and Crafts style house on Hillsborough Road in what was then still farmland. The location was panoramic, set amidst acres of bush and with gorgeous views out across the Manukau Harbour to South Auckland. Equally as panoramic, it might be said, were the goings-on in the El Rey itself. It came under the eye of the law for illegally serving liquor several times, and regularly feat
ured in the Auckland Star’s Lost and
Found column:
“Topaz ring in the vicinity of the El Rey, substantial reward.”
 
“Watch, gold, ladies between El Rey and Devonport.”
 
“A five pound reward for the return of a diamante evening bag and contents, lost or take
n by
mistake at the El Rey.”
 
“A raincoat, marine officer’s, between Farmers and the El Rey night club. Reward”
 
“Watch, wrist, chromium with brilliants, El Rey Saturday night. Reward.”
 
“Fur cape, brown velvet, New Year’s Eve between Grand Hotel and El Rey.”
 (All from Papers Past.)
 
 Page 3
Visiting American soldiers, aka “bedroom commandos,” also added glamour to the scene. As noted
in The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand Te Ara, they
flocked to the El Rey and other clubs “where
they could dine on steak and drink whisky
as a swing band played the latest hits of Glenn Miller.” If
you did fancy dance music and
couldn’t make the trek out to Mt Roskill on
a Saturday night, 1YA would relay the dance music on the wireless. Interestingly, Te Ara also reports that the El Rey was a favourite club of the intrepid Admiral Richard E Byrd who used NZ as a base for his Antarctic explorations. The El Rey ran from 1934 to 1944. In 1944 the Americans had gone back home, and the house and land was subsequently sold with plans to use it as a rest home. But only six years later, the land was subdivided and the house sold again. This time to the Presbyterians who planted a new church -
St David’s in the Fields. The congregation soon built a hall alongside the house, with
plans to one day knock down the old den of iniquity, turn-of-the-century house, and erect a brand new church. That never eventuated, and so, the former El Rey nightclub lived on
 –
 albeit these days as a church office and Sunday school rooms.
Joanne
Addendum: The informati
n on Admiral Byrd was obtained from the book “ 
The Yanks Are Coming: The American Invasion of New Zealand 1942-1944 
” 
 by Harry Bioletti.
EXCERPTS FROM PAPERS PAST…..
 
From the Auckland Star, 28 October 1935
Auckland Star, 18 August 1903
8 June 1920 NZ Herald

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