Volume 9 Issue 54
The Avondale Historical Journal
I was contacted recently by a family researcher who askedwhat I knew about the Castle family. The family tradition,according to the researcher, had it that George Castle(a) owned the farm at the back of the main AucklandAsylum buildings at Pt Chevalier, and (b) owned the firsthotel in Avondale. Both memories passed down throughthe family were slightly distorted. I knew the owners of the farm at the back of the Asylum before the governmentbought it and the name Castle didn’t feature. Neither wasCastle the name of the first hoteliers – they were thePriestley Brothers. But, I was intrigued enough to look further.
George Castle arrived in New Zealand possibly in the midto late 1860s. The first newspaper reference I found forhim was possibly as a store owner at Blue Spur, downnear Hokitika on the South Island in 1868. The familyapparently lived at Hau Hau. His wife was Ellen néeKershaw, and there were five children: Rose (1867-1883),May (1868-1949), Giles Alfred (1870-1939), FlorenceVictoria (b.1872, in Richmond, Victoria, the only oneborn in Australia), and Grace (b. 1874). In September1869, George Castle purchased the Hau Hau Station Hotelfor £90, also known as the Terminus Hotel (site forelection meetings from 1870). Castle was a man of somemeans. In 1875, he was on a list of provisional directors of the Old Lead Sluicing Company, Hau Hau. We know thathis Station Hotel was on a five-acre site, “securely fenced,including half-an-acre of Orchard in full profit,” by1880, because Castle was attempting to either lease it outor sell it by then. By January 1881, he was trying to sellnot just the Station Hotel, but another called the Marquisof Lorne Hotel, in Hampden Street, Hokitika – thereason given in his advertisements was “leaving onaccount of sickness in family.” He seems to have keptthe Marquis of Lorne Hotel, renewing his licence in mid1882, and adding onto his cottage in Hampden Street inMarch 1883. But in April tragedy struck when hisdaughter Rose died, aged 15 years and 10 months. Thelast sentence in the death notice, “Her end was peace,”gives us a clue that it may have been Rose’s illnesswhich made her father try to move away from Hokitika afew years earlier.
In May 1886, the Marquis of Lorne Hotel was finallysold to a William Pearson, and the
West Coast Times
published this farewell in the 28th of that month:
“Another old resident, Mr George Castle, will shortly betaking his departure from amongst us. During the twenty years of his sojourn at Hau Hau, Blue Spur, and Hokitika he has been highly respected and esteemed and his loss will be greatly felt by friends scattered through-out the district. Mr Castle intends residing in Auckland,being attracted to the northern city by its mild sunnyclimate.”
Hokitika township, c. 1870s Original print Reference No. PA7-51-05-1 Photographic Archive, Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand. Sourced via Wikipedia.
The Castles of Hokitika and Waterview
by Lisa J Truttman
continued on page 4