The Avondale Historical Journal
Volume 10 Issue 58
aforesaid – That Petitioner proposes to cut a Mill Racefrom the Upper Water Fall on the said Reserve 61 to theWater Wheel above mentioned and for the purpose of aflour mill.
Your Excellency’s humble Petitioner therefore prays that the License already mentioned as granted to your Excel-lency’s humble Petitioner be renewed and also that your Excellency will be pleased to grant your Petitioner afurther license of the Government Reserve No 61 in theParish of Titirangi for the purposes of the Flax Wheel and Flour Mill aforesaid and your Excellency’s humble Peti-tioner as in duty bound will ever pray …
(Written across the page):
There is no objection to thePetitioner’s obtaining a squatting license of No. 61 under the Act. I visited his works on Saturday the 28th inst and found that he had been at much trouble in erecting damsacross the stream, which are, I find, quite useless for thepurpose he requires. The Water Fall to which he alludesand from which a race can be cut is the best water power within 15 miles of Auckland.C W Liger, Surveyor General
The Northern War came along in 1844/1845, causinganxiety in early Auckland. Oakley's scheme may havecome adrift at that point. Indeed, in October 1845 and oninto 1846, Auckland farmers lamented that there was noother flour mill, other than those at Epsom and Mechanic'sBay.
(Letter from "A Farmer", New Zealander, 2 August 1845).
In 1850, Oakley was in Hawaii for a time, then re-turned to Auckland later that decade to take up anotherpartnership, this time with carpenter/builder John C Jear-rad at a Mechanics Bay sawmill. In 1859 Oakley took itover
(Southern Cross 11 March 1859)
but it is unknownhow long he remained involved there. The term"entrepreneur" suits him well -- trouble was, his ideasnever seemed to stay the distance.
In 1861, he was one of a number writing reports as re-quested by the Provincial Council as to Auckland's waterneeds and future supply. Tellingly, he did not refer to thecreek that seems to bear his name as an option (perhapsbecause it had cost him so dearly?) By 1862, he was livingin Mongonui, arguing over timber rights
Southern Cross,5 September 1862),
was an unsuccessful tenderer for theconstruction of an iron store at Queen Street wharf in 1864
(Southern Cross, 29 September 1864),
and ran for both theGeneral Assembly and Provincial Council for Mongonui -- although he lived at Port Waikato -- in 1865. He pulledout just before the election, deeming it "prudent" to do so
At that point, I lost sight of him in Papers Past.
Allotment 61 remained in Crown hands, passed to theAuckland Provincial Council as a funding reserve in themid 1850s, leased by the Superintendent in 1874 to a mannamed Howard (possibly Joseph Howard, who owned thefarm just across the creek at the time), and then assignedback to the Crown in 1882. This was a smaller version of the original Allotment 61. Bits seem to have been carvedoff it, at the Waterfall end, and initially passed to privatehands, but eventually (Allotments 102-105) ending up
exportation and having at length succeeded is desirousof building a water mill –
That your Petitioner from want of capital is unable topurchase the large quantities of land, wood and flaxwhich would be required for the carrying on anestablishment of this nature and feeling convinced that your Excellency would look favourably on an effort tobring into use an article on which the future prosperityof this Country so much depends has been induced toapply to your Excellency for your aid.
Under the above circumstances your Petitioner humblyprays that your Excellency will be pleased to grant him aSquatting License upon a creek with your Petitioner candescribe to your Excellency no better at the present timeas situate between four and fives miles from Auckland onthe Road to the Wao and Karangahape District about one mile from the River Waitemata with the use of theCreek and Liberty erect a dam across same – Your Petitioner would also wish to have a lease of about 2acres of land for the erection of the buildings necessaryand your Excellency’s consent to the loan or purchase of a piece of old Iron now lying near the old Market Houseor Store on the Beach –Your Excellency’s petitioner en-gaging on his part to erect a water mill with machineryto dress the flax fit for exportation – And your Petitioner will ever pray …
Oakley got his wish, his application being granted. Thelocation being “one mile from the River Waitemata”means a location considerably inland perhaps more ontoday’s Unitec site?
Then, the following year ...
5/1018 24 June 1845 Edwin Oakley for renewal andextension of squatting licence to Allot No. 61
…The Petition of Edwin Oakley of Auckland in the said colony, settler ShewethThat your Petitioner had an occupational Licensegranted to him by your Excellency of about three acresof land situate near Auckland about twelve months ago –That since that time your Petitioner has at considerableexpense erected a water wheel and prepared machineryfor the dressing of flax. That your Petitioner has alsoformed a mill dam but that a sufficient power cannot beobtained without incurring the risk of great loss of prop-erty, the dam having already been carried away by aFlood – That Petitioner is anxious to unite a Flour Millto the wheel already erected and for the purpose of pro-pelling the water it will be necessary to have a still in-crease power – That on Government Reserve No. 61 inthe Parish of Titirangi a little higher up than the present wheel is a good Fall of Water sufficient for the purposes
Edwin Oakley and his failed mill by thecreek