Dear Lisa,I read in recent issues of the
Avondale Historical Journal
of Christabel Ash and her father as residents of Avondale. Christabel Ash taught both my elder sisterJocelyn, and myself at Epsom Girls’ Grammar School.When I began at EGGS in Form 3ALatin in 1950, shewas my form mistress, so for me there was a specialinterest in that small glimpse of her background. I havenow found that John Willstead Ash, her father, who diedin January 1944, was for many years the Senior Artmaster at Seddon Memorial Technical College, beforeretiring in 1940. He was born and had trained in theUnited Kingdom, where he also taught at Dudley Schoolof Art. Two of his oil paintings ‘Near Mt Albert’ and‘Study of Pines’ are held in the Auckland City ArtGallery, one donated by the Auckland Society of Arts,the other by his family in 1944.
Christabel Ash was on the staff of EGGS, teaching bothFrench and Latin from 1928. We girls knew of herromantic Christian name but of course nobody wouldeither have dreamed of calling her anything other thanthe requisite ‘Miss Ash’ or inquiring where she lived, forteachers’ private lives did not exist as far as we wereconcerned. She gained her MA as she began her teach-ing career, later qualifying with a Dip Ed during the1940s, and always wore her graduate gown, hood andtrencher when at the school. Sadly I understand that hergentle nature found classroom control difficult onoccasions but thankfully our 1950 3AL class was alwaysrespectful. When she retired at the end of Term I 1955her tribute in the school magazine noted that: ‘her soundscholarship was very much appreciated by all her pupils,but especially by those to whom she taught advancedLatin.’ I remember her explaining to our class thedifficulty of translating the subtleties of the Latin noun‘res,’ and have never forgotten the example she gave usfrom Virgil: ‘sunt lacrimae rerum’ – ‘there are the tearsof things’. It is a poignant phrase which for me at timesencapsulates a wealth of meaning. Thank you, Miss
The Avondale Historical Journal
Volume 10 Issue 60
The following are a selection of passages from twoletters over the past year or two by
, awonderfully prolific writer to the Society. I’m stillgradually making my way through them all. Thank you, Robin! — Editor.
Transport Bus Services
We had two main means of transport ---by train or bybus. Transport Bus Services seemed to have two sortsof busses, --a flat-nosed Bedford and one with a verylong bonnet fastened with sort of clips on the side. Thelivery was red on the bottom and buff on the top, like thetrams, with a narrow panel separating the buff and red,with Transport Bus Services in black capitals. The driv-ers wore light brown coats.
There were two routes, one via Blockhouse Bay Rd andthe other via Taylor St These two routes alternated, soyou had to read the bus time-table. There were twosections from Avondale to Blockhouse Bay, both endingon the corner of either Wolverton Rd and BlockhouseBay Rd or Wolverton Street and Taylor St. I can'tremember the prices of fares now, but you couldpurchase School Concession Cards from the driver.
We often had Mr Bonnet as driver on our route. He wasoften very bad-tempered, but this could be due to war-time shortages---necessities were in very short supply.Billy Bonnet. Mr Bonnet's son, was in the same class-room as me at Blockhouse Bay Primary School, in 1941.I think they lived in New Windsor Rd, on the left hand.side in the 1st block from Blockhouse Bay Rd.
Christobel Ash – your legacy as a teacher is appreciated.
Hi Lisa,Felt compelled to say once again a wonderfulnewsletter. It is interesting how Blockhouse Bay andAvondale residents mingle probably more so way back –before the advent of cars. I remember Tomlinsons well,Mum took me shopping there for dress materials after Ileft school in 1961 as I went on to a year at a businesscollege in the city. I was allowed to pick my own andfelt very grown up – kids these days seem to chose from5 or younger! I think it was next door to Tomlinsons onthe high side there was a land agent and Sara Mellsopworked in the office. I can remember standing in thedoor way watching her type. I think this is where the NZkiwiana shop is now – the 2 shops fronts were greymottled polished stone.