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The Avondale Historical Journal Vo. 1 Issue 11

The Avondale Historical Journal Vo. 1 Issue 11

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Published by Storm Gerome

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Published by: Storm Gerome on Sep 13, 2008
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01/27/2015

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One of the early settlers who gardened on the Avondale Flat was Elie Coutanche. He was from Jersey in the Channel Islands and had visited Auckland as a sail-maker on the "Langstone” in 1882. Liking what he saw, he worked the return trip to London and got his discharge on 20 March 1883. The round trip took 10 months under sail as the "Langstone" had no engines.
 
He purchased the two 4-acre blocks on the corners of Rosebank Road and what is now Mead St. By March 1890, when he married Lucy Loines in St Paul's In Central Auckland, he was established as a market gardener In Avondale. He sold produce by hawking from a horse and cart at least as far as Symonds Street. He erected glasshouses that stood for over a hundred years with many re-builds and repairs. In these he grew grapes, some of which were supplied to Government house in Princes Street (now part of the university campus).
 
In his time, many people kept cows on Avondale flat, and they were often let graze the "long acre” or roadside. They put pressure on the fences around Elie's gardens and he responded by planting wild onion (
 Allium triquitrum)
 under the fence line. Cows eating it produced tainted milk and so gave their owners incentive to control them - on that stretch of Rosebank Rd at least. There was still a strip of wild on-ion alongside the footpath 60 years later.
 
Elie died at Auckland Hospital in 1914 as a result of injuries received when he was kicked by a horse. He didn't get to sit under the pear tree that he planted for his old age, though this was still bearing fruit in the late 1940s. The house he had built on Rosebank Rd burnt down in 1926. Elie was survived by his wife and two children and the two properties remained in the descendants' families until the late 1950s, with two further generations gardening there.
 — by AWHS member
 Bob Hume
of Kerikeri
The Avondale Historical Journal
Official Publication of the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society Incorporated
May – June 2003 Volume
2
Issue
11
Tales of the Avondale Flat
1
The Past Recalled
 
2 – 3
What’s in a Name?
3 – 4
Inside this issue:
Tales of the Avondale Flat Tales of the Avondale Flat Tales of the Avondale Flat Tales of the Avondale Flat  —  ——  — Elie Coutanche’s story (1856Elie Coutanche’s story (1856Elie Coutanche’s story (1856Elie Coutanche’s story (1856----1914)1914)1914)1914)
 Elie Coutanch (photograph courtesy of Bob  Hume)
 
In my last contribution I told of our house being at the top of the first rise in Tiverton Road, down a long drive-way which necessitated the installation of a power pole when electricity first arrived in the street. The distance was too far to accommodate one span and we had to pay for the pole itself which by today’s values would be very small.
 
From the house there were practically unobstructed views in all directions but more particularly out to the West over the smoking chimney stacks of the brickworks to the blue Waitakeres beyond. Indeed we could see as far as Scroggy Hill on the rise between Glen Eden and New Lyn, before the railway line was lowered at that point, a whistle-stop for the train, and now no longer in existence. Now our main means of travel, if not by shanks pony, was by tram or train and if we kept a sharp lookout and saw the engine puffing smoke and steam at Scroggy Hill we knew that if we made a sharp sprint down to St Georges crossing, another whistle stop, we could just make it. On the other hand, knowing the grind the train would have to make from a stationary start up the incline to the Avondale station we could make the connection by a brisk walk to that stop. In inclement weather often times two engines were needed together with sand on the line to give traction on that section of track.
 
To the East of the house the land rose again gently to what is now Pinewood Street where the only habitation was a little cottage occupied by an old gentleman, Mr. Hilly, who’s only daily task of necessity was to man the pump on the boundary and keep the cow trough topped up, with horrible rusty water I might add. Before general subdivision of the surrounding acres which brought over two dozen neighbours with over two dozen cats, we looked over the fields and roughage, the habitat of such wildlife as quail, pheasant, the occasional bunny and best of all the skylark which trilled in happy song high into the air to then plummet down and perch on a fence post or drop to the ground where in spring it would have its secretive nest and babies. We also had our own pets of course, a spaniel with the unoriginal name of Brownie, and a large tailless tabby called Tarzan, the appendage having been lost in an accident. Our front lawn was surrounded by a hedge with a gate. Father, who worked on the Railways at
The Avondale Historical Journal Official Publication of the
Volume 2 Issue 11
 Page 2
Newmarket and then Otahuhu always came home with little titbits if not for us at least for the animals and each day at coming home time the cat would sit on the gate post from where it had a view down Tiverton Road, and the dog would sit patiently at the foot. Im-mediately the cat spied father coming up the hill it would leap down and both animals would scamper down the road to meet the benefactor with his offer-ings. Saturday was half day and the animals would take up sentry at midday. The point is, are animals smarter than what we credit them for or did they sit there midday during the week when we were not around to note what they were up to?
 
In the early twenties, following Tommy Galton’s horse-drawn coach service, feeder buses ran between Blockhouse Bay and Mount Albert, and then when the tram lines were extended, to Avondale. Tiverton Road was within walking distance of the trams and train, be-side which by walking we saved the bus fare. In those days it was taken for granted that legs were made for walking or more particularly running, and that small boys were designed for running errands. Consequently Mother thought nothing as soon as we had arrived home from Avondale School of sending us back to the shops for provisions or with messages. Millichens the butcher at Richardson Road, Hellabies at the bottom of St Judes Street, Atkinson’s drapery on the opposite corner, Amos the grocer close by, and the Post Office in the old hotel on the other side of the road. Every year at time of birth Topsy the cow would suf-fer the effects of milk fever so post haste we would be sent to Mr Lambert the veterinarian who lived where now are the premises of Pak and Save. Needless to say he would come without delay with his special drench recipe and I later came to the conclusion, in view of the cow’s rapid recovery and the after treatment cele-brations with my father that the potion was laced with a drop of additional fortification. Anything could be made into some liquid posing as wine, from parsnips to plums and smells emanating from the shed were po-tent. It all helped to keep the fee to a minimum I gather and Mr Lambert would be sent on his way heavier in pocket and glowing in countenance.
 
My Mother on the other hand was full of ideas on how to keep small boys occupied, and the livestock took precedence over our own needs. The chooks had to be fed and the eggs collected and the cow milked, by hand of course, and the milk poured into settling pans
The Past RecalledThe Past RecalledThe Past RecalledThe Past Recalled
by Mr. Rich Afford by Mr. Rich Afford by Mr. Rich Afford by Mr. Rich Afford 
 
(member, Avondale-Waterview Historical Society)
Continuing from the first chapter published in the last issue.
 
The Avondale Historical Journal
Official Publication of the
Volume 2 Issue 11
 Page 3
so that the cream could be later skimmed off and butter made. It was salted to taste and moulded with butter pats into all manner of shapes and my favourite were little round balls, a far cry in taste and shape from the block of grease which passes as butter today. Now father was a born wag and would often times drive mother to distraction with his nonsense, and we all fell victim not only on the 1
st
 April. And indeed even our friends were not immune either. Now we had very dear friends who lived in Margate Street at the point where to-day it intersects with Whitney Street, a little cottage on the edge of open fields and a long walk from Avondale station. Whitney Street was unformed with a rugged track weaving through a wilderness of gorse, another route for us to nego-tiate and deliver messages. Archie and father always walked home together from the station, father usually with his Gladstone bag heavy with its assorted contents. Archie was a Scot and an inveterate talker and when they had reached the bottom of the rise in Blockhouse Bay Road just beyond Methuen Road, father would ask Archie to hold his bag whilst he prepared and lit up his pipe. This operation would take them up to the top of the rise at New Windsor Road when father would thank Archie and take his bag back. Dad could never resist the temptation to extend his luck and one evening he let Archie carry the bag all the way to Tiverton Road before he took it back and thanked Archie, at which point Archie naturally woke up to him-self. Well the air was filled with colourful language and never again did Archie carry my father’s bag, pipe or no pipe. In the nature of true friends it made not a whit of dif-ference to relationships which continued as usual although with no bag favour given.
 
To be continued.
The Past Recalled (continued)
In the first place, we could have been living in
Te Kotuitanga
, "the dovetailing" (from an attack on canoe-builders up by one of the headwater creeks lead-ing toward the Whau Creek itself). But we weren't. Pity, really. Such a musical-sounding name.
 
By 1840, Avondale was considered part of the
Whau dis-trict
, or
Te Whau,
the greater catchment to the creek of the same name from Titirangi (indeed, Henderson) through to Mt Roskill's lowlands. At various times in the 1850s, the area was spelled in local authority documentation as “Wao” and “Wahu”.
 
From 1865 onward, however, the name
Whau Village
was
 
becoming cumbersome. Not only was it a Maori name that, to this day, has opinion polarised as to pronunciation, but once the Lunatic Asylum was built down the road by the Oakley Creek, going "down to the Whau" took on whole new connotations. None of which which helped one of the district's oldest commercial enterprises -- land selling. The name “
Greytown
” was used up to the mid 1880s as a real estate land sales term. Other names for the locale used by some residents when recording where they lived were
Windsor
 and
Windsor-Whau.
 (This placename survives to this day in the street name New Windsor Road, and was the old name for Wingate Street in central Avondale).
 
So, where did "
Avondale
" come from?
 
Members of the Bollard family have shown a map to me of County Wicklow, which show the rivers Avonbeg, Avon-more and Avondale near where John Bollard (in 1882, when the name change was gazetted, he was Chairman of the Whau Highway District Board) was born in Coan, known as the “Meeting of the Waters” (a picturesque term that Bollard, as a land agent, would have been unlikely to miss as a future selling point to settlers), and the conflu-ence known as “Avondale Demesne” (domain). I feel there is little doubt that John Bollard named Avondale the little nineteenth century village in Auckland after placenames in his own home Irish county.
 
An often-cited theory that “Avondale” was the choice in honour of the then eldest son Edward Prince of Wales (Queen Victoria’s son who became Edward VII in 1901) is doubtful. Prince Albert-Victor was created Duke of Cla-rence and Avondale on May 24th, 1890 – almost eight years after the name-change proclamation.
 
The path to “Avondale” took 21 months. On 8 Septem-ber 1880, “Mr Buchanan proposed and Mr Aicken sec-onded that the name of this Highway District, in the opin-ion of this Board, should be changed to that of
Riversdale Highway District
.
 
On 11 November 1880, the Chairman stated that he had received Mr Hesketh’s opinion that the Gover-nor’s Proclamation is sufficient to change the name of the Township, and the matter was referred to the up-coming Annual Ratepayers Meeting.
 
At that meeting, 28 July 1881,
“Mr Buchanan moved, sec-onded by Mr Bollard that the name of the District be changed.”
However, there was dissent.
“Mr Owen pro- posed, seconded by Mr Jones, that the name be not changed. This amendment was put and lost, after which motion put and carried.”
 
(continued next page)
And then, there is nothing further in the minutes for over six months, until 8 February 1882.
”Mr Buchanan pro- poses, and Mr Thomas seconded that immediate steps be
What’s in a Name?

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