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Terminus 3 Mattsons Flat

Terminus 3 Mattsons Flat

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Published by Lisa Truttman
The quarries along the northern coastline of the mouth of Oakley Creek
The quarries along the northern coastline of the mouth of Oakley Creek

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Lisa Truttman on Nov 03, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/03/2013

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Terminus: Lives at themouth of Te Auaunga(Oakley Creek)
Part 3: Mattson’s Flat
Lisa J Truttman
Updated 30 July 2012
 
For £134 15/-, the value of his land elsewhere offered in exchange, George Frederick Russell residing at the Hokianga purchased the Crown Grant title for 40 acres of landin 1845, part of what was to become part of Pt Chevalier from the 1860s – Allotment19, of the parish of Titirangi. In the 1850s, early survey plans described the propertyas comprised of “subsoil argillaceous clay” towards the Pt Chevalier Road, with a“substratum” of scoria closer to the creek.
1
By 1871, an Auckland shipwright namedAlexander Cromwell held the title to Allotment 19, which he sold to a baker namedJohn Mattson in 1874.
2
From that point on, this part of the northern shore of theOakley Creek would be called “Mattson’s Flat” by locals.Little is known about Mattson. He may have built a farmhouse around the time of hispurchase from Cromwell, sited close to the end of Alberta Street.
3
The site is nowcompletely obliterated by the motorway interchange. In February 1880 he leased atleast part of his property to a Pt Chevalier farmer named George J Auger.
4
The scorialands closer to the Oakley Creek may have been sub-let by Auger to the GarrettBrothers as a place for their tan pits and to access the freshwater spring running acrossthe property, but as referred to earlier no record of this arrangement has been found.From 1885-1886, Mattson began to subdivide his 49 acre property, first selling to abuilder named Robert Horsley, then to Richard Henry Chester.
5
This was the“Springside” estate sale, which led to the establishment of both Morton (Montrose)Street and Albert (Alberta) Street. According an auction plan drawn up by surveyorsW F Hammond & Son at the time,
6
not only is the freshwater spring shown (as astream arching across the bottom of Allotment 19), but the words “stone quarry”appear, at the location of the later Waitemata County Council quarry (see below).Mattson’s scoria grounds, therefore, were being worked to some extent as at the mid-1880s. The first known quarrying may have been that in January 1879 by MessrsBrewin, Davison, Burke and Reed, along with Josiah Martin when a shaft was sunk 20 feet in a bed of lava
“close to Oakley Creek, for the purpose of getting out stone for the new wing of the Asylum.”
The explosion was set off with electricity, and
“theearth was upheaved in huge blocks over the charge, forming a crater about 30 feet indiameter, and the solid rock was rent in all directions to a radius of 100 feet, large portions of the stone wall being thrown down.”
 
7
The location of the quarry was neverdescribed, neither on the Asylum grounds nor those close to the Gittos tannery near
 
today’s Phyllis Reserve. It is possible therefore that this was the first report of quarrying along the north coast of the Oakley Creek.The story of Mattson’s property brings up a historical coincidence. The only timeanyone by the name of Garrett is referred to on Mattson’s title documents is whenMattson refinanced an existing mortgage he had with the estate of one Philip Wrightliving in London by taking out another in 1887 with a solicitor named Thomas Halland a merchant named Robert Garrett.
8
However, in a quirk of history, this RobertGarrett was neither the Robert Garrett who operated the tannery and Oakleigh Farm just across the creek from Mattson’s Flat, nor does he appear to have been closelyrelated to the Garrett Brothers. This Robert Garrett, a kauri gum dealer, died 1 April1894, shooting himself in the head at his residence in Otahuhu. He arrived inAuckland in 1880, years after the Garrett Brothers, but according to his obituary didhave some interest in the Avondale Jockey Club which had formed just five yearsbefore.
9
 John Mattson died in May 1892, and the Pt Chevalier property which remained afterthe 1885-86 sales passed to Herman Mattson and a farmer from Pakuranga namedAlexander Bell. A Henry Mattson was to later serve as the roading contractor for thePt Chevalier Road Board;
10
it isn’t hard to see that he wouldn’t have had to go veryfar for the raw materials of his trade.In 1904, Mr H Mattson of Pt Chevalier wanted to build a bridge across the OakleyCreek. He wrote to the Auckland Harbour Board on 26 June; his letter was read at theBoard’s 5 July meeting, where it was resolved
“The Mr Mattson be requested to forward details of bridge, and plan showing locality where same is proposed to beerected.”
 
11
Mattson responded on 14 July, and his information was referred to theHarbour Board’s Works and Tariff Committee, with the request for a report from theBoard’s engineer.
12
This committee discussed Mattson’s bridge application on 28July and agreed
“That permission to erect bridge be granted, in terms of Engineer’sreport, and upon the condition that such bridge shall be removed upon Mr Mattsonreceiving three months’ notice to that effect.”
 
13
This was approved by the fullHarbour Board meeting on 2 August 1904.

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