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Avondale Historical Journal 65

Avondale Historical Journal 65

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Published by Lisa Truttman
Journal of the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society, Auckland, New Zealand
Journal of the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society, Auckland, New Zealand

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Lisa Truttman on May 09, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/11/2013

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Back in February this year, the owner of 7 Henry Street, also known as “Avonlea”, invited me to come around andview her house, a transitional villa, then about to come up for sale. This house had intrigued those of us in theSociety who were out completing the Roberton Study in the middle of the last decade. I was delighted to take up theowner’s offer of a look inside.
 
To me, this house remains a bit of a mystery. Sale advertisementsdated it to 1910 (there is dark panelling in one of the rooms) — yetthe ceilings inside have the criss-crossed beam ceilings of thebungalow style from the 1920s. Some of the architraves and even theframing around the front leadlight decoration (see next page) is madefrom Douglas Fir timber according to the owner, which apparentlydidn't come into common use until the 1940s. Why, also, would adouble-bay with return verandah villa be placed on a strip property inthe middle of a residential block, with one bay always facing a hedge?
The AvondaleHistorical Journal
 
May-June 2012
Volume 11 Issue 65
Official Publication of the Avondale-Waterview Historical  Society Incorporated 
 
Next meeting of theAvondale-WaterviewHistorical Society:Saturday, 2 June 2012,2.30 pmSt Ninian’s Church
St Georges Road, Avondale(opp. Hollywood Cinema)
 
 No 7 Henry Street: “Avonlea” 
continued overleaf 
 
The property was once part of Henry Walton’s farmestate, subdivided originally in the 1880s, but sold byhis agent John Roberton with some difficulty. Section27 of that estate was sold eventually in 1901 to theDavis family. In 1911, Miss Magdalen Davis, whoapparently lived at No. 15 Henry Street, subdivided theremainder of the section into strips.
 
Two of the strips eventually became Henry StreetReserve (see next page) from the early 1950s (ArthurHadley Button, Avondale postman, had one which ap-pears to have been used for two glasshouses by 1940).These parts of the Davis subdivision were neverresidential. 7 Henry Street, however, was different.
 
Magdalen Davis sold the site (Lot 4 of 27) to a boiler-maker in Avondale named Matthew William Nevillefor £100. This price doesn’t look like enough toinclude both a quarter-acre section
and 
a fine double-bay transitional villa. Determining any rateable valueindicators to try to determine when the value of theproperty may have moved upward after the building of a residence isn’t helped by the Avondale Road Board’svaluer becoming confused as to the legal description(Lot 4, now 7 Henry Street, often referred to in the ratesrecords as Lot 1, which was Miss Davis’ property).
 
In 1913, Neville is recorded in the Board’s rates list ashaving “Lot 1” of 27 with a rateable value of £120. Stillnot much — it may have been either bare land, or witha small structure on it.
 
In 1916, Neville, by then living in New Lynn, enteredinto a sale agreement with engineer Richard Cooke for£135. Still not a lot of money, but the agreement does
The Avondale Historical Journal 
Volume 11 Issue 65
 Page 2
state “in the event of any of the buildings upon the saidland being damaged or destroyed by fire prior to thecompletion of the purchase the amount receivable underany policy of insurance on the said buildings shall beapplied as part payment of the purchase money or inreinstating the buildings at the option of the Vendor.”
 
Later that year, in December, Cooke purchased anotherpiece of land elsewhere for £305 plus the land at HenryStreet, transferring the remainder of the sales agreementbalance owed to Neville (£75) to a boot clicker namedLeonard James Gribble. Gribble was, at the time,serving as a Corporal with the NZ Expeditionary Force,and had already left the country in July that year. Hedied in Ypres, Belgium, 4 October 1917, aged 32. Hisestate passed almost immediately to the Public Trust.
 
The Avondale Historical Journal 
Volume 11 Issue 65
 Page 3
Council wished to acquire the site, and then transferredthe land to the Council in November 1948.
 
Lot 3 (No 9 Henry Street, where the glasshouses oncestood) in 1947 was owned by a widow named MargaretCatherine Jones, who with her husband James AlfredFisher Jones had owned a small goods business inAvondale. She was extremely upset at the news of thepending compulsory acquisition of her property, andexpressed this through a letter from her lawyer to theTown Clerk. But, the City Engineer at the time wasadamant: the area was required for a children’s play-ground “of which there are none in this part of thedistrict.” O’Sullivan’s strip would not be enough. MrsJones’ land was thus gazetted by proclamation to betaken as a recreation ground on 31 August 1950.
 Lisa J Truttman
The Public Trustee sold the Henry St property to aretired blacksmith living in Avondale’s New WindsorRoad, John William Dickins, for £120 in October 1920.Dickins had run his business in Chancery Street inAuckland from c.1891, then at the corner of Albert andDurham Street from 1901, then Swanson Street from1903. By c.1914 he was retired and living in WolvertonStreet, then in New Windsor Road when the rates re-cords for 1920 included him. By 1923 he owned landnot only at 7 Henry Street, but also on Walsall,Roberton, Great North and St Georges Roads in thedistrict. I would say it was Dickins who had “Avonlea”either built on the site — or (an idea that will probablyremain unproven) shifted onto the site from anotherpart of Auckland, converting it to transitional form.Backing this up is that Miss Davis’ property at Lot 1(where she lived, and where a house did exist) had arateable value of £340 in 1920, compared with Lot 4 at£125.
 
If Dickins was the originator, he had the house on siteand complete before the 1927 amalgamation of Avondale with Auckland City, as the valuers of thatcouncil noticed nothing added to the property up to atleast 1945. In that year, they estimated the house’s ageas being 28 years old (1917). I think they were out byaround 3 years.
 
Dickins died in 1939, and eventually the property wastransferred to his widow, Mary Elizabeth. In 1941, shesold the property to retired farmers Alfred JosephMonoyer and his wife Marie Louise. On the death of his wife, Alfred Monoyer sold the property to carpenterRobert Horace Weeks in 1945. The Weeks (Robert andhis wife Anne Eileen) lived there together until 1963,then Anne Weeks remained there alone after his deathuntil selling the property in 1989. So, if the Douglas firinterior timber work dates from the 1940s, RobertWeeks might have been responsible.
 
Henry Street Reserve
 
While I was looking into the records for 7 Henry Street,I came across information on the origins of the adjoin-ing Henry Street Reserve.In 1946, Auckland City Council obtained a £145,000loan to acquire and develop around 300 acres of land intotal on which to develop parks and reserves in the city.One of these reserves is that at Henry Street, intendedfor a playground area, as part of a Council plan called“Area 32”. In order to do this, the council took overLots 2 and 3 of Miss Magdalen Davis’ subdivision.Lot 2 (No 11 Henry Street) in 1931 was owned by afarmer in Opanake named Daniel Denis O’Sullivan,and hadn’t really been developed in any major way.When O’Sullivan died in 1947, the family asked if 
 HMS Wolverine in harbour. From Wikipedia.
Remnants of a
Wolverine
 
Up until the late 1960s to early 1970s, part of theAvondale landscape included a wooden shed built byJ J Craig in the late 1890s at his brickworks on St GeorgesRoad, now known most commonly as Glenburn. In thosedays, if a supply of teak and oak timbers came floatinginto Auckland harbour and was there for the salvaging,why not take advantage of it, buy a stack of it, and thenreuse it to increase output in what was then Auckland’slargest brick and pipe making operation?
 
The timbers came from a Royal Navy full-rigged corvettenamed
Wolverine
, launched in 1863. It was built from acomposite structure of teak and oak planking, and waslaunched right when steam was rapidly replacing sail asthe motive power for ships. As such, although she was asailing ship, she also had a steam engine aboard.
 
The ship served in both the West Indies and Australasia. In1893, the aged
Wolverine
was retired by the Royal Navyand sold for £2200 to one G Ellison. Under her new own-ership, she was converted to a cargo ship, intended toconvey coal, tallow and copra from Australia and the south

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