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Avondale Historical Journal 66

Avondale Historical Journal 66

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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 Jul 09, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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A tram at the corner of Karangahape Road and Symonds Street, either late 1940s orduring the 1950s down to when trams were withdrawn in 1956. It stopped outsidethe Caledonian Hotel (itself built c.1870, and demolished1980). Across the road onSymonds Street can be seenthe Edwardian-era tram stoploos near the entrance toGrafton Bridge.
The tram had left the city,come up Queen Street (past theTown Hall), then turned left into Karangahape Road, and rightinto Symonds Street, heading towards New North Road andKingsland, Morningside, Mt Albert and Avondale.
Image: a postcard purchased through TradeMe.
The AvondaleHistorical Journal
July-August 2012
Volume 11 Issue 66
Official Publication of the Avondale-Waterview Historical  Society Incorporated 
Next meeting of theAvondale-WaterviewHistorical Society:Saturday, 4 August 2012,2.30 pmSt Ninian’s Church
St Georges Road, Avondale(opp. Hollywood Cinema)
Taking the tram home to Avondale
The Avondale Historical Journal 
Volume 11 Issue 66
 Page 2
Avondale CollegeAvondale Intermediate
H            o        l            l                y          S            t           r        e        e        t           
 V i c t o r  S t r e e t 
R   o  s  e  b  a  n  k   R   o  a  d    
I went to Avondale Intermediate from 1975-1976. Whathas always struck me is that the Intermediate is in theshadow of its larger neighbour — it hasn’t even had thechance, since 1945 (same year the College started) topull together a published school history. Instead, mostof what is known of the school’s story is scatteredamong files at Archives New Zealand (where much of the information in this article came from), newspapercuttings, and what past pupils may or may not remem-ber. I hope that situation changes soon.
Surprisingly to me, what we know as Avondale Collegewas not initially intended to become a secondary schoolat all when that part of the facility was designed andbuilt during World War II as the American forceshospital — the Government’s intention had been tohave a
 primary school 
along with an intermediateschool on the site. This was announced in early June1944, as the Americans were vacating the premises, andplans for peacetime use of the Holly-Victor-Rosebank Road site were being worked out.
The conversion of the American Hospital at Rosebank  Road, Avondale, into two schools —one primary and one intermediate —should soon be an accomplished  fact, according to a statement made to-day by thechairman of the Auckland Education Board, Mr W J Campbell.
 Mr Campbell said the report that the hospital wasbeing vacated, together with a telegram received by the Mayor, Mr Allum, concerning the houses on the prop-erty erected for staff quarters for the hospital, wereindications that the property would be handed over tothe board in the near future.
School accommodation was urgently needed at  Avondale, he said. This was realised when the hospitalwas designed, the plans being drawn with a view to thespeedy conversion of the buildings into schools themoment they were made available.
"The construction of the hospital on lines for an easychange-over to schools showed vision on the part of theGovernment and no doubt in the long run will save timeand a large sum of money in the construction of separate schools," said Mr. Campbell. "When the deci-sion was made the promise was given that there should be two schools,
 one primary and one intermediate
 , and the proposal was eminently satisfactory to the board."
 Mr Campbell said the present school on the main road,close to the railway line at Avondale, was out of date inevery respect. It was attended by between 600 and 700children. Its locality was dangerous, and the playingarea was inadequate. Residents of the district would bethrilled at the prospect of the new schools being
Avondale Intermediate—strugglingfor space (1945-1967)
The Avondale Historical Journal 
Volume 11 Issue 66
 Page 3
the Board in 1951 to complete the grounds at AvondaleCollege – but this was not to include the Intermediate.
July 1951 – School Committee asked for an assemblyhall to be built at the school “such as that built atPasadena Intermediate School”, the start of a 15-yeareffort to secure the addition. Up to this point, theCollege and Intermediate shared the College’s hall andgymnasium, but Avondale College rolls were rising too.Use of the existing facilities had been “practicallydenied to the School,” according to Mr Gair.
Apparently, Mr Gair expressed strong opinions to theEducation Board as to their lack of response to theSchool’s accommodation needs. In August 1951, theBoard responded that they were well aware of theaccommodation crisis, and that they had four new inter-mediate schools underway at that time, one of which,Wesley Intermediate, was designed to take up enrol-ments from Owairaka, Blockhouse Bay and possiblyNew Lynn, all areas served by Avondale’s intermediateschool. Another school was planned in the future forKelston, and “another one to replace the presentAvondale Intermediate … so as to ultimately free upthe whole of the present ground for the College.”Where this would have been, the files didn’t say.
Despite all this, in January 1952, the Headmaster againwrote to the Board, concerned that the rolls would riseby two sub-grades that year.
In 1954, with the coming of a separate controlling bodyfor the College, the Education Board took steps to try toclarify the boundary between the two schools, so thateach committee could plan their own development. Areport was prepared.
“The Board owns title to 11¾ acres which in the mainis … occupied by the Avondale Intermediate School.The combined playing fields are allocated between thecollege and the Intermediate School …The North end of the 11¾ acres has on it, roughly on the median line, theold boiler room building and beyond this an undevel-oped area which includes the present rifle range for theCollege.”
The College apparently considered using therifle range area as a site for their swimming pool. In theend, the Intermediate site was set at 10½ acres, 4 of which were developed with buildings.
In March 1957, the query was raised by the school as towhether the Armoury, “situated in the waste areabehind the power house” was the responsibility of theCollege, the Intermediate, or some other body ordepartment. The Board responded that the Armourywas the responsibility of the Army (Works Dept.)Questions then arose in 1958 as to whether the oldboiler house was within the Intermediate grounds or theCollege’s. The Board responded that while theEducation Department intended constructing a bulk store behind the boiler house with the Intermediate
occupied at an early date. They had been looking forward to the change-over ever since it was first sug-gested some months ago that the hospital was to bevacated."From my knowledge of the buildings plans were in alarge measure those of the board—l do not think it willtake long to make the change over." said Mr. Campbell."The accommodation provided under the scheme is for some 600 or 700 pupils in the primary school and 500in the intermediate school. The 11 acres in the block will provide ample playing grounds for both schools.There is urgent need for the schools to be opened."
(Auckland Star 14 June 1944)
By the end of that same month, however, the plans hadchanged. The new primary school (perhaps what wouldhave been called Rosebank Primary?) was now destinedto be a Junior Technical High School, feeding in toSeddon Memorial Tech. The education district, whichincluded West Auckland, Blockhouse Bay andOwairaka then, still needed an intermediate school —so Avondale Intermediate came to be, at the edge of the facility transformed from medical to educationalpurposes. Almost always a bit of an “odd one out”.Here is something of what the Archives NZ files cantell us about the development of the school, from beingthe easternmost end of the American Hospital buildingsfrom World War II, to fairly well the bounds of theschool today. Recently, there has been considerablemodernisation — I have a hard time recognising theplace where I once learned and played.
The first document found came from March 1948, justover two years since Standards 5 and 6 at AvondalePrimary were transferred to the new school off HollyStreet. The secretary of the School Committee (onceagain) expressed the need to the Education Board forthe school to have a science lab and dental clinic. TheBoard noted that providing a “tropical hut” for lab pur-poses might be an answer and said they needed to waitfor an answer from the Health Dept re the dental clinic.(There was a clinic by the time I went there, as I recall.)
The roll in 1948 was 596, and was expected to rise to687, which entitled the school to 18 classrooms and 18teachers in general subjects (in 1948, the school had 14classrooms). The Board responded promising a doubleclassroom pre-fab building, along with a new pre-fabbuilding (a set of 50 just built), so that the school wouldhave three extra rooms.
The school’s playing area had been sown around 1944-1945 with grass seed, as Headmaster Mr Gair wouldlater describe it in 1950, on “more or less bare clay.”He referred to the Intermediate as being “in a state of beggary,” which, judging from the files, wasn’t farfrom the truth. He asked the Board for 100 yards of top-soil – this was declined. A grant was later provided by

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