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Avondale Historical Journal No. 52

Avondale Historical Journal No. 52

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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 Feb 14, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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March—April 2010

Volume 9 Issue 52

The Avondale Historical Journal
Official Publication of the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society Incorporated

Dan Robertson’s Cart, c.1910-1919

In December last year, I emptied my letterbox on the way to the railway station, and noticed an envelope in the small bundle from AWHS member Patricia Norton. With time to spare at the station, I set about opening the envelope to see what was inside. I found to my immense delight, along with a photo of Dooley Jamieson’s butcher’s van, the above image. Now, this has been the subject of a hunt for nearly 30 years. In the early 1980s, a Mrs Mould donated the image at right to the Avondale Community Library. The Avondale History Group, while compiling Challenge of the Whau, hoped a copy of the photo would come out of their research, but to no avail; and I published the image from the library in the first issue of this Journal, back in September 2001. There is still questions about the image (Patricia says it may be Dooley Jamieson in the cart. If so, he started out working for Dan Robertson the baker, who operated at Avondale c.19101919). The house, by the way, is that of the Collins family. More on this in a later issue.

Next meeting of the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society: Saturday, 3 April 2010, 2.30 pm Lion’s Hall, corner Blockhouse Bay Road and Great North Road

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Volume 9 Issue 52 Page 2

Fiery End to Avondale’s Bus Depot
by Lisa J Truttman
On 3 December 2009, what was once Avondale’s depot for the Transport Bus Company burned. Over following days, the property owners demolished the remains. Here’s the story of the site. In 1865, John Shedden Adam and his surviving sister Margaret engaged John Buchanan as their agent for the sale of their land at Avondale, the Windsor Estate. Part of this sale was the triangular site between Wingate Street (formerly Windsor, then Old Windsor Road) and Great North Road. In 1866, the Adams sold Lots 40 to 47 to William McLeod (an engineer) of Henderson Mill for ₤55 2/6. William McLeod moved to Wanganui by October 1866 and borrowed ₤28 as mortgage on the property from his brother John. John McLeod died in April 1869, and his widow Christina claimed the site after William defaulted on the mortgage by 1877. In September 1879, Christina sold the property for ₤100 to hotelkeeper Robert Dakin. Dakin had purchased the Whau Hotel just five months before, and was to remain its owner for the next nine years. In February 1884, he sold the Wingate/Great North Road site to the Northern Omnibus Company for ₤250. This included two adjoining lots further along Wingate Street purchased by Dakin in 1881. The Northern Omnibus Company was formed in March 1883, from a number of settlers in Avondale and Mt Albert who sought a “competent omnibus service” between their districts and the city. The company formed with 4000 shares of ₤1 each. Robert Dakin was listed (name misspelled “Daykin”) on the initial prospectus advertised in the newspapers. The new company intended to provide services for not only the New North Road route, but also Great North Road via Arch Hill and Pt Chevalier. Avondale was to be the terminus, and stables erected on a suitable piece of land. A timetable was advertised by July 1884, but the company failed to make a profit. In August 1884, the company took out a mortgage from Robert Dakin totalling ₤530, with a condition that the company maintain insurance for all buildings erected or to be erected. This mortgage was cleared on the same day in April 1886 when the company sold the site to produce merchant (later Takapuna and Epsom bus proprietor) William Paterson for ₤558. It is possible, therefore, that a stable dating from 1884 existed on the site. By May 1887, Paterson advertised a horse bus service from the city via Mt Albert to Avondale. The horse-bus stable at Avondale was considerably large, as indicated by the descriptions offered by the newspapers when it burned down in October 1898. A ‘bus stable at Avondale owned by Messrs Patterson and Co. was destroyed by fire early this morning. The outbreak was discovered about five a.m. by Edgar Wm. Ward,

Paterson horse bus on Queen Street. Detail from photo ref 7-A1715, courtesy Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland City Library

a settler living about four hundred yards from the stables. He at once ran to the scene and roused the inmates, three bus drivers named Charles Lake, Alfred Ward and James Benton, who slept on the premises. They had just sufficient time to remove the buses and horses (numbering about 50) and harness from the building. Everything else in the stables was completely destroyed, and the building burned to the ground. How the fire arose is not known. John Forsyth, a bus driver in the employ of Messrs Patterson, passed the stables between 3 and 4 a.m., and saw no sign of fire then. The stables were insured for ₤400 in the New Zealand office, and were valued at ₤600. Forage and effects to the value of ₤100 were lost in the fire. (Star) The stables were soon rebuilt; they feature in a photograph published in the NZ Graphic, 21 April 1900. William Paterson died in August 1905. The death of Mr. Wm. Paterson, founder of the firm of W. Paterson and Co., ‘bus proprietors, occurred yesterday. The late Mr. Paterson, who was a native of East Kilbryde, Scotland, was 62 years of age, and came to Auckland in the early sixties. ... Here he laid the foundation of a most successful business as a ‘bus and cab proprietor, with branches at Auckland, Mount Roskill, Mount Eden, Avondale, Devonport, and Rotorua. He was at one time proprietor of the horse tramcars, at the same time carrying on his grain and produce business. He took a keen interest in politics, and followed the various political changes of his day with close attention, although he sought no public office. He was a benevolent man, but carefully concealed from the public gaze his many charitable acts. (Herald) Many of his properties, which included the Avondale site, were inherited by his daughter Mary Ann Paterson. By 1908 it was a livery stable operated first by James Farrar, then Anderson Brothers from c.1910, and the base for Andrews & Co from c.1918. At some point the property was leased to Charles Theodore Pooley, a local road

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soon a mass of flames. Then the Mt Albert brigade arrived, and, combining with the Avondale men, attention was diverted to a cottage next to Mr. Pooley’s house. Beyond being scorched the cottage suffered no damage. Mr. Tierney was a heavy loser, the whole of the contents of the house, which were uninsured, being destroyed. Neighbours quickly came to the assistance of Mr. Tierney, his wife, and the children, and provided shelter for the night. By a stroke of good fortune a motor bus which had just been built, and was expected yesterday at the garage, did not arrive, and another bus, which had only completed the last run from the city to Avondale, instead of being turned into the garage, was outside. Another, a 24-seater, was pushed to a place of safety by two employees, who were on the premises. The fire burned fiercely and the heat was terrific and forced the spectators to watch the proceedings from a respectable distance. The quantities of benzene on the premises blew up with loud reports, but all of these were eclipsed when the roof crashed. The summoning of the Mount Albert brigade soon became an urgent necessity, and to its efforts are attributed the saving of the second house. The Avondale brigade worked heroically, but with its limited equipment could not cope with the fire. There were a number of horse boxes on the town side of the garage, and two racehorses were housed there. They were liberated without injury. The losses are fairly heavy, the biggest being sustained by [General] Omnibus Company, the principals of which are Messrs E. R. Alexander and G. R. Horrocks. Besides the losses on vehicles, about ₤200 worth of tools and accessories, and ₤70 worth of tyres, were destroyed. Some of the
The remains of the buildings on Great North Road. Photo taken 4 December 2009, before total demolition.

contractor. Pooley had the stables converted to a motor garage for a member of his family, Percy Keen, by c.1920. Whether the Paterson stable had been demolished in the early 1920s to accommodate the General Omnibus Company (GOC) bus depot and garage which was destroyed in 1924 has yet to be determined. An outbreak of fire, which completely destroyed a motor garage, six motor vehicles, including two passenger motor buses, and a six-roomed dwelling occurred at Avondale shortly after 11 o’clock last night. The scene of the fire was a site upon which a few years ago Patterson’s stables were located, but the stables had been demolished and a motor garage, measuring 60ft by 129ft, of corrugated iron, had been erected. Last night the garage contained seven vehicles, and of these a 40-seater Guy motor chara-banc, valued at ₤700, and a 20-seater Ford char-abanc, valued at ₤600, were completely destroyed. The Ford motor bus was insured, but not so the Guy. These were the property of the General Omnibus Company. Other vehicles destroyed were two motor-lorries owned by Mr. W.R.T. Leighton, contractor, of Henderson, and Mr. C.T. Pooley, also a six-cylinder Cleveland car, owned by Constable Douglas, of Avondale, valued at ₤550, and a two-seater Ford owned by the General Omnibus Company. Two wooden motor bus tops, the property of Mr. McCarthy and Mr. B. Mason, were also burned. About 12ft away from the garage was a six-roomed house occupied by Mr. L. Tierney, hairdresser, and owned by Mr. Pooley. When it became evident that the garage was doomed the Avondale volunteer fire brigade arrived, all efforts were concentrated in an endeavour to save the house, as it was apparent that nothing could be done to save the garage or contents. A high wind, however, frustrated the efforts of the brigade, and the house was

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refit, up until the 1980s.) Something like a bus depot garage may have been erected on the western side of the site in the late 1920s, but this remains undetermined. In 1928, Auckland City Council valuation records simply describe the site, Lots 45 and 46 of Allotment 13, as an allotment. The General Omnibus Company continued on until 1926 when the firm was taken over by the Mount Eden Bus Company and put into liquidation. In turn, Auckland City Council, then operating the Auckland electric trams system, took over the Mount Eden bus company on July 1927, and operated buses from Avondale for a time as a feeder service for the tram lines. This service from Avondale was taken over by the Auckland Transport Board from 1929. Three Board employees established Transport Bus Services in 1933, and became contractors for feeder services based at Avondale from 10 October of that year. Thomas Henry Bonnett, Joseph Bell and Rupert Leslie Fenton, described as motor mechanics, became contractors to the Board under the terms of the Auckland Transport Empowering Act 1934. Pooley formally leased the site of the bus depot to Bonnett, Bell and Fenton from 8 October 1936 until 31 March 1943, then to Transport Bus Services Limited for 10 years from 18 April 1945. At that point, TBS had become a limited liability company from 1944, and had obtained West Auckland route licenses from the Auckland Bus Company in New Lynn. This, however, restricted the company only to West Auckland; by 1953 they lost profitability and ceased operations by the following year. The TBS lease (now with the executors of Pooley’s estate, Albert Crum and John Neale Bethell from 1949), was transferred over to Broadbent’s Hardware Limited in 1955, for a term of 15 years. The site’s history as part of Avondale’s public transport connections was over.

An Avondale-bound horse-bus, at the corner of Wellesley and Queen Streets, 1880s. Photo ref. 7-A4374, courtesy Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland City Library.

insurances are: Mr. Leighton’s lorry, ₤1250 with the South British Company; General Omnibus Company’s Ford ‘bus, with the New Zealand Company for ₤300; Constable Douglas’ car, with the Queensland Company for ₤200. The telegraph lines connecting Avondale and Helensville, running in front of the garage, were affected by the fierce heat, and fell to the road. One of the posts caught fire, but was saved. The service was disorganised, but was repaired this morning. (Star) Pooley purchased the site outright from Mary Paterson in 1925. In January 1926, a complaint was made to the Avondale Borough Council regarding the “unsightly appearance of the debris lying on the site of the livery stables which were burnt down.” The Borough Council served notice on Pooley to remove a remaining small shed and clean up the rubbish on the section. In 1928, Pooley leased part of the eastern tip of the site to Albert Graven, and this became a service station (remaining so, through a 1970s

The Avondale Historical Journal
Published by: the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society Inc. Editor: Lisa J. Truttman Society contact: 19 Methuen Road, Avondale, Auckland 0600 Phone: (09) 828-8494, 027 4040 804 email: historian@avondale.org.nz Society information: Website: http://sites.google.com/site/avondalehistory/ Subscriptions: $10 individual $15 couple/family $30 corporate

Copies of Avondale Historical Journal and AWHS Newsletter produced for us by Words Incorporated, 557 Blockhouse Bay Road, Blockhouse Bay. The Society and AHJ editorial staff thank

Avondale Business Association
for their continued support and sponsorship of this publication.

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