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ewsletter for the Point Chevalier Historical Society
o. 25, July 2012


In August 1944, the first tenants moved into the units at the Western Springs Transit Camp, a facility converted from being an American military rest camp (first of the US military camps in Auckland in 1942). There were ultimately two transit camps at Western Springs, the second set up soon after the first. While the first camp closed at the end of the 1950s and became part of the Auckland Zoo property by the early 1960s, the second part, along Motions Road reaching to nearly the corner with Great North Road, remained in use for emergency housing until 1978. There is no marker, plaque or interpretive sign commemorating Auckland’s first transit housing camp on the site. Which Calendar is a shame, considering how this was an important part of our Meetings—2012 city’s social history. 23 August, 10.30 am at the Horticultural Centre Don Gallagher, on the Royal NZ Fencible Corps The image comes from Auckland Council Archives, and 29 September to 14 October: Auckland Heritage shows some of the children of the earliest families to live at Festival the camp, while waiting for state housing. 11 October, 10 am at Pt Chevalier Library Lisa Truttman, speaking on the Motor Camp/ ext issue due out September 2012 American Camp/Transit Camps at Western Springs Contact Lisa Truttman (editor) : 27 October 10.30 am at the Horticultural Centre Margaret O’Connor, on NZ Walkways 19 Methuen Road, Avondale, Auckland 0600, phone (09) 828-8494 22 ovember 10.30 am at the Horticultural Centre Helen Laurenson, history of department stores or email ptchevalierhistory@gmail.com

Pt Chevalier Historical Society Minutes of meeting Thursday 28 June 2012 Auckland Horticultural Council Rooms
Meeting started at 10.30 am. Present: 34 people Apologies: Jean Russell, Des Gates Respects: One minute silence was held to mark the passing of Laurie Mason & Lorna Annan President’s annual report: this was presented by Margaret. (Accepted [Jean Jones/ Mark McVeigh]- unanimous) Treasurer’s annual report: this was presented by Alison (Accepted [Nita Clewes / Lisa Truttman ]- unanimous) Net assets (March 2012): $3 871.53 Members wishing to obtain a copy should contact the Treasurer. Election of officers: Control of the meeting was passed to Ray Patterson. President: Margaret O’Connor –unopposed Vice President: Lisa Truttman –unopposed Secretary: Jenny Wilton –unopposed Treasurer: Alison Turner –unopposed Committee: no nominations received General business Members were reminded to complete the questionnaire included with the last newsletter. Invitation to attend meeting of the NZ Federation of Historical Societies at Mangere Bridge on 11th August at 10.00am. Contact our secretary if you want a copy of the registration form. Brochure from the Auckland City Council on the historical features of Hobsonville tabled as an example of what members could produce for Pt Chevalier. Reminder - gathering of old friends, RSA Saturday 30th June. Guest Speaker Gez Johns: The Warerview Connection ( South West Motorway) Meeting Concluded: 12.05 pm ext meeting 23rd August (Don Gallager - The Royal NZ Fencible Corps)

Annual Report for the Point Chevalier Historical Society Inc – 2011-2012
by the President, Margaret A O’Connor
It is my pleasure to present this report on our Society’s progress over the past year. First our thanks must go to our members for their contributions and support, especially to Lisa, Alison and Jenny for their work, to the Point Chevalier Library and the Horticultural Council for our venues, and to the financial support from our sponsors. This year we owe a special debt of gratitude to Sir Harold Marshall and his wife Shirley, who invited us into their home and provided such an interesting introduction to their house and their family’s history. Such a varied range of topics have been presented by our speakers, and I hope that will inspire others to tell

us of their recollections, especially as they relate to the local area. Our speakers have included: Dick Pope – “The Big Bang” Graham Perkins – recollections of Kendrick Smithyman Dave Simmonds – the Maori perspective on this area Lisa Truttman – the rifle ranges Colin Gallagher – the Point Chevalier Soccer Club Des Gate – Auckland Trams. At our November meeting we farewelled Padmini Raj who has now taken over the leadership of the Blockhouse Bay Library. Through her efforts in collating and publishing Point Chevalier Memories she assisted in establishing this Society. We have a list of possible topics and speakers for the coming year but further suggestions would be welcomed. Please make sure to complete the questionnaire which was included with Newsletter No. 24 – we need to know your opinions.

Anniversaries noted include Mount Albert Grammar School (90th), Gladstone School (125th) and, next year, Auckland Girls’ Grammar School (125th). Looking to the future – Is there sufficient material coming forward for a further edition of Point Chevalier Memories and is there someone suitable to be the editor? Alternatively perhaps a series of smaller brochures on specific topics would be more appropriate. Could we identify places / buildings / sites of historic interest and mark these with information panels? This would involve listing the information, obtaining permission and arranging construction and installation. Another project – an accurate and illustrated pamphlet on places of historic interest in our area? The Libraries have available an up-dated brochure on the Family History Lunchtime series at the Central Auckland Research Centre. What contributions could we make to the Heritage Festival – 29th September to 14th October? So far we have coped with a Committee of four, but we do need to have more people with fresh ideas, and new skills. Please think how you could contribute and be prepared to volunteer some of your time.

Motion's Creek with long poles (no internal combustion engines in those days), and often the crew would arrive at the mill bleeding from the shoulders from the strenuous use of the poles. Sometimes, on high spring tides, it would be possible to arrive, discharge, re-load and get out again on the same tide, but if they got stuck on an ebb tide it might mean a fortnight before they got off. Much wheat was grown at Tamaki and shipped to the mill. Other cutters would then have to be chartered and I have seen thirteen stuck at the mouth of the creek together, one blocking the other. The old road up the hill wound into the present Zoo property to get a better grade, and three horses were required to pull up half a load, which was deposited on a platform at the top until the other half-load was brought up. Only the best of horses and proved staunch pullers were of any use, and those used by the firm cost up to £80 and £90 each. Maize was the chief corn used to feed the horses, most of it brought from Sydney by the fast and favourite steamship Hero. The "fine new road" of the article referred to was also in existence then, and later was adopted as the regular route for the drays, which did two trips daily to the city, covering sixteen miles in all. How many trips would the present-day motor truck do? Mr. Motion also held and worked the land on both sides of the Great North Road from Meola Creek to the Mental Hospital, and also from the mill to the site of the present speedway. At harvest time a dozen or more men would swing their scythes in perfect time. One day while mowing a crop of wheat one of the men dropped a lighted match, and the whole crop, cut and standing, also several stacks of oaten hay, was destroyed by fire. Wild duck soon found the burnt wheat and came in from the harbour at night to feed on it. One young fellow, now eighty years young, made some good bags on moonlight nights, the ammunition used being spent bullets picked up at the nearby butts and cut up into "slugs." The mill and farm found work for many men. They were housed in two stone buildings, one for the millers, and the other for drivers and ploughmen. Team drivers received 25/ per week and "tucker." The social side was not neglected, and when stocks were low in the large grain store it would be cleaned out, decorated and prepared for a ball. The "dance at the mill" was a popular function and the elite of Auckland would roll up in strength. On these dance nights it would be almost impossible to hire a cab in Auckland, as any "cabby" not engaged would make some excuse to go out, as there was always plenty of "eats" and drink (mostly strong) for the "cabbies," mill hands, drivers, boatmen and any neighbours who cared to be there. About 1875 the property was purchased by the Auckland City Council for £20,000, and the Western Springs water supply was carried to the young city

Memories of the Mill
(From Auckland Star 3 February 1932) The account in a recent issue of the "Star" of the reconstruction of the road up the steep hill by the Zoo tempts me to offer some history of this locality in the late 'sixties and early 'seventies. "Motion's Mill" was a small zoo even then. Peafowl, guinea-fowl and turkeys ran about almost wild, and were shot as required. Pheasants were plentiful and flocks of a dozen or twenty could often be seen walking about the paddocks. Pigeons made their home above the stables, which were built right over the fresh-water stream. Lean, wide-horned wild Sydney bullocks were sometimes in the paddocks, and we youngsters were then warned to keep clear of them. The flour mill, with two huge water wheels to drive six sets of stones, stood right at the head of the tidal creek. Two dams conserved the water supply and flood-gates regulated the amount used, which was carried in a wooden race high above the road to the water wheels. A steam plant was also used when the water supply ran low. Three cutters, the Jolly Miller, Dusty Miller and Watchman, owned by the firm of Low and Motion, and worked on shares by a crew of two, were in constant use collecting wheat from the ships in port and delivering flour. These cutters were worked up

with reservoirs at Ponsonby and the top of Symonds Street. Later the mill was again worked by Partington Bros., of windmill fame, who built a tramway to the top of the hill and wound the loaded truck up by horse-power. Later still, the old mill was used as a flax mill, but I have no knowledge of when it finally disappeared. Can any other old-timer tell me?

Auckland Regional Gathering of Historical Societies
This will be hosted by Mangere Historical Society, Saturday 11 August 2012, commencing at 10.00 AM at St James Church Hall, 29 Church Road, Mangere Bridge. Cost: $15.00 per person. Agenda: 10.00 am 10.30 am 1.00 pm 1.45 pm Morning Tea Bus trip to local areas of historical interest Lunch Reports from attendees

To register send payment and your contact details to Mrs Barbara Dixon, Treasurer, 18 Koru Street, Mangere Bridge 2022 before 28 July 2012. Cheques should be made payable to Mangere Historical Society. Any queries please contact Mrs Janet Presland, President, (09) 636 8386 (janet.presland@xtra.co.nz).

Membership of the Point Chevalier Historical Society
Membership is open to all with an interest in our area’s history, and costs only $10 per person. This entitles you to vote at our meetings, and to receive mailed copies of the Point Chevalier Times. Send cheques to: Pt Chevalier Historical Society C/- 119C Hutchinson Avenue New Lynn, Auckland 0600 Your membership fees mean that we can keep publishing the Point Chevalier Times. Your support would be appreciated.

Pt Chevalier Fire Station before the trams, from Pearl Laycock (nee Beech) who was born there in 1932. In late 1932 the Beech family moved to Mt Eden Station. Photo by Mr Beech, station master in 1930.

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