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AvondaleAvondale-Waterview Historical Society Incorporated

September—October 2012 No. 59 Prepared by Lisa Truttman, President and Editor

A trip up the river to Riverhead
We’re invited by the committee of the Pt Chevalier Historical Society to join them on a boat trip to Riverhead, Tuesday December 4 2012. The boat will leave Pier 3, Downtown Auckland at 10 am sharp. The price, $42, includes morning tea and a light lunch. Bookings and details: phone Jenny Wilton (845-0311) or Alison Turner (825-0300). Historic commentary included. Bookings close 25 October 2012.

Attending “Urban Design Workshops”: the effects of SH20 at Waterview
My thanks to AWHS members Jack Dragicevich and Patricia Collier who came along to the second of these workshop meetings in August, held at the Waterview School Hall by the Well-Connected Alliance (those bodies, including Auckland Transport, involved with planning and carrying out the State Highway 20 extension through Waterview, including the tunnel). My thanks also to Catherine Farmer for the lift home from both that meeting, and the last one in August (much appreciated on a dark night)! The workshops were interesting. My main focus was, of course, the heritage side, and I found it intriguing that they propose, at this stage, to put a walkway connecting from the redeveloped nearby reserve, down and past the Star Mill area, across Oakley Creek close to where a simple stone bridge once existed (dating from at least 1904), under the motorway ramps, skirting the remainder of the old Birkenhead Borough quarry to link in with footpaths to Pt Chevalier, and to the Eric Armishaw Reserve. Further archaeological work is referred to, which may hopefully shed further light on the historic land uses, both Maori and colonial. Something else I found intriguing was that there was mention that testing of the soil on the western side of Oakley Creek (the reserve area overlooking Unitec) found that this part was subject to landslips — and the last ones weren’t all that ancient. Hardly surprising that the eastern or Unitec side seems to be the richest in terms of archaeological remains. There will be further workshop meetings, some in combination with those at Owairaka for the Alan Wood Reserve part of the construction process.

Guest Speakers
October: AWHS member Arthur Milner, memories of Avondale. December: Lisa Truttman, on Partington’s Mill, Symonds Street (1851-1950). February: Bruce Harvey, author of a number of books on West Auckland, will talk to us on the wreck of the HMS Orpheus (1863) at the Manukau Heads. Next year marks the 150th anniversary of the disaster.

150th anniversary commemoration George Maxwell Memorial Cemetery
The anniversary commemoration went very well, starting with a morning service at St Judes Church, followed by a light lunch, and then a gathering at the cemetery near the memorial stone to the first burial there, young William Aickin who died 3 August 1862. Well done to all concerned.

St Ninians cemetery
Next meeting: Saturday 6 October 2012, 2.30 pm St Ninians Church St Georges Road, opposite Hollywood Cinema
The Heritage Unit of Auckland Council has been busy contacting the right people in the Parks Department (Avondale now being part of the West sector). I had told them that we’d agreed to take no further action at this stage regarding Wayne Coe’s request for help towards the cost of a cleaner for the gravestones, in August met on site with two Council staff, who have obtained information, and will be liaising with Wayne

and the Avondale Community Society regarding the cemetery and other maintenance issues. I recommend we wait until ask to assist again.

Site of the old Avondale Stables/Bus Depot – Great North Road
NZ Historic Places trust have been in touch with me regarding this – despite my sending both Council and NZHPT information on the site straight after the December 2009 fire, then contacting NZHPT when the newspapers this year started reporting the restaurant/ retail development there, apparently there was still a communication hiccup between Council, NZHPT, and the developer, and work began on the site prior to NZHPT being notified. At time of writing, work has now resumed on the site.

Auckland Regional Day for Historical Societies
This was a marvellous day, well-organised by the Mangere Historical Society, 11 August 2012. A morning tea at the St James Church hall at Mangere Bridge (which many attending thought was as sumptuous as a lunch) was followed by a bus tour of Mangere’s heritage sites, stopping at the Abbeville Estate (Westney Homestead and Westney Methodist Church building) and Mangere Mountain, including a visit to the Society’s archives at Mangere Town Centre. Around 15 organisations were represented, with over 50 attending, enjoying the warm hospitality displayed by our hosts. Next year, Birkenhead Historical Society will host the regional gathering.

Auckland Council’s Cultural Heritage Inventory
Our contact with the Heritage Unit in Council gave me a list plus details of over 100 sites dotted around the Whau Local Board area, plus Waterview. I’ve started contacting groups in our area which have heritage as at least part of their focus: so far the Avondale Community Gardeners (who has already put out an appeal regarding this through Facebook at at a meeting of the Avondale Garden Club—many thanks), Friends of the Whau, and local historians in Green Bay. I hope to also talk with the Blockhouse Bay Historical Society, West Auckland Historical Society, Waterview Environmental Society and anyone else that can be suggested or who comes to mind. The aim is for those interested to look over the list, suggest sites that aren’t included, and possibly provide info to be added into the CHI. On 17 August I took up the opportunity of a training session put on by Council into the inventory. Once I finish sorting through the list (putting them into areas, working out which ones need more info) – the cost of gathering supporting information to boost that already on the list can be estimated, and possibly funding applied for. I thank the AWHS for approving this project in principle at the August meeting. I’ll keep you up to date on progress.

Character Coalition
The AWHS agreed at our August meeting to join the Character Coalition of societies and organisations concerned with Auckland Council’s heritage policies. We have stipulated to the coalition organiser, Sally Hughes, that AWHS is a non-political and moderate historical society, and that any variance from the principles of the Coalition as expressed to a Council committee in July this year would mean that we would reconsider our support.

Heritage Festival 2012 29 September to 14 October
While AWHS are not actively organising an event for the Festival this year, I have assisted St Judes Church organisers with images for their photo exhibition: “Avondale Then and Now: Revisited”, on Saturday 29 September and Sunday 30 September. October 3 at 10.30 am, I’ll be giving a talk at the Avondale Library on the George Maxwell Memorial Cemetery. Other talks I’m involved with during the festival: 10 October, 10.30 am at the Blockhouse Bay Library, the story of J J Boyd and Auckland’s first zoo. 11 October, 10.00 am at the Pt Chevalier Library, “A Place to Stay Awhile”, story of the Motor Camp, American Army camp and Transit Camps at Western Springs

Trading table and Gold Coin Collection
$381 was banked from Trading Table proceeds (well done to Dawn Moffatt) after the August AGM for the year 2011-2012. Also, $31.50 was banked from the August meeting proceeds of the voluntary gold coin collection. Thanks to Les and Elva Murphy for instigating this.