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MarchApril 2013

Volume 12 Issue 70

The Avondale Historical Journal

Official Publication of the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society Incorporated

What happened to Avondales Cinderella Club?

Dollys splendid patchwork quilt, shown here from a photo out of the Auckland Star, 26 August 1936, was made up of hundreds of tiny pieces of velvet put together by the members of the Cinderella Club in Avondale. The club seems to have flourished only from 1936-1938 (no further mention found in the newspapers online at the moment), but we do know who the members were, at least as at 1937: CINDERELLA CLUB (Avondale). Our loyal friends, the Cinderella Sunbeams, came to light this week with a wonderful contribution of 1. Alice has reorganised this club and the members are as follow: Amy Harris, Ida Setters, Katie Service, Barbara Brebner, Marjorie Brebner, Marie Steele, Joan Steele, Elaine Sampson, Valda Archibald, Valmai Vernon, Nellie Crisp, Margaret Crisp, Phyllis Crisp and Alice Tait (captain). The pound was raised by means of a grown-up tea party, a raffle and several donations from Cinderella members. Splendid work, Sunbeams! (Auckland Star, 16 October 1937) The first Cinderella Club appears to be that started in Bradford, England in 1890 and still running. It aimed to reach and afford amusement to the poor children of Bradford. That club is still working to meet the needs of such children. So what happened to our Cinderella Club? 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.

Next meeting of the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society:


Combined with Mt Roskill (Puketapapa) Historical Society At St Davids-in-the-Fields Church Hall, 202 Hillsborough Roads, Hillsborough SUNDAY, 14 April 2013, 2.00 pm

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Some memories of Avondale 1938 - 1944, including the War Years

by Arthur Milner
Taken from Arthurs notes to his speech given at the Societys October 2012 meeting Editor. In 1938 we moved from Kopuarahi, close to Thames, to 10 Great North Road, Auckland. I went to Newton Central Primary School. Number 10 was a shop leased by my grandparents. About this time my grandparents had established a scrap leather business making patchwork shopping bags. The firm was named "Uneeda". We then went to a flat in Great North Road, Surrey Crescent. I went to Grey Lynn Primary for a short while. Finally we shifted to a house in Avondale and settled down. The address was 1759 Great North Road, SW3. The Milner family in Avondale were: Joseph Milner, his wife Doreen, Trevor his 2nd son from a previous marriage and his two sons to Doreen, Arthur and Leonard. I started at Avondale Primary School on 1 August 1938. Malcolm, Doreen's 3rd son was born at the above address in 1942. The doctor in attendance for Malcolm's birth was Dr Short. Joseph's eldest son, Eric, never lived at Avondale; he lived in a boarding house in Huntly where he worked in the coalmines. Dad and a chap named Joe Resetar a "Dalmatian" used to travel up north and collect Kauri gum. They used to scrape and clean it under the house. The place of work was the wash house with a copper and two tubs. It had a 10' stud so there was ample room and ventilation. There was a varnish factory off Rosebank Road and I am trying to find out if this place was supplied by Dad. Dad continued with the kauri gum business but it was slowing down by 1939. Eventually they ceased to operate. Dad was out of work and desperate. He was getting enough gum work to put a meal on the table and pay the rent. As a last resort he wrote a letter to the Prime Minister "Mickey Savage". Dad was accepted into the Army on 20 May 1940 and entered camp on that date. Trevor shifted to Auckland and lived with us for a period of time. He worked at "Sweetacres" so we were well supplied with "Minties", "Throaties" and blocks of liquorice etc. Trevor used to cycle to Kopuarahi periodically to see his girlfriend Desma Clevely whom he was to marry later on. I believe he used to set out after work and when it got dark or he had a puncture he used to stop about half-way and sleep in a milk stand beside the road. Trevor and Desma were later to be married on 7 December 1944 (anniversary of Pearl Harbour). They had three children. When war was declared Trevor was one of the first to volunteer for the Navy. He was accepted and when the Achilles came home from the River Plate he was drafted to her straight away. I am not sure of the reason or the specific date but Mum started work at the Westfield Meat Works around 1940. She was either short of money or was manpowered to this as war effort. She used to catch a bus to Point Chevalier and then the tram into town. From there it was either train or bus to work leaving home in the dark and also when she arrived home. I used to come home from school and peel the potatoes etc. for our evening meal. Mum just had to cook them. 1941-1942: About this time Granny and Grandpop had turned their shop into a green vegetable and fruit outlet. Granddad had a Model "A" 15cwt Flat Deck with sides. He used to pick us up after school with our friends and take us to the orchards in Henderson and Swanson. We also, with Mum and Dad, used to go to the vineyards on a Saturday or Sunday. Dad, due to his working in fish shops in the 1920s with the Yugoslav people, could speak fluent Dalmatian. Consequently, he was able to converse with the owners of the wineries in their own language. They were very impressed and many were the free flagon of port or sherry. His army uniform was also a great help. By this time Trevor had teamed up with a friend in the navy. His name was Norman Warren (Rocky) from Christchurch. Occasionally these two would accompany us to the vineyards. From time to time in the early war years, Trevor and Rocky would come home on leave from the Achilles. Eric would come up from Huntly Mines and Dad, if he was on leave. Many were the party that lasted from Friday night till the small hours of Monday morning. I can't remember how many kegs they used to drink but it was quite a few. There were always quite a number of sailors and soldiers in attendance. On 24 April 1942, Aunty Dorothy and Fred Burrows had their first child, Shirley. I can remember it vividly. Mum had just bought me my first bicycle. It was half size and cost her 30/-. Grandpop who was living with us at the time put a carbide lamp on the front and told me to cycle out to Uncle Gerald and Aunty Rita's with the good news. They lived on a farm let between New Lynn and Blockhouse Bay. I left after school and by the time I arrived back it was pitch black and I was tired and hungry. 1943: The war in the Pacific was hotting up and the Japs were getting close to Australia. If Australia fell, it was bad news for us in New Zealand. The kids at school were digging trenches in their backyards, and I decided to have a go. I dug a trench 2' deep and placed a sheet of corrugated iron over it. It might have been ok but the first rain we got, it was full of water. The last time Achilles was in port, Rocky transferred to the Leander. He didn't have to, but there was more chance for promotion for him. I believe he had to put more time in the boiler room so he was doing "subs" for the various stokers. He was doing one of these "subs" when Leander was torpedoed. It hit the engine room and Rocky was killed instantly, 13 July 1943. Our house was all doom and gloom for ages after this. He was going to be best man at Trevor's forthcoming wedding.

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Street as possible. A line with white chalk was then marked where the front wheels came to rest. The rules were simple. No pram wheels or anything with rubber tyres. Only cast iron trolley wheels. We could purchase these from the "Hardware" shop, I believe it was C Colliers. I also got my 1st bike from this shop. The reason for these wheels, was the trolley had no brakes. We used to stop by zig-zagging down the hill. Another bit of fun we had was at the "Asylum" part of the grounds, where a bank ran from Great North Road down to Oakley Creek. At this time the bank was covered in a stand of large pine trees. A school mate of mine was Des Burrows. Des was always making something, and one day he asked me to come to his place after school. I went and he showed me a sled he had just made (a "toboggan" in today's terms). He said, "come on, we will have some fun". We went to the "Asylum" and the bank under the pine trees was covered with pine needles. We proceeded to race down the slope and were really having a good time. After a while, when it was my turn, I lost control and thought I was going to end up in the creek. I let out a "yell". There was an inmate asleep under a tree. He woke up and chased me up the bank. Des and I cleared the fence and ran to his place. Des said, "Don't worry about the sled, Ill build another one". He did and modified it so it had "brakes", so you could stop it and steer it. A bit like the system on a "bulldozer", pull the left lever to turn left and the right to turn right. 1944: During these years I was spending my school holidays with Mum's Aunty "Mag" and Uncle Ivan on the Hauraki Plains. They also had a farm at Miranda where the Hot Pools are today. The pools in those days were in their natural state. Just a hole in the ground with a length of No. 8 fencing wire across for safety. On the 28th April 1944, Dad was discharged from the Army. Not long after this we shifted to a shop at 45 Great North Road, Grey Lynn. He set up a shoe repair business which did well. After Dads discharge, he worked for a short time for a chap named Norm Billington making lounge suites etc. Len and I both continued attending Avondale Primary School. We used to catch a tram to Pt Chevalier and then the bus to Avondale. 1945: Avondale Tech High School was officially opened in February and I was one of the foundation pupils. I have many fond memories of my two years there. Playing rugby for the school and visiting the various colleges, high schools and grammars were highlights. We had military training once or twice a week. It was either the Army or Air Training Corps. They first of all gave us a choice: Army or ATC. When we decided we had to choose which branch. A small group of my mates and I chose the Army with the Infantry as a branch. There being insufficient numbers, we all transferred to ATC.

The parties at home during 1943 were becoming more regular and the number of people was increasing. Eric was bringing his mates up from the mines. Dad was bringing American soldiers from the Waverley Hotel down the bottom of Queen Street, and Trevor was bringing sailors home as well. Once we had a visit from the boxer, Vic Caltaux. He gave an exhibition of shadow boxing and it was awesome. The Yanks were spellbound and they took up a collection in appreciation. 1943-1944: At Avondale Primary there was a patch of grass with a concrete strip in the centre for playing cricket. About April or May, when the cricket season had finished we would arrive on the Monday morning to find the pitch covered in what we called "tan". I believe the "tan" came from the Avondale Racecourse used for exercising the race horses on. When this happened, it signalled the finish of cricket and the start of rugby. A rugby ball was not available so we improvised with a game of Kingosene", later changed, I believe, to the name of Bullrush". The object of this game was that one boy was picked to stand in the middle of the field. The rest of the boys would gather at one end of the field, the object was to get to the other end without being tackled. Invariably, the bigger boys (Standard 5 and 6) dominated the game and consequently, picked a smaller boy to go in the centre. There were a few smaller boys including Des Hoffman, Allan Donaldson, Keith Morrison, Trevor Hewitt, Ken Banks, Billy Wymer, Denny Morland and myself. If one of us, or a smaller boy was picked for the middle, we concentrated on the other boys. Once we had a nucleus of 5 or 6, we went for the big ones. Our tactics were to try to tackle a big fellow by grabbing an arm or leg, hang on, and wait for the "cavalry" to arrive. This system was very effective but caused a few altercations between the big and small. I remember the serials before half time at the pictures. Flash Gordon, Jungle Jim, Buck Rogers, Tim Tylers Luck. Listening to the radio. Mums favourite, Dr Paul, Aunt Daisy, Uncle Tom and the Sankk Singers, Uncle Scrim, The Air Adventures of Jimmy Allen. The Avondale identity Cyril Bruce saying Did you listen to Jimmy Allen last night? Saving the cards from the cigarette packs collecting the cards from the porridge Diamond Oaties. Just about every boy had a trolley or some a push bike. These were utilised for both pleasure and chores like gathering firewood etc. The trollies were put to our fun of racing down hills etc. I can remember one experience of this which is impossible for today's youth. There is a street in Avondale named Henry Street. We would place one of us on the corner of Great North Road and Henry Street. This person would signal by waving his arms or a flag, if a vehicle was approaching on Great North Road. The object of this person in the trolley was to proceed as far as he or she dared up Henry Street. When the starter signalled "Go", the trolley and driver would proceed down Henry Street, across Great North Road and into Victor Street. It was not a race, but the object was to go as far down Victor

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With the Yanks here, there was money to be made. My cobber and I made a trolley each and started to gather empty beer and soft drink bottles. Our favourite haunts were Western Park after school and the top of Mt Eden on the weekend. We used to take them to Clark's in Freemans Bay. They paid 1/6 a dozen and my trolley used to hold 3 dozen. This was good pocket money in those days. We used to make up to 4 trips a week. We used to go down Newton Road in the trolley (making break-neck speed) and pull them up the other side. Coming down Mt Eden was a lot safer. If we travelled too fast we could slow down by running on the grass. The hardest task on Mt Eden was getting the bottles from the crater. The Yanks used to see who could throw the bottles the farthest. Another perk for us was Dad and Trevor bringing them home. There was always plenty of Coca Cola (2d a bottle), Babe Ruth Chocolate Bar and G-Man Chewing Gum just to mention a couple. Sometimes they would take us down Queen Street to the Amusement Park. That was a real treat because they let us have a go at everything. Once they bought us a milk shake and candy floss and shortly after a ride on the Octopus. With the spinning around and the combination of eating and drinking, I wasn't very well, much to the concern of the people on the ground. I have never been on one again to this day. When I turned 15 years and left secondary school Dad called me aside. He told me there are two things in life to remember: 1. Don't believe everything you read and hear. 2. Get yourself a trade. I don't care what trade as long as it is a secure one. In my opinion I have fulfilled both obligations in life. As a matter of fact, I ended up as a tradesman in Shoes, Luggage and later as Head Groundsman at Carlaw Park and Waitakere City Council, receiving the Grounds Man of the Year for 1st Class Cricket Pitches from the Auckland Cricket Association.

More on Avondale College early days

I was very interested in the photo on the front of your latest newsletter and I think that it may have been taken in winter 1947 for the following reasons. My years at Avondale Technical HS were 19461950. I was a 3rd former, in 3 Languages 2, rejoining some of my old classmates from Blockhouse Bay Primary School, as I had spent four years at Auckland Dio. (It was an amazing cultural shock as the noise at the end of each period when we changed classrooms was incredible.) Only the grounds at the entrance were formed. The girls wing and the boys wing had a wide strip of concrete in front of all the classrooms. The rest of the remaining grounds were full of builders debris and huge mounds of piled up earth. We used the strips of concrete as assembly areas and for lunch. We travelled to our rooms by means of the corridors and as I was one of an intake of 500 and I think that the Foundation pupils also numbered 500, approx. 1000 pupils were trying to get to their next classroom. I frequently had to go from Room 1 to Room 43, the other side of the cafeteria. Then the Public Works dept. arrived with heavy-moving machinery, mostly bright yellow and labelled Caterpillar, started to form our grounds. When the wind was in the right direction we were showered with clouds of dust but eventually the whole enormous area was flattened and rolled. Then the whole school was lined up and we were walked slowly over the whole grounds picking up all stones as we went and piling them into heaps. When the sown grass appeared and was cut for the first time we did the same with the newly cut grass. (Yes, there were a few grass fights, but the teachers just pretended the this was not happening.) The tar seal area in front of the boys wing, library, gym and Intermediate School was also laid down, fenced and Chinese Poplars (thats what we were told they were,) were planted. As they are so small I think that this must have been 1947. The boys wing comprised ten classrooms and continued on with the Commercial and Homecraft classrooms being in this corridor. At the right hand of the photo was a corridor at right angles to the boys corridor and led to the cafeteria, Art and Music rooms. The Science corridor ran parallel to the Homecraft corridor and the entry was through this corridor. The other article about the WNSC being reviewed at Avondale racecourse mentions Miss D M Hawking. I wonder If this was the same Major Hawking who ran Hilltop School in partnership with Miss Phyllis Boult, in Khyber Pass? I can add much more to my account of ATHS, but I preferred to just state facts here. With best wishes from Robin Fazakerley.

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: Society information: Website: Subscriptions: $10 individual $15 couple/family $30 corporate