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Newsletter for the Point Chevalier History Group No. 4 April 2009
This is what remained of the former two-storeyed Remuera Road Board building, converted to a library for Remuera and opened as such by James Gunson, Mayor of Auckland, in October 1915, and added to in September 1918, only to be replaced by a new brick building in 1926. “Waste not, want not” must have been an unofficial slogan for the City Council at the time: dismantled and now just one storey, the building was shifted out to Pt. Chevalier, and opened again as this district’s first public library by Councillor Ellen Melville in November 1926. In 1937, however, the building was to be replaced yet again, this time with the library moving into the Coronation Hall. Photo: 7-A11816, Special Collections, Auckland City Libraries.
Next meeting of the Pt Chevalier History Group
This is to be held at the Pt. Chevalier Community Library, 10.30 am, Thursday 30 April 2009
All welcome to this open meeting. Tell your friends. The Pt. Chevalier History Group is now accepting subscriptions for membership: $10 per person, as approved 18 March 2009. Cheques are welcome, to be made out to the Pt Chevalier History Group, and sent c/- the address below. We have applied to the Western Bays Community Board for seeding funding of $1000, and await their decision at their meeting on 15 July 2009.
Next issue due out June 2009 Contact Lisa Truttman (editor) : 19 Methuen Road, Avondale, Auckland 0600,phone (09) 828-8494 or email email@example.com
Progress in Point Chevalier, 1914
Picturesquely situated to the westward of Grey Lynn and Ponsonby, the district of Point Chevalier is generously endowed with natural beauty. Along the northern and eastern shore a broad expanse of harbour laps many fine beaches, to the southward Mount Albert, Mount Eden and One-tree Hill stand out boldly, while to the westward the blue ranges of the Waitakeres loom softly upwards. Realising the possibilities of the district as a residential suburb, within four miles of the city, the Road Board has inaugurated an active policy of improvement, and good work has been accomplished during the past year. Point Chevalier may aptly be termed the suburb of many beaches. Chief of these is the beach named after the district. This stretches for nearly three quarters of a mile along the northern shore. Further along to the westward several other sandy beaches are situated between picturesque points. These have not the area of the Point Chevalier Beach, but nevertheless they are equally charming. To the eastward again the district has another fine stretch of sand, near the entrance to Meola Creek, and further along the shores of this creek some fine native bush is seen. The Road Board stipulates that owners, when cutting up estates, must have
From Weekly News, 15 January 1914.
no blind roads, so that access can easily be obtained to any of the beaches. Some time ago the Road Board strongly urged the Government to vest about 75 acres of Crown land at Meola Creek in the district as a reserve. This land forms a narrow tongue beginning at the Stone Jug. It gradually increases in width to several hundred yards, and finally narrows out to a tongue of land known as The Reef. Information has just been received by the Road Board that the Government has granted a portion of this land, near the Great North Road, to Point Chevalier as a reserve. The area granted comprises over 30 acres, and it is bounded on one side by Meola Creek. The land is of good quality, and admirably suited for laying out in bowling greens, tennis lawns, and other playing areas. On the property a large number of native trees are growing. The land is entirely unimproved, and ferns and teatree abound. The Government has laid off a route for a bridge and road across Meola Creek to connect Grey Lynn with Point Chevalier. Two important districts will thus be linked up and a shorter route made to the city.
The Sutherland Estate (Part 1)
In Rangi-Mata-Rau (1961), A. H. Walker seemed to think that the Sutherland Estate was simply the land in behind the line of shops that included the old cinema building. I’ve recently found that it was far larger than that: the entirety of today’s shopping centre at Pt. Chevalier was once an estate owned by absentee Scottish landlords, and at one point leased to a well-known flour miller. As at February 1885, a sizeable chunk (just over 200 acres) of the district of Pt. Chevalier was owned by one man: Alexander Sutherland. At the moment, I know little about him, apart from the fact that he owned three allotments in the district at that date (Allotments 26, 27 and 28 of the Parish of Titirangi) and that he was described on the land title as a surfaceman, living in Laing, Sutherland, in Scotland. It would appear that he came about the three farm allotments via a will of one William MacDonald who died way back in late 1848 (just two years after he’d purchased all three farms); the will wasn’t registered on the titles of the three farms until July 1875. A chap named John McDougall apparently looked after MacDonald’s estate. In the interim, all three farms were leased to William Motion, of Low & Motion mill fame, from 1864. By 1880, with Motion’s mill at Western Springs now the property of Auckland City Council and part of their waterworks estate, the three Pt. Chevalier allotments became the property of Mr. Suther-
land, who then sold them all, on mortgage, to a Mr. Nelson. The latter may have defaulted – all the land was brought under the 1885 title, in Sutherland’s name (Motion’s lease was probably for a standard 21 years, and expired that year anyway). Alexander Sutherland, the absentee landowner, transferred title in February 1885 to Donald Sutherland, a farmer from Onehunga. He died by February the following year; his widow Mary and a journalist named David Bruce were the executors. Mary died on 28 June 1889, and the remaining executor Bruce transferred the estate to Donald Alexander Sutherland, another Onehunga farmer, in 1891. Allotment 28, south of the line of the Great North Road, was leased to George Garrett, a Karangahape Road butcher, in 1885. In 1900, when Allotment 28 was subdivided and sold in sections by Donald Alexander Sutherland, Richard and William Hellaby purchased part of the land (from 1010-1102 Great North Road, and part of Chamberlain Park golfcourse to the west of Meola Creek, including the motorway between the two parts). A. H. Walker, on p.18 of his book, wrote: “The land behind the present Pt. Chev Theatre, consisting of the Sutherland Estate and Hellaby’s, was used by the latter for grazing bullocks prior to being taken to the slaughterhouse.” That probably didn’t last long – by c.1911, Hellaby’s had shifted their abattoir from Richmond to Westfield. During the 1900 subdivision, Sutherland Road was dedicated. Parr Road followed soon after in 1907. Allotments 26 and 27, to the north of Great North Road, were leased in 1885 to Samuel White. He did, at least, actually live on the farmland, according to Mr. Walker: “Across the road the large house built by Sam White on the ‘80s was divided in two, one half being turned round to face the Huia Road and the other remaining where the present Self Help premises stand.” (page 18) Perhaps this was built from the proceeds of two mortgages White took out on the leasehold with a company called the Economic Building and Investment Society. It wasn’t until 1911 that Donald Alexander Sutherland sold both Allotments 26 and 27 to William Thomson, James Thomson, and Alexander Bell. All three were farmers, the first two living in Auckland, and Bell from Morrinsville.
The total Sutherland Estate. From NA 37/212, LINZ records.
June 1913 was the first subdivision of the property which extended from Pt Chevalier Road to Meola Creek, and from Great North Road to Meola Road. This was during the period in office of Governor Lord Liverpool (1912-1917, later Governor-General from 1917-1920) – hence, perhaps, the name “Liverpool Estate” used for the ensuing series of advertised subdivisions during the First World War period and shortly afterward (the official name was less enticing: Part of Meola Extension No. 9). Messrs Thomson and Bell (William Thomson died during 1913) were the Liverpool Estate Syndicate, and sold the property between 1914 and 1917. Sometime between 1917 and 1921, when Pt Chevalier amalgamated with Auckland City, a set of shops appeared on the corner of Pt. Chevalier and Great North Roads. This was labelled “Thode’s Building”, and was in the name of Percy Thode for the business Thode Brothers. Around 1919, the Thode Brothers (Arthur Edwin Forbes Thode and Percy Raymond Forbes Thode) ran a store at the corner of Rosebank and Great North Roads (called, by locals, “Thode’s Corner”.) Before that, they had a store at the corner of what was then Gladstone (now Carrington) and New North Roads in Mt Albert, opposite
Pt. er ali ev Ch ad Ro
G re a t
house with a shed (the latter built for drying rabbit skins by Charles John Marks in 1923). A concrete shop was built in front of the house by Frederick Walter Sherer in 1926 (the shed was retained as a garage), and in 1944 this shop became Pt Chevalier’s branch of SelfHelp Co-op, with half rented out to Hellaby’s. The allotment between the two shop buildings was used for two concrete block shops in 1953, then the original 1963 part of the Pt Chevalier Shopping Arcade (Massey, Beatson, RixTrott, Carter & Co, architects). The arcade was redesigned and extended to include the former Self-Help Co-op site in 1971, when 11 shops were built (Beca Carter Hollings & Ferner, architects). Around 1905, James Aggers had a wooden shop and two-roomed dwelling at what is today 1191 Great North Road. He was a bootmaker, and operated his business from that site until he leased the old wooden shop to grocer Frederick Walter Sherer in 1925 (builder of a new concrete shop next door, see above). Aggers died in 1931, and the property was described in 1945 as a brick dwelling (at rear, built 1945), wooden shop, workshop and garage. Charles Stuart Kircher, a cycle dealer, owned the property from 1942. A shop addition was built at the front in 1945. Between Aggers’ business and Huia Road, all was open allotment until a plumber named Harold James Lane built a brick veneer home in 1950 at No.1189, and E. E. and Emily Agnes Arthur built their family home at No.1187 in 1946. Across Huia Road, what is now the Mobil service station was, again, all open empty allotment, owned by baker John Stormont from 1924. A concrete commercial garage with brick offices was built on the site in 1954, and later a fullfledged service station from 1958.
— Lisa J Truttman Sources: A.H. Walker, Rangi-Mata-Rau, 1961, Land Information NZ, Auckland City Archives, Auckland City Libraries newspaper collection, Papers Past, National Library of NZ, Timespanner (author’s blog), Wise’s Directories
Pt. Chevalier Shopping Centre, c.1921. Note “Thode”, opposite the Hall (with post office), and the “pathway” which today is part of Pt Chevalier Rd. From valuation field sheets file, ACC 213/59b, Auckland City Archives (reproduced with permission).
the railway station. Percy enlisted with the NZ Expeditionary Force during World War I, and served in France. After the war, the Thodes began their move westward. They didn’t have the Avondale store all that long, perhaps just a matter of two or three years. From the early 1920s, both were in the land agency business rather than the grocery business, but they may have set up a branch grocer’s shop at Pt. Chevalier, at least until 1922, when a builder named George Stevenson purchased the corner site, and built three new shops later that year, called “Chevalier Buildings”. Stevenson sold the property to a chemist named William Hugh McKinney, who ran his business from one of the shops until he sold the property in turn in 1953. The block included a 2 table billiard saloon facing onto Pt. Chevalier Road. In 1953 Pt. Chevalier Properties bought the building from McKinney, and the 1920s building was replaced by 4 brick and concrete shops in 1954. Next to McKinney’s block, up until 1953 there was just an allotment, and next to that a wooden
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