March – April 2002

Volume 1,Issue 4

The Avondale Historical Journal
Publication of the Heart of the Whau Project

Meeting Date Set
Inside this issue: Historical Society Meeting in March Library Heritage Trust The Rosebank Bakehouse Whau Horse Bus Driver
For anyone interested in the formation of a Historical Society for Avondale-Waterview — a meeting will be held at the Avondale

Community Centre, 99 Rosebank Road, Avondale, on Saturday 30 March, 2 pm. Car parks available just off Rosebank
Road (the Community Centre is between Great North Road and Ash Street, with car park entry from Highbury Street). If you can before the meeting, let me know that you’re coming — I’d like to organise a spot of tea or coffee for those attending.


With the view to creating a formal incorporated society, I’ll have a draft constitution ready for consideration and amendment. If you’d like a copy of this, but can’t come to the meeting — just let me know. — Lisa Truttman



Auckland Library Heritage Trust
I picked up a pamphlet recently from the Special Collections department of Auckland Central Library on the Auckland Library Heritage Trust. This was formed in 1991 “to take on the task of rescuing and restoring the heritage collections so that this precious documentary record would not be lost.” The Trust’s work involves rehousing some collections to environments and conditions that will limit their decay, sorting and cataloguing, providing protective enclosures for fragile books, and apply conservation treatment to maps and parchment documents. For further information on the Trust, contact: The Secretary Auckland Library Heritage Trust P O Box 4138, Auckland 1015, or Phone (09) 307 7758, Fax (09) 307 7741, or Email:

The Avondale Historical Journal

Volume 1,Issue 4 Page 2

The Rosebank Bakehouse
Among the signs of Avondale’s increasing urbanisation from its more rural early days in the middle of the nineteenth century was the advent of bakehouses in the 1890s, providing the still forming village community with their daily bread. At what is now 69 Rosebank Road a Mr Grubb became the first baker on the Rosebank Rd/Great North Rd (northwest) corner, and proprietor of the first recorded bakehouse in the mid 1890s . His shop included an area for the stabling of horses, which is now the present-day site of the former Masonic Hall. Before this, the area, part of the larger Chisholm (Rosebank) Estate, was just farmland after the break-up and sale of Robert Chisholm’s Estate in 1882 [information from M Butler report, Heritage Planning, Auckland City Council, 2001]. The father of Mr Grubb who started the Rosebank Bakehouse came to New Zealand in the 1860s, and set up a bakery in Karangahape Road. Unfortunately, during the Depression of the 1880s -1890s, he went bankrupt. His son was a baker in the Northern Ireland Constabulary when he emigrated with his sister to New Zealand, following their father. Later, in Avondale, once he had married, he started the bakery. Mr Keith Grubb, his grandson, told me how his grandfather would drink quite a bit, and would frequent the Avondale Hotel all too often and for far too long as far as his wife was concerned. Once, when losing her patience with her husband, she took a stock whip and went into the Hotel, clearing everyone out in her anger. However, Mr Grubb had seen her coming from across the fields, and was well out of the way. The licensee at the time, possibly the ill-fated Mr J R Stych (see Issue 3, Going Down to the Hotel part two), banned Mrs Grubb from ever coming in and clearing out his hotel again. John Bollard, during his time as the local MP for Eden, would often come into the bakehouse to talk to Mr Grubb – and would just as often walk out onto the street with flour all over his back from being heartily patted across the shoulders by Mr Grubb. By 1 April 1903, Mr Robert Samuel Kirkpatrick had bought Grubb’s land and bakery on the north-western corner of Rosebank/Great North Road, and ran Kirkpatrick’s Bakery there until early 1905. Robert Samuel Kirkpatrick (1866-1948) was the son of Duncan Kirkpatrick (arrived 1860 from County Antrim, Ireland) and Jane McCaughan, whom he married in Napier. “Sam” Kirkpatrick married Magdalene Webster Grubb of the Avondale baker’s family in 1890, so in 1903 he was essentially carrying on the family business. (The Kirkpatricks and the Grubbs had been cousins before this). One of their sons, Robert Webster Kirkpatrick, (18901937) went on to co-found, wwith the Stevens family, Kirkpatrick & Stevens of NNewmarket, and one of his sons in turn, Robert Noel Kirkpatrick, was a Newmarket Borough Councillor in the early 1970s. His daughter is Noeline Raffills, current Auckland City Councillor for Avondale-Roskill Ward. Mr Grubb senior continued to work for his son-in-law until his death on the railway line, crushed between two carriages he was passing between without realising they were being shunted. According to Mr Keith Grubb, his grand-son, his grandfather’s dog (to which he gave a double whiskey and milk each morning) ran yelping from the scene and fetched Mrs Grubb. He is apparently buried in Rosebank Cemetery, although no record has been found to date. By 1910, Daniel Robertson had a general store on the bakery site, running his combined bakery-groceries-coal business until around the end of World War I, when the Thode Brothers took over. Ernest Bright ran a bakery business close by, until a fire in the early 1920s burned the entire block out. The Fearon's Building stands on the site today. As an after note, the Kirkpatrick family went on to own the Rosebank Station Store (west corner of Rosebank and Roberton Roads, built 1912-1913) until at least the late 1920s.

Those who had to conduct business in Auckland City in the late 1870s used the horse buses, or omnibuses, that plied the routes either along the Great North Road or along New North Road between the City and the Whau and further west. One of the horse

The Avondale Historical Journal

Volume 1,Issue 4 Page 3

The Whau’s Legendary Horse Bus Driver
bus drivers of the time was one Laurence Teirney, operating from out of the rural Whau district, and a forgotten character from out of our history. (Thanks to information from Mr Teirney’s descendant, I now know that his first name and surname appear in differing forms in the newspapers and other records. As the family today spell their name as "Teirney", I have tried to continue that in the narration). Mr Teirney apparently had an aversion to other users of the rutted roads passing him along the way. And he had a quick, pugnacious temper, going by what the newspapers of the day relate. An article in the NZ Herald, 7th November 1879 tells us: “An accident occurred in Symonds St between 7 and 8 pm, which imperilled the safety of at least 1 person. A gentleman named Frost was driving a buggy, coming into town from the Whau by the New North Road, and passed the Whau bus coming in the same direction, and driven by Lawrence Tierney. “The driver of the buggy kept close to the left side of the road after passing the omnibus. Tierney, in turn, improved his pace so as to pass the buggy, and the consequence was a violent collision, which smashed the lighter vehicle. Mr Frost was thrown out but beyond being covered with mud and a little shaken by the fall he has sustained no serious injuries. The damage done to the buggy is estimated at £20.” (article originally found by Mike Butler of Auckland City's Heritage Planning division) This may have merely been a case of Teirney having a really bad day. However. I found another report from 17 January 1882. "Obstructing a Thoroughfare -- Rival Omnibus Men. "Lawrence Tierney was charged with obstructing the passage of Patrick Collins, Henry Holloway and others on the Great North Road on 23 December 1881." It seems that Patrick Collins, another Whau driver, had left the City before Mr Teirney and Teirney caught up with him at the Whau Hotel. Teirney left 5 minutes before Collins, and Collins caught up with him at New Lynn "near the stables where he stopped." Collins called to Teirney to "give room to pass, but he (Tierney) kept to the centre of the road." Collins then drew his bus onto a siding and tried to pass Teirney's bus that way, but Teirney thwarted the attempt by drawing across himself, preventing Collins from getting any further. Then Teirney used his bus and horses to block the middle of the Whau Bridge, causing Collins to pull up short. "(Teirney) stopped there for half a minute, and stopped again at the end of the bridge, and then started to gallop up the hill (toward the Whau township) before (Collins) got up to him." Teirney had been charged with obstructing a public carriageway under the Public Works Act of the time, but was discharged without conviction of that charge due to a technicality -- the police had chosen the wrong part of the Public Works Act on which to lay the charge. The Herald report did not stop there, however. Teirney was next charged with "conduct calculated to provoke a breach of the peace." He was accused of taking off his shirt at the Whau, and challenging Collins to a fight. "Mr Lennox," the report advised, "who was subpoened, was unable to come in. He was an important witness, but he was suffering from an injury." “Teirney was next According to Teirney, Collins charged with picked the fight first, and he was "conduct backed up by a Charles H Smith calculated to proand William Armstrong. Still, he voke a breach of was convicted and fined 20 shillings and costs of 1 pound, 4 shilthe peace." lings. He was accused

The man behind the legend.

Laurence O'Tierney was born 18 June 1843, in Co. Cavan, Cootehill, Ireland. Laurence married Bridget Cunningham (b. 1843) in 1864, and over the course of their marriage which lasted through travels across Ireland up to Belfast, and out to New Zealand, they had 10 children, 9 of which lived to majority. The family arrived in Auckland on Friday November 20, 1874, after a stormy voyage aboard the Waitangi. According to a grand daughter of Laurence, Beatrice, she had learned from her father (Larry Teirney) that "the family had been brought to New Zealand by a Mr Quick for Laurence to be a groom to work on the Estate of (continued on page 4) (from page 3)

of taking off his shirt at the Whau, and challenging Collins to a fight.”

Mr Dilworth. They originally lived in Wakefield Street, off Queen Street -- rent, one shilling and sixpence per week." At some point between 1875 and 1879, Laurence decided to leave the employ of Mr Dilworth and start his own business of a "taxi run" (horse-bus) from Auckland to New Lynn. The Teirney family note that the family homestead was in Swanson, but at one time prior to that it appears the family

Volume 1,Issue 4 Page 4

The Whau’s Legendary Horse Bus Driver (continued)
lived close to where Cambridge Clothing now stands in New Lynn at the corner of Totara Avenue and Great North Road -- the terminus for the horse-bus service. While Laurence Teirney ran the horse-bus business, his wife Bridget stayed home, bringing up the children, and later running the farm up in Swanson. From around 1883 to 1885, Laurence was in Australia, having either tired of the farming life in Swanson, or having become drunk, gambled away his coach, and put on a ship bound for Australia from where it took him the two years to return. The spelling of the family name changed to Teirney by the time he returned. Laurence Teirney was a devout Catholic, and was known to be a lay preacher on Sundays up in Swanson. In 1895, he was one of the first Trustees of the Swanson Cemetary, where both he and his wife were buried. Beatrice recalled her grandfather Laurence as having "a very long white beard right down to his chest." A recollection of two of his children was published in the Teirney family's reunion booklet in 1995: "They often spoke of their old dog "Shot" - how he always lay down by the back door; grandad Teirney was very fussy about his shoes, and how he always cleaned them in a box by the back door; six days a week "Old Shot" never moved -- but on a Sunday when grandad used to go up to the (Swanson) school to give religious instructions (as the Priest in those days only visited Swanson once in six weeks - he lived in Puhoi) Shot would get up and shuffle off; when Grandad reached the school, Shot would be lying on the road outside the school. Mum and Uncle Tom could never work out how Shot knew it was Sunday!" Bridget Teirney died in 1904, from blood poisoning after an accident with a sewing needle. From that time Laurence lived with their daughter Kate who ran the Commercial Hotel at Waihi, on the Coromandel Peninsula, and died there on 9 December 1915. Source: "An account of Laurence and Bridget's lives in New Zealand from an interview with Aunt Beatt by Gloria Wilson", The Teirney Family in New Zealand, 1995 Reunion Celebration Booklet, 1995.

The Avondale Historical Journal
Published by Lisa J Truttman 19 Methuen Road, Avondale, Auckland Phone: (09) 828-8494, Fax: (09) 828-8497, email: Rimtark Earth Settler Archive Room


Printed by Avondale Photo Centre, 1962 Great North Road, Avondale, Phone/Fax: 09-820 6030

I thank

Battersby Funeral Services Ltd, 1855 Great North Road, Avondale, serving Avondale since 1933,
for their support and sponsorship of this publication.

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