Volume 2 Issue 12 July – August 2003

The Avondale Historical Journal
Official Publication of the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society Incorporated

Rural Avondale
by Mr. Rich Afford (member, Avondale-Waterview Historical Society)

Inside this issue:

Rural Avondale
Avondale Memories



Perhaps a more accurate appellation would be semirural, a pepper and salt district with pockets of residential sections interspersed with paddocks, market gardens and orchards. And perhaps when we talk of Avondale we should not forget that in those days Blockhouse Bay was known as Avondale South, and Waterview was always considered to be a part of greater Avondale, so in effect the district encompassed a wide spectrum. Accompanying this environment were the sounds of nature. We would be woken, not by the alarm clock but by chanticleer heralding the dawn, with immediate response from far and wide by his feathered opponents, some calls loud and belligerent, others more muted and timid, but each proclaiming his territory and warning others to keep their distance. One or two I am sure suffered from laryngitis.

Our own cock was a particularly handsome Black Orpington who controlled his harem like a dictator and simply hated women, and mother in particular. We devised a long pole with a fork at the end similar to the old clothes prop used in those days to hold up the clothes line and when mother entered the fowl run and he rushed to attack her, she would with dexterity get the prong around his neck and guide him around the pen as she collected the eggs. It was a sight to behold. Once when we were particularly naughty we let him out of his pen just as our sister was leaving for work, all dressed up and immaculate and he flew at her in feathered fury, sending her screaming and in disarray through the gate. Now in her nineties I don’t think she has yet forgiven us. But we loved the sounds of the dawn, the lowing of cattle and the concept of neurosis was simply unknown. Often times we ventured down Rosebank Road, the bread basket of the city with its acres of vegetable gardens and orchards, mainly to visit Mr Wright of horticultural renown and benefit from his wisdom and sagacity. We, nor anyone else thought much of his vines of hairy fruit or Chinese Gooseberries, but we did have a couple of his own “Wright’s Early” plum trees which always fruited heavily prior to Christmas. We were not keen to follow his advice to always save the contents of the chamber pot, dilute well and feed the citrus trees, but one of father’s regular chores was to bury the necessaries in a trench around the drip line of our Doris plum trees. The blossoming was so magnificent that one of these was photographed to feature in the front page of the paper captioned the “Harbinger of Spring”. Small boys were also made

Mr. McCarthy of Station Road — fish dealer, motor launch owner, charabanc driver, and a little later Avondale’s first resident funeral undertaker. From a 1916 issue of the “News.”

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the orchard to spend the night under the stars so to speak, drifting off to the mournful cry of the morepork and the plaintive calls of the seabirds as they wheeled overhead on their way to and from their feeding grounds on the upper reaches of the Waitemata, and the Manukau sandbanks. You may not hear them today due to city lights and traffic noise but I know they are still doing it. One very still and quiet night not long ago they revived that lovely long lost memory.

Rural Avondale (continued)
for climbing trees, not just to construct a tree house as we did in our old macrocarpa tree, but to spring from branch to branch to pluck the plums without damaging the bloom on the fruit. These would be sent off to the markets, Turners and Growers, each fruit carefully wrapped in tissue and each box stamped with our own brand, and I do not remember us ever receiving a grading less than A1. The rewards may have been small but they still helped to keep hunger at bay especially in days of the depression. At the top of Tiverton Road there was a small farm and small herd of cows and I recall the owner bringing in the animals for milking accompanied by a large pig. When he disappeared from the scene, the pig that is, we often speculated as to whether he turned up as crispy bacon together with free-range eggs on the breakfast table, and minus his oink. Our neighbour Mr Reisterer decided he would seed and cultivate what we called horse mushrooms in his back paddock, to his regret out of sight from his homestead but luckily for us in full-view from our kitchen window. They were magnificent in size and flavour and I have a sneaking suspicion that Mr R was aware of why his crop of mushrooms was not as abundant and successful as he had expected. I wonder if today someone is benefiting from big mushrooms popping up on their back lawn. Raiding orchards was another minor misdemeanour in those days when hunger and temptation overcame twinges of conscience, but it was a different matter when you became the victim and the culprit was unknown. Mother had one resounding success however. Her sharp eyes noted a trail of orange skins leading away over the fields to Bentleigh Avenue and beyond just after the butcher boy had delivered the order. With basket in hand she followed the trail collecting the evidence as she went. Needless to say she ended at the destination she expected, Mr Milichen’s Butcher shop at the corner of New North and Richardson Roads. The result was a meat order free and gratis accompanied by a reprimand for the contrite butcher boy and a clip on the ear, followed by a long walk home for mother. The halcyon days of summer found us pitching tent in

Avondale Memories
by Eric Waterfield
(Mr Waterfield is a member of the Avondale History Group, who in 1994 published “Challenge of the Whau”, written by Mr Ron Oates. Here are some of the episodes of life growing up in Avondale Mr Waterfield has very kindly offered to share with us all. Thank you, Eric! — editor) The School Fancy Dress Ball For some strange reason the Avondale School in the twenties always held the above event in the middle of winter. On this night we had the weather to prove it. As a ten year old I had little imagination when it came to fancy dress, so I asked Dad who suggested I look in the newspaper ads. While scanning the pages I found a little, quite well-known ad which showed a side-on view of a sea captain dressed in oilskin, gumboots, beard and pipe etc. carrying a huge sardine on his back. The ad of course was advertising “Skipper Sardines”. It was ideal as I could find most of the “dress” around the house. The cardboard fish proved the most challenging however. I assembled all that was required in time. Came the big night and it poured but there I was dressed for both the weather and the event. I had to walk from the bottom of Avondale Road to the Oddfellows hall in St Georges Rd approximately 2 kms. I had no sooner stepped inside when my teacher ordered me outside and to take those wet things off! I tried to explain behind my beard that I was in the parade which had started! So I had to shed and shake my things outside, re-entered the parade and was delighted to win “most original dress” and took home a box Brownie camera. One Shopping Day My mother and eldest sister set out across market gardens to reach Riversdale Road on their way to shop at the village of Avondale. Some distance along the road they encountered a drover who was having difficulty

Artwork by Ms. Liz Claude-Goldie.

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from England. My late friend Ray Gould told me of one of his experiences with the “A/S.” As he was having problems maintaining his long driveway he decided to sell up. After much advertising he had a positive response from a lady buyer. He showed her the Artwork by Ms. Liz Claude-Goldie. house and she was delighted with everything in and outside the house, declaring her intention to purchase. Ray was delighted. They’d actually said their goodbyes when she said she’d overlooked the wardrobes, so back inside. As Ray opened one wardrobe door one hairy leg appeared on the hinge side followed by the remainder of the intruder. Despite his aversion to spiders he grabbed the villain and as calmly as he could walked to the sink and washed it away. His bravery was for nought as the good lady let out one shriek and disappeared into the darkness for ever! As we say, if a land agent can sell a house in Avondale he’s passed the ultimate test! Victoria Hall Church The little church was always well attended when an eloquent handsome man took the sermon such as Mr Jamieson who had a “following” wherever he spoke. The musical accom-paniment was provided by the Chamberlain sisters Winnie (violin), May (piano) and joined sometimes by Mr Hancock (trumpet) and whose neck veins threatened to burst when he “blew”, a side effect we found quite fascinating. The sisters organised all our activities including the annual picnic at Ferndale, Henderson and the carol singing at Xmas, which involved the mode “T” with a pump organ tied to the back of the cab. My job was to knock on the doors of the market gardeners saying, “Please, a copper (penny) for the carol singers.” I doubt if we showed a profit with petrol 10d a gallon, to say nothing of the newly formed Salvation Army band which outshone our pump organ by many decibels. Mr Capes One of Rosebank Road’s claims to fame rested on the shoulders of Mr Capes who became quite well known for his ability to charm warts away. Dad took my youngest sister to him for “treatment” whereby he simply touched each wart. Within two weeks her skin was clear. I have an idea that the “treatment” was free. Some years later after we’d

with one obstinate cow in his herd. He was using the whip which horrified my mother who had a strong compassion for animals. An argument started and ended when the drover said, “If you are so concerned about the b- cow why don’t you buy it!” Buy it, she did, which took care of the shopping money, 25/- for the following week. “Ethel” the cow had 2 acres of lush grass to eat. At least we had milk and butter presumably until next pay day. Dutch Refugees Avondale very early on was involved by the onset of World War II in Europe in as much that nationals were already fleeing their own countries which included Holland. Those wishing to leave, found their laws prevented them from taking cash out of the country so refugees to out the As Ray opened equivalent in building materials – in one wardrobe this case pre-cut homes. As one enters Tiverton Road on the right hand door one hairy side there are several Dutch homes leg appeared on built on the former property of Mr Ringrose, one of Avondale’s early the hinge side imported brickmakers. The homes followed by the have a slightly different appearance than the Kiwi style and certainly deremainder of the serve a place in Avondale’s history.


On the Friendly Road

We children of the Victoria Hall Church in or around 1929 might have been one of the first singing groups to visit the Friendly Road studios situated beneath Lewis Eady’s shop in Queen Street. We travelled there on the back of a model “T” truck and the group included my twin brother and eldest sister combining with myself to sing as a trio. We made our way down to the basement where we were met by Uncle Tom who organised the broadcast and who stood us in front of a big black microphone hanging in a frame like a spider in its web and quite intimidating. Meantime Mother had gone to Mr Black’s home as he had a radio to listen in. On our arrival home my sister asked Mother how did the broadcast sound, and she replied, “Quite good, but why did you sing so loud and drown out your brothers?” “Well, Mum, I knew it had to go a long way!” Radio was a complete mystery in those days. Avondale’s Icon Many stories have been told about the Avondale Spider since their discovery there in the early twenties and which were discovered by my shrieking mother recently arrived

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Avondale Memories (continued)
moved to Tiverton Road we were stopped one evening by an exhausted motorist who had driven up from Wellington and was lost, searching for a Mr Capes. We were just the people to help him! Nurse Benn As a youngster in the primers I had one dread. That was the moment after we had finished singing the school song for the class door would be opened and there stood Nurse Ben seeking her quota of victims for the morning. On this unhappy occasion I ducked under my desk and then became aware of a formidable figure towering over me and was told to make my own way down to the surgery located in one half of the Avondale Council building in St Judes Street. I must have been crying when a lady resident came and gave me a penny if I would keep the appointment. Looking back, that generous lady could have given quite a few pennies. So I carried on, occasionally looked back to see if she was looking. Finally as I neared the “torture chamber” she went back inside, so I flew past the building. On my way back to school I detoured via the shops and spent the penny, but I was only delaying the inevitable. After lunch came Nurse Benn looking for the “fugitive” with a firm grip and I was once more heading for the

“T/C”. I was desperate to escape so pleaded an urgent visit to the toilet. I dashed to the Standards toilet and locked myself in. Minutes later I heard the heavy footsteps of the headmaster Mr Darrow and a posse of several six class lads. I can’t recall the dialogue – suffice to say I found myself once more in the company of Nurse Benn being guided unerringly to that awesome chamber of horrors.

The Society and editorial staff thank

Avondale Business Association
for their continued support and sponsorship of this publication.

The Avondale Historical Journal
Published by the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society Inc. Editor: Lisa J. Truttman, 19 Methuen Road, Avondale, Auckland Phone: (09) 828-8494, Fax: (09) 828-8497, email: historian@avondale.org.nz


AWHS site Rimtark Earth Settler Archive Room

www.geocities.com/avondalehistory www.geocities.com/rimtark/index.html www.earthsettler.tripod.com/esindex/earthsettlerhome.htm www.geocities.com/archiveroom/

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Membership Information: Fees
Note: This is information for those wishing to join the Society. Existing members will be advised when subs are due again — Editor.

Avondale Photo Centre, 1962 Great North Road,

Individual Family Group/Corporate

$10 $15 $30

Cheques for membership fees may be made out to: “Avondale-Waterview Historical Society”. A receipt will be provided. Please send all fees to our registered office address: 19 Methuen Road, Avondale.

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