Volume 3 Issue 13 September – October 2003

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

Heart of the Whau published!
Heart of the Whau is finished. On 23 July 2003, I took delivery from Words Incorporated of Blockhouse Bay the copy centre chosen to produce the book, of the first 10 copies of Heart of the Whau. The first copy sold the next Monday, 28 July. On 31 July, I gave a talk about the book at the Avondale Library, which became a unofficial “launch” for it. After two and a half years research, interviews, scouring of libraries, old minute books, donation of photos, copies of old papers, Heart of the Whau is complete. Sometime in the future, there may well be a second, more detailed, more photographic edition), but at least this one is now out there for my fellow history buffs, and for those who, like me, like the stories of what once was. Heart of the Whau is available for $20 per copy, with p&p extra at $3.00 for 1 copy, $5.00 for two. Enquiries to the Society address and contact details on the back page. Copies are also available from the Avondale Business Association, office, 1883 Great North Road, Avondale (back of Avondale Appliance Centre.) Also, we’re now entering the third volume, and third year, of the Avondale Historical Journal. Thank you, readers, for your help, support, and contributions. — Lisa Truttman, Editor.

Inside this issue:

Heart of the Whau
Hard Times

1

2–3

The Avondale Historical Journal Official Publication of the

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Hard Times:
Two different aspects of the Depression Years by Mr Rich. Afford and Mr. Eric Waterfield
When today we listen to tales of present hardships, we of an older generation recall memories of the depression days of the early thirties and find the comparisons wryly amusing. But strangely, as children I wonder if at the time we were really aware of the conditions our parents had to face to keep the body and soul of the family together. So long as Mum and Dad were there in a loving and caring relationship we breezed along taking everything for granted, and now I am acutely aware that we as a family were actually in the privileged top of the working class and not just because we happened to live at the top of the hill. In a small way we were able to help others with fruit, vegies and surplus milk, not to mention items of cast-off clothing, and once per year mother would organise a party for all those Avondale children who supported Barnardo’s Homes. Miss Jarvie a schoolteacher was the local coordinator for this English charity, which only goes to show that even in times of hardship charity does not always begin at home. We were put to work to tidy up the property, mow the lawns, erect swings and see-saws, and tables to groan with cakes, sweets and soft drinks that mother had spent days in preparing. They were all simple, homemade but happy pleasures. Any man in secure government employ as was my father who had risen to Chief of Stores in the Railways and with a frugal and active wife to boot was able to weather the few cuts in salary without stringent sacrifice. Besides which married men received a small extra allowance for wife and children, and because of his status, once per year we all benefited from a free rail pass, first class. Needless to say we used these tickets to great advantage travelling the length and breadth of the country to holiday with widely dispersed Aunts and Uncles. Every year the Railways would organise excursions to say Helensville for the baths or south to Papakura, or then again a picnic to Motuihe and a grand picnic for families in the Otahuhu Workshop grounds itself. Father was an expert in constructing hot air balloons, one of the main entertainments at the picnic. Indeed during the First World War whilst living in Wellington he constructed and set sail a hot air zeppelin over Wellington harbour to the consternation of the populace who thought the Germans had arrived to invade. On another occasion he was asked if he would contribute to a charity concert to raise funds for the war effort. Imagination took hold and he devised a very large balloon with basket from which a male singer would render, “Come fly away in my balloon.” The curtain went up revealing the balloon filling the proscenium and the singer moving his hand, burst into song. Unfortunately the source of the heat required to fill and keep the balloon inflated become rapidly unbearable to the singer who was in dire risk of being incinerated. Between verses he gasped in desperation to his helpers, “Put out the bloody fire.” There was no option but to ring down the curtain, douse the fire and abort the performance. You are left to guess the outcome. There could not have been any fire safety requirements in those days needless to say. The last balloon he made was under test in our back yard in Tiverton Road and we were asked to hold it anchored whilst father checked for any leaks. Sadly it escaped our grasp, sailed high into the air and was last seen floating serenely over the Waitemata and Rangitoto Island. The economy did at last pick up and by the time of King George’s jubilee in 1935 a certain lightness of spirit was manifest in the community. One Saturday midday we were all sitting around our large kitchen table whilst father carved the roast and my younger brother, as was his wont, was playing up sufficient to warrant a clip on the ear from mother. He was sitting very disconsolate when there was a loud rapping on the door – a special courier with important parcel for signature. Whatever could it be? We could scarcely control our excitement as father opened the package. It revealed a scroll, citation and a beribboned medal: the British Empire Medal no less. We all gasped and in unison asked, “What did you get that for Dad?” Up piped Tom, “For marrying Mum.” In retrospect, for our family, perhaps times were not so hard after all. -- Mr Rich Afford My generation was often known as the lost generation as we were victims of the Depression and then the demands of war

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School was little Harvey Ah Chong, built like a doll. It was my duty to escort him to school where he quickly picked up the language and made the higher position in class. To thank me for my escort duty he invited me around for lunch. I was a little afraid of Chinese adults so I stood outside under the kitchen window and Harvey passed out a small bowl of uncooked vegetables, complete with chop sticks. The reader will realise I had “two problems”. Another immigrant family to reside down Rosebank were the Longs who came from Canada. They became well known as cyclists; in fact they built a large banked cycle track on empty land nearby. — Mr. Eric Waterfield

followed by years of shortages and rationed goods. There were no millionaires in Avondale; in fact there were two classes – working families and the poor ones. The children of poorer families were identified by their worn-out clothing while “well off” children wore (the boys) black serge shorts and a black flannel shirt complete with a black-andwhite striped tie. Not only did families and neighbours interact with food and cast-off clothing but mutually coped with the unexpected Doctor’s bill 10/- which was a huge sum to find at any time. To avoid calling the Doctor, folk would seek the help of those with a little nursing skill or those with home remedies particularly. The most common surgery done in homes was the lancing of stone bruises. I can recall the father of one poor family coming home to find a doctor waiting at the gate and refusing to attend the baby until he was paid. The angry father said “Attend my sick child! I’ll find the money from somewhere!” Farmer’s Then again we heard of one family Trading Co. at who were given a roast for Sunday, that time had a sold it, and spent the money on movie tickets. I used to think there slogan: “Paint was one man who I identified with Your House those bad old days and that was Mr. Price who used to stagger to the rear For £1” of those homes who could afford coal with a huge sack of coal on his back. He was more black than white as he had to fill the sacks from a railway truck on the siding at Avondale station. Another example of how the Depression destroyed people’s self confidence was when my father offered me to Sam Crawford (plumber) for no wages and send me home if no work available if he would apprentice me. He refused, saying there hadn’t been a boy to the trade for five years and he wouldn’t take the risk. When I was twelve my twin brother and I had an insurance mature. Dad picked up the huge sum of £50. With that £50 he put a deposit on a 6 year old home and employed Mr Kelly to wire the home (labour £1). Dad provided the materials, he employed Mr. Croft to build a room on – he worked all hours for 2/- an hour. Farmer’s Trading Co. at that time had a slogan: “Paint Your House For £1”. The package consisted of 2 gallons undercoat, 2 gallons finishing, 1 gallon of roof paint, 1 bottle of turpentine and 2 paint brushes. Another example of values was when Dad was offered 10 acres and a large home for £250. He turned it down saying he couldn’t imagine Auckland City expanding to Avondale! It’s very easy to picture Avondale sixty years ago as little has changed regarding the shopping centre, as different from the Rosebank Peninsula which has undergone a dramatic change with new roads and the disappearance of market gardens and orchards beneath acres of asphalt and huge buildings. Probably the first Chinese pupil at the Avondale

Next meeting of the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society: Saturday, 4 October 2003, at the Lions Hall, corner Great North and Blockhouse Bay Roads, Avondale. Please contact the Society for details.

30 years ago: The Avondale Library opened at the new site on Rosebank Road, September 1973. This was a move from the previous “temporary” home in the Public Hall, St Georges Road. Because of the move, the Public Hall was clear (after renovations) for the Avondale Citizens Advice Bureau to start up their offices there in November that year.

The Society and editorial staff thank

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

Volume 3 Issue 13 Page 4

See Anyone You Know?

Mr. Jack Munk, AWHS member, kindly supplied this photo which I believe comes from the day of the 1970 Avondale Primary School Reunion and Centenary. Let me know if you recognise yourself here, or know any of the faces. — Editor.

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

Websites:

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/

Printed by

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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