May—June 2006

Volume 5 Issue 29

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

Inside this issue: Faces from the past Telegrams Waterview photos 1 2, 4 3, 4

Do you know these faces?

Next meeting of the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society:

Saturday, 3 June 2006, 2.30 pm Lion’s Hall, corner Blockhouse Bay Road and Great North Road Please contact the Society for details.
The Society and AHJ editorial staff thank Avondale Business Association
for their continued support and sponsorship of this publication.

This photo of the Waterview Methodist Church Girls Life Brigade is from c.19351936, and comes to us from Norma Slattery (neé Read). Norma couldn’t recall many of the names — so is there anyone else who remembers this group and can tell us more? Top Row: (no name), Iris?, June Keefe?, Mary Hayes, (no name), (no name), older sister of Crisp twins? Second Row: Linda Myatt, (senior?), Betty Goodman, (no name), Doris Westwood, Lieutenant, (no name), Norma Read, (no name), (senior), Winnie Eade Third Row: Muriel Cruickshank, (no name), Sybil Shaw, (no name), Captain, (no name), (no name), (no name), (no name) Fourth Row: (no name), (no name), (no name), Crisp twin, Betty Priestley, (no name), 2nd Crisp twin.

The Avondale Historical Journal

Volume 5 Issue 29 Page 2

Some of my Memories
By Norma Slattery
Thank you, Norma, for these memories and the wonderful photo on the front cover this issue! — editor I was born 3 December 1923 at Nurse Manning’s Maternity Home. Christened St Judes Anglican Church Avondale 24 February 1924. Lived at 15 Victor Street Avondale with my Mother and Grandmother. She had 13 children then brought up an older cousin Trevor Vendt who later took his father’s name of Barton. My mother died when I was 5½ year old. My grandmother was Mrs. Emily Margaret Vendt. A brother of my mother lived in front of the house — Laurie Vendt and his wife Rose and two sons: John (known at school as Billie (William), and younger son Ray. Living next door in Holly Street was my mother’s sister Rita who married Jack Crowhurst. Two sons: Noel and Basil Crowhurst. We were the first in Victor Street to have electricity, 1922. Our house was owned by Mr. David who cared for my family and came down from his store in Otoroa. His property 15 Victor street went down Holly Street to where the school entrance is. Circumstances and the Depression forced him gradually to sell his property in sections. A wonderful man. He passed away before my Grandmother who died May 1938. I moved to Ponsonby to live with my Aunt Rita who had helped her Mum and myself over the years off and on. I lived with her in Ponsonby 1938. A lot of changes made in the last 68 years!!!

everything I needed to know about telegrams. Well - I should have, that's what they told me. The job was full of variety and we rotated around week by week. One shift involved receiving the phone calls, and typing out the telegram that people wanted to send. We typed it onto a card which had a tear off slip where we marked on the caller’s phone number and exchange. The card was then passed through a gap in the window for the next stage. This shift was where I learnt to knit!!! We had to just sit on the phone waiting for calls to come in, and if it was quiet we were allowed to pick up a book, or knitting needles to help pass spare minutes in between. The next stage of the telegram was on a shift where we did the typing. It was on a very heavy machine, and I can't think what we must have called it. It wasn't as modern as the telex machine (remember them?) When you typed on these machines you could not see what you were typing. If you thought you made a mistake, you would add on "E E E" after the error, so people at the other end knew to delete that. It would be cut out. We would gather up a bunch of telegrams for say Auckland, dial up the Auckland post office, and type out the telegrams. Hang up, then dial up another post office. These numbers were different to phone numbers... I think the number for Christchurch was 4401. When we went up a step in technology, we went to a VDU (Visual display unit). Here we could see what we were doing!! It was there that our errors were marked with XXXXX after it. Obviously no backspace or delete available then, it still had to be accurate typing. If we really messed up, we would start the telegram again. They never looked the same once they were printed out on plain white paper at the other end. It was the end of the yellow pads once we got the VDUs. Remember the yellow paper? Yep, they came as pads, and when each telegram was composed, we would tear it off, and pass it on to despatch. The next shift to work was at the receiving end, where the telegram message would come out of a machine on the tape. As it slowly came out, we would thread the tape through a little dish that had a wheel in it. This carried the tape through, up and over a quick waterbath. The tape had adhesive on the bottom side (like we have for stamps) and wetting it, made it to stick. With practice you were soon able to pull the tape through with the scissors which were in your hand, and we would place the tape into position on the page. Despatch had the job of looking up the person's phone number and if possible we would phone it through. If we had no reply after one hour, then we would send the message out by car/bike to the person's home. Nobody home - we would leave a note in the letterbox and keep trying to ring them. If still no further response, the sender was notified of progress. How's THAT for service?? Telegrams were meant to be delivered within an hour of the first phone call. If it was after hours with no telegraph staff around, the toll exchange would pass them on. If one needed to be delivered - they would have a taxi come and collect it. continued on last page

by Kerry Mitchell
I know Kerry through an internet messageboard I belong to. One day, she wrote this wonderful description of what it was like to work in the telegram department, towards the end of the old service. I asked if I could republish her memories, and she said yes. Thank you, Kerry. — editor I had a wonderful time working in Telegrams, absolutely brilliant job!! My first job after leaving school is hardly worth mentioning (shorthand/typist at a stock company). Went to Oz for a short working holiday, then on return managed to get a job with at the Post Office, in the Telegram branch. Every staff member was sent away to "Training School" and for me it meant going to stay in Christchurch to be skilled up with the knowledge for the job. As typing wasn't such a common skill then, it also included learning to type for many. I already had typing skills so didn't need to take the full term on offer which could be up to three months. (Three months!! What firm would pay your accommodation and time away to those skills now?) I whizzed through the course in three weeks and came out of there believing I knew

The Avondale Historical Journal

Volume 5 Issue 29 Page 3

Waterview Memories
Thanks to Jo Marris of Waterview, we have these wonderful photos for the Journal this month. (right) Children on an old horse-drawn road grader, around 17 Alexandra Street, Waterview. c. 1925 (now Alverston) L to R: Joyce Bridges, Unknown, Jo Bridges, John Humphries, Jess Grey.

(left) Seesaw, c. 1944 L to R: Betty Munk, Harry Bowater, Nita Bowater, Jack Munk, Peter McIvor, Babara Bowater, Heather Nankerville, Jo Bridges

(right) No. 22 Alverston Street, c. 1925 (then Alexandra Street.)

Does anyone else have views of the past of Waterview and the lives of those who lived there? If so, please do contact me. We’re keen to collect together as many photos of the area as possible. — Editor.

Volume 5 Issue 29 Page 4
Telegrams Continued from page 2 Telegrams that announced a death, or if in a foreign language were always delivered personally. The Timaru branch on a busy day would take up to nearly 600 per day, an average day being about 300. Businesses used this service to order parts from bigger companies. Weddings of course always attracted telegrams, and they could get up to 100, though probably on average of about 20. Then telex machines came available, then phone calls became cheaper. Sadly the telegram was dying, and we could see that. Our protests about how they kept going up in price while toll calls were coming down, fell on deaf ears. By the time telegrams were extinguished completely I was not on permanent staff anymore, just a relief for busy times. It was really sad to see it go. I've saved my wedding telegrams and also have a historical one which was sent to me on the last day they were in service. I was working there when the Erebus plane went down. The first I heard about it was when a telegram went through to somebody in Timaru that said the plane was missing .... I think I made up a telegram or two from the Queen - it went to everybody that turned 100. There would be "greeting" pads for special occasions - they cost another 10 cents if you wanted it on a fancy page. So when there was an extra special occasion as just mentioned, we would get out one of the best greeting pads we had which had often been lovingly saved from the past so it was now quite unique, and put it on one of them. The other occasions these extra special greeting pads were used might have been for a staff member (who would appreciate the act). My daughter visited Ferrymead, which is set up like Shantytown, had the old steam train and historical shops etc... She was talking telegrams with somebody and she mentioned her Mum had worked with them. ... ... .... Oh yes - we have her name here on the old records of staff.... Goodness - my name stored in some museum collection.

IZB Radio Mast, Oakley Avenue, Waterview. In sending this photo to me, Jo Marris wrote: "It is the 1ZB mast on the paddock in Oakley Ave, this is now State houses and a road (Howlett St). My sister took the photo many years ago, myself and two friends are standing underneath." (Apparently the two friends are Jack Munk and his sister).

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, 027 4040 804 Fax: (09) 828-8497, email: Website: index Society information: Subscriptions: $10 individual $15 couple/family $30 corporate We meet once every two months, first Saturday of the month: February, April, June, August, October, December. The Journal and our Newsletter are published in those months.

Printed by

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

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