January—February 2008

Volume 7 Issue 39

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

Three photographs that have come to us from the weekend of the Avondale Primary School Reunion in November last year. (Above) Greyscale doesn’t really do justice to this wonderful photograph donated by the Clews family — it’s actually in colour, and is (I think) just about the only colour photograph of the old Avondale Hotel / Avoncourt, as well as the wooden store to the left which started out as Henry Peck’s in the mid 1870s. This may have been taken in the 1960s, the decade both buildings were demolished (1967), because the verandah of the buildings diagonally opposite can be seen to the extreme right (the block just beside the public hall). (Left, top) Society member Mrs Joan Hand gave me permission to take a photograph of her wooden spoon — a rather special one, as the provenance card with it states that it was carved from kauri wood that came from the demolished Main Block (or Standards block) of the Avondale Next meeting of the Primary School, which was brought down around 1971-1972. Avondale-Waterview (Left, bottom) Cliff Mitchell said I Saturday, 2 February could take a photo of his photo from 2008, 2.30 pm 1937, showing five friends together: Val Edwards, Joan Robins, Cliff Lion’s Hall, corner BlockMitchell, Florence Tait, and Margaret house Bay Road and Whale. The Whale family ran the dairy Great North Road beside the cinema on St Georges Road from the 1920s. Please contact the Society

Historical Society:

for details.

The Avondale Historical Journal

Volume 7 Issue 39 Page 2

Memories of Waterview
by Joe Robinson
In 1936 at the tender age of 9 years I moved to Waterview with my parents the brothers, to 1567 Great North Road. Opposite me on the border of the Asylum grounds in a house set back from the main road was No. 1568 owned by the Bates family. Next door to them was a vacant section, then No. 1570 were the Philips (?) resided. Next door to us was a clay tennis court which belonged to people at the back who used to keep horses. From our place to the Methodist Church was a high Macrocarpa hedge in which we had a hut and would play in the trees. The Church was moved to the corner of Fir Street possibly to make way for the State Houses that were built there. In the house built next door to us was Alec Adolph and he was a carrier. On the corner of Fairlands and Great North Road in a big house lived the Billinghams and he was a cabinet maker. On the corner of Great North Road and Blockhouse Bay Road was the Church of Christ, now used by the Lions. I went to Sunday School there and the teachers’ names were Shepherd and Persian. Going to Sunday School was probably a respite for my parents to give them a bit of peace and quiet as I was not rapt in the whole idea and would sooner be out playing with my mates. Opposite on the corner (now Heron Park) was a house set back from the road owned by the Mattocks (?) Many hours, with my brothers, was spent in the Asylum grounds sliding down the pine needles on our behinds or on a home-made sledge. Because we were wearing our shorts out Mum made us long trousers out of sugar sacks. We used to swim in the pool by the waterfall and cut steps in the bank at different heights and dive into the pool and swim the width several times. The steps were probably still there to this day. Also we got friendly with two men from the Asylum kitchen. Their names were Mack and Charlie and they would often bring us sweets and goodies from the kitchen. Further back in the grounds was an area where the Asylum kept pigs (and a boar) with several plum trees (small xmas plums) and we often had a good feed of these. We had an Alsatian dog and would take him to hold the boar at bay while we had a good feed. The grounds had a good variety of fruit (nectarines, peaches and loquats) which we availed ourselves of. We woukd cross the creek to a quarry (Phyllis Street?) which also had a rubbish dump. After playing with the trucks by pushing them up the lines and ride them to the bottom several times we would then search the tip for bottles and electric light globes. These would be then lined up on a wall and using a Shanghai (catapult) attempt to smash the bulbs and knock the bottles over and this was harmless fun. Another source of amusement was to fabricate a canoe out of roofing iron and paddle it up and down the estuary at the bottom of Fairlands Avenue. The grounds also had a large pine tree to which (on an overhanging branch) we attached a sturdy rope with a large knot at the end, sit on it, and swing out over the mangroves. If the rope broke we would land in the mud and probably do great harm to ourselves but being kids this did not occur to us. With very little traffic round the back streets of Waterview we could ride our bikes and in pushing a used cigarette packet up the mudguard and pressing it against the tyre tread it would make a sound like a siren – hence this was Cops & Robbers. Before all the houses were built at the back of Herdman Street, bulldozers were there clearing the land. Because of petrol being rationed my brother and myself would hop the fence with two empty beer bottles and when one was filled I would rush back and tip it into the tank and repeat the process. As my brother had an old James 2-stroke the petrol would last a long time. At the bottom of Alverston Street my friend, Max Eyes, lived with his parents (Charles Eyes) and Mr Eyes, being a carpenter, agreed to help Max build a Zeddie yacht. I helped with the sanding and other menial tasks that were not technical. On completion it was launched in the estuary by his place and Max named it the Alondi which we raced on the Waitemata. I was the Foreward Hand but I was not an asset in the racing so did not last long although Max carried on. On the corner of Alford Street was our 4-Square Store and this was owned by a Mr Rickets. It also incorporated a dairy. Further down between Oakley Avenue and later Herdman Street was a large house (still there) and was owned by Mr Pike (or McPike). He was the local milkman when bottles were in vogue. At the bottom before the Motorway was built was Cowley Street and rumour had it that one of the houses was

The Avondale Historical Journal

Volume 7 Issue 39 Page 3

Update on Tony Goodwin’s photos (from last issue)

Avondale Primary School Standard 4 1945 Starting from top left: [1] Mr. Jackson, ?, Tony Goodwin, Michael Brien, Athol Dickson, Ray Thompson, Arthur Beaumont, Trevor Middleton. [2] Leonie Gillette, ?, Nita Bowater, Betty Parry , Margaret Rowe, Raye Cryer, ?. [3] ?, ?, Betty Wood, Violet Bentley, ?, Joy Knight, Maureen Heron. [4] Hugh Brading, Ray Knight, John Potter, John Huckenhull, John Leyland?. 1946 Avondale Prefects Starting from top left:[1] Evan Hunt , Hugh Brading, Dennis Kerr, Harry Haddon, Betty Jackson, Ronald Millicich [2] Mary Watson, Tui Cattons, ?, Edith Kermode, Headmaster Mr Kershaw, Brian Trenwith?, Margaret of ill repute. Then, there was only a track which led to a tidal estuary where we used to swim depending on the tide. There was a rockery across the creek with a narrow opening and between the opening we would hold a net made of fine curtaining and catch sprats. Also among the rock fissures were eels which we would catch, roll in mud, and throw them in a fire. When the mud was broken off the skin would come off with it and the entrails would be left in a ball inside. They were edible, but having too many small bones, they did nothing for me. An Indian chap from the Asylum was a deft hand with a boat hook and was quick at hooking them out of the rocks, then taking them back to the Asylum for his mates. Our generation was a good era and at no time did we feel unsafe on the streets day or night. We could even leave the doors and windows unlocked and have no fear of robbery or violence. We respected our elders and if spoken to by a policeman, his word was enough to keep us behaved. By the way, down from the Church of Christ was a 4Square Store and we also bought goods from him. His name was Mr. Andrews. I lived in Waterview for 15 years at the same house (No. 1567) until I got married in 1951. On being granted a State House later on, we were allotted a 2bedroom unit at 62 Daventry Street next door to Mac and Vi Campbell. Across the road was Harry Hefferen who later took on the stationery shop and post office. In the block was our butcher, run by Mr. Eades. There was also a store on Oakley Avenue which we used from time to time. Prior to the stationery shop I used to convey Harry Hefferen to his work place. I had a 1936 Morris Eight and as Harry was a big man the weight for the car going up the hill in Motions Road was a big ask and we would crawl up and just make it. Boredom was not an issue as we made our own fun (no TV, iPods, Play Stations etc.) In the evening we would play cards or listen to the radio (“Easy Aces”, “The Green Hornet”, “The Diggers’ Session”, “Fred & Maggie Everybody”, etc.)

Last of the old manual training blocks, Avondale Primary School, demolished in the 1990s. Photo by Neville Exler (thanks again for your photos, Neville!) More to come in future issues.

The Avondale Historical Journal

Volume 7 Issue 39 Page 4

The Possum, the Mailbox, and the Farmer’s Wife
Allen Flower (local historian from Maungaturoto, Northland)
It is a known fact that Sir George Grey brought the first possums to New Zealand and let them loose on Kawau Island, where they were fairly well contained for a few years. A couple or three eventually found their way, possibly by stowing away on a boat or whatever, or swam to the mainland. They were seen around the Warkworth area about the time of the Second World War. During the 1950’s, sport of all sorts had revived post war, and rugby blossomed, with busy provincial and international seasons at Eden Park. A lot of fans went from the North (these were days when our North Auckland team did pretty well). Anyway, one particular day, a car load of four locals from Mountain Road, Maungaturoto, went to see an obviously important game at Eden Park. It was winter, and for one reason or another, by the time the Mountain Road boys were coming home, it was dark – very dark. When they were towards Warkworth, they had seen quite a few possums on the road, and one of these boys – I shall call Bernie -- said “These things don’t move off the road very quick, I wonder if we should catch one?” In those days the traffic was fairly sparse, and they decided to try. Next time they saw a possum, they were coming up the Dome hill fairly slow, and this possum sat up in the headlights. They pulled up with two of them - one each side leaping out, running around the front of the car, and actually caught the possum. They had a sack, which they put the possum in, and securely tied the top. Now what to do with it? They soon decided on a plan of playing a trick on one of their neighbours called Mr Stubbs (He came from Yorkshire and pronounced it “Stoobs”). So they somehow managed to get the possum into Mr “Stoobs’” letter box, and slammed the door shut. The letter box was a typical Rural Mail Box of galvanised iron, with a flag on it. So, they put the flag up to indicate that there was something important to collect, and went on home. The story goes that Mrs Stubbs fell for the trick, and got a big fright when the she opened the door, and the possum leapt to freedom. We think that the possum was probably pregnant, and that was the start of the possum population in Maungaturoto! P.S I have to admit that three of the four characters in this episode were bullers, and the bullers were renowned for some of their stories being a little stretched! I myself am a buller descendant also, but I am sticking to my story except for one thing – I am actually not quite positive that the possum was still alive when caught!

The Avondale Historical Journal
Published by: the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society Inc. Editor: Lisa J. Truttman Society contact: 19 Methuen Road, Avondale, Auckland Phone: (09) 828-8494, 027 4040 804 Fax: (09) 828-8497, email: historian@avondale.org.nz Society information: Subscriptions: $10 individual $15 couple/family $30 corporate Website: http://www.geocities.com/avondalehistory/index

Copies of Avondale Historical Journal and AWHS Newsletter produced for us by Words Incorporated, 557 Blockhouse Bay Road, Blockhouse Bay. The Society and AHJ editorial staff thank

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

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