Historical summary: 650A Mount Albert Road/ 8A Rewi Road, Mt Roskill

For the Mt Roskill (Puketapapa) Historical Society Lisa J Truttman November 2013

The white outline indicates the extent of Patrick Donovan’s Epsom farm, possibly “Greenmeadows”, from the 1850s to 1884 when it was subdivided. The hatched area is the farm purchased by Joseph Banks, “Sefton”. Background map is “County of Eden”, 1890, Roll 46, LINZ records, crown copyright.

The house in historical context
The house at 650A Mt Albert / 8A Rewi Road dates from 1884-1885 according to found records, and appears to be an example of “gentleman’s residences” from this time. It needs to be seen in the context of other such residences so far known to have existed in the Mt Roskill area up to the period of the First World War: James Williamson’s Pah Homestead, 1879; Joseph May’s c.1880 homestead close to Puketapapa/Mount Roskill; Daniel Arkell’s homestead on Hillsborough Road 1902; Dr Frederick Gordon’s home, also on Hillsborough Road, c.1905; “Coleraine” on Warren Avenue, 1905; and “Atalanga”, the Gunson home on St Andrews Road, c.1906. “Sefton”, later known as “Milton”, is therefore an early example, and the second-oldest of its type after the Pah Homestead.

The early colonial landowners
Dennett Hersee Heather (1818-1866) was one of the original two crown grantees for Allotment 52, Section 10, Suburbs of Auckland, 1 upon which the house at 650A Mt Albert/8A Rewi Road is now situated. He appears to have settled in the Waipa district in the Waikato during the early 1850s; 2 in December 1862, it was reported that Heather was leaving Waipa, and sending away his cattle and sheep. 3 His house was burned down during the early stages of the Waikato War in 1864. 4 He sought refuge in Otahuhu, and was in Onehunga by March 1864, apparently familiar with Henry Hayr at Three Kings. 5 He died in Onehunga 28 January 1866, aged 47. 6 His name appears to have been perpetuated in the naming of Heather’s Creek in the Waipa district. Believed to be a portrait of Mr Lester, the other crown grantee, is less known, possibly W B Lester, an auctioneer trading in Auckland by May 1841. 7
D H Heather. From www.myheritage.com

Heather transferred title to Allotment 52 to a Mr Wilson in March 1851, probably around the time he settled in Waipa. Wilson in turn transferred the property in 1853 to publican Patrick Donovan, 8 Donovan already an owner of other property near Three Kings, 9 as well as three other allotments adjoining No. 52. 10 These allotments combined were possibly Donovan’s “Green Meadows” of 60 acres extent, advertised for sale in June 1861. 11 These magnificent Meadows, so well known and justly celebrated, spread themselves out in one continuous expanse of Sixty Acres. They are strongly fenced with Scoria, and present a matchless sward of Grass. 12 In February 1862, Donovan’s farm, including Allotment 52, was transferred to a Mr Russell, 13 possibly Thomas Russell. In turn, the farm was transferred to William Thorne Buckland in 1868, then Alfred Buckland in 1872, James Buckland in 1877, Alfred Buckland again in 1882, then finally to mortgagors Owen and others in 1884. 14 From that point, Donovan’s farm was subdivided and sold in pieces.

“Sefton”
In July 1884, Joseph Banks purchased Lots 14 and 15 of this subdivision, parts of Allotment 52. 15 Banks may have first arrived in Auckland 17 May 1860 on the Red Jacket, from Liverpool via Melbourne. 16 By 1863 Joseph Banks was in Otahuhu. 17 In 1866, he was honorary secretary to the Auckland Racing Club, 18 and had contracts supplying goods to the military. 19 In 1867 he married Susan Buckland, daughter of Alfred Buckland. 20 The first record of Joseph Banks residing on Pah Road, Epsom is in 1885, 21 so the house appears to date from this point. The architect is not known. By 1887 at least, the Banks’ home was known as “Sefton”. 22 Joseph Banks died a year later.

It is with regret that we have to record the death of Mr Joseph Banks, managing director of the New Zealand Frozen Meat and Storage Company, at his residence, Sefton, Epsom. He came out to Auckland some 25 years ago, and proved himself a shrewd man of business. During the busy days of the Thames gold field he managed Mr A Buckland's cattle business at the Thames. Afterwards he became partner in the extensive business of Messrs. Fisher and Co., Queen-street, which was afterwards merged into the business of the New Zealand Frozen Meat and Storage Company. Mr. Banks was esteemed and respected by all who enjoyed his friendship and acquaintance, and has passed away at the comparatively early age of 48 from that fell disease, consumption. About a year ago he broke a blood vessel at Wellington, and since then has been in indifferent health. During the past three months he had got rapidly worse and weaker, and although Dr. Scott and Dr. Lewis had done all for him that medical skill could suggest, it was evident the end was drawing near, and he died as above, yesterday afternoon. Mr Banks was married to the eldest daughter of Mr. Alfred Buckland, and leaves a widow and nine children (five sons and four daughters) to mourn their loss. The funeral will take place to-morrow afternoon, the cortege leaving his late residence for St. Mark's, Remuera, at three o'clock. 23 The funeral of the late Mr Joseph Banks took place on Tuesday afternoon, from his late residence, Sefton, Epsom, and the respect and esteem in which the deceased gentleman was held was manifested by the large and influential concourse which assembled to pay him the last tribute of respect. There was a large attendance in carriages and on foot to follow the remains from Epsom, and the concourse was very largely increased when the funeral reached Newmarket. Mr A Buckland, father-inlaw of the deceased, and Mr Joseph Banks, eldest son, were the chief mourners. The coffin was heavily laden with wreaths, bouquets, and immortelles. The funeral service in the church, and at the grave, was impressively read by the Rev. I. Richards, incumbent of St. Mark's, Remuera. 24 Susan Banks and her family remained at “Sefton”, where a disastrous fire took place in 1895 in the stables. On Thursday night the stables at “Sefton," Epsom, were totally destroyed by fire. They are only insured for half their value, so that Mrs Banks is a heavy loser. The origin of the fire is unknown, everything being locked safely at ten p.m. Shortly afterwards the family were disturbed by loud crackling of flames, but the building was in flames before anyone could reach it. 25 A garden party was held at “Sefton” for the wedding (which took place 8 February 1896) of Alice Dorothy Banks to John Charles Towes. 26 “Sefton” was advertised for let in September 1896. 27 The Banks family household goods were up for auction there in March 1897. 28

“Milton Park”
Michael Corcoran purchased “Sefton” in April 1897, 29 as well as adjoining land in 1899, 30 creating a dairy farm he named “Milton Park”, to which he retired. The first recorded link of Corcoran and the name “Milton” is in June 1899. 31 He subdivided his property around 1900, likely creating Milton Park Road as an access to the homestead (later called Milton Avenue, now Rewi Road), although this side road off Pah Road was not dedicated until long after his death, in 1922. 32 Mr Michael Corcoran, Old Colonist, was born at Dunmore, Galway, Ireland, in 1834, and educated there. In early life he worked for eleven years at a mill in Roscommon and in 1860 sailed for Australia in the “Eagle,” landing in Melbourne. Three months later he joined the Otago “rush” and was with his brother at Gabriel's Gully. He afterwards engaged in road contracting, then went to the Molyneux, being the first man up the river after the receipt of Messrs. Hartley and Riley's report. He was also at Adam's Gully, Fraser's station, where he stayed for six months and averaged £250 a week. In 1863, Mr. Corcoran took the first hotel (the Galway Arms) on the Dunstan and conducted it for two years. His next move was to Havelock, where he built the theatre and ran a company for some time; the venture proved a most successful one, and he averaged £100 per night. From Havelock Mr. Corcoran went to Wellington, where he spent eighteen weeks: then he went to

Westport and opened a store, which he carried on for twelve months. The Charleston “rush” saw him again on the move, and he sailed a vessel called the “Constant Bay,” with which he made much money, carrying stores to the new fields. In 1868, he left Westport for Auckland and took over the Greyhound Hotel, in which three previous landlords had failed in one year. Like all his undertakings this turned out successful, for he conducted the hotel for ten years, taking £10,000 per annum. Selling out in 1878, Mr. Corcoran took the Thames Hotel, from which he sold out three weeks later for £5470. His next venture was the old “Metropolitan,” where he stayed for two years, and then sold out for £3000. Mr. Corcoran bought the Star and Garter Hotel at Coromandel, which was burnt down in the great fire and was replaced by a very fine large house. During the building of the Calliope Dock, he run the Flagstaff Hotel at the North Shore, and on selling out from there took over the Northern Wairoa Hotel at Dargaville. Mr. Corcoran new lives in retirement at Pa [sic] Road, Mount Roskill, Auckland. 33 He died at his “residence, Milton Park Road” in August 1902. 34 The year 1902 is thinning the early colonists. Mr Michael Corcoran, who has just gone over to the great majority, left his home in Roscomon in 1855, and landed at Melbourne in the same year. He was a miller by trade, but, having a liking for a gold digger's life, laboured unremittingly on various fields of Australia, wooing success in 1860, The discovery of gold in New Zealand brought many goldseekers from Australia, and Mr Corcoran was one of the first who landed at Dunedin, and joined a rush to Gabriel Gully. Here Mr Corcoran added rapidly to his wealth. In 1863 Mr Corcoran, getting tired of a digger's life, came to Auckland, and carried on hotel-keeping very successfully. He also invested his spare capital in property in Queen-street, which is more than double in value today. Six years ago Mr Corcoran retired from active life, and purchased the property of the late Mr Banks at Epsom, and other property adjoining, making a large and valuable holding. Mr Corcoran was married twice. He leaves four children to mourn their loss. 35 By September 1902, “Milton” was for sale. THAT WELL KNOWN PROPERTY AT EPSOM, "MILTON," comprising the large, handsome, and substantially built Residence, together with over 17 acres of the very finest land. The Property will be offered in one or more lots. 36 Messrs S Vaile and Sons offered to-day the property known as "Milton," at the junction of the Pah Road and Mount Albert Road, by order of the executors of the late Mr M Corcoran. The residence, with 11 acres of land, having a frontage of 694 ft to Pah Road and 660 ft to Mount Albert Road, was started at £2000, and was eventually knocked down to Mr F G Ewington for £2900. An adjoining piece of land, containing six acres, with 361 ft to Mount Albert Road, was sold to Mr J Haslett for £775. 37 It was offered for sale again in October 1902, but this apparently fell through. A Miss Corcoran was still living at “Milton” on Pah Road in December 1902. 38 The Misses Corcoran sold their household effects at “Milton” on Pah Road in May 1903. 39 The next owners, the Andreae family, were installed by July that year. 40 Charles Oscar Andreae (1856-1929) was a wool exporter and kauri gum merchant. 41 Andreae left for England just after April 1913, selling his household effects from “Milton”. 42 The Andreaes later returned to Auckland and settled in Remuera. One daughter, Gladys Ethel, became the third wife (1947) of Eric Mareo (convicted for the murder of his second wife, Thelma) after being a physiotherapist at Mt Eden Gaol. 43 11 lots of “Milton Estate” was offered for sale in October 1921. “There are ELEVEN LOTS, mostly 61ft. by 200 ft All are very rich, level, volcanic soil, standing a little above the road and free from stone, close to Royal Oak trams. As residential sections it would be very hard to surpass these in the suburbs of Auckland.” 44

The next owner of “Milton” was John Howard Dalton (18591940), the title put in the name of his wife Christina, from November 1921, 45 although Dalton is recorded as residing at “Milton” from at least 1915. 46 J H Dalton was set up in business as owner of a tailoring factory on Victoria Street West, “at the foot of Nelson Street” by December 1880. 47 He married Christina Howatson McSkimming, daughter of William and Elizabeth Campbell McSkimming, in 1885. 48 In 1889, he obtained a patent for “Dalton’s Combination Coat and Vest.” 49 The tailoring trade in Auckland furnishes no better example of success than that of Mr J H Dalton, the well-known manufacturing tailor and woollen draper, of Queen-street. In 1881 he commenced business in a modest way in one of the side streets of the city and, being a good tradesman, gradually acquired a sound business connection. As the result of careful study, he Image from Auckland Industrial and evolved and perfected some important improvements in the art Mining Handbook 1898. of fitting, and these secured for him the patronage of many who had become dis-satisfied with the old-tailor, ill-fitting system. He also improved upon the old method of local purchase, by importing his woollens direct from the manufacturers, and thus securing to his customers the advantage of newer styles and saving to them the percentage of profit that had previously gone into the pockets of middle-men. Thus the business was quickly built up, and in 1885 Mr Dalton was compelled to remove into larger premises in Victoria-street East, where he remained until the continued expansion of his connection and the necessity for greater accommodation compelled him in 1888 to remove to his present central and commodious premises in Queen-street, near the Auckland Savings Bank. These premises have also been thrice enlarged, as a gratifying result of the development of the business, and finally the whole of the workrooms were taken up for shop purposes, and the factory removed lower down the street. Mr J H Dalton is a large and liberal employer of labour. More than one hundred hands are constantly engaged on order work alone, while an additional hundred are employed on the now celebrated “Footballer” brand of ready-made clothing, which is prepared for immediate wear. This clothing has a reputation for excellence of material, good style and finish, and thorough serviceableness. The garments are guaranteed a perfect fit, and cannot be distinguished from made-to-measure suits by anyone, even an expert. The goods are made up each season, according to the prevailing fashion, and to avoid accumulating out-of-date stock, independent of any question of the cost of the goods or the prices they bring. This is a capital system for the man or youth who wears ready-made clothes, as it assures to him apparel of the latest style. The most recent addition to the factory is a department for mackintosh coats, which is still in its infancy, but which nevertheless employs more than twenty hands already. The mackintoshes turned out from this branch of the business, so far, have given the greatest satisfaction, and the industry promises to become a very important one. It is unnecessary to say much about the order department of Mr Dalton’s business. This has already made its mark in Auckland for fashionable cut, excellence of workmanship and superiority of materials. We may add however, that Mr Dalton was successful in carrying off all the first prizes for highclass tailoring at the Dunedin Exhibition, which was a splendid achievement, seeing that there were thirty-nine entries in this department, some of them being from Sydney and Melbourne. One of the judges added a memo to the award to the effect that seldom at Home, and never before in the Colonies, had he seen such work. 50 A son, John Howard Dalton (1895-1964) married Elsie Laurel Bethell of Te Henga at the Avondale Presbyterian Church in 1919. 51 The couple settled at Te Poi as farmers. In February 1922, one of their daughters was born at “Milton”. 52 In 1930, soon after Dalton retired from active business, he advertised his “Gentleman’s Residence” as being “for sale, lease or exchange for Farm Property.” At this time, it was described as two

Above: 1926 survey plan, DP 19237, LINZ records, showing the extent of Dalton’s property. Below: 1940 aerial photograph (Auckland Council website)

Advertisement, Auckland Star 6 November 1930

storeys, 15 rooms with a garage, stable and cowshed, two double tennis courts, including English and tropical trees. A “beautiful drive right up to front door” was referred to. 53 Indeed, the aerial photograph of the property in 1940 shows the house linked to Rewi Road by a drive lined by mature trees. 54 The true frontage of the house appears to have been the side facing Pah Road. In 1940, J H Dalton died, still at the house. DALTON, On April 2 at his late residence, Milton, Rewi Road, off Pah Road, John Howard, dearly beloved husband of Christina H Dalton in his eighty-second year. 55 The death has occurred of Mr John Howard Dalton, aged 82 of Rewi Road, Epsom. Mr Dalton was known in Auckland for his connection with the firm of J H Dalton and Company Limited, wholesale warehousemen, being actively engaged in the business until about six months ago. Coming to New Zealand at the age of six, Mr Dalton opened a retail tailoring business 53 years ago. He gave up this business after some 30 years in favour of the wholesale concern, being also the director of several including the Napier Woollen Mills. Mr Dalton was a life member of the Pakuranga Hunt Club, and was formerly well known in athletic circles. He is survived by his wife, three sons and three daughters, there being 11 grandchildren. 56 Dalton’s property was sold to Edwin St Clair Syme (1877-1954) in 1944, 57 and apparently converted to apartments (address 8A Rewi Road) by 1946. 58 Syme was born at Mt Somers in May 1877, and was married to Mary Frances Collison in 1906. 59 His widow transferred the property, now just over a acre, with access to both Mt Albert and Rewi Roads, to retired baker Horace John Edmund George

in 1955, and in 1961 it was sold again to the Grendall Investment Company, and the remaining property subdivided into separate titles. 60 By 1962, both titles were in the name of the Polletts. George Henry Doyle transferred the house in 1962 to Alfred William Gordon Pollett and his wife Cecily Sandford Pollett, 61 for £7500. The Polletts embarked on an £8000 internal renovation of the old house, now called “Ye Gables Guest House”. In 1964, it was reported that the Mt Roskill Borough Council ordered that the renovations be torn down, as they were proceeded with without a permit. 62 In 1970, Cecily Sandford Ellison (after another marriage) inherited Gordon Pollett’s share of the property, and a series of private owners have followed since then. 63

The house as apartments. Sunday News 20 September 1964

Notes
1 Deeds index 2A.767, LINZ records 2 Southern Cross, 17 June 1853, p. 3; 4 November 1856, p. 3; 12 April 1865, p. 4 3 Taranaki Herald, 13 December 1862, p. 3; Southern Cross, 7 June 1865, p. 5 4 Southern Cross, 4 February 1864, p. 3 5 Notice, Southern Cross, 31 March 1864, p. 1 6 Death notice, Southern Cross, 29 January 1866, p. 3 7 New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator, 22 May 1841, p. 2 8 Deeds index 2A.767, LINZ records 9 Allotment 7 of Section 13 Suburbs of Auckland 10 Allots 53, 54 and 55. Deeds index 2A.770, LINZ records. 11 Southern Cross, 25 June 1861, p. 2 12 Southern Cross, 25 June 1861, p. 2 13 Deeds index 2A.767, LINZ records 14 Deeds index 2A.770, LINZ records 15 Deeds index 18A.910, LIN records 16 Southern Cross, 25 May 1860, p. 3 17 Southern Cross, 2 August 1863, p. 1 18 NZ Herald, 10 January 1867, p. 4 19 Southern Cross, 9 March 1866, p. 4 20 BDM database; http://www.johnpemberton.co.nz/genealogy, sighted 12 November 2013 21 Advertisement for a general servant by Mrs J Banks, NZ Herald, 20 May 1885, p. 1 22 Advertisement, NZ Herald, 4 May 1887, p. 1 23 Obit, NZ Herald, 7 May 1888, p. 5 24 NZ Herald, 10 May 1888, p. 4 25 NZ Herald, 2 March 1895, p. 4 26 Info on Buckland Family of Highwic, NZ Historic Places Trust, http://www.historicplaces.org.nz/ placestovisit/auckland/highwic/teacherresourcesfamily.aspx, sighted 12 November 2013 27 Advertisement, 26 September 1896, p. 3 28 Advertisement, NZ Herald, 9 March 1897, p. 8 29 Deeds index 18A.941, LINZ records 30 Deeds index 18A.922, LINZ records 31 Wanted notice, Auckland Star, 21 June 1899, p. 1 32 Deeds index 18A.941, LINZ records 33 Cyclopedia of New Zealand, Vol 2, 1902, p. 429 34 Death notice, Auckland Star, 23 August 1902, p. 8

35 Auckland Star 22 August 1902, p. 4 36 Auckland Star, 6 September 1902, p. 8 37 NZ Herald, 27 September 1902, p. 4 38 Notice, Auckland Star, 12 December 1902, p.8 39 Advertisement, Auckland Star, 21 May 1903, p. 8 40 Advertisement, Auckland Star13 July 1903, p. 1 41 Charles Ferrall, Rebecca Ellis, The Trials of Eric Mareo, 2002, p. 153 42 Advertisement, Auckland Star, 26 April 1913, p.6 43 Ferrall & Ellis, p. 153 44 Advertisement, NZ Herald, 29 October 1921, p. 7 45 Deeds index 18A.941, LINZ records 46 Advertisement, NZ Herald, 5 April 1915, p. 1 47 Advertisement, Auckland Star, 24 December 1880, p. 3 48 BDM database; death notice for Mrs McSkimming, Auckland Star, 9 October 1931, p. 1 49 NZ Herald, 15 February 1889, p. 5 50 Auckland Industrial & Mining Exhibition handbook, 1898, p. 129 51 Bethell family history, http://www.geocities.ws/robert_bethell/WC01/WC01_012.htm, sighted 11 November 2013 52 Birth notice, NZ Herald, 4 February 1922, p. 1 53 Advertisement, Auckland Star, 6 November 1930, p. 18 54 GIS photos, Auckland Council website 55 Death notice, Auckland Star, 2 April 1940, p.1 56 Obit, Auckland Star, 3 April 1940, p. 3 57 NA 732/126, LINZ records 58 Wises Directory 1946, p. 177a 59 Online family history websites, sighted 13 November 2013 60 NA 732/126 to 1976/35 and 1976/36, LINZ records 61 NA 1976/36, LINZ records 62 Sunday News 20 September 1964 63 NA 1976/36

Auckland Star 9 August 1907

Auckland Star 4 August 1900

Auckland Star 11 December 1925

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