January—February 2014

Volume 13 Issue 75

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

A Transport Bus Services Survivor

(Above) A former Transport Bus Services bus from Avondale, photographed at a motor caravan show at Karapiro in the 1980s. This photo appeared on a Facebook page, Old Auckland Buses, who very kindly gave me permission to republish it here. (Below) Detail from a 1940s newspaper photograph of the traffic islands outside the Avondale Hotel, Great North Road. Next meeting of the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society: At St Ninians, St Georges Road (opp. Hollywood Cinema) SATURDAY, 1 February 2014, 2.00 pm

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A scanning survey of the George Maxwell Memorial Cemetery
by John Russell
St. Jude’s Anglican Church Vestry and Cemetery Board, January 2014 George Maxwell Memorial Cemetery Corner Rosebank Road and Orchard Street, Avondale, Auckland Previously : - Avondale Cemetery - Orchard Cemetery The cemetery’s 1-acre (88 x 55 yards) was donated by Dr Thomas Aickin, whose infant son became the first burial in late 1862. In 2012, St. Jude’s Anglican Church, which operates the cemetery, marked the 150th year of the cemetery. As of 2014, it is named in memory of George Maxwell, a parishioner and choir member of St. Judes Church, who tended the acre from 1962 until his death in late 1989. From 1862, it was a long stretch to 1965, when the first survey of the cemetery took place. We believe that in this 103-year period, plot markers came and went, without being adequately transcribed. In the 1965 survey, existing plots were marked ‘E’ . Plots dating beyond 1965 were given a plain number. In 1980, the New Zealand Genealogists’ Society transcribed the plot locations and headstones – a most useful resource, as weather’s wear and tear was affecting the readability of many headstones – especially those set with lead typing and some of the softer headstone materials. In 2008, I began a further survey of the cemetery, gathering text file transcripts, headstone photographs and plot maps – intending this to be a gift to St. Jude’s Church, which I joined at the end of 1976. In the process, some 40 surnames were on record as being in the cemetery, but not listed in the historical data from 1862, 1965 or 1980. This was borne out by regular discoveries of old caskets, when plots were dug for ‘new’ burials. Having marked the cemetery’s 150th year in 2012, it was decided in 2013 to fund a magnetic resonance scan. This was intended to establish : • occupancy of ‘spare’ plots

confirmation of many ‘used’ plots the state of large areas of ‘new’ ground

We were recommended to use the services of Dr HansDieter Bader, operating as ‘Archeology Solutions Ltd.’ in Blockhouse Bay. Although a variety of other people could have operated similar equipment, someone with Dr Bader’s level of interpretation would still have been needed to give useful insight of the resonance scans. Scanning was carried out over a 7-hour day (Wednesday 13 November 2013) and was done in two parts. Part 1 used a resonance scanner with twin poles to examine the largest grass area, from the entrance gate through to, and including, the four double rows of cremation plots. To prepare the area, rope was pegged out in 2-metre strips, parallel to the neighboring property. Following a ten minute settling-in period for the equipment (similar cost to a new medium-sized car) which had spent the previous day near Silverdale, the scanner said it was adjusted to local conditions and it covered the grass area in a matter of minutes – storing the information on-board as it went. Several days later, the readouts, in large JPEG format, showed that the grassed area seemed to hold no unknown plots – no surprises. As shown on maps, 2 plots do exist below the cremation plots. They appear to be smaller in area than first thought and the closer plot to the entrance gate only extends to the middle of Row C cremation plots. Part 2 involved the removal of one sensor and realigning the remaining sensor to the centerline of the unit. In this mode we covered the rest of the acre, until 4pm. Magnetic resonance scanning is hugely sensitive and is put off by anything which is itself magnetic : • The operator should not have keys, coins, metal belt buckles. • Chicken-wire fences upset it. • Nails in wooden fences bother it. • Passing cars on Rosebank Road annoy it. • Passing trucks cause it to temporarily lose the plot. • Little information can be gained near reinforced concrete or iron railings. • Some headstone material can put the scanner right off – granite can have magnetic properties which can mask the results.

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One again, without being aware of the history of these four plots, Dr. Bader said that there was an adult burial which was older, an adult burial which was more recent, a small burial which was right next to the earlier adult, and the last burial looked to be almost, but not quite, fully grown. I reckon he got it spot-on: • the mother died early • her small son died • her early teenager died • father died several decades after the others. And I think we may have found a sheep . . .

So some of the day was spent trying to avoid the worst of these and approach from several different angles. In short, there is a certain amount of ‘maybe / maybe not’ in the results. A double reinforced concrete pad, topped by a granite headstone, with a wrought-iron fence, next to the cemetery’s chicken wire fenceline, near Rosebank Road ... presents all the wrong parameters. While a grave like this already announces to the world who’s buried there, the magnetic jumble can extend 2-3 plots in all directions, posing great difficulty in readings for an unknown ‘grass-only’ plot beside it. What did we find? Here are some statistics from the day’s work : 13 extra plot locations, for which no records exist 55 more occupants than we thought we had – now in the mid-900s • 30 plots which appear to be free • 10 plots which could be occupied (previously thought to be free) • 2 plots which have more than a 50% chance of being free • 22 plots for which it’s impossible to call (magnetic jumble) • No results from the row of stillbirths, in the corner closest to the Avondale shops – too many nails in the wooden fence and the proximity of several plots with reinforced concrete covers.
• •

According to early 20th century records from St. Jude’s Church Vestry, the grass and weeds at the cemetery were always a mission to keep at bay. Four sheep were purchased and for a while, the four sheep to one acre ratio seemed to work quite well, until two sheep went missing just before Christmas (funny that) and one sheep died and was buried in the cemetery. On the magnetic resonance scan day, we came upon one unexpected plot, which is smaller than the average burial and doesn’t line up with the other plots. It’s in one of the walkway aisles, just across the way from the New Zealand Premier – Daniel Pollen. In closing, this document should not form the basis for hammering on someone’s door and demanding a spare plot. The number of ‘free’ plots is roughly equaled by the number of ‘possibly occupied’ and ‘really unsure’ plots. The overall status-quo has not shifted. Most of the spare plots were purchased in previous decades and there always have to be a few ‘spares’ for when a newly-dug plot is found to be already occupied. Early cemetery records have disappeared, so ‘surprise finds’ are nothing out of the ordinary. This magnetic resonance scan is intended to improve the odds.

There were two great finds which resulted in my reporting back to the families, who had contacted me for information in previous years. In the first case, one family had been searching for a small boy from the 1930s. Early searches had gone wide of the mark because of a spelling error in the surname and no cemetery in Auckland seemed to list his data. When I put forward a similar surname, listing him and a sister, the family confirmed that those were the two correct names. They said there was a third possible infant in the same plot – but no existing records. With this in mind, I watched Dr. Bader do a magnetic scan of the plot. Without being told the family history, he said that there were three small forms and that they were all tiny enough to each be buried across the width of the plot. The second case concerned a mother who died early, two sons and the family’s father.

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Readers respond
Dear Lisa, Maureen Exler wrote [Avondale Historical Journal No. 73] about the lady who lived at the bottom Taylor St. I think she was Mrs Yallop, who moved to New North Rd., Mt Albert, next to the Methodist parsonage. There was a right-of-way between the two and the Yallop’s place had a tennis court in front surrounded by a tecoma hedge and high wire-netting. Her son was Raymond Yallop who was one of the librarians at Avondale College about 1948. This house was later bought by Dr Olga Semon who lived in it, together with her mother Fanny and a long-haired dachshund dog called Dina. Dr Semon’s practice was in New Lynn, where she and her mother lived during the war in Ffolkes St. Olga was an enemy alien, a “mischling”, and she and her mother returned to Germany, to the American Sector in May, 1954. They were not made welcome and quickly went to England where Olga bought a practise in Ramsgate, Kent. They are both long dead. That house was then bought by Bishop Simkin, for his adopted son Rev Venville, whose wife, Leonie Pascoe, was one of the music lecturers at Auckland Teachers’ College. Two outstanding pianists lived in that house, as Fanny Semon had been a pupil of Arthur Schnabel, one of the greatest Beethoven and Schubert exponents of the 1st part of the 20th century. There was a dear old Maori lady who lived next to St George’s Crossing and who grew wonderful, amaryllis, maddona and Christmas lillies for market. She was almost as wide as she was tall, and when she caught the bus had to go side-ways up the steps and Mr Bonnet got

up and helped her with the armloads of flowers. Anne Massey was in the Upper School when I was in the Middle School at Dio. She went on to gain a LL B. I don’t know whether she was the daughter or granddaughter of Mr Massey. I hope this fills in a few gaps. Best Wishes from Robin Fazakerley.

Archaeology of the old Avondale Stables site at Great North Road
My sincere thanks to the NZ Historic Places Trust who forward a copy recently of the final archaeological report on the old stables/bus garage site at 2057-2065 Great North Road. Most of the remains in the ground of the original stable from the 1880s had been obliterated first by the 1898 fire, then by the rebuilding of the stable which served into the early 1920s as a garage owned by Charlie Pooley, then the 1924 fire and the subsequent building of the General Omnibus Company/ Transport Bus Services depot and garage, later a retail site from the 1950s (Broadbent’s Hardware). But, the archaeologists believe they found remains of a well and a fireplace both lined and made with similar bricks, possibly dating back to 1898. Some pieces of ceramic plates and saucers were recovered, along with broken bottles, and a single horseshoe. None of these items seem to belong to the 19th century, and may have come from the second stable and later. If anyone would like the report emailed to them, let me know.

The Avondale Historical Journal
Published by: the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society Inc. Editor: Lisa J. Truttman Society contact: 19 Methuen Road, Avondale, Auckland 0600 Phone: (09) 828-8494, 027 4040 804 email: historian@avondale.org.nz Society information: Website: http://sites.google.com/site/avondalehistory/ Subscriptions: $10 individual $15 couple/family $30 corporate 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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