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Newsletter for the Point Chevalier Historical Society
No. 35 March 2014
The Kiosk that became a Cabaret
by Lisa J Truttman
This began with an image. I popped into the Sir George Grey Special Collections at Auckland Library recently, and asked to see the A H Walker papers again. It had been a while since I last visited them, looking again at the letters written to Walker during the 1950s which led up to his book Rang-mata-rau, on Pt Chevalier. This time, with different eyes after what I’ve learned so far (six years of association with the Pt Chevalier Historical Society) – I found something different. At some point during his research, Walker seems to have obtained a leaflet from c.1916 promoting Point Chevalier to the hilt as a lovely place to visit, or to buy land and settle down.
Meetings—2014 10.30 at the Horticultural Society rooms, 990 Great North Road, Western Springs 17 April—David Wong will speak about the experiences of the Chinese in early Auckland 19 June—Ray Walter, on life in the Lighthouse Service 21 August—To be decided 15 October—John La Roche, on the History of Auckland’s Water Supply 27 November—Graham Walton, on the History of Eden Park
Pt Chevalier Historical Society Minutes of meeting Thursday 20th February 2014 Auckland Horticultural Council Rooms Meeting started at 10.30 am. Present: 25 people Apologies: Pam Burrill, Max Caitlin, June Golding, Dot Tasker, Maurie Whalen President : • • • Welcomed members, guest speaker (Alan La Roche) and visitors A minute’s silence was held in remembrance of former member Graham Perkins Members encouraged to attend the Karaka Open Day on 23rd March and also to visit the Waiuku Museum. • • NZ Federation of Historical Societies has its AGM in April at Te Awamutu. Contact Lisa for more details. Local theatres are performing a variety of plays this year commemorating the centenary of the beginning of World War 1. Jean Jones tabled article from NZ Herald about the caves under Auckland. Treasurer 00 account $1340.18 O1 account $923.35 Term Deposit $2000 Guest speaker: Alan La Roche spoke about the discrimination suffered by the Fencibles. Auckland City Council: Report from Rebecca Fogel about her work on preserving Point Chevalier’s heritage. Meeting concluded : 11.30am Next meeting: 17th April. David Wong will speak about the experiences of the Chinese in early Auckland
POINT CHEVALIER PICTURESQUE ADVANTAGES DELIGHTFULLY situated upon the upper reaches of the Waitemata, this charming suburb leaves nothing to be desired by the jaded city dweller in search of sylvan solitude, by the nervous invalid in search of health, or by the holiday-maker who wishes an outing at a minimum cost in money, time and inconvenience. The fatigue and expense of a water journey are avoided. Merely a tram ride, followed by a swift run in a luxuriously appointed motor bus transports one from the scenes, sights and smells of the City to the sweetness and serenity of the seashore. Seascape and landscape offer themselves at their best and loveliest. The sparkling waters of the Waitemata from Hobsonville past Shelly Beach to the Queen Street wharf, are embraced in the view. Opposite can be discerned Kauri Point, Chelsea, Birkenhead, Northcote, and Bayswater
dominated by the noble triple crown of Rangitoto. To eyes grown weary of the sea is offered the splendour of the Waitakerei Ranges – aptly enough termed “the Blue Mountains of New Zealand”; while One Tree Hill, Mount Eden, the Three Kings, and Mount Albert all bear witness to the beauty of the earth, and the advantages of this so freely favoured spot. POPULAR ADVANTAGES A sandy beach, back with slopes covered with ti-tree and pohutukawas, extends for a full half-mile along the waterfront, and every facility exists for boating, bathing and fishing. A splendidly-equipped tea-kiosk offers refreshment both Sundays and week-days. In the same building rooms may be secured by those prudent enough to make an early application for week-end or more extended visits of rest and recuperation.
Away from the beach, but commanding no less magnificent a view is the Hospital Reserve of 11 acres; known to residents and visitors as Point Chevalier Park. A bowling club is a flourishing local institution, and offers a warm welcome to each and every visiting trundler. Picnic parties can be assured of finding everything needful to their happiness, and will have no difficulty in repairing omissions from the all important luncheon baskets. Visitors making a longer stay than such welcome birds of passage as these, will find much to interest and perhaps reassure them under the heading of “Practical Advantages.” PRACTICAL ADVANTAGES To find gas and water laid on right down to the seafront; to receive one’s morning and evening papers as early as a City resident; to know that two deliveries and three clearances of letters are effected daily and to have a Post Office, Telegraph Office and Telephone Bureau and Money Order Office and Savings Bank, at one’s elbow, so to speak, are advantages too obvious to require more than mention. The easy access to and from the City, with no risk of delay from fog or other adverse weather conditions, as is the case where a journey by water intervenes, will be appreciated by the business-man. The existence of good shops and stores will appeal to his helpmate and keeper of the household pursestrings; while the perfect safety and beauty of beach and park must prove a constant source of delight to the olive branches.” Just three years before, according to an undated and unsourced clipping pasted beside the above promotion in Walker’s notes, things were somewhat less golden. “Father’s idea of investing his capital was to buy a small farm somewhere around Auckland. One Saturday he hired Barten’s bus to take the family for a picnic to Pt Chevalier Beach. Seven children, father and mother, eldest sister’s beau, the driver and Mr Barten’s young son all packed aboard the fourwheeler bus drawn by four horses. “The country road was just rubble down to the point and there were only two houses out there. While we prepared lunch on the beach father inspected the old farmhouse and 25 acres that were up for sale. The price was £500, house included. “A row of stunted trees grew all lop-sided along the cliff top. Father explained the prevailing wind made
Very enthusiastic marketing: all of these notices appeared on page 1 of the NZ Herald, 22 December 1916.
them so skew-whiff and mother said: ‘Yes, we will all grow skew-whiff if you buy this farm.’ Inquiring in the city the next week, father discovered that very often people with infectious disease were taken out to the point. So he did not buy.” Included in the 1916 pamphlet was a photo of the early motorised bus service, the one operated by Thomas Dignan’s syndicate from 1915 to 1919, and the Point Chevalier Kiosk, the one described in 1916 as being “splendidly equipped” and providing visitor accommodation as well as a cuppa by the beach.
The site of the kiosk was part of the Patrick Dignan estate, at the end of Pt Chevalier Road. In February 1905, Richard Dignan along with his brother Thomas took over title of all the Dignan farm at Point Chevalier, nearly 206 acres, then occupied by William Wynder/Winder Dignan. Members of the Dignan family then surveyed and subdivided the land amongst themselves. In April 1905, Richard Dignan received title to just over 19.5 acres, most around Raymond Street and the southern part of Harbour View Road, but also a small piece up at the end of Pt Chevalier Road, where it (originally) turned west down to the beach via a paper road. This was to be the site of the tea kiosk. In 1905, Richard Dignan, living in Mt Eden, was a retired civil servant. He had passed his civil service examination in 1872, working in the Customs Dept in Oamaru by 1876. By 1880 he was back in Auckland, promoting silk farming. In 1890 he was appointed to serve as officer in charge at the Customs office in New Plymouth, but he was back in Auckland, at Mt Eden, by 1895. He retired from the service in September 1901 due to ill health. He died in 1918. During his ownership of the land at the end of Pt Chevalier Road, nothing was built there. Perhaps he had intentions of constructing a summer house close to the beach on the property? His brothers, Peter and Thomas, had their homes built in the area around that time. I can’t be sure what Richard Dignan did intend. But Pt Chevalier just then was starting on a gradual rise in development, aided by the subdivisions and sales of the Dignan properties.
It was stated at the meeting of the Point Chevalier Road Board on Monday evening that since the last valuation of the district 13 new buildings had been erected, and that there are four more in course of construction, one of these being a varnish factory. Point Chevalier is going ahead gradually, and when the deviation of the Archhill-Great North Road is completed it will be one of the favourite suburbs of Auckland, on account of the splendid sandy beach in the district, where great numbers repair in the summer time. (NZ Herald 7 Aug 1907) It was decided to form Point Chevalier Road to the beach, as during the summer time a great many of the residents and others made use of the beach as a health resort. The chairman stated that it was time something was done to make this road fit for wheel traffic, as a great number of people used the beach as a camping-ground for themselves and children during the holidays. (NZ Herald 7 October 1909) The firm of Anderson Bros (originally based at Avondale) run a bus from Grey Lynn tram terminus to Pt Chevalier Beach from October 1910, possibly continuing through to 1911. By 1915, Andrew Wright Anderson was the operator for the Pt Chevalier Motor Bus Company from Surrey Crescent, providing a link between the tram terminus and the beach. Soon after, the wooden Armstrong Hall was built as a depot for the firm’s two Kissel buses. Briefly, Benjamin Cashmore, timber merchant, owned the kiosk site in 1910. “The road to the beautiful beach is being improved.” (NZ Herald 20 October 1910)
Then Hallyburton Johnstone bought it in November 1911. Point Chevalier has a splendid beach, one of the best in Auckland. It is about a mile long, and here children can bathe in safety, for the beach is gently sloping, and there is no danger of suddenly plunging into unexpected deep water. At the present time there are about 100 campers' tents erected on the beach and, no doubt, if the distance to the beach from the city was shortened, many more holidaymakers would avail themselves of the splendid seafront in the summer season. (NZ Herald 8 January 1913) Tenders were called for a motor bus service between Grey Lynn and Pt Chevalier Beach in May 1914 by the Pt Chevalier Road Board. On 10 January 1915 the new bus service was inaugurated, using two Kissel motor-buses. The Pt Chevalier Bus company put all manner of ads in the classifieds: in the Personals (“Sweetheart, meet me by moonlight alone at Pt Chevalier Beach”), in the Lost & Found (“Lost – All trouble getting to Pt Chevalier Beach,” “Found, Auckland’s loveliest beach”) and also just advertised “a real joy ride”. Meanwhile, from November 1914, the Charitable Aid and Hospital Board allowed public access to the land formerly used as an isolation hospital and camp at the end of the point, and under the Road Board’s administration it became the Pt Chevalier Reserve (Coyle Park from the 1940s). A caretaker was appointed in December 1915, Alfred Broadhead, charged primarily to keep folk from riding horses on the beach and “generally see that people behave themselves properly” (disrobing in public a problem at the time). His salary was set at 30/- per week, reduced to 25/- from later that month. In September 1916 his wife Mary Ann Broadhead purchased a third of Hallyburton Johnstone’s corner site, right next to the beach overseen by her husband. For the next two years, the Broadheads had control over both the reserve and the kiosk. The Pt Chevalier Kiosk opened 16 December 1916, advertised as “Rooms vacant for holiday and camping parties”. The facilities included bathing sheds down at the beach itself. On Boxing day, Mary Broadhead advertised refreshments, tea, hot water, cordials and confectionery. Mary Broadhead died on 30 April 1929 aged 50. Their daughter Irene married 15 January 1930, with Harbour View Road as an address. Alfred Broadhead was described as a chairmaker in 1916 when the title for the property was taken in Mary’s name, but this may have been an error. On the shareholders list for the Motor Bus
Company in 1916, he held 25 shares, and was listed as a caretaker at the Isolation Hospital (the reserve). He was also possibly a member of the local Labour Party. I don’t know at the moment who arranged to publish that 1916 pamphlet. I suspect it was Thomas Dignan’s syndicate and backers. There is also the likelihood that the Broadheads had real financial connection with those trying to sell Pt Chevalier sections at that time, other than simply just the minor shareholding in the bus company. The Broadheads transferred the ownership of the kiosk to a carpenter, Charles Thomas Spearpoint, in April 1918, around the time that complaints were made to the Road Board as to the reserve’s untidiness. Alfred Broadhead resigned as caretaker in October that year. Frederick John Williamson’s Pt Chevalier Bus Service began 21 December 1919, after the liquidation of the Motor Bus Company. Percy Adelbert Lupton’s bus service to the beach began around the same time. Spearpoint didn’t own the kiosk for long, but apparently it was a going concern when real estate agent Vincent Alison McCardle bought the property in July 1920 for £2250 cash value, £4800 exchange, according to valuation records. McCardle tried at least twice to sell the property, first in January 1921 via auction, the second time in June that year. The kiosk was described as a 9/10 room house, verandah three sides, tea rooms, apartments, with three bathing sheds. Then Edmund Elliott of Auckland, fellmonger, bought the property, now stretching from the Pt Chevalier Road corner right through to the beach, in August 1921. He worked in “Motions Mill, Richmond”, and was another of the shareholders of the original Pt Chevalier Motor Bus Company in 1916. He added a garage to the site in June 1923, and by September had installed an Ocean Wave kiddies ride as an added attraction. Elliott had issues with the Roberts, who were the next caretakers of the Pt Chevalier Reserve after Alfred Broadhead, selling refreshments to the public over the 1923-1924 summer in competition with the kiosk, and complained to the City Council. From that point on (as the Council hadn’t approved that the caretaker could sell refreshments anyway) the right to have refreshment stalls at the park was tendered on an annual basis.
Edmund Elliott transferred the kiosk and site to Louis Edwin Castleton (described landscape gardener of Rotorua on the title, and a restaurateur by Council valuers) in July 1924. Around this time, the Council began plans to form a turning loop for vehicles on the reserve land at the end of Pt Chevalier Road. Castleton renamed the kiosk “Castleridge”, enlarged it, and added a tennis court. An orchestra will play every Sunday afternoon at the Castleridge Tea Kiosk, Pt Chevalier. (Auckland Star, 21 August 1924) The kiosk and tearooms, Castleridge, opposite the Point Chevalier Park, have been acquired by Messrs. Castleton and Company, late of Rotorua. Many improvements, including the laying out of a tennis lawn, have been effected. (NZ Herald 13 Sept 1924) Louis Castleton went to live in Rotorua around 1920, and bought the Fairy Springs attraction there a short time later. He was having difficulties with his wife, however, who refused to return to live with him, so he sold Fairy Springs and returned to Auckland. The Council’s decision to put the right to have refreshment stands on the reserve out to tender caused Castleton and his partner Norman Loveridge to submit to Council committee 10 November 1924 that “if a permit to sell refreshments in the Point Chevalier Reserve is granted by Council it will prove detrimental to the upkeep of their Tea Kiosk and grounds, which they recently purchased understanding that Council would not compete with them, and setting out at length the improvements which they have effected during their tenancy for the benefit of the public generally.”
NZ Herald 20 August 1926
Their tender was £10 per calendar month, compared with T Cleal’s £9 per month, and Mrs M Murphy’s and J Liffanovich’s £1. [ACC meeting report] “The tender of Messrs. L. Castleton and N. W. Loveridge, of £10 per calendar month, was accepted for the sole right to conduct a stall and sell refreshments at Point Chevalier reserve.” (NZ Herald 28 Nov 1924) In the end, Loveridge & Castleton only had the refreshment stall on the reserve for 4 months, from Dec 1924 to March 1925, and they quibbled over the rent owing at the end of the period amounting to £10. Their action prevented Mr Cleal keeping a street stall at the Pt Chevalier terminus as he had formerly. They missed out during the 1925/1926 season, Mr Cleal getting in with an offer of £5 per month, but the following season they tendered again at £10 10/-. The City Council, fully alive to the wonderful attraction POINT CHEVALIER affords picnickers, has reconstructed the road and has formed a loop at the beach end which enables an efficient bus service to operate without the annoyance of traffic obstruction which obtained when the road was a dead-end. Foremost among the improvements effected at "THE POINT" is certainly the Castleridge Kiosk. The premises (right at the bus terminus), have been thoroughly renovated, and newly furnished, a tennis court laid out, while a high-class orchestra renders an entertaining programme on Sundays and holidays. The inconvenience of hamper-carrying may be entirely dispensed with, as ample dainty refreshments may be obtained at the well-appointed Castleridge Kiosk, for 1/-.
“A special hot water service has lately been installed, ensuring an unlimited supply at a moment's notice. Persons acquainted with Mr Castleton during the period the well-known "Fairy Springs," Rotorua, was under his direction, may realise the possibilities of POINT CHEVALIER as a tourist and holiday resort, from the fact that he disposed of the above to combine in a partnership with Mr. Loveridge to place Castleridge Kiosk on such a plane as to rank as one of the best appointed in the Dominion. (NZ Herald 23 Dec 1924) From July 1925, the kiosk was being altered once more, first by removal of the bathing sheds, and then £3600 worth of improvements, including dance room, tea rooms, dwelling and accommodation rooms. A top floor was added, comprising 8 rooms and an office. The ground floor of the new enlarged complex was the tea room and dancing room, while the new basement fronting the beach had the bathing facilities, and an ice cream shop. It all had yet another new name as well: the Dixieland from when it opened on 26 October 1925. The property was transferred to Norman William Loveridge on 13 November 1925, and immediately transferred to Frederick John Raynor, dental surgeon; Alexander Eccles, chemist; Frederick William Prouting, clerk; and Loveridge once again, as part of the syndicate.
By June 1927, Loveridge was manager of the cabaret, making further additions to a dwelling on the site in September that year, and applying that month on behalf of Dixieland Ltd to the Council for rights to have a refreshment stand on the reserve for the 1927-1928 season (£6 10/- per month). By then, the company had created a spacious restaurant facing the park. The premises was transferred to Dixieland Ltd in July 1929. By 1930, total value of the building was £4800. Then came the fire of 9 September 1935, followed by a smaller fire amongst the ruins on 15 October 1935. Point Chevalier "Dixieland" Property.— A report by the town clerk and Mr. E. J. Phelan suggesting that the council should purchase for £1600 lots 1 and 2, was adopted. The report stated that in view of the facilities such a site would provide they considered that it should be purchased in the public interest. Lot 1 comprises land and residence (£600), and lot 2 is vacant (£1000). (Auckland Star 14 Oct 1936) A Point Chevalier resident Mr F G Rose JP, who takes a considerable interest in the district, has offered to present a garden seat for the new reserve on the old Dixieland site, when improvements have been completed. The offer has been made through the Point Chevalier Progressive League which will appeal to the public for subscriptions for further seats. ( Auckland Star 27 Oct 1939)
From Auckland Council Archives, ACC 275 23-149
Point Chevalier Reserve. Considerable improvements are being carried out at the Point Chevalier reserve in preparation for the Christmas holiday rush of visitors to that popular seaside resort. A start was made on Wednesday with the erection of a number of swings for the use of children, and the mounds along the waterfront are being cleaned up and the grass trimmed. One feature of the improvements that will be greatly appreciated by the piper fishermen which regularly patronise the rocks at the base of the Point itself is the provision of stone steps leading down the face of the steep slope to the rocks. These steps have been most attractively laid down. The old Dixieland site is at present being laid out as a park area, and will eventually be planted in trees and provided with seats.” (Auckland Star 15 Dec 1939)
A Dignan residence at the Point
Colonel Peter Dignan (the colonel title came from voluntary militia membership), 15th Mayor of Auckland, owned property at the Point, and had his home at “The Lodge”, on Pt Chevalier Road. Might be the one pictured above — but after he died in 1922, “The Lodge” according to records was a simpler villa still standing at 254 Pt Chevalier Road (corner of Target Street). His widow died around 1927, and the executors sold it in 1939. Any thoughts or memories would be greatly appreciated. Portrait from Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-WP8540.
Membership of the Point Chevalier Historical Society
Membership is open to all with an interest in our area’s history, and costs only $10 per person. This entitles you to vote at our meetings, and to receive mailed copies of the Point Chevalier Times. Send cheques to: Pt Chevalier Historical Society, C/- 119C Hutchinson Avenue New Lynn, Auckland 0600 Your membership fees mean that we can keep publishing the Point Chevalier Times. Your support would be appreciated.
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