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The Avondale

Historical Journal
May—June 2014 Volume 13 Issue 77
Official Publication of the Avondale-Waterview Historical
Society Incorporated
On Facebook, I have a page called Timespanner, where historic images and info are put up, and folks can comment
on them, add more information, that sort of thing.

One day, I put up a number of images of territorial army exercises that took place during June 1942 (published in the
Auckland Weekly News 17 June 1942) — and the image above was
amongst them. Now, while most of the exercises took place in North Auck-
land and Northland, as far as Whangarei — it does look like that, on the
way back to the camp somewhere in Auckland, they did a bit of “storming
the signalbox” stuff at our own Avondale Railway Station.

I popped into the central library, sat down at a printer reader with micro-
film from the Weekly News and the Herald, and found the following:

There seems to have been two main exercises around early June 1942 –
one out in the northern countryside, another in an unnamed urban/suburban

Next meeting of the
Avondale-Waterview Historical
At St Ninians, St Georges Road
(opp. Hollywood Cinema)

SATURDAY, 7 June 2014,
2.00 pm
One day in June 1942, Avondale came under attack
Lisa J Truttman
pointed hour went to the station. The guard swore when
he saw the soldiers. The men filed into a carriage, drew
the blinds, and extinguished the lights. They made
plans. At the station near the camp they descended from
the train on the blind side. Each section of four men
was allotted an objective."

That's an edited version of a much longer article, but
the relevant bits are there.

And then we have “a recently-arranged exercise took
into account several types of possible fifth columnist
activity." (NZ Herald, 16 June) Including …

"A pitched battle was fought for a railway signal box.
Before the enemy had been routed “bodies” lay on the
tracks and on the platform and were drooped realisti-
cally over the stairs up to the box. Some soldiers
climbed on to railway engines and rested their rifles on
top of the boiler. Others lay prone by the wheels and
fired underneath."

So, I’m guessing there were at least two separate exer-
cises taking place, one of which may have involved the
Avondale Station. The layout in the photo, the curve of
the track, the signalbox design — all this, according to
a number of railway history folks who commented on
the Timespanner page, points to the photograph being
Avondale. Our railway station, until the station was
shifted and reconfigured, was noted for that curve.

If any readers remember this exercise taking place,
never mentioned in the newspapers — I’d love to hear
from you.

Image by kind courtesy Sir George Grey Special
Collections, Auckland Libraries.
The Avondale Historical Journal

Volume 13 Issue 77
Page 2
area. The NZ Herald of 16 June referred to “one of the
parties which recently had to complete a week out in
the field by attacking its own camp …” which sounded
like this description from the Weekly News (17 June, p.

" ... A typical commando unit which left a camp in the
Auckland area recently provided its participants with
thrills, excitement and hard work in abundance, In all,
this commando marched approximately 80 miles in six
days – an excellent feat when considering that the unit
consisted mainly of soldiers of the last war. Early one
morning this unit was paraded and informed that it was
to leave that morning for several days. The work would
be hard. The distance to be covered by foot would al-
most set records for marching. Local Home Guardsmen
had been informed of the unit’s schedule and therefore
the men must be on the alert every step of the way. The
commandos agreed. Nothing would disgrace them so
much as to be captured by irregulars. Actually, how-
ever, no Home Guardsmen attacked this unit at all. …

"When it rains in the hill country it is an experience
that city dwellers seldom have. Rough roads are turned
into quagmires. The bush, so cool and luring in the
summer, is turned into a nightmare of wet, dank foli-
age. …

"The commandos were gathered around the fire, “To-
night, men,” the officer commanding the unit rubbed
his chin, “we are to undertake a tough job. As to-
morrow is the last day out in the country we have been
ordered to attack our base camp …

"At last it was decided. An unscheduled goods train
would be the very thing. The men got ready at the ap-
A Transport Bus Services
vehicle, photographed at
Avondale, from NZ Herald
1 December 1934.
Tony Goodwin

Don Gwilliam wrote an incisive description of Lester
Ball in the March/April Journal. To my knowledge,
Don and I have never met yet our paths have crossed on
various occasions. I never met his sister Doris, but Ken
and James “Jimmy” were both in Boys Brigade with
me. In fact it goes back another generation with our
fathers being in the Pt. Chevalier Sailing Club together
when they used to have those rip roaring dances in the
1930s, or before. The Gwilliam homestead at 42
Rosebank Road was eventually bought by the RSA
[along with a number of other properties] and demol-

I left Avondale College at the end of 1952 and Curly
Ball [yes bald men were called “curly” thus my father
was “curly” Goodwin to all his friends] was my teacher
in 5 tech. To expand on Don's description of this re-
markable man: He had no neck. His head appeared to
sit on top of his shoulders, he had a twitch and an
enlarged tongue, possibly as a result of his wrestling
years. He was proud of the fact that he had established
the metalwork shops at Avondale College. There were
two, separated by the foundry. The left hand shop was
form 3 to 4. Ed Dowling ran this and he was the an-
tithesis of Curly being a quietly spoken gentlemanly
sort of fellow. The senior shop ,with a greater range of
machinery was to the right. “Here are a range of files,
the largest of which is a double cut bastard – stop your

Curly was an entrepre-
neur, or a con man, or
both. It always im-
pressed me that with all
the MAs, B Coms,
Mus. Bach., Curly was
listed as “Marine
Certs.” In later years I
found teachers who
couldn't stand the sight
of him. Yes he built an
unusual house for its
time at Pleasant Road.
He would take a group
of us up from school to
help him paint it, “in
order to gain practical
experience.” The spin-
dle housing for the
lathe Don mentions,
was cast out of alumi-
num and on a memora-
ble occasion as we
were pouring molten
The Avondale Historical Journal

Volume 13 Issue 77
Page 3
metal into the mold there was an almighty bang and
molten aluminum was plastered all over the ceiling and
unfortunately on Hugh Brading, John Welsh, and some
of the others. Moisture, possibly dripping from the ceil-
ing, had got into the mold and instantly turned into
steam as the hot metal contacted it, thus the explosion.
Hence I always remember “drag and cope”, the
description for the two parts of a mold.

As Don states, Curly was a practical man, and I have to
say I completed a number of objects under his teaching.
Yes a wood lathe, spindle and drive [not the bed], a
small boat bilge pump, and an electroplating plant. John
Welsh brought in an engine block which we re-bored,
honed, and helped him assemble [a 1934 Ford B 4].

He was in charge of the swimming sports that were held
at the Newmarket Olympic Pool. He also took the boys
swimming club [of which I was a member]. Mrs
Eggleston took the girls. On occasion we had our swim-
ming classes in a stream at Glen Eden or Henderson
Valley; why, I can't remember. Girls changed in the
bushes to the right, boys to the left. We were encour-
aged to sit for the Royal Life Saving Society Bronze
Medallion, which I still have – somewhere.

Curly must have had some influence in my life as I also
did marine engineering, which if he had known, would
have astounded him, as of all the no hopers in 5 tech he
classed me as one of the top.

Tony Goodwin
March 2014
5A Tech 1952 Avondale College photo with Curly Ball — Tony Goodwin

The Avondale Historical Journal

Volume 13 Issue 77
Page 4
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
Society information:
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
for their continued support and sponsorship of this
Hi Lisa, received the Journal today, thank you. Loved
the photograph ‘Ploughing the Rosebank Fields’
The article re L W G Ball chugged the memory and I
got out my school ‘blue books’ for the years I was at
Avondale College. 1952 L W G Ball is listed as being
on staff (A. I.Mech. E, A.M.N.Z.I.E, Marine Cert. (1

I wonder if you could put this photo in the Newsletter,
and if anyone can recognise any of these boys? It is
Avondale Primary School Rugby Team and I think it
would be about 1918 and taken at the Auckland
Domain. My Father is top row 2nd left. Wish I had
someone who could "photoshop" this.

Tony Goodwin
class Oil) In charge of Engineering. His Class
V.Engineering l, Mr F G N Martin was V Engineering ll
Mr Ball (boys) along with Miss Stuart (girls) was in
charge of the swimming group. 1953 Mr Ball’s class
was V.A Technical Mr W F Morton was in charge of
V.B Technical Engineering & building. Mr Ball & Miss
Stuart for Swimming.
1954/1955 on staff no indication to class room or to the
swimming group.
My school mags are somewhere, will see what I can find
if it is of help? Someone else may also have info. to pass
to you. Hope this helps and is of interest,

Best wishes, Joyce Foote