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Historical Society Incorporated

March—April 2006
Newsletter No. 20

Prepared by Lisa Truttman, President and Editor The AWHS are also supporting the publication of a bro-
chure on the walks, and highlighting some of our local
Waterview and SH20 heritage sites, by applying for a SLIPs grant from the
Avondale Community Board for this project. If approved,
From the middle of December 2005 there has been in- Matthews & Matthews Architects will be commissioned
creasing speculation as to the future of Waterview, in the to prepare the brochure in a similar style to that already
light of the suggestions put forward by Auckland City to published by other areas in Auckland City.
Transit NZ that included having the line of Great North
Road move westward, potentially involving the removal of
houses along the Waterview Straight. Guest Speaking
The AWHS discussed this issue at our meeting on 4 Feb-
ruary, which was also attended by members of the Friends On March 1 I will be speaking to the Green Bay Friendly
of Oakley Creek, Waterview Environmental Society and Circle on Green Bay history. This isn’t a topic I have been
North-Western Community Association. Officially, the familiar with before now, but with the help of Doris Sel-
Society expressed concern over what the construction of wyn from the Blockhouse Bay Historical Society, who
State Highway 20 through the suburb will mean to histori- has been keenly collecting and collating information on
cal and archaeological sites in the area, and we will shortly Green Bay, I thought I’d give it a go. If further study and
be writing to Transit NZ and Auckland City expressing interest in their history is sparked among the locals, sup-
these concerns. porting Doris’ quest, it will be most worthwhile.

The AWHS has also agreed to carry out a character study I have been invited to speak to the Blockhouse Bay Soci-
of the Waterview area, arguably our biggest project since ety on 5 April, on the Reverend Alexander McKenzie of
the publication of Heart of the Whau in 2003. This is seen “Danish Princess” fame, and on 22 April I’ll be before the
as not only a document describing how today’s Waterview Birkenhead Historical Society talking about Avondale
and providing some background to the area, it will provide history.
a stepping stone towards the preparation of a history of
Waterview itself. Jack Dragicevich has agreed to coordi-
nate this project, and has received offers of help from vol- A Historical Society
unteers already — thank you to those who have already for Mt Albert
come forward. If anyone would like to help, or has any
photographs and stories of the area to share, please February 12 saw Alberton as the scene of a wonderful
contact me, and I will pass on the information to Jack display of Old Mt Albert hosted by Rendell McIntosh and
and his team. a keen band of supporters, celebrating the 140th anniver-
sary of the first settlers meeting from which came the es-
Avondale Heritage Walks tablishment of the Mt Albert Highway District (which
included large areas of present-day Avondale) in 1866. It
was very successful, with about 100 people turning up on
I will be attending a meeting on 28 February called by the first day.
Auckland City regarding the Avondale Heritage Walk pro-
ject, and to see what progress has been made regarding I will be attending a meeting on 9 April at St Lukes
installation of signage and plaques. It would be wonderful Church Hall, where it is hoped that a historical society for
to see something in place later on this year — especially if Mt Albert can be kindled and brought into being. I wish
there is another Heritage Week in September! ever success to Rendell and his team. A new historical
society in our neighbouring Mt Albert would be a long
overdue bonus to this part of Auckland.
Next meeting, 1 April 2006, 2.30 pm, Lions Hall.
See “The Old News” over page.
tee and very creditable to the teacher, Mr. R. F. Watkins.
The Old News Cakes, milk, and sweetmeats were provided as a treat to the
pupils on thos occasion, after which Mr. Buchanan ad-
dressed to them a few words of encouragement and advice.
I wish I’d seen this article before presenting the Avon- Prizes were then awarded to Masters James Sinclair, An-
dale Railway Station story in the last issue of the Jour- drew Buchanan, and Ebenezer Buchanan, and to Misses
nal. I found it while researching for the article on the Mary Jane Bollard, Selina Thomas and Mary Sullivan, and
Maori Pioneer Battalion. — editor a premium was awarded to Richard Francis Bollard for
AVONDALE RAILWAY STATION good conduct and general progress during the half-year.
EXTENSIVE ALTERATIONS Masters Charles Palmer, James Forsyth, and John Bollard,
THE WORK COMPLETED and Misses Eliza Thomas and Elizabeth Forsyth were
From Auckland Star, 16 January 1915. highly commended for general proficiency and good con-
The extensive improvements to the Avondale railway sta-
tion, undertaken by the Railway Department some months At the close of the proceedings the pupils dispersed, de-
ago, have now been completed. As a result of the work lighted with the day’s entertainment. The school will be
greater convenience and better accommodation for passen- opened again on the 9th January.
gers in the waiting room has been provided, while the plat-
form has been considerably enlarged to meet the increased
traffic. I had the good luck to find the following obituary for
John Frederick Atkinson, who ran the two-storied drap-
One of the most important alterations is that effected to the
ery at the corner of St Judes Street and Great North Road
crossing over the line from Manukau Road. Formerly, pas-
from 1897. I was quite excited to find this information on
sengers wishing to reach the station from the road were
obliged to use the old level crossing, which was always a his life, purely by chance. — editor.
source of danger to the public. The safety of pedestrians OBITUARY
has now been ensured, however, by the erection of an Mr. J. F. Atkinson
overhead traffic bridge, connecting with the platform by a From NZ Herald 4 July 1959
ramp. The alteration also permits of wheeled traffic pass-
ing along Manukau Road straight over the platform, with- Mr John Frederick Atkinson, a member of an early pio-
out making the detour that was before necessary. neering family, has died at Avondale, aged 90.
The additions also include the formation of a line at the Born at Waimate North in 1869, Mr Atkinson came to
rear of the station, thus converting the platform into an Auckland as a boy and worked for a time for Macky,
“island”. The extra line will be found very useful as a sid- Logan, Caldwell, Ltd.
ing when the traffic on the main line is too heavy. With the
same object in view the Department has constructed a In 1897 he began a drapery business at Avondale, which
fourth line on the main side of the station. he ran for more than 50 years. He served the outlying
western districts as far as Piha — where there were then
The platform has been greatly enlarged, and now provides
for accommodation very much greater than was the case no shopping facilities or public transport. Over the years
several months before the work was commenced. The sta- he became a welcome visitor at nearly every home be-
tion buildings have been completely renovated, and sev- tween Titirangi and Taupaki.
eral additions have also been made in the way of out
houses and other conveniences. Mr Atkinson was the last surviving foundation member
of the West End Rowing Club, for which he rowed in
The work was accomplished at a cost to the Government
champion crews in the 1880s. He took a prominent part
of £3,000.
in athletics and was also a noted rifle shot and an officer
in the Auckland Mounted Rifles.

WHAU SCHOOL—1870 At the age of 70 he took up bowls and was for 20 years a
From NZ Herald 26 December 1870 member of the Balmoral Bowling Club.
The annual examination of the above school was held on
the 23rd current in the Whau Public Hall, in the presence Mr Atkinson came from a family some members of
of members of the Committee and parents and friends of which lived to ages ranging from 85 to 97. He has 74
the pupils. The proficiency of the scholars in the subjects surviving descendants.
of their studies, but more particularly in grammar, arithme-
tic, and geography, was highly satisfactory to the commit-