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March—April 2006 Prepared by Lisa Truttman, President and Editor No. 20
Waterview and SH20
From the middle of December 2005 there has been increasing speculation as to the future of Waterview, in the light of the suggestions put forward by Auckland City to Transit NZ that included having the line of Great North Road move westward, potentially involving the removal of houses along the Waterview Straight. The AWHS discussed this issue at our meeting on 4 February, which was also attended by members of the Friends of Oakley Creek, Waterview Environmental Society and North-Western Community Association. Officially, the Society expressed concern over what the construction of State Highway 20 through the suburb will mean to historical and archaeological sites in the area, and we will shortly be writing to Transit NZ and Auckland City expressing these concerns. The AWHS has also agreed to carry out a character study of the Waterview area, arguably our biggest project since the publication of Heart of the Whau in 2003. This is seen as not only a document describing how today’s Waterview and providing some background to the area, it will provide a stepping stone towards the preparation of a history of Waterview itself. Jack Dragicevich has agreed to coordinate this project, and has received offers of help from volunteers already — thank you to those who have already come forward. If anyone would like to help, or has any photographs and stories of the area to share, please contact me, and I will pass on the information to Jack and his team.
The AWHS are also supporting the publication of a brochure on the walks, and highlighting some of our local heritage sites, by applying for a SLIPs grant from the Avondale Community Board for this project. If approved, Matthews & Matthews Architects will be commissioned to prepare the brochure in a similar style to that already published by other areas in Auckland City.
On March 1 I will be speaking to the Green Bay Friendly Circle on Green Bay history. This isn’t a topic I have been familiar with before now, but with the help of Doris Selwyn from the Blockhouse Bay Historical Society, who has been keenly collecting and collating information on Green Bay, I thought I’d give it a go. If further study and interest in their history is sparked among the locals, supporting Doris’ quest, it will be most worthwhile. I have been invited to speak to the Blockhouse Bay Society on 5 April, on the Reverend Alexander McKenzie of “Danish Princess” fame, and on 22 April I’ll be before the Birkenhead Historical Society talking about Avondale history.
A Historical Society for Mt Albert
February 12 saw Alberton as the scene of a wonderful display of Old Mt Albert hosted by Rendell McIntosh and a keen band of supporters, celebrating the 140th anniversary of the first settlers meeting from which came the establishment 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 the first day. I will be attending a meeting on 9 April at St Lukes Church Hall, where it is hoped that a historical society for Mt Albert can be kindled and brought into being. I wish 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.
See “The Old News” over page.
Avondale Heritage Walks
I will be attending a meeting on 28 February called by Auckland City regarding the Avondale Heritage Walk project, and to see what progress has been made regarding installation of signage and plaques. It would be wonderful to see something in place later on this year — especially if there is another Heritage Week in September!
Next meeting, 1 April 2006, 2.30 pm, Lions Hall.
The Old News
I wish I’d seen this article before presenting the Avondale Railway Station story in the last issue of the Journal. I found it while researching for the article on the Maori Pioneer Battalion. — editor AVONDALE RAILWAY STATION EXTENSIVE ALTERATIONS THE WORK COMPLETED From Auckland Star, 16 January 1915.
The extensive improvements to the Avondale railway station, undertaken by the Railway Department some months ago, have now been completed. As a result of the work greater convenience and better accommodation for passengers in the waiting room has been provided, while the platform has been considerably enlarged to meet the increased traffic. One of the most important alterations is that effected to the crossing over the line from Manukau Road. Formerly, passengers wishing to reach the station from the road were obliged to use the old level crossing, which was always a source of danger to the public. The safety of pedestrians has now been ensured, however, by the erection of an overhead traffic bridge, connecting with the platform by a ramp. The alteration also permits of wheeled traffic passing along Manukau Road straight over the platform, without making the detour that was before necessary. The additions also include the formation of a line at the rear of the station, thus converting the platform into an “island”. The extra line will be found very useful as a siding when the traffic on the main line is too heavy. With the same object in view the Department has constructed a fourth line on the main side of the station. The platform has been greatly enlarged, and now provides for accommodation very much greater than was the case several months before the work was commenced. The station buildings have been completely renovated, and several additions have also been made in the way of out houses and other conveniences. The work was accomplished at a cost to the Government of £3,000.
tee and very creditable to the teacher, Mr. R. F. Watkins. Cakes, milk, and sweetmeats were provided as a treat to the pupils on thos occasion, after which Mr. Buchanan addressed to them a few words of encouragement and advice. Prizes were then awarded to Masters James Sinclair, Andrew Buchanan, and Ebenezer Buchanan, and to Misses Mary Jane Bollard, Selina Thomas and Mary Sullivan, and a premium was awarded to Richard Francis Bollard for good conduct and general progress during the half-year. Masters Charles Palmer, James Forsyth, and John Bollard, and Misses Eliza Thomas and Elizabeth Forsyth were highly commended for general proficiency and good conduct. At the close of the proceedings the pupils dispersed, delighted with the day’s entertainment. The school will be opened again on the 9th January.
I had the good luck to find the following obituary for John Frederick Atkinson, who ran the two-storied drapery at the corner of St Judes Street and Great North Road from 1897. I was quite excited to find this information on his life, purely by chance. — editor. OBITUARY Mr. J. F. Atkinson From NZ Herald 4 July 1959 Mr John Frederick Atkinson, a member of an early pioneering family, has died at Avondale, aged 90. Born at Waimate North in 1869, Mr Atkinson came to Auckland as a boy and worked for a time for Macky, Logan, Caldwell, Ltd. In 1897 he began a drapery business at Avondale, which he ran for more than 50 years. He served the outlying western districts as far as Piha — where there were then no shopping facilities or public transport. Over the years he became a welcome visitor at nearly every home between Titirangi and Taupaki. Mr Atkinson was the last surviving foundation member of the West End Rowing Club, for which he rowed in champion crews in the 1880s. He took a prominent part in athletics and was also a noted rifle shot and an officer in the Auckland Mounted Rifles. At the age of 70 he took up bowls and was for 20 years a member of the Balmoral Bowling Club. Mr Atkinson came from a family some members of which lived to ages ranging from 85 to 97. He has 74 surviving descendants.
From NZ Herald 26 December 1870
The annual examination of the above school was held on the 23rd current in the Whau Public Hall, in the presence of members of the Committee and parents and friends of the pupils. The proficiency of the scholars in the subjects of their studies, but more particularly in grammar, arithmetic, and geography, was highly satisfactory to the commit-