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Historical Society Incorporated

July—August 2006
Newsletter No. 22

Prepared by Lisa Truttman, President and Editor Next meeting, 5 August 2006, 2.30 pm, Lions Hall.
Apologies for lateness
until his death) with the Auckland Provincial Council over
Some work issues and other delays mean that the June- the supply of his bricks to the Lunatic Asylum in the early
July Journal and newsletter has come out late again. Sorry 1860s.
folks for keeping you waiting. — Editor.
I’m looking forward to seeing a copy of the McCurdy-
Mason report on the Star Mill site when it becomes avail-
Searching for info on a patch of salt able to us. We already have much of the deeds information
marsh — Traherne Island and leads from the 2000 research by Thomas family mem-
bers, as well as Auckland Provincial Council records and
While I have been looking at old maps and plans I’ve of course, thanks to Transit NZ, archaeological reports and
found of the mouth of the Oakley Creek — I wondered records.
what the story was behind Traherne Island, a 16 acre patch
It is good to this important area associated with our early
of mud, shrub and swamp just off the coast of Rosebank,
history, both in terms of Maori and European usage, being
beside Pollen Island, now used as part of the North-
recognised at last.
Western Motorway. Why is it called Traherne?

As well, could anyone with information on Ernest Tasker, Heart of the Whau reprint
his limeworks, and whatever happened to him after 1947
please get in contact with me? He owned Traherne Island
from 1927 or so until 1947. Seems like that patch of The Society agreed at the June meeting for a reprint of 30
swampy support for SH16 may have more of a story be- copies of Heart of the Whau, These will sell for $25.00,
hind it than first thought. with $6.00 p&p in addition.
Cheques to be made out to the order of the Avondale-
Waterview Historical Society.
Waterview and SH20
Avondale Primary School class
Jack Dragicevich’s character study of Waterview is nearing heritage projects
completion. He’s put an amazing amount of work and ef-
fort into this study. Hopefully, this will be ready for presen- Avondale Primary recently took on an excellent initiative,
tation at our AGM in August. having some of their classes do studies in Avondale's his-
tory. I was contacted by three of the teachers to help out on
The meeting TransitNZ and their planners said they’d have
behalf of our Society. Two of the classes emailed me some
with our Society representatives hasn’t happened. Instead,
questions about the history of the shopping centre and the
they proposed coming to talk to our Society at some point.
Whau River.
As there are already a number of focus groups, meetings
and drop in centre events happening, we’ll wait until they
Another had a delightful walkabout arranged and organ-
have further information to hand.
ised by Ron Oates (author of Challenge of the Whau). He
In the meantime, due credit must be given to Society mem- came up with the idea to hand the children pieces of card
ber Robyn Mason and her partner Peter McCurdy who on which were pasted pictures of goods and services such
have compiled a report on the Star Mill history and pre- as you could once find at each of the shops along the route.
sented a number of talks to groups and the Community He also prepared a wonderful powerpoint display of pho-
Board on the archaeological value of this area. tos and sound effects for the classroom talk.

I hope to pull together an article for the next Journal on I’ve received lovely thank you cards and even some art-
John Thomas’ rather sad battle (he owned the Star Mill work from the children.
the Mental Hospital) and also embraces Deviation Road
Guest Speaking (near the Grey Lynn penny section), the city engineer pro-
posed to the Auckland City Council last night that the
Our June Guest Speaker was David Nummy, who gave us name should be changed. Carrying out the council’s prin-
an exceptional talk on the history of the Auckland Asylum ciple of bestowing Maori names where suitable, he sug-
building, now part of Unitec New Zealand. It is amazing gested Aweko as the new name of this road, which was
how much history is behind those old bricks. one of the earliest made out in Auckland, and is now once
more one of the most frequented owing to the fact that it
Our next Guest Speaker for the August meeting will be has been concreted over its whole length. The letter was
Eric Kearney, talking about the history of the Civic Theatre sent to the Works Committee. “Aweko” means “old” or
in town. “ancient”, and has a secondary meaning, “knowing”. It is
rather an awkward word for pakeha lips, and, if chosen,
I gave a speech to members of the West Auckland Histori- will inevitably degenerate into “Aweeko”, which is noth-
cal Society in June on the Rev. Alexander MacKenzie and ing like its correct pronunciation.
the “Danish Princess” legend. It was especially delightful
that I was able to meet a descendant of the Reverend and
Jessie MacKenzie that night. From the Evening Star, 17 January 1883
Next speech I’m scheduled for is 19 August at North Shore
Historical Society (same topic), followed by 1 November at
Green Bay on the story of Christmas. Then, in February
2007, I head out to Papakura to speak to them about our
Danish Princess again. A whale was caught very early this morning near Garrett
Brothers Tannery, Oakley Creek. It had been seen in the
harbour last night, and at daybreak there was a large muster
of the hands employed at the tannery on the look-out. The
The Old News strange visitor was spied in very shallow water and making
for Oakley’s Creek. All boats were at once ordered out, and
In the late 1920s-early 1930s, Auckland went through a were directed to keep behind the whale, so as to direct its
spate of street name changes. Would you believe that a course up the creek. The tide receding, the monster (getting
suggestion was made in 1927 to change the name of the into the wrong channel) became beached, and was secured
Great North Road? It’s true — but the suggestion didn’t with a few slight accidents to the men. The fish measures
get very far. 75 feet in length, and will give a good yield of oil. About
33 years ago a whale of much the same dimensions was
From Auckland Star, 24 June 1927, p. 6(4) captured in this locality.

As Great North Road now extends from the junction of (A bit too early for Greenpeace, sadly. Poor whale.)
Ponsonby and Karanghape Roads to Oakley Creek (near