You are on page 1of 2


Historical Society Incorporated

September—October 2006
Newsletter No. 23

Prepared by Lisa Truttman, President and Editor Next meeting, 7 October 2006, 2.30 pm,
Lions Hall.
Searching for info on a patch of salt
marsh — Traherne Island Heritage Week Festival
Thanks very much to those who wrote in after that last newslet-
Has anyone got a spare “J J Craig” brick they can lend?
ter with information and your memories of Mr Tasker and his
Rosebank lime kiln. I really have appreciated it.
Auckland City’s Heritage Week festival runs from September 16
to September 23. I’ve been helping Avondale Community Li-
I’ve even in my travels through Land Information NZ records
brary with setting up a display there on the history of the old
found an old plan for Pollen Island, dating from sometime in the
Glenburn Brickyard, that used to be along St Georges Road
19th century (sadly, it had no date, but still listed Pollen as land-
(now the Lansford Crescent industrial area). Five pages of sum-
owner. He died in the 1890s.)
marised history later, a photo hunt, pictures of old kiln types,
and the very kind assistance of the Waitakere City Libraries lo-
The hunt continues.
cal history department in Henderson, with their J. T. Diamond
collection (a must see! Go look, there is wonderful info in
The old Star Mills of Waterview there!) — it looks as if we’ll have the display that week.

The hunt also goes on for information as to the old Star Mills at So — a spare J J Craig brick would be welcome for the display.
the Oakley Creek. The more that comes to light these days, the
more questions are raised. As you’ll see by this issue of the I’m crossing fingers that we will also be able to have a launch at
Journal, featuring the sad story of John Thomas’ brick making the Avondale Library, 10.30 am on Thursday 21 September, for
enterprise, research is continuing, now with an emphasis on how the Avondale Historical Walks brochure. This is in preparation
the site was used post 1878. as I write this, organised by Matthews & Matthews Architects
(who have done others in the series in Auckland). This is a
It is certainly dredging up stuff on the early history of the district AWHS/Community Board/Avondale Business Association pro-
which is useful to know. ject, funded by the Avondale Community Board through their
SLIPs project budget.

Waterview and SH20 As well, here are details on the activities Blockhouse Bay His-
torical Society will be undertaking that week:
The Avondale Community Board have generously granted the
Society up to $1000 towards printing costs (pending two quotes) Armanasco House will be open for viewing, with a display of
for Jack Dragicevich’s work on Waterview — thank you, Avon- historic photographs, and with Society Members present to an-
dale Community Board members. We really do appreciate your swer any questions. Saturday 16th, Sunday 17th, Thursday 21st,
help. Friday 22nd, Saturday, 23rd, Sunday 24th, 10.30am to 4.00pm.

No more focus groups or drop-in centre run by Transit NZ for a On these days, the Historical Society will also give free guided
while, as they reconsider options for the Waterview route, includ- walks around our village pointing out sites of interest, the tours
ing deep bore tunnelling. will leave Armanasco House at 1.30 p.m. and 2.30 p.m.

At a September 14 meeting organised by the Community Board There are no admission charges for any of these activities.
at Waterview Community Hall, I introduced myself as President
of the Society and stood up to express my concerns that the
northernmost area of Oakley Creek’s shoreline must be specifi- Guest Speaking
cally investigated by professionals, such as archaeologists, as part
of this process. Also, I asked where later reports were. We have
Our August guest speaker, Eric Kearney, gave us an enthralling
one from c.2003 in our records, but much more has been done in
talk on the history of Auckland cinemas, and especially the
the way of research and investigation since then.
Civic Theatre. Thank you again, Eric!
I’ll keep you all posted. Our October meeting guest speaker will be our very own George
Baird, telling us about his travels to Italy from earlier this year.
How old is Avondale? Quite old, in terms of post-1840 settle-
The Old News ment. We know of John S. Adam’s aborted attempt at potato
farming on the slopes just above St Georges Road in the early
1840s — and now comes an article from the 1930s about some-
In the late 1960s there seemed to have been a bit of a kerfluffle one who may have been one of the first children born in the rural
over which Presbyterian church in Auckland was the second old- wilderness which was to become Avondale and Rosebank: John
est. Mr. L. E Titheridge of Avondale set the record straight. — Stewart Kelly, born 1849. — Editor
Auckland Star, 26 September 1936, p. 10
NZ Herald, 22 September 1967, Sec. 1 p. 2
St Ninian’s Is Second Oldest Church PIONEER
The second oldest Presbyterian church ion Auckland is St
Memories of early Auckland were recalled today by another of
Ninian’s, Avondale, and not Pt England Church, Mr. L. E. Tith-
the city’s oldest residents, Mr. John Stewart Kelly, who this week
eridge, of Avondale, writes in a letter to the editor of the Herald.
celebrated his 87th birthday at his home in Ewington Avenue,
Second place was erroneously given to Pt England in a report of Mount Eden. Mr. Kelly was born at Avondale, and has lived
its recent centenary celebrations. most of his life in Auckland.

The oldest Presbyterian church is St Andrew’s in Symonds Street. As one of the first surveyors who mapped out the land about
Auckland, Mr. Kelly’s father arrived in New Zealand from Ire-
Mr Titheridge writes that a report in the Southern Cross newspa- land in the ‘thirties or ‘forties of last century. There was not a
per of April 6, 1860, announced the opening of the Whau Presby- house within miles of their Avondale home, and he remembered
terian Church. how the furniture was carried out across the countryside on
horse-drawn drays. There was no bridge across Oakley’s Creek
“The Whau Church mentioned,” says Mr Titheridge, “is now St in those days, and the drays had to be hauled across one at a time
Ninian’s, Avondale.” with a full team of horses. There was no school within reasonable
distance, and so a teacher lived at the house and gave the children
The parish itself was created in 1855. their daily lessons.
Mr Titheridge adds: “Sorry, Pt England, Avondale claims the “Upper Queen Street was just a track down the hill then”, Mr
silver medal. Pt England must be content with the bronze.” Kelly related, “and the sea used to come up to Shortland Street.
Maoris from Orakei would draw their canoes up on the beach and
sit round the corner of Shortland and Queen Streets, where they
offered huge kits of peaches for sixpence.
Back in the 1930s, a number of districts in the Auckland area has
business associations set up, including Avondale. In those days, “After farming at Waitakere for some time I took up contracting
one of the main aims for the associations was to establish and other jobs, such as fencing work and felling and clearing
“community street lighting” in their shopping centres. Avondale trees. If I had all the wood now from the pines which I felled I
had initial meetings in 1937, incorporated in 1939 — but it was- would have a fortune. We just used to burn them off then, for
n’t until well after World War II and late 1953 when the Avondale pine was not considered useful for anything much.”
Businessmen’s Association finally got their wish. — Editor
Of incidents in those distant days Mr. Kelly spoke with a twinkle
NZ Herald 28 November 1953 in his eye. Chuckling, he told a story to illustrate the state of the
town roads. A little way up Wyndham Street there was a boot-
MAYOR SWITCHES LIGHTS ON maker’s shop, and the bootmaker was wont to do all his repairing
work out on the street. One day a lady and gentleman of high
The Mayor of Auckland, Mr. Luxford, last night switched on rank came picking their way down the muddy street. When they
community lighting systems for the shopping areas at Avondale came to where the chippings of leather were scattered on the
and Remuera. At Avondale, hundreds packed the corner of Rose- roadway, the lady exclaimed, “Oh, what a nice piece of road this
bank Road and the Great North Road, where two trucks parked is!” and stepped onto it — and almost up to her knees in mud.
end to end made an impromptu platform for the official party.
“There’s been a lot in the paper these days about Partington’s
Mr. A. E. Bailey, president of the Avondale Businessmen’s Asso- mill,” he said. “When I was going to the Wesley College some-
ciation, introducing the Mayor, spoke of Avondale as the times it was not handy for my mother to cut a lunch, so she gave
“Cinderella” of the suburbs. Mr. Luxford said that as long as me a penny to buy it at the mill. For that penny we got as many
Avondale had no direct representation on the City Council, resi- biscuits as we would carry … It would be a pity to see the old
dents could have direct access to him on any problem to be dealt mill pulled down.
with on a civic basis.
Another house in which he lived was the old dwelling still stand-
Other speakers were Mrs. Mary Wright and the Western Suburbs ing in Kelly Street, Mount Eden. It was built by Maoris of mud
Birthday Carnival queen, Miss Barbara Walmsley. The City Pipe and rushes, and later his father covered it with some of the best
Band led marching girls in a procession and a free ice cream stall roofing iron brought to New Zealand. Married in 1873, Mr. Kelly
did a brisk business. had nine children, while there are 14 grand-children and seven