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Historical Society Incorporated

September-October 2007
Newsletter No. 29

Prepared by Lisa Truttman, President and Editor

AWHS receives
Good Citizens Award
On the evening of June 27, eight members of the
AWHS attended the function hosted by the Avon-
dale Community Board for this year’s Good
Citizens wards. We were delighted to see that our
fellow historians at the Blockhouse Bay Historical
Society also received an award that night — local
historians probably outnumbered everyone else in
the room down at the West End Rowing Club on
Rosebank Peninsula!
Above, left to right: Jack Munk, Jack Dragicevich,
Kurt Brehmer, Nola Brehmer, Deputy Chairpson of
the Avondale Community Board Catherine Farmer,
Lisa Truttman, Gary Marris, Dawn Moffatt, Alison
Turner, and Dorothy Maddock.

Photo left: Our certificate, photo by Bill Ellis.

Uncover - old places and forgotten spaces, when a
Heritage Festival windmill once dominated the city skyline and the sea
lapped at Fort Street.
I asked Meredyth Morgan from Auckland City Explore - hidden gems and reflect on traditions that
Council to tell us about the upcoming Auckland may have disappeared, though fond
Heritage Festival: memories remain.
Celebrate the unique stories and secrets
of Auckland and reflect on our city's For more information and programme
natural, built and social history during details visit
the 2007 Auckland Heritage Festival. heritagefestival or phone 379 2020.

This year's programme includes over ———————-
150 exciting events and activities across
the city, most of which are free or ask
for a small donation. Events include
guided walks and tours, exhibitions, AWHS will be hosting two heritage
open days, film screenings, harbour trips walks along Avondale Mainstreet as part
and family friendly activities. With eve- of the festival, on the 19th and 29th of
rything from art and architecture to fash- September. Along with this, Avondale
ion and music, the festival will appeal to people of all Community Library will be holding a
ages and interests. students competition using part of our websites as in-
formation for heritage quizzes. It’ll be all on in Avon-
Discover - the events and people that shaped the dale in September! (And October and November …)
Auckland of today.
It’s been a bit of a busy time this year for publications
coming from the Avondale-Waterview district. Along
with Jack Dragicevich’s Waterview Heritage Study,
I’ve published A Doctor in the Whau, the story of Dr.
Thomas Aickin (2nd resident surgeon at the Auck-
land Asylum), completed an index to the 2004 book
Rugged Determination, the history of Swanson, and
just recently published Wairaka’s Waters, the story of
the Asylum Springs (Wairaka Stream) and the Mt
Albert pumping station there.

Here is a list of all available publications:
Challenge of the Whau (1994)
$10, plus p&p, available from the Society
Heart of the Whau (2003)
$25, plus p&p, available from the Society Primary School Reunion
Waterview Heritage Study (2007)
$30, available from Words Incorporated, Blockhouse The Avondale Primary School Reunion is still on
Bay and going strong with well over 200 registrations as
at last report from Doris Selwyn. Doris by the way
A Doctor in the Whau (2007) has been doing sterling work, along with the rest of
$7, plus p&p, available from the Society the Reunion Committee, in organising and promot-
ing the reunion.
Wairaka’s Waters (2007)
$10, plus p&p, available from Words Incorporated, It isn’t too late to join in or to tell your friends who
Blockhouse Bay also went to the School.
Te Whau Avondale Heritage Walks brochure (2006)
Free from any Auckland City community library, and Dates: 23 and 24 November 2007
the Avondale Business Association at 1A Crayford Contact: Doris 828-0376 or Lisa 828-8494 for
Street West, Avondale details and to go on the registration mailing list.

Index for Once the Wilderness 2nd edition (2002)
Available as a .pdf which is free, or in hardcopy $5 Kinder House Gallery
plus p&p, available from the Society
I promised to give the wonderful folk at the Kinder
Index for Rugged Determination (2007)
House Gallery a bit of a plug in our newsletter, when
Available as a .pdf, which is free, or in hardcopy $5
I attended their AGM this month. The gallery is in
plus p&p
Kinder House, 2 Ayr Street Parnell, a 150—year-old
building which was once the home of Rev. John
Peter Blaiklock’s Bus Tours Kinder. The house and grounds are owned by Auck-
land City Council, and administered by the Kinder
Phone Peter or Jean to book: (09) 817-6268 House Society.
September 16 — Howick, Beachlands, Maraitai Tour Open Tuesday to Sunday, 11am to 3 pm. Phone 379
Meet at Iona Hall, Donovan St, Blockhouse Bay,12 4008.
$20 each
Car parking available at the hall. These really are an Next meeting, 6 October 2007, 2.30 pm,
enjoyable day out, seeing the sites and chatting to Lions Hall.
port local historical research. I expect this project, if
Guest Speaker approved by the Society, to take three years to com-
Our guest speaker for the October meeting of the
Society will be Phil Sai-Louie, talking about British Updates to come.
Surnames. Thank you, Phil, for offering to come
back to talk to us.
St Ninians Church
Our speaker in August was Society member Molly
Scott, on her associations with music in Auckland. This building, plus the cemetery area, was still closed
Unfortunately (and with our apologies) her speech to all members of the public as at 25 August. Nothing
had to be shortened due to time factors, but it was further is known from Auckland City Council as to a
extremely enjoyable. She talked to us about the timeframe for any clean-up they may decide is
story of the Wurlitzer organ in Avondale’s Holly- needed there. The members of the Papakura Histori-
wood Cinema, and her experiences with playing the cal Society who came up to see a bit of Avondale on
Wurlitzer. There will be a fond farewell to the August 25th, including the grave of our “Danish Prin-
Town Hall’s organ on 9 December this year, as it cess”, were at least able to see where her gravestone
will be heading to Germany for two years for a is, from a distance as we peered over the fence and
$3million restoration. locked gates in the pouring rain.

(see for more details) If I receive any further news, I will put in an update
in future newsletters.
An event of interest to movie fans will be a screen-
ing of Laurel & Hardy’s Way Out West with Buster
Keaton’s Steamboat Bill on Sunday September 16th
at the Hollywood, to the accompaniment of an or-
gan play-in. Tickets $20 at the door, doors open
The Old News
1.15 pm, for the movies to start 2pm.
The Central Stores Fire, 1925

Rosebank Project I have finally found out exactly when the Central
Stores burned down, at the corner of Rosebank and
Great North Roads — just after 5am, Sunday 7th June
At the Society’s AGM in August, it was agreed to
1925. In Challenge of the Whau (1994), Ernie Croft’s
proceed with scoping out costs involved with under-
recollections of the aftermath were published:
taking what could be the AWHS’s next major re-
search project — the history of the Rosebank area. “After the fire there were jam tins lying around, badly
An approach to a landscape historian for some idea buckled. All of us coming home after school used to
of costs for him to research the horticultural history kick the tins down the road, seeing how far we could
of the area — including market gardens, fruit culti- get them before they burst.”
vation, early farmers etc. — has already been made,
and I’m awaiting more information on that for fund- Norman McKenzie was a tenant of Charles Fearon,
raising plans. who owned the old wooden block at that point.
McKenzie’s grocery store was the site of the fire’s
We will also ask organisations such as local schools start, igniting among the tinned goods apparently, then
in the area, churches and the Rosebank Business As- spreading to the oils and artificial manures. At that
sociation if they would like to be a part of the whole point, despite the best efforts of the local fire brigade,
process. it was doomed. The fire was only checked just short
of the offices of a land agent named George Rose.
If anyone would like to volunteer to be part of a re-
search tram, please let me know. Volunteers are Charles Fearon replaced the burnt-out block with the
needed to go talk to surviving members of the fami- Fearon’s Buildings block which is still there to this
lies who once lived (and still do live) “down the day.
Lane”. We will need to work out expenses involved,
and seek funding from those organisations who sup- If any readers have memories or remembered stories
of this fire, please let me know.
Bus Tour of

Saturday October 20 2007

Come along with the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society to see Birkenhead with
our friends Ray Johanson and the Birkenhead Historical Society.

Bus will leave Avondale Community Centre, 99 Rosebank Road, at 10 am.

The tour will include a visit to the Birkenhead Museum (Farrington House) for a
cuppa — please bring your own lunch.

Sites of Birkenhead and Northcote heritage will be along the tour, as well as harbour
views, and a journey back to Avondale via the upper harbour.

Cost: $25 per person

Parking at Avondale Community Centre could be limited (or non-existent if the al-
terations there have not been completed). There are public parking areas in the
Avondale Mainstreet area, in Crayford Street West off Great North Road (school
side) and in the Auckland City Council carpark off Rosebank Road (behind the
medical and physiotherapy centre, 59 and 63A Rosebank Road).

Please call Lisa on 828-8494
(I do have an answerphone which picks up after 5 rings if I’m not home)
or send an email to
or mail to 19 Methuen Road, Avondale, Auckland 0600

to book your seat.