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September-October 2007 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 Avondale 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.
I asked Meredyth Morgan from Auckland City Council to tell us about the upcoming Auckland Heritage Festival: Celebrate the unique stories and secrets of Auckland and reflect on our city's natural, built and social history during the 2007 Auckland Heritage Festival. 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, open days, film screenings, harbour trips and family friendly activities. With everything from art and architecture to fashion and music, the festival will appeal to people of all ages and interests. Discover - the events and people that shaped the Auckland of today.
Uncover - old places and forgotten spaces, when a windmill once dominated the city skyline and the sea lapped at Fort Street. Explore - hidden gems and reflect on traditions that may have disappeared, though fond memories remain. For more information and programme details visit www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/ heritagefestival or phone 379 2020. ———————-
AWHS will be hosting two heritage walks along Avondale Mainstreet as part of the festival, on the 19th and 29th of September. Along with this, Avondale Community Library will be holding a students competition using part of our websites as information for heritage quizzes. It’ll be all on in Avondale in September! (And October and November …)
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 Auckland 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 Waterview Heritage Study (2007) $30, available from Words Incorporated, Blockhouse Bay A Doctor in the Whau (2007) $7, plus p&p, available from the Society Wairaka’s Waters (2007) $10, plus p&p, available from Words Incorporated, Blockhouse Bay Te Whau Avondale Heritage Walks brochure (2006) Free from any Auckland City community library, and the Avondale Business Association at 1A Crayford Street West, Avondale Index for Once the Wilderness 2nd edition (2002) Available as a .pdf which is free, or in hardcopy $5 plus p&p, available from the Society Index for Rugged Determination (2007) Available as a .pdf, which is free, or in hardcopy $5 plus p&p
Primary School Reunion
The Avondale Primary School Reunion is still on and going strong with well over 200 registrations as at last report from Doris Selwyn. Doris by the way has been doing sterling work, along with the rest of the Reunion Committee, in organising and promoting the reunion. It isn’t too late to join in or to tell your friends who also went to the School. Dates: 23 and 24 November 2007 Contact: Doris 828-0376 or Lisa 828-8494 for details and to go on the registration mailing list.
Kinder House Gallery
I promised to give the wonderful folk at the Kinder House Gallery a bit of a plug in our newsletter, when I attended their AGM this month. The gallery is in Kinder House, 2 Ayr Street Parnell, a 150—year-old building which was once the home of Rev. John Kinder. The house and grounds are owned by Auckland City Council, and administered by the Kinder House Society. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 11am to 3 pm. Phone 379 4008.
Peter Blaiklock’s Bus Tours
Phone Peter or Jean to book: (09) 817-6268 September 16 — Howick, Beachlands, Maraitai Tour Meet at Iona Hall, Donovan St, Blockhouse Bay,12 noon $20 each Car parking available at the hall. These really are an enjoyable day out, seeing the sites and chatting to friends.
Next meeting, 6 October 2007, 2.30 pm, Lions Hall.
Our guest speaker for the October meeting of the Society will be Phil Sai-Louie, talking about British Surnames. Thank you, Phil, for offering to come back to talk to us. Our speaker in August was Society member Molly Scott, on her associations with music in Auckland. Unfortunately (and with our apologies) her speech had to be shortened due to time factors, but it was extremely enjoyable. She talked to us about the story of the Wurlitzer organ in Avondale’s Hollywood Cinema, and her experiences with playing the Wurlitzer. There will be a fond farewell to the Town Hall’s organ on 9 December this year, as it will be heading to Germany for two years for a $3million restoration. (see www.aucklandorgan.org.nz for more details) An event of interest to movie fans will be a screening 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 organ play-in. Tickets $20 at the door, doors open 1.15 pm, for the movies to start 2pm.
port local historical research. I expect this project, if approved by the Society, to take three years to complete. Updates to come.
St Ninians Church
This building, plus the cemetery area, was still closed to all members of the public as at 25 August. Nothing further is known from Auckland City Council as to a timeframe for any clean-up they may decide is needed there. The members of the Papakura Historical Society who came up to see a bit of Avondale on August 25th, including the grave of our “Danish Princess”, were at least able to see where her gravestone is, from a distance as we peered over the fence and locked gates in the pouring rain. If I receive any further news, I will put in an update in future newsletters.
The Old News
The Central Stores Fire, 1925
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 1925. In Challenge of the Whau (1994), Ernie Croft’s recollections of the aftermath were published: “After the fire there were jam tins lying around, badly buckled. All of us coming home after school used to kick the tins down the road, seeing how far we could get them before they burst.” Norman McKenzie was a tenant of Charles Fearon, who owned the old wooden block at that point. McKenzie’s grocery store was the site of the fire’s start, igniting among the tinned goods apparently, then spreading to the oils and artificial manures. At that point, despite the best efforts of the local fire brigade, it was doomed. The fire was only checked just short of the offices of a land agent named George Rose. Charles Fearon replaced the burnt-out block with the Fearon’s Buildings block which is still there to this day. If any readers have memories or remembered stories of this fire, please let me know.
At the Society’s AGM in August, it was agreed to proceed with scoping out costs involved with undertaking what could be the AWHS’s next major research project — the history of the Rosebank area. An approach to a landscape historian for some idea of costs for him to research the horticultural history of the area — including market gardens, fruit cultivation, early farmers etc. — has already been made, and I’m awaiting more information on that for fundraising plans. We will also ask organisations such as local schools in the area, churches and the Rosebank Business Association if they would like to be a part of the whole process. If anyone would like to volunteer to be part of a research tram, please let me know. Volunteers are needed to go talk to surviving members of the families who once lived (and still do live) “down the Lane”. We will need to work out expenses involved, and seek funding from those organisations who sup-
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 alterations 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to 19 Methuen Road, Avondale, Auckland 0600 to book your seat.