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March—April 2010 Volume 9 Issue 52

The Avondale
Historical Journal
Official Publication of the Avondale-Waterview Historical
Society Incorporated

Dan Robertson’s Cart, c.1910-1919

In December last year, I emptied my letterbox on the way to the
railway station, and noticed an envelope in the small bundle
from AWHS member Patricia Norton. With time to spare at the
station, I set about opening the envelope to see what was inside.
I found to my immense delight, along with a photo of Dooley
Jamieson’s butcher’s van, the above image.
Now, this has been the subject of a hunt for nearly 30 years. In
the early 1980s, a Mrs Mould donated the image at right to the
Avondale Community Library. The Avondale History Group,
while compiling Challenge of the Whau, hoped a copy of the
photo would come out of their research, but to no avail; and I Next meeting of the
published the image from the library in the first issue of this
Journal, back in September 2001.
Avondale-Waterview Historical Society:
There is still questions about the image (Patricia says it may be Saturday, 3 April 2010, 2.30 pm
Dooley Jamieson in the cart. If so, he started out working for Lion’s Hall,
Dan Robertson the baker, who operated at Avondale c.1910- corner Blockhouse Bay Road and Great
1919). The house, by the way, is that of the Collins family. North Road
More on this in a later issue.
The Avondale Historical Journal Volume 9 Issue 52
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Fiery End to Avondale’s Bus Depot
by Lisa J Truttman

On 3 December 2009, what was once Avondale’s depot
for the Transport Bus Company burned. Over following
days, the property owners demolished the remains. Here’s
the story of the site.
In 1865, John Shedden Adam and his surviving sister
Margaret engaged John Buchanan as their agent for the
sale of their land at Avondale, the Windsor Estate. Part of
this sale was the triangular site between Wingate Street
(formerly Windsor, then Old Windsor Road) and Great
North Road. In 1866, the Adams sold Lots 40 to 47 to
Paterson horse bus on Queen Street. Detail from photo ref
William McLeod (an engineer) of Henderson Mill for ₤55
7-A1715, courtesy Sir George Grey Special Collections,
2/6. William McLeod moved to Wanganui by October
Auckland City Library
1866 and borrowed ₤28 as mortgage on the property from
his brother John. John McLeod died in April 1869, and his
widow Christina claimed the site after William defaulted a settler living about four hundred yards from the stables.
on the mortgage by 1877. He at once ran to the scene and roused the inmates, three
In September 1879, Christina sold the property for ₤100 to bus drivers named Charles Lake, Alfred Ward and James
hotelkeeper Robert Dakin. Dakin had purchased the Whau Benton, who slept on the premises. They had just sufficient
Hotel just five months before, and was to remain its owner time to remove the buses and horses (numbering about 50)
for the next nine years. In February 1884, he sold the and harness from the building. Everything else in the sta-
Wingate/Great North Road site to the Northern Omnibus bles was completely destroyed, and the building burned to
Company for ₤250. This included two adjoining lots the ground. How the fire arose is not known. John For-
further along Wingate Street purchased by Dakin in 1881. syth, a bus driver in the employ of Messrs Patterson,
passed the stables between 3 and 4 a.m., and saw no sign
The Northern Omnibus Company was formed in March of fire then. The stables were insured for ₤400 in the New
1883, from a number of settlers in Avondale and Mt Zealand office, and were valued at ₤600. Forage and ef-
Albert who sought a “competent omnibus service” fects to the value of ₤100 were lost in the fire. (Star)
between their districts and the city. The company formed
with 4000 shares of ₤1 each. Robert Dakin was listed The stables were soon rebuilt; they feature in a photograph
(name misspelled “Daykin”) on the initial prospectus published in the NZ Graphic, 21 April 1900.
advertised in the newspapers. The new company intended William Paterson died in August 1905.
to provide services for not only the New North Road
The death of Mr. Wm. Paterson, founder of the firm of W.
route, but also Great North Road via Arch Hill and Pt
Paterson and Co., ‘bus proprietors, occurred yesterday.
Chevalier. Avondale was to be the terminus, and stables
The late Mr. Paterson, who was a native of East Kilbryde,
erected on a suitable piece of land. A timetable was adver-
Scotland, was 62 years of age, and came to Auckland in
tised by July 1884, but the company failed to make a
the early sixties. ... Here he laid the foundation of a most
profit. In August 1884, the company took out a mortgage
successful business as a ‘bus and cab proprietor, with
from Robert Dakin totalling ₤530, with a condition that
branches at Auckland, Mount Roskill, Mount Eden,
the company maintain insurance for all buildings erected
Avondale, Devonport, and Rotorua. He was at one time
or to be erected. This mortgage was cleared on the same
proprietor of the horse tramcars, at the same time carry-
day in April 1886 when the company sold the site to pro-
ing on his grain and produce business. He took a keen
duce merchant (later Takapuna and Epsom bus proprietor)
interest in politics, and followed the various political
William Paterson for ₤558. It is possible, therefore, that a
changes of his day with close attention, although he
stable dating from 1884 existed on the site. By May 1887,
sought no public office. He was a benevolent man, but
Paterson advertised a horse bus service from the city via
carefully concealed from the public gaze his many chari-
Mt Albert to Avondale.
table acts. (Herald)
The horse-bus stable at Avondale was considerably large,
Many of his properties, which included the Avondale site,
as indicated by the descriptions offered by the newspapers
were inherited by his daughter Mary Ann Paterson. By
when it burned down in October 1898.
1908 it was a livery stable operated first by James Farrar,
A ‘bus stable at Avondale owned by Messrs Patterson and then Anderson Brothers from c.1910, and the base for An-
Co. was destroyed by fire early this morning. The out- drews & Co from c.1918. At some point the property was
break was discovered about five a.m. by Edgar Wm. Ward, leased to Charles Theodore Pooley, a local road
The Avondale Historical Journal Volume 9 Issue 52
Page 3
contractor. Pooley had the stables converted to a motor soon a mass of flames. Then the Mt Albert brigade ar-
garage for a member of his family, Percy Keen, by c.1920. rived, and, combining with the Avondale men, attention
Whether the Paterson stable had been demolished in the was diverted to a cottage next to Mr. Pooley’s house.
early 1920s to accommodate the General Omnibus Com- Beyond being scorched the cottage suffered no damage.
pany (GOC) bus depot and garage which was destroyed in Mr. Tierney was a heavy loser, the whole of the contents
1924 has yet to be determined. of the house, which were uninsured, being destroyed.
Neighbours quickly came to the assistance of Mr. Tierney,
An outbreak of fire, which completely destroyed a motor his wife, and the children, and provided shelter for the
garage, six motor vehicles, including two passenger motor night. By a stroke of good fortune a motor bus which had
buses, and a six-roomed dwelling occurred at Avondale just been built, and was expected yesterday at the garage,
shortly after 11 o’clock last night. The scene of the fire did not arrive, and another bus, which had only completed
was a site upon which a few years ago Patterson’s stables the last run from the city to Avondale, instead of being
were located, but the stables had been demolished and a turned into the garage, was outside. Another, a 24-seater,
motor garage, measuring 60ft by 129ft, of corrugated was pushed to a place of safety by two employees, who
iron, had been erected. Last night the garage contained were on the premises.
seven vehicles, and of these a 40-seater Guy motor char-
a-banc, valued at ₤700, and a 20-seater Ford char-a- The fire burned fiercely and the heat was terrific and
banc, valued at ₤600, were completely destroyed. The forced the spectators to watch the proceedings from a
Ford motor bus was insured, but not so the Guy. These respectable distance. The quantities of benzene on the
were the property of the General Omnibus Company. premises blew up with loud reports, but all of these were
Other vehicles destroyed were two motor-lorries owned by eclipsed when the roof crashed. The summoning of the
Mr. W.R.T. Leighton, contractor, of Henderson, and Mr. Mount Albert brigade soon became an urgent necessity,
C.T. Pooley, also a six-cylinder Cleveland car, owned by and to its efforts are attributed the saving of the second
Constable Douglas, of Avondale, valued at ₤550, and a house. The Avondale brigade worked heroically, but with
two-seater Ford owned by the General Omnibus its limited equipment could not cope with the fire. There
Company. Two wooden motor bus tops, the property of were a number of horse boxes on the town side of the
Mr. McCarthy and Mr. B. Mason, were also burned. garage, and two racehorses were housed there. They were
liberated without injury.
About 12ft away from the garage was a six-roomed house
occupied by Mr. L. Tierney, hairdresser, and owned by The losses are fairly heavy, the biggest being sustained by
Mr. Pooley. When it became evident that the garage was [General] Omnibus Company, the principals of which are
doomed the Avondale volunteer fire brigade arrived, all Messrs E. R. Alexander and G. R. Horrocks. Besides the
efforts were concentrated in an endeavour to save the losses on vehicles, about ₤200 worth of tools and accesso-
house, as it was apparent that nothing could be done to ries, and ₤70 worth of tyres, were destroyed. Some of the
save the garage or contents. A high wind, however,
frustrated the efforts of the brigade, and the house was The remains of the buildings on Great North Road. Photo
taken 4 December 2009, before total demolition.
The Avondale Historical Journal Volume 9 Issue 52
Page 4

refit, up until the 1980s.) Something like a
bus depot garage may have been erected
on the western side of the site in the late
1920s, but this remains undetermined. In
1928, Auckland City Council valuation
records simply describe the site, Lots 45
and 46 of Allotment 13, as an allotment.

The General Omnibus Company contin-
ued on until 1926 when the firm was
taken over by the Mount Eden Bus Com-
pany and put into liquidation. In turn,
Auckland City Council, then operating the
Auckland electric trams system, took over
the Mount Eden bus company on July
1927, and operated buses from Avondale
for a time as a feeder service for the tram
lines. This service from Avondale was taken over by the
An Avondale-bound horse-bus, at the corner of Wellesley and Auckland Transport Board from 1929. Three Board em-
Queen Streets, 1880s. Photo ref. 7-A4374, courtesy Sir
ployees established Transport Bus Services in 1933, and
George Grey Special Collections, Auckland City Library.
became contractors for feeder services based at Avondale
insurances are: Mr. Leighton’s lorry, ₤1250 with the from 10 October of that year. Thomas Henry Bonnett, Jo-
South British Company; General Omnibus Company’s seph Bell and Rupert Leslie Fenton, described as motor
Ford ‘bus, with the New Zealand Company for ₤300; Con- mechanics, became contractors to the Board under the
stable Douglas’ car, with the Queensland Company for terms of the Auckland Transport Empowering Act 1934.
₤200. Pooley formally leased the site of the bus depot to Bon-
nett, Bell and Fenton from 8 October 1936 until 31 March
The telegraph lines connecting Avondale and Helensville, 1943, then to Transport Bus Services Limited for 10 years
running in front of the garage, were affected by the fierce from 18 April 1945. At that point, TBS had become a lim-
heat, and fell to the road. One of the posts caught fire, but ited liability company from 1944, and had obtained West
was saved. The service was disorganised, but was Auckland route licenses from the Auckland Bus Company
repaired this morning. (Star) in New Lynn. This, however, restricted the company only
to West Auckland; by 1953 they lost profitability and
Pooley purchased the site outright from Mary Paterson in ceased operations by the following year.
1925. In January 1926, a complaint was made to the
Avondale Borough Council regarding the “unsightly ap- The TBS lease (now with the executors of Pooley’s estate,
pearance of the debris lying on the site of the livery stables Albert Crum and John Neale Bethell from 1949), was
which were burnt down.” The Borough Council served transferred over to Broadbent’s Hardware Limited in
notice on Pooley to remove a remaining small shed and 1955, for a term of 15 years. The site’s history as part of
clean up the rubbish on the section. In 1928, Pooley leased Avondale’s public transport connections was over.
part of the eastern tip of the site to Albert Graven, and this
became a service station (remaining so, through a 1970s

The Avondale Historical Journal
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Editor: Lisa J. Truttman Blockhouse Bay.
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Society information:
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