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July—August 2015

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

On 15 August 1953, after a gap of around 10 years at least since the last issue of The News produced by Arthur
Morrish from the days of the First World War, another local community newspaper appeared, delivered monthly
free in Avondale and Blockhouse Bay, with a readership of 12,000. Interestingly enough, the newspaper’s name has
been copied, perhaps unwittingly but also fittingly, by Auckland Council these days for their promotional leaflets
regarding Avondale’s future development.
The first issue of The A vondale A dvance and Blockhouse Bay
Beacon proclaimed, beside its masthead, “BIRTH. AVONDALE—B’HOUSE BAY. To Mr and Mrs Avondale and Blockhouse Bay Resident, on August 15, at the printing works of
Corringham and Cox, a lusty young newspaper. Special
thanks to local businessmen, without whose practical interest
this happy event would not have been possible.”
Thanks to funding from the Avondale-Waterview Historical
Society, I was finally able to get to Wellington’s National
Library and the Katherine Mansfield reading room in order to
(Right) An ad from 1953 for John Broadbent. Anyone
remember the “Avondale” tiled surrounds?

Next meeting of the
Avondale-Waterview Historical Society:
At St Ninians, St Georges Road
(opp. Hollywood Cinema)
SATURDAY, 1 August 2015, 2.00 pm
This is the AWHS AGM for 2015.

The Avondale Historical Journal

Page 2
see and photograph parts from the only complete set of
the A vondale A dvance in the country — issues from
1953 to 1962, when it was replaced by the W estern
Suburbs Leader, later known as the Western Leader. I
had been wanting to get access to this right from 2001,
even before the Society was formed and incorporated.
The A vondale A dvance, while it was mainly aimed at
promoting local businesses (much like today’s
Newstalk in Blockhouse Bay and Spider’s Web in
Avondale), does give us some glimpses of what it was
like in the area in the 1950s to very early 1960s, before Lynnmall and the Ash Street diversion changed
things forever.
For that first issue in August 1953, to kick off their
“letters to the editor column”, the publishers solicited
opinions from some local residents on what their particular bugbear was at that time.
Mrs O E Bickerton of Pinewood Street felt that there
was a real need for a public hall, in “a suburb which
has almost everything,” so that groups wanting to perform amateur theatricals didn’t have to travel all the
way into the city to do so.
This letter from W R Battersby is interesting:
Darrell’s Milk Bar ad from the first issue, August 1953.

“Why is it that the Avondale Post Office has no provision for private mail boxes? Five months ago I wrote
to the postmaster at the Auckland Chief Post Office,
pointing out the urgent need for such mail boxes
which would, among other things, eliminate the delivery of business mail to the homes of business people,
as sometimes happens at present. A reply (dated
March 25) was received saying the matter was receiving attention.

Below: artist’s impression of proposed extension to Steele’s
lingerie factory, upper Rosebank Road, August 1953. The
factory ended up much bigger than this by the mid 1960s.
See page 4.

“New Lynn has enjoyed private mail box facilities for a
long time; Avondale, whose business area is growing
equally fast, seems to have been ignored in this respect
by the P and T Department.”
The editors received a response from the postal authorities that “to install boxes at the A vondale Post Office
would entail major alterations to the vestibule, and the
time is not considered opportune to provide this facility
for Avondale.” Today, apart from a limited services
“post shop”, the private boxes lobby from the later post
office is just about all we have left.

The Avondale Historical Journal

Page 3
Then, there is this gem from “Just Mother” of Terry
Street.
“Sir, — I thank you for your invitation for me to join
the illustrious band of ‘Mothers of Five’, ‘Constant
Readers’, ‘Pro Bono Publicans’ and their numerous
kin. I am not normally a writer of letters to the editor,
but this is a special occasion for the district, this appearance of a reliable newspaper of our own; and as it
happens, I do have a little peculiarity that I might well
get off my chest. I have Klaxonitis. I cannot bear the
driver who uses his horn as a drover uses his stockwhip, to make pedestrians leap for safety whether they
have the right of way or not.
“A pedestrian has as much right to the road as any
motorist, perhaps more right, for the public roads are
the Queen’s highways whereon her subjects have the
right to come and go on their lawful occasions without
let or hindrance—or noisy threats. To be blasted at by
the arrogant Klaxon of some lout of a motorist makes
me furious, and gives me that defenceless feeling.
“One of these days I am going to equip myself with a
pocket electric horn of considerable power, so that
when an unwarranted beep! beep! challenges my right
to walk the streets in safety I shall be able to beep!
beep! lustily back — and carry on.”

Right: Barbara Walmsley, of Glendon Ave, Avondale,
contestant for the title of Miss Auckland 1954.

Avondale’s contestant
for Miss Auckland, 1954
The Avondale Advance in November 1953 featured an
article on Barbara Walmsley, daughter of William and
Rosaline Josephine Walmsley of 17 Glendon Avenue,
Avondale. 19 years old, Barbara was the Western
Suburbs Combined Associations nominee for the 1954
Miss Auckland competition. At the time of writing, I
don’t know what happened after the contest.
“Barbara is a mid-blonde, stands 5 feet 7 inches high,
and has hazel eyes. She is trim and shapely and it was
a pleasure to admire her modelling frocks. Before critics, including pressmen, photographers, dress designers, fashion artists and executives, Barbara paraded
with charm and poise, in a beautifully designed Reslau
creation in nylon …

“Barbara received her early education at the Avondale
Convent. From there she went to St Mary’s Convent,
Ponsonby, where she met Mina Foley, the New
Zealand coloratura soprano, who was then a pupil at
the convent. The two girls became great friends; both
had a common interest — art …
“Barbara took dancing lessons under Pat McMinn, of
New Lynn, well-known teacher and radio star. Later
she joined the Auckland Operatic Society and appeared in several productions, including Showboat,

The Avondale Historical Journal

Page 4
Chu Chin Chow, The Bartered Bride, Dear Miss
Phoebe, Poison Pen, and Sit Down a Minute, Adrian.
“This talented young lady is no newcomer to the radio,
having appeared in several radio productions and talent
quests. She also took part in the Quiz Kids sessions
conducted by Jack Maybury. She has broadcast over
both Commercial and National stations …
“Of the future of Avondale she expresses quiet confidence. New blocks of shops going up, new community
lighting, more civic pride, and new homes for the increasing population. These, according to Barbara, are
signs of a new era and progress in the life of her home
town.”

attractive offices. The colour scheme calls for dark red
and black mottled lino, and panelled plywood walls
waxed to natural wood colour, with warm grey enamelled doors and architraves. Louvre windows will be fitted to the old building.
“Fifty of the seventy-five machines needed to complete
this unit — a step in a comprehensive plan for a
£6,000,000 factory — have been installed. Thermostat
controlled heating is proving very successful, keeping
workroom temperature at a constant 62 degrees.
“The cleaning up of the section and recreation area has
been delayed by unfavourable weather, and for this reason too, the painting which will make the two buildings
seem a harmonious whole has not yet been finished.”

Steele’s New Factory
From Avondale Advance, September 1953. The first
part of Steele’s factory dated from just after World
War II, and can be seen at the left side of the artist’s
impression on page 2. In 1953, this was extended, and
the entire factory extended yet again, dramatically
changing the Rosebank Road frontage, in the mid
1960s. Later, it became the Lydiard shoe factory, then
Department of Labour and Social Welfare.
“Excellent progress is being made with work on the
Avondale factory of Steele’s Corsetieres Ltd, and the
management proposes to invite the community to a
special opening celebration some Saturday afternoon
next month with ice cream for the youngsters and conducted tours for parents and young women interested
in working there.
“The existing machinery has been moved from the old
building into the new, and the old building is being
thoroughly remodelled inside to accommodate

The Avondale Historical Journal
Published by:
the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society Inc.
Editor: Lisa J. Truttman
Society contact:
19 Methuen Road, Avondale, Auckland 0600
Phone: (09) 828-8494, 027 4040 804
email: historian@avondale.org.nz
Society information:
Website: http://sites.google.com/site/avondalehistory/
Subscriptions: $15 individual
$20 couple/family
$30 corporate

Copies of Avondale Historical Journal and AWHS
Newsletter produced for us by
Words Incorporated, 557 Blockhouse Bay Road,
Blockhouse Bay.
The Society and AHJ editorial staff thank

Avondale Business
Association
for their continued support and sponsorship of this
publication.