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Issue 1 Volume 5 February 2016

MT ROSKILL (Puketapapa)
From the Editor:
This issue continues the story about the Sisters of Mercy and the Catholic Churchs
involvement with the Pah Homestead. With the school now open on land adjacent to
St John Vianney Church in Hillsborough Rd it leaves Liston Village and the
Franciscan Friary as the last remaining Catholic institutions functioning on the Pah
Farm site. Currently a group is fighting to retain the Village for community
From the President
Work continues on entering data on to the Roskills People Database with the number of
references to 1840-1940 residents growing close to 18,000 entries. This is a long term
project that will provide a wonderful local resource for people doing historical and
genealogical research.
I was fortunate last year to visit the Mercy Archives and was able to scan some
wonderful photographs relating to the nuns connection with the Pah Homestead. These
photos have been added to our photograph collection on our Facebook page and some I
have used in these articles.
Please continue to check out the Facebook page, details below.
On Twitter go to www.twitter/RoskillHeritage
On Facebook, go to
Avondale/Waterview Historical Society
At St Ninians, St Georges Road (opposite the Hollywood Cinema.)

Avondale-Waterview HS talks:

February 6th 2015 2pm Trevor Pollard. Life and Times of a West Auckland Plumber
No details yet available for the April meeting. We will let you know when we get details.
All Mt Roskill (Puketapapa) Historical members are welcome to attend.

The Pah Homestead - Monte Cecilia Part 2

From 1926 to 1952 Monte Cecilia provided education mainly as a boarding college for junior boys.
The following reports talk about Monte Cecilia Boys College.

Auckland Star, Volume LVII, Issue 14, 18 January 1926, Page 4

MONTE CECILIA THE PAH, ONEHUNGA. (Pah Road and Hillsboro' Road)
Omnibuses pass both Gates.
Owing to the ever-increasing demand for a Junior Preparatory College combining home care with
every educational advantage the above ideally-situated and perfectly-equipped establishment is now
open as a First-class Residential and Day College for Boys under twelve. The School is Registered
for all Primary Work and, besides careful instruction in Christian Doctrine, will give particular

attention to the Junior High School Course as the best preparation for Secondary Education. For
all particulars, apply to THE MOTHER SUPERIOR, Monte Cecilia, Or to St. Mary's Convent.
Phones 20-902 and 26-199
New Zealand Herald, Volume LXVII, Issue 20650, 23 August 1930, Page 18
A very large number of parents and relatives attended the end of term concert which was held in
the concert hall of the college last Thursday night. There was much promising talent displayed by
the young performers and the programme as a whole was carried out with that spontaneity and
vivaciousness which can only be the result of excellent coaching and stage management. The
concert opened with a largo chorus of students. This was followed by a pianoforte duet played by
John Hurst and Verdun Cowen. Both young players were well applauded. An interesting
performance was the exhibition of eurhythmics which is becoming so popular a means of teaching
bodily rhythm. A scarecrow dance, and The Kiddies Cabaret, a chorus, were two items which the
young performers evidently enjoyed as much as their audience. These were followed by an
excellently played violin duet by Con Little and Jason Kelsey. The scene from Oliver Twist, in
which the little orphan barely escapes being apprenticed to the evil chimney sweep, was cleverly
acted and served as a vivid reminder of an ugly evil fortunately past. The programme concluded
with the pantomime, The Babes in the Wood, in which the story was given a happy ending
instead of the traditional one. This, too, was excellently acted.
Auckland Star, Volume LXIV, Issue 171, 22 July 1933, Page 6
In observance of Arbor Day over 100 trees were planted during the last few days at
the Monte Cecilia College. Boys who attended the college at its opening in 1926 assisted with the

Image NZ Herald 22 July 1933

New Zealand Herald, Volume LXXIII, Issue 22399, 21 April 1936, Page 3
CELEBRATIONS AT CONVENT The golden jubilee of the religious profession of Mother Mary
Benignus Henson, M.A., of St. Mary's Convent, Ponsonbv, was celebrated on Friday. In 1886 Dr.
Luck, who was then Bishop of Auckland, received the vows of the young novice, who had come
from Athlone, Ireland, to help the Sisters of Mercy in their missionary work. During the
intervening years she has distinguished herself in the field of education, especially in secondary
school work.

The jubilee celebrations were opened with a high mass at St. Mary's Convent chapel, at which
Bishop Liston presided. The Sisters' choir rendered Dom Moreno's Missa Nona, together with the
Proper, sung in harmonised chant. In the afternoon a reception of past pupils and friends was
held, during which musical items were given by the present pupils of the college. On Saturday
morning at Monte Cecilia Boys' College, where Mother Benignus now resides, Monsignor Cahill,
V.G., in the absence of the bishop, presided at High Mass, at which many of the clergy assisted.
Boys of the school sang the mass. During the day Mother Benignus received many congratulatory

Image courtesy Mercy Archives

But this report in the following year talks about girls attending also as day school pupils.

New Zealand Herald, Volume LXXIV, Issue 22910, 13 December 1937, Page 14
MONTE CECILIA COLLEGE SUCCESSFUL PAST YEAR An enjoyable function, little marred
by light showers of rain, took place at the Monte Cecilia College for junior boys, day school for
girls and school of music, Onehunga, on Saturday afternoon, when the annual prize-giving was
held. Over 100 parents and friends attended and considerable interest was taken in the excellent
display of the children's art-craftwork during the year, a singing recital and dancing items. The
various stalls conducted by the parents were well patronised. Bishop Liston, in addressing the
gathering, congratulated the college on its fine record of scholastic achievement, on the success of
the music classes in gaining many honours in the recent Trinity College examinations, and on the
very evident enthusiasm for outdoor recreations, which, he said, revealed a healthy outlook on life.
The Rugby football team had been undefeated during the season, while the tennis team was also
very successful. The patron of the college, Monsignor Cahill, read the prize-list and presented the
various awards as follows:' Dux of the college, William Taylor; medal for Christian doctrine,
Wallace Erceg; medal for good conduct, Robert Jelavix; medal for domestic science, Valrae
Collins; school certificates, William Taylor, Robert Jelavix, Wallace Erceg, Valrae Collins;
swimming certificates, L. Turner, J. Ryan, P. Teague, R. Mellor, V. Taylor; tennis trophy, William
Taylor. Trinity College musical honours were gained by 26 pupils. The parents, visiting teachers
and friends wore entertained at afternoon tea in the college hall, while the Ponsonby Band was in
attendance. Later in the afternoon the visitors inspected the beautiful college grounds, while tennis
and cricket were played.

Image courtesy Mercy Archives

With both Lisa and Garth involved with the Federation we are well represented at this level of the
work done by Historical Societies around the country. By the time you get this newsletter they will
have been to Hawera for a committee meeting.
Federation Conference 29 April 1 May
We are combining with the Avondale Waterview Society to organise the 2016 Federation Conference
here in Auckland. Lisa, Margaret and Garth are working on organising the programme which
currently will be as follows, starting with a Friday evening get together at Kinder House in
Parnell, Saturday conference and AGM at Alberton in Mt Albert, Saturday night dinner and a
movie at Ryders Cinema here in Avondale, and a Sunday morning visit to the Portage
Ceramics Museum in New Lynn.

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Garth Houltham
15 McIlroy Avenue, Hillsborough, Auckland 1042.
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Membership: Garth Houltham
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