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May — June 2016

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

(Above) One of a number of photographs from the Zwart
family collection kindly provided by Darian Zam (see
page 2 for article): this is captioned “Oma Cherie working at Payen Gaskets in Rosebank Road, Avondale.”

Next meeting of the
Avondale-Waterview Historical Society:
at St Ninians, St Georges Road
SATURDAY, 4 June 2016, 2.00 pm

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.

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Page 2

Memories of Rosebank
Road
Darian Zam
My family arrived from New Guinea to New Zealand
in 1959. For two generations they lived between
Indonesia and Europe, firstly because my greatgrandfather was in the oil industry; the family probably had interests. He opened and managed projects.
My grandfather was a marine architect and he worked
on ship and rig projects.
They went to Jakarta when they realised that Germany
was going to invade the Netherlands. They took a
blacked out train to the port at Marseille and then
sailed for Indonesia. My mother was born in that city
just after they arrived. Soon of course the Japanese
invaded. So thinking they would be safe far away,
they ended up in exactly the same situation they
feared – and were interred in POW camps. This is
what my mother saw of the world for the first three or
more years of her life.

They loved that country and the culture so it did not deter them and they stayed for many years afterwards even
though they had been through terrible things and then
the civil war straight afterwards, from which they were
evacuated on a hospital troop ship. However they did
decide to move to Aotearoa, I think my grandfather was
offered a solid contract there. They had tried to come
here in 1939 before the war, but it was made very difficult for people from the continent to immigrate at that
time as they were not preferential. My mother recalls
my grandfather designing boats for a Mr Carl Augustin
who had a West Auckland-based business in Sabulite
Road, Kelston. Following that he worked for Fletcher
Construction.
For a time they lived in an apartment on the University
campus but soon they purchased a home at 403
Rosebank Road near the corner of Patiki; the street has
now been renumbered. As far as I remember it was a
bungalow; a nice looking, small house that had been
constructed entirely from kauri in 1942. There was a
(Below) “Oma at Payen Gaskets in Rosebank Road,
Avondale.” Provided by Darian Zam, from Zwart Family
collection.

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Page 3

leafy, cool garden at the back with mature fruit trees and
a lot of grapefruit. My mother recalls that when they
came to live in Rosebank Road it was covered in
orchards and market gardens, as it was very fertile red
volcanic soil. The land had probably been part of a
carved down block which I’m told was a citrus orchard
but this was obviously not the original homestead so
would have been built after the property was
subdivided.
Feltex bought the land on the left and as a result the garden was subsequently built in with high cinderblock
walls by that company. My grandmother was very angry
when they disturbed her ‘Chinese Gooseberry’ vines
which were quite hard to come by and expensive at the
time. However this actually afforded some protection
and privacy from the surrounding factories that were
crowding it in. The high walls gave it a strange air like a
secret garden in the middle of a hive of activity.
I still remember the chemical fumes from automotive
paint floating over - the British Paints (New Zealand)
Ltd manufactory was close by. I recall the smells distinctly. I remember it already being heavily industrial
then, in the very early 1970s, and domestic properties
were on the way out – I don’t remember a lot of people

(Above) Staff at Payen Gaskets in Rosebank Road, Avondale.
Zwart family collection, courtesy Darian Zam.

in the neighbourhood, except the Astridges, John and
Ethel, who were friends of the family. A few doors back
along Rosebank Road from the house in the direction of
the highway to the city there was a dairy, one of those
houses that had the front turned into a business. I think
it was cream coloured, a wooden building. I can’t recall
much else about the street.
My grandmother went to work in the local area; this
may have been the first time she had worked in her life
as she was descended from a very wealthy Amsterdam
family who had made a fortune in shipping, and they
then lost a lot of it in the Great Depression. A lot, but
not all. Then she married my grandfather, had the war to
deal with, and they moved around a lot whilst she was
rearing her children. So as they were thinking about
their retirement, in her fifties she went to work in the
many manufactories that had sprung up along Rosebank
Road.
First she was employed at the Payen gasket factory. She
worked there at the machines keeping the fact she was

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Page 4
blind in one eye a secret; she had lost half her sight in a
school science experiment gone wrong when she was
thirteen. When they found out, they wouldn't allow her
to be on the floor anymore, so she ran the canteen.
She would make a special curry, or another Indonesian
meal, three times a week and bring it in to sell for staff
lunches; that way she would earn the money for her and
my grandfather to put money towards their retirement
property in Northland.
There was a mop-making factory right next door
through the tall hedge, that made them out of flat discs
of cotton all sewn together in layers. They must have
been some kind of industrial mop or polisher for a
machine of some type, probably for flooring. So after
Payen, she worked in the mop factory. I remember being
taken in on a few occasions and seeing my grandmother
sewing away at an industrial machine in a coat and hairnet. I remember a Christmas party there, and the female
staff making a real fuss over me.
Maybe I pointed them out, or maybe of her own volition
(we both liked pretty things), she cut all the labels off
the Egyptian cotton bales as they came in to the factory.
I can imagine I probably went investigating, and tore a
label off a bale that had caught my eye, and brought it
back to show my Oma (what we call grandma in Dutch).
I know myself well and nothing much has changed!
They were very colourful and extravagant designs, still
very old-fashioned - and she stuck them all in a scrap
book for me. I still have it tucked away somewhere
because it means a lot to me.
I also remember the bulk tins that were used for storage
in my grandparents’ hall cupboard - big metal square
ones with colourful paper labels that were delivered to
groceries for the counters with twelve packs or more in
them; Hudson, Griffins and Huntley & Palmer from the
1960s. I also recently flashed back to that time again;
the ladies from the mop factory used to go to buy seconds from the Cadbury Schweppes Hudson factory,
where they concentrated on enrobed biscuit product for
the Hudson brand. They would come back with big tins
of seconds.
Occasionally my mother would dig some artefact out of
the garden there on Rosebank Road, the early days of
her collecting bug. She kept a china ornament of a baby
bawling, pink, glossy and angry. It was quite grotesque
actually; a strange looking thing - probably a novelty
that was meant to be comedic.
Family legend describes the time when my Opa cut his
finger off working on that hedge that bordered the left
hand ‘mop factory’ side of the property down behind the
garage. He was on a stepladder using a trimmer when he
slipped and cut his thumb off at the first joint with
it! As the story goes the piece could not be found and it
wasn't until some six months later that it was rediscovered, all wizened up, and far too late of course.

I was actually thinking it is amazing I can remember
anything at all, because this is all before I was four years
old, but I remember so many details down to the furniture and plants in the house. It must have been the tail
end of an era. The Astridge family were bought out by
Cadbury, then in 1975 my grandparents saw through
their plan and retired to their new home - and the Rosebank Road property was sold. The house is gone - there
is a health centre there now. But it still exists – it was
low-loaded out to Riverhead and restored.
Note: As late as the end of the 1990s Cadbury
Confectionery Ltd had a factory in Avondale at 494
Rosebank Rd, which was focused on Hudson’s chocolate
biscuit production and likely produced lines under the
Cadbury biscuit brand too. At some point the Pascall
brand of confectionery was also produced from this factory. In 1969, Cadbury, Fry and Schweppes had merged
internationally. The New Zealand company became
known as Cadbury Schweppes Hudson Ltd. In 1990 the
NZ company acquired the Griffins confectionery
business and sold the Hudson biscuit arm. In 1991 it
became known as Cadbury Confectionery Ltd and today
remains the largest confectionery manufacturer in NZ.

From Derry to the Whau —
the Archibald family of brick and
pipe makers
Lisa J Truttman

In truth, the Archibald family’s story is entwined by
marriage and early business partnerships with that of the
Hepburns who, like the Archibalds, also have family
members buried at St Ninians cemetery in Avondale. But
it is the Archibalds I will focus on in this article.
According to family trees published on the Ancestry
website, David Alexander, born in Derry, Ireland, in
1816, arrived in Sydney in 1838, working for rations on
a farm there for a time with his wife Margaret and firstborn son James (1837-1910), until the family made their
way to Auckland in 1841. Three more children were
born here. In the same year his father died, James
Archibald married Agnes Hepburn in 1860, founding his
own family here of four sons and two daughters.
Agnes was a daughter of Alexander and Catherine
Hepburn; Alexander Hepburn, born in Inverness,
Scotland in 1803, brought his new wife to Sydney in
1839 where Agnes and her brother James were born,
then reached Auckland in 1841. He and his brother
Duncan were initially unsuccessful with some early land
claims dating back to 1844, but from the late 1840s at

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least were involved with the timber trade. Duncan, a
sawyer, died in July 1853; Alexander retained the business, operating from Freemans Bay, but succeeding in
obtaining a crown grant to 88 acres of land beside the
Whau River in 1854, the future site of Span Farm at the
end of Hepburn Road, Glendene. (Coincidentally, this
area was to have another connection with Avondale;
named Span Farm by William S Miller who bought the
land in 1928. Miller and F E Sandford flew the MillerSandford biplane at Avondale Racecourse in 1913.)
We see David Archibald working as a sawyer in West
Queen Street in the jury lists for 1847 through to 1853;
Below: from Auckland Star, 8 February 1890. The end of
Archibald’s brief New Lynn brickyard.

(Above) James Archibald brick from the New Lynn
brickmakers memorial, Great North Road, New Lynn.
Photograph by the author.

towards the end of his life, he was a farmer at Freeman’s
Bay (with his eldest son James). It would be during this
period that the two families connected and the path
made towards the marriage between James and Agnes.
This relationship extended through to James and his
family taking up residence in a dwelling on his father-in
-law’s Glendene land soon after his marriage to Agnes,
and probably helping his in-laws start up the first
Hepburn family brickyard in that area.
James Archibald retained an interest in the Glendene
farm, even at one point obtaining co-title, until 1878;
but from 1873, he began purchases of sites along what is
now Archibald Road in Kelston, his own brickyard there
starting at some point before 1871. This was probably
on Allotment 208, land that James Archibald described
as occupying as at 1876, but he never owned. This
would have been the original “Archibald’s Landing” or
“Archibald’s Wharf” as it was known to excursionists in
the early 1900s – but today, thanks to major reclamation
from the 1950s, the site of Archibald’s original brickyard, landing, and the government landing beside it, are
now well inland, underneath part of a playing field at
the end of Archibald Road.
From 1872, James Archibald joined the Hepburns and
other Whau River brickmakers in meetings to set a
standard price for their bricks, in the wake of the expectation of a rise in demand for their product by the
Brogden company who were working on the main trunk
railway and the start of Auckland’s suburban rail lines.

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(Top) Possibly two of the Archibald brothers
with one of their trucks at Avondale—1913.
From NZ Motor & Cycle Journal of that year.
(Left) Overlay of a cadastral map of the Parish
of Waikomiti, showing (1) the Hepburn farm—
later Span Farm; (2) the government landing
reserve at the end of what is now Archibald
Road, now inland since reclamation; (3) the
lots James Archibald gradually took over, either in occupation only (Lot 208, side the landing reserve) or by title from the 1870s; and (4)
the site at the end of Avondale Road which
became Archibald Bros. Potteries from c.1910.

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Page 7
By 1879, when it appears he had a renewed brickmaking
partnership with the Hepburns, James Archibald either
owned or occupied a considerable series of lots along
the road to the Whau River landing at Kelston, a total of
25 acres. In 1883, he expanded the business briefly by
setting up a small brickyard on railway reserve land in
New Lynn – this lasted until 1890, and possibly provided the foundations for the setting up of the Gardner family works from the early 1900s.
The family’s connections with Avondale go right back
to the 1860s, with their associations with the Presbyterian Church (later St Ninians). In 1882, James’ son David
briefly owned a small part of the Chisholm Estate sale
of land; from 1890 his younger brother Alexander Ernest appears in electoral rolls as an “Avondale brickmaker”; he may have worked for those operating the HuntBycroft-J J Craig brickyard on St Georges Road at
Avondale (better known to most in the 20th century as
Glenburn). Just over 5 acres at the end of Avondale
Road, fronting the river, was purchased by the four
brothers in 1903: David (1861-1926), John (1866-1948),
Alexander Ernest (1869-1955) and Frank Alexander
(1878-1951). From 1910, the year their father James
died, this land would become the Archibald pottery and
pipe works.
Agnes Archibald died suddenly at Ngaruawahia in
1903; her body was conveyed back to Auckland, for
burial beside Avondale’s Presbyterian church. In 1909,

James Archibald, then 72, joined other brickmaking
firms in trying to cope with arbitration awards for the
brickmakers they employed. A year later, he passed
away, and was buried beside his dear Agnes in the
Avondale churchyard.
The Archibald family retained the Kelston land until
1950, although it is unlikely any further brickmaking
occurred there after James Archibald’s death. Over at
Avondale, James Alexander Archibald left the partnership with his brothers in 1915. There is very little information on the Avondale works, except for snippets now
and then from the newspapers. John Archibald, in 1921,
was reported as saying that the Avondale firm obtained
its coal from Waikato and Westport by rail, and had
tried sample bores on their site for coal seams at the
Rosebank Peninsula. James Murray, the caretaker at the
What a difference a reclamation makes. Much of the path of
today’s “Te Whau Cycleway” through Archibald Park under
construction at the time of writing will actually be using the
new land which was once riverbed between the shore and a
mudbank, going nowhere near the original Archibald’s
Wharf or landing (outlined on 2010 image), or the brickyard
site. Any traces of the historic site may well have been destroyed with the park was created.
Image on the left is a 1940 aerials, on the right an image
from 2010, both from the Auckland Council website.

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Page 8
pottery works who lived in a hut onsite, died after he
was knocked down by a car at the Rosebank-Great
North Road intersection in 1930.
In 1963, the family finally sold the land at Avondale to
Beazley Homes, ending just over 100 years association
by the Archibalds with the land on both sides on the
Whau River.

(Below) The gravesite for James and Agnes Archibald, at
St Ninians Cemetery, St Georges Road, Avondale.

The Avondale Historical Journal
Published by:
the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society Inc. (since September 2001)
Editor: Lisa J. Truttman
Society contact:
19 Methuen Road, Avondale, Auckland 0600
Phone: (09) 828-8494, 027 4040 804
email: waitemata@gmail.com
Society information:
Website: http://sites.google.com/site/avondalehistory/
Subscriptions: $15 individual
$20 couple/family
$30 corporate

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