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July—August 2010 Volume 9 Issue 54

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

Avondale’s New Station

The AHJ editor accepted an invitation on behalf of the Society to attend the official opening of the new Avondale
Train Station on Tuesday 8 June. The station itself didn’t open until Monday 14th, a week later. At left, new signage;
right, Mayor John Banks unveiling one of the signs on the eastbound platform at Crayford Street. Below, the
ceremonial cake, complete with picture of the temporary
Tait-Trent Street station which will soon disappear, and
spider icon for Avondale. More at Timespanner blog

Next meeting of the
Avondale-Waterview Historical Society:
Saturday, 7 August 2010, 2.30 pm
Lion’s Hall,
corner Blockhouse Bay Road and
Great North Road

This will be our 8th Annual General Meeting
The Avondale Historical Journal Volume 9 Issue 54
Page 2

The Castles of Hokitika and Waterview
by Lisa J Truttman
I was contacted recently by a family researcher who asked including half-an-acre of Orchard in full profit,” by
what I knew about the Castle family. The family tradition, 1880, because Castle was attempting to either lease it out
according to the researcher, had it that George Castle or sell it by then. By January 1881, he was trying to sell
(a) owned the farm at the back of the main Auckland not just the Station Hotel, but another called the Marquis
Asylum buildings at Pt Chevalier, and (b) owned the first of Lorne Hotel, in Hampden Street, Hokitika – the
hotel in Avondale. Both memories passed down through reason given in his advertisements was “leaving on
the family were slightly distorted. I knew the owners of account of sickness in family.” He seems to have kept
the farm at the back of the Asylum before the government the Marquis of Lorne Hotel, renewing his licence in mid
bought it and the name Castle didn’t feature. Neither was 1882, and adding onto his cottage in Hampden Street in
Castle the name of the first hoteliers – they were the March 1883. But in April tragedy struck when his
Priestley Brothers. But, I was intrigued enough to look daughter Rose died, aged 15 years and 10 months. The
further. last sentence in the death notice, “Her end was peace,”
gives us a clue that it may have been Rose’s illness
George Castle arrived in New Zealand possibly in the mid which made her father try to move away from Hokitika a
to late 1860s. The first newspaper reference I found for few years earlier.
him was possibly as a store owner at Blue Spur, down
near Hokitika on the South Island in 1868. The family In May 1886, the Marquis of Lorne Hotel was finally
apparently lived at Hau Hau. His wife was Ellen née sold to a William Pearson, and the West Coast Times
Kershaw, and there were five children: Rose (1867-1883), published this farewell in the 28th of that month:
May (1868-1949), Giles Alfred (1870-1939), Florence
Victoria (b.1872, in Richmond, Victoria, the only one “Another old resident, Mr George Castle, will shortly be
born in Australia), and Grace (b. 1874). In September taking his departure from amongst us. During the twenty
1869, George Castle purchased the Hau Hau Station Hotel years of his sojourn at Hau Hau, Blue Spur, and
for £90, also known as the Terminus Hotel (site for Hokitika he has been highly respected and esteemed and
election meetings from 1870). Castle was a man of some his loss will be greatly felt by friends scattered through-
means. In 1875, he was on a list of provisional directors of out the district. Mr Castle intends residing in Auckland,
being attracted to the northern city by its mild sunny
the Old Lead Sluicing Company, Hau Hau. We know that
his Station Hotel was on a five-acre site, “securely fenced, climate.”
continued on page 4

Hokitika township, c. 1870s Original print Reference No. PA7-51-05-1 Photographic Archive,
Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand. Sourced via Wikipedia.
The Avondale Historical Journal Volume 9 Issue 54
Page 3

The only part left from these 1898 views is St Ninian’s Church (centre, left).
All the rest, including the Wingate Street side grandstand at Avondale
Racecourse and J J Craig’s brickyards at St Georges Road, have gone.
“Sketches of Avondale”, from NZ Graphic 18 February 1898. Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland City L:ibratry, ref. 7-A9854
The Avondale Historical Journal Volume 9 Issue 54
Page 4
The family came to settle on a 3-acre property, set the painful tidings of his wife's death. A coroner's inquest
between Great North Road and the Oakley Creek (just was held on Saturday last, at the residence of Mr. George
across from the asylum farm), what equates today to 1582- Castle. Mr. J. Bollard, J.P., officiated as coroner. Mr.
1598 Great North Road; their house was likely to have Woolgar was foreman of the jury. The evidence of the
been situated at 1594 Great North Road. All vastly following witnesses was taken:- Miss Castle, who found
changed now, of course – it was subdivided in the 1920s. deceased, deposed to the circumstances under which the
George Castle formally obtained title on 16th February body was found; Mr. Castle, who gave evidence as to her
1887, described as a gentleman from Auckland. The house state of mind, and Mr. and Mrs. Sansom, who gave
at Waterview was named Cheltenham Villa. corroborative evidence as to the recovery of the body. No
additional facts were elicited to those given above. The
And then, in 1889, came the tragic death of his wife Ellen. jury returned an open verdict of "Found drowned."
“On Friday afternoon, June 7, between four and five George Castle didn’t long outlive her. Less than a year
o'clock, a telephone message was received at the police
after her death, he died aged 65, on 16 May 1890,
station to the effect that Mrs. Ellen Castle, wife of Mr. “somewhat suddenly owing to the bursting of a blood
George Castle, settler, of Avondale, had been found vessel. Dr. Bakewell was summoned by telephone when
drowned in the creek about a half mile past the Asylum. Mr Castle took ill, as he had known him for many years on
Mounted constable Kelly was despatched to ascertain the the West Coast, but on arrival he found that death had
particulars. It appears that the creek runs past the back of
taken place. Mr Castle leaves three daughters (one of
Mr. Castle's orchard. Mrs. Castle, who was about 45 whom is married) and a son. Dr. Bakewell stated that he
years of age, had been in a despondent state of mind for would give a certificate of death as, although he had not
some time, suffering from religious mania, but her condi- been consulted by the deceased for many months, he knew
tion was not such as to require restraint, and when Mr. that he was in a bad state of health.”
Castle left his home in the morning for town she was more
than usually cheerful. The Public Trustee administered the estate until January
1899, when the Waterview property was sold to James
“Her daughter last saw her alive about eleven o'clock, Neville Newbold.
and being missing for some time after, the young woman
and a neighbour, Mrs. Sansom, went to look for her. On So no, George Castle wasn’t Avondale's first hotelier –but
going to the creek they found her body there, but life was he was definitely part of Hokitika’s heritage with not just
extinct. one, but two hotels down there. And he didn’t own the
asylum farm, but a much smaller landholding just across
“Mrs. Sansom went back to the house, and seeing Mr. the creek. But, the family’s tragic story does still belong
Sansom, told him of the facts, and he at once went to the as part of Waterview’s settlement history.
creek, got out the deceased, and aided by a young man
named John Hill, removed the body to the residence. Sources:
“The creek is 15 feet wide and six deep, with steep banks, Rootsweb
where the body was found. About five feet higher up the West Coast Times via Papers Past
creek was a plank across, which had formerly had a hand- NZ Herald, Weekly News & Auckland Star
rail, which was missing. It is possible that deceased was LINZ records: NA 36/36, and DP 20645
leaning against the rail which gave way, and she thus fell
in and was drowned.
“Mr. Castle was just returning to his home when he heard

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