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November—December 2010 Volume 10 Issue 56

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

(Above) Interior of St Jude's in either the 1960s or the 1970s,
taken by Des Gate. When the photo was exhibited at the 2009
St Jude’s Photo Exhibition, it was labelled 1960s, but a print
given to us by Des Gate has 1970s written on the back.

(Left) St Jude's in 2009, photographed through the trees from
the road by Lisa Truttman.

Next meeting of the
Avondale-Waterview Historical Society:
Saturday, 11 December 2010,
2.30 pm
Lion’s Hall,
corner Blockhouse Bay Road and
Great North Road
The Avondale Historical Journal Volume 10 Issue 56
Page 2
Thank you to everyone who got in touch with me in the largest tomato business in the country, under glass.
response to the last issue featuring Sylvia Thomas’ However being a single man he was anxious to found
article on early days on New Windsor Road. It was a dynasty and acquire a spouse. I am not sure whether
wonderful to know that her article has meant a lot to love came into the equation for he decided to test the
you readers, as it also does to me. Here are some of qualities of all those eligible girls in the district,
the responses received. wooing each in turn until he settled on the one with
— Editor the characteristics he desired and required. I know this
because my sister was one of those he tested and
Old Memories Recalled rejected. It must be admitted that the chosen one was
by Rich Afford indeed the pick of the bunch, elegant if not beautiful
and one he would be proud to have accompany him to
It is strange how some small incident or some small any social engagement. It so happened that as a callow
casual remark will rekindle an old memory and youth in limbo between schooldays and military
perhaps in some cases memories that had best been service I took temporary employment with Mr Currey
left to obscurity, but others may revive happy times and indeed he took a shine to me, that was until
and times that bring a smile to the face. One such suddenly, belatedly and unexpectedly he sired a son of
memory occurred recently when I read an article his own, and in any event I was called away to do my
touching upon an old pioneer of the tomato industry duty and our paths diverged.
and resident of Avondale, a man by the name of
But with the war he was in his element and with his
Arthur Currey.
military background took charge of the local Home
Now Mr Currey, or Captain Currey as he liked to be Guard, putting them through their paces and bayonet
called, was a typical survivor of the First World War, drills. From our kitchen window we could see these
an Englishman I gather, who decided to settle in activities, effigies suspended from the branches of his
Avondale and bought a goodly acreage in New pine trees and his men charging and inflicting their
Windsor Road and established what at that time was dire intentions. Of course he became very wealthy and

A Tiverton correction!

From last issue: It just goes to show, you can’t believe all that you read in a library database. My thanks to Eric Waterfield and
Rich Afford for pointing out that this photo is of Whitney Street, looking up from Tiverton Road (foreground). I’ve let the photo
librarian at the Sir George Grey Special Collections, at Auckland City Libraries, know about the error, and it has now been
changed in their database. Inset photo by Jane Hammond, showing the site today.
The Avondale Historical Journal Volume 10 Issue 56
Page 3
I recall his comment to the effect he could walk down knew me as Briar Nicholls)…Innes and I went to
Queen Street and purchase anything that took his fancy Playcentre at the St. Judes church.
regardless of cost. But like many wealthy men there
was a streak of parsimony. He liked to make a social
visit to us as neighbours once per year and he would An email from Ruth Wintour
present us as a gift with one tomato for our admiration
and delectation.
Back in 2004, I received an email from Ruth Wintour of
Kaukapakapa, which included these memories of
A letter from Kathleen Homewood Tiverton Road. It may have been forgotten as around
that time I was switching computers here at home, and it
Thank you for sending me the newsletter, particularly has resided in cyberspace for the past six years. Since
the last one which brought back many happy memories. then, I’ve lost touch with Mrs Wintour.
As a young child, my parents, brother Ken and I lived
in the house on the corner of Bollard Ave, opposite After the 2nd World War my Great Uncle Graham
Judd’s shop in New Windsor Road and Bentleigh Ave. received a rehab loan after serving in the 2nd NZ
Expeditionary Force. He used it to build a house for him
I can remember we used to play under the oak tree that and his parents, Mr and Mrs Marr, in Tiverton Rd. It was
grew on the section opposite, with the Carter girls a small 2 bedroom bungalow, weatherboard, tile roof,
(twins and Lena) and remember the Scarrotts and Mrs coal range, and a tin garage out the back next to the plum
Walker with Stella and Billy (her two children). Also tree. It was cold, uninsulated and decorated with friezes
walked to school down Church Street (now called in the bedroom and a glass wind chime with red dots
Chalmers Street) and on odd occasions my brother Ken hung from the lounge ceiling. Mr and Mrs Afford were
would double me on the bike, down the hill, much to my great-grandparents’ friends and after returning on the
the horror of friends, who lived at the top of the hill, as tram to Avondale they would stop half way up the road
he rode over the railway lines. to have a cup of tea with them.

This would be in the early ‘30s as we arrived from In 1963, my parents bought the property from my great-
England in 1926 and would be about the second home uncle. It had been subdivided previously and that left the
we occupied. I’m not sure, but I think I was about 5 or house and nearly a ½ acre for us to play on. We knew
6 years old. I can also remember we moved around everyone from Whitney Street up and half of those from
quite a lot but always stayed in Avondale, until I got Whitney Street down, from the Atlantic petrol station at
married, and had many happy days there. the bottom to Mr McDonald’s IGA and Mrs Ward’s
book shop at the New Windsor shops. Names like Mr
Lisa, I wish the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society French, O’Leary, Kent, Marquet, Wiesse, Grant, Shirt-
all the success and look forward to more letters from cliffe, Lonigan, Johnson, and Voss were part of my
you. Thanks for the memories, present but also spoken of in connection to my great-
Kathleen Ivy Homewood (née Child)
Tiverton Rd was very steep and narrow. To visit my
Thanks for your letter, Kath. It made my day receiving uncle, we would all pile in to the Prefect, Dad would roll
it! I remember my cousin Linda doubling me (her aged a cigarette, and then back the car out of the garage, and
14, me aged 6) on the way down a steep slope in drive up the road. To get to the top he would have to stop
Oamaru — the terror of it (for me)! — I can well half-way and start again. My sister and I, thinking we
imagine the Chalmers Street incident... were helping, would push hard against our parents’ seats
in an effort to get the car to the top of the hill.
Note from Gail Ellison
There was no footpath at the front of the house. The
The 3rd paragraph from top, left hand column of page 5 property sloped lower than the road level and was edged
Volume 10, Issue 55 ...."most houses had bare floors, with deep kikuyu. The children in the neighbourhood
perhaps varnished, or lino covered. Ash's and Exler's would spend hours making huts in the long grass during
both had earth floors....". Mum and I knew the Asher seemingly endless summer days. We would climb the
family who lived in that house...could be that the author trees, pick the plums and roll down the hill in cardboard
has the wrong name. boxes. Freesias, spraxias, ixias, and bluebells grew wild,
planted years before by my Great-Grandma.
The daughter's name is Innes Asher and the last I
heard, she is/was a Dr. at Starship Children's Hospital The one place we were not allowed to explore was the
in Auckland...NO, I have just googled her and she is a creek at the back of the house. Edged by a fringe of
Prof. no less....we used to go to Playcentre together (she macrocarpa, the creek proved tantalisingly irresistible
The Avondale Historical Journal Volume 10 Issue 56
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and we never let on that we all would bravely pick our I often drive by and stop at the front gate. The fence is
way through dappled shadow to the secret world that still there, as is the old driveway. If I look closely
only children could enter. enough, I’ll probably find the bluebells and the freesias
lifting their heads through the garden where they were
Tiverton Rd proved not to be immune to change and as planted sixty years before. The roofline of the original
we grew so did the population of New Windsor, and the house is still there and if I close my eyes I can see the
demands on the area for land, roads and footpaths. So children of the neighbourhood running, playing,
Tiverton Rd came to be widened, land frontage laughing, crying.
purchased from residents by the council to enable this
to happen. For many years only the top half of Tiverton Tiverton Rd is more than the busy main road it is today.
Rd was widened, a stark contrast in time to the other I will always remember putting the plastic bag out in
half. We watched as Tiverton Rd was bulldozed and the bread box for the bread delivery, putting quart milk
levelled, graded beyond recognition, the smell of clay bottles out, Mr Makin arriving in his green vege truck,
hanging in the air. The by road was put in and the last Dad disappearing up the road, his Gladstone bag in
machine left taking our plum tree with it. hand to catch the 7N bus into town.
We became the land of the long red-chip footpath.
Walking to school was a torturous experience. The red Answer to the photo mystery
chip absorbed every degree of heat from the sun and in
turn quickly seared the soles of our feet. Reprieve came
when it rained. Tiverton Rd was now curbed and
channelled. We could walk in the gutters and let the
gathering water wash over our feet.
Just as the population of New Windsor grew, so did our
family. It soon became apparent that the seven of us
were not fitting into our 2 bedroom house. Our house
was about to get the first part of a significant change.
Two bedrooms were added, one large one for my
parents and a smaller one complete with Magic Round-
about wall-paper for one of my brothers.
The macrocarpa were removed, a second driveway
added. We didn’t have a car, but we had 2 driveways. A
garage was built at the front and a wooden fence de- My thanks to Terry Whitchurch, who has advised that
fined the boundary, standing in the place of kikuyu hut. this was at around 54 Patiki Road, on a section of the
Then the final change for our house: Mum sold the “Lesterville” subdivision purchased in 1917 by John
house in 1985. Too big for a somewhat smaller family, Charles Lean. It was a mixed farm, and was finally sold
the house was put on the market and bought by a c.1950. It eventually came to be owned by Ready Mix
property developer who transformed it into the land- concrete, who used it as a site office. Today, the site is
mark it is today: Tiverton House. owned by Holcim Cement, and the house is no more.

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Editor: Lisa J. Truttman Blockhouse Bay.
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