May – June 2002

Volume 1 Issue 5

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

A new Historical Society!
Inside this issue:
Society Notes
& Next


Lions Hall


Story of the
Journal and


“Voices of the


Avondale and Waterview areas at last have their own Historical Society. The inaugural meeting on March 30, despite the fact that this was
Easter Saturday, attracted 15 people to the Avondale Community Centre, where the Society was formally created and a Steering Committee
called for to take the new Society on the road to full incorporation. Already, there are a number of members making lists of future projects for
the Society.
An early gift to the new Society came on March 28 when the dissolving
Keep Avondale Ward Beautiful Society voted at their last AGM to donate any funds left over in their accounts to the Historical Society on
proof of our incorporation. A most welcome gesture!
Congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard to bring about our
new Society, and many thanks to the earlier Avondale History Group
who, through producing the Challenge of the Whau in 1994, did so
much to help spark interest in the local history of our community, which
has led, ultimately, to this Society.

Next General Meeting of the Society
The Steering Committee approved that the next General Meeting of
the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society will be held on

Saturday June 1, 2002, at 2 pm,
Avondale Community Centre,
99 Rosebank Road, Avondale.
Please contact Lisa Truttman, phone 828-8494 for further information.

— Lisa Truttman

The Avondale Historical Journal

Volume 1 Issue 5

Official Publication of the

Page 2

25th anniversary of the Lions Hall
(left) The old Hall, as it was before restoration
by the Lions Club (photo courtesy Lions Club
of Avondale).
(below) The Lions Hall as it is today (photo
courtesy of Mr B Spencer, taken March 2002)

The Editor of this Journal is quite partial and
biased when it comes to the Lions Hall, on
the corner of Blockhouse Bay Road and
Great North Road. I am a member of the Lions Club of Avondale, who meet twice a
month at the 92-year-old Hall, leased by the
Club from Auckland City.
This year, 2002, is the 25th anniversary of
when a local community group, in conjunction with Auckland City, local residents and
succeeded in making sure a piece of Avondale’s history
could live on and remain as a landmark from the past
for future generations.
(From Lions Club of Avondale 25th Anniversary
booklet, 1989, and their Club website:)

"Lions Save the Day Again -- New Lease
Of Life For Old Hall"
The above was the headline that appeared in the Western Leader on 27th September 1974. "An old Avondale
landmark is to renovated at a cost of $10,000 by the
Avondale Lions Club" the article continued ... "the
club had been granted the lease of the 64 year old
building from the Auckland City Council."
The old Church Hall (Church of Christ) was originally
opened on June 19th 1910 on land owned by a Mr
William Shepherd. Mr Shepherd's daughter, Dulcie
Shepherd lived in the family home 2 doors away.
In the 1950s the building ceased to be used as a Church
and fell rapidly into disrepair. The land was gazetted as
a railway reserve and several firms used the building
for either manufacturing or storage until 1973 when the
Avondale Lions Club was appointed custodian by the
Ministry of Works.

When the Avondale Lions started work on the building
it desired to keep the building as much like the original
as possible. During the restoration a Baptismal font under the floor 8ft long, 4ft wide and 4ft deep was
discovered. This has been retained and used for storage.
Considerable support came from the local community
once restoration started including a Mr O'Rorke, a
plumber who donated his services for all plumbing
needs. Many other companies supplied goods
at cost or less and the lions provided the labour under
the guidance of Joff McDonald.
From the time the building permit was obtained to
commence restoration of the Hall, 3,000 hours of labour and $17,000 had been spent.
Finally on Saturday June 11th 1977, 67 years after the
"First" opening, Sir Dove-Meyer Robinson opened our
new Lions Headquarters and community facility. At the
time of the "second" opening the building was valued
at $35,000.

For more information on the Lions Club of
Avondale, visit the Club website:

The Avondale Historical Journal

Volume 1 Issue 5

Official Publication of the

Page 3

The story of a Journal, and a Society
I have been asked to put together a brief background story
as to how the Historical Society came about.
Around 1989, I started to collect information and ephemera
on Avondale’s history, spending spare time going to the
Auckland Central Library and raking through old Western
Leaders, as well as viewing old maps and photos. I have
had the kind permission of several library staff at Avondale
Community Library over the years, photocopying from their
own local history archive.
After the publication of Challenge of the Whau (1994) I
continued to gather what I now term “Avondaliana”; Avondale collectibles, information, photos, news clippings. My
personal archive outgrew my initial simple filing system,
and now one area of interest overflows the others as it will.
I believed, and still fervently believe, that Avondale should
have a history, a heritage, for if not, when those of us who
have lived these Avondale lives of ours are gone – only
fragments will remain, whether of memory or of paper.
In late February 2001, I was approached by Duncan Macdonald, chairman of the Avondale Business Association, to
write a timeline history of the Association. Of course the
story of the association is strongly linked to and part of the
story of Avondale Central itself, and so started Heart of the
Whau. The Avondale Business Association approved a research grant to cover expenses such as transport, photocopying, stationery etc, and the hunt for information began.
From March 1 2001 I began compiling information for
Heart of the Whau. I quickly discovered that I am not the
only local history buff out there, and have had the appreciated help of dozens of people, businesses, and institutions.
To my delight, many of the “identities” of Avondale past
and present have become good friends of mine, and keen
supporters of the concept that we need one legal entity, a
Society, to represent the issues of heritage preservation and
appreciation in our community.

In September 2001, inspired by the Avondale History Group’s Newsletters of 1992-1993, I wrote
and published the first Avondale Historical Journal
under the “Heart of the Whau Project” name. One
of the Journal’s main purposes was to maintain the
interest in a historical society until I could organise
another meeting date.
The Journal was originally mailed or given directly to people on a mailing list of around 50
names. This list grew extremely
fast, and by the publication of
“I believe ... that
Issue 4 in late February 2002, the
Avondale should
mailing list was at around 90 and
rising – an extremely popular
have a history, a
publication with the public. Each
heritage, for if
issue was sponsored to cover cost
of photocopying, postage etc. by not, when those of
either local businesses or memus who have lived
bers of the public. In early
these Avondale
March 2002, the Avondale Business Association agreed to cover
lives of ours are
future costs of photocopying to
gone – only
the mailing list in return for the
fragments will
right to reproduce the Journal in
each issue of Avondale’s Spiremain.”
der’s Web local paper, as an insertion. This meant the distribution of the Journal now stands at over 1000 copies
for the first four issues.
On Saturday, March 30, 2002, the Historical Society was born, and the Journal became its official
— Lisa Truttman

In May-June 2001, with the second draft of Heart of the
Whau presented to the Avondale Business Association’s
Committee, I asked if the ABA would act as an “umbrella
group” for funding applications to ensure the printing of the
book. Instead, the Committee suggested that a historical society be set up. I arranged for a meeting to take place in
July, but illness forced a cancellation.
On August 10 2001, as I felt that there was so much new
information coming to light on the history of Avondale that
I didn’t want to wait for book publication entirely, I started
the “Rimtark” website for Avondale History, followed soon
after by the “Archive Room” for general Auckland history,
and another sister site, “Earth Settler“. These websites complement the existing History section on the Avondale Business Association site, still the home of the original timeline,
but also have their own Down Memory Lane section, specialist articles on Avondale churches and personalties, and

Any old photos?
Keep your eyes open for any old photographs of
Avondale and Waterview. Please do contact me if
you think you’ve found something, no matter how
obscure! Precious gems, as you all know, can lie in
unlikely places.

Volume 1 Issue 5
Page 4

“Voices of the Past”
I hear the voices speaking,
In the long ago.
I see the faces passing,
That I used to know.

Like the sound of many voices, comes
the murmur of the sea,
And they mingle with the ocean –
of eternity.

The present time, the past years, and
the future that will be –
Seem to blend like lovely colours,
through eternity.

I watch the shades of sunset
At the close of day;
I try to hold the picture
‘Ere it fades away.

I see the different places,
Where they used to go –
The walks along the beaches,
When the tide was low

For it is a world of changes,
And nothing long can last:
Yet ever through the ages ring –
The voices of the past.
By Miss Ethel C. Wilson.Born 1873, at Remuera.

(Originally published in New Zealand Herald, c. 1951, from the Otahuhu Historical Society's scrapbooks.)

Contributions welcome for future issues of the Journal
No, I’m nowhere near to running out of items to put in the Journal, but I’d welcome contributions from you, the
readers, including personal stories, poems, artwork, anything on the theme of local history of our area or even surrounding areas.
Please send your contributions to the contact address below. The next issue of the Journal will be compiled in the
middle of June this year for July-August period.

The Avondale Historical Journal


Published by the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society
Editor: Lisa J. Truttman, 19 Methuen Road, Avondale, Auckland
Phone: (09) 828-8494, Fax: (09) 828-8497, email:
Earth Settler
Archive Room

Printed by
Avondale Photo Centre,
1962 Great North Road,
Phone/Fax: 09-820 6030

We thank

Avondale Business Association
for their support and sponsorship of this