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ewsletter for the Point Chevalier Historical Society

o. 20, September 2011


Hall Corner sign back at the library

Padmini Raj and her team at the Point Chevalier Library recently arranged to have the rescued Hall Corner sign mounted prominently on a wall near the entry to the library close to the spot where it would have been originally, attached to the old library (top image). Well done to all concerned! From the interpretive sign beside it, also on the librarys wall: The Hall Corner sign apparently was originally on the side of the Coronation Hall/Library building in the 1950s1960s. Due to vandalism, the sign was shifted just inside the front porch way. The Hall Corner got its name from the Coronation Hall, which was on the corner of Great North and Point Chevalier Roads Mr Windsor who lived in Miller Street, Point Chevalier found the sign on top of a large pile of rubble when the Hall/Library was demolished. With the permission of the contractors, he took the sign home and when he sold his house in 2009, he gave the sign to Mr Ross Brader of Professionals Real Estate, Point Chevalier, who in turn presented the sign to the Library for posterity. PCHS members have assisted with information for the sign.

Meetings2011 (all at Horticultural Centre, 990 Great orth Road, Western Springs) October 27 10.30 am (Speaker: Dave Simmons Maori perspective of local history) ovember 24 10.30 am (Speaker: Colin Gallagher on history of football in local area)

ext issue due out ovember 2011

Contact Lisa Truttman (editor) : 19 Methuen Road, Avondale, Auckland 0600, phone (09) 828-8494 or email

Pt Chevalier Historical Society Minutes of meeting Thursday 24th August 2011 Auckland Horticultural Council Rooms
Meeting started at 10.30 am. Present: 32 people Apologies: Pam Burrell, Neil Hogan, Maurice Wellan, Edna Lovett Correspondence: nil Presidents report Reminder about the Auckland Heritage festival (18/09/2011 to 2/10/2011). i) ii) Family history lunchtime sessions being run at Auckland library http:// iii) Pt Chevalier mural coming along nicely iv) Going West celebration OurAuckland/Events/Pages/goingwestbooksandwritersfestival.aspx v) Mt Roskill is in process of setting up its own historical society-see Lisa for more details. Treasurers report i) Audit of books now complete ii) 00 account $1077.88 01 account $2755.85 Motion that the financial report be accepted (Jones/Read) passed unanimously Members forum Memories were shared by: Jean Jones (Pt Chevs swimming pools), Des Gates (Bryce Hart), Ninette Skelley (the disappearance of illicit grog), Terry Ryan (Rugby League), Jo Cleal (goings on at the local dance) Next meeting: 10.30 am Thursday 28th October Auckland Horticultural Council Rooms Guest speaker: Dave Simmons on the history of Pt Chevalier from a Maori perspective. A talk of interest to members 10.30 am Thursday 28th September, Pt Chevalier Library. Lisa Truttman to speak on Rifles and Targets: The origins of Pt Chevalier Meeting concluded 11.15am

The Point Chevalier Rugby League Hall

by Terry Ryan
(Text of Terrys talk given at the August Society meeting reproduced here by kind permission.) At a Society meeting last year Cyril asked for some history on the Pt Chevalier Rugby League Clubs Hall at 217-219 Pt Chevalier Road. Our research shows that about 1908 the present road to Surrey Crescent was formed by Lovett Bros., and the first transport service from Surrey Crescent to the beach was inaugurated about 1913 by Mr A Anderson with horse-drawn buses. The horses

were stabled at what is now the Rugby League clubrooms, as were the buses that followed about 3 years later. The buses operated an hourly timetable from the beach to Surrey Crescent where they made a connection with an hourly tram service to Pitt Street. The former Armstrongs Hall was also used as a school from June 1922 until May 1924. The original Pt Chevalier school became Gladstone School in 1925 with the Te Ra Road school becoming Pt Chevalier School rather than the Pt Chevalier No 2 school as it was known. At the Pt Chevalier Rugby League Clubs AGM on Wednesday the 11th March 1936, the clubs balance stood at 374.44 Then on the 29th June 1936 the club determined to offer Mr Armstrong 800 for his hall along with a deposit of 200. Mr Armstrong accepted the clubs offer later that same year.

While Armstrongs Hall, which was at right angles to the current clubrooms, running down the section not across as the current one does, served the members well, a fire that destroyed the back of the building including the toilet block and storage areas demonstrated however the inadequacies of this ancient structure. In 1962 the club commissioned Ray Kingston who was working for the Auckland City Council to determine the limitations of building bylaws and compliance to boundary laws etc. Then used this draft to have plans for a new hall drawn up. The old Armstrongs Hall was demolished by club volunteers in 1964 with construction starting immediately afterwards to have the present hall ready the following year at a cost of $24,000. The official opening of the clubrooms was held on Saturday the 15th May 1965 by Aucklands Mayor Mr D M Robinson. The ceremony included Bert Humphries, club founder, President, long-term administrator and a player in the clubs first team, turning the key before a large gathering that included Ritchie McDonald, the Member of Parliament for the area. In the 70s a mezzanine floor for meetings and storage was added; otherwise the club rooms remain much the same as they have for the last 36 years, a testament to the foresight of the 1936 committee that 75 years ago. References: AH Walker Centennial Book, Rangi-Mata-Rau, 1961 Pt Chevalier Rugby League Club Minutes PCRLFC Jubilee booklets

ew Zealand in 1882 in the ship Robert Small. His family settled on land at Komokoriki under the system of land grants then made by the Government to newly-arrived colonists, but Mr Walter Armstrong entered the law office of Messrs. Jackson and Merriman, with whom he served articles, and who later became the firm of Messrs. Jackson and Russell. Contemporary with him in the office were Mr. John Sheehan, who was Minister of ative Affairs and Minister of Justice in Sir George Grey's Ministry of 1887-89 and Mr Edwin Hesketh, afterwards of the firm of Messrs. Hesketh and Richmond, one of the most eminent barristers of ew Zealand in his day. On being admitted to practice, Mr. Armstrong was joined in partnership by Mr. Sheehan and Mr. Peter Dignan, forming the firm of. Messrs. Sheehan, Dignan, and Armstrong, which is now Messrs. Dignan, Armstrong, Jordan, and Jordan. Mr. Armstrong continued a member of the firm until about four years ago; when he retired. For the Waikato War, which broke out soon after his arrival in the colony, Mr. Armstrong enrolled in the Auckland Volunteers, and took part in their famous march to Drury. His brother, Mr G W Armstrong, is manager of the local branch of the Imperial Insurance Co., Ltd., and the oldest insurance manager in Auckland. The Hall and the land The corner of Pt Chevalier Road and Oliver Street was originally part of Patrick Dignans estate. From 1907, Hakllyburton Johnstone had title to nearly 18 acres, stretching right back to the landing at the end of Oliver Street. This, he subdivided from 1912. In 1917, Thomas Dignan purchased the just over a quarter-acre section at the very corner. Two years before, Dignan, with Andrew Wright Anderson (Surrey Crescent bus proprietor) and others had set up the Pt Chevalier Motor Bus Company, which legally took over the land from 1918. Initially, the firm may well have utilised Andersons own facilities taking up the offer of land from Hallyburton Johnstone later to create a base close to the Pt Chevalier Beach turning place (which, according to the Road Board minutes, dated from May 1916). In 1920, the company went into liquidation. Thomas Dignan lost heavily. At the end of that year, Walter Henry Armstrong, purchased the site in his wife Catherines name. Catherine remained owner until her death in 1932. Auckland City Councils records from when amalgamation took place in 1921 tell us that the wooden hall was used for Sunday schools, day school and occasional entertainments. At this time, the districts residents had been campaigning for three years for a new school to accommodate the increasing number of children in the area. When the matter was first opened by residents their plea was given a sympathetic ear by the Auckland Education Board, and in 1918 the erection of the school was recommended by the late Mr Mulgan, then the senior inspector,

Mr Armstrong, and his Hall

by Lisa Truttman
When Terry very kindly passed over his notes for me to include in this issue, he asked, Who was Mr Armstrong? This is what Ive been able to find out. Walter Henry Armstrong was born in Cambridge, England in 1844. He arrived in New Zealand in 1862, articled to Samuel Jackson, of the law firm of Jackson & Russell. Admitted to the bar in 1873, he later joined the firm of Sheehan and Dignan as a partner. When John Sheehan retired, the firm became Dignan and Armstrong, Armstrong in partnership with Peter Dignan, son of Patrick Dignan the publican and local politician (and Pt Chevalier landowner). In June 1870, Walter Armstrong married Catherine Sutherland. His obituary (Evening Post, 31 May 1927) said: Mr. Walter H. Armstrong, one of the oldest law practitioners in Auckland, died last week, aged 84 years. Born in Cambridge, England, Mr. Armstrong came to

and application was made to the Department, with the result that a site of 3 acres was acquired at a cost of 1130. The matter was held up by the financial stringency (Herald, 4 November 1922) In February 1922, an advisory inspector for the Board of Education took at look at the hall, with the view to its suitability as a temporary side-school for Point Chevalier School (in Gladstone Road, now Gladstone School). Although the authorities by then had secured the Te Ra Road site from Thomas Dignan for the present day Pt Chevalier School, back then they still hadnt be able to obtain the necessary funding grants for buildings, and the Te Ra Road site was leased out for grazing instead. With the school roll rising from 514 in 1920 to 629 by February 1922 and expected to rise further as Pt Chevalier developed into a residential suburb the need for space was great. The following comes from an Archives New Zealand file on the school site: A hall (Mr Armstrongs) situated about 1 1/2 miles north of the present school is available. The main part of the hall is about 50' x 25'. It is neither lined nor ceiled. Water [is] laid on to the building but there is no tap outside. There are outbuildings. It would be necessary to provide more outbuildings [plus] a tap outside. The owner is prepared to let the building at 80 per annum. This is somewhat high but the Secretary interviewed the owner who refuses to let it at a lower price.

Opening Day of the side-school at Armstrong Hall. These two images are courtesy Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries. Top image has reference 7-A11121. On the facing page, reference 589-148.

The number of children that would attend a side school established in the hall would be approximately:Primers: 41 Std. 1: 22 Std 2: 16 Probable number not attending at present: 25 Total: 104 This would mean relieving the Main School of about 80 pupils. I recommend that application be made to the Department for authority to establish a Side School in Armstrongs Hall. The Education Board approved the suggestion in March, but advised the school committee that things might not go through, as the Senior Inspector felt that the matter is not urgent. Still, the Education Department saw the need anyway, and on 10 March 1922 authorised the establishment of the side school. The Boards architect John Farrell reported, 6 June 1922: The building will require some improvements to make it suitable for school purposes. There is no ceiling in the building and the iron of the roof is exposed to the room. A temporary ceiling of calico

would meet requirements. Two additional windows will be rrequired to improve the lighting and a drain will be necessary to take the water away from the present lavatory basins. The total cost of the work will be approx. 30 and the Owner of the building, Mr Armstrong, is willing to pay half cost. I recommend therefore that I be authorised to have the above matters effected at a cost to the Board of 15. The Armstrongs Hall, no matter how much the Education Board put into transforming it from a former bus garage into a temporary school for the district, still failed to impress the teachers. On receiving word of a complaint via an MP, ultimately from a brother of one of the teachers, Christopher James (CJ) Parr, then Minister of Education, sent this letter to Farrell on 7 September 1922: There is some grumbling, so I am informed, at Point Chevalier, on the part of some of the parents. I do not know whether it is a small matter or whether it is general, but the idea is that they have

been neglected in having such a miserable, tumbledown hall given them with no conveniences for teaching, etc. This is the story that comes to me indirectly. I remember that you said when we were out there that the Board intended to make things more shipshape and comfortable. Will you kindly tell me if this has been done, and oblige. The side school eventually opened officially on Saturday, 4 November 1922, accommodating 82 children from the infants section of the main school. Mr. Parr, speaking to the crowd who attended the opening, described the four-year campaign to that date for a new school in the district, but advised that there were a lot of other districts also in need of additional space for the children. The Herald reported that he realised that an adequate school building was needed to meet the growing needs of Point Chevalier, and considered it would be very difficult to refuse their claim. It would certainly receive his earnest consideration.

Standing on platform at left corner of building, Mr M J Coyle (formerly Chairman Auckland Hospital Board and City Councillor), next to him Mr. Singleton. Sitting on platform 4th from left, Lady Parr, next Sir Christopher James Parr, next Mr W D M Glaister, Chairman of School Committee. Standing from left: Mrs Singleton, Mr J W Scott, Mr Crookbain, Mr F G Rose, Mr Courtney and others.

After the speeches, The presentation of a bouquet was made to Mrs Parr by little Miss Enid Crookbain, and a gold medal, awarded by Mr H Solomon of Point Chevalier, was presented by Mrs Parr to Master Kenneth Gwilliam, for the most improved play at football during the past season. The school children sang Kiplings Recessional, and were joined by the assembly in the ational Anthem. Afternoon tea was served by the ladies in the new school. The school committee, though, were not impressed. In December, they complained that the hall was inadequate as a school too hot in summer, too cold in winter, badly ventilated, sanitary arrangements dangerous to health, and already overcrowded, with 83 enrolments in the primer classes alone. In

September 1923, though, came welcome news: the Department of Education had secured a grant of 2212 towards the building of a new school at the Te Ra Road site. The following year, the new school opened. Auckland Council records tell us that the Point Chevalier Rugby League Football Club purchased the site and the hall from Catherine Armstrongs heirs on 16 June 1936, for 400 (roughly $42,000 today). When the club replaced the old hall with a new concrete assembly hall, Councils records said that final costs were 10,952, with no architects fees involved. This equals approximately $412,000 today. Definitely a bargain.

2010-2011 Annual Report for the Point Chevalier Historical Society

by Margaret OConnor, President
Presented at the Annual General Meeting 23 June 2011. It is my pleasure to present this Report on the progress of our Society over the past year. First, our thanks must go to members for their contributions, and especially to Lisa, Alison and Jenny, plus the Point Chevalier Library and the Auckland Horticultual Council for providing venues for our meetings. For New Zealand it has been a hard year, with the Pike River disaster in Canterbury. Once again we must express our condolences to everyone who has suffered loss. One of the results of local boundary changes has been the loss of the area east of Motions Road. Personally I think we should still regard the Zoo and Western Springs as part of our area of interest. Point Chevalier Memories: copies are still being requested so that a further re-print will be required soon. In the meantime members and their friends should continue to write their recollections in preparation for Volume II. Our thanks must go to our sponsors Community Post, Ray White (Heather Hannah), and Mobility Scooters Ltd. (Malcolm Gee). If you know of anyone who might be willing to offer sponsorship, please encourage them to approach us. It all helps to keep our subscriptions low. We have been fortunate to have had a series of interesting speakers on a varied range of topics: Trevor Pollard (Waikumete Cemetery) David Verran (Auckland City development) Clare Kelso (Auckland Zoo) The Research Group (Occupational Therapy School, 1940-1972) Lisa Truttman (History of the Asylum) Dr Miriam Saphira (Charlotte Museum Trust) John Fleming (former Principal, Point Chevalier School) And coming up: Members contributions on 25 August; Lisa Truttman on the history of the rifle ranges; David Simmons, Maori Perspective on the local area; And Colin Gallagher, Rugby League Club. We must express our gratitude to all these people who have presented well-prepared talks for us. We have a list of possible speakers for the future, and welcome further suggestions. Some of you may be assisting with a research project organised by the Psychology Department of the University of Auckland. Your co-operation will be appreciated by students undertaking this research. Finally I must emphasise that the Socoiety needs to look to the future. You cannot expect to continue to rely on the four of us who are currently keeping the show on the road. We do have other priorities and responsibilities which demand our attention. It is hoped that amongst you there are other volunteers willing to assist and share the load.

Bits and Pieces ...

Chevalier, Toker and the shooting match
Back in issue No. 18, in an article called Rifle and Targets, I wrote: In late October 1858, Ensign G R Chevalier (not a lieutenant at that stage) arrived in Auckland from Wellington on the Emily Alison. In January 1859, we see the first documented use of the name Point Chevalier, in a tender advertisement for cartage to and from the camp. This left very little time during which Ensign Chevalier could have challenged Lieutenant Toker (who was the musketry instructor for the area, and a fellow member of the 65th regiment) to that notable target competition. So many memories associated Ensign Chevalier, who definitely was a crack marksman in his own right, with the suburbs name; it is difficult to prise him away from that association. There is simply, at the moment, neither documentation proving the story, nor anything disproving it. The 65th regiment, under Toker, may have gone out to Western Springs and the government reserve there in ovember or December 1858, set up a trial set of targets, and Chevalier won on the day, this giving the approved site a name it didnt have before then. Theres one problem with all that, and with the recollections which have formed the basis for the TokerChevalier rifle-firing competition story, and the naming of Pt Chevalier: Lt. Arthur Branthways Toker wasnt in the country at the time Pt Chevalier was given the name (some time before late January 1859), nor did he meet up with Ensign Chevalier until July 1859, down in Taranaki. I realised this on closer inspection of the online copies newspapers of the day . The timeline, based on newspaper accounts so far, is: 1858 11 SeptemberToker gazetted as Instructor of Musketry for 65th Regiment, while still in England. October Chevalier arrived in Auckland 24 DecemberToker arrived in Melbourne 1859 21 Januaryfirst instance in print of the name Point Chevalier 19 FebruaryToker arrived in Wellington JulyChevalier leaves Auckland for Taranaki 29 July Toker arrived in Taranaki I still cant disprove the Chevalier shooting match

story which has been going around since November 1872, from obituaries then published for Chevalier. But as all the stories have focussed around him either as an instructor for musketry (which he wasnt) or that the match took place between him and Toker (which it didnt) things look shaky for the legend. If it did happen who did Chevalier compete against? Why was he out here anyway, as an ensign (a low-level officer) who was truly based at Albert Barracks for the 8-9 months he was here? What was happening at Camp Point Chevalier before 1861, when Toker finally reached Auckland, and the rifle ranges were set up? Why was Point Chevalier named after George Chevalier?

The boys from the Mt Albert Probation Home

This was found in the minutes of the Pt Chevalier Road Board, 22 September 1919 (Auckland Council Archives): A Deputation from the Point Chevalier School Committee, consisting of Messrs J T Owens and G Jenks, waited on the Board and asked the support of this Board in getting boys from the Probation Home in Mount Albert stopped from attending the School. Mr Jenks spoke, pointing at the evil effects that were liable to take place, and Mr J T Owens spoke in support of what Mr Jenks had said, and stated that the boys were not left at the school long enough to derive any benefit therefrom and that the practice was practically turning the school into a Reformity (sic) and suggested that the boys be tutored at the Home.

Child's arrow Escape

To escape unhurt after a fall of 20ft over a bank in a baker's delivery van which crashed through a fence at the foot of a blind street, Walmer Road, Point Chevalier, was the experience of a five-year-old boy who tried to drive the vehicle on Tuesday afternoon, states the ew Zealand Herald. Climbing into the driving seat when the van was standing on a steep slope near the foot of Walmer Road, the boy released the handbrake and pulled the gear lever out of reverse, where it had been left as an additional safeguard. Gathering speed rapidly, the van smashed through a stout fence at the foot of the street and landed on its wheels in swampy ground a few feet from a creek, the front of the vehicle being damaged. The child did not realise the narrowness of his escape and coolly asked witnesses of the accident who had gone to his help to push the van back to the road. The vehicle was later removed by a breakdown wagon. Evening Post 22 July 1939

Pt Chevaliers new mural

In September, the mural artwork along both sides of the wall between the Countdown car park and Point Chevalier Community Centre on Huia Road was formally unveiled. Artist Zo Nash described the creation of the work in the blog Timespanner: ...the work was all created in Photoshop and made predomi-

nantly from images of people's artwork and historic photos that I had taken on my own camera. Approximately 90 hours were spent staring at my computer screen putting the images together. Lots of layers, blending modes, layer masks and opacities were used. They were professionally printed onto vinyl which was then wrapped around aluminium boards, and then a graffiti-guard film added. Really happy with how they turned out. On the first board youll see Point Chevalier Historical Society mentioned in the long list of acknowledgements to those who have assisted with the project. Well done, all!

Birthday greetings
PCHS member Graham Perkins recently celebrated his 90th birthday congratulations, Graham!

Membership of the Point Chevalier Historical Society

Membership is open to all with an interest in our areas history, and costs only $10 per person. This entitles you to vote at our meetings, and to receive mailed copies of the Point Chevalier Times. Send cheques to: Pt Chevalier Historical Society C/- 119C Hutchinson Avenue New Lynn, Auckland 0600 Your membership fees mean that we can keep publishing the Point Chevalier Times. Your support would be appreciated.

The passing of Point Chevians

John Webster (a reader of the Point Chevalier Times)drew my attention to including the following names of those linked with Point Chevalier who have recently died. Our sympathies to the friends and families. Ive quoted from his email to me. Geoff Sinclair of the famously large Sinclair family - exbroadcaster,etc. Joyce Valda Roseman, aka Val - in her 88th year - daughter of Bill & May Roseman of Te Ra Road, Point Chev. Graham (Perkins) said his parents knew hers - and I think she obviously had lived at the old address until recently another notice recalls happy times at Te Ra Road.