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November—December 2011

Volume 11 Issue 62

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

Waiting for Her Majesty

From Robert Chisholm.

Next meeting of the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society: Saturday, 3 December 2011, 2.30 pm St Ninian’s Church
St Georges Road, Avondale (opp. Hollywood Cinema)

Waiting for young Queen Elizabeth. You can see the corner of New North Road and Bollard Avenue, the house still stands. Bruce Chisholm in front, his Uncle Tom is the blonde adjacent. On top: Allan, David, Robert, Jim, John. This is the front lawn of my auntie’s duplex State house. The half of the house on the left is closest to Mt Albert, but has a letterbox on Bollard Avenue, and so that house had an Avondale address. My Auntie’s half of the house is on the right, closest to Avondale, but as the letterbox is on New North Road, she actually lived in Mt Albert.

The Avondale Historical Journal

Volume 11 Issue 62 Page 2

Himikera Memories
by Ron Oates
James Paterson Sinclair was born in Scotland about 1804. He married Jane Boyd in 1855 when he was 51 and came to New Zealand with her and their infant son John in about 1859. In 1860 he was living in Franklin Road, Ponsonby. His occupation was listed as nursery and seedsman. In the same year his son James Paterson Sinclair junior was born. In 1867 the family was amongst those listed as having subscribed to the Whau Public Hall fund and also amongst those present at a St Ninian’s Church function. It seems, therefore, that they were living in the Avondale area at the time. Also in 1867 James senior was awarded a Crown grant of land totalling 80 acres about 2 kilometres from Waitakere township along the road to Bethells Beach. However his primary residence continued to be somewhere in Avondale – he is listed in Chapman’s Directory for the Whau, 1873, as a gardener. On May 15, 1879 he bought the land that now includes all Himikera Avenue properties together with some on the south side of Powell Street and on the western side of Blockhouse Bay Road. It had a total area of 11 acres 10 perches. James died in Avondale in 1882, aged about 78 and was buried at St Ninian’s Cemetery, Avondale. In the 1881 Electoral Roll for Waitemata son John is shown as a farmer, residing in Swanson. (Perhaps on the family’s Waitakere land.) In the 1887 Electoral Roll his address and that of his brother James were given as Post Office Whau. Both were listed as working in tanneries. John died in April 1887 in Swanson of typhoid fever. He would have been about 27 years old. His death certificate suggests that he was unmarried. John was also buried at St Ninian’s Cemetery. Wise’s Directory for 1905 shows that James junior was living in the Papakura/Takanini area where he was farming. He remained there until his death in 1939. His mother, Jane, was also living in Takanini, probably with James, who had not married. She died in 1916, aged 96. Both Jane and James were buried with their other family members in St Ninian’s Cemetery. Jane and James had continued their links with Avondale during their lifetimes by maintaining ownership of the “Himikera” land that they had inherited from James senior. However we have no evidence that this property was ever occupied by them. A 1905 map of the adjoining Cradock estate suggests that the Sinclair property was at the time leased to a W H Bowry. It was surrounded by furze hedges and ditches. Mr Bowry may have used the land for grazing livestock. As children we found horse shoes on our property and that of neighbours to the north. There was also evidence of scoria paths and a well. In 1915 the Sinclairs submitted to the Avondale Borough Council a subdivision plan for the area. The proposed new street was named Himikera Avenue This plan was not immediately approved, perhaps because of the death of Mrs Sinclair. A partial plan was submitted by James Sinclair in 1923. It covered just properties on the Blockhouse Bay Road and Powell Street boundaries. One existing building was identified – the villa at what is now 100 Blockhouse Bay Road. In 1924 the original plan was approved by Council. The first properties, ones facing either Blockhouse Bay Road or Powell Street, were then offered for sale. Himikera Avenue, the proposed new road, was given formal dedication in 1925, although it is not clear whether it was anything other than a track for many years. (The derivation of the name Himikera is not clear. Some people have suggested that it is in recognition of James Carroll, a prominent Maori politician of the time. Another possibility is that it is a Maori rendering of the name Sinclair.) The first house off this road was built about 1926. It was a small cottage at what is now 19 Himikera Avenue. The second house in the street was built about 1928 by a Mr Copsey. It was a bungalow, and still stands at 18 Himikera Avenue. Subsequent to this the street was shown in documents as Sinclair Square or Sinclairs Square Road. The name Himikera reappeared in 1939. There had been no further building in the intervening period. In 1931 James Sinclair took out a mortgage over the unsold land in Himikera Avenue with the Bank of New Zealand. When James Sinclair died in 1939 all of the mortgaged land became the Bank’s. In the same year the Bank sold the sections at 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14 and 16 Himikera Avenue to “H.M. King”, i.e. the New Zealand Government. Planning began almost immediately to build State houses on these properties. The remaining sections, (9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 21, 23, 25, and 27 Himikera Avenue), were sold by the Bank to Mr Tait, an Avondale Real Estate agent who had also been the Mayor of Avondale Borough at the time the original subdivision was approved.

The Avondale Historical Journal

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The first of the State houses to be completed was at 3 Himikera Avenue. It was tenanted in September, 1940. Over the next six months the other State houses in the subdivision were ready. The duplex units at number 12 and 14 were let to married couples without children. The remaining houses were occupied by couples with young children. These families stayed in the street for many years. Mr Tate’s sections were sold between late 1940 and late 1941. Two of the buyers had young children, and the others were middle aged or elderly people.

In 1955 only three of the nine original purchasers remained. Early in 1950 the Government offered to sell State houses to the occupants and provide the necessary mortgages. By the end of 1956 all of the State tenants in Himikera Avenue except for the two couples in the duplex units had accepted the offer and purchased their homes.

The Avondale Historical Journal

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In the 1970s the Ash Street bypass was built and the Regional Authority drew up plans to extend it through to New North Road near Bollard Avenue. Land along the proposed route was compulsorily acquired. In 1979 numbers 18 and 27 Himikera Avenue were included in these purchases. The owners bought elsewhere and the ARA rented out the homes until demolition was required. This demolition never eventuated – In 1992 the scheme was abandoned and the houses were put on the market. In the early 1990s the Auckland City Council reduced the legal minimum size for house sites in some zoning districts and made cross leasing easier. Most properties in Himikera Avenue were at least 1000 square metres in area – a few much larger. Now only four of the original properties have not been cross leased, even though they are large enough for this to be done. The number of homes in the street has increased from 19 in 1942 to 43 today. Most commonly the original house remains at the front and one or more new units have been built behind. In the 1940s hardly any people in Himikera Avenue had cars. There was frequent communication between residents as they met on the footpaths. Now such contact is rare, except between immediate neighbours. The greatest sense of community probably belongs to the children. 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

From Robert Chisholm: I thought I saw somewhere an article on the Avondale Life Boys, was it one of yours. Here are a couple of Life boys from the north tip of Avondale (Allan and David Chisholm)

Avondale Business Association
for their continued support and sponsorship of this publication.

Agricultural Heritage: Auckland Agricultural & Pastoral Association Inc. 1843-2010 by Hugh Stringleman
A few weeks ago, I received a copy of this book from the publishers. For anyone interested in the background and history of the organisation responsible for, amongst other things, the Royal Auckland Easter Show, this is a good addition to the bookshelf. 312 pages, including index, this was one of the last research projects involving the late Graeme Hunt, who sadly passed away in September last year just as this book was going into print. RRP $60. Still available from booksellers.

The Avondale Historical Journal
Published by: the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society Inc. Editor: Lisa J. Truttman Society contact: 19 Methuen Road, Avondale, Auckland 0600 Phone: (09) 828-8494, 027 4040 804 email: historian@avondale.org.nz Society information: Website: http://sites.google.com/site/avondalehistory/ Subscriptions: $10 individual $15 couple/family $30 corporate