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Volume 11 Issue 63
The Avondale Historical Journal
Official Publication of the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society Incorporated
502 Rosebank Road
by Robin Astridge
After the recent Northern Regional Day hosted by Avondale/Waterview Historical Society I drove down Rosebank Road and stopped at number 502. I was confronted by a tall wire fence within which was a building signed posted “Measurement & Product Safety Service – Ministry of Consumer Affairs”. I closed my eyes and sent my mind back 55 or so years and in that very private realm I saw:Fronting Rosebank Road a low block fence, painted a light yellow to match the Art Deco style house, set back a little from the road. The driveway passed to the right of the house and approached a garage/workshop with sewing room attached. The house was petite but welcoming. A large intensive garden backed by an equally large hen house completed the half acre property. The surrounds were more of a rural nature than the current industrial area. The property belonged to my Uncle John (Jack) and Aunty Ethel Astridge. Uncle Jack built the house himself right from scratch! This included making the concrete blocks at his rented premises and carting them, six at a time, to 502 Rosebank Road in a 1932 Wolseley Hornet car! The six concrete blocks were all that the Wolseley could handle at once. I believe that during the building process a local authority challenged the strength of Uncle Jack’s blocks. Trying to drive a nail into one of them proved impossible with the nail when struck bending or ricocheting into the distance! The 1932 Wolseley Hornet mentioned had previously been owned by the writer’s family. As I was the proud owner of a driver’s license I was Continued next page
Next meeting of the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society: Saturday, 4 February 2012, 2.30 pm St Ninian’s Church
St Georges Road, Avondale (opp. Hollywood Cinema)
Top: 502 Rosebank Road, c.1957. Above: 1932 Wolseley Hornet. Photographs kindly supplied by Robin Astridge.
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allowed to drive the car home from the Avondale shopping centre – but only after an embarrassing moment! The Wolseley required cranking to start, but after numerous attempts at Avondale my Aunty had to get out of the car and started the engine on her first crank! Uncle and Aunty raised their family of two daughters in this home plus hosting many visitors. (Auckland was a large sprawling place compared with my home town of Masterton when I made my visit to Rosebank Road at the age of 15). The garden was developed into a veritable market garden with wonderful floral backing and many a neighbour gratefully received the results of the gardening. Over the years Rosebank Road become an industrial area for the City. 502 became surrounded by an ever increasing concrete jungle of factories and paving but despite many an offer, sale of the property was denied. It was an oasis in the wilderness – a green spot among the grey concrete structures that had grown around it. Finally ill-health forced Uncle and Aunty to move to a retirement home in Warkworth and the property was sold. With sadness on a few “drive bys” when visiting in the area there was a decline in the appearance of the property, the garden becoming a wilderness and unkempt. Finally on another drive by the house had gone and it was not until recently I stopped and found another industrial building standing at 502 Rosebank Road. Memories came flooding back and in my minds eye I saw what I had witnessed at this spot. Sadly I left but those memories keep alive what had gone from 502 Rosebank Road.
Harry Ronald (Ron) Waygood (1922-2012)
Ron and his wife Val (Val passed away late last year, cared for to the very last by Ron) were among the first 50 readers of the Avondale Historical Journal when it started in 2001, and among those I interviewed for Heart of the Whau. Right from the start of the Historical Society in 2002, both Ron and Val supported us, and were both members. Ron attended our meetings, at the Lions Hall and more lately at St Ninians, despite increasing frailty. He was a man always keen regarding our history, and Val was always kind and caring — I’m very glad I knew Ron and Val Waygood. Ron Waygood died 2 January 2012, and his daughters Sandra and Beryl provided wonderful eulogies. They gave permission for these to be published here. Dad was born on May 23, 1922 in the front room at 23 Roberton Road, Avondale. He was the youngest of three children born to Harry and Elsie Waygood, who were the children themselves of old Avondale families. The Binsted family were farmers and had a butcher shop in Avondale, and old Mr Waygood was the Principal at New Lynn Primary. Dad had aunties and uncles along with grandparents all around Avondale in his growing up years. Dad’s life in Avondale revolved around Avondale Primary School, Mt Albert Grammar and St Jude’s Anglican Church. His mother was an accomplished musician and had a degree in music from the University of New Zealand. She was a music teacher and the organist in St Jude’s Church for over 25 years. His father was the choir master and so between them they instilled in Dad a love of music that lasted him his whole life. He was an accomplished violinist, organist and pianist and loved nothing more than to gather friends and family around to have a good sing song especially at Christmas time, singing Christmas carols. In Roberton Road he helped with the garden, looked after his dog Rua, and learned music from his mother and how to sail from his father. His father built his own boats and would often take the boys out on Auckland Harbour. During the holidays all the extended family went to Piha. His grandmother had given the family a section at 63 Seaview Road, with a spring that supplied fresh water throughout the long Piha summers. Ben Cowan, a neighbour from Roberton Road, and his father built a bach for the family. This was the second house ever built in Piha and with a few modifications and additions is still there today. His father owned Waygood Motors in Wingate St, Avondale. He imported cars from North America - namely the original Model T Fords. The car cases, which were made out of Baltic pine, were all knocked down, and used at Piha to build the bach. Family that couldn't fit in the bach, camped on the lawn and the children all slept on the front porch with sacks hanging down the front. These were halcyon days, spent land yachting on the black sands, fishing off the rocks, tramping in the hills and endless days swimming in the surf. Ron along with his cousins spent the summers just being kids. Dad was still very young when the Depression years arrived
A response to Ron Oates’ article in last issue on Himikera Avenue. How lovely it was to open the Avondale Journal and see the article on Himikera Avenue. My Grandparents William and Lucy Shaw lived at I am sure 21 Himikera, and I spent many hours playing quietly on the back lawn. They were a dear old Victorian couple so the word quiet was well used on a Sunday afternoon. We would go there every Sunday afternoon for about four and a half hours. Their house was a small two bedroom, I presume would be called a cottage, and there was no hot water and a scary gas stove. Down the back of the section was an overgrown orchard and a small waterway ran across the bottom of the section. This came from the other side of the road through a culvert. Growing on the front lawn was a big Snowball tree and I would love to stand under it and my brother would shake it and it did snow in Avondale, much to the annoyance of granny. I would have been about 8 when I first remember going through on the A.B.C. buses from Henderson and on a hot day we would catch the tram up to the top of Rosebank Road, and then walk to Himikera. At night we would leave about 8.30 and rush down to catch the bus back home. What memories you brought back, thank you. Gillian Bryant, Rotorua
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in completely annihilating this Townie and drank him under the table - a fact that Dad was never allowed to forget - and he never drank whiskey again and in fact hardly drank more than the occasional beer. From then on, he stuck to his ginger beer. Mum used to tell the story about when they were driving up the hill to the house for the first time, Dad asking her if they had electricity!!! She was highly offended ......Cockie meets Townie took a bit of getting used to. Mum and Dad got married in Otorohanga in December 1949 and celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary last year. Dad’s parents subdivided their land in Roberton Rd, and Mum and Dad built their house on what had been the Waygood pond and bomb shelter. They went on to develop a beautiful garden which gave both of them great pleasure all their lives. It supplied all their fruit and vegetables but more than that, it was the great love of gardening that they both enjoyed together. Until Dad moved to Everil Orr 18 months ago he lived on the land he was born on, all his life. In later years Dad would drive to Otorohanga each month to see Val's parents as they could not travel. Mum pick him up from Anzac Ave at 5 'o'clock and he would then drive through the night, in a variety of uncomfortable old cars. Dad was a great "fixer". He would fix anything from the toaster, to the cars, to the kids bikes, blocked drains, the clothes line that was forever falling down, to tiles blowing off the roof, the water pump at Piha - which he had made up from an old washing machine pump. Every few years he would paint another side of the house - it was always pale blue and each year he would buy a gallon tin of Dulux white paint and start adding blue until he thought he had the colour right - eventually every side of the house was a different colour, but unless you knew, you would never have noticed. He got it close enough! One year he decided that he would dig out the clay from under the house and get some more room so he could put both cars away. He got going and then all of a sudden none of the doors in the house would close; then the windows wouldn't close and finally Mum put her foot down and said, no more digging. The house is going to fall over. The same year as he started the digging, he tried the new paint that had just come out- acrylic. Unfortunately whoever developed the paint had not tested it on heart rimu which is what 1728 Great North Road was built out of. It failed and failed badly. So he had to get it all off. The only way it would come off was with a blow gun and so he set about burning it off. Our neighbours were highly amused by this - Rene Brown over the back, commented to me one day, "He couldn't knock it down with the digging, so now he's trying to burn it down!" It was good old enamel high gloss every time from then on. Painting the house went on forever and between painting Avondale and painting Piha it probably seemed like it went on forever to Dad too. The years in Avondale with Mum, and us -- Sandra, Beryl and Howard -- were good, happy years for Dad. His mother
and his family fared no better than any others. The motor industry collapsed and so the family depended on support from grandparents and the money that his mother brought in from teaching music. But there were always vegetables in the garden and chooks in the yard so no one went hungry. Dad went on to Mt Albert Grammar from primary school. He did not enjoy secondary school and remembers finding it a difficult time in his life. Both his siblings had gone on to tertiary education but by the time it came to him, there was no money and he had to go to work. He started at Motor Specialties Ltd in Anzac Ave; with Jack Johnson who had not long started the business. He was the bicycle delivery boy and remembers giving his mother a shilling a week for his board and the remaining amount he was allowed to keep for himself. Not long after he started, the Second World War broke out and he was eventually called up. He went into training in the air force and then the army and was on final leave six times but much to his great disappointment was never sent overseas. He never joined the RSA as he felt very strongly that he had not served overseas. However he never missed an Anzac Day and went with Val each year as his father had served with the Australian Armed Services, in Europe. He used to tell a story about being in camp in Rotorua in the middle of winter and the sergeant asking "Who can play the violin?" A few boys stepped forward but Ron always being fairly quiet wasn't quite quick enough. "Right" says the sergeant "You men go and dig the latrines." As he said, he learnt from that day never to volunteer for anything! If you ever looked closely at his face, you would notice he had no eyebrows - not that it ever bothered him although as children, we thought it highly amusing. He had managed to blow up a weather balloon in his face and was probably lucky that he didn't do himself more damage. There were some great stories of escapades around New Zealand and those of you who will remember Hughie Francis, from Auckland Teachers College, will be able to have a clear image of the two of them trying to get home one night to the camp out of Waipapakauri, completely drunk, doubling each other on a bike, but managing to fall off into the ditch more than they actually rode the bike. Hughie was never small and Dad was never big so he was pretty sore for a few days after, but he always roared with laughter when he told the story. He had many girlfriends in those days, and there was always a pile of photos of pretty girls at home in his photo albums, with “To my darling Ronnie, with love from....." signed across the bottom of them all. When the war was over he went back to Motor Specs and picked up with his life, where he stayed until he retired 42 years later. In 1947 he met Mum, who took him home to Whawharua, Otorohanga to meet the family. Val's father was not very impressed with this young whipper snapper from Auckland - he didn't know one end of a cow from another, couldn't shear a sheep and worst of all, didn't know how to drink whiskey. The Rasmussen boys were good Danes - and if there is one thing a Dane can do, it’s drink. So on the announcement of the engagement, the whiskey was brought out - there were a couple of uncles there from Halcombe that night, so the story goes, and of course they took great delight
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Ron was born in Avondale, and remained living on that original land for 86 of his 89 years. He was the youngest, born after Jim and Betty. He always felt as though he was an integral part of Avondale, and belonged to the Historical Society whose meetings he attended regularly when he was able. It was not uncommon of him when we were a young family, to comment on street names, and tell us who they were named after and some interesting points about them. His schooling was local, and then he went onto Mt Albert Grammar. Through these years, it seems that a lot of the family recreation time was spent at Piha. There was a story he told of their family getting ready to drive down the hill into Piha. The road barely existed, and was steep and dangerous. The chickens, in crates, were tied onto the back of the car, and the family all stood on the running board, so that if the brakes failed, they could jump off. There is another story about Ron, his cousin Shirley, and a few of their playmates, discovering a Maori burial ground. This was up in the bush behind the Waygood house at North Piha. Being of a different generation, and not realising it was tapu, it must have been unbelievably exciting for 11 year olds. Some of the articles they discovered, were given to the local school, but it was many years later before one of the final pieces was returned to where it rightfully should be … His first job, and one that he remained in for his entire working life, was at Motor Specialties. An achievement that in this day and age, seems unimaginable. In his 25th year there, he was given a huge party, which wives also attended, and a gold Omega watch. Following on in his 40th year of working there, he was given an engraved silver tray which he treasured.
died when she was quite young, and along with Betty and Jim he inherited Piha and so the family holidays then consisted of Otorohanga and Piha. Eventually of course it became Avondale, Piha and MotoSpecs and the kids all used to tease him about his Eternal Triangle! Dad was a devoted husband and father. He did everything he could for his family and supported them in all their endeavours, as much as he could. He made sure that Mum was looked after so that she could be the mother that she was and as the children got older, was always ready to babysit, do some wallpapering, mow the lawn and anything else that he thought could help. He was a good provider for the family and Mum was able to stay at home and look after the children, while he went to work. He was always there for his children and grandchildren doing whatever he thought best. In the past few months he visited Val every day, and looked after his beloved 'Sweety' right to her end, 7 weeks ago. He stayed long enough to make sure that she was well cared for and with his life's work complete, he was ready to leave us. He will be missed by all of those who loved him as a real character who stayed true to his beliefs and values all of his life. Sandra Greenslade
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
Avondale Business Association
for their continued support and sponsorship of this publication.
Ron loved Piha. He fished; he swam, he lay on the beach. He moaned about mowing the large lawn which was all kikuyu, but loved doing it. In the early years, there was no power, and the long drop was a challenge for us all. And of course there was the seaweed to gather for the garden back in town. He always worked hard on that garden, and there was an abundance of fruit and vegetables all year round. He could be heard early in the morning outside digging it over before he left to go to work. At the end of the day he would be moving the sprinkler around. One thing that started to gain notoriety was the ginger beer. The two of them had quite a production line going on this, and the only trouble was that it periodically exploded where it was stored under the house. When shared with friends, it was with no less drama than if it had been the best of champagnes. Those last years living in Avondale, were a challenge for an elderly couple and it was the continuing support of their neighbours Chris and Scott that enabled them to manage for so long. The move to Everil Orr Rest Home meant that Ron could remain within an area that he had grown up in and could still, while able, attend things that he enjoyed. The view from his room was not so very different from the one that he had on Great North Rd for so many years. He was a familiar sight, almost every afternoon, going down to share afternoon tea with Valerie. They were fortunate to spend such a large part of their life together. Beryl Appleby (edited slightly for space.)
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: email@example.com Society information: Website: http://sites.google.com/site/avondalehistory/ Subscriptions: $10 individual $15 couple/family $30 corporate