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No. 2 December 2008
Newsletter for the Point Chevalier History Group
First meeting of the Pt Chevalier History Group
This is to be held at the Pt. Chevalier Community Library, 11 am, Thursday 15 January 2009.
Matters to discuss: Appointing a facilitator/chairman and operating committee, subscriptions and setting up of a bank account, continuation of the Pt Chevalier Times, setting next meeting’s date, any other business from the floor. A member of Auckland City’s Community Services Place team is expected to come along and give a brief presentation to the group about the Community Picnic on March 21 and their sense of the opportunity for a sustained community focus on the history of the area. All welcome to this open meeting. Tell your friends.
The End of the Dixieland
Auckland Star, Monday, 9 September 1935 DIXIELAND FIRE CABERET DESTROYED TOTAL LOSS OF £3500 THREE BRIGADES ATTEND
tered by heat, stand on a rickety burned table. Cubicles and lounges, which were once partitioned by trellis-work decorated with greenery and lighted by soft coloured lamps, are black and ugly. On the stand where a seven, led by Mr. Norman Voltney, played lilting tunes to the delight of hundreds, stands a charred piano and a wrecked panatrope [record player]. Drums and effects which caused hundreds of feet to shuffle in rhythm are unrecognisable. The value of the instruments, as estimated by the manager, was £400. There is a gaping hole in the wall which fronted the harbour, the floor is a mass of slush and the roof has fallen in, in several places. The ballroom and the bathing sheds below were completely gutted, but a concrete partition between the ballroom and the tearoom aided the firemen to prevent the fire from spreading to the tearooms and the main entrance facing the road.
A cigarette butt carelessly dropped in the corner of a couch is believed to have been the cause of a fire which destroyed the greater part of Dixieland Cabaret, Point Chevalier, about 3.30 yesterday morning. Damage estimated at £3500 was caused. It is not yet known whether it is intended to rebuild the cabaret. Mr. R. A. Spinley, public accountant, who is acting for the debenture holders stated this morning that a meeting would have to be called to arrive at a decision. Scene of many a gay cabaret party, Dixieland today is a charred and tangled mass of burned-up structure and twisted corrugated iron. Here and there a smoke-stained bottle and a glass, splin-
Next issue due out first quarter 2009 Contact Lisa Truttman (editor) : 19 Methuen Road, Avondale, Auckland 0600,phone (09) 828-8494 or email email@example.com
Dixieland Cabaret, 1925-1935. Ref. A 11118, Special Collections, Auckland City Libraries
Slight damage was done by smoke to this part of the building. The home of Mr. V. H. Trask, the manager of the cabaret, which adjoins the main building, was slightly damaged at one corner. When the fire was at its height Mr. Trask, fearing that his house would also be destroyed, hurriedly removed his furniture. A roar of flames awakened Mr. and Mrs. Trask about 3.30. When they investigated they found the main cabaret blazing and they put through a hurried call to the Point Chevalier Fire Brigade. A minute later flames broke through the roof of the cabaret and it was realised that the fire had a form hold before it was discovered. Fanned by a light wind the flames raced quickly through the old timbers of the cabaret. Within a few minutes of the arrival of the Point Chevalier Brigade came two more machines from the Central and Western District stations. While some of the brigadesmen were concentrating on the main building, others directed their efforts on the corner of Mr. Trask’s home which was blazing. They quickly put out that part of the fire. With the combined forces of three engines, the firemen attacked the main building with three leads of hose from two sides. Vagaries of a wind blowing off the land made the task of the firemen difficult. It changed its direction completely several times, alternately blowing terrific heat in the face of the firefighters and away from them towards the adjoining building. Half an hour’s solid fighting was necessary before the fire was under control, but it was a considerable time before the flames were completely subdued. Two firemen remained on duty all yesterday to prevent any fresh outbreak. At the seat of the fire the building consisted of
four storeys. The wall on the seaward end had fallen out. There was little left of the residential flat and offices on the top floor, the ballroom was reduced to a tangled, charred wreck, and carpets in the cubicles and round the passages were ruined by the slush of plaster and water. At the point where the floor collapsed on the seaward end several steel girders, 18in wide, were bent in a curve by the terrific heat. Down below the cabaret the bathing sheds capable of accommodating over 700 bathers, were completely destroyed. Fire fighting equipment in the building could not be reached when the fire was discovered because of the terrific heat. The manager of the cabaret, Mr. Trask, said that when he went round the premises after the performance at 12.30 on Sunday morning, everything was all right. It appeared to him that the fire started in the left-hand corner of the cabaret in one of the lounges. It was apparently due to someone leaving a cigarette butt in the corner of one of the couches. In view of the hold the fire had when it was discovered, Mr. Trask considered the brigadesmen had made a splendid save. Owned by a private company known as the Dixieland Limited, the cabaret was insured for £4000 and the contents for £1850. Both policies are held by the Australian Provincial Assurance Association, Limited. By the fire a staff of 11 permanent hands and three casual employees will be thrown out of work. The staff included the manager, Mr. Trask, and his wife, a band of seven players, a caretaker, a shop assistant and three waiters. This month the cabaret was booked for several large dances. Arrangements for the chemists ball, which was to have been held on Wednesday night, have been cancelled.
My apologies for the lateness of this issue — had a bout of the wretched ‘flu, unfortunately. Still, now we have news of a meeting date in the New Year! See you there … — Editor