Sunday, September 21, 2008

Blockhouse site

On Saturday 20 September 2008, a sign was unveiled at the corner of what was once a defence reserve in Blockhouse Bay, here in Auckland. The reserve was set aside with the intent of being a defence centre for a "Whau South" township from the bay overlooking the Manukau Harbour to present-day Wolverton Street. But, although a blockhouse and stockade were built in 1860, the settlement didn't appear around it. As more successful subdivisions were taking place in the late 1880s, the defence emplacements and buildings on the reserve - bordered by Gilfillan, Endeavour, Wade Streets and Blockhouse Bay Road -- disappeared from history. By the time a community had formed in the early 1890s, the blockhouse buildings became part of local lore.

Only one map exists which appears to locate the blockhouse, somewhere close to the Wade-Blockhouse Bay Road corner. The local historical society in the Bay area believe the blockhouse was along Gilfillan Street. I'd like to find out more, even though I'm part of the neighbouring society, simply because the blockhouse was part of the whole district's history, right from the Manukau shoreline at Blockhouse Bay, to Pt Chevalier (which has its own military heritage associations). I'll work on it.

The two gentlemen, by the way, are dressed in the uniforms of the 65th regiment, one which was based for a time at the blockhouse and stockade in the 1860s.

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