Friday, June 19, 2009

Scottish place names in Auckland (but not Avondale)

Ian Kendall from Melbourne in Australia has a page on Rampant Scotland.com on place names in Auckland. I found it by chance while ferreting for stuff about Henderson's Mill. The entry for Avondale, however, isn't correct.
"Avondale (Shetland Islands; also Avondale Castle in South Lanarkshire) but the name is found in England and Ireland as well as in Scotland. According to Dymock (1994, p. 17), this suburb was named in honour of the Duke of Clarence and Avondale, eldest son of King Edward VII. Like Albany (see above), Avondale is a Scottish title used by the British Royal Family. As explained in an article on the Duke of Clarence and Avondale, retrieved from Wikipedia in April 2009, this was the last royal dukedom to be created with two territorial designations. After the Union of the Crowns in 1603, the holders of the (English) title 'Duke of Clarence' were also given titles including Scottish place names, such as St Andrews and Avondale. The title 'Avondale' refers to Avondale Castle in South Lanarkshire, also known as Strathaven Castle - now a ruin and a Scheduled Ancient Monument accessible to the public (Wikipedia article on Strathaven Castle, retrieved in April 2009)."
As I wrote in an email to Mr. Kendall on 2 June:

"Dear Mr. Kendall,

The Auckland suburb of Avondale was not named after the Duke of Clarence and Avondale. Prince Albert Victor was granted those titles nearly a decade (May 1890) after Avondale was gazetted with its name (June 1882, a change from the Whau District). The name Avondale is most likely of Irish origin, not Scottish, as the Chairman of the Road Board at the time, John Bollard, came from County Wicklow, Ireland, near the Avondale Demesne and homestead of Avondale, Charles Parnell's home.

Regards,

Lisa J Truttman
President
Avondale-Waterview Historical Society"
He responded by asking for the reference to this -- and I cited Heart of the Whau (2003). The part where all this is explained is online at Scribd. To date, he hasn't amended his page, but I'm sure he will in time.

It goes to show that while you can make an assumption in terms of history, it always pays to check out whether that assumption is correct. In this case, using tertiary sources wasn't a good idea (checking to see if there was a historical society for the area would have been!) Even if he'd checked the Wiki article on Prince Albert Victor against the early references to Avondale in Papers Past (July 1882), he would have seen the anomaly behind the assumption that Avondale's naming was in any way connected with royalty. But the first reference there is to land sold on an estate once owned by a son of Scotland: Robert Chisholm.

Update (6 July 2009): Ian Kendall has updated his page now, he's advised in an email to me. Looks great! Many thanks, Ian.

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