Image: AWHS Collection
At the St Jude’s “Avondale Then and Now” photo exhibition, a member of the local community approached me and asked why I had identified an image of the house at 160 New Windsor Road as the “Astley House”. She felt sure it was the “Dickey House”.
The answer, as I suspected, was that we were both correct, always a good thing in terms of local history.
The Astley family arrived in Auckland in 1880, Elijah Astley and his sons worked at the Ireland Brothers tannery in Panmure, before shifting to the Gittos Tannery at Avondale. After first living in Richardson Road, the family saved enough to purchase a 12-acre section along New Windsor Road in September 1882, and had their house built there in 1883 “The rooms were large, but some of them were left unfinished, though habitable, for a considerable time. To our eyes it seemed, and was, a fine family home and our own property, but it was sadly deficient in the amenities which are regarded as indispensable in a modern home today.” (John E. Astley, “The Astley Saga, A Post-Pioneer Auckland Family”, Journal of the Auckland Historical Society, [Part One] October 1966)
The two-storey English Colonial style building was the size it was, most likely, to accommodate the large Astley family (total of 10 children when they arrived from England). Elijah Astley founded the Astley Tannery in New Lynn, one of the district’s most enduring industries.
Eijah Astley died 10 December 1905. In 1907, his son John Edward Astley and Thomas Atherton transferred the property to Mr and Mrs. Lamey from Morrinsville, who in turn transferred to Robert Dickey of Penrose in 1918. The Dickey name remains in the name Dickey Street, close to the original land holding.
So yes: the house at 160 New Windsor Road is both the Astley House and the Dickey House. Call it what you will – but most use the first name.