Glen Eden in West Auckland is another one of those places I always seem to just pass through, on the way to somewhere else. I was just saying to someone this earlier this week: "One day, I'll stop, and take a good look around at the township." Today was that day and that opportunity.
The old Glen Eden Station is now Pumped Cafe -- but it still has many features intact inside. I loved sitting in there today, having a coffee and lunch and looking at the old timbers, doors, and window frames. The staff there are friendly, the coffee and the food is great, and I'll be headed back there as soon as I get another chance to do so.
Just outside is an interpretive sign for Glen Eden's history, 19th and 20th centuries. Wonderful stuff. Waitakere City Council are to be commended for a beautiful piece of heritage celebration.
Some of the older-style shops still survive. This one though just caught my eye because it is so different.
The mural at the side of the shop.
I struck up against very friendly and helpful folk at Glen Eden today. Popping into the library, where this carving stands, I asked a libraian what it's called. She gives me a brochure which not only explains the carving, but other works elsewhere in the complex. And they still have their own local history file collection! Wonderful news, considering my earlier bleat on Waitakere City Library policy.
The carving's name is "Pou Whenua", by John Collins and Sunnah Thompson, Matarikin Carvers -- Te Kawerau A Maki. It is from a single piece of kauri, standing 6 metres tall. The top figure is in haka pose, representing "the time when power to hold life and land was mostly physical". Middle and bottom figures are modern times. (Source: Glen Eden Library brochure)
Glen Eden's Playhouse Theatre. That distinctive brickwork has always attracted my attention as the bus passes it by. Originally the Glen Eden Town Hall, that part of its life still shows today by the retaining of the small sign "Public Library" above a side door.
The 99-year-old former Glen Eden Methodist Church, now used as the church hall. The foundation stone was laid by Andrew C. Caughey, of Smith & Caughey fame.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my brief visit today. There's more exploring to do here -- I might even take up the local library's offer to have a look at their local history collection next time (I have a soft spot for that library. In their former premises, they were one of the first libraries in New Zealand to have a copy of my Heart of the Whau on their shelves.)
Any shopping centre with a trickling stream in the middle, artificial water feature or otherwise, is definitely worth more than just a "passing through".