Thursday, November 26, 2009

Auckland Birthday Carnivals 1950-1961



Images courtesy Mrs. J. Jones.

I'm gathering up information on these events at the moment (contributions and memories from readers of this blog always appreciated), but here is what I know so far in summary.

In 1947, the Auckland Provincial Public Relations Office was inaugurated. The first challenge for the new organisation, linked with thye Auckland City Council and Chamber of Commerce, was the 1950 Empire Gamers held in Auckland. In conjunction with that event (held mainly at Eden Park but the closing event was at Western Springs), the first birthday carnival was organised.

In 1951, a second was held in January to early February at the Epsom Showgrounds -- then in 1952, it shifted to Western Springs Stadium and nearby open areas beside the old pumphouse. The following year, the PRO took out a 50 year lease with the City Council for the Western Springs Stadium and surrounds, and intended creating a sports and pleasure park, including conversionn of the pumphouse into a restuarant. Fortunately for those of us which like the pumphouse as it is today, the gem of MOTAT, the plans didn't go ahead. The carnival ruptured money in its declining years, and by the middle of 1961 the PRO pulled out of the lease, operning the way for MOTAT and the Western Springs Park we know today.

The image above is from the 1952 float parade at Western Springs. Below is the carnival grounds that year (this expanded rapidly in ensuing years).

I hope to write a more in-depth piece for the Point Chevalier Times soon.

 

6 comments:

  1. My mother and father were involved in the 1959 and 1960 carnivals.Mum wrote home to her mother in England about them. Would you like a copy of those letters?
    I would love to see picture of those 2 carnivals in particular.

    ReplyDelete
  2. My mother and father were involved in the 1959 and 1960 carnivals.Mum wrote home to her mother in England about them. Would you like a copy of those letters?
    I would love to see picture of those 2 carnivals in particular.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'd love to see a copy of the letters, Karen. Can you scan them and email to: waitemata@gmail.com

    Email me to remind me to see if I have any images from those years. I might not, but I'll take a look. Cheers,

    Lisa

    ReplyDelete
  4. This just in from Ray Dormer:
    “I was involved in two events that were presented at the Auckland Birthday Carnival in 1952 - a children’s stage presentation of Pinocchio, and the building of a number of automated dinosaurs that formed the initial display in the Geodesic Dome which was built for 1952's Carnival. While I have many memories of the people and activities that took place, I have no ephemera from my time there. I live in Australia now, so maybe we need to work out a way to get my memories into a form you can keep and use.

    PS I saw the Parade float you feature at the top of the page; I was actually on the Public Relations Office float which followed this one in the Parade.”

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi I was in the 1961 Birthday Carnival on a float entered by Glenora Rugby League Club. I have several photos of the parade along The Great North Rd, near Western Springs. Would you like a copy of the photos. I also have a programme signed by various VIPs of the time.
    Regards Jane Grimmond (nee Hodgson)

    ReplyDelete
  6. If you send me your email address I will send copies of photos taken of the carnival in 1961. I am interested in viewing any other photos of the 1961 Auckland Birthday Carnival too.

    ReplyDelete