Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The short-lived Avondale Development Association

Four years out from the political traumas that came from Avondale's amalgamation with Auckland City in 1927, it probably seemed to the local movers and shakers in the community that nothing really seemed to be happening in terms of Avondale's hopes, aspirations, and the way ahead. The start of the feeling that we're out on the edge of things, and therefore left out of a considerable amount of due attention when it came to infrastructure and opportunities for development, stem from the years immediately after amalgamation. Frankly, that's never truly gone away since.

In May 1931, the community had a bit of a get together, and formed what they felt could be the answer to the malaise.

Residents of Avondale interested in the business welfare of the district and in education and recreation, met last evening, and the result was the formation of the Avondale Development Association.

The following officers were elected:- 
President, Mr P Richardson [a former member of the Avondale Borough Council]
Honorary secretary, Mr W G Webster
Honorary treasurer, Mr W H Bracey
Committee: Messers W Woodhead, W H Bracey, S Gibson [local baker], F W Webster, and A J Morrish [editor of The News in Avondale]

As rules had not been formed, the evening was spent in an informal discussion regarding the scope of the association's activities during the coming year. The need of propaganda to press the claims of Pollen's Island as a suitable site for a commercial airport; the advantage of the Whau River for aquatic and speedboat events; the development of Rosebank Park for receation purposes, and the need for a jetty at Blockhouse Bay, were some of the matters discussed. The association, it was stated, hoped to enlist the sympathy and co-operation of residents in all parts of Avondale, and did not aim to confine its activities to the development of any one part.

The committee will meet on Wednesday to draft rules and submit them for approval at the next meeting, which will be held the following week.
(Auckland Star, 22 May 1931)

Well, there were one or two regattas held on the Whau River, and Rosebank Park ended up as recreation from the 1960s as the go-kart course (but that wasn't really what the good folk of the Avondale Development Association had in mind). But the idea of Pollen Island becoming Auckland's commercial airport was pronounced dead within the next two years (a place by an aero club out at Mangere seemed a better option).

By the middle of the 1930s, the ADA seems to have run out of steam. In 1937, meetings began to form the Avondale Businessmen's Association; but Avondale wouldn't see a body involved with the development of the entirety of the old Avondale Borough area as a whole again until 1989-2010, the period of the Avondale Community Board.


  1. Great piece of Avondale History Lisa. To think my Dad was part of the Avondale Business Association and my Great Grandfather was of course the first mayor of Avondale. Too cool for words. If my Dad had been alive now he would have loved reading this. I recall many a time when he would be tasked to organise events involving the Avondale Business Association while they weren't anything big they perhaps were something in what is still a great community. Few places in Auckland I love but Avondale is definitely close to my heart. Cheers for this it's made my day