Sunday, February 28, 2010

J J Boyd's Royal Oak Zoo

I've just uploaded Part 3 of The Zoo War to Scribd -- J J Boyd's Royal Oak Zoo, and his war with the Onehunga Borough Council.

Other parts and segments already uploaded:
The Devonport "Bear Gardens"
Auckland Domain Acclimatisation Gardens
Wellington's Newtown Zoo
The Aramoho Zoo

Avondale Train Station taking shape

It's starting to look like a train station now, beside Layard Street. Spotted the crane yesterday at work on the fittings.

While they'll be rolling trains through the new trench at New Lynn from tomorrow, there's still a lot of work yet. The photo above shows we still have that single track which (they say) will be sorted by June/July or so. Even the new New Lynn Station under Clark Street is just temporary, until they finish shifting things around in terms of the adjacent bus station. 

It'll be interesting when the Avondale Station does open. For a while, until developers go nuts, we should get a bit of a view of the Waitakeres, something we value here.

Kereru by Kitchener Street

Spotted this sculpture while in the city yesterday, at the corner of Wellesley and Kitchener Streets. I can't find any details about it yet online (if anyone knows something, let me know and I'll do an update).

Update 21 October 2010: There you go. Eventually, something crops up.
Phoebe Falconer's column for the NZ Herald included info about this sculpture today. "The name of the sculpture is Woodpigeon on a Circle, it's made of cast bronze, and stands almost 2.5m high. The artist is Paul Dibble, and more of his work is on display at the Gow Langsford Gallery in Lorne St until October 30. The gallery put the woodpigeon on the corner to advertise the exhibition."

Well, maybe not completely correct. My original post was dated in February this year, whiile his "Bird's Eye View" exhibition due to end October 30 began on the 6 October. A hang of a long time to advertise an exhibition, I'd have thought. But at least yes, the wood pigeon is by Paul Dibble.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

More on cattle vs. trains

At least the cow at Papakura hit by a train in March 1882 had a fairly quick demise. Not so the cattle belonging to Mr. William Bishop, at Mt Albert later that year. This from the Auckland Star, 14 December 1882.
A serious accident occurred yesterday afternoon to cattle belonging to Mr William Bishop, a settler at Titirangi. The cattle, consisting of two fine bullocks and a heifer, were being driven along the road towards Mount Albert pound by a settler, Wm. Pugh, or his man, with the view of impounding the cattle for trespass, when, in crossing the railway line, they were run over by the 2 p.m. train. One bullock was knocked over, and found to be badly bruised and some of its ribs broken; the other bullock and heifer had their hind legs completely cut off, and, strange to say, the driver finding they could not move, drove the remaining bullock to the pound, and left the maimed animals by the line all night to welter in their blood and suffer the most excruitiating agony. The brutality of the driver, and his utter beastliness, have caused considerable disgust in the district. Mr Bishop states his fees at about £20. A constable has gone to Mount Albert to ascertain the facts of the case, and we understand proceedings will at once be taken against the offenders.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Latest from

I've just had their newsletter delivered to the ol' inbox.

A very cool slideshow and info on Crown Lynn ceramics.

NZ culture in the 1960s.
"Fifty years ago most Kiwis enjoyed a standard of living that was the envy of other nations. During the 1960s the arrival of TV and jet airliners shrank our world, and New Zealanders began to express themselves on a range of international issues, including opposition to the Vietnam War. In this feature we provide an overview of the decade and a year-by-year breakdown of some of the key events."
Flags of New Zealand.
"The New Zealand Flag hasn't always been our official flag. It was adopted in 1902, replacing the Union Jack. Between 1834 and 1840, the  Flag of the United Tribes was recognised as our first 'national' flag. Waitangi Day 2010 also marked the first official recognition of the national Maori flag."
"New Zealand has a small connection to the poignant story of Anne Frank,  via her father, Otto, and the merchant ship TSS Monowai. "

Saturday, February 20, 2010

For Glory and A Farm

I picked up this book at a second-hand bookstore in Takapuna today (and yes, that is indeed sticky tape you can see all over the cover. It's coming off through age, at least).

For Glory and A Farm, by Frank Glen, was published in 1984 by the Whakatane Historical Society as Monograph No. 10, and is about the involvement of the Australian colonies in the New Zealand Land Wars of the 19th century.

Fortunately, there is a copy of the text from the book published online, at one of my favourite sites, Digger History. Have a read.

The cover photo, by the way, has this caption:
"Members of the 99th regiment who fought in the New Zealand Wars of 1845-47 at the Anglesea Barracks, Hobart, Tasmania, circa 1900. These veterans who settled in Australia have met for the final time, just 50 years after the erection of the only memorial in Australia to the New Zealand Wars. Photo taken by the Tasmanian Government Photographer J W Beattie. Photo: Australian Army."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Moves to remove suffrage memorial from Khartoum Place

Readers may recall my earlier post on the suffrage memorial at Khartoum Place. Well, it seems there's a lobby group prepared to convince Auckland City Council to remove it "saying the memorial blocks a view from Lorne St through the entrance of the $113 million Auckland Art Gallery upgrade to Albert Park," according to the NZ Herald today.

Personally, I like the memorial. It gives the city a splash of unexpected colour in the midst of drabness, and is something nice (along with the fountain) to sit beside while having lunch. Along with that, it's heritage, so of course I back the memorial.

Probably, though, the art lobby will get their way, and we'll lose something else of interest in the CBD.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bridges on the New Lynn to Huia Road

I've been looking into the Waitemata County Council meeting reports, from 1876-1918, lately. Mainly because there is no index in existence, as far as I can tell, for the early meetings (the one held by Waitakere City Council starts from c.1918). The focus of the hunt through the meeting reports, from Weekly News primarily, was to do with determining, where possible, when some of the bridges were built along the New Lynn to Huia Road.

As Timespanner is a research lab and collection of notes -- here are some from emails I've sent to others also interested in the information.

Bridge by Landing Road

May 1885
A report was read from the Engineer on the Titirangi-Huia Road, which was now a main road, a road leading from Little to Big Muddy Creeks and the Huia ...

June 1885
Agreed that construction of the road be proceeded with, as soon as compensation claims arranged by local board (Titirangi) ...

July 1885
Lennox of the local board wrote, agreeing to employ County Council's Engineer and hill track men to be paid from ₤1000 grant ...

October 1885
Laing moved that the Engineer make plans and specifications for forming the section of the Huia and New Lynn Road through Mr. York's property, about 40 chains, and that tenders for the work be called as soon as the Local Board has compensated York for land taken ...

(York had land at the site of bridge beside Landing Road.)

January 1886
Laing unhappy with the state of contractor Price's work ... Engineer declared "the bridges erected were first class workmanship" ... Price's contract fee paid out.

I'd say the earliest that wee bridge beside Landing Road dates from would be late 1885, as part of the contract by this fellow Price.

Cantwell, by the way, wasn't such a stickler for brick or stone bridges as J T Diamond thought in Once the Wilderness. His beef with the Whau Bridge construction in 1885-1887 was that the piles weren't deep enough. Interesting fact: the contractor for the Whau Bridge that time was Samuel White, likely the same Samuel White who was a partner with Frank Jagger and William Parker at the New Lynn Poudrette factory laster in the decade.

Huia Bridge

November 1896
Mitchelson writes to Waitemata County Council advising of ₤250 grant for Huia bridge. (WN, 14 November 1896)

January 1897
Thanks to the effort of our late representative in Parliament, the Hon. Mr. Mitchelson, ₤250 was voted last session for a bridge over the Huia River. Although this bridge is very urgently needed, no steps have yet been taken to commence this work. We hope the same mistake will not be repeated as was made with the two former grants for Huia, that is, to stop until winter is upon us, and then call for tenders, the works being much more expensive and troublesome for the contractors. While the requisite money is now available for the Huia bridge, we unfortunates are still required to wade through two feet of mud and one and a half feet of water at low tide. At high tide, if a boat is available, the person obliged to cross this river may consider himself very fortunate; if a boat is not available, the only alternative is to walk the booms. To do this successfully needs an education on the tight-rope, and very few folks in this district have received such education; the consequence is that almost every grown-up person in the Huia, ladies included, have received a compulsory bath, and not a few narrow escapes from drowning have occurred, as there are two holes in that part of the river about 20 feet in depth at full tide. One settler struck his knee on a chain in falling, and was lame for six months in consequence. Another instance; A lady last week went to spend the day with a neighbour, and crossed the river in a boat, leaving it ready to return in. On returning in the evening to re-embark, she found that someone had in the meantime borrowed the boat, and left it on the opposite shore, so that she was obliged to wade through the slippery mud and water up to her waist, with two babies in her arms. (WN, 23 January 1897)

May 1897
Sole tender for Huia bridge not accepted. (WN, 15 May 1897)

June 1897
Messrs Cochrane and Co. forwarded an amended tender for the contract for the Huia Bridge, but this being the only one received it was declined. Fresh tenders will be called in September. (WN, 12 June 1897)

August 1897
The Huia bridge is still a thing of the future. It is hoped by the settlers here that, when the Council call for tenders in September, they will at the same time call for tenders to complete the road at least as far as the school, they having a sufficient balance in hand from the previous grant by the Government for the Huia roads to accommodate this – namely, ₤100. (WN, 14 August 1897)

September 1897
It was resolved in reply to a petition from ratepayers to call for tenders for the construction of a bridge over the Huia River and the formation of another section of road toward the Manukau Heads. (WN, 11 September 1897)

October 1897
Thomas Clarke’s ₤197 tender for erecting a bridge over the Huia River accepted. (WN, 16 October 1897)


Sunday, February 14, 2010

History of Avondale's stable and bus depot

I've just published my research report, done last December, to Scribd. This refers to the site of the fire, as in this previous post.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Grass not always greener on the other side of the Tasman

In this age of significant emigration patterns from EnZed to Aussie -- it bears keeping in mind that, like a lot of trends in history, this is also not something new.

The following comes from the NZ Herald, 14 March 1889, deep in the era of the 19th century's Long Depression.



A draper's assistant, an experienced and efficient hand, who went to Sydney some time since, sends to a former employer a letter from which we make the following extracts:-

"It is with heartfelt sorrow that I write to let you know that my leaving Auckland was a great mistake, and in fact the greatest mistake that I could have made. Since I came to Sydney, I have not had one week's work, and yet I've tried warehouses and shops day by day, week by week. You may think what I have suffered when I tell you that at least I got so down-hearted that I raised what little money I could and went over 200 miles up-country.

"When I got there I found things even worse than what I had found in Sydney, and after spending four days in Orange, I started for Bathurst, a distance of over forty miles. From there I had to walk to Lithgow, a distance of some sixty miles. Then by the kind aid of a gentleman I got assisted over to Mount Victoria, for which kindness I was truly thankful, for when I left Orange the only coin I was possessed of was one sixpence. When you think of the distance I had to travel alone in a strange country, having to sleep under the trees at night, some days with a bit of food, other days without any!

"After a long and terrible walk, with a great amount of suffering, I once more reached Sydney, my boots and myself completely worn out. Since then I've tried for work of any description, but so far without results. I regret to say that I have lost all hopes, in fact, my spirit is completely broken ...

"It is terribly hard, after coming here, thinking to have improved my position, to have come to complete ruin; but such is the real truth. Although I am writing this to you, I have no idea if I shall be able to raise twopence to send it to you, but, if possible, I will, because by your influence you may be able to advise others not to come over here, for unless they have influence they can do no good in Sydney. I am glad to say some Aucklanders have done well here, but I came a perfect stranger, and I am only one of many amongst the many hundreds seeking work but unable to get it. When you think that my only work since coming to this beautiful city was for a few days at Christmas as an extra hand up-country!

"I've tried my hardest. No one in Auckland would believe the number of men walking about ... I am getting so completely worn out that I shall have to give up. Should fortune ever smile upon me again, my first £5 would be spent in getting back to dear old Auckland, and certainly if I once could reach it again nothing would ever cause me to leave it."

Reginald Fitt's World War I certificate

Click to enlarge.

One wet day, 2004 or 2005, I was on a site on St Judes Street in Avondale. An old house there was being cleared out by the owner, and I took the opportunity of looking in the rooms with permission, taking photographs. Out the back, on a driveway, I spotted what looked like an old picture frame, soaked. I turned it over -- and found the above. 

This is a Great War Certificate of Service, another example to be found at the link. Not for someone connected with Avondale, though. Reginald William Fitt had a mother living in Campbell Terrace here in Auckland (now called Logan Terrace), but enlisted at Gisborne, and served with Otago Mounted Rifles from 1915 to 1920 when he was discharged.

This large certificate had to be scanned in two pieces, hence the join you can see. The frame was soaked. Water had got in between the certificate and the glass of the frame, and when I got it back inside (the owner said I could keep it for the historical society), it seemed touch and go if I was going to be able to save anything.Wet frame, backing, certificate nibbled at on the edges by silverfish. But it's a tough piece of paper, this. Not even much in the way of foxing mold, after all these years. It's dry now, stored in our collection for the moment.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Major Nelson George's "Wapati"


Another one of those little gems found suddenly in the midst of hunting through old survey plans. This, from LINZ plan Deed Blue 52 (crown copyright) dates from some period after 1874 and seems to illustrate "Wapiti", the homestead of Major Nelson George. I don't often see perpective drawings like this in the plans -- it must have come from a real estate sale for the property just across Market Road, there in the Epsom-St John's area. Note the smoke coming from the chimney.

"Wapiti" was expanded and added to over time. Bought by the McCrystal family in 1920, according to The History of Epsom by the Epsom & Eden Districts Historical Society (2006), it ended up part of St Cuthbert's College campus in 1925, and converted into the Melrose House hostel.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Mural remains at Kingsland

I'm sure this used to be a much larger mural, taking up the whole wall between New North Road and the railway line, a bush scene like this. It hasn't been a large mural for some time, anyway. Hard to photograph because it's also part of a carpark, but I hope you can get the gist from these photos today. According to the NZ Card Index, it was originally an 8m by 10m mural, completed 1985 by Shirley Smith and three students from a job search programme for the Native Forest Action Council (name change 1988 to Maruia Society, name change 1999 to the Ecologic Foundation).

I wonder if anyone realises what the mural is about, anymore?

Camouflaged control boxes, Kingland

A couple of nature-themed boxes, camouflaged among the neat street gardens and mini wilderness at the Sandringham Road and New North Road intersection. Well done for the utility box above -- they could have just left it dark green or grey, but instead let an artist kind of loose with leaves and stuff.

Heritage reflected in a kebab shop window

Heading through Kingsland today, I sat for a bit on New North Road, and noticed this reflection.

Here's the building itself: the 1914 Portland Building, another of those erected by the Page family in the vicinity. Seeing it in mirror-image in the window thought just struck my fancy. Of course, I hope the flames at the bottom of the window are not a portent of things to come ...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Steps through the Grafton bush

A friend showed this to me at yesterday's meeting of the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society, and said I could publish it here: a 1909 postcard showing the steps leading down from Symonds Street end to the first (1885) wooden footbridge across Grafton Gully. Our predecessors in this city must have been truly fit to carry both themselves, and their clothes, up those steps on a hot summer's day such as we've been having!

The card was date-stamped across the postage stamp three years after Auckland City Council began to make plans for the replacement of the wooden bridge, the ferro-concrete Grafton Bridge completed 100 years ago this year. Much of the bush scene in the picture above has gone before the motorway system, nopw -- but it must have been an idyllic, if a tad exhausting walk in its day.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Doug Ford and his murals

Artist Doug Ford kindly posted a comment to my Grosvenor Street photos, and now I see he has a blog featuring his murals. Check it out.