Monday, October 27, 2008

George Maxwell Memorial Cemetery: Part 3 -- Other burials

Dr. Thomas Aickin and his family

First medical practitioner in the district, and second superintendent of the Auckland Asylum. More about Aickin here.

Capt. Robert David James

Captain James is discussed in detail in another post.

Thomas and Ann Fletcher Jackson

The Jacksons travelled all over New Zealand on ministry work for their Quaker faith in the late 19th century. From 1893 to 1899 they lived at “Meliora” in Avondale, a farm situated around present-day 103 Avondale Road (original house still standing, according to K. Brehmer.) In 1897 they helped found the Victoria Hall church opposite the cemetery. Thomas died in 1899, Ann Fletcher Jackson died in 1903.

Bollard family

John Bollard arrived in Avondale in 1861. From 1863 he was on the first committee for the Whau Public School (now Avondale Primary), was on the committee and later Trust for the Whau Public Hall from 1867, Chairman of the Whau Highway District Board (later Avondale Roads Board) from 1868 to 1896, when he stepped down to become MP for Eden until 1914. He was also a district coroner, land agent, farmer and roads engineer. He died in March 1915.

His son Richard Francis Bollard was a district valuer and rates collector for the Avondale Roads Board in the 1890s, and became an MP for Raglan, and later Minister of Internal Affairs, until his death in 1927. His remains are currently interred at Karori Cemetery.

Another son, Ben Bollard, was Avondale’s first postman (late 19th century) and then from 1906 until 1916 was part of the Bollard and Wood partnership with Edward Wood.

Henry Peck

From around 1870 until the early 20th century, Henry Peck’s Store next to the Avondale Hotel was the largest general store of its kind in West Auckland. Until his death in 1890, he served from time to time on the local Road Board.

Silva, Ringrose, Fremlin families

The cemetery is the resting place of many members of Avondale’s settler families. The Ringroses arrived in Auckland in 1859, the Silvas were a prominent family on the Rosebank peninsula in the 20th century, and Fremlin Place is named after the Fremlin family.

John and William John Tait

John Tait arrived in Avondale in 1864, working on John Bollard’s farm for 25 years, then running his own farm and market garden on a portion of the land. He died in 1916.

His son William John Tait served on the Avondale Roads Board, including as the last chairman in 1921-1922, and was the second mayor of Avondale Borough from 1923 to 1927. In 1937, he was one of the founders of the Avondale Businessmen’s Association, and was its first President. He was also a well-known land agent in the area. In 1932 the Unity Buildings was constructed on his property in central Avondale, and in 1940 he donated land to the Council for Avondale’s first public restroom. His widow transferred land in Blockhouse Bay Road to the Housing Corporation for the present-day Tait Village named (as is Tait Street) after her husband. He died in 1947.

Charles Theodore Pooley

From 1898 until the mid 20th century, “Charlie” Pooley was a roading contractor and transport provider for the district. He was engaged by the Roads Board to work on forming up what is now Bollard Avenue and Blockhouse Bay Road, amongst others. The stables he built on the burned out ruins of the Patterson Stables, just down Great North Road from the Avondale Hotel, was a landmark until 1924 when the stables burned down. In 1925 he gifted land along the Great North Road frontage of his property to the Avondale Borough Council (the Council bought additional adjoining land also) which was earmarked “with a view to making a civic square” (Roads Board minutes). Part of this land is the present-day site for Stage 1 of the Avondale Mainstreet Project.

Frances Gittos

Died 6 August 1924, aged 81.

Connected with the tannery company of the 19th century in Avondale and Blockhouse Bay, Benjamin Gittos and Sons. He came to Avondale around 1863, was on both the early committees for the Public School, and in November 1867, he proposed that “the members of the Committee procure as many books as possible for the formation of a library for the Hall.” Books were to be solicited to form a library for the Hall for the use of the public. (from Heart of the Whau)

He owned much of the land bounded by what is now Blockhouse Bay Road, New North Road, Bollard Avenue and New Windsor Road.

Charles Edgar Fearon

Died 31 October 1948, aged 68.

(from Heart of the Whau)
There were originally four brothers: Charles Edgar (always called Jack), Len, Cedric, and one other who was lost to the Influenza Epidemic of 1918.

In 1920, Jack and Len started a butcher shop in Avondale, on the site which is now the Battersby carpark. The family had now moved to Station Road. Later, there was a fire which destroyed what had been the Thode Bros. store, then run by Mr MacKenzie. The Fearon brothers took over the land and remaining buildings, and built the Fearon Block by 1922.

In an advertisement from the News of 4 June 1921, the Fearon Bros. butchers said they were in Avondale and Ponsonby. “Patronise the Small Butcher -- No connection with the other Firm”, and asked: “Have you tried ‘Avon’ Sausages – made with specially prepared Sausage meal and clean fresh meat. ‘Avon’ Sausages are right”. They stocked “Primest Beef and Mutton, Dairy-fed Pork, Milk-fed Veal, Mild-cured Beef, Corned Pork and Ox Tongue. Our Quick-Lunch Pressed Beef is Delicious. Home-made Luncheon Sausage.”

“Avon Sausage” was apparently mixed in the Fearon’s own small factory they had built out the back the shop, using salt, pepper, mace and sage, although only a little of this was put in the mix.

Arthur John and Adelaide Annie Morrish

Arthur Morrish died 6 November 1949, aged 80, his wife Adelaide died 1 August 1941, aged 70.

(from Heart of the Whau)
Sometime in 1913-14, Arthur Morrish (1869-1949) printed the first issue of his weekly publication for Avondale, New Lynn, Waikumete, Henderson, and Swanson, called simply The News. Morrish, originally emigrating from the English county Devon in 1894 when he was 25, married and settled in Princess Street (Elm St), where he set up his business before shifting first to Great North Road (just down from the 1938 Post Office), and then to Rosebank Road. Copies of The News are rare, and photocopies sought after these days. No one knows when the newspaper ceased publication, but Arthur Morrish died in 1949, aged 80.

His wife Adelaide Annie Morrish (c.1871-1941) ran her own business in Rosebank Road alongside her husband’s printing works.

Dr. Daniel Pollen

Died 18 May 1899, aged 82.

Born 1813, Dublin, Ireland. Died 1896, New Zealand, aged 82
Premier from 6 July 1875 to 15 February 1876 Daniel Pollen was born in Dublin, Ireland on 2 June 1813. Many details of his early life are unknown but he studied medicine and graduated with an MD. He moved to New South Wales and then North Auckland in the late 1830s. He was a witness to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Pollen was appointed Coroner for Parnell in 1844 and on 18 May 1846 married Jane Henderson. He later became medical officer at the mining town of Kawau. In 1856 he was elected a member of the Provincial Council representing Auckland Suburbs and later Auckland East until 1865. In 1858 he was appointed commissioner of crown lands for Auckland. Then in 1861 he became a member of the Legislative Council on and off for the next few years.

In 1873 he was appointed by Vogel to both the Legislative Council and the Executive, becoming Colonial Secretary. After Vogel was delayed while overseas Pollen became Premier in July 1875 and relinquished the job back to Vogel on Vogel's return in February 1876. He remained Colonial Secretary until October 1877.
Pollen then spent the next 19 years as a member of the Legislative Council until he died on 18 May 1896.

Dr. Pollen was also another of Avondale’s early settlers, purchasing land in the initial sales of 1844 at the end of the Rosebank peninsula, and in the mid 1850s starting a brickworks on the Whau Creek, celebrated as the earliest of many brickworks later to start up all over West Auckland on the clay seams. Pollen Island Motu Manawa) is named after him, as is a street in Ponsonby.

Binsted family

John Binsted died 8 March 1900 aged 78, Henry Binsted died 3 September 1895 aged 44, James Binsted died 28 October 1920, plus seven other family members in Rosebank Cemetery.

(from Heart of the Whau)

In 1886 Henry and James Binsted opened a butchery on the corner of St Georges Rd and Great North Rd. Also built an abattoir on the present site of Rewa Park in New Lynn. Cattle for the yards were driven across the city from Remuera via Avondale to the yards.

According to Binsted family descendents, the parents of James Binsted, John and May, came to New Zealand in 1873, with six children. The started a butchery business in Drake St, Freeman’s Bay “before the reclamation in 1879, when Drake St ran along and parallel with the foreshore of the Waitemata Harbour.”

James Binsted is said to have been a small-built man, who wore a bowler hat most of the time (some have said he was balding). His shop would have a cashier, where you would pay for the meat, and a counter where the meat was served. Binsted’s delivered to a wide area, and were known to “dress-up” cuts of meat for those who couldn’t afford the more expensive cuts.

By October 1888, “Binsted’s corner” had become an Avondale landmark. In 1895, Henry Binsted, James’ brother and partner, died of typhoid fever, and their father John died on 8 March 1900. In 1902, James Binsted bought the Avondale shop from his family, and had a new shop in Mt Albert, corner of Mt Albert and New North Roads, by 1911.

In 1920, James Binsted died. The Avondale shop was sold to R&W Hellaby’s for £3090, and from then onwards, James’ son John Claude Binsted became manager of the Avondale R & W Hellaby’s shop.

Robert Dakin, John Rubbick Stych

Robert Dakin died 27 June 1894, aged 58.
John Rubbick Stych died 20 December 1898, aged 53.

Both of these men were licensees of the Avondale Hotel during the 19th century, Robert Dakin from March 1879 through possibly to the late 1880s, and John Stych from 1896 to his death in 1898.

Robert Dakin was originally licensee of the Suffolk Hotel in Ponsonby, and purchased the (then) Whau Hotel from its rebuilder and owner, James Palmer, in March 1879 for £2,400. “The new landlord at the Whau Hotel,” according to the New Zealand Herald of March 22, 1879, “has the reputation of being a suitable and obliging.” In 1879, he was one of the signatories to the application for incorporation of the Whau Public Library.

(from Heart of the Whau)
John R Stych, (1845-1898) committed suicide on 20 December, shooting himself in the head with a shot-gun in the cellar of the Avondale Hotel. He was apparently in financial difficulties, and after being approached that afternoon by a Mr. Boylan and Mr Abbott, he went to get a revolver and shot-gun, and ended his life. The suicide, and resulting inquest presided over by John Bollard as district coroner, was quite a sensation in Avondale at the time, so much so that it went into “Avondale lore” as the suicide of the last publican after losing the hotel licence in 1909. Only after I interviewed Mrs Vera Crawford, and she mentioned the name “Mr Stych”, was I able to put Mr Stych’s death together with the suicide story – a part of Avondale lore which turned out to have more than a grain of truth to it. His widow Emma took over the licence for 5 years.

“The deceased was very popular in the Avondale district and was not supposed a likely man to commit suicide. He had many friends in Auckland, where fore many years he was employed in Messrs Bycroft and Co.’s mills. As a horticulturalist Mr Stych used to carry off prizes year after year at the local flower shows and was an enthusiastic gardener. He leaves a wife and three sons.” [Auckland Star, 21/12/1898] See appendix.

John Stych was buried in the Rosebank Cemetery, his headstone giving no indication of the cause of his demise.

Exler family

Moses Exler, died 12 August 1900, plus 8 family members.

Moses Exler started the family pottery business in the late-1870s in New Windsor. Bricks made at that site were used, according to Challenge of the Whau, as part of Bunsted’s butchery, the horse bus stables and St Jude’s Church. Neville Exler, his descendent, was part of the Avondale History Group who worked to put together Challenge of the Whau in 1994.

William and Thomas Myers

William Myers died 2 October 1927, aged 75. His son Thomas died 16 August 1967, aged 79.

(from Heart of the Whau)
Thomas Myers (c.1881–1967), the blacksmith in Blake Street was the rival:
“Since we commenced business in Avondale we have built over one hundred carts and sulkies for the district.; We guarantee you better value than you can get elsewhere. Horse Shoeing, Ploughs made to order. All Kinds of Agricultural Implements Repaired.” [Advertisement in The News, 11/11/1916. Both examples from Challenge of the Whau, p. 73]

His father William Myers came to New Zealand c.1895, starting up the family blacksmith business in Avondale, while living in Avondale South (according to William’s grandson, Roger Myers, the family were the first ones on what was to become Myers Rd, later Margate St).

Thomas Myers went into the business with his father in 1908, and remained in business there until 1962-63. During that time, the original building was cut down, and part leased.

“I started work with my father, the blacksmith William Myers, in 1908. I had served my apprenticeship with Hughes and Donger in Eden Terrace.

“We did a lot of work then for Charlie Pooley, who was the contractor.
“There was always plenty of work at our smithy. I started work at 7.30 in the morning and we worked long hours especially in the summer.” [From Memories of early Avondale, by Tom Myers, Avondale Advance, 21/11/1960]

Myers’ was more than simply a farrier (Thomas wouldn’t do a lot of work for the Jockey Club, his son Roger told me, as he considered thoroughbreds as “too flighty, a young man’s job”) – he also did a lot of work for market gardeners, both in Avondale and as far afield as Oratia and Henderson. He’d do repairs to plows, disks, harrows. Farmers would bring up to the shed 3 or 4 spades at a time, to have handles repaired. Thomas Myers also made up wheelbarrows.

He also worked for Odlins timber at Karekare, a day’s work shoeing 8 to 10 horses.

Ernest Croft, Albert Edward Bailey

Ernest Croft, died 15 July 1968. Avondale Borough Councillor.

Albert Edward Bailey, died 15 November 1971. Auckland City Councillor.

(from Heart of the Whau)
The Croft family came to the district in 1920, Mr Ernest Croft, senior (1880-1968), taking a house in Waterview. Three years later the family moved to the corner of Riversdale and Rosebank road. Their house, according to Mr Croft’s son Ernie, was one which had belonged to the Bollards. Mr Croft was on the Avondale Borough Council from 1924 to 1927. He was also a builder by trade, and was employed by Charles Pooley to build his block of shops opposite the present-day Mobil service station after the destruction of the stables there in 1924.

Albert Bailey was an Auckland City Councillor from 1956 to 1959, and 1962 to 1965.

He bought the Avondale Hotel in 1940, and renamed it the Avoncourt. He sold it in 1967, when it was then demolished.

“Avon court is listed in the AA Hotel guide as “2027 Great North Road, Avondale, 30 Beds, B.B.” as Mr Bailey gave up the full board service in 1957. Up until it’s demolition in 1967, Avoncourt only hotel between Symonds Street and Henderson.” [Western Leader, 18/8/65]

Albert Bailey was also involved with the Avondale Businessmen’s Association as Secretary.

Sydney Margaret Hamilton

From this site:
“Before William Rowan Hamilton (1805-1865) had graduated from Trinity College Dublin, he was appointed in 1827 as Professor of Astronomy and Royal Astronomer of Ireland. He trained three of his many sisters to operate Dunsink Observatory for him, whilst he worked on his mathematics. His invention of quaternions in 1843 made him one of the most renowned mathematicians of the 19th century. His third sister Sydney Margaret Hamilton (1811-1889) administered the Observatory, did much of the observing and performed extensive computations to reduce the observational data to publishable form. Sydney lived in Nicaragua from 1863 to 1874.

“Her scientific friends tried twice to arrange a Civil List Pension for her from the British Government, but their appeals were rejected first by Disraeli and then by Gladstone. Accordingly, Sydney sailed from Dublin in 1875 to Auckland, to earn her living at the age of 64 as Matron of the Pauper Lunatic Asylum in Auckland. To her surprise, New Zealand's elder statesman Sir George Grey (1812-1896) was eager to meet her as sister of the great Hamilton. Grey had intense interest in science, he was a personal friend of many scientists, and at the age of 63 he was studying quaternions.

Grey's magnificent gifts to Auckland Public Library include many papers which Sydney presented to him, including manuscripts of William Rowan Hamilton and editions of two of his major books which are earlier than any listed in any of the biographies and bibliographies of Hamilton. Grey attended Sydney's funeral in 1889, when she was buried in Rosebank Road cemetery in Auckland, across the road from Avondale College.

Archdeacon Robert Perceval Graves, author of the 4-volume biography of William Rowan Hamilton, later arranged for a tombstone to be erected on Sydney's grave, with the (existing) inscription.”
At present, her grave is sadly neglected. The grave itself has been engulfed by a wild tree allowed to grow right in the grave area itself, and the headstone is being crowded out by the trunk of the tree. The remains of an old wooden pallet was leaning up against the tree next to her headstone when the cemetery was visited on 3 May 2002.

In the opinion of the author, the tree should be cut down and removed, and the grave resealed with a cement slab, so that Sydney Hamilton’s headstone can be seen clearly once more.

Update 6 February 2013: I've just received this link to a page on Miss Hamilton's life. Many thanks!

1 comment:

  1. Dear Timespanner (if I may), I was delighted to happen on your post regarding Sydney Hamilton. I have written a poetic biography of Sydney's brother, the Irish mathematician (& poet) William Rowan Hamilton. It is a sonnet sequence in the voices of persons who knew WRH personally, including Sydney. Further details from