Monday, October 27, 2008

Land History of New Windsor School site

The following was put together in response to a request for information on the history of the present day school site.

The original Crown Grantee for the land on which New Windsor School stands was one John Shedden Adam who originally came to Auckland as one of the settlers to Cornwallis, only to find that promises about a developed township there proved false (see Dick Scott’s Fire on the Clay, and John Lifton’s Cornwallis.) By the late 1840s, Adam had settled in Sydney with his sisters, but retained a large amount of property here in New Windsor and Avondale right through to the mid-1860s, stretching from Maioro Street area down to the present-day site of St Ninians church, part of the racecourse, and down to the Whau Bridge at Great North Road.

On 3 May 1866, two carpenters named Robert Laing and Frederick Davies purchased two large lots, totalling just over 10½ acres, fronting what was later to become Garnet Road (Tiverton from the 1930s) and New Windsor Road for £53. In February 1882, the two men in turn sold the land to accountant William Beaumont for £53 16/- (not a lot of profit made from the transaction there!) Beaumont may have worked for licensed victualler Dennis Lynch who took over the site a month after Beaumont’s purchase, and then transferred all of his property (the New Windsor farm was only one of many pieces of land he owned dotted around Auckland) to his wife Catherine in June 1882.

At this time, the New Windsor farm would probably have been leased out to tenant farmers for income.

In 1883, Catherine transferred the whole portfolio back to her husband, who passed it back again in 1885. By 1901, Catherine Lynch had remarried to commercial traveller George Maxwell Clarke, and was heavily mortgaged to the likes of the Protestant Alliance Friendly Society and a solicitor. The property was sold for £149 10/- to Mrs. Christina Craig. In 1911, Mrs. Craig sold the site to Mrs. Mary Eliza Hoffman, wife of piano tuner William Frederick Hoffman for £150.

Charles Brooks and Mary Caple Murray inherited the property in 1937 and sold it a year later to farmer Walter Aldridge Gower and his wife Flora Farquharson Gower. It was sold again in 1940 to Nina Maud Dailey, who sold it in turn to a builder named George Robert Englefield. Finally, from 1947, the site was owned by retired draper Jessie Yates Oamaru Whyte for £2710. She subdivided the site in 1952, creating 17 residential sites fronting Tiverton and New Windsor Roads, leaving 6½ acres to the rear. Most of the New Windsor sites, plus that rear area, was transferred to the Crown in 1954 for a whopping £5900.

Auckland City Council valuation records for the site go back to 1927, when Avondale district amalgamated with the city. In 1945, the valuers estimated an old wooden villa then on the site to be around 70 years old – which would put it into the period of the two carpenters, Laing and Davies. Not much else is known about what the farm was used for. Gower in 1938 had 5 cows on the site, along with 4 fowls. By 1945, two sheds along with the house were noted, and that there were trees by the house. It is most likely then that the former farm was primarily grazing for most of its existence.

Compiled: 12 September 2007

Sources: Deeds Index 17A.762, CT 545/156, DP 40625, all LINZ records; Valuation field sheets, ACC 213/109b, Auckland City Archives

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