Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Lynfield trio

Occasionally, as well as writing pieces for Avondale's Spider's Web (and what crops up now and then in the Rosebank Roundabout), I have lately supplied small "filler" pieces to Blockhouse Bay's Newstalk. Here's three recently published there, on Lynfield.

Old place names in Lynfield

Settlement of the Lynfield area was sparse until around 50 years ago, but the area was still important enough to have coastal landmarks named. Around 1850, the Wesleyan Church obtained the Wesleyan Mission Property from the Crown (from Wattle Bay Reserve to Waikowhai Reserve) but the Crown retained Cape Horn as a defence reserve. Artillery Road (Cape Horn Road) is probably one of the first roads in the district, before even Hillsborough Road was formed. During the “Russian Invasion” scare of the mid 1880s, it was probably garrisoned for a time with one of Auckland’s local artillery units, keeping a look out in case the Russians sneaked into Manukau Harbour.

Place names in the district have changed over the years. Well, in many respects, they did a somewhat sideways shift along the coast.

Green Bay was once Karaka Bay. Blockhouse Bay (Sandy Bay, Flounder Bay and Lynfield Cove) was once Green Bay. Wattle Bay used to be Waikowhai Bay, and Waikowhai Bay used to be Wesley Bay.

Some names were to the point. The Wairaki Stream which still flows into Lynfield Cove was once Duck Creek.

The copper’s horse knew the way

Much of today’s Lynfield, fronting Hillsborough Road and between Lynfield Cove and Wattle Bay, was once Auckland Harbour Board endowment land from 1911 until subdivided from the 1960s. Small farms were leased, but some were later occupied by tenants once the farmers gave up on their dreams.

Shacks were built along Halsey Drive as time went on, first meant as living quarters for the settlers, but then rented out to whoever wanted them. This, according to stories passed down, included those continually getting into trouble with the police and the courts, and ordered to “go to the country” away from the city’s temptations. Country life, however, did not reform these men, apparently. The police never really lost touch with these misfits. The duty of contacting them so they could “assist the police with their enquiries” fell to the lot of one Constable McKenzie of Mt Albert. It is said the constable had to pay so many calls in the direction of Lynfield that his horse, once mounted, would immediately turn as of habit in the direction of Halsey Drive.

A memorial to Margaret Griffen

Griffen Park Road was originally Endowment Road then Griffen Road. The authorities decided to provide easier access to the Halsey Drive farmlets from the White Swan Road end. Griffen Park Road was the result. This cut out the steep and very rough incline that took the traveller up White Swan Road to the corner of Ridge (Hillsborough) Road, and also eliminated an equally rough and steep descent.

It also meant several blocks of land came onto the market. On one of them, Griffen Brothers (A.D. & J.B.) were able to work up a milk supply and strawberry growing business known for many years as Griffenville Farm.

On retirement, A D Griffen bought back his brothers property at the corner of White Swan and Griffen Road, along with an adjoining property The resulting 10½ acre block was given to the people of Mount Roskill as an athletic ground and playing area for the youth of the district, in tribute to the memory of A.D. Griffen’s late wife Margaret in the 1940s. This is now Margaret Griffen Memorial Park.

1 comment:

  1. This is very cool. I remember when Halsey drive was still being developed in the seventies. No shacks there now!!!