Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Victor Longuet: another son of France (or Belgium)

According to Lucy Marshall (“Convicts and communists arrive in Auckland,” The New Zealand Genealogist, November-December, 2001, pp. 396-398), Victor Longuet had advertisements placed in the New Zealand Muse, a cultural magazine put out by former Communards who had come to Auckland in 1880. Whether he himself was a former Paris 1871 uprising communard is unclear -- he may have arrived before the main 1880 arrival which caused a considerable stir in the city. He was a hairdresser by trade when he purchased 20 acres alongside what was briefly the Rayer vineyard from Robert Greenwood. He was only there until 1885.

On 28 January 1884, he rose from his bed in his Avondale home, had breakfast, then went out with his servant to start chasing the farm's horse for a journey into town. While the two were out on the paddocks, they noticed that the 4-roomed house was ablaze. It burned to the ground, destroying all contents. Although there was insurance, Longuet lost heavily, and this may be the reason why he sold the property the following year to Harvey William Batkin.

The Batkin family were to remain there for 20 years, during which time the road laid out by Robert Greenwood in his original 1880 plan for the subdivision of Allotment 66 was taken over by the Crown in 1891 (it remains as Crown property today) and the name Batkin's Road applied because, well, it leads from New Windsor Road to what was once the Batkin farm at the end and to the left, facing the Oakley Creek. It was further subdivided after the Batkin family's period there, around 1910. The end of Methuen Road passes through.


  1. this may be the same batkin who took over my greatgrandfather Daniel`s drapery in k rd c.1897

  2. Looks like it is. H W Batkin took over the McPherson drapery business on Karangahape Road in 1891.

    "The drapery business so long and successfully carried on by Mr McPherson, Karangahape Road, has recently changed hands, the purchaser boing Mr Batkin, formerly town traveller for Messrs Macky, Logan, Steen, and Co. Since Mr Batkin assumed control he has made extensive alterations suitable to the growth of the business. He has added a spacious work-room for millinery and dressmaking, and has adorned his show-room department. This business commands the very centre of the trade of the district, and we are sure that from the well-known ability of the new proprietor, a large and increasing trade will ensue." (Auckland Star, 15 September 1891)

    Thanks for the info!