Friday, January 30, 2009

Perfect sense

Auckland Evening Star, 28 September 1874.

A facetious hair-dresser up town (we shall not mention names) sold a bottle of scent to a young lady in the neighbourhood of Ponsonby who was of a sentimental and rather fastidious turn of mind, and sent it back to her home. The young lady took it back to the perfumer, and said, "I don't think you forwarded the scent I meant; it is so different to what I expected."

The barber replied, "Miss, I am sure what you meant, I sent, the scent I sent was the scent you meant, consequently we are both of one sentiment."

The lady rejoined, "Whatever your intent, and however well meant, I will never consent to keep this scent," and she left the bottle on the counter and the hair-dresser speechless.

Scrumping, and the dangers there from

From the Auckland Evening Star, 25 January 1875, advertisements and public notices ...

"I HEREBY give notice to the Six respectably-dressed Lads who, during Divine Service last evening, visited my garden in Upper Queen-street for the purpose of stealing fruit, but had to skedaddle before accomplishing much of their purpose (a person being on the premises), that in future my BIG DOG WILL BE LOOSE, and they must take the consequences, only I advise them to take final leave of their mammas before entering my gate opposite the College."

And ...
"An advertiser in another column advertises his BIG DOG to those casting covetous eyes on his fruit trees in Upper Queen-street. The weakness for illicit fruit is not confined to Upper Queen-street. We know a place in Parnell where, in lieu of a dog, there is a gun charged with coarse salt, and a watch kept, and the resolution is determined to lodge the salt in the seat of honor of the first person found among the fruit trees. There will be scratching there we guess. It will afford us pleasure to know and tell our readers whether the big dog in Upper Queen-street or the salt in Parnell first produces screams."

The agile hairdresser

From the Auckland Evening Star, 13 February 1875. I reckon these guys blew any marathons we ever have here in Auckland completely out of contention ...
"A most exciting scene took place yesterday which taxed the physical powers of two of our most active officers of the police. The hair-dresser, Takaberry, who was committed this morning for six months, slipped £4 into his pocket belonging to Mr. Corcoran. Thakaberry was just in trim for running, having neither coat, vest, shirt, shoes nor stockings to burden his exceedingly spectral body.

"Information was at once given to the police, and Sergeant O'Connor made his noble appearance at Corcoran's. Thackaberry, known as the barber of Eden, or the close-cropper, observed the sergeant at a respectable distance, and immediately bolted up Wakefield-street, having a fair start, with the sergeant about fifty yards behind.

"The fox bolted on and on, and occasionally dodged the serjeant among the tombs in the cemetery, and then among gorse. Sometimes the sargeant lost scent for a time, then he would discover the fox out again as he did in the Khyber Pass Road. The chase into Newmarket was marvellous, and though unequal in point of physical dimensions, Sergeant O'Connor hotly pursued the fugitive.

"A glass of refreshing water at the Royal George Hotel revived the spirit of the officer. The barber, however, by this time had got out of sight, but presently was seen peeping from behind a cluster of ti-tree. Off he ran towards the Harp of Erin, and after him ran the sergeant, and near the garden of the Harp, O'Connor felt sure of his prey. The fox, however, barked him; it was a near shave, and he turned towards Auckland.

"The runaway tried hard to baffle his pursuer in the locality of Mt Eden, but failed in endeavoring to scale the wall. He leaped over the stones with wonderful agility, and wound round by the Eden Vine Hotel; and when turning into Grey-street was fairly exhausted, Thakaberry ran into the open arms of Constable Mulville quite beaten, when Sergeant O'Connor came up panting and secured the prisoner. he chase commenced at one o'clock and closed at ten minutes past five, and is worthy of being recorded in the future annals of New Zealand to the credit of the police."
For those who don't know Auckland's layout -- that initial run up Wakefield Street would have been an absolute gut-buster, let alone a chase down Manukau Road and then back through Mt Eden. Well done to Sergeant O'Connor!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The end of "Noah's Ark"

Further to this post.

The following comes from the Auckland Evening Star.

17 September 1874.
Of "Noah's Ark" a correspondent thus writes: -- Sir: Having read a sketch of Noah's Ark in the Star of the 12th inst. I was induced to pay a visit to that resort of the homeless, and found it much in the same state as described in your journal. A number of unkempt lads, rough as colts on English commons, were there in glee singing negro melodies. Two women were also quarreling in the immediate locality, and exchanging unclassical words, until one pulled off her heavy show, and, not for good luck, flung it at her opponent's head. I noticed also a tenantless building close by, of the same delapidated character as the ark. "Noah's Ark" appeared to me to be in a very unsafe condition. The boys are continually in the habit of taking away the brick and decayed wood, which form the ararat on which the ark rests, so that possibly ere long the ark will come down with a crash on the heads of some of the half-stupified hapless slepers within. I learn that Mr. Goldie has been inspecting the ark, so that it is likely before long it will be finally removed, and no longer remain an impediment to the view from Baker-street. -- I am, &c.,
[George Goldie was the city's Inspector of Nuisances at the time.]

25 September 1875

"A new discovery has been made within the last few days in one of the silent shadowy corners of the now famous "Noah's Ark," and which will add interest to its many mysteries. The inhabitants in the immediate locality of Moreton-street keep numbers of fowls, in the breed of which they take very great pride. In truth, the ladies of Moreton street declare that their fowls are the finest in Auckland, and "thank God," as Mrs M--- says, "fowls are out of the pale of the city by-laws." Many of the finest of these birds, however, have lately been missing, and their owners have been puzzled about their mysterious disappearance. Mrs. M --- considered that they had suffered of the pip, and had crept into holes to die in peace, but Mrs W --- expressed it as her opinion that the fowls had been taken away by the foul hands of thieves, and her view was strengthened by the intelligence that a boy had been seen decoying the fowls into Noah's Ark with a handful of maize, for which the feathered innocents have a liking. "I believe that youngster stole my drake," said Mrs W ---. The women entered the echoing windy apartments of the Ark, and found in a sly corner a quantity of feathers, which plainly indicated that the lost fowls had been plucked, if not cooked and eaten, in Noah's Ark."
8 October 1874
"A great deal of excitement has been created within the last few days in the immediate locality of "Noah's Ark," at the corner of Moreton-street. A poor woman went into the ark on Monday evening to find a bit of wood for the purpose of kindling a fire in order to prepare for a cup of tea, when she gave a loud scream and fell upon the ground. Some of the neighbours ran to her assistance, thinking she was in a fit, and applied vinegar to her temples. She appeared to be suffering from nervous debility, but upon recovering her consciousness assured her friends that she had seen very distinctly, the ghost of the unfortunate woman Macfarlane, who was found dead a few weeks ago at the ark. The announcement was credited, and every evening the women are looking out for a sight of the apparition with feelings akin to awe, and no one can muster sufficient courage to enter the hollow, haunted building after dusk."
28 November 1874
"Noah's Ark, situated at the end of Moreton-street, is slowly passing away plank by plank; it is doomed but not as yet absolutely destroyed. This windy vestige of other days has been deserted for some weeks past, both by homeless women and colonial boys. The story that the place was haunted by the ghost of a woman has not been without its influence. If boys and women, however, have been deterred from venturing into the Ark after sunset and sleeping in its silent shadows; the fearless fowls have held unmolested revelry beneath its broken roof. The fowls roost on its dubious beam, and one old cock crows vociferously at break of day from one of the lonely chamber-windows. There also, the neighbouring cats "do congregate," and squeal unseen. One prolific hen belonging to a neighbour, has lately caused some disappointment as the spot where she secreted her eggs could not be found. Her disappointed owner rightly conjectured that the hen deposited her eggs somewhere. A hunt was made under the house, and along the hedge-rows, but without success. Yesterday, however, the secret hauling place was discovered, and a quantity of eggs found in a mysterious corner of the Ark. The foolish hen was heard cackling by the doorless doorway, and a shrewd colonial youth bawled out, "Mother, mother, old speckle-back has laid in the ark, I'll bet a bob on't." The unkempt urchin crept through the mystic chambers and to the joy of his mother's heart found the eggs in a corner, partly screened by an old pair of trousers left there possibly by the last lodger in this mysterious building."
17 February 1875
"The demolition of the old delapidated building, known as Noah's Atk, was commenced yesterday, and on the appearance of this issue, its last vestige will be cleared away by the workmen. As soon as its doom was inevitably sealed by the City Council, without waiting for further order, the neighbouring lads began the work and carried away board after board, until the ark appeared but a hollow symbol of winter and age."

Bewitchment at Whangapoua

Additional to the long-running Craig-Harris-Macfarlane saga at Whangapoua on the Coromandel, comes this report found in the Auckland Evening Star, 7 January 1875.
"The log dispute at Whangapoua, which has gone through so many phases, has now, in the opinion of the Maoris of the district, assumed a new one. Mohi Mangkahia, one of the most prominent actors in the war, has come up to Auckland very ill, for the pirpose of consulting Dr. Philson. The natives are convinced that Mohi has been makutued (bewitched) by Tommy Craig's witch at Whangapoua, in retaliation for having defeated him in the many actions for the possession of logs at Opitonui. They also believe and assert on the authority of their men, learned in such matters, that if Mohi dies the bewitchment will assuredly fall on Messrs. J. S. Macfarlane and Harris. What Mere Taipare will do with the logs, when all the disputants have been disposed of in this unceremonious way, has not yet been revealed by Craig's witches, but one feature in their programme will certainly be fully approved of in Auckland."

Early stirrings towards an Anglican church in the Whau

While I was carefully looking through the very old original papers and scraps in the manuscript collection of John Bollard's papers at the Auckland Museum library (looking for references to brickmakers, and finding only one scant mention of Messrs. Murray and Sloan buying potatoes from Mr. Bollard in April 1870), I found what just may be a wee gem in terms of this district's early history.

There are a few scraps of blue writing paper, like the old minute books from the 19th century, in Bollard's collection, and one long narrow piece is headed up: "List of subscriptions towards the erection of a Church and School at Whau." Several things about the list indicate to me that this is a list of subscribers towards the establishment of an Anglican Church here, in the early 1860s (that is a decade before the gift of land on what is now St Judes Street by James Palmer in 1874). First: the top name on the list is that of "His Lordship Bishop Selwyn", who subscribed £10. Below his name is that of "Thomas Aickin Esq, MD" who subscribed "An acre of land" worth £20. That acre of land could just as well be the cemetery on Rosebank, now the George Maxwell Memorial Cemetery. To quote myself from that linked post:
The cemetery was originally part of the farm of Dr Thomas Aickin from 1859, and it is a child of his, William Aickin, who is the first burial there (3 August 1862). Dr. Aickin, according to a memorial stone in the cemetery, “dedicated this land to the Church of England as a cemetery (in 1862)”.
And yes, the Rosebank cemetery is, indeed, an acre in extent. See below.

None of the names on the list seem to counter the possibility that this dates from at least c.1865, and perhaps slightly before. The figures after each name are pounds/shillings/pence:

His Lordship Bishop Selwyn, 10/-/-
Thomas Aickin, MD An acre of land 20/-/-
OCA Rayson, 5/-/-
A H Spicer 5/-/-
J Buttress 2/2/-
A K Taylor 2/2/-
W I Taylor 1/-/-
D Pollen 5/-/-
Edward King 5/-/-
Mr. E. Brophy, 1/-/-
Mr. J Bambridge 1/-/-
Mr Richard Ringrose, 1/-/-
Mr. Charles Cooper 1/-/-
James W Copland 3/3/-
Thomas Johnson -/10/-
C Crisp 2/-/-
W. Webb 1/-/-
Charles Burke 1/-/-
Charles Edwards 1/-/-
John McLeod 1/-/-
T. Aickin 1/-/- (This could be another T. Aickin, who apparently was living on the New Lynn side of the river at the time.)
R. H. D---y (name illegible) 1/10/-
James Smith 1/2/6
George Sanders 2/-/-
Thomas Sansom, 1/-/-
John Malam, 2/-/-
Ben Belsham, 2/-/-
Fred. Bacon, 1/-/-
Edward Copland, -/5/-
Mr. Henderson, -/10/-

Interesting find -- but what became of all that money? The only thing that remained was Aickin's land offer, and that wasn't taken up by the Anglicans until 1886 (when it was put into trust). Again, quoting my earlier post:
The Avondale Anglican Cemetery Board recorded that on 12th July 1886 a Deed of Conveyance was registered, concerning “the piece of land containing one acre”, transferring ownership of the property to “Alan Kerr Taylor, John Bollard and Matthew Thomas Clayton upon trust for a cemetery and for religious charitable and educational purposes.”
That was two years after St Judes Church was completed. So, at least £60 from the subscription list went somewhere ...? More investigation required, I think.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Auckland Star and its Echo

A long-lasting saga in many acts began to unfold for the New Zealand public on the beach at Whangapoua, Coromandel district, in 1871, and concluded (as near as I can tell for the moment) with the end, in 1875, of a newspaper enterprise initiated out of the need for revenge.

Mohi Mangahaka owned land at the mouth of the Whangapoua Stream, while Thomas Craig, who owned a sawmill further upstream, wanted to float logs down the waterway. Mohi objected, and was granted an injunction, until the Government countered with the Timber Floating Act, 1873, which legalised the floating downstream of timber and logs, despite protests regarding damage to landowners’ property. This Act was passed into law after John Sangster Macfarlane who had his own interests in the area (the Whangapoua Mill) was prevented from floating his timber down the river by Christopher Atwell Harris, who purchased the bed of the Waitekuri Creek from Mohi in order to block Macfarlane. (Report of Wai 262, Indigenous Flora and Fauna and Cultural Intellectual Property, Waitangi Tribunal, 2008)

Accusations between Thomas Craig, Mohi Mangahaka, Christopher Harris and J. S. Macfarlane flew thick and fast in courts both in the Coromandel area and Auckland. Before the timber floating issue, there was the issue where Craig was accused by Mohi of trespassing and felling timber on Mohi’s land, which came before the courts in January 1871. It appears Harris had rights to mill Mohi’s timber – that case appears to have remained undecided. Further arguments over ownership of logs at Whangapoua extended into October that year, then a fight broke out on the beach between Craig’s and Harris’ men over logs ownership, with one man ending up stabbed in the chest with a pike-pole. There had even been an earlier fight, exactly a year before, over the same thing: timber.

We now fast-forward, no doubt through many more legal battles between Harris, Craig and Macfarlane, to 1874.

By May 1974, Macfarlane had fallen out with Thomas and Andrew Craig, and in retaliation they accused Macfarlane of inciting them to shoot Harris on the Whangapoua beach, back in October 1871. This was after Harris had warned off men working for Craig and Macfarlane with a revolver a year before. Thomas Craig in the October 1871 incident at Whangapoua was in possession of a pistol and aimed it at Harris, Craig saying he had been advised back in Auckland that he had a right to shoot to defend what he considered was his property. Harris reported the incident, and Craig had been arrested for attempting to shoot Harris.

Thomas Craig testified in the police court that Macfarlane had told him specifically to shoot Harris if he caused trouble during the seizure of the logs.
“Reference was made to young Mr. Harris. If he was there, and there was further obstruction, to shoot him down and take possession of the logs by force. He was particularly mentioned. It was the defendant who proposed that Mr. Harris should be shot. It was often spoken of, but that was the sum and substance of it … Mr. Macfarlane said if I shot Harris that would end all disputes. He was to get me off. He said no jury would convict me as I was fighting for my own. Supposing I was convicted, he said he had such influence with a jury, the Bank, and with the Government that he would get me off … It was a serious affair. Everything was done under the direction of Mr. J. S. Macfarlane. He took full charge of the mill. I was brought up before Major Keddell for presenting a pistol at Harris. The charge was dismissed. I came up to town afterwards. Before coming up I received a letter from the defendant, which I destroyed, because I thought the language too strong. It stated that I had done wrong in not shooting Harris, as I would never have such a chance again. When I came up to town I saw the defendant, and he said I had done wrong in letting Harris off when I had such a chance, and repeated that I would never be convicted by a jury, as he could got me off through his influence. He spoke to me again about it, and offered me his double-barreled gun and a written guarantee that he would got me off. I refused then and we never spoke about it afterwards. We had a fall out on the following morning.”
The prosecutor during this court hearing aimed to show that Macfarlane wanted Craig to shoot Harris, in order that, once Craig was hanged for the death, Macfarlane stood to gain title to all the deeds for the timber land in the area. (SC, 9 May 1874)

How far Macfarlane’s influence went with the judiciary was questioned by the prosecutor, Mr. Rees, who queried Justice William Buckland’s neutrality, as he was one of the two magistrates at the police court session, and Buckland had stated outright that he supported Macfarlane rather than Harris. Not only that; Buckland was a business partner with Macfarlane in land transactions in the Waikato and on the East Coast. Rees even queried whether both Buckland and fellow magistrate Dr. Horne had the right to sit as magistrates, having both failed to sit at the minimum number of hearings in a two-year period.

Major Keddell from Thames testified that shortly before hearing the October 1871 case against Craig, he had received a pamphlet by Macfarlane on the case of Mohi vs. Craig, as well as a note (since destroyed or lost) which said, “I advise you to be very careful how you deal with the matter against Craig.” However, the case was ultimately dismissed for want of sufficient evidence. (SC, 15 May 1874)

Two further charges against Macfarlane for inciting murder were to have been heard by Horne and Buckland; however, Rees successfully gained a deferral, and by the time the next hearing began, it was before Justice Beckham instead. Even so, Rees took issue with Beckham, claiming that he had been “closeted” with Macfarlane prior to the hearing. Beckham adamantly denied this. Rees advised Harris not to present evidence before Beckham, and so the two charges were dismissed through lack of evidence. (SC, 19 May 1874)

In early June, Macfarlane announced his intentions to take Harris to court on a charge of malicious prosecution. (Evening Post, 10 June 1874) The case opened at the Supreme Court on 22 July. Macfarlane claimed Harris encouraged Craig to bring forward the previous charges against Macfarlane, and denied all claims made against him. The jury, after lengthy deliberations, couldn’t arrive at a verdict, and so were dismissed. (SC, 12 July 1874)

At this point, the Auckland Evening Star made a comment on the whole confusing saga:
The Auckland Evening Star, writing in reference to the recent discharge of the jury in the case of Macfarlane v. Harris, by reason of inability to agree to a verdict, makes the following strong general remarks : — "We solemnly declare our belief that there are those in Auckland who might commit murder in Queen-street in broad daylight, nor could there be brought together in Auckland a bench that would have the daring to commit for trial, nor a jury that would agree to a conviction. The terrorism and the influences that prevail have corrupted the Streams of justice, and no man is safe. It is in vain that we have on the bench of the Supreme Court a man who holds the scales of justice with impartial hand ; in vain that he lays down the law of equity and of common sense by that a child may understand ; for so much scoundrelism have we in our midst, so much villainy have we enrolled from among as on our jury list, that the very gates of justice are closed and barred. The machinery of our law courts can be used by some for oppression and wrong, to ruin by costs and grind under the iron heel of power; and it can be made to stand still when others appeal to it for protection. Law, as we know it in Auckland, is a mockery; trial by jury a delusion and a snare."
(Taranaki Herald, 12 August 1874)

This stung Macfarlane, when he was already heavily criticised over the re-running of the election for the Waitemata electorate. He made the comment in early September, while addressing an election meeting at the Whau Public Hall:
“Mr. Macfarlane… referred to the virulent attacks that had been made upon him by the Star. It was impossible for him to answer all these attacks unless he had a paper of his own, which he had not.”
(SC, 3 September 1874)

However, Macfarlane had already decided to fight fire with fire. His good name, such as it was, was at stake and under threat from bad publicity which he saw as emanating from one source: the Star. He aimed to wipe out this enemy to his reputation. On 9 November 1874, his creation, the Auckland Echo was born.

“The Echo will first of all, and most of all, be a journal of news. In our columns will be found an Echo as complete as possible of what takes place, and as truthful as possible of what public opinion may be in all parts of New Zealand. Our politics will be rather colonial than local; our objects the good of the colony at large, and not the advancement of a party. Our support will be afforded to all measures that appear to be in themselves beneficial, from whatever party they may come, but our political faith will be pinned to the skirts of no politician. Our sympathies will be enlisted on the side of real progress, whether in the reform of our Government, or in the development of our resources as a country. Our advocacy may be relied upon for the cause that lacks assistance, whenever that cause is not only weak but deserving; and our denunciations will not be withheld from fear, favour or affection, whenever real wrongs demand redress, actual abuses call for stern exposure. In our pages will be found no scurrilous abuse of individuals – no pandering to the morbid tastes of those who seek a sensation at the expense of honesty, and of the good name of other men. Our columns will be freely open to correspondence on all subjects of public interest without reference to the opinions of our correspondents, so long as their letters conform to the principles by which, as we have said, our own action will be governed. Such in a few words is our programme, and to this we shall adhere. To be the tool of no clique, the mouthpiece of no politician, the engine of no man’s malice, the instruments to serve no man’s private ends – is the unalienable determination of this journal.”
(Waikato Times, 12 November 1874)

The NZ Herald, and basically the Southern Cross as well, remarked on the Echo’s good typography and format, that “the written matter is temperate in tone, and the re-print articles fairly selected, and the telegraphic intelligence copious.” (NZH, 10 November 1874) As for the Auckland Star, now with another evening paper to compete with, and one with an axe to grind, they said nothing. Apparently, not a peep about the Echo was published in the Star for the next year, so they claimed.

The Echo had £3000 in capital put into its creation and operation. Telegraph correspondents all around both islands were hired (we know from a court case between the Wellington correspondent and the Echo in March 1875 that the going rate seems to have been £1 per column.) But, there was a war going on between the Echo and the Star. Unfortunately, with the Star’s silence, the Herald’s stand-apart neutrality and the only copies of the Echo surviving being down in the Alexander Turnbull Library, firsthand details of the tussles between the two newspapers isn’t all that readily available. Thankfully, some tidbits were snapped up and repeated by the provincial papers, the Southern Cross and the Evening Post.

20 March 1875
The Echo convicts Reed and Brett of the Star of posting the bills of a shoemaker over those announcing Mr. Fox's lecture on Temperance.
(Waikato Times)
To the Editor : Sir, —Will you kindly give publicity to the following to satisfy many who were disappointed at not hearing Mr. Fox last night. The committee advertised in the morning papers, but could not get Sir George Grey's consent to preside until later in the day. They at once ordered posters at the Echo office; and am sorry that courtesy to Sir G. Grey and Mr. Fox did not prevent the Evening Star’s people from pasting over those calling the meeting. The committee are much annoyed, and trust that the following explanation will be accepted, and they do not believe that Mr. Ellison, whose bills were used for the purpose, was a party to the action. — Yours, &c, S. B Auckland, March 19.

To the Committee of the Hon. Mr. Fox: Gentlemen, — I certify that I posted the bills on every place that I have got a right to do, and Mr. Brett (of the Star) went round with their bill-sticker, and put on bills over mine before they got dry. — John Cany, bill-sticker, Echo office.
(Southern Cross)

3 April 1875.
The "Echo” of this evening shows that the “ Star's " alleged special report from Te Kuiti to have been invented in their own office, as there is utter ignorance displayed of the district, and is evidently manufactured upon the garbled information of a pakeha-maori, who is connected with the natives.
(Waikato Times)

3 September 1875
It is amusing to notice the exchange of compliments between the two Auckland evening papers. The following from the Echo is a sample of the delicate way in which it is done: — "Amongst other signs of the advancement of Wangarei has been that of the establishment of a local paper. The Comet has fallen into bad hands, and is neither a credit to the district nor to the newspaper press of the Colony. Its original matter is ill written, and its leading articles are the veriest fustian. Great dissatisfaction is, it is said, expressed by the settlers of Wangarei with regard to it. Perhaps the Wangarei people are not aware that it is a mere reprint of that disreputable and disgraceful production the Auckland Star — the real proprietors."
(Grey River Argus)

18 September 1875
The Echo understands that proceedings either have been or are about to be commenced against the Auckland Evening Star for the publication of a telegram purporting to have come from the correspondent of that paper at Coromandel, stating that Mr. F. Bromley Steele, the Coromandel correspondent and agent of the " Cross," was one of the jumpers of the Union Beach mine.
(Evening Post)

12 October 1875
There is no love lost between the two Auckland evening papers, the Star and the Echo and neither loses an opportunity of having a fling at its rival. The following is a specimen of the Echo's style, taken from its issue of the 21st ult.:— " This morning, between nine and ten o'clock, the city was enlivened by the now not very usual sound of cannonading, the gunners of H.M.S. Sappho, now in harbor, having been put through a practice with the ship's guns. The presence of the Sappho in harbor has had a salutary effect of late upon our evening contemporary. He ceases to breathe of treason, and refraineth from inciting to riot. The public may have noticed of late the visit of a midshipman of the Sappho regularly every afternoon to the office in Wyndham-street, and from what we learn the proof-sheets of the editorials are submitted to this young gentleman every day, who excises anything bordering on the revolutionary. This will account for the tameness, amounting almost to respectability, which has for the last few days characterised the leading matter of that scurrilous little publication."
(West Coast Times)

20 October 1875
The shipping reporter of the Auckland Echo has been fined Is and costs for a breach of the harbor regulations, by boarding the ship British Empire before that vessel was moored, or passed by the Health Officer. Defendant pleaded guilty. Mr. J. B. Russell said that the offence was committed in consequence of the rivalry of the two evening papers. The case had been brought in order to show that neither shipping reporters, nor other persons, could infringe upon the laws laid down. Judge Fenton said he wished it to be clearly understood that if a similar breach of the regulations came before him he would inflict the highest penalty.
(Evening Post)

Then, on 11 November 1875, it was all over. Sir Henry Brett of the Star was the victor in the end – against rumours that the Star was suffering economically in competition with the Echo, certified lists of distribution figures were published, which showed those of the Star remained well over the 4000 mark. The Echo was purchased lock, stock and printer’s ink … and then turned sharply around in opinion, startling the Echo’s admirers and audience around the provinces.
“One of the cleverest, if not the sharpest pieces of business, we (''Tribune") remember to have heard of for a long while, was that managed by the proprietors of the Auckland 'Evening Star ' the other day, in the purchase of a rival newspaper— the 'Echo.' The latter was in difficulties, and fell an easy prey to the former, but instead of at once stopping its publication, the new owners of the 'Echo' kept it in existence for some days, and made its columns not only the means of unsaying, in the matter or politics, all that it had said during its brief career, but also of puffing the “Star” after the most unblushing fashion. People wondered how the “Echo”, in announcing its discontinuance, should have said that it could not make headway against "that popular, etc., etc., journal the Star,” but the wonder is fully explained when they know that it was the proprietors of the 'Star' who wrote the valedictory article, and as a matter of face did the whole of the leek-eating for a newspaper which had become the subject of their tender mercies.”
(Tuapeka Times, 24 November 1875)

The Star published an obituary of some length for the Echo, claiming that the enmity felt towards them by Macfarlane had been sparked by “a harmless criticism by us on the supposed unsuitableness of the Star of the South [Macfarlane’s cargo ship] for the Fijian trade …” Whether they were being forgetful, or just glossing over their comment regarding “influences … corrupting the streams of justice” is hard to determine. Criticising a ship wouldn’t impact on Macfarlane’s reputation as much as an accusation of tampering with the judicial system might.

The Echo is defunct. It died on Thursday last, when its expiring issue came out. It had an obituary notice headed "Our Last Issue," in which it set out the reasons of its collapse, the most cogent of which is that the proprietors have sunk £3000 in the venture, and don't feel inclined to sink any more. The Star proprietors have purchased the plant, with which it is rumoured they intend starting an evening paper in Dunedin, but this is only hearsay.

The Star takes its opponent's death very decently; it does not crow at all, but modestly quotes the Echo's dying tribute to its ''great circulation" and "advertising "attractions," and gives a well-worded sop to Mr. J. S. Macfarlane, whom it describes as follows :—

"Mr. J. S. Macfarlane has his faults, but he has been a bulwark of protection to many a struggling man, and many a struggling enterprise in days when such was needed; and, absent as he now is on a voyage to the South Sea Islands, we do not hesitate to say that, to his commercial enterprise and indomitable pluck and constancy to friends, many a man owes his start and success in life and recognises it warmly and gratefully. Hot in his antipathies as in his attachments, he is a staunch friend, but the very devil as an enemy. In both capacities we have known him, but wholly irrespective of any good or ill arising from his friendship or his enmity, to find ourselves arrayed in mortal combat with a man who has long been the representative of progress in Auckland, has been repugnant to our instincts."

It is a good job Mr. Macfarlane is away at Levuka, as his absence saves him any amount of chaff about the result of his attempt to brush the Star.
(Bay of Plenty Times, 20 November 1875)

An update here.

They Trained Beside the River

Fourth of my publications since 2007 that I've just had printed is They Trained Beside the River, about the military camps on Avondale Racecourse from 1912 to 1916. This is a compiled trilogy of essays first written (and previously published) from 2002-2008. All three of the essays are to be found on Scribd (and I've posted about them here on Timespanner) -- this compilation will mainly go to libraries for reference, I'd say.

I'm working on number five at the moment, about the Auckland City Drill Halls from 1864 to 1968. Working title at the moment is Marching Feet and Beating Drums. Just pulling together a compilation of info from news articles and other sources -- that may be finished next month or March, depending on time.

Ah, Zealandia -- what has become of thee?

Zealandia, Brittania's daughter, and the personification of the young colony proclaimed in 1840 and uplifted to dominion status in 1907 -- what has become of thee?

Richard Seddon was probably your greatest champion. After all, he was keen to create a Zealandia mini-empire of territories and dependencies with New Zealand at the centre -- and he opposed joining the Federation of Australia.

But these days, aside from your modernised position on our national coat of arms, few know even your name. "Zealandia" these days, in an unconscious hark-back to Seddonian rhetoric, is now the name given to the whole continental shelf we rest on, our part of Gondwanaland, and it's a brand for such as a sanctuary park.

There is a wonderful Denis Glover article online from the 1966 Encyclopedia of New Zealand. That at least is a tribute to you, old girl.
"Universal penny postage (ah, Progress) swept her triumphantly onward and outward on the flood of trivialities that makes up the postbag. From 1901 till 1909, in a well-washed red, her figure was daily battered by the cancellation mark of every post office in the land. Zealandia has suffered a sea change. She now stands on the end of a wharf, leaning against a murky globe. The caduceus shows signs of weighing heavy, and her right hand rests unsteadily on the foremast of a proud steamer tossing in mid-Tasman. She has lost her hat, and her tresses are wildly windswept. There is a slight glaze to her eye: she looks dissolute. Against the gale her nightie is reinforced by a nether Kaiapoi rug. It is cold, and there's not a sailor in sight."
Photos are from the Boer War display, Scars on the Heart, Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Relics of the Land Wars

Yesterday, I was in the Auckland War Memorial Museum looking up old documents, and while I waited for their library to open, I had a bit of a scout around their Scars on the Heart exhibition. Having the camera with me, I took some photos.

Sorry about the slight blur to this shot (darn it, I knew I should have taken another one!) -- this is a despatch case used by Governor Sir George Grey. In the late 1840s, he came in as Governor and listened to the tide of land hunger amongst the settlers then, overturning Fitzroy's "dealing only with the Crown" reforms; in the 1860s, he stepped right into the ferment between Maori and settlers, and let loose the dogs of war; and in the 1870s he tried, unsuccessfully, to defend the constitution he himself had inaugurated, but could only stand back and watch as the provinces dissolved. He also tried setting up a MAF officer's nightmare of a Kawau Island stuffed-full of exotic beasties (especially wallabies). He did leave a valuable book and manuscript collection which helped to kick start the Auckland City Library in the 1880s, and he was a friend to Sydney Margaret Hamilton. Image below from Alexander Turnbull Library, via Wikipedia.

This, according to the museum's display listing, is said to be a bugle sounded during the Battle of Rangiriri, 1863. Details on this battle during the Waikato War at the link, via NZETC.

Newmarket's gun

Newmarket's gun has come to some grief since I last photographed it back in 2005 (see below.)

To be fair, Auckland City are in the throes at the moment of upgrading stormwater at Lumdsen Park and doing a redevelopment. The gun might have been taken away, out of sight. At least, for the moment, it's still "guarding" the south road, at the corner of Khyber Pass which itself is named after Imperial tussles up in the mountain ranges of the Indian sub-continent.

This is an example of a rifle muzzle-loaded gun, or RML, ordered during the 1870s after one Russian Scare, and in place somewhere on the coastline of the Waitemata Harbour in time for the next Russian Scare of the 1880s. They were declared obsolete in 1910, and the Newmarket Borough Council were given this one to have on display, installed on its own carriage, close to where it is today.

During World War II, fearing the sight of the old gun might attract Japanese bombers, the Borough Council buried it -- and lost track of where it was. The carriage was disposed of on a tip, leaving just the gun, somewhere under the grass of the domain. It was relocated in 1968, and placed on a traffic island in the middle of Broadway. This wasn't such a good idea: a number of car vs. gun incidents gave the old weapon a late 20th century infamy amongst drivers. It was relocated again in 1972 to where I took these photos, the southern end of Lumsden Green.

The gun itself looks okay at least, apart from the rubbish an uncaring public decide to try to fill it with. It's wooden supports need a bit of work, though.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Joseph Glenny, country schoolmaster

Joseph Glenny was one of the Whau School District's early teachers. His background isn't certain, but appears to be associated from the 1860s with the Komokoriki/Ahuroa district.

In November 1871, he was appointed as a teacher at Matakana (SC, 18 November 1871). He was to serve Matakana and Omaha as a teacher-cum-librarian until August 1876.

On the evening of Monday, the 26th of July last, the settlers of Matakana and its neighbourhood met together in the Upper Matakana School-room, to bid farewell to then esteemed teacher, Mr. Glenny, who is leaving here to take charge of the Whau School. It rained pretty heavily in the early part of the day, but it cleared up about 1 p m., and although still threatening, and the roads very muddy, there was a very good attendance, the school room being well filled.

A most plentiful supply of good things had been provided. The tea department was well conducted, and reflected great credit on those ladies who presided. After full justice had been done at the tea table, Mr. Alexander Cruickshank, sen., was elected chairman, and a most varied and excellent programme of songs and recitations, intermingled with anecdotes was gone through, and the evening passed swiftly and pleasantly away. Where nearly every one performed their part well, it would be invidious to particularise.

Shortly before the close of the entertainment, the subjorned address and reply were read. This part of the evening's entertainment was brought to a close by the whole of the company joining in singing with great enthusiasm " Auld Lang Syne," this terminating one of the most successful entertainments ever held here.

After the close, the lovers of the "Light fantastic” adjourned to the Messers. Cruickshank's barn, where Terpsichore "reigned supreme till daylight did appear."—

The following is the address referred to above: — "To Joseph Glenny, Esq : Dear Sir, --"We, the inhabitants of Matakana and Omaha, desire on the eve of your departure from amongst us, to express to you our deep feelings of regret at your leaving the district. We feel the Ioss our schools will suffer in losing a most efficient, diligent and painstaking teacher. We also feel the great loss the neighbourhood will suffer in losing a most agreeable neighbour, and kind friend. You have by your unvarying kindness, urbanity and willingness to oblige gained the goodwill of everyone in the district. The members of our library are under lasting obligations to you for the great interest you have taken in promoting its success, and, also without fee or reward under taking the main portion of its management, including the delivery of books to members whenever they found it convenient to come for them.

We wish the accompanying testimonial had been more worthy of its object, but one thing we can assure you of, it is the unanimous heartfelt expression of the goodwill and esteem of the district towards you. While sorry to lose your services we are glad to hear that your worldly prospects will be much improved in your new situation. In conclusion, we wish you and Mrs. Glenny all success and happiness in your new sphere of duty, and throughout your future lives —Signed for the inhabitants by Alexander Cruishank, J. P. "

Reply : "Matakana, 26th July 1875.— Dear Friends,— When I say that I thank you for the address which you have presented to me, I feel how poorly and inadequately such words express the gratitude with which l am stirred. I am not naturally skilled in giving expression to my feelings at any time, and you may readily believe me when I say that on this occasion the genuine warmth and kindness of your sentiments and the generosity of your conduct towards me and Mrs. Glenny have left me less so than ever. Be assured, however, that I shall bear away with me a deeply cherished and lasting recollection of your friendship, every expression of which I most heartily reciprocate. You are pleased to refer to me in favourable - much too favourable terms— both in my public and private capacity. I ever strove to act right, according to the best of my ability, and feeling that I must often have been mistaken, it is very cheering to receive such a hearty expression of your sympathy and approval. Whatever degree of success I may have achieved in the discharge of my duties as your teacher, I feel that I owe a great part of it to the moral support of the parents of those children who have been confided to my care, and to them I return my most sincere thanks, and hope that they and the people of Matakana and Omaha will give the same support and uniform kindness to my successor. I am glad that I have been able to promote the success of your excellent library, and it will always be glad news to me to hear of the success and prosperity of the Matakana library. You have, by the kind words of your address, amply recompensed me for any trouble I have had in its management. In conclusion, I may say that it is with deep regret that I leave this district, thus severing the friendships that I have formed dining my residence amongst you, but I do heartily rejoice that I bear away with me your unanimous goodwill and esteem. And now it only remains for me to thank you for the entertainment you have this evening given me, thus affording me an opportunity of meeting you all for the last time. For this crowning act of your cordiality I feel deeply grateful, and on behalf of Mrs. Glenny and myself I wish you all good bye. —I am, dear friends, yours gratefully and obliged Joseph Glenny.

Before leaving the district, the soiree committee presented Mr. Glenny with £5 10s., proceeds of soiree after paying expenses, to purchase for himself some testimonial most to his wish in remembrance of Matakana. [Own correspondent]
(SC, 6 August 1875)

At the Whau, Glenny was the schoolmaster, looking after the educational needs of what was then a vast and spread-out district. Right from the beginning, it seems, he was enormously successful.

The annual distribution of prizes, previous to breaking up for the Christmas holidays, took place on Monday in the Public Hall in presence of the School Committee, and a number of the pupils' friends. The committee on this occasion departed from their usual course of examining the pupils in the various branches of school study, deeming it unnecessary to do so, the Board of Education having instituted an annual test examination. A Spelling Bee was substituted in lieu thereof, the pupils to the number of 70, being divided into eight classes, two prizes being for each division. Mr. Gittos acted as propounder, and Mr. Glenny, teacher of the school, as umpire.

After a keen and animated contest in each division, the prizes, which were given by Mr. Gittos with his usual kindness and liberality, were awarded as in the subjoined list. Mr. Gittos briefly addressed the pupils on the advantages of education, urging upon them the necessity of perseverance and attention, illustrating his subject by instances of those who attained distinction and honour by having made up their minds to try to succeed. The prizes were then handed to the fortunate recipients by Mr. Bollard, chairman of the School Committee, who on behalf of the other members of committee, complimented the teachers, Mr. Glenny and Mrs. Burns on the improvement in the school since they took charge of it. The parents present having carefully examined the needlework done during the half year, expressed themselves highly pleased with the progress made, and congratulated Mrs. Burns on the results of her care and attention in that department.

The day's proceedings were brought to a close with a school feast, which was liberally provided by the School Committee, and to which ample justice was done by all present. If happy and cheerful faces are an index of enjoyment, we should say, judging by the looks of the young people, that they heartily appreciated the efforts of the committee to minister to their comfort and pleasure. Three hearty cheers for the committee and teachers brought a happy day to a conclusion.

The following is the prize list :— First division : 1st prize, Richard Bollard ; 2nd prize, Agnes Lawrence. Second division: 1st prize, Ellison McLeod ; 2nd prize, Margaret Bollard. Third division: 1st prize, James Archibald ; 2nd prize, Sarah J. Hazel. Fourth division : 1st prize, William Sansom ; 2nd prize, John Archibald. Fifth division : 1st prize, Eliza Partington ; 2nd prize, Eliza Tate. Sixth division : 1st prize, Francis McLeod ; 2nd prize, Mary Ann McCaul. Seventh division : 1st prize, Mary J. Forsyth 2nd prize, William Bollard. Eighth division : 1st prize, James Webb ; 2nd prize, Thomas Wilson.
(SC, 22 December 1875)

Glenny followed this with an appeal to the trustees of the Whau Public Hall to consent to him opening up a night school in the area.
Dear Sir

In compliance with the wishes of a number of the inhabitants of this district I propose opening an evening school on the 7th prox. Will your Committee have any objection to giving me permission to use the Hall for this purpose on four evenings of the week, viz. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. In the event of your granting my request, I will at all times be ready to give way to all public uses for which the hall itself may be required.
(Letter from Joseph Glenny, 31 January 1876, John Bollard papers, Auckland Museum library)

It all came to an end, however, in 1881. For some reason, the Education Board insisted that Joseph Glenny be replaced as schoolmaster by Samuel Frederick Mayhew. The Whau School Committee were outraged, but were told that what the Education Board said, went. So, it was Mayhew who was the first teacher of the new school in May 1882. What happened to Glenny is, at the moment, not known. It looks like the school committee were organising a tesimonial presentation to him, judging from a small strip of blue paper found in the papers left to the Auckland War Memorial Museum Library by the family of John Bollard. A total of £8- 2/6 was gathered from the following members of the community:

Rev. R. Sommerville, 10/-; Mr. P Gallagher, 2/-; John Bollard, 10/-; James Archibald, 10/-; James Leach, 5/-; George Thomas, 10/-; Robert Dakin, 10/-; William Forsyth, 5/-; John Buchanan, 10/-; H. J. Bell, 5/-; R. Bollard, 5/-; F Bollard, 2/-; F. Harvey, 2/6; James Archibald, 2/6; David Archibald, 5/-; John Archibald, 2/6; John Sinclair, 5/-; Roland Hill, 2/6; James Buchanan, 2/6; John Wallace, 2/6; R. Garrett, 10/-; Mr. Johnson, 2/6; and John Wilson, 2/6. (Source: John Bollard collection of papers, MS 31, Auckland Museum Library.)

Further to the art in Olympic Park

My thanks to Jayne from Our Great Southern Land and Liz from Mad Bush Farm for both your comments to the first Olympic Park Art post yesterday. Yup, whau pods look brown-and -hite or so, and that sculpture of the Whau Pod just doesn't resemble the natural.

The only hit on the web for "Whau Pod" just now -- is good ol' Timespanner's blog. Why? thinks I. Isn't Waitakere City proud of their artwork display here? Off I toodles to their website.

"Whau Pod" is the sixth photo down on the right. But -- it isn't named. I searched their site -- nothing. Ah, well, as Mad Bush says, it's art. It doesn't look bad, and it is a good landmark.

I reckon they should put more artworks in the park -- it's still rather bare, the cabbage trees trying to get a good foothold, but it could use some more stuff like this, I think. It was interesting walking around and discovering each item. Olympic Park as an outdoor art gallery just a short walking distance from where I hang my hat. I can live with that.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Art at Olympic Park

Olympic Park is off Wolverton Street, and is where the Avondale (Waituarangi) and the Whau creeks meet to form the Whau River. Above is a metal map, showing where the artworks in the park are in relation to the creeks and the railway line.

Some may recognise this from my profile photo, "The Centuries Meet". Last year, this didn't have a plaque telling me what it is -- actually, last year (February 6) I don't recall any of the other artworks in the park apart from Hinaki (a wire net sculpture, I suppose signifying how eels were caught in the creeks) and the Whau Pod (see below). Now, I know this one is "Te Kawerau A Maki Pou Whenua", by John Collins and Sunnah Thompson. Te Kawerau A Maki are the local West Auckland iwi in Waitakere City, while "te pou" is a pillar, or a meeting post.

This is "Homage to Crown Lynn" by Louise Purvis. The Crown Lynn Potteries in New Lynn were in operation during the 20th century. I still use Crown Lynn plates, although some go for a pretty penny in collectibles shops.

Now, this is weird. "Whau Pod", by Steve Woodward. It is supposed to represent an aspect of the Whau Tree, Entelea Arborescens, one of the origin theories to the name of the Whau River. Detail of the top of the artwork below.

The thing is, the pod of the Whau Tree looks like this, which doesn't resemble anything like that sculpture. I know it's an artwork, but -- red? Any suggestions as to what it does look like are welcome.

What's inside a railway crossing barrier arm

I blame the Meccano set I used to play with when I was a nipper for being fascinated by stuff like this. My late Uncle Tom, according to my Mum, loved pulling radios and other similar stuff apart to see how they worked, then (attempt) to put them back together again. That worked, at times.

Me, I think the Meccano set is the reason why I'm fascinated by mechanical stuff. So, today, while I decided to enjoy the sunshine of our Auckland Anniversary Day and take a long walk through the neighbourhood, I spotted the above (detail below) at Chalmers Street rail crossing. It was my good luck that Ontrack workers were testing the barriers -- they were about to close both boxes up as I got there.

Auckland's "Noah's Ark" on Morton Street

It's Auckland Anniversary Day today (the relocated anniversary, when really our city's "birthday" is in September, but that's a story in itself). 35 years after all the celebration on Point Britomart, young Auckland had the social problems it was supposed to have left behind in the Old Country, and one case gave rise to an article of descriptive social comment from the Evening Star.

Today, judging by what Google's street view shows (a wonderful tool for days like today when I'm watching the pennies but would still like to see the sights), Morton Street is more-or-less just a service lane off Cook Street in Auckland's CBD. It curves around, just a road leading from the back of buildings and carparks, a bit of grassy area left, some buses and trees on a grassy knoll sculpted by landscape designers, or possibly left when a carpark was carved out just behind it. It stops abruptly, where once it continued on and became Baker Street, which in turn emptied into Nelson Street -- today, Baker Street has vanished (gone in 1955), and buildings, row on row, are between the end of Morton Street and the Skytower.

In 1874, a woman named Elizabeth Macfarlane died. She apparently lived on Morton Street, then known as Moreton Street and Norton Street. Her last year wasn't pleasant. Having no visible means of support and with previous convictions "as an idle and disorderly person", she was sentenced to three months at Mt Eden gaol. She was fined 10s and costs in August for allowing the chimney of her house in Morton Street to catch fire (although how she could be a vagrant, yet have a house is mysterious). Then, in September:
A shocking case is given by the Auckland Star, in referring to a recent inquest on the body of one Elizabeth Macfarlane, was disclosed by the evidence of Eliza Rice, a companion of the dead woman. The wretched woman had led a life of immorality and sensual indulgence, and the termination of her existence was m keeping with her miserable career. The jury returned a verdict of death from exposure and excessive drinking.
(Marlborough Express, 26 September 1874)

The Star must have dispatched a reporter within days to investigate Morton Street and an old dilapidated and abandoned house there called "Noah's Ark". This is the resulting article, via the North Otago Times, 15 October 1874.


When Charles Dickens described a rentable locality in the purlieus of Bermondsey, known only to a few as Jacob's Island, Sir Peter Laurie said that the place had no existence save in the author's imagination. And so persons might say of Noah's Ark, the dilapidated theatre of human degradation which has “a local habitation and a name" in the western part of the city of Auckland.

We have not been able to trace the origin of "Noah's Ark," which is evidently deserted by its comfortable proprietor and left to the storms of time and the rude hands of local mud-pudding manufacturers. This vestige of past days occupies a rustic site in Moreton-street, and commands pleasant views of Freeman's Bay, St. Mary's Orphanage, and the pretty respectable uphill thoroughfare known as Baker-street, celebrated for its white bead and quiet inhabitants. Occasionally a constable may be seen striding down Baker-street where his help is never wanted, and where his presence causes no surprise, as it is understood that he is on a visit to Noah's Ark. The old building is in a melancholy state, indicative of the moral condition of many of the moonlight sleepers who find cold, gratuitous rest on the odorous boards of the windy, unfurnished rooms. Moreton-street otherwise would be a pleasant retired place. The half-dozen cottages hare scanty slips of gardens, with here and there a creeper twining round a window or curling over a doorway. Along the green space at the back of the houses there runs a kind of rivulet near a hedge, where neither primroses nor cresses grow. A group of well fed cows are sometimes found grazing on the open green spaces in the immediate locality, but never without a mill-boy in attendance.

We understand that the city missionary rarely steps within Noah's Ark, or the very spot might be suggestive of a lay sermon on a passage in scripture history, and the story of Noah might be amplified and applied with advantage. Noah's Ark is empty through the day, and in the evening it is occupied by the sportive ragamuffins of the neighborhood, who make wild music on old bones and bottomless saucepans, and who occasionally display their histrionic abilities in an original version of "Jack Shepherd." About midnight, or in the early morning before daybreak, the shadowy forms of homeless women may be seen there stupefied with drink; women that once were fair and innocent, and whose welfare formed the burden of the prayers of pious parents, but who through misfortune and unhappy unions have cast off self-respect and abandoned themselves to vice and despair. Such individuals may be seen wending in uncertainty towards Noah's Ark for such shelter and repose as they may find in that almost hopeless home. A few rags may be noticed in the corners of rooms in lieu of beds. We saw a portion of "Saturday Night” lying on the floor, containing a Hendersonian essay on "Conversation lollies," in which some inmate had probably felt temporary interest, and then thrown it aside.

And so these daughters of night struggle on, between Noah's Ark, Mount Eden, and the intervening Police Court, until their sad career ends, it may be, like that of Elizabeth Macfarlane, in a pauper's grave, unhallowed and unblessed by the voice of the preacher.

The end of Noah's Ark here.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Three Macfarlanes

An enquiry from a friend and fellow researcher this afternoon gave me cause to stop, think a bit, and then decide to make this post, even if only to sort out any future muddles hopefully by the convenience of searching for this post.

It is to do with three Mr. Macfarlanes in Auckland's history. Two were definitely related, and the other has, in the past and on at least one website, become confused with another.

Enter John Macfarlane. He was Thomas Henderson's partner in establishing the Circular Saw Line and Henderson's Mill, amongst other enterprises. He died in September 1860.
We have never chronicled a death more regretfully than that which appears in our obituary of this day. Mr. John Macfarlane, of the firm of Henderson and Macfarlane, was one of our early settlers, having arrived in the year 1842, since when he arid his partner have been the greatest employers of labour in the Province. They have done more towards production of exports than any firm in the town; while the existence of our Auckland shipping fleet, which exceeds in tonnage that of all the rest of the colony put together, is mainly attributable to their exertions. Mr. Macfarlane was an especial favourite in the place — liberal in all private matters, universally respected, and personally liked in all Social relations. The funeral will take place this day, with masonic honours.
Southern Cross, 7 September 1860.

Enter Thomas Macfarlane. He arrived in 1860 to take the place of his dead brother John on the board of Henderson & MacFarlane, and went on to become closely intertwined with the commercial life of Auckland in general. He died after being struck by a railway engine in May 1885.

Enter John Sangster Macfarlane.
We regret to learn from the Auckland papers of the death of Mr. John Sangster Macfarlane, which took place on the 2nd February, after a short but painful illness. The following particulars concerning his career we take from the Auckland Herald, and will be of interest to our readers, to many of whom his face and form were familiar : — He was born in Haddington, East Lothian, in 1818, his father being the minister of the Established Church in that place. In 1837 he came out to Sydney as an officer in the Commissariat Department. After some time he resigned that position, and set himself to the study of navigation. Having made himself proficient in that science, he purchased a schooner and commenced to trade between Sydney and Auckland, and also with the East Coast.

He married in Sydney, and subsequently left that city for Auckland, where, in 1844, he joined the late Captain Salmon in the business of general merchants. In 1849 he left for California in command of the Daniel Webster. On his return to New Zealand he traded for some time on the East Coast, in connection with the late Captain Reid, of Poverty Bay, and afterwards carried on business under the style of J. S. Macfarlane and Co., in Queen-street and finally in Fort-street. About four years ago he retired from active mercantile life, and devoted his attention to Colonial politics, serving in the General Assembly for two sessions as member for Waitemata. Mr. Macfarlane was thorough both in his likes and dislikes, and as a shrewd, intelligent, and observant Scotchman, inherited the best traits characteristic of his race.

He was a man of remarkable energy and force of character, and up to the last evinced a keen interest in all that transpired around him of public moment. He manifested great satisfaction when informed of the favourable result of his recent lawsuit at Wellington, and has now himself passed away to the final Court of Appeal at the age of 62. He leaves a widow, who is understood to be comfortably provided for, but no family, and a brother, surgeon in the Royal Navy, as well as a sister married at Perth.
Taranaki Herald, 6 February 1880
A telegram from Auckland informs us that Mr. J. S. Macfarlane, late member for Waitemata, who had been lying dangerously ill for several days, has at last succumbed. Mr. Macfarlane was exceedingly well known in Auckland, where he carried on business of an importer for many years. He has always taken an active part in public affairs, and has ever been remarkable for being very thorough in the advocacy of the side he took up.

As a strong partisan, he made many enemies as well as many friends. Mr. Macfarlane's name has been very much before the public of late years, owing to his being constantly involved in litigation. He was first heard of in connection with some actions in regard to timber rights, in which Mohi (a Maori) , Mr. Craig, and Mr. Machattie were concerned. Mr. W. L. Rees was engaged as the counsel on the other side, but latterly, instead of being merely the advocate, had got involved as one of the parties in suits with Mr. Macfarlane. At the present time we believe that more than one action between the two parties are down on the lists of the Supreme Court.

Mr. Macfarlane being strongly attacked at one time by the Auckland Star, started an opposition paper called the Echo. The latter did not prove a success, however, and he lost a good deal of money by the venture. Mr. Macfarlane lost his seat for Waitemata at the last general election, when he was defeated by Mr. Reader Wood. We believe that he was about 55 years of age at the time of his death.
Evening Post, 3 February 1880

I have previously included information on him in Part 1 of Terminus, as he was the main backer of John Thomas in the latter's ill-fated brickmaking enterprise in 1863. He was also included in this post about the 1874 Waitemata Election. I find him fascinating, actually. He's well worth a bit of a study, some time. He isn't the same John Macfarlane who died in 1860, though -- and whether they all had a capital F in their surnames or not is debateable.

Update: 29 May 2009. There were actually four Macfarlanes in total, so I've found out recently thanks to meeting up with Robin Grover from Silverdale & Districts Historical Society, author of wonderful books on the Wade. First there was Henry Macfarlane, with Thomas Henderson, but he left for Hawaii early (end of 1846, according to Anthony Flude), and nominated his brother John Macfarlane. He was the one who died in 1860. Phew! We're up to our necks in Macfarlanes, around here ...

Hoffman kilns -- the first 20 years in NZ

There's a wonderful website showing not only the exterior but interiors of a Hoffman kiln -- Robert Crompton Pottery, showing a Palmerston North kiln.

According to various websites, Friedrich Hoffman of Danzig (now Gdansk in Poland) patented his design for a brick kiln which used a continuous production process in 1858, but little is known about Hoffman himself. The designs landed here in New Zealand in the early 1870s, with the first kilns in the the South Island, before the North eventually caught on. The need for bricks in huge numbers and in an economical amount of time for the great Vogel projects such as the North Island Main Trunk railway probably helped popularise them here.

The following snippets are all from Papers Past.

Otago Witness, Issue 1145, 8 November 1873, Page 19
In the course of about two months, operations will be commenced towards the erection of an extensive brick manufactory in Dunedin. The site secured is a paddock close to Hillside, on the Kensington road, and here will be built a large kiln on the Hoffman principle of continuous burning, capable of turning out 70,000 bricks per week; and with a view to supply this quantity, machinery on the compressed plan has been sent for from England, and, it is expected, will arrive here so as to be ready for work by about the middle of February. Kilns of the above description are now generally in use all over Europe, and the proprietors of the patent right for New Zealand have had one in operation in Canterbury for the last two years.
Otago Witness, Issue 1163, 14 March 1874, Page 19
In reference to an article which appeared a few day's ago in this journal on the advantages of Hoffman's patent brick kilns, Mr. Alfred Lee Smith informs us that he is now erecting a kiln for burning bricks on the same principle at Hillside. "I may state," he adds, "that I bought of Messrs Hoffman the exclusive patent right for New Zealand, and have had a kiln in operation in Canterbury for the last two years.”
Otago Witness, Issue 1221, 24 April 1875, Page 17
A large brick manufactory has been started at Auckland. It is fitted with Hoffman's patent kiln, which is capable of turning out eighty thousand bricks per week.
Evening Post, Volume XXV, Issue 16, 19 January 1883, Page 2
Here [at the Central Prison, Wellington] are to be found another batch of convicts busily engaged in converting the clay into shapely bricks. The rough material is first passed through a pug-mill worked by an unfortunate horse, who plods his weary round with evident disgust. We were unable to learn for what offence the unhappy steed is doomed to this monotonous toil. Possibly he may be one of those incorrigible strays of which one so often reads and hears. However this may be, he seems to be well treated and a general pet.

When he has finished with the clay, it is taken in hand by the brick-makers, who handle it with remarkable smartness, and speedily turn it out as neat bricks. They average 1000 bricks daily per man, and one of them, we are told, has finished as many as 2400 in the day. Many thousands of bricks are to be seen stacked in those peculiar long open-sided sheds always associated with brick-works, drying in preparation for the kilns. Those latter stand a short distance off, and are kept pretty constantly supplied with food. They are of the old-fashioned wood-burning type, but are about to be replaced by a very imposing and scientific structure of the class known as the Hoffman Kiln. The massive foundations for this curious-looking erection have been laid, and the side walls are slowly rising. It is not strange that progress should be slow, for the immense thickness of the walls ---fully six feet at the surface of the ground—swallows up bricks by tens of thousands. The kiln, when finished, will be in the form of a dome, divided internally into several compartments, so that bricks can be always in successive stages of burning, and one compartment cleared when ready without disturbing the others. Another advantage possessed by the Hoffman kiln is that it burns coal, and is exceedingly economical as to fuel. The designs were prepared by Mr. Burrowes, of the Colonial Architect's Office. At present the conveyance by hand of the clay to the brick works, and the raw bricks to the kiln, and the burnt bricks to the place where they are to be utilised is a rather tedious process but a light tramway is about to be laid down, on which it will be very easy to carry the materials on hand trollies.
Evening Post, Volume XLV, Issue 106, 6 May 1893, Page 2
Fifty-thousand bricks a week seems a rather large order to turn out, yet this is what Mr. Enoch Tonks claims he will be able to do, if trade demands it, when his new kiln, now in course of erection at the Webb-street Brickyards, is completed, The kiln, which is known as a " Hoffman," has a holding capacity of over 90,000. and is the largest and the only one of its kind in Wellington. It is oval in shape, the circumference of the chambers (interior measurement) being 100 ft from point to point, endways, it measures 64ft, it is 38ft across, and the height from the floor to the top of the dome is 8ft. It contains 12 chambers, and when lighted the fires will be kept going constantly, as while bricks are being baked in one part of the kiln the marketable article can be withdrawn from another part, and the empty chambers refilled. The machinery connected with the works is receiving a thorough overhaul and various improvements have been necessarily made to keep pace with the new works and meet the exigencies of the trade. The improvements were wholly designed by Mr. E. Tonks, under whose supervision they are being carried out, and he is to be commended for his enterprise. The brickwork is being carefully done by Messrs. Oughton & Chote, the foundry work by Messrs. C. Luke & Sons, and the carpentering by Mr. Crump, builder. The furnaces are expected to be lit in about three weeks' time.

New Zealand Archaeological Association website

The New Zealand Archaeological Association's website has Sites to Visit (Cultural Tourist) section which is worth a browse through. Another link I'll add to the left.

Avondale’s riverside brickmakers

Very little is cut-and-dried about the story of the brickyards which appeared on the Avondale side of the Whau River from 1870 until 1900.

I’ve included a map (above) of most of the Rosebank Peninsula, taken from the map of the County of Eden in 1892 (Avondale-Waterview Historical Society records), with a numbered overlay of sites which all seem to play some part in the story of the Rosebank brickyards of the 19th century.

Site 1: Pollen Brickyard and Pottery – “Pollen’s Point”

We know that Daniel Pollen had a set-up involving brick and pottery kilns on his land near the tip of the Rosebank Peninsula from around 1860 if not slightly before that. Thankfully, there is documented evidence in the form of contemporary newspaper articles, as well as detailed archaeological research. Around 1860, John Malam was his brickyard manager, and from around 1863 it was John Ringrose. The last advertisement found for Pollen’s bricks is around 1871, but there may have been just a long dwindling off from that point.

John Malam, according to an obituary for Richard Thomas Malam from 16 March 1965, included in the J. T. Diamond collection at Waitakere City Library’s Local History Room, arrived in 1854, working as Nash’s brickyard before securing his position with Pollen. He died on 9 July 1899 aged 83.

We now enter a never-never world as far as the story of Avondale’s Whau River brickyards are concerned, made up of a patchwork of sources from oral histories (most related in the 20th century, to J. T. Diamond), some news articles, a very quickly done archaelogical study at the bottom of the racecourse land (due to development pressures), and some land records. Nothing, however, is conclusive at the present time.

We know that the Whau River area on both sides, between 1865 and 1880 and especially around 1872, had become the powerhouse district when it came to supply of bricks for any major project in the region. Boyd’s works in Newton was being eclipsed – he later invested in a Hoffman kiln, but is mainly known today for his pottery and ornamental work. The Mechanics Bay and Freemans Bay kilns were disappearing. The Whau brickmakers felt confident enough name their own price in 1872 to Brogden & Sons, then completing the Parnell Rail Tunnel – and were rather dismayed to hear Brogden refuse to use their bricks at such a price. This led to the brickmakers meeting at the Whau Hotel, refreshments provided by Mrs Poppleton, and an agreement to have a coal dealer in the city, William Kirby, as their agent. The brickmakers association does not seem to have lasted much beyond that year.

Site 2: Site owned by John Buchanan and Dr. Frederick William Wright, possibly operated as a brickyard by John Malam. Site 2A: Site owned by Dr. Frederick W. Wright, sold to Richard Ringrose.

Site 2 is in and around the Whau River end of Fremlin Place. All bar a small coastal strip is altered landscape under industrial use. Even the small reserve, with only a slender chance of having any remaining traces of mid-19th century land use.

In 1870, Charles Hazleham Rice purchased Allotment 8. Rice, who was also a father-in-law to Captain Robert David James (Mt Albert and New Windsor orchardist), saw another daughter Emma Eliza marry John Campbell Stratford, son of Dr. Samuel John Stratford. Rice’s farm (still to be located with certainty) was known as the Poplars. (SC, 3 May 1870) To arrange a marriage settlement for his son and new daughter-in-law, Dr. Stratford purchased around a third (23¼ acres) of Allotment 8 from Charles Rice for £291 in October that year, and in turn “assured and confirmed” to his partner (and son-in-law) Dr. Frederick William Wright and John Buchanan the land purchased from Rice. This was essentially held in trust for the newly-wed couple, with profits from the renting or leasing of the land to go to both the trustees and the couple. The property was eventually sold in 1887 by Wright and Buchanan to a Mr. Dawson.

The connections between this site and Whau River brick making are tenuous, but tantalising.

On 22 February 1870, John Buchanan placed this advertisement in the Southern Cross:
“WANTED BRICKMAKER, to make a KILN of BRICKS in the country.— Apply at Mr. John Buchanans, Queen- street, on Thursday, at 10 o'clock.”
In the 1875 list of ratepayers submitted by the Whau Highway Board, the names “Stratford and J. Malam” appear in connection with “part of Lot 8”. [File AP/2/27/543/75, Archives New Zealand) Malam was, as seen above, one of Pollen’s managers during the early period of his brick works, and in 1862 had purchased 10 acres across the river at Glendene.

In 1968, J. T. Diamond paid a visit by canoe to a site owned by “Daldy Engineering Co, Structural and General Engineers”, which was a tidal inlet, “second from the left upstream from the motor way bridge.” I still need to track down where Daldy Engineering was located 40 years ago, but the description sounds very like that of the inlet at Allotment 8, beside the Buchanan & Wright land. Diamond, however, thought that the area was connected with James Redfern, another Whau River brick maker, but one who mainly operated on the western side. According to the oral traditions Diamond followed, Redfern had found this site unsuitable, and so moved on to “Black Bluff” (which, it seems, was Lot 14 of Allotment 11. See below.) I haven’t yet found documented proof of Redfern’s connections with the eastern side of the river, however.

Diamond found, in 1968, rubbish and earth had been previously bulldozed onto the site, destroying any signs of brickworks. Buildings had been erected onto flattened part of the site. There were “broken, misshapen brick bats, mostly dark in colour,” nothing that attracted Diamond’s interest enough to collect as none had any significant features or marking.

Dr. S. J. Stratford (c.1802-1871) “was formerly an assistant-surgeon in the 72nd Highlanders, and emigrated to Canada in 1830, where he had the medical charge of the troops stationed at Bytown,” according to an obituary in the Southern Cross. He was a member of the Royal College of Surgeons (1826). He came to New Zealand in 1855, and set himself up as a “Surgeon, Occulist, and Aurist”, at first in the city, and later at Parnell. From the beginning, he was a promoter for the encouragement of Canadian immigrants to New Zealand – and his future son-in-law, Dr. Frederick Wright, was one of those who came here from there. Dr. Wright was assistant surgeon to the Prince Alfred Light Horse, the volunteer corps with a number of local Whau residents as members – and through which, Stratford and Wright may have had a connection with the Whau’s John Buchanan.

Site 2A is part of Allotment 5, fronting onto what is now the Motu Manawa marine reserve, and the only part of this north-eastern coastline which remained an exception to Robert Chisholm’s total landholding. In 1872, Dr. Daniel Pollen sold the 30 acre farm to Dr. Frederick William Wright (co-owner of Site 2) for £300. I have previously looked at this property for any association with Traherne Island and other shellbanks in the marine reserve, considering its relatively close proximity. Shell, of course, was readily burned in special kilns and in heaps for lime. Pollen was aware of this – hence, his ownership of the largest shellbank of all in the area, Pollen Island.

Dr. Wright in turn sold the property to Richard Ringrose. The Ringrose family had associations with Whau River brick making going back to John Ringrose working for Dr. Pollen in the early 1860s. Richard Ringrose died in 1879, and Dr. Wright called in the unpaid mortgage, selling the property again. Eventually, it became Enoch Althorpe’s farm.

Richard Ringrose may have used the land just as a farm – after all, he was surrounded by Chisholm’s farmland, used for grain crops and sheep. Hopefully, more information about the Ringrose family may come to light. It is very difficult obtaining information on the family from the J. T. Diamond collection in the Henderson branch of Waitakere City Libraries at the moment, as the digital index is not available for researchers to directly search through. Hopefully, that resource will become more accessible with time.

Site 3: Suggested Aickin brickyard – Aickin’s Point (J. T. Diamond) Site of Archibald Bros. Pottery from 1903.

J. T. Diamond asserted that Dr. Thomas Aickin had a brickyard on his property, but the descendants claimed no knowledge of it. It may have been that Dr. Aickin leased, without documentation, part of his land at Aickin’s Point to any of a number of brick makers who appear in records of the district (Thomas William Murray, William Sloan, or William Thane – the latter person around in the district from c.1875, from Southern Cross, 29 December, to 1881 when he appeared on the electoral rolls.) The earliest confirmed works at Aickin’s Point are those of the Archibald Brothers – but this is only from 1903.

Site 4 & 4A: Possibly sites for Murray & Sloan partnership, later James Redfern (Site 4 is “Black Bluff”)

On 3rd October 1863, a lease between William Innes Taylor and John Bollard gave the latter the right to start up a brickyard on the Whau River frontage of Bollard’s half of Allotment 12 (Site 4A). That is the first and last clear documentation that we have to date that anyone may have had an idea to start a brickyard in that part of the Whau River area. There’s no reason to think that Bollard didn’t consider this extra income, but I will be visiting the Auckland Museum library soon to peruse his financial and farming records to see if there might be some more clues left behind for us to see.

In Simon Best’s report on the “Burke” Brickyard (Site 5), his invesitgation included part of the background of a couple of brick makers named Thomas William Murray and William Sloan. The first, from around 1871 to 1875 had a leasehold property at the Whau on Allotment 11, while the latter lived on a leasehold site on Allotment 12. This information however, if the two worked together, places them not so much at the “Burke” Brickyard, as it does place them on or close to Bollard’s farm: the other half of Allotment 12 from Burke’s land, plus part of Allotment 11, also owned by William Innes Taylor and eventually purchased outright by Bollard in the early 1880s. More on Murray and Sloan below.

James Redfern, according to Diamond, on finding the clays insufficient at the first site he tried on the Rosebank Peninsula side of the Whau River (Site 2), then moved to “Black Bluff, about ¼ mile above Best’s”. By Best’s, I take it he meant the Best’s Varnish Works, which we know was where Te Wiata Place is today. Just above that is the part of Allotment 11 adjoining Bollard’s farm at Allotment 12. Diamond also notes that Black Bluff was “Haslam’s”. John James Haslam lived on Wharf Road (Ash Street), but owned Lot 14 of Allotment 11 from 1883 until he died in 1911. He was the holder of a number of patents for horse-powered earth-elevators, inventions for conveying silt, sand and gravel, and self-discharging pontoons. Little wonder, then, that this part of the river was called Black Bluff. Haslam’s work there would also have completely wiped any record of a brickyard, even a small wood-fired one, as ever having existed there. The land was later owned by the Segedin family. Tony Segedin Drive now wends its way along the curve of the Whau River Coast there.

Site 5: The “Burke” brickyard, operated by B. Keane/Cain c.1903 (documented). Other operators undocumented.

Image from Western Leader, 16 January 1998.

Update 1 August 2011 -- I've revamped, updated and corrected the text for this part of the post at a new one: Burke's Brickyard on the Whau.