Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Whau River bridge predicted

On the subject of Whau Bridges and their number ... I've just found again a clipping from the Star of April 1887. I find it remarkable for two reasons -- the earliest printed appearance of the Rosebank Road in reference other than the Chisholm Estate sale, and that the writer more-or-less described the Ash Street extension which formed the Ash Street-Rata Street cross of the Whau River. Only that was built in the late 1970s, 90 years later.

Note how the river is called "Avondale River" instead of Whau -- at the time, the district had changed its name, but the river hadn't (and still hasn't). It gave cause for some confusion, however (I'll talk more about that when I post a bit later about the Auckland Brick and Tile Company). The proposed cemetery endangering Auckland's water supply might be that at St Luke's Anglican church in Mt Albert. There were issues at the time about the gunk seeping into the ground from the coffins contaminating the watershed leading to Western Springs. They grizzled about pig and poultry farmers, night soil depots and Chinese market gardeners up on Chinamen's Hill as well, for the same reason.
"Sir -- There seems to be an inclination to make a cemetery for every sect and so spread them close around Auckland to the utter disregard of sanitation and health. The commendable action of the Mayor in trying to stop the water supply of Auckland from being poisoned by a proposed cemetery in its very source, ought to meet with the warm approval of everyone. It may not be generally known the route to the Auckland Cemetery (Waikomiti) can be shortened by a superior road not less than three miles -- turning off the Great North Road at a point in Avondale named Victoria Road, crossing Rosebank Road, thence along Wharf Road to the Avondale River. By a bridge being erected here, which should not be very long or costly, you are at the cemetery in a straight line, and the grades are much easier. In fact, the greater portion of this new diversion is level road. This route would shorten the road equally to Waitakerei Falls and the North. By the New North Road from Auckland it would shorten about two and a half miles of distance. This result must cheapen the cost of burials, and thus make the new cemetery popular. -- Yours, etc.,

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