Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Lacre lorry of Messrs Archibald Bros. of Avondale

A wonderful surprise in the post today: a photocopy of the front page of The New Zealand Motor & Cycle Journal of 25 February 1913, sent to me by Bruce & Wilma Madgwick of the Otahuhu Historical Society. This is going to be the front page image for the next issue of the Avondale Historical Journal. I can't see anything cooler coming along to pip it.

The caption beneath the photo:
"30 h.p. two-ton Lacre lorry supplied to Messrs. Archibald Brothers, brick and pipe manufacturers, Avondale, by Messrs. Holland and Gillett, North Island agents for the Lacre Motor Company. As proof of the great saving in time effected through the employment of this vehicle, it may be mentioned that a two and a-half ton load of pipes was conveyed from the works at Avondale into the city, a distance of seven miles, in ten minutes under the hour, as compared to two and a-half hours occupied by the horse-drawn lorries."

Monday, June 29, 2009

Bull Baiting

A delightful description of a court case in Christchurch, from the NZ Truth, 14 February 1914.

In the Magistrate's Court at Christchurch before Mr. T. A. B. Bailey, S.M., Henry James Wells sought to blight the fair name of Frederick Bull, by having recorded against him a conviction for assaulting the said Henry James on January 3.

To look at Bull a casual observer would conclude that he had about as much chance of committing' a fair-sized assault on Wells as a pup has of assaulting an elephant. Each of the parties in the case lacked confidence in their verbal punch, and Cassidy occupied the informant's corner, whilst Lawyer Donnelly defended the alleged bully.

Wells unfolded a gruesome story concerning the treachery of his brother butcher, Bull. While following his profession as meat artist at Hogarth's flesh foundry, Sydenham, one day Henry James had occasion to use


which he had in his hand when Bull entered tho establishment. Wells said, "This stuff doesn't smell like gin, Fred." Wells allowed Fred a smell. No sooner had he sniffed the ammonia than he hauled off and landed a double turbine, ginger laden bang on Well's eye. The injured optic assumed the color of a moonless night, and its wearer had to hawk it along to a doctor for repairs.

Mr. Cassidy handed in a doctor's certificate containing a pen picture of the injured eye. Lawyer Donnelly barked out: "Wh-what's this ?"

"A certificate," said Mr. Cassidy.

"You know you can't do anything with that. It's merely a certificate that Wells got a black eye. You can get that for a guinea." ("Truth" could not say whether the latter remark referred to the black eye, the doctor's certificate, or both.)

Mr. Cassidy's next exhibit was a picture post-card—a


On one side were depicted two men— one with a face like a flat-iron and the other with an elaborate bandage covering his optic. The ornamented one was offering words of advice to his chum with the black eye. The reverse side of the post-card bore the following poetic gem which Mr. Cassidy spitefully referred to as "doggerel" :—

"Ah well your eye is black.
There is no doubt I had a crack. . .
I'll stop gin smelling and take a pull,
Or else stop a crack from beastly Bull."

Waving the post-card aloft, Mr. Cassidy asked the witness if the card was delivered to him by the postman. He said it was. He and Bull had always been friendly prior to the morning on which the latter dealt out stoush.

Mr. Donnelly offered a bottle of ammonia to the S.M. and Mr Cassidy to smell. Mr. Cassidy brutally suggested that Mr. Donnelly should smell it, it might clear his head. Lawyer Donnelly, for the defence, said that Wells had played a scurvy trick on Bull, and could not expect anything but that Bull would retaliate. The defendant's story was that when he entered the butcher's shop, Wells took the cork out of the ammonia bottle and said to witness,


What do you think it is, Fred ?" Fred tested the fluid, and when he regained consciousness he hit Wells on the eye and told him not to play silly jokes. He admitted that he struck Wells on the spur of the moment, although that was not the part of his anatomy that blackened.

Since the dust-up, witness had met Wells and had merely said, "Good morning, Mr. Wells." Nothing was farther from his mind than to taunt the man and goad him into fighting. Witness did not write the post-card to Wells, and had never seen it before. It might have been a joke on the part of the shop boy.

The S.M., after sniffing the ammonia bottle and satisfying himself that it did not contain gin, said he did not want to lay it down that there was justification for the blow, but he was surprised that when one man played a practical joke and got a crack in the eye for his pains he should let it rankle in his mind for so long. The case was dismissed.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

From billiard cue to dentists' drill

I found these three photos in a 30 June 1924 issue of The Builders' Record. They show the progression of development at the corner of Lorne and Victoria Street East, from the Auckland Billiard Centre (building there from before 1908, billiard saloon set up in 1919) and adjacent tyre shop, to a 9-story building called the Medico-Dental Chambers.

The tall building to the extreme right is the AMP Building, from c.1913. Around 1958, that, and the three-story building beside, were replaced by a modern glass-fronted office building, also owned by AMP.

The first two photographs were taken by noted photographer Henry Winkelmann (the first is on the catalogue at Auckland City Library as well, 1-W313).

Caption: The above photograph by Mr. H. Winkelmann shows the old buildings at the corner of Victoria and Lorne Streets, Auckland, which have recently been demolished to make room for the splendid, modern, 9-srory building to be called The Medico-Dental Chambers."
"The above photograph specially taken for The Builders' Record by Mr. H. Winkelmann shows the Medico-Dental Chambers in course of construction. The contract price is £49,000, the Architects are McDonald, Mullins and Sholto Smith, and the Contractors are Fletcher Construction Co., Ltd."
"The above is a photograph of the finished plans of the new Medico-Dental Chambers now in course of erection at the corner of Victoria and Lorne Streets, Auckland."

(Update, 12 July 2009) Here's how it looks now:

Wanted: multi-talented bush handyman

"Wanted, handy man ; must be able to milk, plough, fell bush, kill, cook, assist in laundry and teach children the theory of music. Salary, £30." (Poverty Bay Herald, 19 October 1906)

This attracted the attention of two Wellington newspapers, the NZ Truth and the NZ Freelance:

"They have some very acquisitive people in the Poverty Bay district, if the following advt. from a recent issue of the "Herald" should give ample proof ...Just "imagine " coming in from a twelve or fourteen hours' day at those light farm; field, and forest duties, to a job of ironing and folding, with a cheerful lesson in the theory of music to half-a-dozen vulgar brats, on the side, and all for 15 bob a week. But surely it is not genuine, but a throw off at some skinflint cocky."
(NZ Truth, 6 November)

"God's Own Country! ... "Poverty" Bay, too! But, why stop short at this list of desired qualifications? Couldn't the handy man teach the missus drawn threadwork and bridge. Nothing is said about languages. Doesn't even say the man must be the son of a peer or a teetotaller or a "Christian." It is supposed, however, that the applications will be so very large that a good, meek, smack-me-on-the-right-cheek sort of man will be sorted out of the heap. Milking and the theory of music, Ploughing and assisting in laundry. Thirty pounds a year!"
(NZ Freelance, 3 November 1906)

Aotearoa: still nailing the meaning down

This is just my opinion: why those of us of British lineage have to always have translations for names which derive from someone else's culture, I don't know.

I saw today in Jayne's blog Our Great Southern Land the use of "Land of the Long White Cloud" in reference to New Zealand. Natural enough term to use, because next to everyone else in the world does -- but it isn't quite right, whichever way you look at it.

I was taught at school, on first learning how to spell Aotearoa, that it meant "Land of the Long White Cloud" because a long white cloud is what Kupe's wife saw on the Great Migration. From Te Ara:
"The arrival of Kupe is of great importance, and many tribes are at pains to cite a relationship to him. It is said that his wife, Kuramārōtini, devised the name of Ao-tea-roa (‘long white cloud’) on seeing the North Island for the first time."
Yes, the North Island. Otherwise known as Te Ika o Maui (in one case I've seen, also as Te Whai o Maui, because it ressembles a stingray), for a while my island of birth had the name Aotearoa as well.

According to the late Michael King, an edition in 1916 of the New Zealand School Journal published the Kupe legend and the naming of the North Island as Aotearoa. We Europeans probably thought Aotearoa was a champion native alternative name for the whole country, and Maori have readily adopted its wider meaning (as an alternative to the transliteration "Niu Tireni").

In turn, the School Journal entry probably harked back to William Pember Reeves and his 1898 classic The Long White Cloud. Even earlier still, a reference to Aotearoa in Papers Past where a letter published in newspapers in September 1862 from Tamati Hone Oraukawa of Ngatiruanui, addressed as coming from "Weriweri, a pa of Aotearoa" was given the added note (perhaps by an editor): "i.e. , of New Zealand". (Tamati Hone Oraukawa, however, may have only been referring to the North Island.) European newspaper editors publishing translations of letters from Maori during the Land Wars kept making this same error, unless the context made it absolutely clear to them that it was the North Island, not the whole country, which was referred to.

By the mid 1880s, however, Aotearoa as the Maori name for the whole country had taken hold.
Several Maori scholars with Paul of Orakei have visited tho Raratouga Embassy now in Auckland. The Star says:— "The language of the two people is nearly the same, and the Maoris and Rarotongans can understand each other easily ... Queen Makea and the others said they had never heard of tho name Aotearoa, as the name of a country, till they were told that it was the Maori name of New Zealand.
(Timaru Herald, 30 October 1885)

There was still shifting back and forth between just North Island or New Zealand as a whole claiming the title -- but then, William Pember Reeves got the cement out and laid the foundation firmly for today's usage, backed up by the shot in the education system's arm from the 1916 School Journal. "Niu Tireni" makes an appearance as a translation for New Zealand as late is 1909 -- and then joined the moa and the huia in extinction (apart from the odd guest appearance now and then. Sort of like looking at a huia or moa re-creation.)

But, do things end there? No.

For one thing, Aotearoa does not include "the land of" in the name. It is just "long white/bright cloud". Or, also, "long twilight". This from 1997:
Here is a drastically pruned down version of the entry for "Aotearoa" in the forthcoming Dictionary of New Zealand English, edited by Harry Orsman and to be published later this year by Oxford University Press:

Aotearoa ... [Ma. /|aotea|roa/ ao cloud; daytime; world + tea white + roa long, tall; or aotea bird; or aoatea (=awatea) with elision of medial /a/, daybreak, dawn.]

[Note] Usu. transl. as the LAND OF THE LONG WHITE CLOUD q.v., though 'Land of the Long Day' (or 'Dawn'), or 'Land of the Long Twilight' have more to recommend them.
Why "long twilight"?

"A third explanation is connected with New Zealand's location below the tropics. Polynesian seafarers would have been used to tropical sunsets, in which the sky goes from daylight to night very rapidly, with little twilight. New Zealand, with its more southerly latitudes, would have provided surprisingly long periods of evening twilight to travellers from the tropics. It has been suggested that this long twilight is the actual origin of the term Aotearoa.

The same explanation - or a related one dealing with the presence of the Aurora Australis - is often given for Stewart Island's Māori name Rakiura, which means "glowing sky".
From here.

Somewhere I read recently that Maori scholars advise not to go down the road of translating everything in local place names. We should just accept the word as it is: today, Aotearoa has come to be the Maori name encompassing the whole of New Zealand, rather like the "Land of the Angles", a small fraction of a certain West European country way up north in the 600s CE came to be known as England across the whole country. I do like the "long twilight" explanation, though. Probably because it's so different from that which was taught to me over 30 years ago.

More Blockhouse Bay Murals

These photos were taken on Saturday 27 June, on a foggy morning visit to the Blockhouse Bay Farmers' Market. Click on the thumbnails for a larger view.

Blockhouse Bay Mural 01 Blockhouse Bay Mural 02 Blockhouse Bay Mural 03

1. Gathering Shellfish, 1930s
2. 1939 Boat Ramp, Gordon Abercrombies' "Lois"
3. Mr. Stefano Armanasco & Family 1901

Blockhouse Bay Mural 04 Blockhouse Bay Mural 05 Blockhouse Bay Mural 06

4. Kathleen & Nora Mitchell, 1925
5. Bridge at the bottom of the Esplanade
6. L & W Woods general store.

Blockhouse Bay Mural 07 Blockhouse Bay Mural 08 Blockhouse Bay Mural 09

7. Smoke House
8-10. A view of the beach.

Blockhouse Bay Mural 10

Disease, morals and “the social evil”: a brief look at Auckland’s Lock Hospital (1883-1886)

This is a much broader subject than it appears at first glance. At some stage, I’ll do some thorough trawling through the Herald and Star editions of the period to fill in gaps and flesh out the tale of the hospital. For now, though, here’s what I have to hand.

In 1864, Great Britain passed the Contagious Diseases Act. This appears to have been legislation in response to concerns as to the prevalence of venereal diseases in military towns and bases in the country, and meant that police had the right to enforce a physical examination upon women suspected of sexually transmitted diseases, and detention in a lock hospital for up to three months while being treated. [Update, 16 August 2010: the term "lock hospital" appears to have originated from the term "locks", rags which covered the lesions of lepers who were "treated" in early hospitals in England during the Middle Ages. The term "lock" came to associated with contagious diseases in general, and venereal ones in particular -- hence the term "lock hospital" for an institution dealing specifically with sexually transmitted diseases.]

In New Zealand, a place in the 1860s where there were some military encampments and barracks during the Land Wars in the North Island, it was oddly enough Mr. W. Rolleston from Canterbury who championed the passage our own Contagious Diseases Act in 1869. (Wellington Independent, 19 August) Even so, it wasn’t until 1872 that the Act came into operation in Canterbury. (Taranaki Herald, 10 April) Wellington sought to follow suit in 1877, but the council there met with stern opposition from morals groups, who viewed the legislation as not so much a prevention of disease amongst the public as it was, by the system of certification of clean health to those women who had no infections, a kind of encouragement of the “social evil”.
“SANCTIMONIOUSNESS.: A more contemptible exhibition of sanctimonious folly than that displayed at a recent meeting of the Wellington City Council it would be hard to imagine. From a short account of the meeting, which will be found in another column, and which we have reprinted from the Post, it will be seen that it was called for the special purpose of considering the late petition in reference to "the social evil." The police laid before the Council a very favorable report of the working of the "Contagious Diseases Act " in Christchurch, but on a motion being made for put* ting the Act in force in Wellington, it was defeated by six to three, and another motion passed asking the Government for fresh legislation on the subject. We don't know what answer this application will receive, but we know how it ought to be answered. If the applicants be of the number of those who “fear a curtain lecture more than hell," let them resign their places in the City Council to men of sense, who will bring the Act into operation at once. “
(Wanganui Herald, 1 April 1881)

On the other hand, there were groups, also with a moral view, who felt that something needed to be done about prostitution in the capital, and saw the Act as a means to that end.
“A petition of Wellington residents to their City Council praying to have the Contagious Diseases Act brought into operation within the Borough, alleges that Wellington, with its population of 20,000, is more immoral than Melbourne with its 250,000 inhabitants. The memorial has been referred to the Minister of Justice with a recommendation that he should take strong measures to suppress the immorality complained of.”
(Taranaki Herald, 14 May 1881)

However, it was Auckland, not Wellington, which was to be next after Christchurch to undergo the experiment. Exactly why Auckland decided to go down this track is not something I’ve ascertained yet. One suggestion is that the Council wanted to show the Royal Navy that Auckland could be a suitable, and venereal disease free, base for their Pacific operations. (I need to look into this further).

In June 1881, the Auckland City Council petitioned the Colonial Secretary to allow the Act to come into affect in the city. (Grey River Argus, 14 June) By later the following year, when it appeared that the Council were absolutely dead-set on setting up the Lock Hospital, the petitions against the scheme began to fill the table at their meetings. In response, the Mayor at the time, James McCosh Clark, assured a deputation of clergymen that while he didn’t want to stop the process of being the Act into operation in Auckland, “he would endeavour to prevent prostitutes obtaining certificates of cleanliness.” (Evening Post, 3 October 1882) A tender for erecting the Lock Hospital, adjacent to Mt Eden Gaol on the stockade reserve, was accepted in February 1883.

In 1883, a new mayor was elected, William R. Waddel. The Lock Hospital proceeded, but with a slightly different intent – disease prevention, rather than personal detention. In August, Dr. C. F. Goldsbro’ was appointed medical superintendent at £150 a year, and a matron has been appointed at £100 a year — both subject to three months' notice. (Hawkes Bay Herald, 29 August) The Observer in October 1883 reported that the hospital was fully operational, with 80 women already on the books.

In December 1883, Dr. Goldsbro’ died, and Dr. Tennent appointed as visiting surgeon in his place in February the following year. The petitions appeared to have continued.

“A meeting was held of persons opposed to the enforcement of the Contagious Diseases Act. A petition was drawn up for signature praying the Mayor and City Council to take the vote of the ratepayers as whether further public moneys should be appropriated for a Lock Hospital : also whether it should not be handed over to a recognised body of citizens under trust for the purposes of a female reformatory.”
(West Coast Times, 28 April 1884)

However, it was probably not morals, on either side of the debate, which caused the Lock Hospital to shut down. It was costing the city a considerable amount of money to run, in a period when the Long Depression began to make an impact economically. While the initial annual cost had been estimated at £450, the NZ Herald reported that more money had been expended on the hospital in the first six months of operation than on road formation in the city, and only £30 less than that spent on the new Free Library. (Te Aroha News, 17 May 1884) By October 1884, appeals were being made to the central government asking that they take over the hospital, and ease the burden on Auckland’s ratepayers. The Government, unsurprisingly, said no. (Te Aroha News, 4 & 11 October 1884)

In 1885, the statistics impressed some, but not others.

“The agitation against this institution has been resumed, and another effort is being made to secure its abolition. Some discussion took place at the City Council last evening, when reports from Dr. Tennent and the police were submitted. These bore unanimous testimony to the value of the Hospital, and the police statement asserted that the effect of the Act had been to decrease the number of abandoned women by 63, while no less than 28 had entirely reformed, been married, or taken into refuges through the instrumentality of the Act. On the other hand, Mr R. H. Hughes, secretary of the society which is antagonistic to the Lock Hospital, wrote asserting that since the Act had been brought into force the visits of men to brothels had increased twenty-fold. In his report, Dr. Tennent said the number on the Hospital register originally was 84, and at the first examination, eleven women had been detained for treatment for several diseases. He then proceeds: There has been, at least, 50 per cent of a decrease in the number of prostitutes since the opening of the Hospital, and I am informed by Detective Hughes that prostitutes soliciting in the street are now rarely if ever seen. I have received from Mr. Superintendent Thomson the following report from the Police Department :—

Number of prostitutes known to the police in Auckland and suburbs to date: 103 Number proceded against under the Act: 98
Number brought under the Act, and who attended the Lock Hospital: 84
Number who left for the bush and other parts of the colony 14
Average number that attend for medical examination twice every month, and average number in Hospital 40
Married and reformed: 8
Living with men not married: 5
Number gone into service and reformed by the ladies of the Parnell home and of the Salvation Army Refuge 20
Number in Mount Eden Gaol 10
Number left Auckland for other parts of the colony 15
Number not proceeded against: 5
Decrease of number of prostitutes: 63

Dr. Tennent adds :— The establishment of the Lock Hospital has also arrested the spread of infectious diseases. I cannot close my report without bearing grateful testimony to those benevolent ladies who have rendered valuable aid and sympathy in the work of attending and reclaiming the fallen, some of them making regular visits to the Hospital weekly.”
(Te Aroha News, 9 May 1885)

The petitions against the Act in general and the Lock Hospital in particular, though, kept coming.

Then, there came the Great Breakout of August 1886.


A very scandalous scene of insubordination occurred on Wednesday in connection with the Auckland Lock Hospital. Owing to the illness of Dr Tenant, Dr Walker visited the institution, and as the result of his visit ordered the further detention of the patients then in, numbering seven.

In the evening the whole of them stampeded from the building, save one old women, and came down town in a body. They paraded the wharf, singing songs. Their conduct and the use of obscene language arrested the attention of the Harbour Board watchman. The police were informed, and shortly afterwards intelligence was received from the Lock Hospital that six of the inmates had cleared out.

Being now certain of their quarry, and of the task before them, Sergeants J McMahon, Clarke, Detective Hughes, and Constable McDonnell proceeded in pursuit. They had not far to go, as the girls, in bravado, were coming up Queen-street abreast. The police rounded them up, and took them to the lock-up where they kept the station lively far on into the night, singing songs, and using language more expressive than polite.

The six prisoners are Theresa King, Maria Ann Long, Mary Ann Curtis, Elizabeth Irwin, Agnes Austen, Alice Stewart, and they are charged with a breach of the Contagious Diseases Act, 1869 by escaping from the Auckland Lock Hospital.”
(Poverty Bay Herald, 6 August 1886)

The Council decided by early September, to close down the hospital, due to the financial drain on the city. It was closed on 15 September, and the building was sold to the Crown in early February, 1887. Even that final chapter proved controversial.

“Some queer facts were made known during a discussion on the Lock Hospital question by the City Council on Thursday night. Cr Kidd opposed the sale of the building to the Government on the ground that other customers were in the field. Cr La Roche drew attention to the little game that was being kept dark. The other customers were [the] Charitable Aid Board who would apply it to the uses which the Council had resolved to discontinue. Cr Crowther said that it was not a time to reopen the question of maintaining the Lock Hospital. There were 19 closed shops in Queen-street, and business was more depressed than it had been for 15 years past. The 403 objections to city assessments showed that ratepayers found their taxes pressing severely upon them and at any rate in the face of the reduction in the salaries of their laborers, they could hardly perpetrate the anomaly of keeping open the Lock Hospital. The Mayor felt that £350 was altogether too small a price for the hospital, but under the circumstances they could do no better. “
(Wanganui Herald, 19 February 1887)

“The apparently interminable discussion upon the Contagious Diseases Act came before the City Council again last evening. Notwithstanding the resolution of the Council at a previous sitting to accept the offer of the Government for the Lock Hospital building, Councillor Kidd introduced the question upon the ratepayers' petition presented at the last meeting in favour of a poll. He declared that the evil of prostitution had greatly increased since the suspension of the Act. His opinion was based on information supplied by the best medical men, the Inspector of Police, and the detectives. Inspector Thomson's report was that the Act was beneficial.

"Councillor Kidd also quoted from a statement made by Mr Beetham at Christchurch, wherein that gentleman deplored the abandonment of the Contagious Diseases Act in that city. Detective Hughes' report estimated the number of fallen women now in Auckland at 150, many of them being mere girls between the ages of 11 and 15, who had come out on the streets since the Act was repealed. The only law by which they could be reached now was the Police Offenders Act of 1884. Under this Act they could be charged with having no lawful visible means of support ; but it was almost impossible, under the circumstances, to obtain convictions. Councillor Kidd at this stage moved — "That the Council continue sitting," the time being close on 10 p.m.; but the motion was negatived. He proceeded to quote the opinions of Drs Stock and Tennent in favour of the Act, when the arrival of 10 o'clock interrupted the debate, and the Council adjourned.”
(Christchurch Star, 5 March 1887)

Great Britain repealed the Contagious Diseases Act in 1886. It was finally repealed in New Zealand in 1910.

In an earlier post, I wrote about the ladies of Rokeby Street. During the period of the Lock Hospital, a number of them went through the system.

Valentine Becquet (the infamous “Madame Valentine”, owner of brothels in Rokeby and Wellesley Streets)
Religion: Roman Catholic
Discharged with certificate 28 January 1884, after treatment for condylomata warts and gonorrhea

Elizabeth Burton
Religion: Church of England.
Admitted twice from Rokeby (gonorrhea), three times from Wellesley, and once from Victoria Street.

Eleanor-Emma Butwell
Religion: Roman Catholic
Admitted once from Rokeby with gonorrhea, and twice more from Wellesley Street.

Mary Collins
Religion: Roman Catholic
Examined 21 January 1884 and detained. Readmitted April 1884 with gonorrhea.

Catherine Davey
Religion: Church of England
Certified as free from disease September 1884, but readmitted November 1884 with gonorrhea

Emma Gifford
Religion: Roman Catholic
Certified free from disease in 1886

Clara Gray
Religion: Church of England
Discharged 28 June 1884 with certificate

Rose Haultain
Religion: Church of England
Admitted to the Lock Hospital five times, gonorrhea

Emily Hawkes
Religion: Roman Catholic
Suffered with gonorrhea and chancre. Admitted twice from Rokeby, twice from Victoria and once from Wellesley Street.

Elizabeth Hennessy
Religion: Roman Catholic
Admitted from Grey Strert in 1884, and from Rokeby in 1885, that time with gonorrhea

Mary Maher
Religion: Roman Catholic
Admitted once from Rokeby in September 1884 with ulterior hemorrhage, and once from Wellesley Street.

Ada Mandell
Religion: Roman Catholic
Admitted twice, certified in October 1883 as free from disease, but back in with gonorrhea in February 1884.

Jessie McLaughlin
Religion: Presbyterian
Certified free from disease 1886.

Lily/Lillie Meadows
Religion: Church of England
Admitted from Rokeby in March 1884 with syphillis, and twice more from Wellesley Street.

Margaret Moran
Religion: Roman Catholic
Discharged with certificate 28 January 1884, but admitted twice more, from Victoria Street

Ada Morgan
Certified as clear in September 1884, but admitted again later from Wellesley Street.

Rose Pearson
Religion: Church of England
Admitted first from Wellington Street in January 1884, then from Rokeby Street in March 1884, with gonorrhea and chancre (syphillis), and then again in July 1884 with chronic gonorrhea.

Sophia Pearson
Religion: Church of England
Admitted once from Rokeby with condylomata warts, three more times from Grey Street, once from Wellesley and once from Grafton Road.

Nelly/Ellen Ryan
Religion: Church of England.
Admitted voluntarily in June 1884 with chancre (syphillis), but also admitted from Upper Queen Street and Wellesley Street.

Rose Thomas
Religion: Church of England
Certified as free from disease in January 1884, but readmitted twice more from Rokeby Street, with gonorrhea and warts, and once from Wellesley Street

Mary Vaughan
Religion: Presbyterian
Admitted in June 1884 with gonorrhea.

Annie Williams
Religion: Church of England
Admitted twice from Hobson Street, and once from Rokeby, that time with chancre and condylomata.

Julia Wilson (“Black Julia”, the operator of Madame Valentine’s Rokeby brothel, Paddington Villa.)
Religion: Church of England.
Detained, but discharged February 1884.

Lock Hospital Register, ACC 329 Item 1, Auckland City Archives
Women in History: Essays on European Women in New Zealand (1986), p. 22
Various papers on Papers Past
Auckland City Council reports 1883-1887, held at Auckland City Library

The staff at both the Auckland City Archives and Auckland Research Centre at the library were wonderful in helping me get this far on a very involved topic. My thanks to both teams for their help and patience.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

More on baby engines, and fires in 19th century NZ

Further to the fire hand grenade post, and my perplexion as to "baby engines". Phil Hanson, in his comment to that post, appears to have hit the nail on the head.

Here are some entries referring to "baby engines" in Papers Past:

Yesterday evening, shortly before 8 o'clock thick volumes of smoke and showers of sparks were observed to rise in the vicinity of Albert Barracks. A few seconds later flames were seen darting upwards, and it scarcely needed the alarm-bells, which pealed forth from their stations in the city and suburbs, to tell that a fire had broken out. It was speedily ascertained that a building outside the walls of the barracks had ignited, and thither Mr. Asher and the members of the Fire Brigade hastened; two of the men taking with them each a " baby " engine.
SC, 6 March 1872

In a city like Auckland, where the buildings are for the most part wooden, and close together, it is not to be wondered at that when a fire breaks out many buildings are destroyed, especially when the appliances provided for extinguishing fires are of such an unsatisfactory nature. Mr. Superintendent Asher, who is an old and thoroughly practical fireman, knowing that a vast amount of damage may be done at any moment by the outbreak of a fire, has provided himself with a “Baby Engine," with which, on more than one occasion recently, he has been able to arrest the progress of a fire. He has discovered that a new water-throwing apparatus — the “hydronette" — has been invented and patented, and it is his intention to send to London for one of them by the next outgoing mail. This instrument, which is worked by compressed air, has for its recommendations ample discharging capacity, wide range, varied force of impact, instant power of graduation, ease of action, and above all, simplicity. It is said that no water-throwing machine in the world, worked by the power of one man, as this is, can equal the hydronette either in the length of its throw or in the graduations of force at its command The hydronette has been tested by a number of people in England, and they speak of it in very high terms.
SC, 2 December 1873

About 11 o'clock yesterday morning Mrs. Jones, of the hairdressing saloon at the corner of Queen Street and West Queen-street, observed a strong smell of burning in the room at the back of the shop, where a small fire was kept for business purposes. Mr. Jones soon extinguished all the flame that could be seen. The smell of burning still continuing, however, he went over for Mr. Asher, superintendent of the Fire Brigade, who suggested the removal of the bricks that formed the back of the chimney, and sent for the " baby " engine belonging to the Insurance Companies, and this small engine to all appearance was the means of arresting what might have been a large conflagration.
SC, 10 July 1874

The fire-engine, in charge of Mr. T. Humphries, Captain of the Fire Brigade, was brought quickly into position, but owing to the only well available being too deep, the engine was of no utility. Fortunately Mr. Halse had on the premises a valuable hand fire-engine, called a "Baby" engine, and this was at once brought into use.
Taranaki Herald, 1 November 1880

Our contemporary the News this morning, in noticing the usefulness of the "Hydropult," or, what is better known as a " baby engine," at the fire on Sunday afternoon last, recommends the distribution of a number of them about the town, and commends this suggestion to the Borough Council and agents of the Fire Insurance Company. Our contemporary is evidently unaware that there are four of these engines in the place, and that they were introduced some time since into New Plymouth by Mr. H. Weston, the Agent of the New Zealand Insurance Company. At the late fire, two of them were in use, the one owned by Mr. Halse, and the other by the New Zealand Insurance Co. The Bank of New Zealand has one on the premises, and Mr. Cottier, of the Masonic Hotel, another. For the information of the public, we may state that the use of the New Zealand Insurance Company's "baby engine" can be obtained at any time in case of fire, the police having a key of the place where it is kept, and can always get it as well as a supply of canvas buckets.
Taranaki Herald 6 November 1880

A "hydropult" is defined as: "A machine for throwing water by hand power, as a garden engine, a fire extinguisher, etc."

In an advertisement in the front of an edition of Daniel Deronda by George Eliot, there's mention of:
Weighs but 8 lb., and will throw water 50 feet.
So, a baby engine may have been an early form of fire extinguisher. At the moment, that's my best guess.

Meola Musing

The Meola Creek is Auckland City's second internal waterway of note, in my opinion, after the Oakley Creek which is judged to be the longest completely within the city's boundaries. Unlike the Oakley, Meola was important to land surveyors in the early days of post-contact settlement of this area: it forms the boundary over much of its course between the Parish of Titirangi and the Suburbs of Auckland, in terms of the legal description of land.

These photos were taken just before the waterway spills into the Waitemata Harbour, between Great North and Moran Roads. To the north is the Meola Reef, secondary and intermediate schools, a marae, the zoo, and housing.

When William Edgecombe took up farming across the road in the late 1850s, his land was full of scoria rocks like this. He didn't have far to look for materials for his stone Great Northern Hotel.

It's a bit of a dumping ground, being so close to Western Springs park, the zoo, and surrounding residences and schools. First time I've ever photographed rats.

That said, there are ducks here, too.

The Auckland “Chinese Markets” controversy, 1930

As New Zealand as a whole experienced the Great Depression, a proposal was announced which inflamed opinion as to race in Auckland for several weeks in late 1930.

The Auckland Harbour Board advertised some of its land for tender (50 year lease) on Customs Street West. The successful tenderer, the NZ Herald announced on 3 October, was a company fronted by a Chinese promoter (later named as Wong Du, or Wong Doo), aiming to set up a “Chinese Market.” At the time, it was reported that about half of all the produce sold through the Auckland City Markets (which was directly opposite the site, and dominated by Turners & Growers, the firm of auctioneers ) came from Chinese growers.

Within days, the letters columns in the newspapers were bombarded with letters decrying such “Chinese competition”.

“Chinese virtually control the fruit and vegetable retail trade as it is; a Chinese market, pure and simple, will tend to stabilise that position … They are industrious and thrifty, but the bulk of their earnings go to China – an economic loss to this country – and English-speaking nations know that the Asiatic adds little or nothing to the moral and material wealth of the State.”
(H. Keary letter, NZ Herald 9 October)

The letters, at least in the Herald, came to be headed “The Asiatic Problem.” Letting a Chinese Market be established in Auckland was the start of a boom in numbers of Chinese in New Zealand, the letter writers said. One or two made the point that Chinese frugality and long work hours meant that their businesses succeeded where those of whites did not, and even the drapery trade was being “taken over.” But getting rid of all the Chinese, it was said, would surely bring the rest of the country back to full employment.

The Herald published a long article on the Chinese community in Auckland (13 October):
“If the proposal by a number of Chinese merchants to establish a Chinese market in Auckland for the sale of their produce is brought into effect, the number of points at which the average Chinese comes in contact with the European will be increased. The Chinese colony is already self-contained to a marked extent, and many of the rank and file of the Chinese have no dealings with Europeans at all.”
The White New Zealand League, established in 1926, stepped into the fray, lobbying against the proposal to the Auckland Harbour Board, Auckland City Council, and borough councils in Devonport, Takapuna and Mt Albert, to name just three. This organisation had its roots in Pukekohe in 1925, formed to protest against Indians and Chinese leasing and buying land there. They called for immigration restrictions, especially as the depression began to bite hard, and were backed by the Returned Soldiers' Associations. The League also promoted "purity of race", accusing Asiatic market gardeners of enticing Maori women into their employment and exploiting them economically and sexually.

The protests against the Chinese market were echoed by the Returned Soldiers’ Association and the Akarana Maori Association, (NZ Herald 15 October) and the brand new NZ Fruit and Produce Auctioneers and Importers Federation called for “compulsory registration of Asiatics in New Zealand as a means of preventing them from trading under assumed names.” (NZ Herald, 22 October)

In the face of protests from municipal authorities (one exception being Auckland City Council, who felt they had no right to comment on the use of land belonging to the Harbour Board), lobbyists, and even the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, the Auckland Harbour Board refused to cancel the lease agreement. The chairman, M H Wynyard, said: “The board had a number of Chinese merchants and shopkeepers among its tenants and it would be in a peculiar position if it always had to ascertain whether its lease would be approved by other tenants and the general public.” (NZ Herald, 15 October)

The lease was confirmed at a meeting of the Harbour Board on 11 November 1930 – and now some of the reality behind the proposal began to emerge. The board’s solicitors advised the board that the lease was in the name of Produce Markets Limited, and supplied a list of the names of the shareholders. It was likely revealed at this time exactly who was really behind Produce Markets, which started trading at Customs Street West from mid 1931.

Harvey Turner had started to hear rumours earlier that year that exporting firm A. B. Donald Ltd, running short of time by which that company would be allowed to hold auctions under license in Auckland, had entered into negotiations with Chinese growers, such as the Ah Chee family, to set up a Chinese market. The Donald family denied the rumours – until the lease was signed, sealed, and irrevocable. According to Ken Stead, in his book on Turners & Growers (1997, p. 47), the shares in the new company, first registered on 15 October 1930, were held in trust. Jack Donald and Thomas Doo junior were joint managers, while Clem Ah Chee, the original proposer of the whole idea, was dropped from the deal. The effect was that Chinese growers strongly supported Produce Markets for the first 20 or so years, sharply reducing Turners’ own intake and making business during the Depression years difficult for the company.

Turners recovered however, and moved to bigger and better markets on more reclaimed harbourside land in the early 1960s (the Donald family lost the tender, and refused to join the other auctioneers). The Donalds eventually sold Produce Markets to the Kember family, who in turn sold the firm as part of their portfolio to Wrightson NMA in 1985. In the late 1980s, Turners purchased Produce Markets, and wound the company up in 1995.

What the Auckland public had been led to believe was an “Asiatic takeover” of the country in late 1930, spearheaded by a perceived fruit and produce monopoly, was actually little more than crafty business maneuvering, mainly by a long-established Kiwi-European firm, against a rival and market leader. Little wonder that after this, the White New Zealand League appears to have fizzled out after 1932.

Te Ara
Ken Stead, One Hundred I’m Bid, A centennial history of Turners & Growers (1997)
Jacqueline Leckie, Indian Settlers, The Story of a New Zealand South Asian Community (2007), pp.66-73
NZ Herald
Auckland Star
Companies Office records

Friday, June 26, 2009

In case of fire, grab the hand grenade

Terms for things have a habit of changing from century to century. For example, take this use of "hand grenade", from the years long before World War I:
"During the year the Council supplied a case of Harden's Hand Grenades for fire extinguishing purposes, also additional length of fire hose. In the case of fire breaking out after library hours the hose is fixed ready for use every night, and the gas turned off at the metre. Some short time ago the kitchen chimney caught fire; it was of a trifling nature, the flue being only ten feet high. It was promptly put out by the aid of the baby engine."
(Free Public Library Report to Auckland City Council, 1885)

An explanation comes from this website:
"The late nineteenth century saw other innovations in fire fighting including the chemical fire extinguisher. The first was a glass fire extinguisher, the Harden Hand Grenade Extinguisher. The extinguisher, or grenade, contained carbon tetrachloride, later banned because at high temperatures it emitted a hazardous phosphene gas. The grenade, when tossed into the fire, broke open and released the carbon tetrachloride"
The "baby engine" still has me foxed, at this stage.

Update, 27 June: more on baby engines.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

ATTA - an Auckland taxi company

Updated 22 August 2013.

I was invited me around to a friend's place recently. Amongst her family history folders was this: an advertising plate from the ATTA Taxis Ltd (which refers to an Avondale branch).

I have to do more digging sometime into this, and would appreciate help from readers as well. ATTA Taxis was apparently an off-shoot from Wellington. All files on them are at Wellington’s office of Archives New Zealand, but according to a 1939 directory I now have, their Auckland office was at 32 Lorne Street, the Ngapuhi Chambers. Update: the Auckland Archives NZ closed file for Auckland ATTA covers the period 1931-1945, so it looks like the Auckland company merged with someone else.

Auckland Star 13 November 1931

A reader of the Avondale Historical Journal rang me with information that ATTA stands for Any Time, To Anywhere. That may have been what the general public at the time thought, but the firm's advertisements from late 1931 reveal that ATTA stood for Air Transport and Touring Automobiles of NZ, Ltd.

Air Transport and Touring Automobiles of New Zealand, Ltd, Auckland, taxicab proprietors and general carriers, etc. Capital £500, in 100 shares of £5 each. Subscribers: Richard J. Healy, Rowland L. Hill, Charles R. Boler, Raymond A. Irwin, Lyle W. Bonney, William R Sadgrove, Victor A. Christie and Alfred Ramsden, 1 share each.
Auckland Star 30 November 1931

Does this firm spark any memories?

Avondale Historical Journal, Issues 1 to 48

The Avondale Historical Journal is the flagship publication of the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society. I've edited and put it together ever since inception back in September 2001, needing a way to keep in contact with those I'd interviewed for the book Heart of the Whau. Hence why the earliest issues are sub-headed as coming from the Heart of the Whau Project. The Journal, therefore, is older than the Society to which it now belongs.

This will be the first time the complete series to date will be available online via Scribd.

Issue 01 Issue 02 Issue 03 Issue 04 Issue 05 Issue 06

Issue 07 Issue 08 Issue 09 Issue 10 Issue 11 Issue 12

Issue 13 Issue 14 Issue 15 Issue 16 Issue 17 Issue 18

Issue 19 Issue 20 Issue 21 Issue 22 Issue 23 Issue 24

Issue 25 Issue 26 Issue 27 Issue 28 Issue 29 Issue 30

Issue 31 Issue 32 Issue 33 Issue 34 Issue 35 Issue 36

Issue 37
Issue 38 Issue 39 Issue 40 Issue 41 Issue 42

Issue 43 Issue 44 Issue 45 Issue 46 Issue 47 Issue 48

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fatal accident to the Nelson Mail Coach, 19 March 1904

"The Nelson coach, which left Belenheim at seven o'clock on March 19th, without passengers, came to grief near the Wairau Bridge, about six miles from Blenheim. The flood was flowing across the road with great force, and there was deep water, with a strong current, at the foot of a rather steep approach on the Tua Marina side.

"Here, the current overturned the coach and horses, sweeping them against a fence. Two horses and the driver, George Richardson, were drowned. A party of police found Richardson's body hanging to a fence on the Tua Marina roadside, one hundred yards below the scene of the accident. By means of a boat, with great difficulty, they cut free the two horses, which escaped alive, the other two being drowned. The police also picked up the mail.

"The accident to the coach was witnessed by a settler, and Richardson was seen to swim for two hundred yards, and then sink exhausted."
Caption to the photo:
The two horses seen floating near the coach were the polers. The leaders were rescued after being in the water over three hours, but one died afterwards. Our Picton correspondent write: - "Concerning the floods, which were very sudden, unfortunately one poor man lost his life in trying to do his duty by carrying His Majesty's mails to time, in spite of rain or floods -- I speak of Richardson, the driver of the Nelson coach, who started from Blenheim at the usual time on Saturday morning. He always assured his passengers that he never risked the rivers, but went the long way round, through Tua Marina, and up the north bank, if there was any fresh in the rivers on the usual road. He was doing so on this occasion, and had safely crossed the Ferry bridge, when horses, coach, and everything went into a hole, the coach capsized, and the poor driver, encumbered with oilskins, leggings, and gloves, was unable to swim to safety on the higher ridges of land."
Weekly Press, 6 April 1904

"The sad news has cast quite a gloom over the town; for deceased was widely known and greatly respected, being a steady man of very high character, and by his employers was considered as "one in a thousand " He was a son-in-law of Mr John Gay, of this city, and leaves a widow and one child, a girl of nine years of age. He was about thirty seven years of age, and his parents reside in Kimbolton, Feilding district. The greatest sympathy is being manifested towards the widow and relatives."
Colonist, 21 March 1904

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Vancouver, Westminster and Yukon Railways sign

(This came from Phil Hanson this afternoon:)

Hi - this is actually just a comment on the old K'Road signs, but I've attached a photo. Geographically, it's a bit beyond Timespanner's normal rounds, so feel free to choose to use it or not. I just thought with your soft spot for things rail ...

It's great when old signage comes back from the past like this. It happened quite a bit during a building boom when I was living in Vancouver. I know this has nothing to do with the Auckland area, but I have to share one of my favourites, the signage of the VW&Y Railway. It reappeared when an old building was demolished, exposing the wall of its neighbour for the first time in over 70 years. The Vancouver, Westminster and Yukon Railways was started by a Vancouver industrialist and laid a number of local tracks before going bankrupt. It never went anywhere near the Yukon; in those days promoters liked to tag grandiose or fanciful "& suffixes" to their railway names to help attract investors!

(Oh yes, that soft spot for rail -- and actually also for old advertising remnants on buildings etc. -- means I'm delighted to include this on Timespanner. Thank you, Phil!)

Old Karangahape Road advertising

Just sorting out some old items from the digital vault this morning, and I came across this shot taken on the north side of Karangahape Road (beside no. 153 but possibly part of the same building) between Pitt and Queen Street, in 2007. That day, I was heading from one appointment to another, when this caught my eye: a shop under renovation, where some original tile had been revealed. Along with what remained of the pasted-on advertising from another era. One of those "now you see 'em, now you don't" moments. I remember asking the guys doing the work if they'd mind me taking photos. They said quite a few passers-by that day had done the same.

How old are these ads? I'm not sure. For the moment, I'd hazard a guess and say somewhere from 1910-1930 or so. If I get a moment, I see what else I can find out via the directories. (If anyone reading this has info they'd like to share on these businesses, feel free to comment or contact me.)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A couple of history databases

Henry James Fletcher's Index of Maori Names, via the University of Waikato.
"This index is from an unpublished manuscript compiled about 1925 by the missionary Rev. Henry James Fletcher (1868-1933). In its original form it was 987 pages long, a vast index of Māori names referred to in books and journals, including the names of boundaries, Māori individuals, canoes, trees, landmarks and geographical locations. It was Fletcher's greatest piece of work, and one that merited improved access."
The Journal of the Polynesian Society, via the University of Auckland.
"The Polynesian Society is a non-profit organization based at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Founded in 1892, the Society’s aim was the scholarly study of past and present New Zealand Māori and other Pacific Island peoples and cultures. It has pursued this aim primarily through the Journal of the Polynesian Society, a quarterly publication begun at the Society’s inception and enduring to the present. The early issues of the Journal contain a rich repository of indigenous texts and traditions contributed by Pacific peoples, as well as by missionaries and other sojourners, often published in local languages with English translations. Among the scholars who have long contributed articles to the Journal are social/cultural anthropologists, archaeologists, historians, linguists and physical/biological anthropologists working in Micronesia and Melanesia, as well as Polynesia. "

The Shoe Sheriff of Newmarket

I've seen this corrugated iron verandah and advertising sign for years, each time I visit Newmarket. The other day, I decided that digital camera + blog meant that I should post something about it.

The Shoe Sheriff shoe repairs store is run by Peter Croad. The NZ Herald wrote about him and his store, last man out in a sea of commercial redevelopment, back in 2007:

Four years ago the cobbler's shop - owned by Peter Croad - won a courtroom battle to stay on the premier retail drag opposite Westfield's 277 shopping mall, facing down a rich land owner who wanted him out.

The shop has held its ground as all the neighbouring buildings have vanished, including the Patel family's dairy, a toy store and a bookshop.

Those shops were pulled down to make way for Broadway Junction, a project on the leasehold land by award-winning developers Newcrest Group.

New shops have now been built on both sides of the distinctive rust-coloured shoe repair shop, thought to date from the 1930s.

"I'll be in a bank sandwich," Croad said, noting when ASB moves in his shop will be between that and the BNZ.

He's hung on, though. TVNZ covered the story on Close Up in 2006:
"We often hear stories of the small person trying to resist the big developer, and after putting up a valiant fight, eventually forced to cave in. Some say it's inevitable, that progress will always get its own way. But Rawdon Christie has a story where one man has stood up to the big boys - and won. Peter Croad's better known as the 'Shoe Sheriff' in Newmarket, Auckland. He's been running the cobblers shop for over 25 years - his father ran it before him. The shop's actually been in the same location, on Broadway, since the war. So when the landowners told him it was time to go, he said no."
And in April, there was a blog post about it on Wordpress.

I wonder just how long he can go on. It'd be a pity -- that old-fashioned corrugated verandah is one heck of a cool landmark, in the midst of more anonymous and generic chrome and glass.

Tait Park

I found out that someone painted over the sign for Tait Park, a small reserve at the corner of Community Lane (next to Highbury Flats and the local community centre) and Rosebank Road. I was appalled. Yes, I know, this is a small thing in the greatness of the universe, but dammit ...

I was talking to someone recently, asking them what they meant when they referred to "Highbury Triangle". They described this park. "Tait Park?" they said. "But in slang today, we say Highbury Triangle."


The name is Tait Park. The sign may have been painted by hard-pressed, stretched-for-time anti-graffiti folk, but dammit -- the park is called Tait Park. With a reason. "Highbury Triangle" is a Council-sourced new bit of jargon invented for the latest incarnation of the district plan, to describe the total area including the park, the community centre, the library, and the Peace Gardens up at the corner of Great North Road and Ash Street. (Those date from 1995, the 50th anniversary of Hiroshima, and are formed in the shape of the peace symbol from the anti-nuclear protest days.) And "Highbury Triangle" doesn't make sense, unless they've just used the name of the pensioner flats (which Council no longer own, they're run by Housing NZ these days) -- today, none of Highbury Street is within that "triangle".

This has led to me asking to speak nicely to the Avondale Community Board at their meeting's Public Forum on Tuesday 23 June, to ask them if they wouldn't mind asking Council nicely to arrange to have the letters restored. A few dabs of white or yellow here and there to form the letters so they can be seen would be nice. It's also led to me compiling a brief history of the park, here.

So, here's some views of Tait Park. This is the part added to the park after the Ash Street extension went in behind it. It used to be part of Highbury Street.

What remains of a scoria wall and set of posts which went along two sides of the park.

I'll come back with an update after I've been to see the Community Board.