Monday, August 23, 2010

Avondale's oldest mural?

This mural, alongside the remaining bit of the old electric bus turn-around off upper Rosebank Road, is around 20-30 years old, I reckon. I've seen it for years. The back door in the photo on the right leads to what started out as the Avondale Plunket offices from the 1940s when this (the local loos) was built. Plunket moved out in the 1980s, wanting more space. And probably something less drafty -- my mum often told me that the reason why I wasn't a "Plunket baby" in the 1960s was because of one visit she made with me to see the nurse there. Through lack of room, after the check-up and weighing etc, she was asked by the nurse to dress me in the drafty corridor. Mum never went back there with me again.

Anyway ...

From the 1980s to sometime in the 1990s, those back rooms served as a base for the Council traffic department, until amalgamation swept that away from 1989. The mural is linked into the traffic safety aspect of the officers' work. The offices are still Council owned, but have been used by various community groups since.

I was asked recently how old the mural is. I'm still scratching my head on that one -- but I think it's done very, very well against the elements, car exhausts from vehicles parked just across the way, and taggers.


  1. Just interesting to me, you call it an electric bus and not a trolley bus. Is that the usual term used in NZ?

  2. Nah, it was early in the morning, and I felt like referring to them as electric buses. A question though -- why do we usually refer to them as trolley buses, whereas their predecessors were ... electric trams? Why not trolley trams? At least the Americans say trolley cars ...

  3. I've heard the overhead wire for trams referred to as a trolley wire, abbreviated to trolley, so that would be where the trolley comes from and as you say, American. Aus does not have any trolley buses now that I know of, but of course Wellington does. I would think people there just catch the bus, whether it is a trolley bus or diesel or gas. The way you used it, trolley or electric, is relevant as it explains, to me at least, why a turnaround was needed. Just checked with my partner who is English born and rode them when he was a kid and he knows them as a trolley bus too. In Melbourne where for a time we had cable trams and electric trams, I expect the electric ones were referred to as electric trams, as they were so different to cable trams. Perhaps not electric bus as that may have made a connection to electric cars, which were around off and on in the 20th century. Let us just blame Americans for trolley bus.

  4. Here, the term "electric tram" isn't as opposed to cable trams, but to horse-drawn trams, which predated them.

    I grew up with the electric buses called trolley buses, but felt ornery enougth this morning to go for another term. Always, always being rescued when they stopped by the diesels. Seeing the trollies in Wellington back in '06 was almost mind-bending -- but it does seem that theirs work well.

    The pre-diesel buses here in Avondale certainly needed the turnaround -- but then they also had to go to the zoo via the city, making it a 12 mile or so trip, instead of three or so miles. Madness. The trams just went down the road to a point, the electric connection reversed, then they headed back up the hill. My eternal regret that I was born a couple of decades too late -- I'd have loved to have been on an Avondale tram, coming down Rosebank Road.