Sunday, October 31, 2010

George Shierny bus shelter

A bus shelter today in Auckland can look like this. It can take ages for someone from the Powers That Be to agree to put through the paperwork to get these in place. The one above, in Avondale, took at least 47 years. Seriously. I know this, because it's in my neighbourhood, where I've lived all my life, and that only appeared this year.

As I recall, a chap named George Shierny got tired of waiting for municipal provision of shelter from the elements while also waiting for our buses, so -- he built his own, on Mayoral Drive, in 1987. There's an article here, from 2002, about his campaign.

Mr Shierny's shelter shock tactics have been winners in the past with the city's mayors. One he built in Mayoral Drive in 1987 captured the heart of Dame Catherine Tizard, who had a council shelter which replaced it named after him. In 1991, Les Mills officially opened another one of Mr Shierny's creations in Victoria St.
Well, here it is: the George Shierny Bus Shelter.

When I first photographed it around quarter to nine in the morning last Friday, it was giving a homeless member of our community shelter from the elements.

In 2000, Mr Shierny was having a tussle with a local power company, at the age of 79, and campaigning for a Britomart bus centre in 2003. He was still going strong as at 2008 and last year: more bus shelters in 2008 with some cobbers, proclaimed a "good sort" in 2009, and protested against the Super City amalgamation.

Thank you, Mr George Shierny, for considering your fellow commuters.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Waitemata ferries remembered at Devonport Library

According to the North Shore Libraries' site (to be all part of Auckland Council from next Monday),  these pottery tiles were made by Barry Brickell, of Driving Creek Railway fame. The 18-tile set features past and present watercraft and ferries linking Auckland  with the Shore.

Maori waka, "Akarana Ki Takapuna."

Tainui, 1873. Auckland & North Shore Steam Ferry Co.

SS Condor, 3rd version. 1908-1936.

Whale boat, the first official ferry. 1854-1865.

PS Eagle, 1886-1924.

Sparrowhawk, 1911-1959;  Goshawk 1909-1959. Replaced by the harbour bridge.

The first Devonport steam ferry, Emu, 1860. Captain Kreeft.

Takapuna, 1925-1950. Makora, 1921-1970. Ngoiro, 1914-1959.

PS Osprey, 1887-1890.

Enterprise, Holmes Bros., 1865.

PS Osprey, 1887-1926.

Mollyhawk, 1923-1957. Eaglehawk, 1926-1959.

PS Devonport, built 1870 Auckland. Owners, Holme Bros., Auckland & North Shore Steam Ferry Co.

SS Albratross, 1904-1960.

George and Francis Peat, renamed 1951 the Ewen W & Alexander Alison, 1946-1959, diesel, ex-Tasmanian Govt.

PS Takapuna, 1872-1911. Built by H Nicol, operated by Devonport Steam Ferry Co. A better image (sorry about the blur) here.

SS Kestrel, 1905-, Peregrine, 1912-1959.

And today's seabus Kea, 1988-. It says North Shore Ferry Co. Ltd, but we all know it's run by Fullers.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Peacock Fountain

Image from Wikimedia Commons, by JohnstonDJ, from here, under under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Sandy, in her comment to the post on painting heritage buildings, wrote:

Interestingly i remember the outcry when the Peacock fountain was renovated and reinstalled in the Christchurch Botanic gardens a few years back...original colours and people hated it..i LOVE it has such character. 
There's several photos of this gorgeous fountain on the 'net, including the link Sandy provided to Te Ara.

Repainting the old

Now, when it comes to the repainting of heritage buildings, I'm very subjective and quite judgemental as far as the results are concerned. Basically, though, the main rule of thumb I apply as to whether I like the result or not is whether the fine architectural details of buildings are just covered in a swathe of paint, or used as part of the final paint job and shown off by the new colour patterns.

Exhibit A comes from home -- the 1938 Avondale Post Office, designed by Llewellyn (Llew) S Piper. I don't know how it was originally painted, but in the 1990s, under Avondale's Mainstreet Programme, it was repainted using three colours, with details accentuated, as seen below. The yellow when first done was brighter, but not too much.

Now, no longer a Thai restaurant, new owners are giving the old girl a refit and make over this month. I do like the results so far, because the detail around the windows and along the low parapet are being recognised and picked out in grey. Folks in the community I've spoken to feel this looks quite smart.

Hopefully, if no one bowls the Unity Building (1932) opposite, whatever landlord that comes along treats it just as kindly.

Then, we have exhibit B: the Victoria Picture Palace Theatre in Devonport.

It used to look like this (below). Described as "lolly-pastel", this exterior paintwork at least looked bright, true to period, and showed off architect Daniel B Patterson's 1929 facade detailing. But, I suppose because it was "lolly-pastel", it had to go. Image from WikiCommons, by the way.

So, now there's this (below). The details are still there, but they're now visually washed out by the sun reflecting off all that gleaming white. This building has now added another dislike to my set of personal opinions: I wasn't fond of old commercial and public buildings painted totally black, and now the Victoria Cinema has added solid white to that lack of preference. In an age, today, when we realise that the ancients didn't just have white buildings and white statues (even the Romans used colour for details) -- the Victoria Cinema's cheerful seaside hues have been obliterated.

Below, from the "History of the Victoria Cinema" poster displayed on the outside of the building, are Patterson's details as designed.

So, fine -- there's now a clean, freshly-painted old building in Devonport, but I do hope some day, when there's a need to raise the paint brush again, that they give some thought to providing a masterpiece, and not just a whitewash. Righto, I'll step off my soapbox now, thank you ...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

More old sign spotting: Crown Lynn on Hurstmere

While having an all too bland lunch at a cafe across the road today on Takapuna's Hurstmere Road --  I spotted the lettering of an old Crown Lynn Tablewear Centre sign. Above what is today a jewellers.

Crown Lynn in New Lynn had retail outlets for their wares, if I recall correctly. Perhaps this was one of them, before the 1980s? I can't think of any other reason why this would use the well-known Crown Lynn name, in association with tableware.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Art Deco Buildings blog

Andrew from the High Riser blog emailed overnight to give me the head's up on a beautiful piece of art deco design on a building in Ranfurly down south, featured on a blog for Art Deco Buildings (yes, Andrew, the plaque with the wagon and the train is quite wonderful). The whole of that blog is beautiful to browse through, but there is also a listing of posts with the "New Zealand" tag here.

Thanks, Andrew.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Inskip family tragedy

Back in November 2008, I posted the story of William Inskip's sad death down a well in Avondale in 1886, after initial publication the year before in the Avondale Historical Journal.

Over this weekend, Jennifer Inskip made contact, and has sent through a link to her research into his family background. Her blog is a quite beautiful and detailed one-name study. Well worth a look.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tutu te Puehu: New Zealand's wars of the 19th century

 I received the following email today from Peter Cooke, of the NZ Military History Committee.

You might be interested in this brochure of the latest NZ Military History conference. Our previous conferences were great successes, 'Zealandia's Great War' (in 2003) and 'Seeing Red' (2007). Apologies if you have already received this brochure - please pass on this mail to anyone else who you think would be interested in the conference.

The conference is 'Tutü te Puehu - New Zealand's Wars of the Nineteenth Century'. The title means 'kicking up the dust' and can arguably apply to the wars themselves or our desire to stir up discussion on them. It will be at Massey, Wellington, on 11-13 February 2011.

The attached brochure contains all basic information, and if there's anything else you want to know about the conference please feel free to contact me. A discount on registration exists until 30 November 2010, so I invite you to get your registration to me at the address below, or by email, as soon as possible. Electronic funds transfer is available.

A poster is also available - please let me know if you can display it (the size is A4). We would be greatful.

Peter Cooke
NZ Military History Committee

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Howick Historical Village

I have been trying to get out to see the Howick Historical Village for absolutely ages. Finally last Sunday, thanks to Mt Albert Historical Society, I was able to tag along in their bus. Despite the ongoing 'flu feeling, coughing, and the grey ol' day -- I was determined to go. Glad I did.

Here, on their once a month live days (they're open every day, but the third Sunday of the month is special), Queen Vic's flag still flies.

We were warmly greeted by the residents, although considering the chap in the coat was the town cryer, we heard nothing more from him after this ...

I think this is supposed to be a facsimilie of Private James Hanson's tent.

It was where the 65th regiment based at the village were hanging out ...

... their colonial washing.

Then off they go to keep the village secure. Had to watch out, these guys could come on you suddenly if you are too occupied with taking photos (as I was).

Checking the equipment on parade.

Bayonets fixed ...

Starting the charge across the green, enemy sighted ...

Well, that's one hedge that won't try taking on the might of the British Empire again, eh wot?

All sorted, it's off again to see if there's some more shrubbery elsewhere just asking for a taste of Imperial steel.

I loved this wagon.

The lady telling us about John Boidy's well, and how to use wells in general was very nice.  I mentioned that the well reminded me of the fatal incident in Avondale way back when.

The village is wonderful, and certainly a place you could spend hours looking around. From raupo huts ...

... to sod cottages ...

... to charcoal burners ...

... early classrooms ...

... beautiful old schools ...

.... and Bycroft's flour mill. For a gold coin in the slot, the water's turned on and the wheel goes round. All very cool stuff for us history buffs.

To the right is a peck measure, and to the left one for the bushel. In the middle is a sieve.

Bycroft's millstones from Onehunga.

Howick Methodist Church.

A fire extinguisher. "This large fire extinguisher was made in 1920 for the Shell Oil Company when petrol was imported in cans. To operate, the brass handle was turned, puncturing a cylinder of oxblood, producing a yellow foam that extinguishes petrol fires. Used until 1985." (!!)

Had the offer of a sample of kumara roasted from the open fire (I said no, as I had eaten earlier).

Ginger beer, $2.50, said the signs inside the pub. When I asked how they were making their ginger beer, I was told that they couldn't make their own, thanks to OSH regulations, and offered me a Bundaberg instead. I declined. (Though, yes, I do like Bundaberg).

Behold -- Jean Batten's dunny.

Yes, the Jean Batten. You know ... the aviatrix. Yes, that one.

You don't believe me? Tch! See for yourself.

See? Told you.

There's a sign inside asking folks to kindly not use it as a dunny. On seeing a lone fly buzzing around in there, I ventured no further.

Puhi Nui, built for William McLaughlin in 1861, according to the guidebook.  The design was popular back then, taken from American house plan books.

I loved the detail at the bay window.

This wee bloke, forever guarding the wet umbrellas, looks a bit Boer War era to me.

The ladies are busy with their crafts ...

... while the dining room is already set for tea.

Finally, this is apparently a bit of Aussie -- a postbox from Sydney, 1869, where it was originally called a "street letter receiver."

I want to go back to the village, on a nice sunny live Sunday. I'll wait for my next opportunity -- it will be worth it.