Saturday, April 30, 2011

Katikati Heritage Museum

Back to a couple of weekends ago. I'm with my friends, on the way back from Tauranga, and we passed through Katikati. These shots were the result of a very, very quick stop at the Katikati Heritage Museum, just to look around the outside, not to visit the museum itself (which is a tour which does take time because virtually every inch of the walls inside has something of interest to look at. Trust me. I glanced through an entrance door, and knew my friends were indeed wise to make this just a five-minute snap-and-run.)

If you're not into the museum, or the souvenirs, there's always the Miniputt ...

According to the sign beside it, this is a steam-driven butterfat testing device, "used in dairy factories to determine the amount of butterfat the Farmer produced so as to pay him."

At the moment, the museum is owned and run by Ken and Nancy Merriman, but earlier this year, they announced plans which would have meant the museum's closure.

The debate about the museum's future began earlier this year when the Merrimans, after trying to sell it as a going concern, announced plans to auction the collection, land and buildings to begin "the second stage of their retirement".

 Bay of Plenty Times, 28 April 2011

At this point, it seems that a community committee has been formed to look at ways at either buying the land, to maintain the museum, or at least buying part of the collection, keep it in storage, and then work on a means to display it in the future.

Not sure whether this character was part of the Miniputt course or not ...

Nicely done, with the horse hitched to the cart. But -- why the horse-blanket?

Some pukekos who look like they won't take much nonsense.

I remember when almost all schools in the 1960s-1970s had play equipment like this. Today, this sort of stuff is probably frowned on by the Powers That Be as far too dangerous for little boys and girls. There certainly were a lot of scrapes and war wounds from the jungle gyms.

It would be a shame if this character's vigil over the highway had to come to an end.

Omaka Air Show, Blenheim

More images received from Bryan Blanchard, from this year's Omaka Air Show, held on alternate (odd number) years at Easter.

The show is put on by Classic Fighters, and raises funds for the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, which according to their website:

... began with a resurgence of heritage aviation interest in Marlborough in the late 1990's when a group of enthusiasts imported two Chinese Nanchang trainers and established the Marlborough Warbirds Association as a way to foster interest and provide a social network of support ...

At this point, in 1997, a small group of aircraft owners and enthusiasts got together to discuss the means by which these aircraft could be made accessible to the public on a more practical and sustainable basis, and grow the public understanding and appreciation of aviation. It culminated in the formation of the New Zealand Aviation Museum Trust. Their vision was that this facility should be a hub; a focal point of activity reaching not only aviation but also tourism, education and industry to the benefit of the Marlborough community, New Zealand and aviation enthusiasts throughout the world.

Featured in the show were some tanks, made of fibreglass according to Bryan and put together for Weta Workshop of all things.

" ... the Panzer 4, a German tank replica appearing for the first time at Classic Fighters. It was built for Weta Workshop, in Wellington, which has loaned it to Omaka for the airshow along with two replica Allied tanks from World War I. 

"Asked how the huge machines were transported, Dave just grins ad says: "You put them on a loader, take them to a ferry and drive them on, then drive them off again." 

Sadly, there are question marks as to whether the show will continue in succeeding years.

The Classic Fighters airshow at Omaka is a great event, put on at great risk, organiser Graham Orphan says.It is too early to say whether the show would be put on again in two years, Mr Orphan said.The organisation team had yet to evaluate how it went financially. 

"It would be folly of us to say that we would always keep doing it." 

... Bad weather could ground planes and scupper a show, causing a large loss."I have started to think this is aeronautical Russian roulette: [each time you think] will this be the time where we lose hundreds of thousands of dollars?" Organisers were keen to continue; they were just being prudent and mindful of risk, he said. They would meet to refine the formula of the show and look at ways to make it more profitable. 

They were also exhausted after months of voluntary toil and putting their lives and businesses on hold, he said. "There's a lot of pluses, a lot of good things about it; it's difficult to have too many negatives. All we have is caution."
Marlborough Express 26 April 2011

Update, 2 May 2011: Since posting this, the link to the post has been picked up by a Polish message board, apparently (I don't know Polish, so I'm guessing) about old military vehicles. Thanks for the link, folks!

Friday, April 29, 2011

More of the vanished: Auckland's Market Building c.1917

Updated 31 May 2012: David has installed another version of his work, on his own YouTube account.

David Hirtzell, who gave us long-gone Kilbryde in digital format, and roves around looking for remains of the past, has also prepared a very cool animation: a fly-through tour of the Market Square block in central Auckland c.1917, the site of today's Aotea Square, Civic Building, Aotea Centre, and the Civic Theatre. Working on the base provided by the 1908-1919 City of Auckland map from Auckland Council Archives, David searched through the Heritage Images Online from Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Central Library, especially those from the James D Richardson collection depicting the old market building in the centre of the block in 1921. Together, the collection of images applied to what was known of the buildings and the layout come to an estimated date of c.1917.

Here's the animation, best seen in full-screen mode, viewable via YouTube:

And, of course, some history ...

In 1855 an area of just over 6 acres, bounded by Queen, Grey, Cook, Albert and Wellesley Streets, was secured as a Market Reserve for the citizens of Auckland, during the period of the first Auckland City Council. Hardly a great place to have a  public market, many felt: the area was the swamp formed by Wai Horotiu, the Liger Creek, and was still in a swampy, “unsanitary” condition into the late 1860s. Plans were made to drain the market reserve by the City Board which preceded the later (second) Auckland City Council. The “filling in” of the reserve was to continue until 1872.

The laying of the foundation stone for the market building in November 1872 didn't exactly go without a hitch.

The preliminary arrangements for laying the first stone were completed early in the morning. A stand with seats had been erected for the accommodation of those ladies who had received invitations from the contractor. ... A platform had been erected for the accommodation of the Mayor and those speakers who might follow him ; as also for the representatives of the Press. The framework had however been so temporarily put together, and was altogether composed of such slender materials, that no sooner had the reporters taken their seats than it came down with a crash. Several hands were put on to repair damages, but these were as temporary as the original structure, and, before the proceedings had terminated, there was a second and irreparable breakdown. 

At the rear of the ladies' stand a refreshment stall had been put up by Mr. Williams, landlord of the Anchor Hotel. This was specially intended for the Volunteers, who were regaled, by order of the Mayor, on behalf of the City Council. A strongly-framed timber triangle had been erected, to which were attached a crab-winch and chain for hoisting a scoria block intended to cover the basement stone, out of which an oblong square hole had been cut to allow of the deposits which will be hereafter mentioned. ... Outside of the military square from 1,300 to 2,000 of the citizens were present to witness the ceremony, but of this number only a small percentage could see what was taking place, and none could catch the words of the speakers. 
Southern Cross 12 November 1872

David, who found this piece on the laying of the foundation stone, wondered what became of it when the building was later demolished. Good question.

Mr. Anderson, the City Surveyor, now presented his Worship with the plans of the building, and in accordance with the usual custom expressed a hope that his Worship would lay the foundation-stone properly, as upon it depended tho stability of the structure. Mr. Brodie, the Town Clerk, handed his Worship the articles to be deposited in the stone, consisting of a copy of the Daily Southern Cross newspaper, of the New Zealand Herald, the Evening Star, the Weekly News, and the Weekly Herald ; and also the different coins of the realm, from a threepenny piece to a five shilling piece. He also read the following parchment-scroll, which was likewise to be deposited in the stone :— " The Foundation Stone of the Auckland Market was laid by his Worship the Mayor, P. A. Philips, Esq , on Monday, the 11th of November, Anno Dommi, 1872. Tricesimo Sexto Victoriae Regina. Sir G. B. Bowen, KCB., Governor of the Colony ; T. B. Gillies, Esq , Superintendent of the Province. The following are the names of the City Councillors in office at the time:—Henry Isaacs, Esq. ; Richard Hobbs, Esq. ; F. L. Prime, Esq. ; Stannus Jones, Esq. ; Thomas Williams, Esq. ; John Cosgrave, Esq. ; W. J. Hurst, Esq. ; J. M. Dargaville, Esq. ; George Holdship, Esq. This Building is erected by the City Corporation at a cost of £3,500. Architect, William Anderson, City Surveyor; Contractor and Builder, M. Donaher. (Signed) Philip A. Philips, Mayor; P. Brodie, Town Clerk." The box containing these articles was then placed in the receptacle for the purpose, and His Worship then performed the ceremony of laying the stone in the customary manner, declaring it at the conclusion to be truly laid; after which cheers were given for the Queen, the Prince of Wales, the Mayor, the Superintendent, the contractor, and the ladies. The Volunteers then marched off to their respective Drill-sheds ; the people dispersed ; and his Honor the Superintendent, the Mayor and Municipal authorities, and those invited, adjourned to luncheon.

The market was completed in 1873, a cruciform timber building with corrugated iron roof, 270 ft long with a thoroughfare 37 feet wide. From 1875, under the “Auckland City Endowments and Reserves Act” of that year, the City Council were empowered to lease the street frontages around the Market, and lay roads through the land.

The Market itself was not as successful as had been hoped. By the 1890s, it seemed to have become a bit of a battleground between European growers of produce, and the Chinese growers who were gaining numbers, and seemingly more successful. Still, this was where the firm which was to become Turners and Growers established one of their earliest bases of trade. By 1912 the old building was described as “distinctly discreditable to such a city as Auckland”. A report in that year by the Mayor, C. J. Parr, noted that the buildings around the Market were “mainly of a poor class, and some of them are now approaching an almost ruinous condition.” Parr made a recommendation in his report that the Market Reserve could be the site for a Municipal Theatre and Opera House, along with warehouses and new buildings along the Queen and Grey Street frontages “of a height, style and character to be fixed by the City Council.” 

Once the temporary leases for the Market Building had expired the building was demolished in 1921. It had already been replaced by new City Markets closer to the wharves. Elliot Street was continued through to Cook Street, the new portion being named Bledisloe Street, and the Market entrance or Market Street became Myers Street. A grand civic centre was planned, and most of the old Victorian buildings on the Queen Street frontage, earning rental income for the city, were demolished along with the market building -- but the Mayor at that time had miscalculated. A vote among the ratepayers to approve a loan for the scheme declined the proposal, and so the former market space became mostly open air carparks for the next three or four decades.

My sincere thanks to David Hirtzel, Auckland Council Archives, and the Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Central Library, for permitting me to post David's movie up online. Frankly, I hope someone can come up with funding to allow David to proceed further into this, perhaps working on more of the old city blocks, giving us a taste of what it once was like to live and work in old Auckland.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sulphuric ether comes to the colony

Sketch by L E Wards of the Lands Department, from a drawing made in 1948, published in the Evening Post 22 January 1927. In 1848, the building was damaged by an earthquake, and was replaced by another on the csame site in 1851.

The March issue of the Otaki Historical Society newsletter mentions an article in their journal about the Wellington Colonial Hospital, dating from 1847, and the first use of ether in surgery in New Zealand by Dr. James Patrick Fitzgerald. Not completely as we'd understand the procedure of "going under the gas" these days -- the ether seems to have been used more as a sort of dulling Agent, rather than completely knocking the patient out. The actual first application on the same day, Monday 27 September 1847, for a patient in the local gaol who needed a wisdom tooth removed, did not go smoothly.

On Monday Dr. Fitzgerald, Dr. Monteith, and Mr. Marriott the ingenious constructor of the inhaling apparatus used on the occasion, proceeded to the gaol to try the efficacy of the new discovery on one of the prisoners who wished to have a tooth extracted; the apparatus was applied to the patient's mouth, and after inhaling some time without any effect, Mr. Marriott altered the instrument, when the desired effect almost immediately followed, the patient falling into a state of insensibility; the forceps were then applied, but the tooth being decayed, the side of it fell in from the pressure, and the effect of the ether immediately went off. Dr. Fitzgerald said that if the tooth had not broken, or with a properly fitting claw (the tooth being the furthest in the upper jaw, to which in some cases it is very difficult to apply the instrument), the tooth would have been extracted without any pain.

NZ Spectator and Cook’s Strait Guardian, 29 September 1847

As someone who has had to have a misaligned tooth removed in the past few weeks -- but under local anaesthetic -- I wince, and wonder how the poor blighter in the chair made it through ...

Then, on to the main event later that day.
[At] the Native Hospital, Dr. Fitzgerald, assisted by Dr. Monteith, removed a large tumour extending from the top of the left shoulder across the back to the right shoulder blade, from a native chief of Waikanae who had come to Dr. Fitzgerald for that purpose. Several of the natives of Pipitea pa were present. Mr. Marriott applied the inhaling apparatus to the patient, an old man, who soon went off into the usual state, and Dr. Fitzgerald commenced the operation : the patient was insensible until after the third incision, but quickly recovered from the effects of the ether, which was not reapplied: the tumour was very large, being about three pounds in weight. Other medical gentlemen were to have been present, but as the native expressed great anxiety to return home, and every thing was in readiness, it was not deemed advisable to postpone the operation. As this is the first instance of the application of the new discovery in this settlement, and the apparatus for inhaling was constructed merely from the descriptions which have appeared in the English papers, a good deal of caution was observed in each case, particularly in the latter, for fear of any unfavourable effect on the native mind in the event of a failure of the experiment: sufficient success, however, has attended the trial to warrant greater confidence in a repetition of the experiment.

NZ Spectator and Cook’s Strait Guardian, 29 September 1847

Extract from report from Dr. J Fitzgerald:
The first and surest proof that the natives appreciate the Hospital is that it has been always full since its opening. I have had natives from Otaki, Wainui, Manawatu, and other places up the coast, and also from Waikanae, from which place the first native patient was admitted, namely, the old chief Hiangarere, who was put under the influence of Sulphuric Ether previous to the removal of a large tumour from between his shoulders. From this native's son I forward a letter showing how the old man appreciated the Hospital …

NZ Spectator and Cook’s Strait Guardian, 5 February 1848

Auckland's medicos seemed to be much slower in taking on this newfangled method of dulling the pain. In Australia, it seems to have been used since August 1847 at least (one bloke near Melbourne having a limb amputated under ether).

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Remains of the vanished

David Hirtzell, who recently sent through the stunning work he's done on capturing Kilbryde's glory, has spotted another couple of pieces of Auckland's lost architecture, now only remnants.

Swainson's Cottage

William Swainson (1809-1884) was the second and last Attorney-General of the Crown Colony of New Zealand, and instrumental in setting up our legal system.

In 1878 Charles and Sophie Street purchased the block of land which is now the Parnell Rose Gardens from William Swainson on the proviso that he could remain living there for the rest of his life in his small cottage overlooking the harbour. He died there in 1884. The Gillies family used the cottage after his death as a summer house.  Emily Gillies died in 1913 and the “Gillies Estate” which included Swainson's old pre-fabricated cottage and the surrounding land, totalling 9 acres and 2 roods came onto the market.It was taken over by Auckland City Council, and became Parnell Park. As with Kilbryde, the cottage was demolished, and the park created with later rose gardens.

Click to enlarge. Parnell Park plan, Auckland Council Archives, Field Sheet No 34. City Engineers plans. Series No ACC 015,  Record No 4058-34a, Record ID 502712. Used here with permission.

 Swainson's Cottage, photographer Henry Winkelmann, dated 4 April 1916. Reference 1-W583, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Central Library. Used with permission.

From David's email:
"While doing some research on Kilbryde I noticed some old stone steps in the park just above judges bay
I think these belonged to Swainson's cottage. Have a look at the 1916 map from Council Archives and see if you agree. So this means the cottage actually sat on that nice little grass terrace under the trees. And notice many of the paths around the park are still the same today."

Image credit: David Hirtzell

Kaiapoi Woollen Manufacturing Company

Wellesley Street West,  photographer James D Richardson, dated 26 Jan 1928. Reference 4-2141, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Central Library. Used with permission.

Kaiapoi Woollen Manufacturing Company, unknown photographer, dated 4 November 1964. Reference 7-A926, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Central Library. Used with permission.

The Kaiapoi Woollen Manufacturing Company dates from the year 1878, when with a capital of £15,000 a very small beginning was made. The growth and expansion of the works have progressed with successive years, until the nominal capital of the company has been increased to £200,000, £100,000 of which has been fully paid up. The splendid mills, which occupy a section of ten acres in extent, are situated on the Cam river, a confluent of the Waimakariri, within the borough of Kaiapoi ...

Branch warehouses are established in Auckland and Wellington, from which the more immediate wants of the trade in those centres are supplied ...

Right now, the site is alongside the Bledisloe Building. But David has found a remnant still visible to today's view.

Image credit: David Hirtzell
From his email:
"Here’s another little remnant on Wellesley Street West people walk past but never notice. A single column remaining from the Kaiapoi Woollen building  (built in 1913, demolished in 1964)."

Image credit: David Hirtzell

Tauranga's Historic Village on 17th (Avenue)

Image: Tauranga, New Zealand, 23 April 1864, by Col. Edward Arthur Williams (1824-1898).  
From interpretive panels, Faulkner House.

One thing that gets me about Tauranga's history -- it almost always seems that it has to be teased out to be discovered, like teasing out a piece of yarn.  That's probably the reason why I enjoyed my weekend down there this year so much and have good memories. Having history served up on a platter, ready cooked, pre-seasoned; all that's left is to either savour it, or pick it apart to find the fishbones of contention. Much of Auckland's history, well-documented, still argued over, is like that.

But for some reason, Tauranga's story seems to demand that you go look for it. A real case in point is the Historic Village there.

Image: Plan of Tauranga District, 4 May 1867, by James McKay, Civil Commissioner.  
From interpretive panels, Faulkner House.

When you come up to the admin office -- you'll get a map of the village. Very cool -- but there's nothing on it to tell you about the village, how it came to be, and even which buildings are real structures inherited from the past, and which ones are mock-ups built specially to remind you of the past. Frustrating ... but I did carry on, and eventually found out kind of how things came to be. At least in summary.

Tauranga in its early days had a Mechanics Institute, much like most towns up band down the country in the 19th century -- a place where the working man could read and learn in a culture which prized learning, knowledge, and education. Some of the Institutes, because a library was at their core, spawned the public library system we know today in various places. In Tauranga, it seems (according to the panels I found at Faulkner House -- more on that later) it led to a museum. The organisers gathered a collection -- which went up in smoke when the Mechanics Institute burned in 1881. Undaunted, they gathered subscriptions and erected a replacement building, and started gathering anew.

Fast forward to 1938, when all of sudden "a collection of rare and valuable exhibits" found temporary resident in the Tauranga Town Hall which, just out of interest, also served as a part-time movie theatre.

Come World War II, however, with no permanent home found, the collection was packed up in three cases and stored away, secured into a wall at the Town Hall. It remained there until 1954 when members of the Tauranga Historical Society found references to the collection in the records, and unblocked the wall. But, down to 1969, there was still no permanent home for the collection. It was even suggested that the quest be given up, and the items sent to Auckland War Memorial Museum.

But, in that year, the Tauranga District Museum was finally established, with a facility on Hamilton Street. 900 people attended the opening on 22 August 1970. The Hamilton Street museum ran until 1976.

From 1972, plans were prepared for a historic village, depicting Tauranga between 1880 and 1920 on the 14 acre Thomas Wrigley Reserve at the western end of 17th Avenue. It finally opened 11 December 1976. It once had a tug-boat named the Taioma, displayed high and dry on land. Later, she was scuttled. Today, the Taioma is now a featured wreck off the southern side of Motiti Island.  It once had a small railway, and L508, affectionately called "Gertie". It was purchased in 1974, and remained until the museum's demise 14 years later. Today, "Gertie" is at Shantytown in Greymouth.

What happened was a decline in visitor numbers from 1990. A decision was made in 1998 to close the historic village down, with the view to building a modern museum facility -- but that has yet to happen. Meanwhile, the collection was put in storage. The village itself remained, however, with a new life as the headquarters for a number of community groups and businesses.

So, here it is -- Tauranga's Historic Village on 17th.

This Town Board and Library building is one of my favourites ...

... because it's home to the Tauranga Gem & Mineral Club, with a wonderful display area, and samples on sale to suit any budget.

Charlie Haua's Smithy -- purchased for £500 by the Tauranga Historical Society in 1969-1970 for the Tauranga District Museum.

The base of the lamp features the plaque for a foundation stone laid at King Edward VII Esplanade on 9 August 1902 by Mayor Charles Jordan.

Even a mural for me to photograph ...

Sad to say, this picturesque little church is one of the fake buildings. But the doors came from the Catholic church at Maketu.

But this, Faulkner Cottage, is one of the real ones.

I saw on the map that there was a collection of gravestones -- but alas, I was too late. They'd been removed in late 2010.