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


  1. The steps look original to me, except for the fourth one down which looks to be an odd one out. Aren't worn steps so nice to see. So many feet from the past have trodden on them.

  2. I remember seeing once a set of old steps, I think it was in Melbourne and still in an existing building, that were so worn there was a bow in the middle of each one where the feet had worn them away. The effect of the past, right there.

  3. Good skills. I have walked past the column many times wondering how it fits into the street-scape. This answers all my questions.

  4. Nice bit of background info on the associated history too. Thanks for putting this together.

  5. You're welcome. Anytime you have more to share, let me know! These are wonderful.