Friday, March 30, 2012

The last of the horse troughs, and colour at Mt Eden

Bill and Barbara Ellis from Torbay took these photos and sent them through.

This, the last of the horse troughs, was suggested by Mrs Agnes Chambers in honour of Henry Alder, first inspector for the Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Auckland from 1900.
Inspector Henry Alder, of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, was instrumental in punishing a haulier named William Gick, of St. Heller's Bay this morning, for working a horse while it was in an unfit state. He saw the animal being driven by Gick in Karangahape Road this morning, and noticed that it suffered considerable pain through having sore shoulders. Gick was brought before Mr James Stichbury JP subsequently, and fined £1 with 7/- costs, His Worship remarking that the horse was in a shameful state, and Gick's employer ought to be prosecuted if he knew the condition in which it was sent out.
Auckland Star 17.9.1903

 And yet ...

A very unusual prosecution for alleged cruelty came before Mr Kettle S.M., in the Police Court this morning, the defendant being Henry Alder, local inspector of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He was charged with having slaughtered a horse on June 16, in the City Pound, in such a manner as to cause it unnecessary pain. He pleaded not guilty. It appears that Alder, in order to put the animal out of its misery, struck it on the head with a hammer three times, and left it for dead. The evidence of witnesses, however, indicated that the horse was not killed, but was struggling for nearly two hours afterwards. The case was dismissed, in view of the fact that there was no intentional cruelty. 

Wanganui Chronicle 27.6.1905

That said, though -- Alder was one of the early shining lights in the history of the animal welfare movement in this country.
"Blue Cross" writes: Was glad to see in a local paper the other day an article on the work of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Society, which is, of course, the work of that staunch humanitarian, Mr. Henry Alder. The Society looks after administrative details, but it is Inspector Alder who first, last, and all the time does the actual work. It is work that doesn't gain him much glory, thanks, or riches, but it is the work of a true Crusader in the cause of those who have but few champions and a lot of enemies among mankind. Not that men deliberately rank themselves as enemies of the dumb beasts and the birds, but by their actions they are often more devilishly cruel than one would find it in his heart to believe. It is to circumvent the doings of these that Inspector Alder gives all his time and energy and his store of the latter is nothing less than wonderful.

Among Auckland business men, police, and magistrates he has many good friends, who further his good work, but his worst enemy is the apathy of the general public in regard to it. People shrink from exhibitions of cruelty, but do not consider it their business to take any action to have it punished. It would be a good thing if a really active interest in the doings, of the Society could be roused in Auckland, to find out just how it is working, how it is planning to extend Mr. Alder's work, and what encouragement it is offering to those inclined to give a helping hand by becoming honorary inspectors, or otherwise furthering the cause of the animals by service as well as by cash donations. It's human interest, not merely the kind you get at the Bank, that counts every time!
Observer 7.8.1920

That might even have been Mrs Chambers writing in, as she was the one who organised the Blue Cross Fund during World War I. Alder died in 1921. His memorial trough is currently close to the Tepid Baths in Downtown Auckland.

These images, according the the Ellises, come from Mt Eden, in and around the intersection of Mt Eden and Stokes Road.

I got a shot of this box myself in January 2010, but Bill was able to get in without most of the clutter around it. Good to see the tagging's more under control now.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A mural in Queen's Arcade

I've been in Queen's Arcade in the central city a few times. Mainly to look at Marbeck's music store, but today I went up to the second floor via escalator, transacted some business, then headed back towards where I saw there was a down escalator. Then noticed quite possibly one of the, if not the most, coolest of the stairwells of Auckland.

The only identifier I saw (see bottom image) was "Lamplit Stage '93", plus a mobile number. Has this been here since 1993? Whoever the artist is, there is a wonderful blending of the work with the architecture.

The seagull sitting on the stairwell ornament.

That looks awfully like Rangitoto in the background, and Queen's Wharf mid-foreground.

In one window, a well-dressed Victorian-Edwardian gent checks the time ...

... while a mouse looks on.

Down below, a pianist practices.

Amongst the palms, sculpture in the garden.

The name of the artist (?) with a dripping paintbrush left carelessly on the real banister.

Auckland never ceases to surprise.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Great White Fleet, 1907-1909

An especial treasure I picked up through Trade Me recently is this: a 1908 postcard, printed by Clark & Matheson, engraved by C E Mackie, of the US Fleet entering Auckland Harbour, Sunday, August 9th, 1908. I’m not sure why, but the “Great White Fleet” (see also the Wikipedia page for a good map) as the battleships of the Atlantic Fleet were known during their 1908 tour of the Pacific has been a recurring fascination for me. Obtaining the near 104-year old souvenir was wonderful. Even better than I’d hoped: I got also the image of the little kiwi at the top of the border, one of the earliest impressions of the bird as our national symbol; and the flags tucked around the image. Better than just a photo of ships in the harbour.

The best text I’m come across so far on the fleet and its context in that Edwardian world of shifting diplomacy, sabre-rattling, and the premonitory twinges in world history which led down to the trenches of the First World War, is James R Reckner’s Teddy Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet (1988). I purchased my copy towards the end of last year, at the price of $52.00 from the souvenir shop at the Voyager Maritime Museum in downtown Auckland. With the thought soon after the deed was done with my Eftpos card that my dratted spontaneity in such things had finally gone, well, quite literally overboard. Such a price for a book with only around 220 pages – and softback at that! But, it is printed in the US, which makes a refreshing change in these days where publications, due to cost and economics, are increasingly produced by the roaring engines from Chinese and Taiwanese establishments. I do have a soft spot for American books. Also, and this is the main reason why I feel I have made a good investment – this book is wonderfully well-written. Clear, concise, and packed with well-researched information from files and the newspapers of the day, along with images from the time.

Yes, yes, I do still wish I’d spotted it in a second-hand bookstore from amongst my usual haunts and obtained it at a cheaper price. That’s my quarter-Scots blood from a grandfather coming out, not to mention the fiscal caution of my late mother. But … ah well. What’s done, is done.

The reasons why the fleet’s tour happened are linked to a changing focus for America in terms of possible defence needs, or at least as they were perceived at the time. Japan, having just won a war with the Russians, set up a presence on the Chinese mainland and arranged a diplomatic treaty with Britain, seemed to those on America who believed in the “yellow peril’ paranoia to be a new threat. In that light, the Great White Fleet was possibly sabre-rattling on a grand scale. But President Theodore Roosevelt also seemed keen to see just how well his coal-fuelled battle fleet could do if required to take action against some future foe. 

"Departure of the American Fleet for the Pacific: the principal vessels of the squadron, which left New York December 16, 1907," Auckland Weekly News 26 December 1907, ref. AWNS-19071226-11-4, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Library

The fleet left their base in December 1907, arousing suspicion from authorities in Argentina and Chile where stopovers were made (North American dominance over South America an issue which would linger through the entire 20th century), while the Peruvians greeted the fleet warmly. They reached Los Angeles by April 1908, and left San Francisco in July. Hawaii was reached later that month, and American Samoa by 1 August.

Ships of the American fleet (Great White Fleet) on Waitemata Harbour, Auckland, 1908 Reference Number: 1/1-006190-G Ships of the American fleet (Great White Fleet) on Waitemata Harbour, Auckland, in 1908, photographed by James Hutchings Kinnear, Alexander Turnbull Library

In Auckland, at 7.10 am on 9 August, around 100,000 people lined the shores of the Waitemata Harbour and Rangitoto Channel, according to Reckner – 10% of our national population then.

“They conducted an intricate S-patterned maneuver in the outer harbour of Rangitoto Channel and then, escorted by a flotilla of local craft dangerously overloaded with cheering passengers, rounded North Head and swept up the channel to anchor in modified line of squadrons in the Waitemata Harbour. A plan for the ships of each division to anchor simultaneously went well except when the Rhode Island found insufficient room in her assigned anchorage and nearly rammed the British flagship Powerful. After much backing and filling, the unfortunate ship was assigned an alternate anchorage and guided there by the harbour master.” (pp. 93-94)
Auckland Weekly News, 20 August 1908, ref. AWNS-19080820-12-1, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Library

Here, we had “American Fleet Week”, an almost unending round of receptions, banquets, floral arches, flag waving, including trips to Rotorua and a day at the Ellerslie races.

Visit of the American fleet, Queen St arch. C.B & Co Ltd. Real photograph by Ernest de Tourret, Whangarei, N.Z. [1908?] Reference Number: Eph-B-POSTCARD-Vol-3-034-1 Shows Queen Street, Auckland, with an archway constructed of towers, scaffolding, raupo and cabbage trees, with the word WELCOME on the arch. There is the New Zealand coat of arms and an American eagle decoration on each tower. Alexander Turnbull Library.

"Officers of the American Fleet who took part in the official landing, Monday, August 10, 1908," Auckland Weekly News, ref AWNS-19080820-10-3, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Library

A look at Papers Past will show that the entire country was fixated on what was to become “the” event of 1908 (so much so that, ahead of the scheduled completion time and official opening, politicians and their et ceteras steamed up from Wellington on their special Parliament Train, just to be on hand when the fleet arrived in Auckland).

Auckland Weekly News, 20 August 1908, AWNS-19080820-16-6, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Library

 Observer, 15 August 1908

The fleet eventually left at 8am, Saturday 15 August, and the grand tour of the Pacific, including Australia and Japan, concluded in February 1909.

Observer, 29 August 1908

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Magnalium for Dominion Day

Dominion Day celebrations in Wellington. Auckland Weekly News, 10 October 1907, ref AWNS-19071010-13-1, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries

A small medal I spotted on Trade Me recently was advertised simply as "Children's Attendance Medal", with question marks. I almost didn't bother with putting in a bid, until I decided to check out the story behind the medal on Papers Past. Previous (and better condition) examples have been put on the auction site before now, but -- I like this one. It looks like it has been through history.

Dominion Day used to be 26 September each year, from 1907, when we ceased to be a colony of the British Empire (but, there was still a while to go before all the apron strings were cut).

Anyway -- in an atmosphere of patriotism, loyalty to king, country and Empire, and all that was to entail just seven years later, the Prime Minister J G Ward came up with the idea of medals for the nation's kiddies to mark the day. Well -- at least to mark the day after the day had taken place. He sent a telegram to be read by all the country's mayors etc who were leading the local celebrations.
As the day will be historical in the annals of New Zealand, and of more than passing interest to the children, I have decided to have a medal struck in commemoration of the event for presentation later on to each school child throughout the Dominion. Kindly make this fact known at any function you may hold to-morrow. J G Ward. 
ChCh Star 26.9.1907

It wasn't met with universal enthusiasm.
When the Mayor of Feilding read the Premier's message about medals for school children, yesterday, comments were made: "It would be better if he gave us money to improve our roads." "What about devoting the medal money to poor back-blockers for roads?" 
 Wairarapa Daily Times 30.9.1907

The Nelson Chamber of Commerce has passed a resolution to the effect that it be recommended to the Premier instead of having a medal struck to commemorate Dominion Day (September 26th), that one million pennies bearing that date be issued for distribution among the school children, and the balance be put into circulation. 

Hawera & Normanby Star 17.10.1907

But, the government went ahead anyway.
In connection with the proposal to strike a "Dominion" medal, to commemorate the creation of New Zealand as a Dominion, the Government is now getting a medal designed with a view to receiving tenders from manufacturers in various parts of New Zealand. The medals will, as has been suggested to the Government, be distributed amongst school children. 

Poverty Bay Herald 12.10.1907

The Government has accepted the tender of Messrs Moller and Sons, of Dunedin, for the supply of 170,000 medals for distribution amongst the school-children of New Zealand to commemorate the celebration of Dominion Day. Marlborough Express 10.12.1907

The medals provided by the Government for presentation to all school children, to mark the raising of the status of New Zealand to a Dominion, will be presented to the scholars when the school work is resumed on the beginning of next month. The medal, which will be of magnalium, will be about the size of a florin. On one side it is indicated that New Zealand was proclaimed a Dominion on September 26th, 1907, and on the opposite side King Edward's portrait is given, surrounded by the British and New Zealand ensigns, with the inscription: "God Save the King, Edward VII, of the British Dominion, King." 

WDT 28.1.1908

There were hold ups.
The dominion medal which the Government devised to delight the hearts of all its school children, is very late in making its appearance. The medals were to have been distributed by February 28, but it will be two months yet, according to official computation, before they dangle on the necks of school girls and are "swapped" by boys. The explanation is that great difficulty has been experienced in achieving a really satisfactory design. The contractors, Messrs C. Moller and Sons, have been at much pains in the matter, and are not to blame for the delay. A design has just been approved, and in two months more the medals should be available for distribution. Feilding Star 13.3.1908

It will be another month or so before the school children will receive the promised Dominion commemorative medal. The selection of a suitable design, and prepa[ra]tion of the dies should not be hurried, and one fact which alone should compensate for the delay is that the very credible production is entirely of New Zealand manufacture. A little larger than a shilling, and made of magnalium, it is remarkably light, weighs about as much as the mock coins of cardboard to which children are accustom[ed] in the schools. 
West Coast Times 14.5.1908

The following is a wonderfully detailed article describing the medals. Rather worrying though to read that "boys" were employed in their manufacture.
The order received by Messrs Moller and Sons, of this city, for the supply of 180,000 medals to commemorate the proclamation of New Zealand as a Dominion, is generally regarded as being the largest order of the kind yet submitted to any single firm in the Dominion, and as they will shortly be ready for distribution amongst the school children throughout New Zealand, some further particulars concerning the medal will doubtless prove of interest.

The medal itself is slightly larger than a halfpenny, and bears on its obverse a circle enclosing the King's head surmounted by the royal crown, and flanked on each side with the New Zealand and British ensigns, and bears the inscription “Edward VII of the British Dominions, King.". The reverse is ornamented with crossed fern-fronds in relief, inscribed, “Presented to the children attending the schools of the Dominion." Surrounding it are the words, New Zealand proclaimed a Dominion, September 26, 1907."

The metal is an alloy of aluminium and magnesium, invented by Dr Mach, and is manufactured in Westphalia. It is quite the latest of its kind, being practically unknown in commercial circles as yet, and is a white metal resembling silver. Light as aluminium is known to be, magnalium is even a trifle lighter, its density being 2.4 to 2.57, whereas the density of aluminium is 2.67.

The breaking strain of the new metal is from 14 to 21 tons per square inch, and it melts at a temperature of 1200deg Fahr. It can be moulded to any shape whilst in a molten state, either in sand or metal moulds, and is equal to brass for the ease with which it can be worked in lathes, etc. It can be forged as easily as soft iron, but at a much lower temperature, and can be wire-drawn to the thickness of fine thread, being only surpassed in ductility by gold, silver, platinum, and copper. It is capable of taking a high polish, and does not oxidise or tarnish when exposed to the air.

The magnalium of which the medals are being made comes in highly-polished sheets 36in by 20in, and about 1-16th of an inch thick, and these are passed under a punching press by boys, who punch the disc out to the required size. They are then put under the medal press, said to be the largest in the Dominion, and subjected to a pressure of about 50 tons, the result being a highly finished and attractive-looking medal, which is decidedly superior to anything of the kind hitherto turned out for a similar purpose. The King's head is then stamped in the centre of the obverse by means of a special die, and the medal is finally bored near the edge to receive a small ring for attaching to a chain, and it is then ready for packing, prior to distribution.

Day after day they are being turned out at the rate of 4000 per day, and in order to accomplish this the huge medal press is kept going continuously every day from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. To count them would be a rather irksome business, involving too much time, so they are weighed instead. So light are they that a large handful only weighs a few ounces, 220 medals being required to weigh 1lb. The dies, which took a week to cut, were finally approved, and the order given on May 1, and since that time over 100,000 medals have been struck off, and, as previously stated, it is expected to have the whole order completed by the end of this month. It was at first decided to attach each medal to a small piece of narrow ribbon, but at Messrs Moller's suggestion it was decided to dispense with the ribbon in favour of a small ring, and the authorities being very exacting concerning the impression of the King's head, some time elapsed before their wishes were satisfied in that respect, but the result is entirely satisfactory and reflects great credit on the Secretary for Education (Sir E. O. Gibbes) and the firm entrusted with the order.

When completed the medals will be distributed as follows:— Auckland 37,000, New Plymouth 5700, Wanganui 15,200, Wellington 19,300, Napier 10,750, Blenheim 2450, Nelson 6800, Greymouth 2100, Hokitika 1350, Christchurch 22,900, Timaru 6100, Dunedin 22,000, Invercargill 10,750— total, 163,000. The remainder 7000— are to be sent to the Education Department, Wellington. 

 Otago Witness 10.9.1908

 One review of the whole thing, though, was scathing.
One of the minor failures of the Government are the Dominion Day medals now being distributed among the schools. The lightness of the material of which they are made conveys an impression of flimsiness and unsubstantiality. They look silvery, but their light weight betrays the baseness of their alloy. The design also, is jejune and uninteresting. The designing talent at the command of the Government must greatly lack imagination when such a poor performance was allowed to pass muster. Hackneyed and commonplace are the mildest terms that can be used in describing the emblems employed to impress the minds of our children with the importance and dignity of their native land. A circle surmounted by an imperial crown encloses the King's head, the lineaments of which certainly do not flatter our genial monarch. The circle covers the crossed staffs of the Union Jack and the New Zealand flag which hang limply and ungracefully on either side, the ends being bundled together clumsily underneath. On the obverse side are two attenuated sprays of vegetation probably intended to represent fern-fronds but unlike any fern-fronds we have ever seem. One inscription on this side states that New Zealand was proclaimed a Dominion on September 26th, 1907, and another asserts quite unnecessarily that the medal was presented to the children attending the schools of the Dominion. It is regrettable that pains were not taken to signalise the occasion by the preparation of a more picturesque and tasteful souvenir. In the get-up of the trinket there is little to interest a child, and we predict that few will be treasured as heirlooms. There is no doubt the money they cost could have been spent to better purpose … 
Tuapeka Times 12.9.1908 

The whole concept of celebrating Dominion Day fell into disuse from around 1912, once Bill Massey came to power as Prime Minister. I first heard about it from a talk given to pupils at Avondale Intermediate close to 26 September by our principal Mr Carnachan, either in 1975 or 1976, but I have rarely heard mention of it since.

The medal is indeed very light and with a modern aluminium feel to it. It does make a splendid magnalium souvenir of a day when, theoretically at least, New Zealand began to be a nation in our own right.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Still hoping for the Queen's Head façade

Latest news in today's Herald:
Yesterday independent commissioners Harry Bhana and John Hill said the resource consent application to the Auckland Council should be notified for a public hearing. They said although this would probably draw subjective and emotive submissions it was also likely to provoke wider discussion about alternative methods of dealing with the historically significant facade.

As part of the notification process, the Historic Place[s] Trust would be alerted.

Trust heritage architecture adviser Robin Byron told the council hearings committee the facade was the work of architects Edward Mahoney & Son. Although the tavern was registered as a Category II historic place, no review had been carried out on the surviving piece to assess whether it warranted that registration. Ms Byron said the 1988 building and the facade had an "unfortunate and incongruous relationship".
Good to idea that public notification has been recommended. We should all have an opportunity to have a say in matters where our visible heritage is at risk. I don't know how this will play out -- but I'll still keep on hoping.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Phone boxes again

The Writer of the Purple Sage has very kindly sent these images through (thanks!). 

(Above) Boxes seen at Kumeu Industrial Park, Riverhead.

(Above): SH73, near Kumara, West Coast, looking back towards the Southern Alps (a lovely shot, this). 

And finally, the phone box between the Herald Island fire station, and the post office / library.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Puketapapa (Mount Roskill) Historical Society

"Looking north west from Mount Roskill showing Mount Roskill suburb in the foreground, and Mount Albert in the background", ref 4-4552, Sir George Grey Special Collection, Auckland Library

I've received permission this week from the society's newsletter editor to publish the first issue of this new historical society's newsletter (incorporated December last year) on Scribd and link it to here.

So -- here it is.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Designing a telephone box, 1905

I like visiting Auckland Council Archives in central Auckland very much, and have done ever since first visiting the place in the early 1990s. Over recent days, I've been doing some research for an upcoming article for the Point Chevalier Times. One day, one of the archivists came up with a small plan, showing me another cool treasure from their collection.

In March 1905, Auckland City Council draughtsmen drew up this -- a plan for a rather neat-looking telephone box proposed for Quay Street. I have no idea if this actually went ahead (if it did, it may not have lasted long) but ... what a pleasant chance from the rectangular box types I grew up with! More finials on phone boxes, I say ...

Source: ACC 015 1670, 20 March 1905.

Update, 14 April 2012: I think I've found an image from Quay Street, 1910, which shows the phone box.

 Ref. 4-1318, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Library. 

This is from the jetty at the end of Commerce Street. Here's a crop of the image:

 Pity it's from the back, but ... I think that's the one.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

From the Mahurangi River to Kawau: a Sunday cruise

Sunday 11 March, good friends of mine shouted me a trip down the Mahurangi River from Warkworth on the MV Kawau Isle.  The craft, built in 1958, did regular trips between Sandspit and Kawau Island for around 30 years.

We passed by the 1908 scow Jane Gifford as we headed down river.

Along the Mahurangi, oyster farms proliferate. These, according to the commentary, are barges used to maintain and harvest the oyster beds.

Scott Homestead on Scott's Landing, Mahurangi Point. Took a number of shots, and they're all obscured by trees, so this was the best of 'em. Thomas Scott was a local shipbuilder and coastal trader.

Casnell Island just off the tip of Mahurangi Point, apparently a Maori pa site, is also a protected scenic reserve.

Pudding Island, so-named because it looks like a bread pudding.

Saddle Island (Te Haupa), again so-named because of its looks.

Motuora. This place has a lot of European history to it (more at the link).

I was fascinated by these rocky spurs, like teeth above the water ...

Leading to Motutara, an island which did once have an even greater rocky outcrop in the above view (western point of the island). Until it was virtually all quarried away from 1929 until the 1960s by the Auckland Regional Authority. 

Detail from DP 22125, 1929, LINZ, crown copyright

In 1926, Charlie Hanson (also known as owner of neighbouring Moturekareka) bought both islands (Deeds Index 1B.21), only to have the western point of Motutara taken under proclamation. After asking the Crown if they wanted to purchase the rest of the island along with Moturekareka in the 1940s, and being refused, Hanson sold the remainder of the land privately.

In 1967 the Commissioner of Crown Lands sought permission to bring the remains of the quarry into the Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park, and succeeded the following year. After an aborted attempt to subdivide the remaining two-thirds of the island by the private owners in the early 1970s, the remainder was brought into the maritime reserve in 1975. In 1980, Motutara was classified as a scenic reserve. ("Flora, Fauna and History of Moturekareka, Motutara and Kohatutara Islands, Hauraki Gulf", by Tennyson, Cameron and Taylor, Tane (1997), p. 33)

Coming alongside Moturekareka, the boat's master swung in a bit closer ...

... so we could get a view of the remains of the Rewa, whose past has been excellently summarised by Writer of the Purple Sage.

Motuketekete, the history of which was previously posted here.

I was trying to get the best I could from a distance shot of the rocks at the eastern tip, where one seems balanced as a precarious ledge. I didn't realise I also caught a tern in mid-flight until I viewed the shots here at home later.

Beehive Island. According to Marjorie Holmes, Life and Times on Kawau Island (1999), the island was gifted to a Mrs I Wilson by Sir Ernest Davis at some point. Comment was made on the boat that the island looks like it just needs a castaway -- but that isn't sand around its flanks, but ground seashell.

First glimpse I've ever had of Kawau Island - South Cove, with the day's damp mist crowning the highlands, lending atmosphere to the trip. Timber milling and farming have formed the European history here.

A bit further on from South Cove, just before Dispute Cove, the old copper mine engine house, a registered historic site.

Painting of the old copper works by John Kinder, 4-1198, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Library.

Judging by Kinder's painting from the 1850s-1860s, the engine house looks the way it does today perhaps because the rest of the shoreline appears to have been washed away over time. Most of the walls seemed to be still in place by 1910, but cracks are visible in the image below.

Auckland Weekly News 15 December 1910, ref. AWNS-19101215-14-1, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Library

Copper mining at Kawau was a relatively short-lived enterprise. From the mid 1840s to 1855, when the mine shafts flooded, this was Auckland's centre of industry.

Leading on to Kawau's other main claim to fame: Mansion House. Originally, this started out as a two-storey Georgian style Mine Manager's residence (much still to be seen on the right). Then Sir George Grey arrived, and along with his animal and bird life importations, he added the left side (but the fancy verandahs are a post-Grey addition from the 1890s).

These are distance shots only, as the boat was not allowed to dock at the jetty due to high fees, with these trips being a commercial enterprise. But private boats can get in any time they like, apparently. Didn't seem all that fair to those of us looking longingly at the building as it disappeared behind us.

Schoolroom Bay, Bon Accord Harbour, so-named after an 1870s school said to have been built there by Grey.

Above, this is it today.

Below, how it used to be.

Auckland Weekly News, 10 October 1912. Ref AWNS-19121010-6-1, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Library

These days, the vastly altered (wonder how much is actually left?) schoolhouse is tourist accommodation.

On the other side of Bon Accord Harbour is Smelting House Bay. This is the Kawau Island Yacht Club's jetty.

This is the remains of the copper smelting house, built in 1849 from Mahurangi Stone (possibly limestone?). Serious deterioration has occurred during the last century to the originally two-and-a-half storey building.

This was when some idiots set fire to the copper slag around the building. Auckland Weekly News, 3 May 1901, ref AWNS-19010503-8-2, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Library.

Smelting House Bay (above) is where, in the 1860s, the hulk Marion was anchored, a floating prison for Maori during the Waikato War. From the link:
"Following their capture at Rangiriri in November 1863, these men were initially held in the prison hulk Marion on Auckland Harbour before being transferred to Kawau Island (in the Hauraki Gulf north of Auckland), where they were held without charge or trial. On 11 September 1864 they seized all the boats on the island and used improvised paddles to cross the channel to the Northland coast. They built a pā north of Warkworth."

The moody mists on Sunday seemed apt for this place.

Pembles Island (Tangaroa), said to have been given the European name "after a young miner and assistant teacher who lived and worked on the island when the coppermine was working," according to Holmes.

On the way homeward, heading for Sandspit, we passed the Spirit of New Zealand at anchor.

A neat end to a great day, despite the weather.