Saturday, August 31, 2013

And the dance went on ... County balls from 1877

Lemuel Lyes, a collector of things historical and admin of the excellent website History Geek, made an excellent recent purchase of a dance card from what was described back in 1877 as the first County Ball in New Zealand. Which actually turned out to be a part-of-the-Eden-County ball, or Riding Ball (the Whau Riding was one of the wards of Eden County). I have yet to find any other "Riding Balls", so this looks to be the one and only example. Thank you, Lemuel, for permission to use these scans.

The County System replaced the Provincial Council System at the close of 1876. It took at least nine months for the Whau Riding to get their act together to stage the ball, which may well (as you'll see below) have ended up staged at the Whau Public Hall, instead of (as it turned out) inside a barn on the Alberton estate.

Mr A K Taylor, of Mount Albert, has determined to inaugurate here a custom which, obtains at home, and to give a county ball, or rather in this case a ball to the electors of the Whau Riding of the County of Eden. About 150 electors recorded their votes at the last election, and we understand that invitations have been issued to. each of these, as well as to a number of private. friends of the host. We have no doubt that the ball will be a very successful affair in every respect, and will contribute greatly to the promotion of friendship and good feeling amongst the resident of the Whau riding of the County of Eden.

NZ Herald 15 September 1877

 Courtesy Lemuel Lyes collection

The first county or riding ball in New Zealand was held yesterday evening. It was given by Mr. A. K. Taylor at his estate, Alberton, in the Mount Albert district. The ball has been for a long time expected by the residents. It was to have taken place some time ago, prior to the time Mr. Taylor stood for the General Assembly. It was then arranged for a subsequent period, but in the meantime the Counties Act came into force, and Mr. Taylor was a candidate. Sooner than take a position which might appear to influence the constituents, the ball was put off, with the intention of having it brought on after the County Council election. Another question then arose, and that was with regard to the suspension of the operation of the Act as a whole. This led to a further postponement of the ball, for Mr. Taylor would not have anything to do with an arrangement which might be said to influence votes on public opinion. Subsequently it was intended to hold the ball in the Whau Public Hall but the ratepayers of Mount Albert district and their wives and families had an objection to this, and the consequence was that the ball was deferred till last night. In the meantime, a spacious barn, 60 by 28 feet, had been erected by Mr Taylor close to his residence. It has a splendid floor, and last night the dancers had no reason to complain of it. There are over 400 ratepayers in the Riding, including the Mount Albert, Mount Roskill, Point Chevalier, and Whau Highway Districts, and Mr. Tayior arranged to invite all those who had recorded their votes at the last County election, with their wives and families. About 350 invitations were issued, including of course Mr. Taylor's private friends. The large building was densely crowded, about 250 being present. It is needless to say that they were entertained in the most hospitable manner. The ball was given on the same principle as the county balls of England. Those who know the customs of the old country, will understand with what pleasure those county balls were looked forward to. Mr. Taylor deserves very great credit for being the first to inaugurate this good old custom in New Zealand, and we hope that when the representatives return from their Parliamentary labours they will be stimulated to follow the lead which is now before them. The objects of English county balls are twofold they serve to bring the electors together in a social manner, and make them acquainted with each other, and they make the representative acquainted with his constituents. The ball last night thoroughly bore out these characteristics, except that the M. H. R. was not present. Amongst those present were the host and hostess, Mr. and Mrs. A. K. Taylor, the Misses Taylor, Mr. and Mrs. R. C. Greenwood, Mr., Mrs and Miss Martin, Mr. and Miss Bollard, Mr. and Miss Owen, E. Allen, jun., T. Allen, Mr. and Miss Gladding, Mr. Jos. Greenwood, Mrs. and Miss Greenwood, Mr. Udy, Mr. Jos. May, jun., Mr. and Miss Braithwaite, Mr. J. D. Kelly and Miss Kelly, Mr. Walters, Mr. Paice. Mr., Mrs., and Miss McTavish, Mr. and Miss Edgecombe, Captain Seymour and Miss Seymour, Mr. G. Thomas and Miss Thomas, Mr., Mrs., and Miss Dawson, Mr. and Miss Turk, Messrs. H. and P. Hoffmann, Mr., Mrs., and Miss Smith, Mr., Mrs., and Miss Adams, Mr. and Mrs. Johnston, Mr. and Mrs. James Palmer, Mr. and Mrs. James Archibald, Messrs. J. Campbell, J. Smith, Mr. and Mrs. James Hepburn, Master and Miss Laurie, Mr. and Mrs. Archibald Hepburn, Mr. James and Miss Page, Miss Monaghan, Mrs. Sadgrove, Mr. Henry and Miss Hasell, Mrs. Currie, Mr. Seabrook, Mr. Wright, Mr. Vaughan. Mr. and Mrs. Sansom, Messrs. R. and G. Morrow. Philson, Bain, Smith, Bucholz, Wright, Haultain, Anderson; Mr. J. P. Sinclair, Master and Miss Denyer, Mr. and Miss French, and others whose names we did not know.

Mr. Taylor led off the ball with Mrs. Greenwood. The programme was an excellent and varied one. A good band was in attendance. The hall was gaily festooned with flags and evergreens, and the manner in which the enjoyment of the guests of all ages was contributed to, reflects very great credit on the taste and hospitality of the host and hostess.

NZ Herald 21 September 1877

I've boldened some of the Avondale-Waterview names I know of on that list, but there were also folks there from West Auckland (Archibalds, Denyers, Hepburns), Epsom/Royal Oak/Mt Eden (Udy, Greenwoods, Paice, Kellys) and Captain Seymour from Pt Chevalier.

 Courtesy Lemuel Lyes collection

As I mentioned -- that seemed to be it for the County of Eden, the elected officials of which met only sporadically, and by the 1890s had pretty much given up the ghost. The City of Auckland would come to dominate the isthmus, rather than the 1876 county.

Elsewhere though, county balls didn't happen all that often anyway, and another "riding ball", not at all. The next reference found was in the mid 1880s, down country.

Preparations are afoot for holding a grand county ball at Waipukurau on May day. Of course this is for the upper ten. There is to be a fancy dress ball here in the county town on the same evening, which will possibly be much more popular. 

Daily Telegraph, 14 April 1885 

Stratford having blossomed into a full blown County, is to celebrate the event in about a month's time by holding a grand County Ball, which will be got up regardless of expense, and will entirely eclipse anything of the kind hitherto attempted. It is not yet known definitely whether the Governor will be present or not, but it is expected that most of the elite of the colony will grace the hall with their presence, and that the occasion will long be remembered as the most brilliant event in the history of this world renowned district. 

Taranaki Herald, 26 September 1890 

There was an Akaroa County Ball, 19 December 1894, but the next ones of note come from the early part of the following century.

The event of the month in Warkworth, the County Ball, takes place next Wednesday, the 16th, inst. Judging by the great interest displayed throughout the whole district, and the extraordinary number of acceptances to invitations that have been received by the committee, the ball promises to be a great success. The boast of the committee that it would make the ball "The ball of the North for 1905 is likely to be realised. From information received the fancy costumes will be many and varied. The services of a first class orchestra have been requisitioned from Auckland, and the caterer has received orders not to spare expense in providing supper, which is to be served in, a large marquee. Given a fine night the floor will certainly be crowded by a pleased and brilliant throng. 

Rodney & Otamatea Times, 12 August 1905

From then on, there seemed to be little point in saying these balls were so that the elected officials could meet and mix with the electors. The following seems to have been one of the last -- and it was definitely a much more exclusive affair.

Manukau and Waitemata County Councils held their first annual dance last evening at the Dixieland Cabaret. The chairmen and members of the two County Councils and the Waitemata Electric Power Board were among the large gathering that attended. The ladies' committee was: Miss H. Thomas, in cameo pink net and blue corsage; Miss B. Hanlon, ivory ring velvet; Miss W. Hill, Lido blue frilled georgette; Miss Bennetts, almond green crushed velvet and net; Miss J. Page, geranium red satin. During the evening an exhibition of ballroom dancing was given by Miss Jeanne Horne, and the latest tap dance was rendered by Miss R. Davidson. 

Auckland Star 6 July 1933

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Avondale's "Squadron" military camps 1908 and 1910

All credit due to a heritage researcher at Auckland Council, who has found references in Paper's Past to what was the first of Avondale's military camps on the racecourse in 1910, one of the last "squadron" camps before the formal organisation of the territorials under the 1909 Defence Act. The "A" Squadron First Regiment Auckland Mounted Rifles camped on the Avondale Racecourse from 7-12 November 1910, nearly a year after the Act, just months before Colonel Alexander John Godley was appointed commandant of the territorials in 1911, and two years before the camp I wrote about in They Trained Beside The River.
"A"Squadron First Regiment Auckland Mounted Rifles, went into camp on the Avondale racecourse on Saturday. At present about 75 men are under canvas. On Sunday morning church parade was held, and in the afternoon a large number of friends visited the camp. On Monday morning the squadron was inspected by Lieut.-Colonel Holgate. Lieut-Colonel Carolan is medical officer in charge of the camp. The squadron will hold their annual sports on Saturday next. A large programme is provided, and some interesting contests should ensue. All friends of the members of the squadron are invited. After the sports camp will lie broken up.
 NZ Herald 9 November 1910

The Lt.-Col Carolan may have been Dr James Frederick Carolan, one of our early GPs here in Avondale, and just before he moved to Matamata.

Two years earlier, there was another "Squadron" camp, partly using "Mr Stow's paddock" at Avondale from 7-14 November 1908. This was Robert Stow's land, a Victoria Street businessman in the city. He owned around 4 acres of land on the north side of Walsall Street (roughly 2-18 Walsall Street) from 1900 until he started to subdivide in 1910. (Deeds Index 14A.817)
"A"' Squadron First Regiment A M Rifles, 35 strong, under Captain Potter and Lieutenants Atkinson and Holden, started their trek camp and annual training at Mr Stow's paddock, Avondale, on Saturday last, and the results should be most successful. Camp was struck on Monday morning at five a.m., and a couple of hours later the squadron moved off to Henderson, where they pitched camp again for the night. Yesterday morning a move was ordered to the coast, where it is intended to spend a couple of days, and then trek back home, arriving at Avondale on Saturday next. All ranks are training under strict service conditions, only the tents and a few cooking utensils being transported by waggon. A pleasant surprise awaited the members of the squadron on Saturday night after everything had been made snug. The ladies of Avondale, led by Mesdames Carolan and Potter, had arranged a social evening for the members in tho Public Hall, and some 40 ladies attended to entertain their guests. The evening was started with progressive euchre, and at 10 pm a most excellent supper was partaken of, after which dancing was indulged in until it was well-nigh midnight. The whole evening was most enjoyable, and much appreciated by all ranks. On Sunday morning a church parade was held at St Jude's, the Rev T J Parry preaching an appropriate sermon. On Sunday afternoon tho squadron was "At Home" to friends, and a good number visited the camp. Among the visitors were Major Carolan, medical staff, and Captain H C Nutsford, adjutant of the regiment.

NZ Herald 11 November 1908

The Squadron Camps were part of the defence scheme which was first put forward during the 2nd Anglo-Boer War, in 1900. Squadrons were military units of cavalry used during that war, set up under restructuring of the volunteer forces as far back as 1882.

With respect to the formation of an Imperial reserve, your committee recommend that the following provisions shall apply: —It shall be open to all officers and men belonging to the ordinary volunteer corps to become efficient in both services, and to enlist for three years in the reserve. The officers and men so enlisting shall receive a fixed sum of £5 per annum as a personal payment on being certified as efficient, and shall be required to go into camp at stated periods for, say, two weeks in each year: the drills in camp as a volunteer to count as part of the said two weeks.
NZ Herald 28 September 1900

The Mounted Rifles are a very fairly efficient body of men, and are of excellent material. The majority of corps go into camp for seven whole days annually, and derive very great benefit therefrom, but owing to their civil occupations these camps are for the most part held in the winter months, and the bad weather then experienced much interferes with their training. Their training too is carried out under greater difficulties than in any other branch of the Defence Forces. The men are good horsemen, and their horses, though not showy, are for the most part hardy and serviceable; the stamp of horse too is improving. The recruiting of corps over too large an area is to be discouraged; it entails bad attendance and consequent inefficiency. Those men, too, who are irregular attendants at parade should not be retained; they cannot be properly trained, and consequently are of no value to the State, and are detrimental to the corps they belong to; this remark applies to all branches.

"Report of the Defense Forces of New Zealand" by Major-General J M Babington,
AJHR 1906 H-19

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Luna Park -- Auckland's "Coney Island"

Luna Park, at the end, 8 March 1931. Ref  4-7856, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Library

Said Sam to Sue, “What shall we do?
I’m feeling off the mark.”
Said she, “My dear, the answer’s clear,
We’ll go to LUNA PARK.”

Advertisement, Auckland Star, 15 January 1930

On the north side of Quay Street, opposite the site of the Strand railway lines and the Auckland station at Beach Road, there was once Auckland’s own Luna Park. In June 1926, the Amusement Park Syndicate applied to the Auckland Harbour Board for an eight year lease, £2000 per annum, on 2.75 acres of what was called their Eastern Reclamation, between Quay Street and Haig Street (now Tooley Street). They had purchased “dismantled devices” used at the New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition in 1925 at Logan Park, Dunedin. Thomas Bloodworth on the Harbour Board was vociferous in his opposition.

Mr T Bloodworth thought it was not a proper place for an amusements park. The board should consider the effect of its actions on the remainder of the city. An amusements park, with hurdy-gurdies and scenic railways, situated right at the entrance to the city, could not do other than have a damaging effect on the businesses of the city. Money would be diverted from regular business channels. While some very large cities, such as Melbourne, had their amusements parks, he did not know of any city the size of Auckland that had such a park permanently established. It had been the experience of the Dunedin people during the exhibition that the effect of the attractions now to be brought to Auckland was anything but good. Many Auckland people did not know that this syndicate intended bringing up all the hurdy-gurdies and side shows from Dunedin in order to "plonk" them down at the very entrance to the city. Here was a proposition to establish a stimulus to visit Auckland. The city could well do with such a stimulus for a short period, when many country folk might be induced to come to town. To establish a permanent park for eight years was quite another matter.

"The evil of it is that, for almost one generation, the children of Auckland will grow up in the environment of an amusements park, open on six days of the week. This sort of thing, going on day in and day out, can only be harmful," said Mr Bloodworth. "I think there is an opening for something of the kind during the summer, but it should be located away from the business area, perhaps on one of the islands down the gulf, where people would find it a little difficult to reach." A member: “Pakatoa.” (Laughter.) In conclusion, Mr Bloodworth reiterated his statement that he thought the presence of the amusements park would have a harmful effect on the established businesses of the city.

Auckland Star 9 June 1926

After more discussion, and with Bloodworth negative vote recorded, the Harbour Board decided to lease the site to the syndicate for a five year agreement, with right of renewal for three years.

The following month, the syndicate applied for a permit from the Auckland City Council “to erect certain structures,” a switchback railway [described as a Scenic Railway around the entire block], caterpillar, river cave with Fun Factory and tea terrace, Whip, dodgem, Merry Mix Up, band stand, cabaret and entrance. This posed some points of uncertainty for the Council at that time. Firstly, the land on which the amusement park was to be sited was not officially within the legal description of the city’s boundaries, being that it was land reclaimed from the harbour itself. However, the owner of the land, the Auckland Harbour Board, could neither issue building permits, nor had the statutory power to regulate building standards, which the Council had. Council’s solicitors found that the Council could have regulatory authority for building standards over reclaimed land adjacent to its boundaries, so at least that issue was sorted. Then came the question as to the fee for such a permit. Council was briefly flummoxed – the amusement park was both novel, and substantial. Up to 250 men were to be employed in its construction, and around 100 employed there on completion, planned for close to Christmas that year. On 5 August, Council approved the building permits.

Part of the view from atop Luna Park's Scenic Railway, 1928. Ref 4-1730, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Library

The Amusement Park Limited issued a prospectus mid August 1926. The provisional directors were Alexander Burt, John Arthur Holloway, J F Fairbairn, H Halliday and Samuel Dunn. The company extolled the benefits of the park’s location, that amusement parks had done very well overseas, and that they intended for the park to last at least 14 years.

The park opened 4 December 1926.

Throughout the afternoon Kings Drive resounded with the shrieks and yells of young and old as they tried out the various contrivances, many of which were quite new to this city. The chief attraction, of course, was the scenic railway, a great thrill producer with its dips and' sudden bends. It races round the entire park. On Saturday afternoon and evening it carried over 6000 passengers, many of whom were so thrilled that they patronised the railway not once, but three or four times. The management have taken every precaution to ensure the safety of those who patronise this novelty, the track being provided with an electrical signalling system which prevents cars running during any but safe intervals. The entire railway is illuminated at night. Probably the next most popular feature was the "dodgem," in which patrons control their own cars and endeavour to avoid as many collisions as possible, but the real thrill of the thing is that a crash occurs on an average of about once a second. "The whip," less popular, perhaps, with nervous people because of its whirling speed, had a good share of the patronage, while the "caterpillar" and the "merry mix-up" were kept fully occupied throughout the afternoon and evening. The "fun factory" is worthy in every respect of its name. There is also a gallery of those mirrors that distort ordinary mankind into diabolical and grotesque specimens, and two toboggan slides by which a quick exit may be made.

A large tea room overlooks the Waitemata and a cabaret is to be opened in the near future. There are a number of stalls purveying numerous goods, while a variety of sideshows are still in the course of erection. City Council buses run between the foot of Queen Street and the park for the benefit of patrons. The park will be open each evening, when a band will be in attendance.

Auckland Star 6 December 1926

A fire on 22 February 1927 was catastrophic. The tea rooms, cabaret, offices of the secretary and his staff, photographer’s studio, the “fun factory” and the rear portion of the scenic railway were destroyed, amounting to an estimated £10,000 damages. Despite this, the park reopened 21 March 1927, just under a month after the fire, even though still in the process of rebuilding. Closed again for the winter months, the prospects though seemed to be good. But some directors at the annual meeting expressed concern that profits weren’t as high as had been projected.

The “railway station” at the park burned down on 1 February 1928, but that was the limit of the damage, as the organisers had set up an auxiliary fire-fighting plant on site.

In the face of the gathering depression, it was announced that there would no longer be a charge for admission to the park from 31 March 1928. But overall receipts were well down, the depression being partly blamed but also daylight saving. By October 1928, however, for all the reasons and excuses, one thing was clear – the park was running at a severe loss, the lease payment to the Harbour Board was proving to be onerous. In November 1929, reports appeared in the press stating that the directors were considering closing everything down and shifting the park to Australia. The following month, the Harbour Board agreed to reduce the rent to £1000 per annum. By November 1930, however, the directors agreed to shift the park over to Sydney at the close of the summer season. It closed finally on 7 February 1931. It was dismantled over the course of that winter; Auckland’s “Coney Island” had ended. 

Auckland Star 26 June 1931

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Ponsonby Boys Brass Band 1916-1968

This image, from Lyn Dear’s collection, dates from 1922 six years after the Ponsonby Boys Brass Band had started in 1916.


A public meeting of residents of Ponsonby was held at the Leys Institute last night for the purpose of electing officers and committee for the recently formed Ponsonby Boys' Brass Band. In opening the meeting, Mr C Hoffman explained that the band was formed last October, and a provisional committee set up. Mr A Norris was bandmaster, and started with three boys. Now they had fifteen members. The committee considered the time had now arrived when the brass band should be put on a sound financial basis. They would require assistance from the public. They were prepared to train boys who would come to the conductor. One aim was to keep lads from wandering aimlessly round the streets at nights.

Mr T W Leys was then asked to preside. He said the object of the meeting was to put the band on a proper footing. The first business would be to decide the name of the band and elect officers and committee. That did not necessarily mean letting the provisional committee drop out. It would also be necessary to elect trustees. The secretary (Mr Foster) said Mr Norris had seven boys of his own and, starting with these, originated the idea of forming a brass band. Owing to the war members of the adult bands were enlisting, and it was felt that it would be well to train boys to fill the vacancies. As funds were needed to purchase instruments and music, it was decided to call a public meeting to enlist public sympathy with the objects of the movement. All services, including the bandmaster, were purely honorary. They had the opportunity of purchasing a set of instruments at very reasonable terms, and money was required to secure them. Motions were then adopted, “That it is desirable to form a boys' brass band,” also that it be called Ponsonby Boys' Brass Band.

The following officials were next elected: Trustees: Messrs T Vivian, P Hunt, C Hoffman, and W McMath; bandmaster: Mr A Norris; secretary: Mr T Foster; and treasurer, Mr R Francis; committee: Messrs T Vivian, J L Francis, S Hunt, P T Bint, A Norris, T Foster, A Barton, C Hoffman, G Stewart and W McMath: five to form a quorum. The committee was empowered to elect a chairman and draft rules for the guidance of the band. A vote of thanks was accorded the chairman for presiding.

Auckland Star 9 December 1916

Reverse of above card.

In 1937, the Auckland Star got a bit carried away in describing the band as the first to form in NZ. The Ponsonby Boyd Fife and Drum Band was started in 1910 at the Leys Institute.

The twenty-first anniversary of the Ponsonby Boys' Brass Band will be celebrated with a children's fancy dress carnival in the Band Hall, Jervois Road, Ponsonby. next Thursday night.

The first boys band to be formed in New Zealand, the Ponsonby Band was organised in October 1916, by a committee consisting of Messrs T Foster, C Hoffman, A Norris (bandmaster) and R Francis. Mr Francis is the present chairman of the committee. Over 600 boys have received their training in the band, and many of them are earning their living through their musical ability. From the date of its inception the band has given many performances at public hospitals and institutions, not only in Auckland, but throughout New Zealand. During the war it turned out to play the reinforcements away, and for 13 years, it acted as senior cadet band of Auckland.

Auckland Star 2 October 1937

The band incorporated at some point before the 1940s, changed the name to the Ponsonby and Districts Silver Band Inc c.1967, but disbanded in 1968 due to lack of members. Remaining equipment was given to the Boystown Police and Citizens Club band. In 1984, at a function to open refurbished meeting room at the Leys Institute, the Mayor of Auckland at the time, Catherine Tizard, made reference to the band, and how “a revival of the Ponsonby Boys' Brass Band could be a way to keep young people off the streets,” echoing what C Hoffman had said in a different society 68 years before.

Friday, August 16, 2013

A rather political hotel: the Railway Terminus/Post Office Hotel, Onehunga (1871-c.1971)

The Railway Terminus Hotel at the right, c. 1871. From Manukau Progress, 1960.

Onehunga local historian GGM Mitchell, in a series of articles in the Manukau Progress, dated the hotels on the site at the corner of Princes and Queen Streets back to April 1865, when John Samuel Williams fronted up to the local licensing committee with plans and specifications for a building he was still constructing (since November 1864). The committee approved the license for the hotel, dubbed the Courthouse Hotel (it being so called, Mitchell said, as it was right next to the Onehunga Courthouse) and said Williams was allowed to sell beer once he had erected the bar.

The hotel became a centre for meetings of great importance to the future of Onehunga. In 1866, the Mangere Bridge Company formed there, aiming to impress upon the government the importance of a harbour crossing linking Onehunga with her southern neighbour.

By July 1867, the next publican was H Powning Stark, Auckland Provincial politician and land speculator. His time there was brief. Fire ended the Courthouse Hotel on 12 June 1868.

“Miss Stark, a daughter of the licensee, awoke at 3.30 am to find smoke seeping into her bedroom from under the door. She quickly aroused the other inmates – eight in all – who made good their escape wearing their night attire only, so advanced was the fire. Flames swept across the street and several neighbouring premises were endangered.”


Stark passed the hotel over to another political figure, John Lundon, who started building the replacement from the end of 1870. The licensing application for the Railway Terminus Hotel was approved 21 June 1871, in nice time for the completion of the Auckland to Onehunga rail line in 1873. So, in the course of researching this post, I found something I had no idea of before: that there was proposed, in the early 1870s, for White Bluff at Hillsborough to become the railway terminus instead of Onehunga.

“The use of this name [Railway Terminus Hotel] is part of the story of the internecine struggle which involved two strong groups of businessmen in Onehunga. One group sought to grasp the opportunity to secure in their own hands the increase in trade that they anticipated would result from the linking of Onehunga with Auckland by a railway line. The opposing group had secretly resolved to urge the government to extend the railway line to White Bluff where there was, they contended, sufficient depth of water to enable steamers and fair-sized sailing craft to lie close in to the shore. Plans had been prepared by an Auckland marine engineer for a wharf at White Bluff which would render the existing wharf at the foot of Queen Street [Onehunga] no longer necessary. The railway line to the new wharf site would be carried through a tunnel under Queen Street, down Princes Street, then across a stone causeway from the Beach to Hillsborough, and thence along the foreshore to White Bluff.

“Mr J C Hill, who owned the land through which the line would pass, had had street and building sites surveyed in the confident belief that the government would sanction the plans of the promoters. The latter, meantime, were being subjected to the bitter and loud-voiced castigations of their fellow-citizens for their unpatriotic machinations. For long years after, the “Kelly Gang,” as the promoters of the scheme to render nugatory the wharf at the end of Queen Street were execrated by the group which manfully supported the government’s proposal to make Onehunga the terminus of the railway line from Auckland. Actively engaged in the work of defeating the aims of the “Kelly Gang” – three well-to-do members of which were engaged in 1872 in building a fine new hotel building at the corner of Captain and Selwyn Streets – was Mr John Lundon. He was ale, by virtue of his standing with the government, to thwart the aims and objects of the “Kelly Gang”. This group was busily engaged in putting pressure on the government to establish the Onehunga Railway Station in Selwyn Street, close to their hotel, which was to be called the Railway. But John Lundon spiked the guns of his opponents by securing the approval of the Licensing Committee to the name Railway Terminus being conferred on his hotel.

“The well-laid schemes of the White Bluff syndicate were set to naught when the government refused to allow the railway to by-pass the Onehunga Wharf. The grand hotel building at the corner of Captain and Selwyn Streets failed to secure a license. Until the structure was demolished, many years later, it was referred to by Onehunga residents as “Rats Castle.”


Mitchell theorised that this name of “Rats Castle” might have been a hark back to a historic public house in London, the lair of “swell mobsters, petty thieves, footpads and common burglars.”

The Provincial Council were indeed looking quite seriously at establishing a wharf at White Bluff as early as the mid 1850s. Carlton Hill who up to his death owned the land to become “Hillsboro” and “Queenstown” (adjoining Onehunga) strongly pushed the idea of road connection to White Bluff. White Bluff was suggested as a better spot for a landing place than Onehunga in 1856, with Onehunga as the next option. In 1858, Col. Mould is said to have put in a report:
“I cannot hesitate for a moment in recommending the White Bluff as the proper place for the construction of the Jetty , for the simple reason that that is the farthest point to which vessels of a burthen of say 200 or 250 tons can safely come up the Harbour, in consequence of the Shallow Water.”

(Advertisement for Hillsboro & Queenstown subdivision, Southern Cross 19 April 1859 p.2)

Detail from Deed S 26, LINZ records

White Bluff was an anchorage and cattle landing place by the early 1860s, timber was loaded there, and it was an embarkation point for troops heading for the Waikato during the land wars that decade. Extending the planned Auckland to Onehunga railway line to White Bluff was something the Provincial Council treated seriously in 1867.

Even after the spat which Mitchell described in his articles had taken place, White Bluff loomed over Onehunga’s aspirations to being the dominant port on the Manukau Harbour into the early 1880s, with Sir George Maurice O’Rorke pledging to his Onehunga constituents that he would prevent White Bluff dominating if a Harbour Board was set up for the Manukau. But after that, it was all over. Onehunga was dominant, and White Bluff became just another yachties’ landmark, like Cape Horn. But all this does help explain more about why Hillsborough was such an early subdivision, as well as perhaps a reason why Cape Horn was considered as an 1880s defence post, and that there was no harbour board for the harbour until 1911.

Looking north up Queen Street 1890s, the Railway Terminus Hotel on the right. Note the Onehunga Public Library on the left, replaced early in the 20th century by the Carnegie Library building close by. Ref. 4-846, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Library.

A postcard recently acquired which sparked off this blog post: Looking up Queen Street Onehunga c.1906. Onehunga Post Office at left, the Railway Terminus Hotel at right.

Back to Onehunga’s new Railway Terminus Hotel which, despite the victory for Lundon and Co, wasn’t doing all that well as far as business went. James Sullivan took over in 1873, a man said by Mitchell to have “a wide knowledge of classical literature and of the latest scientific theories and political systems.” He knew both Latin and ancient Greek languages. He was a chief supporter of George Maurice O’Rorke, and is said to have helped the latter into the House of Representatives. In 1893, Sullivan ably assisted another famous Onehunga identity into politics, Elizabeth Yates, after Sullivan himself had retired in 1887. A Schultz was a licensee, then M Edgar (1890-1893), Patrick Benison and W H Knock in 1893, W J Bray in 1894, then B C Roberts 1896-1899. Mitchell provided a list of many subsequent licensees.

Around 1925, the name of the hotel changed to that of the Post Office Hotel. It was purchased by the Onehunga Borough Council in around June 1971, and demolished within a year.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Where I despair for corrections at Auckland Museum

 Originally published 10 August 2013 on Facebook Timespanner.

Dear Auckland War Memorial Museum,
I do get it when you folks say that you have difficulties in changing your display interpretive panels, correcting the errors. Apparently, it is very difficult.

You've still got the errors with the one by Te Toki a Tapiri (and probably the Maori guides are still telling folks the wrong info, plus the stuff about it being "brought into the Museum in pieces") ...

Then, there's the great confusion and entanglement over the Teutenberg heads ... How Hone Heke's descendants continue to let you get away with the panel is anyone's guess.

Yesterday, visiting the Museum's Weird & Wonderful section with good friend Liz Clark, I spied that you folks now have Avondale Spiders on display: "made famous by the Spider-man films". Um -- no. Avondale Spiders (aka Australian huntsmen) don't feature in any of the Spiderman (no hyphen) movies, they were gathered up for use in "Arachnophobia".

Seriously -- did you folk have to "dumb things down" like this? I really can't trust any of your information at this rate -- and I should be able to, because you're a world-class regional museum.

Please, please, please sort things out. Even if only eventually ...


A family photograph collection mystery

David Verran of the Auckland Research Centre at the central library gave me permission to photograph and put this online.

The Library are looking for info on these images,.

"A photograph album was handed in to a librarian in Pukekohe, it was found in someone's flat and rescued before it was put into a skip. It was given to the family history team for identification and preservation.

"The album is a collection of professional photographs circa 1870, taken at studios throughout the world including New Zealand, Barcelona, Sand Francisco, and several in the UK.

"Some investigating has been done ... Interestingly, apart from the photographers' names, the only names that seem to be associated with the album are Mildred Dunn, Mrs Curlett, and Mr & Mrs Walter Johnson."

Prince Albert Hotel, Onehunga (1858-1959)

The Prince Albert Hotel, Queen Street, Onehunga (left), 1878. Image taken looking south toward the Manukau Harbour. Reference 4-1384, Sir George Grey Special Collection, Auckland Library.

The Prince Albert Hotel which was at 289 Queen Street/Onehunga Mall in Onehunga began, according to Onehunga historian GGM Mitchell in Manukau Progress (1960), as the “Prince Albert Inn”, built by Edward Stallard the first publican in 1858. Queen Street itself in Onehunga appears to have been brand-new in 1857, and one of the natural volcanic caves was said to have been underneath the hotel. Important community meetings were being held at the Onehunga Prince Albert Hotel by 1858 – without any indications in the newspapers as to a license being granted, or when. Stallard had the hotel up for sale of lease in 1860. In 1862, the hotel and surrounds were again up for sale.

The Hotel contains 12 rooms, all lined and ceiled, and a large Kitchen. The Out Offices consist of 2 large Stables— two newly erected and commodious Hay and General Stores, and a new Dairy. There is an excellent garden and orchard, well stocked with Fruit Trees. The Allotment contains one acre of land.

Southern Cross, 25 June 1862

Stallard, according to Mitchell, arrived in Auckland in the 1840s, having served an apprenticeship in the carpentry an joinery trade in England. Mitchell spoke to a descendant of his in the 1950s. Stallard worked as a journeyman on a number of building jobs in Auckland until arriving at Onehunga in 1848, securing contracts to build shops in Princes Street and a number of private residences in the north of the township. Using his accumulated capital, he purchased the Queen Street site at a government sale in 1851 and built the hotel by 1858. It seems, however, that Stallard had difficulties with his wife Ellen, daughter of an Onehunga Fencible named Adam Nixon. There were financial disputes between them from the 1860s right up to Stallard’s death in 1894. The Prince Albert Inn and its land were held by trustees from 1862 to 1894. (Deeds Index 4A.71)

The hotel was “a two-gabled structure with a deep gutter running the full length of the building at a right angle to Queen Street. There was a roomy bar, a dining room, four bedrooms and kitchen facilities – all on the ground floor. The gables were entered by separate stairways as there was no connecting passage from one to the other. There were six bedrooms upstairs which were said to have been poorly lighted, attic windows at each end of the gables providing ingress for the little daylight that could filter through to the interior,” according to a grandson of Stallard’s c.1910. The hotel appeared run-down and dilapidated within 25 years of its construction.

Michael Mulligan got the license in 1863, but failed to attract sufficient custom to the hotel, and appealed to Stallard to release him from his obligations. By c.1869, John Brierly (son of another Fencible) took over the hotel. The trouble was that customers in the northern part of the township preferred the Royal Oak Hotel, while those in the Lower Settlement stayed away from the Prince Albert in droves. He was fortunate one day in 1871 however when a crowd which had gathered to attend a meeting across the road to choose members for that year’s Highway Board found themselves locked out, according to Mitchell, and so “joyfully surged across the road” at the suggestion of chairman John Bycroft to avail themselves of the bar at the Prince Albert. Around 1876, a Cornishman Richard Tregoning gave it a shot, but soon transferred to James Duncan Dillon in 1878, then to T Hodson in 1879, to John Grogan then to J Field in 1880, then W E Allen by 1881, then Edward Ward Sladder by December that year. By March 1882 the publican had changed again, to Stillwell. In May 1882, Edward Stallard himself (the owner) applied for the license. “One landlord followed another at fairly regular intervals,” Mitchell wrote, “mostly yearly, all complaining to anyone who would listen about townspeople who did not know where good ale was on tap, and if any did know, would not walk up Queen Street ‘to have some’.”

By December 1883, the hotel was run by James Smith, when an argument over a card game began which ended with bullets. For a time, Onehunga became Auckland’s version of the American Wild West, and made headlines around the country.

Before two o'clock William Henry Jones, the manager of the Onehunga Ironsand Works at Onehunga, was in the Prince Albert Hotel, Queen-street, Onehunga, kept by Mr James Smith, in company with a Mr Ploughman and John McDermott. Ploughman left them in the hotel playing a game of cards—euchre. It appears that Jones and McDermott had some row over the game, and hot words ensued. McDermott says that Jones struck at him, and then he struck Jones. A scuffle or fight seems to have taken place, and Jones' cheek was cut and his eye blackened. Jones then made use of some threats towards McDermott, and went down the street towards his residence in Church-street. McDermott returned into the hotel, and remained there for a short time—about 20 minutes—and then got on his horse to ride down towards the wharf.

It is surmised that in the meantime Jones went home and armed himself, having first gone into a house to wash the blood off his face. McDermott, when riding down the street, saw Jones some distance off, but did not address him, but seeing Jones turned his horse's head to ride back. Several shots were then fired—some say three, and some four—out of a revolver by Jones, and that some of them took effect was evident from the fact that McDermott cried out that he was shot and galloped away to his home. It may be explained that the shooting took place in Queen-street, nearly opposite Mr. Oates’ boot manufacturer, and McDermott resides on the outskirts of the settlement, near the Royal Oak Hotel, and fully half a mile distant from this spot, which is just at the rise of the hill, below the Hibernia Hotel.

McDermott got home, and Dr Scott was sent for. He examined the man, and found a bullet wound on the back, at the side of the spinal column, and got the bullet out from under the skin under the left arm-pit, where it had lodged. There is a second bullet wound through the left thigh from side to side. There were several people in the street when the shooting took place. Dr Scott considered the case critical, as it was not ascertained whether the ballet, from the principal wound, had penetrated the lung or injured it.

Shortly after the occurrence Jones was arrested by Sergeant Greene and Detective Walker, who happened to be in Onehunga on other business, and the man brought to the lock-up. He was quite cool and collected, and apparently not under the influence of drink, but he made no statement.

NZ Herald 22 December 1883

Jones was sentenced to 14 years in gaol in April 1884 for shooting with intent to murder.

There was yet another series of publicans: J Bradley took over the hotel license in June 1884. By 1888, Charles Joseph Molloy was the publican there. Charles Meehan took over in 1890, then John Lloyd in 1891. Around this time, Mitchell says, the old hotel was demolished and a new one built by Enright & Campbell.

Edward Stallard died in 1894, after bitter disputes with his wife Ellen over savings accounts the year before. Ellen Stallard took over ownership from the surviving trustees until her own death in 1910. Mrs Annie Ziegler took over the hotel’s license in 1895, then Nicholas Brown from that year. There was another series of publicans coming and going: 1897, Stephen Keogh; Thomas Keogh in 1898; Joseph Schollum 1901; George Dalziel, 1902.

In January 1904, Campbell & Ehrenfried advertised tenders for additions and alterations to the hotel. After this, the hotel boasted 17 rooms. (Auckland Star, 2 May 1907) More publicans: John James Russell from 1906; William George Rae from late 1907; Thomas Foley late 1909. The hotel narrowly escaped losing its license in the 1909 local reduction. Campbell & Ehrenfried took title from 1911 from Ellen Stallard’s estate, and all the furnishings at the hotel were sold up in March 1912.

Postcard image, courtesy Lyn Dear showing "Gordon's Prince Albert Hotel" on the left (looking south, as in the top image). As Bernard Gordon was licensee only in 1914-1915, this would likely be the period of the image.

The hotel was bought by William James Brewin who applied for a license for the hotel April 1912. Bernard Gordon took over the license in 1914, but Mary Hislop applied in 1915. She transferred to George Toyne Harris later that year. He transferred in 1917 to Horace Garsten, who then transferred in 1918 to Arthur Kerr. Then Norman Cunningham in 1921, Thomas Glanville in 1923, William Jury 1924, George Page 1925; John William Macdonald 1926; and Hugh McGahan 1928. McGahan apparently bought the hotel from a Mr Jury, who had purchased; he died there 8 November 1941.

The death has occurred at Onehunga of Mr Hugh McGahan. Born at Otahuhu in 1877, he moved with his parents to Onehunga a few years later, the family carrying on an extensive market gardening business over a long period. After the Great War in which he was invalided home in 1918 he purchased the Prince Albert Hotel. He was a prominent member of the Hibernian Benefit Society for the last 36 years and had acted as treasurer of the Onehunga branch for ten years. Since its inauguration in 1926 he was a member of the Onehunga Medical Board. Mr McGahan is survived by his wife and three sons. (Auckland Star 11 November 1941)

His widow Esther Ivy Rubena McGahan applied for the hotel license in April 1942, and retained it until 1946, assisted by Edward Drum. Under L G Gallagher (Dominion Breweries), after considerable planning and discussions between Dominion Breweries and the Licensing Committee, the Prince Albert Hotel was closed 1 October 1959, demolished, and replaced by the £200,000 Onehunga Hotel by mid 1960, just alongside the old site to the south. This in turn lasted through to around 2001 before it, too, was either demolished or became just part of the fabric of the building complex there today.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Ponsonby Hall 1874-1911

The Ponsonby Hall. Ref 1058-9828, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Library

I started wondering about the Ponsonby Hall, which once fronted Jervois Road near the hotel which later became the site of the Gluepot at Three Lamps, when I read this:

Ponsonby Hall, which stood on a site next to the police station in Jervois Road for many years served all the needs of the district. It was originally a store, erected by the Government near the main gate of Government House on Barrack Hill, for storing war material. When the war was over there was no use for the building and Messrs T T Masefield and Field succeeded in getting the Government to allow it to be removed to Ponsonby, those two gentlemen acting as trustees for many years.

James Stitchbury, “Old Ponsonby”, Auckland Star 20 November 1926

In August 1873, “several inhabitants of the district” held a meeting in the rooms of the Auckland City Council where it was resolved “to form a Ponsonby Hall Company of 600 shares of £1 each.” The provisional directors appointed were Stannus Jones (chairman), James Stodart (secretary), James Morton (treasurer), G W Owen, D A Tole, Andrew Stewart and James Dacre. (Special meeting report, NZ Herald, 31 March 1875). Masefield’s name only turns up on the list of directors of the company elected in 1875, so Stichbury’s recollection where he and a Mr Field obtained the building is somewhat muddled. Also, as it turns out, the “trustees for many years” description was probably not correct, either.

The name of a Mr Field only shows up as someone who sold the land on which the hall once stood to Galbraith in 1869. (Deeds Index A3.114)

It is finally decided by the people of Dedwood that a public hall shall be erected, fronting the Ponsonby road, the spot where the 'buses start from. A plot of land has been secured, and a large number of shares taken up. Tenders are asked for by Mr Mahoney, the architect, which must be sent to his office by Saturday next. The neighbourhood of Dedwood is being thickly studded with houses, and shortly it will be impossible to get an allotment in the district. The proposed Ponsonby Hall is to answer all the purposes of an institute, will possess a library for the accommodation of all readers, and a chess and reading-room for the pleasure and amusement of persons of advanced years.

Auckland Star 19 August 1873

Two buildings were apparently purchased from the Improvement Commissioners, for £125 and £55, according to the 1875 report, but this with an earlier report from the hall’s opening (see below) which indicates a single building (armoury) purchased, and a different sum of money in total for “building” (much less). A building was purchased at auction from Albert Barracks on 8 August 1873 by Stannus Jones, "one of the largest buildings, a very fine structure  about 40 feet by 80 feet ... as a public hall for Dedwood." (NZ Herald, 9 August 1873) It seems that those who moved ahead with purchasing the buildings and materials, commissioning the architect, hiring the builder, buying the land -- did so in a rush, to ensure that things got done, but without taking time to fully ascertain exactly how much financial support they could get. The hall was, from the start, a commercial proposition. That was its undoing.

Auckland Star 20 March 1874
PONSONBY PUBLIC HALL. A meeting of the residents in the Ponsonby district was held in the new Public Hall last evening. About seventy gentlemen were present.—Mr. Stannus Jones occupied the chair, and stated the object of the meeting. It was to give an account of the building of the hall they were assembled in, and to enable the residents of the district to give an expression of opinion as to whether the hall was required or not and if it were, they would be asked to become shareholders. The Chairman then narrated the action which he and six other gentlemen had taken to build the hall. They considered that a public hall was necessary, and when the buildings in the Albert Barracks were sold they purchased one, which supplied the material of which the present building was constructed. A considerable advance upon the price given was offered them on their purchase the following day, but it was bought for the district, and they considered it better to make financial arrangements, erect the building, and then ask the residents to approve or disapprove of what had been done. They formed the committee, and purchased the present site for £100 cash, and had the building erected. The fee simple of the land and building had cost £921 0s 1d. They had formed a limited association of £1 shares, and if those present approved they would have an opportunity of subscribing. When the shares were taken up they proposed to hand over the hall to trustees appointed by the shareholders. A building such as the one they were in could not be built for less than £300 or £400 more than this one had cost. It would be for the meeting to approve or disapprove of the action which had been taken; and if they approved they would do so by giving their assistance. From time to time they had asked a few gentlemen to subscribe, and they had taken the number of shares opposite their names in the share-list. The total number of shares already subscribed for was 230, a very large proportion of which were taken by non-residents in the district. The committee had acted in faith for the district, and were simply liable for the £600 due on the building. If the residents of the district thought the hall was required, and that it was a cheap and good one, they were asked to take shares, the responsibility of which rested with the amount of the share only. They desired the shares to be distributed over the district, and to have the hall a nonsectarian and district property. The shareholders would appoint their own directors. He had no more to do with the hall than anyone else who had paid his pound. His interest in the building was exactly 10 shares. The proceeds of the concert would go towards liquidating the debt.—Mr. Morton Jones said an enquiry was made as to whether the share must be paid up at once in full or by instalments.— The Chairman said that, so long as the money was not kept back too long, it might be paid in instalments, as the interest at the bank would be a mere bagatelle. The object desired was to have the shares scattered throughout the district. They did not want any person to hold more than ten shares. He asked for an expression of opinion.—Mr. Bullock moved, in order to elicit the feeling of the meeting, “That this meeting, having heard the statement of the provisional directory, approves of their action in the matter, and pledges itself to further the object of the Ponsonby Hall Company by using its best exertions to obtain additional shareholders.” He said it had been a very general impression that a public hall was not only desirable but necessary, and those who were of that opinion, he thought, should give practical proof of it by moving in the direction indicated in the motion.—Mr. Boardman seconded the resolution, and said it would be clearly understood that the company was a duly registered company, and not a private association which might collect funds and afterwards use the building for any private purposes. Mr Boardman spoke strongly in favour of the motion, and also advocated the establishment of a free public library in connection with the hall. His remarks were well received, and the motion being put was carried unanimously. A large number of shares were taken up at the meeting after the passing of the resolution. The following is the full statement of the costs of the land and hall: Land, £100; building, £158; Dawson (contractor), £475; painter, £90’ gas fitter, £29 15s 1d; registration, £11 5s; insurance, £5; architect, £30: total, £921 0s 1d. The amount subscribed before the commencement of the meeting was £237 10s, leaving a balance to collect £683 10s 1d. The opening concert in connection with the Ponsonby Hall will be given this evening.
NZ Herald 26 March 1874

The hall reportedly came from materials which had been from the armoury at the Albert Barracks. Designed by Edward Mahoney, the building seated 500, had a gallery above the entrance capable of seating around 80 spectators, a ladies’ ante-room, space for theatrical performances, plus a “large room” below, “which can be used as a green-room, supper-room, card-room or smoking-room, according to the nature of the entertainment.” (Star 27 March 1874)

While the hall was popular, and it did serve as a centre of culture, local democracy, the formation and fostering of other community groups in the area – it was also a bit of a white elephant, right from the start. A meeting was held 16 March 1875, where it was announced that few share offers had been taken up, so the company’s capital was very low, while their debts and liabilities seemed mountainous.

[Mr Boardman] was also strongly opposed to the attempt to wind up the company, which meant the sale of the hall, and its loss as a public hall to the district. He thought that sufficient efforts had perhaps not been made to carry out the original design of the promoters of the hall, which was to enlist the sympathies of the bulk of the population, by providing entertainments, concerts, lectures, etc, also a reading-room and free public library. He had a strong desire to preserve the property in perpetuity for the inhabitants of the district, and would like to see it placed in trust for that purpose, in the Highway Board for the time being, or in some other way. He suggested that a district bazaar might be got up, which he believed would realise £250 net at the least; that the unsold shares should be disposed of, if necessary, at a discount; that at the next annual meeting of ratepayers a proposal should be made to levy only a rate of three farthings in the pound for road purposes, and make a voluntary rate of one farthing to be specially applied to reducing the debt on the hall; the total taxation would not be thus increased, while the hall would benefit considerably. If all these failed, the hall should be offered to the Central Board of Education as the public school in the district, for which it is admirably adapted; the Board taking over the liabilities, which it was stated, were scarcely two-thirds the value of the property. Mr Stewart was doubtful whether a bazaar would be successful, and it would take time, and involve a good deal of expense.
Auckland Star 17 March 1875

A special general meeting was held later in the month to decide on whether to wind up or not.

The result, however [of the grand opening], was not equal to expectations, the net gain to the company being only £6 17s. Since that time several troupes were engaged to give performances in the hall, but in no instance did the company reap any pecuniary benefit from them. On these occasions the company were much indebted to Mr and Mrs Stodart for assistance in various ways. A musical society and a chess club were formed, and from them a small revenue was derived in the shape of rent. In June last a loan of £680 at 8 per cent, was obtained on which enabled the board to settle with Mr Dawson, the builder, but still left an overdraft at the bank unpaid. The National Bank required the overdraft paid on the 31st of the present month, and the directors had come to the conclusion that the best means by which to reimburse themselves for the outlay they had incurred was to wind up the present company and let the hall pass into the hands of a new company of larger capital and smaller means.

Meeting report, NZ Herald 31 March 1875

The directors narrowly voted to stave off a wind up of the company at that stage (by 92 votes to 90), and decided on a course of trying to save the situation, including publicising the state of financial to local residents, seeking to increase the number of shareholders, “and to use such other means as may be agreed upon with a view of preserving the hall as a public building for the district.”

It looks like efforts to secure enough local financial interest failed. The company conveyed the land to the Crown in October 1879 (A3.114), and while the Hall continued to be a community focus for many more years, its fate was essentially sealed. 

Detail from Sheet D8 of City of Auckland map 1908, ACC 014, Auckland Council Archives.
The Public Works Department has called tenders for the removal of the Ponsonby Hall. The building, which is situated in Jervois Road, near the Three Lamps, is owned by the Government, and the section is vested in the Police Department. A little revenue has been obtained, from the letting of the hall, but applications for its use have not been very frequent. In consequence of this, and owing to the fact that further accommodation is required at Ponsonby for police purposes, the Government has decided on the removal of the building.
NZ Herald 17 January 1911
The old Ponsonby Hall, adjoining the Ponsonby police station, is being pulled down. The section upon which it stands is to be reserved for future extensions to the police premises. Although no steps have been taken towards adding to the present depot enlargements will be necessary at no distant date.

NZ Herald 4 March 1911

Thursday, August 1, 2013

150 years of rail in NZ - celebrated at Pleasant Point

A wonderful video of the celebrations this year of 150 years of rail in New Zealand at Pleasant Point Railway, Canterbury. Definitely worth a watch, both for railfans, and those who like the views.