Friday, October 17, 2008

Prayers and Protest: the Cadman Estate in Waterview

(Image from Land Information New Zealand)

At the northern-most extremity of Robert Chisholm’s sheep farm estate, his trustees sold Lots 73 and 74 to Auckland merchant Charles Major. Major, as happened often in those days, protected his asset by transferring it to his wife Hannah’s name in October 1882. Soon after this, Hannah is said to have donated the tiny 26 rood north-east corner to members of the local Wesleyan Methodist parish. The men who formally applied their names to the title for that small nibble of land on Christmas Eve 1885 were:

George Thomas, storekeeper of Avondale (brother of John Thomas, the builder of the first Star Mill, and the last to operate the second mill with his nephew, also named John),
Charles Wheeler Parsons, an expressman from Waterview,
George Rout, a butcher from Auckland,
William Porteous, a “hop beer manufacturer” from Auckland,
Thomas Cater, a farmer from Hobsonville,
and Jabez Whitcombe, an Auckland bootmaker.

According to the history of the Waterview Methodist Church, the first purpose-built church was built upon this land by voluntary labour in 1883, replaced only when a larger church was built in 1910, after a larger chunk of land was obtained by the church trustees from Hannah Major in 1898. This latter building is the landmark we see today along Great North Road, the “Waterview Straight”.

In that year of 1898, Hannah Major sold the remainder of her property to Alfred Jerome Cadman.

Just to the south, one of Robert Chisholm’s daughters in Wellington, Mary Alexandrina Finlayson Chisholm, received title to Lot 72, adjoining the Major’s purchase. This land she transferred to her sister, Wilhelmina Tait Jack, also living in Wellington at the time, in 1899. Four years later, perhaps without even sighting her purchase, Mrs. Jack sold the property to Alfred Jerome Cadman.

Alfred Jerome Cadman (1847-1905) was born in Sydney, and arrived in Auckland as an infant. Settling in the Coromandel as a young man, he engaged successfully in sawmilling. He began his political career as a member of the Tiki Highway Board, and in 1881 he was elected as MHR for Coromandel. He became minister for the Crown in 1891 with the portfolio of Stamp Duties in the Balance Administration – followed by the portfolios of Native Affairs, Mines and Railways. He was called to the Legislative Council in 1899 (this at the time of the first of his Waterview purchases). He received the CMG in 1901, and was made Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1903. He died at his Waterview home, the second of his homes called “Karamea” (the other was in the Coromandel).

The Cadman Estate remained as mostly open ground, leased out to dairy farmers and, more notoriously, came under the spotlight in 1914 as the scene of anti-nightsoil protests in 1914.

In 1924, a land development consortium named T. M. Burke Land Investment “A” Company Limited combined the estate with an extra piece alongside facing Browne Street (now Fir Street), and carved out new streets as well: Hillcrest (now Hadfield Avenue), and the start of Fairlands Avenue (originally simply running into Hillcrest, before it was extended later on towards the sea) – and most of present-day Cadman Avenue, named for the estate, and in a way Sir Alfred Jerome Cadman himself. The Waterview Methodist Church was suddenly no longer almost completely alone in a sea of English grass and cows.

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