Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dove-Meyer Robinson Park, Parnell, 2006

More from the vault: some shots I took on a sunny day at the Dove-Meyer Robinson Park in 2006. The name changed to that in 1991; before that, it was the Parnell Rose Gardens. Before that, it was Parnell Park. Before that, it was two estates, Killbryde (Sir John Logan Campbell's home, much of which was chopped away in reclamations) and Birtley.

The stone gateway dates from 1924-1925. Folks in Auckland took a dislike to it apparently, and it was mocked in contemporary cartoons as a stone elephant upon which the local politicians were riding. The bases are squared Ashlar, with the arches "Rustic Rubble", all in basalt from the City Council's own quarries.

The Nancy Steen Rose Garden was set up in 1982-1984 in honour of Nancy Steen (1898-1986), author of The Charm of Old Roses and others.

This drinking fountain, in honour of Jane Anna Mowbray (c.1853-1940) is one of the few remaining traces of the Victoria League's activities left in Auckland. The other is the Land Wars memorial in Symonds Street.

This memorial was erected by the New Zealand Korea Veterans’ Association, financed by businesses in Pusan, South Korea, and unveiled on 27 July 1992. The memorial is a 1.7m high, 2.5 tonne granite stone, quarried near Kapyong, north-east of Seoul, South Korea, and inscribed with the Korean equivalent of “Lest We Forget”. The unveiling took place on the 39th anniversary of the armistice of the war. The stone was blessed by Padre Patrick Parr.

The memorial overlooks Gladstone Road, and the tennis courts beyond.

In contrast, this memorial overlooks the Waitemata Harbour. When planned, it was the first Netherlands War Memorial to be erected in New Zealand. The idea was raised at a 1954 meeting of the Netherlands Veterans Legion, and in July 1959 the Auckland City Council were requested to nominate a suitable place for an independent monument. The Parnell Rose Gardens was chosen.

The War Memorial Committee of the Netherlands Veterans Legion raised £500 by appeal and started work on the monument on 22 December 1962. It was designed by architect J. W. LaGro, and built by members of the Legion’s Building Committee on weekends, taking five months to build. The monument was unveiled on 4 May 1963 by K. W. Fraser, Past Dominion President of the NZ Returned Services Association, and handed over officially to the City of Auckland.

Aggregate concrete slabs were used for the steps, small terrace and ornamental wall, while Roman bricks were used for the back of the seat, low side walls and flowerbox.

Part of the North Island Main Trunk Line, the South-Eastern line from Britomart via Orakei, Glen Innes and Sylvia Park boasts one of the finest stretches, although a brief one, of Auckland's rail system -- going over the rail causeway which crosses first Judges Bay, then the width of Hobson Bay, with the sea on either side. Before they added the Sylvia Park stop at the new shopping mall, the trains between Penrose and Glen Innes went swiftly along the line. Now, it's more restrained. Darn it.

Two views of Judge's Bay. I was heading across towards the St Stephen's Chapel at the time. More in a later post.

Bosworth Field: where are you?

This came up from a spontaneous email discussion with another Auckland historian over early cricket in Auckland, of all things. I did as one these days would do, and consulted Papers Past. These came up.

Southern Cross, 25 January 1845

New Zealander, 6 December 1845

I have no idea at this stage exactly where Bosworth Field was in early Auckland. Beyond 1845, the name vanishes, a mystery in smoke.

A shipwreck confusion: the "Posthumus" and the "Helena", September 1853

Over the course of two issues in the New Zealander newspaper, 16 and 19 February 1859, a correspondent recorded what a trip was like out to West Auckland and the about-to-be-named Parish of Waitakere on the West Coast.

“The beach of Waitakeri Bay, rock-bound as it is, is one of the best we know for a watering-place – as smooth and soft as a planed floor. The sea comes in (with a West wind especially) with a heavy, yet not unpleasant surge and, the ledges of rocks every here and there, form themselves into very sheltered and safe bathing salles in every one of the bays formed as this part of the coast by headlands. The caves are eminently attractive – two of them being about a hundred yards long, and proportionately wide and high. In the largest, as the Maoris are proud of telling, their progenitors used to make their abode, and the floors of both are strewed with gigantic sea-weed springing from heavy blocks of conglomerate, which have been torn from the ocean’s bed and washed up into these caves by the fierce-surging waves carried far in-shore by the Western gales. In the close vicinity of the largest cave, there is to be seen a huge volcanic dyke, upheaved by subterranean action, and without the slightest break, through the close-gritted conglomerated headland.”

In both parts of the article, reference was made to the wreck of the Posthumus:

“At the Northern end of the first bay, close to where the “top-layer”, so to speak, of the once-deep Waitakeri struggles through the magnetic iron-sand to join the sea, the keel, the floor, and fragments of the French barque “Posthumus” were pointed out to the visitors, and “Henry Waterhouse” (brother of the Chief) told how he had met the four survivors wandering about the shore, faint, hungry, and fearing they had escaped death by drowning only to be devoured by cannibals – how the poor fellows were at length persuaded to come up to the settlement and their first wants supplied – and how, afterwards, other requisite steps were taken to meet their necessities. In a nook was also pointed out the place where the Captain of the ill-fated vessel Was buried. Fragments of the wreck are scattered about in different small bays adjoining the scene of the wreck.”

Not familiar with the Waitakere Ranges in any great detail, I thought looking up details on the wreck of the Posthumus might give me an idea as to where the writer had been. Not really.

According to New Zealand Shipwrecks, the Posthumus was a barque wrecked on 21 September 1853 – at Kaipara. Just off the Tory Shoal, the Posthumus struck and was breached by the sea. There was no loss of life, including the captain – they all made their way along the Kaipara River inland, arriving in Auckland five days later. The Posthumus wasn’t French; she was part-owned by a New Zealander, William Williams of Tamaki.

I looked through Papers Past – and found references to the Posthumus close to those of another wreck, that of the Helena. This from the Southern Cross, 23 September 1853:

"Calamitous Shipwreck.

"It is with deep regret we have to state that the barque Helena, belonging to Mr. Macnamara, of Sydney, was totally wrecked in Waitakare Bay, between Manukau and Kaipara, on the night of Friday, the 16th inst. on which disastrous occasion her commander, Capt. John Brown, — well known to many of our fellow-citizens whilst in command of the brig Nina — his chief officer, and five of his ship's company, unfortunately perished. The following particulars have been furnished us by George Gordon, an intelligent young seaman, one of the four survivors.

“The Helena, a fine, smart barque of 265 tons, sailed from Melbourne, bound for Hokianga, on the 23rd August, under the command of Captain John Brown, formerly of the brig Nina, of Bristol, which vessel was lost off the island of St. Paul, on her passage from Bristol to Melbourne.

"The Helena experienced pleasant weather from the time of leaving Melbourne until the evening before she made the coast of New Zealand, which was on the eighth or ninth day. At that time, the westerly gales, which have blown so long and fiercely, set in, and the ship was in consequence hove to under a close-reefed main-topsail and spinnaker, a heavy sea running, and driving her bodily inshore. Captain Brown, of whom the survivors speak with the utmost affection and respect, took every precaution a skilful mariner could take to reach offshore, prefixing by every possible opportunity to make sail and stand out to sea; but the gale continued with unabated fury; and although top-gallant masts, mizzen top-mast, and all top-hamper had been sent down to stiffen her; although even her topmast back-stays had siarted the dead eyes under the pressure of her canvas, yet, being in ballast trim, and making so much leeway, it was only by means of the most untiring energy and skill that the ship was enabledto long to maintain her seaward position.

"During eleven days of weary anxiety, Capt. Brown and his crew were thus occupied, vainly endeavouring to gain an offing; and tossed about, up and down the West Coast, from Hokianga to Manukau. Three several ports were successively sought to be entered viz, Hokianga, Kaipara, and Manakau. The attempt, however, was found to be altogether impracticable, so close was the Helena, at one time, to the former port, that a ship was seen at anchor in tide. Not knowing the bar and the sea breaking right across, Captain Brown was afraid to venture.

"An attempt was then made to enter the harbour of Manukau. This was on Friday last, and between 3 and 4 p.m. The ship was, unfortunately, driven too far to leeward, fetching to leeward of the reef. In this melancholy position, there was no alternative but to wear the ship; in doing so, she was driven still further to leeward and, in fact became hopelessly embayed. Night being now fast approaching, as the last remaining chance of escape, the ship was beached, taking the flat sandy shore nearly at low water. She struck heavily several times, when the mainmast was cut away to lighten her. At this moment, she broke right across in two pieces, all hands being left on the after part. A boat was then lowered, but, the moment it touched the water, the sea swept it clear of the tackles.

"Two of the crew next endeavoured to swim ashore with a line fastened to them. Neither of them could succeed, the sea and tide utterly overpowering them. They with difficulty got back to the wreck. The only alternative was thus to remain by the ship until she broke up, an event which took place almost immediately after the tide began to flow. At this appalling juncture, all hands, except the chief officer (Mr. James Hutton, of Aberdeen) and one seaman (Edward Davis, of Bristol, late of the Nina), who were on deck, from whence they were swept by a heavy sea, were in the cabin, where Captain Brown wan reading prayers to them. The cabin was a deck house; and was continually filled with the sea that burst in from seaward, and the back wash that poured in from a-lee. Whilst the Captain was reading, the mizzen mast fell, killing, it is supposed, a boy of fifteen years of age named Thomas Harrold, a native of Bristol.

"The ship at the same time parted in pieces, and all hands were swept away. The survivors can give no account of the manner in which those who perished met their fate; but as Captain Brown's head was frightfully lacerated, when his body was found, it is supposed he must have been killed by some portion of the wreck. The names and occupations of the others who perished were:

"Mr. Willam Farthing of Bristol, second officer; John Hutchins, of Torquay, Devon;
George Smith of Tenby, seamen; these last being the two poor fellows who vainly endeavoured to carry a line ashore.

"The names of the survivors (who, of course, have lost their all) are:

"George Gordon, London; John Coleman, Armagh, late of the Nina; Thomas Pettit, Leven; and Robert Williamson, Sunderland, seamen. These four were washed ashore on a part of the stern frame which split in two the moment it struck the ground. They were sadly buffeted, being sucked back by the under-tow. Gordon was dragged ashore in a state of insensibility by his shipmates and Williamson had the cap of his knee badly wounded.

"The survivors were discovered by the natives the next day, about 3 o'clock; and, we rejoice to state, experienced the utmost kindness and humanity at their hands. Capt. Brown’s body having been cast ashore, the natives dug a grave, and interred it, his late shipmates reading the funeral service over his remains. The seamen were conveyed to the dwellings of the natives where, having been hospitably entertained for the next three days, they were conveyed to Mr. Henderson's Mill, at the head of the Waitemata.

"There was no other body but that of the captain cast ashore. Two boats, some stores, together with several spars, rigging, sails, and a considerable portion of the vessel, have been saved. These have been taken charge of by the natives. The barque Posthumous was to have sailed from Melbourne, for Kaipara, on the 24th ult., the day after the Helena.”

It was the Helena, not the Posthumus, which had become a shipwreck off Waitakeri Bay – the bay known these days as Bethell’s Beach / Te Henga. I suppose six years down the track from the tragedy, the New Zealander’s correspondent simply got the two wrecks mixed up, seeing as they happened relatively close to each other in time and geography.

The Helena, though, wasn’t French, either.

Southern Cross, 30 September 1853

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Upgrading Kingsland Train Station, December 2004

 More stuff from my digital vault. This lot were taken in December 2004, according to my records.

Back then, Kingsland Station was undergoing redevelopment as they double-tracked that part of the Western Line. I took some shots on the way to work. The one above taken from what used to be Sandringham Road in the old days before the nearby overbridge was constructed. Nowadays, it serves as the entry from New North Road to the station. Historic toilet just to the left of shot.


From other side of said historic toilet, looking westward.

Lucky ol' Kingsland got to keep at least part of the old rail architecture for longer than Avondale. At least until this upgrade. Fears that the shelter would be demolished were eliminated when word came that it was to be shipped down to Glenbrook railway.

Constructing the two platforms.

Looking eastward, last sight of a single track.

This is the Sandringham Road overbridge, previously mentioned. I should see if I can check out how things may have changed since the work in 2004. Then again, from the end of this year, they'll be redeveloping Kingsland Station all over again, for the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

Surprises near Sturdee Street

For those who know me and think that I've had my interest in cool street art only since the Timespanner dabbling began -- I present the Surprises near Sturdee Street, downtown Auckland. Quite near the Tepid Baths area, where Fanshawe, Sturdee and Customs Streets are a tangle. I took these around 2006.





Legacy of Clay

These photos come from my "vault" -- backups of images taken a digital camera ago (older and smaller, but still a good 'un) around 2004. They're of the Ambrico Kiln at Ambrico Place, New Lynn. This is just about the only relic left of the clay industry of the Avondale-Blockhouse Bay-New Lynn area that's left above ground and not covered over by newer developments.

"Ambrico" is derived from the company Amalgamated Brick (and Pipe) Company. The old kiln, dating from the 1920s, has been the scene of municipal squabbles in the recent past -- more info here.


I think I like this because of the whole "urban ruins" feel. Hopefully, it won't ever be allowed to completely collapse and lost to us forever.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

An early spat over the news from abroad

I found this while looking in Papers Past for early 1850s stuff.

Thomas Henderson purchased the brig Spencer in April 1852 in Sydney, and in August sailed into Auckland with some overseas papers which were, in those days, highly important sources of imformation to the local newspapers. Both the New Zealander and the Southern Cross vied for the information. That month, the competition turned somewhat catty.

We have been reduced to the alternative either of passing the English intelligence, received via Melbourne, unnoticed, or of reprinting it almost verbatim from the pages of the 'New Zealander.' The cause of this may be briefly stated; and it is an explanation equally due to our subscribers and ourselves.

The "Spencer" brought no mail; but by the kindness of Mr. Henderson, it was intended that we should be put in possession of the latest issues of the 'Melbourne Argus.' The morning of the "Spencer's" arrival preceded that of the publication of the New Zealander and at the suggestion of the Boarding Officer, and with a courteous consideration for his fellow colonists, Mr. Henderson permitted the proprietors of that journal the first use of his papers, on condition that they should immediately afterwards be transmitted to us. This was not done; our collector, therefore, went for them to the ' New Zealander' office, by Mr. Henderson’s instructions, where the restoration of the property was peremptorily refused.

According to the declaration of Mr. John Williamson he, the Government Printer, had an arrangement with the Government Boarding Officer, to procure papers and information for his Journal. He knew (he said) nothing of Mr. Henderson, and should pay no attention to any order of his. No doubt this arrangement of Mr. Williamson's is an extremely convenient one; an admirable safety valve through which his high pressure integrity may escape. At all events, on the present occasion, it has enabled him to despoil Mr. Henderson and defraud us with a safe conscience; for although a part of Mr. Henderson’s papers were eventually given up by Mr. Wilson, they were so cut and mutilated, so filched for previous and. future publication, of almost every available matter of extract — the most important journal being still entirely retained — that we have had no other resource than to reproduce so far from the print that has thus honestly anticipated us. Thanks to "private kindness," we have, since, been supplied with duplicate copies of every Melbourne Journal, except that which announces the arrival of the Peninsular and Oriental Company's steamer "Chusan." We have thereby, happily been enabled to supply all those items of general intelligence, of which Mr. John Williamson so barefacedly endeavoured to make exclusive appropriation.
(Southern Cross, 24 August 1852)

Stung, the New Zealander retaliated.

The Southern Cross has apologised this morning to its few subscribers for a repetition of the neglect (of which it is often guilty when it does not acknowledge it) of not supplying the latest news, or only supplying it meagrely and imperfectly; and has endeavoured to throw the blame on us for its deficiency with respect to the intelligence brought by the Spencer.

The facts of the case are :— The boarding officer, Mr. Mitford, brought us a file of Melbourne papers from the Spencer on Friday afternoon, which he said Mr. Henderson had given him for the New Zealander, with a request, that as he would be first on shore, he would send them to our office. Mr. Mitford kindly delivered the papers himself, observing that Mr. Henderson was sorry he had not a copy of the paper of the 31st, the day after the steamer Chusan arrived at Melbourne; but he did not so much as name the Southern Cross. On Saturday afternoon Mr. Hughes, the collector for the Cross called and, in a tone not very civil, demanded the papers which he said Mr. Henderson had ordered to be sent to the Southern Cross. He was informed that we had received no such message from Mr. Henderson, the papers had been given us by Mr. Mitford, who might, for ought we knew, according to an understanding we had with him when he brought us papers, call for them again; but we explicitly, more than once, offered to lend the papers to Mr. Hughes for the Southern Cross. He said no; he would see Mr. Henderson, who would "know how to treat Mr. Mitford again when he boarded his vessel, for not attending to what he had told him.”

He returned some time later with an open note from Mr. Henderson, addressed to Mr. Mitford, requesting the papers for the Cross, upon which we at once handed Mr. Hughes every paper Mr. Mitford had brought us. They certainly were necessarily cut up for use, owing to the late hour at which we received them on the night before our publication; but the paper of the 31st, which the Cross untruthfully asserts we kept back, was not received from Mr. Mitford at all;— we were kindly favored with that at a much later hour by Mr. Thomas Lewis.

It comes very ungraciously from the Southern Cross, from its reporter up to the proprietor, Mr. Brown himself, to charge us with any unwillingness to oblige them. They know that in their several capacities they have been under obligations to us. We have never been loath to observe the practices of accommodation usual between printing offices elsewhere, and have enabled them before now, by supplying them with paper, &c, to go on, when otherwise they would have been at a stand-still; and as much as ten columns of standing type have been lent them, not long since, to afford them an equal opportunity with our own paper to publish a report of a local matter of importance, compiled by ourselves, but which they had not the magnanimity to acknowledge. We do not like to mention these things, but feel urged to say thus much in our defence, although indeed it may be hardly necessary in this community to set up any defence against the attacks of the Southern Cross.

If we had been desirous to arraign the parties connected with the Cross, we have too often had ample reason to do so. It is sometimes usual for persons to leave advertisements at the office of one paper, which they intend should appear in both, with a request that a copy may be sent to the other office. Now we challenge them to mention any instance of neglect on our part in such a case, while on theirs it is not of singular occurrence. We may give as a recent instance Mr. Adlerman Mason’s address to the electors, which had appeared twice in the Cross, before he called to enquire why we had not inserted it, and was surprised to learn that the people of the Cross had not sent us word to copy it according to his directions. We might enumerate many similar instances of un-neighbourly treatment, and of civilities unreciprocated, by the gentlemen of the Southern Cross, but we have passed over these private annoyances, to merely explain, because we think it due to ourselves to do so, a matter in relation to which the Cross has thought fit to bring not only our names before the public, but also that of a gentleman who has incurred its displeasure by doing us a favor.
The Proprietors of the "New-Zealander."
 (25 August 1852)

The Southern Cross fired another shot.

Gentlemen, —I would not waste space on your attempted refutation, which is in fact a perfect confirmation of the accusation preferred against you of having cut, mutilated, and made valueless papers intended for the Southern Cross, were it not that charges equally untrue are brought by against myself personally.

I may not, perhaps, be so polished in manner, or such a pattern of urbanity and gentleness as Mr. John Williamson, nevertheless I must deny the charge of incivility in toto.

To prove that nothing but the truth was stated by me in my report of the conversation that took place between Mr. Williamson and me last Saturday, I will, as nearly as possible, rehearse the conversation that then took place.

I saw Mr. Williamson in the shop, and after the usual good morning, I said I have called for Mr. Henderson’s Melbourne papers, that he directed to be sent to the Cross office after you had published. Mr. Williamson said, I don't know anything about Mr. Henderson’s papers; Mr.Mitford brought some papers to us—and he then called Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson said Mr. Mitford had not mentioned a word about their being sent to the Cross. I said it was strange that Mr. Henderson should direct me to them for the papers, if no such order had been given to Mr. Mitford. Mr. Williamson said, I will lend you the papers for the Cross —that is, from our office to yours—but I do not know Mr. Henderson in the matter. I declined to accept them as a loan, knowing that Mr. Henderson would expect them to be returned to him after we published. I then inquired if he would give them to me if I obtained a written order from Mr. Henderson. He said that they had an arrangement with Mr. Mitford to bring them papers and information when he boarded vessels, and that they would give them up to no one but him or to his order. I said, if that is the case, Mr. Henderson would know how to treat Mr. Mitford when he inquired for papers again onboard his vessel. Mr. Williamson again offered the papers as a loan; which I declined, and left. I must leave it to the public to find where the incivility that you complain of rests. Having obtained an order from Mr. Henderson to Mr. Mitford for the papers, and having wasted the whole of Saturday afternoon in a fruitless search for that gentleman, I called and showed the order to Mr. Wilson, who immediately gave me the papers, so much mutilated as to be almost useless.

No advertisements left at the office of the Southern Cross with instructions to be forwarded to the New Zealander were ever withheld. The instance, of Mr. Mason's, so particularly pointed out, is unfounded, Mr. Mason having left no orders on the subject; and it is not the business either of the proprietor or the editor to attend to such matters. The type you boast so much about, was lent by your own proposal, and more to serve yourselves than to oblige the Southern Cross; since, by re-printing the speeches delivered at the public meeting for repudiating the New Zealand Company's debt, "the few subscribers" of the Southern Cross were afforded an opportunity of admiring the eloquence of Mr. John Williamson on that occasion. As the Printers of the Southern Cross offered to set their share of the ten columns of type, I think the obligation was very slight. I shall only further add, that private papers are frequently lent to both offices. When they reach the office of the Southern Cross first, they are invariably forwarded to you, or returned to the owner, uncut and uninjured. They are never plundered and defaced in the shameful manner in which Mr. Henderson’s were. I remain, &c. Stephen E. Hughes.

(Southern Cross, 27 August 1852)

And there, apart from at least one letter to the editor of the New Zealander blaming the Southern Cross editor for having a grudge against Mitford, the matter rested.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Facebook page for the St James Theatre, Auckland

Just found this page, which provides additional history on the old landmark in our city.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The development of Weetbix -- the sequel

Bonzer sent in this comment, after some discussion, for the first post on the topic:

"My mom (his third daughter) sent me this. His moving around I think probably explains why there is so much debate about his nationality, etc. I add a little info in brackets.

"Daddy [Bennison Osborne] was born in Tighes Hill, Newcastle [Australia], in 1894. Mummy was born in Christchurch, N.Z. on October 7, 1911. Bennie was born on March 7, 1936 in England (while Daddy was running Weetabix). I was born in Boston on June 22, 1939, Tiki was born in Tampa, FL on August 2, 1941.

"Daddy invented Weetbix in N.S.W. [Australia] Arthur Shannon funded him to take it to N.Z., where it really took off. From there, he took it to South Africa (good wheat there). When it was thoroughly established there (as the British and African Cereal Corporation), he went to England to start it there but changed the name (can't remember why but he wanted it to be close to the old name so he just added an "a" in the middle). Stuart has the silver tray with the inscription naming Daddy as the Managing Director of the Corporation. The British newspapers have Daddy thoroughly recorded (with Mac) as bringing the product to England. He looked at 33 sites in England before he chose Burton Latimer."
The historical society of Burton Latimer has an excellent history site on the web, truly amazing in its depth and range of images. In an article on the site, The Mills of Burton Latimer, the society says:

"About 1932 four South African Seventh Day Adventists, Scutton, Vermass, MacFarlane and Osborne set up the British and South Africa Cereal Company to market a product they called Weetabix and which they had been selling in South Africa. They rented the disused buildings from Whitworth Bros., buying the wheat for the ‘biscuits’ from the same source. The South Africans did not make a success of the venture and after a few months an advertising agency took them to court for a £1,000 bill, they also owed Frank George, of Whitworths, money for wheat and eventually he took over the company as a bad debt."
This is the first website where someone named Osborne is referred to, outside of those repetitive (copied off each other) Wiki sites. Still, it would appear that Osborne is a bit of a hard luck story. Bonzer, if you have access to scans of those British newspaper articles, they would be great to put up here, just to help set the record straight (and Osborne's perceived nationality, as well!).

I've just seen Bennison and Dorothy Osborne noted on the Burton Latimer electoral roll of 1934 here, at Constantia House, part of the mill complex. The Weetabix complex is pictured here.

Update 8 August 2011: John Baskerville Bagnall, Arthur Shannon's nephew, enters the fray in favour of his uncle as Weet-Bix originator with a lengthy page on the story, here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More old postcards

Somewhere along the line, I found these postcards and bought them. No idea where the photographs were taken -- but the colourisation is effective and does add to them, I feel.