Thursday, April 29, 2010

Aspiration's bottles

Back in 2009, I posted about "Aspiration" on upper Lorne Street in the city, and photographed the statue with a beer bottle stuck up on one of the fingers.

Well, the bottle did get removed after my post -- but yesterday, there were three more.

Some very fit people, out there ...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fine Lines

Today, I did a power point presentation at the Auckland Central Library, called Fine Lines. Seeing as I put a lot into it, I thought, hey -- why not Scribd it? So, here it is, online as a .pdf (commentary and full set of slides).

Had about thirty people listening, folks taking my business card to ask future questions. I never mind helping researchers among the family history / genealogy community to get over a hurdle or two. After all, I've have help from fellow researchers in the past. If things involve a fair bit of time, though, I do have to charge.

Next big presentation is in June, on Henderson's Mill before members of the West Auckland Historical Society, then another in August, back at Central Library on medical records.

No time to get bored around here ...

St Ninian's of Avondale newsletter - April 2010

Well, with a report from Council as to what's happening with Avondale's oldest building so far, I've brought out the first issue of St Ninian's of Avondale. Even slapped up a website. Hopefully, we'll be able to celebrate a reopening later this year.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A backwards wager through the Eastern Suburbs

This is from the NZ Herald, 17 October 1928.





An unusual wager was the explanation of a curious spectacle witnessed on the St Heliers Bay Road in the early hours of Sunday morning. A bet had been made that one of a party could not walk backwards from the Remuera train terminus to the St Heliers post office, and the hours after midnight were chosen for the test, when the road would be fairly free of traffic.

Carrying lanterns and electric torches to guide the feet of the man walking backwards, half a dozen persons set off from Remuera about midnight on their strange and slow pilgrimage. The man who took up the wager was clad in golf stockings and riding breeches for the occasion, and was addressed as William Henry, or, more often, as just Henry. He had apparently appointed an official navigator, who advised him as to his direction. The navigator would from time to time order Henry to keep more to the right or to the left, as the case demanded.

Fair progress was made and the Public Works camp at Purewa was reached at 2 a.m. But here a hitch arose as to whether the route required by the wager led through Kohimarama or direct to St Heliers. The procession came to a halt opposite the ruins of the old St Thomas' Church, and an impromptu debate sprang up. William Henry took advantage of the interval to refresh himself from a packet of sandwiches, although he complained bitterly that the ham was too salty and the eggs were over-peppery.

The route was finally settled and the procession with its fitful lights moved off into the drizzling rain. No doubt Henry reached his goal, because for a long time the voice of his navigator could be heard, " the right, Henry," or "...steady on, chum," or, "...bear a wee bit to the left."

The curiosity of casual spectators was naturally aroused by the procession, but those concerned would not reveal the amount or conditions of the wager. The speech of more than one, however, proclaimed them as cockneys.

Preserved fruit shop sign, Onehunga

The Hard to Find Secondhand Bookshop on Onehunga Mall is one of the places I try not to go near too much -- because invariably, I come away with more books I have no room for, and my bank account just that much lighter. Doesn't help that there's a direct bus link from Avondale to Onehunga and -- oh woe! -- a rail link is opening up there now, too.

Ah, well ...

To the business owners' great credit, they have preserved the original sign for the Gordon Sai Louie & Co fruit shop. The Sai Louie family, cousins to the Auckland Ah Chee clan, opened up the fruiterers in the 1940s, and operated there until the business was sold in 1988. According to the late Norine Borchard, in her wonderful book Untold Stories of Onehunga:

"The shop in Queen Street [now Onehunga Mall], Onehunga, still retains the name of Sai Louie, at the request of the new owners. Mr Sai Louie was a great social worker among his own people, he imported  foodstuffs for the convenience of his countrymen ... Mrs Sai Louie died in 1939, and Mr. Sai Louie died in 1946."

So Onehunga has a splendid, and rare, example of old advertising being retained above a new business.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gallipoli film fraud?

From Wiki. Australian military cemetery at the Quinn's Post site in Çanakkale. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Chris Pugsley has done much to give New Zealanders an assessment of where we stand in terms of the Anzac legend, and our differences with Australians over the commemoration. Now, comes news that the only film footage shot of the Gallipoli campaign -- may have been wrong for the past 95 years. (NZ Herald today).

A decades-old case of Anzac identity theft has been uncovered 95 years after the landings at Gallipoli.
Research into the only known film of the Anzac campaign has revealed that soldiers identified as Australians are New Zealanders and Irishmen.

New Zealand military historian Chris Pugsley, a lecturer at Britain's Sandhurst Military Academy, said the discovery highlighted New Zealanders' contributions and restored their rightful place in the Anzac story ...
Soldiers in a vivid trench fighting scene thought to have been of Australians were the 5th Royal Irish Fusiliers at Suvla Bay, and soldiers shown carrying water through the trenches to the frontline at Quinn's Post were from the Wellington Infantry Battalion.

Mis-identification of the soldiers in Bean's film had been deliberate, and was done because of the need to show an Australian narrative, Dr Pugsley said.
It's upset the Australian War Memorial people ...

A HISTORICAL battle has erupted between old Anzac partners Australia and New Zealand over which country's soldiers are shown in rare footage of the Gallipoli campaign.

With the Anzac landing's 95th anniversary just three days away, New Zealand military historian Chris Pugsley has accused revered Australian War Memorial historian Charles Bean of deliberately misidentifying New Zealand and Irish soldiers as Australians ...

The Australian War Memorial defended Charles Bean, calling him ''a stickler for painstaking accuracy'' who ''went for the dull, unvarnished truth, always''.
Its head of military history, Ashley Ekins, says soldiers shown at Quinn's Post were New Zealanders, but Bean was not trying to mislead audiences who would have known from the uniforms they were not Australians.
 For the record, aside from the site being named after an Australian, I can find few references online which claim absolutely that Quinn's Post was purely an Aussie part of the campaign. The National Library of Australia says:
Quinn's Post was established by the New Zealanders and a small party of Australians on the first day of the landing as the Anzacs sought to capture Baby 700. The Australians took over the post on 26 April 1915. It became one of the most advanced and dangerous Anzac posts, the site of incessant Turkish bombardment and of some of the bloodiest encounters between the Anzacs and Turks at Gallipoli. Only 15 metres separated Anzac and Turkish troops at Quinn's. The post was named after Major Hugh Quinn who was killed on 29 May when leading a battle against a Turkish threat to recapture it. Bean viewed the Anzacs defence of the post as among their finest achievements.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Orange Hall

I did a research summary back in 2006 on the Orange Hall in Newton, back in 2006. Funny how, all of a sudden, I'm hearing about it again now. Just spotted a blog, Gerry O' Ponsonby, quoting from the report.

Otahuhu heritage murals

Elaine Read, editor of the Otahuhu Despatch, the newsletter for the Otahuhu Historical Society, has very kindly granted permission for me to put these images from the newsletter of a couple of Otahuhu's heritage murals up on the blog. She says there's more to come -- and I'm grateful because these can be added to the collection already here.

Above is Hall's Store in Hall Avenue. This was the only general store around in the district, run by John Hall, when the Fencibles settled there in 1848.

Below, the Star Hotel.

Located on a triangle of land bounded by Great South Road and Atkinson Avenue, today's Star Hotel is the only one remaining from that era in the 19th century. The original hotel was built by Edmund Foley in 1869. The mural shows a scene from 1927-1929.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Brief "Observer" notes on Helensville's name

At a recent Police Court enquiry a precocious child of tea summers was placed under examination, when the constable enquired of him if he understood the nature of an oath, but could elicit no reply beyond a vacant stare, whereupon one of the Justices addressed the lad— "Boy, do you know where you'll go if you tell a lie?" The boy's face brightened as he replied promptly : "Yes, sir! where the worm dieth not." "Constable," called the Justice, " swear the witness." This reminds us of the story of a well-known resident of Helensville, who is so correct in his speech that when he takes his railway ticket in Auckland for home, he invariably asks the booking clerk at the station for a second-class ticket for "Where-the-fire-is-not-quenched-ensville."
Observer 20 April 1889
Addition: I've just spotted this piece, also from the Observer, 14 June 1890:

"Go to Helensville !"

Vessels entering the Kaipara River frequently have orders signalled to them from the entrance directing them to which particular port on the river they have to go for cargo. For all the towns, except Helensville, there is one signal flag which saves the trouble of spelling out the full name. When the brig "Vision "reached the Heads recently, signals were run up for her skipper, and the signalman, who had instructions to send him to Helensville to load, started to spell the name. He had to get out the name by instalments, and managed to get on to the halyards the legend, 'Go to ... ' and the first three letters of the name of the port. Captain Christian, albeit a godly man, took to stamping and storming about the deck when he read the most uncivil message. Visions of Sheol crowded upon his brain, and his language was decidedly sulphurous for a Christian; but at last the purport of the signal dawned upon him, and he went on to Hel (and the rest of it) in peace. It is suggested that a signal flag to denote Helensville ought to be provided, — the Devil rampant, black, on a white ground, might be the device which should inform naughty nautical men when they are to 'Go to Helensville!'

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Waitakere Dam Tramline

Last Sunday, I was invited to join a party of historical society folk from Waikato and West Auckland, visting the Waitakere Tramline near Swanson.

The tramline is part of the Watercare facilities there, leading to Waitakere Dam, and was constructed in 1905. Today, it's part of the Waitakere Tramline Society.

First, you see the filter station ...

Then a pleasant walk up a bush-clad walk (this is the tarsealed bit at the beginning. Most is just metal) ...

... past ancient rocks ...

.... until you see the entrance to Georges Tunnel, the first of two on the tramline. No photography allowed in the tunnel because at the far end there's glow-worms (first ones I've seen since a trip as a nipper to Waitomo.)

The Harvey Stewart Flyer emerges. Built in 1976 by Alert Engineering and Waitakere Tramline Society members, is was so-christened in honour of Harvey Stewart, a friend of the club and train buff. Powered by a 2.5 hp Kawasaki 4 stroke petrol engine originally, it has been re-powered twice (up to 2005) and as at that date had a 16hp Kubota diesel engine, according to their guide book.

And if you click the video, you'll hear what it sounds like.

Waitakere Tramline

The carriages are small, because of the size of the tunnels, and very, very cramped if you have long legs. I've still got sore thighs from holding my feet as far away from the outer edge as I possibly could.

The Society apparently want to get a two-foot guage Model-T loco (below) up and running on the line (these photos, as with the two at the top of the post, from their display room). It's not original to the line to the dam, but the Society have loaned it to the Victoria Battery Society at Waihi until 2005, and are not looking for knowledgeablr people to recondition it for the Waitakeres.

Our guide who welcomed us to "Jurassic Park" on the other side of George's Tunnel.

Once you're out of the bush and tunnels -- there are spectular views, like this: Waitakere Falls.

This (above) is a chute carrying Kelly's Stream over the tramline to the valley below.

I climbed the stairs to the top of the dam. Far, far more scary coming down, especially with my phobia! Still, feel the fear, and be a lunatic anyway, I always say ...

The views, though were worth it.

So -- a small excursion, on a small train, but through beautiful scenery. Well worth a visit.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Happy 150th Birthday, St Ninian's of Avondale

It was a gorgeous day in Avondale this morning. Around 40 people turned up at the adjoining Avondale Memorial Park to our little do in honour of Avondale's oldest member of the community -- St Ninian's Church. How many 150 year old buildings have a crowd of people boisterously singing Happy Birthday to them, with three hip-hip-hoorays? Come to that, how many heritage buildings have special handmade birthday cards put together for them?

This huge card was put together by "the Akozone Homework Centre students at Avondale Community Library, April 2010". Utterly, utterly brilliant. You should have seen the faces of the congregation members who used to go to St Ninian's pre-1984 when they saw what youngsters had done in honour of the old building. Cool stuff.

Our Avondale Community Board granted the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society (my home society) funds to print 200 copies of a commemoration booklet for the 150th -- and these were officially launched today. Free. Needless to say, almost all were snapped up, by those attending for themselves and for others not there but who wanted to be.

The community pulled together, and all refreshments were provided by those attanding who could do so. Some even brought chairs. Auckland City Council staff and the local community centre helped with chairs and tables as well.

A "Happy Birthday" appeared on the side of the building ...

... and Sunita Kashyup of Auckland City Council provided a couple of these cool temporary signs. One's on the picket fence outside the church, where I'd like to see a permanent one later this year, and the other's with the local library, who will be putting together a display for our church building later on.

Here's the text of  my speech of welcome and introduction at the function today, after a brief word and greeting by Rev Margaret Martin who had connections with the old church..

Speech given by Lisa Truttman
President, Avondale-Waterview Historical Society
at Avondale Memorial Park
8 April 2010

Welcome ladies, gentlemen, friends, to this the 150th birthday of Avondale’s St Ninian’s Church, the old Whau Presbyterian Chapel. A special welcome from the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society to Wayne Coe, President of the Avondale Senior Citizens, and the leaders of our neighbouring historical societies here – West Auckland (Trevor Pollard) and Blockhouse Bay (Keith Rusden). Members of the Avondale Union Parish are here today, including Rev Margaret Martin and Rev Vai Ngahe, welcome. A welcome as well to members of the Avondale Community Board, and to Sunita Kashyup of Auckland City Council.

From my insisting (hopefully!) that this sesquicentenary landmark should be noted to today’s gathering -- has involved more than just one lone Avondale history buff.

My thanks to the members of my home historical society for backing this idea solidly right from the beginning. To the Avondale Community Board for their generous grant toward the printing of the first 200 of the commemorative booklet – which are free, while stocks last (if there is a demand after that, we’ll see about printing some more.)

Special thanks to Wayne Coe, who took up the challenge of being a face of the caring community for St Ninians in the recent Aucklander article, a community leader who cares passionately about the future of our 150 year old, and who worked hard to help with preparations for today. Felice Coiffure hairdressers across the road helped us with providing hot water for the morning tea.

Thanks also to the Avondale Business Association who have, since 2001, been staunch supporters of Avondale’s heritage.

Thanks to Sunita Kashyup – Sunita, believe me, the community of Avondale welcomes you and appreciates the hard work you and your team at Community Development do for us.

Thanks to all of you who have helped out with refreshments – and simply being here, to show your support for the oldest member of our community.

The history of our chapel is in the booklets.

We have Avondale’s earliest settler from 1843, John Shedden Adam, to thank for the chapel being where it is, although in truth he sold the land for a pittance to the Presbyterians because the line of the Great North Road cut off this part of his Allotment 13 from the rest across the road in the mid 1850s creating an odd triangular piece of land – and the Provincial Council only finally settled with him in 1858.

We have the Presbyterian parishioners to thank for the funding of the building, the provision of kauri timber from the Waitakeres, building it from November 1859 in howling storms, and the opening of it on 8 April 1860.

This is our first church, and this is also our first school, right from April 1860. Few buildings have survived the test of time where we can still say – this is where the children of the district, a huge district which included West Auckland, parts of Mt Albert, and up to Pt Chevalier, -- this is where the children came to learn. Even the cherished old buildings at the Avondale Primary School are now no more but this one – this building still stands.

Long may it continue.

In this building, people learned, people worshipped, people celebrated, people were married, and people were farewelled, either due to their return back to the Old Country, or to an eternal rest here. Through the years, the Whau Presbyterian Chapel, Avondale Presbyterian Church, St Ninian’s Church, and later community centre, has endured. It was shut up and closed for a few years after it ceased to be a church in 1984, but it reopened to Avondale.

Now, it is shut up again – and as those before us in the 1980s kept the memory of how important the building is to our community’s story, its past, present and future alive – those of us who care today should do the same, until we can see the building reopened to Avondale and the community once more.

If anyone would like to be kept up-to-date, as far as my society can find out from Auckland City Council and its successor agency what is planned for the building, there’s a book here where you can put your names down to receive a newsletter, irregular frequency, so you can keep in contact with us. We’ll let you know, for instance, when (hopefully) a permanent commemorative sign is placed on the fence marking the importance of 2010 for St Ninians. Even better – we’ll let you know when the building is to be reopened.

Let’s hope this is not the last of the birthdays for our St Ninian’s church.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Corrugated art at White Swan Road

 Outside the Lynfield Veterinary Clinic on White Swan Road in Lynfield is a great eyecatcher display of what can be done with corrugations and other stuff.