Back in 1957, when a new college was about to open just off White Swan Road in Mt Roskill West, the parents and school board chose a name for the school to reflect its area. They chose “Lynfield”, saying that this was because of the name of a farm which occupied the site in earlier times. (Star, 2 October 1958) Peter McConnell in his book People and Progress (1983), elaborated that the school was named after “Lynfield Poultry Farm … owned by an Australian who named it after a town in his homeland.” Jade Reidy in Not Just Passing Through (2007), added more by recording that the college “had been named after Sir Alfred Bankhart’s poultry farm that had earlier overlooked the planned suburb [of Lynfield].”
Going back to the mid 1950s, before plans went ahead for the college, Andrew D Griffen’s series of recollections were reproduced by the Roskill Times, and among them, on 13 July 1955, this appeared:
“Another early resident of this area of Mount Roskill South, who led the way in home-building … was Mr (later Sir Alfred) Bankart. His property was further along White Swan Road, past Ridge Road, on the left hand side. It was a large block, in all just over 70 acres, extending along White Swan Road, past Ridge Road as far as the Mount Roskill boundary with Avondale. His back boundary was the Wairaki Stream, commonly known as Duck Creek.“The land was all rough ti-tree when Mr Bankart took it over. He had it cleared, ploughed and put down in grass. This work was done under the supervision of Mr J Bollard, MP, known throughout the district as “Honest John”. When it came to building, Mr Bankart, whose chief interest was poultry-raising, did things in the grand manner.
"Mr Bankart", photo by Herman John Schmidt, 1909, ref 31-57798, Sir George Grey Special Collections,
“For himself he built a large modern home, and all the outbuildings necessary for the activities of a wealthy gentleman farmer. For his estate manager, Mr Irvine, there was a fine, seven-roomed house, while the assistant manager, Mr Cooper, was provided with a five-roomed dwelling. Another excellent building erected on the estate was a two-storey structure used to store grain for feeding the poultry, with an up-to-date cow-shed installed underneath.“In addition to this were the first-class poultry and incubator houses, built with highest grade timber, and fitted with every labour-saving device available at the time. No expense was spared. Mr Irvine had been engaged as estate manager because he was then New Zealand’s outstanding authority regarding the white leghorn strain. At one period Mr Bankart’s stock of birds was little short of 10,000 …“It is a sad thing to have to record that in later years fire destroyed Mr Bankart’s fine home [in 1929], and also the house he built for his estate manager.”
Bankart’s house was likely on the eastern side of the intersection of Gilletta and White Swan Road, while Irvine’s house was on the other.
So – what I’ve found out recently is this:
Alfred Seymour Bankart purchased Allotment 74, Parish of Titirangi, apparently from John Logan Campbell, in 1910. Griffen wrote of a brougham once belonging to Campbell stored in a granary on the farm – if so, this could mean that the farm was operational to some extent prior to Bankart’s ownership, probably as far back as 1852 when Campbell appears to have purchased it from his business partner William Brown. (Deeds Index A2 255) Bankart was at one time secretary of the brewery company Campbell & Ehrenfried.
Bankart started to subdivide and sell the farm, called the Gilletta Estate, from 1919, and his ownership ceased in 1922. (NA 170/35)
Meanwhile in 1908, over on Pah Road near Epsom, one Albert William Irvine had grazing paddocks which he offered to rent out for 2/- per head per week for cattle and horses. (Star, 3 December 1908) By August 1909, however, his enterprise expanded in a different direction.
IRVINE'S AMERICAN LEGHORNS.— Irvine's Original American Standard Line Bred White Leghorns. The record layers of to-day; bred to prolific laying; trap nested and Hogan tested; 226 to 272 egg teat. From over 12 pens of special matings we are offering Settings at 10/ per 18, £3 10/ per 100; pullets, 21/; cockerels, 21/; trios,£3. Also, Special Pen White Wyandottes, and Black Longshans, heavy winter layers, 203 to 246 Egg Test. Eggs or Birds shipped to any part of Australasia.—A. W. Irvine, Linfield Poultry Farm, Pah-road, Epsom, Auckland.
(Star 14 August 1909)
Note the spelling “Linfield”.
POULTRYMEN— Now is the time to think about your breeding pens for nest season. If you have not first-class male birds secure them now, don't wait till the best is gone. 300 of "Irvine Strain" Cockerels for Sale now. The pick of 2,000 birds, every one a typical breeder. "Highest Quality in Australasia" are Irvine Strain. Proved in public tests and exhibitions. Order now. Write 40-page Catalogue ready. Guarantee every bird.—ALBERT W. IRVINE, Linfield Poultry Farm, Pah Road, Epsom, Onehunga.
(Star 28 January 1913)
Between January and March 1913, with at least one championship under his belt, he shifted to White Swan Road – and, it would seem judging by Griffen’s recollections, the Bankart property to become Bankart’s estate manager. The “Linfield” name came with him.
Yesterday the delegates to the New Zealand Poultrymen's Conference paid a visit to Mr. A. W. Irvine's poultry farm at Mount Roskill, and last evening the conference was brought to a close with the reading of a paper by Mr. Irvine on “The Housing and Caring of Poultry."
(Star 28 March 1913)
LOST, from Pah Rd, Epsom. Black Jersey Heifer, about 8 months old: white tipped tail. Reward. A. W. Irvine. White Swan Rd., Mt. Roskill.
(Star 29 March 1913)
YOUTH wanted for poultry farm; good home and wages. Apply Manager, Linfield Poultry Farm, Ltd., White Swan Rd., Mt. Roskill.
(Star 1 April 1913)
NEW-LAID EGGS are scarce. When you are tired of buying eggs, try a few "Irvine Strain" White Leghorns, and you'll get new laid eggs. We have Settings for sale from our tested breeding stock, also day-old Chicks every week from now up to November. Please order at once. Ready now. Laying pullets, cockerels, eggs for hatching, day-old chicks, and the famous meat meal for poultry. Write for catalogue, 40-page Linfield Poultry Farm Ltd., White Swan Rd., Mt. Roskill. Albert W. Irvine, Manager. Phone 3957 (two rings). Telegrams: -'Irvstan,' Auckland.
(Star 7 June 1913)
Between June and August 1914, however, he had left Bankart’s estate, heading for Boundary (now Landscape) Road and taking the “Linfield Poultry Farm” name with him. So, quite possibly, he may have had Bankart as a financial partner of sorts, but the company was his.
POULTRY FOR SALE. IRVINE STRAIN World's Greatest Exhibition and Utility Strain. Winners everywhere. 1700 prize cups and trophies. Winners North Island Championship 1912, 1913, 1914, 3 years in succession. This proves my blood to be the supreme of all. Settings and DO. Chicks ready now. Record holders. 60-page Catalogue 3d. LINFIELD POULTRY FARM, Boundary Road, Mount Roskill. A. W. IRVINE, Prop.
(Star 29 August 1914)
POULTRY FOR SALE. 2300 PRIZES. "IRVINE STRAIN." Owing to ill health, I am retiring from the Poultry. The Whole of My Stud is for Sale. The Largest Prize-winners In Australasia. See papers for date of sale. A. W. IRVINE, LINFIELD POULTRY FARM, BOUNDARY ROAD, MT. ROSKILL.
(Star 1 July 1916)
HANDSOME Shetland Pony and Gig and Harness, suit lady and children, quiet, sound, reliable: big prize-winner, 24 firsts, 4 championships, gold medal: owner leaving country, must sell immediately.— Apply Mr. A. W. Irvine, Boundary Rd., Mt. Eden.
(Star 19 September 1916)
He didn’t leave the country – rather, he and his wife headed for Pahiatua. Their stay there, though, was brief.
WANTED, Lady-help, one child not objected to: Marble Bar. A. W. Irvine, Pahiatua.
(Star 28 March 1917)
Mr A W Irvine was judge at the Napier poultry show last week. He is now resident at Pahiatua, having left Auckland and settled in Hawke’s Bay.
(Dominion, 31 March 1917)
PAHIATUA, This Day. A fire early this morning completely destroyed the Kosy confectionery and refreshment premises, occupied by A. W. Irvine. Irvine was absent at the time, and the family also. Two young women who were sleeping upstairs escaped in their nightdresses. An adjoining jewellery shop, occupied by F. Hedges, suffered considerably. The Kosy and Hedges' shops were insured for £1200, Hedges' stock for £1000, and the contents of the Kosy for £600. The buildings were owned by Mrs. David Crewe.
(Star 2 May 1918)
According to Garth Houltham of the Mt Roskill (Puketapapa) Historical Society, the Irvines died here in Auckland, after finally living in Remuera, Albert Irvine buried in the late 1960s at Purewa. Did he know about the “Lynfield” version of the real name of his poultry farms used by the school, and later the suburb in the early 1960s? Perhaps he had forgotten, or didn’t particularly mind.