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May — June 2018

The Avondale
Historical Journal
Official Publication of the Avondale-Waterview Historical
Society Incorporated

In case you’ve ever wondered about the


horse-bus drawing on the last page of
each Journal beside the Society details,
above is a photo from probably the same
day as the one which artist (and these
days, Northland regional historian) Liz
Clark used as the basis for what was to
become the AWHS logo.

This detail of an image, C.011236 in the


Te Papa Museum collection, is by the
Burton Brothers looking toward the
corner of Queen Street and Victoria Street West, taken most likely
around the 1883-1884 period, because of another of the buses (lower Next meeting of the
right) that features in the original larger image: from the briefly-running Avondale-Waterview
Northern Omnibus Company of that time. That firm was based at the Historical Society
Avondale Stables, today where you’ll find a certain fast food franchise will be Saturday 2 June 2018
outlet, coffee shop and other retail beside Great North Road, opposite at 2pm, St Ninians Hall,
the Mobil service station. St Georges Road, Avondale
The Avondale Historical Journal
Page 2
Eventually my father inherited the property and in the

_xààxÜá AAA early 1970s rumour had it the Government was look-
ing at 1907 for a new Post Office site. [Today, the site
is that of King’s Foodmarket, formerly Shoprite super-
market.]

Re No. 1899, I do not know who by, when, or how the


The following letter comes from Irene Turley née garage and single storey villa were built and regret-
Clews, in response to articles in the last issue of the fully have no photos of the old house. I do remember
Journal (the 100th edition). I’ve added a few explana- that the house had a full veranda across the front, the
tory notes. — Lisa (editor). ends of which were protected by the stained glass
wooden framed panels of its time (I'm sure they have
Dear Lisa, an architectural name) and a balustraded veranda
topped with fretwork brackets and lacework. Until
I have read with interest your latest newsletter and had Annie died, or the property sold, she kept the two
a little giggle re the letter about the old cracked garage front rooms for her use and rented out the back of the
on the corner of Racecourse Pde/Great North Road. house. My brothers recall this as I do but from my
[Later site of the Bank of New Zealand building.] It is internet-generated information the house design seems
quite true, it was an eyesore and right in my family's to fit a 1910 profile. We do, with no pleasure at all,
face because we lived on the opposite corner at 1907 remember the wash house and toilet were across the
Gt Nth Rd, and looked at it every day. yard at the back.
1899 Great North Rd was owned by my grandmother [The house at 1899 Great North Road could indeed
Annie Clews, and on that plot was the old villa that we have dated from as early as the 1910s. By 1914, a
lived in until 1950 when we moved to the opposite hairdresser named Edward Rule is noted in that vicin-
corner of Racecourse Pde (1907 Gt Nth Rd) also ity according to the Wises Directories, and he may
owned by Annie. have been renting the property from Frederick Leslie,
after whom Racecourse Parade was initially named.]

Photos from Irene Turley.


Top left: on the front lawn of 1899 Great North Road, facing the
Salvation Army Hall top centre, and Primary School hall at right,
early 1949.

Left: 1907 Great North Road, Maurice “Barney” Clews growing


winter supplies, early 1950s, looking towards the school.

Above: Looking down the south side of Racecourse Parade, 1950s.

Irene wrote: “I am enclosing some snapshots of modest interest ...


The house seen facing Racecourse Pde, was owned by unmarried
Scottish brother and sister Mr Donald & Miss Sheila MacConnell,
she a nursing matron and he a taciturn fitter and turner and re-
turned Gallipoli veteran who found ANZAC services too painful to
attend.”
The Avondale Historical Journal
Page 3
The various Clews properties on Great
North Road, Avondale over the years, as
seen in the 1940 aerial. In 1911, the fami-
ly were living on New North Road in Mt
Albert. By 1919, they had shifted to
Avondale.

1. 1883A Great North Road. Obtained by


Bernard Clews from a Mr Coward in
1912, and sold by Annie Clews to Harold
and Rebecca Martin in 1947. Now the site
of Pilkington’s Buildings (1950s).

2. 1899 Great North Road and 3


Racecourse Parade. Both bought by
Bernard Clews in 1922 from real estate 1
agent (and just a year later Avondale’s
second mayor) William John Tait. 1899
Great North Road was transferred to the
Bank of New Zealand in 1960.

3. Variously numbered over the years as


1901, 1907 and 1917 Great North Road,
this was purchased by Bernard Clews at a
mortagee sale in 1936, and the house
built soon after in 1937. It was rented out
for a time to a coal merchant John Gorrie
Forsyth and a widow, Jessie Catherine 2
Forsyth, but the Clews family shifted
there by the early 1950s.

It remained in family ownership until


1972, when it was bought by William
Hughes Ltd, the owners of the Shoprite
chain of supermarkets. Today, it’s King’s 3
Foodmarket, right alongside the old
Three Guys site.

those heady political beginnings of the party. I remem-


Over the back fence was another 'spare section' owned ber Michael Joseph Savage's photo on the wall above
by Annie with a rumpty implement/wood shed and the kitchen range at No. 1899. My grandparents
included in the sale to the bank. For some years my attended annual Labour conferences as far away as
grandmother kept a cow on the Avondale Racecourse Wellington, and prior to his election, meetings were
surrounds and milked it on the course property. held in that garage with Michael Joseph himself. So I
am told. Maybe the old cracked garage had a claim to
The three perhaps interesting features of 1899's house fame and “Tidy Minded” was lucky to escape its being
and garage are: accorded an historic places classification and there
still in all its cracked glory!
a) One race day, my Grandmother, feeling sorry for
a woman outside with a broken down horse trailer I enclose a photo of the wonderful vegetable garden
supplied her with morning tea and was rewarded with my father kept at that house on the western corner of
a racing tip which apparently, after a protest, took first Racecourse Pde. His gardening skills were learned
place and paid off the mortgage on 1899 Great North working for Ben Robertson who market gardened in
Road. My 96 year old aunt has repeated this story over Rosebank Rd and whose driveway of Norfolk Pines
the years, and my grandmother was a betting woman etc still stands and can be seen from the NW motor-
so I accept maybe it was so! way.
b) My grandfather, Bernard Clews, was Secretary to The other four houses on the block opposite the school
a Labourers' Union and a passionate Labour voter in were all much of the same vintage. I think the two at
The Avondale Historical Journal

Page 4
the Crayford St end were state houses. The next prop- "Thomas' Paddocks" is not a reference known to me
erty housed a wide fronted shed I remember first as a but that only demonstrates how things move on. Into
mechanics' workshop and then as a used car place my mind also flashes the little shop(s) just around the
(Avondale Autos?) but thinking back it could easily corner from 'Avonleigh' in Wingate St - long gone.
have been a blacksmith's originally. The block next to
that, (beyond the kerbed and red chipped access to the Anyway I thought you might be interested and this
tennis courts which curved past the courts emerging could clear a thought or two in your mind about what
onto Racecourse Pde between the rugby club and race- was where.
course,) and the Avondale Hotel, lay empty and unused
for my childhood and years after the block of shops Irene (Clews) Turley
fronting Great North Rd was built.

My grandparents came to NZ in 1905 and before mov-


ing to 1899 Great North Rd lived in a smaller house, Times change
which I believe to be No. 1879-1881 Great North
Road. [Actually, 1883A , the site of Pilkington’s Build- Times have changed.
ings. See aerial on previous page.] Google Maps is
only so obliging but the aerial view (are they chim- On September 13, 1884, the foundation stone of
neys?) indicates it is still there with the two shops built St Judes Church, Avondale, was laid.
on to it in, I think, the fifties. Somewhere in my At the Auckland Domain on the same day, the
memory there was a fish shop there too. Someone else Auckland Rugby representative Rugby team played
may recall if that was replaced by the two 'new' shops an important trial game in preparation for the annual
or by the National Bank. I think there were two sepa- match against Waikato on the following Saturday.
rate dwellings towards the 'National Bank corner' older
than 1899. All over the city, the weather was atrocious — driving
rain and stormy winds.
[The National Bank site, now a dentist’s office, was an
old two-storey wooden double shop, and in 1950 Nick The New Zealand Herald reported on the Monday that
Bartulovich had a fish shop there. By around 1954 it a large crowd attended the St Judes ceremony. The
had disappeared, and the corner remained empty until Rugby match failed to draw a single spectator, and
the bank was built.] according to the Herald the Auckland representative
side had to play with 13 men because two of the
My grandparents raised eight children at no. 1899 and players did not bother to turn up at the Domain.
all in all my family clocked up 60 years or so in the
Times have indeed changed.
middle of Avondale's retail centre.
Avondale Advance, 22 October 1959

Copies of Avondale Historical Journal and AWHS Newsletter produced for us by


Words Incorporated, 557 Blockhouse Bay Road, Blockhouse Bay.
The Society and AHJ editorial staff thank Avondale Business Association
for their continued support and sponsorship of this publication.

The Avondale Historical Journal


Published by:
the Avondale-Waterview Historical Society Inc. (since September 2001)

Editor: Lisa J. Truttman


Society contact:
19 Methuen Road, Avondale, Auckland 0600
Phone: (09) 828-8494, 027 4040 804
email: waitemata@gmail.com or
historian@avondale.org.nz
Society information:
Website: www.avondale.org.nz
Subscriptions: $15 individual
$20 couple/family

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