Avondale in 1903
(Auckland Star, 28 August 1903)
At one time, to have referred to Avondale as a suburb of Auckland, would have been considered quite out of place, for it is not so long since that the Whau, to use the old name, was looked upon as quite in the country. Now, with a better train service, Avondale has blossomed forth into merely an outside suburb of Auckland, and one that has made wonderful progress during the last four or five years.
To those few people who knew the Whau in years gone by would come a gleam of enlightenment could they once more take a view of the surroundings of the place. Mr John Bollard. M.H.R., may fairly be considered the father of Avondale, and it was due to his exertions that name was substituted for Whau, which some folks were mean enough to interpret as being the Maori equivalent for “Valley of Desolation”. Those days are, however, gone by, and he would be a brave man who, visiting Avondale now, used the word desolation as being in any way descriptive of the smiling homesteads that now dot the valley. Mr Bollard was for 27 years chairman of the Road Board, and only resigned that position to take up the more honorable one of member of the House of Parliament.
New blood gradually came into the district, and it was not really until the Road Board took active measures to get rid of the gorse in the roads that Avondale showed signs of waking up. It was then found that much of the land on the flats that had been considered so poor quality was specially adapted for market gardening. Probably the largest market garden round Auckland is in this district, and Mr Whymer, the owner, on account of his success, has been able to take a trip to the Old Country, where he is now enjoying a well earned rest after his years of toil, and the farming is now carried on by his sons.
Mr Knight and Mr Copsey, two other successful growers, have also recently returned from a trip to the Mother Country. There are also many other successful growers in a smaller way. One of the best orchards is to be found on the banks of the river, and the owner, Mr Cairn, deserves credit for the clean and tidy appearance of the trees, which consist of almost every variety from the mellow peach to the luscious persimmon. Mr Cairn has always been most successful in carrying off a number of prizes at the annual show. Mr Haywood Wright is another enterprising grower, having selected a beautiful piece of loamy land, where he carries a large quantity of nursery stock, and his trees are now in great demand. Mr Black is quite a noted grapegrower, as are also Mr Tatton and Mr Jane.
In the Southern portion of Avondale there are the large brick yards formerly owned by Mr Hart, but now run by a limited company. These works employ a great number of men, the majority of which have cosy little homesteads of their own.
One of the great summer resorts in this part of the district is known as Block House Bay, which is close to Green Bay, and during the holiday season hundreds of people may be seen camped in the vicinity of these beautiful bays. It is here that the contemplated canal will commence, and if the present company are successful in their operations we may look forward to the time when the population in this district will be counted by the thousands instead of by hundreds as at present.
Probably one of the most imposing buildings that has been erected in Avondale is that fine grand stand built by the Avondale Jockey Club. The management of this club may well be proud of themselves for the manner in which this racecourse is laid out, and every year makes it more popular. Another large building is being erected by that enterprising businessman, Mr. Page, who deserves every success in his new undertaking.
The rateable value in Avondale has increased by fully 33 per cent, during the last three years, and during the last two years there have been fully 100 new houses erected. The trains that were formerly run with few or any passengers are now generally crowded, and on some of the trains it is at times difficult to get seating accommodation.
Every year the district is becoming more popular, and for any person who wishes to get away from town there are plenty of healthy situations to choose from, and the railway fare being only 2/ per week, this should meet the requirements of all.
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