Avondale, early 1883

(From Weekly News, 10 February 1883)

There are manifest signs that the Whau (Avondale) is steadily progressing. On the Rosebank estate, recently put on the market, several houses have been put up, and over half-a-dozen more are about to be erected. Some of the farm sections are being broken up by their owners, while in other cases tree planting has begun on the boundaries of the sections, with a view to future operations.

On both sides of the road leading from the Whau (Avondale) railway station towards the Three Kings, a good deal has been done in the way of burning and clearing. On the north side, especially so from the well-formed homestead of Mr. Gallagher upward; and on the south side Captain James and Messrs Matthews and Howell are making considerable improvements. Away towards Mount Roskill houses are to be seen dotting the hill sides at intervals and the sections cleared of fern and tea-tree by burning off, showing that the work of settlement is going on in that direction, and that these adventurous settlers, thus lonely and isolated at present, are but the pioneers in what will be a closely settled district a few years hence.

In the Whau Valley also there are signs of progress in the increased breadth of land being got under cultivation. On Mr. J. Buchanan's farm has recently been erected a large dairy, with all the necessary improvements and conveniences, a matter to which too many of our farmers attach but little importance, and upon which, with a short sighted illiberality, they are indisposed to expect any money. Nothing is more gratifying to the eye than to see well-kept paddocks, trim fences, and neat and comfortable out-offices on a farm, but with most of our country settlers it is the exception, not the rule.

The Riversdale tannery and fellmongery (formerly Messrs. Bell and Gemmell's), recently converted into a company concern, has been enlarged, fresh pits put down, and additional machinery added of an improved description. Adjacent, some ten acres of land have been planted with black wattle for tanning purposes. This factory, and the older established one of Messrs Gittos and Sons, near the railway station, are now turning out large quantities of manufactured leather for local use and the interprovincial trade.

Mr. Hunt is busily engaged in getting his brickworks erected. The chimney stack of the works, some 60 feet in height, has already been completed, and the foundations for the machinery, which is now being loaded from the Famenoth. Windmill apparatus has also been erected for pumping the water up to the works, as also a railway siding of some length; to connect with the Kaipara line, and which has cost several hundred pounds. It is to be hoped that Mr. Hunt will reap the reward of his enterprise, as the industry will prove of great benefit to the district, in absorbing surplus labour, meeting the local demand for the manufactured article, and cheapening its cost by competition, besides utilising local resources.


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