Avondale Central, 1916
(From the “Harry March’s Memories”
collection, courtesy of Ray Kealey, Blockhouse Bay History Group)
While strolling through sweet Avondale and taking mental note,
A sudden frenzy seized me, and this is what I wrote: --
Right on the road a fountain stands out by itself by itself alone,
And twenty horses drank around its hardened face of stone.
(Actually, there was never a fountain at the "five roads" intersection. This would have been the lamp and water trough. Water was brought in from Auckland City by wagon).
On either side a smithy’s shop gave out a merry clang,
(These would have been William Myers', up Blake Street, and W.B. Perry's, on Great North Road -- entry from Geddes Terrace at rear)
While butcher Binsted’s fly-proof door close by was heard to bang.
One Atkinson on the corner stood, in the soft goods line is he,
With Teddy Wood who’s just as good in close propinquity.
(Edward Wood, the then sole proprietor of Bollard and Wood, in the Page's Building).
And where the old pub was, alas, a civil servant stands,
With a reminiscent smile on his face and a lot of stamps in his hands.
(In 1909, the Avondale Hotel lost its liquor license, and was bought by the Post Office in 1912.)
Ah, me! When I think of the days gone by I feel that I shall burst –
What’s the use of eating corn beef now when you cannot quench your thirst?
If a la mode the ladies wish to either walk or wed,
Miss March will try to quickly ply the needle and the thread;
And Mrs A.H. Grattan, of the “Little Lolly Shop,”
Sells lemonade and raspberry and cooling ginger pop,
Liquorice and jujubes and chocolates so nice –
When passing, pop into the shop, is very good advice.
A chemist’s shop is there, you bet, with a double-barrelled man,
Who’ll draw your teeth, or save your life on any other plan.
(This was Robert J. Allely, Avondale's first chemist and just about the only medical practitioner of any sort on the area until the 1920s. In the second storey of his building, he ran a dental surgery.)
While Mr. Pendlebury’s got a place that’s quite unique,
All built in brick, and up to Dick, no better could you seek.
(This is the site of the present-day Post Shop)
A carriage painter twirls his brush in an effort to make things gay,
(Trigg and Dane, coachbuilders.)
And a Goodman keeps a shop hard by with hot pies all the day.
(Ernest Goodman, later taxi driver).
A good old shave or a fifty up can be had at McArthur’s show,
(McArthur was the second owner of the corner billiard saloon and barbers. He later sold, around 1919, to the more noted Larry Tierney).
While Downing bold, a blacksmith old, will shoe your horse at a blow.
(Downing's smithy later became the site for the Salvation Army Hall 1928-1976, and is now the local video store and Lotto outlet)
And Mr. Bluck, with any luck will get you a place in – well,
Oh, any place at all with luck Mr. Bluck is sure to sell.
(Fred Bluck, the Road Board's Secretary/Town Clerk, and Avondale's most prominent land agent of his day, builder of the wooden Bluck Buildings opposite the Railway Station.)
Boots you can get which won’t get wet by the station upon the hill,
While Hooker’s the man with horse and van the carter’s place to fill.
Two grocers bold on the corner old where Robertson used to stand,
If they think you’re a brick will give you tick, while their chief clerk plays in the band.
(This would have been McKenzies, destroyed by fire in the early 1920s and rebuilt by the Fearon Brothers as their butcher's shop and block.)
The local NEWS will record your views in the advertising line,
So who would not in Avondale live and bask in the sweet sunshine?
I took a thirsty look at the place where stood the dear old pub,
And glanced at the horses gathered round the concrete water tub.
Ah, well, says I, if there ain’t no grog there’s nothing else they lack,
And I stared at Waitakere’s crimson crest and soberly hastened back.
-- FLAXBLOSSOMThe News, Saturday October 28, 1916.
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