The sign on the (soon also to disappear) shed reads “Dispatch Office”. The entire brickworks (formerly Monier) is making way for much needed dwellings – 1800 of them; can only hope that the infrastructure will cope.
September 6, 2015
July 26, 2015
Yesterday was a day of open heritage loos: the Auckland Council has identified five public toilets as suitable for redevelopment, and is seeking ideas and expressions of interest in order to “rejuvenate these city locations, restore and celebrate heritage buildings, and generate a rental income for Auckland Council“. (These aims listed, I presume, in increasing order of importance.)
Three of them were open for inspection yesterday (none of them are in operation any more): the island corner of Market Place and Sturdee Street, the underground male toilet in Customs Street outside the Galleria, and the underground female toilet in Wellesley Street opposite of the Library. (The remaining two are Sandringham and Kingsland, both in art deco style, and shown on this blog earlier on.)
A fine cultural history of Auckland’s heritage toilets, entitled “Caught Short”, can be found on the Auckland Council website.
May 27, 2015
In keeping with Alan of alonymous (“the more distressed the better”), here is what looks like a well-cultivated distressed look, undergoing a makeover. The canopy still identifies it as “The Time Machine”, but their Facebook page says farewell and thanks to customers from April 1. The newspapers are barely a couple of weeks old, you may recognise Jeb B’s likeness.
I remember an earlier incarnation of this place under the name of “Olivia’s Boutique” and “ERA Boutique” about five years ago (below, with a youthful selfie).
April 25, 2015
April 25 is Anzac Day, a day of commemoration in Australia and New Zealand. On this day in 1915, the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (together with other troops) landed at Gallipoli (Turkey), the beginning of a disastrous campaign with huge loss of lives.
The Poppy Wall shown here was assembled when the Cunard Liner “Queen Elizabeth” was in port at Auckland on February 27 this year. Her world cruise lead past Gallipoli Peninsula last night, April 24, and a commemorative service was scheduled aboard the ship, this Poppy Wall forming the centrepiece of the occasion.
While the scope of the Anzac Day Commemorations has widened over the years to include the memory of all fallen in armed conflict (and honouring those who returned), this year the events of Gallipoli and World War I are much more in the foreground.
The poppy has become very much a symbol of commemoration, see earlier posts.
(You can find the position of the Queen Elizabeth here.)
March 19, 2015
A wall of volcanic rock supports the elevated part of Albert Street, with a small convenience for men. Goes back to the 1880s, probably the oldest public loo in Auckland (but renovated).
December 8, 2014
Last week we were privileged to be invited to a book launch: Joel Schiff presented his new book “Grace Joel – An Impressionist Portrait” to an audience of friends and interested people at the Grace Joel retirement village (named after the artist).
“Dunedin-born artist Grace Joel (1865–1924) exhibited to acclaim in London and Paris, yet she and her art are relatively unknown today.
Joel excelled at portraiture and mother and child studies, and was skilled in portraying the nude. She received her artistic training in Melbourne, and lived for the mature years of her career in London, where her work appeared at the prestigious Royal Academy, as well as the Paris Salon and the Royal Scottish Academy. She also held a number of solo exhibitions at prominent venues in Australasian, English and European cities. Today she is claimed by New Zealand, Australia and Britain.
One possible reason why Joel’s work has not remained visible is that few details of her personal life survive. Only three letters have been found, and they reveal little of the person who wrote them. Undaunted, author Joel (no relation) Schiff has pulled together from the words of her contemporaries, various newspaper accounts, scraps in other historical archives and close study of her extant paintings a portrayal of this talented woman that is as intimate and engaging as her work. He also sets Grace Joel and her work in the times in which she lived, and the artistic communities of which she was a part.” (From the publisher’s notes.)
Joel Schiff is a good friend (we both worked at the Mathematics Department, University of Auckland for many years). The author of several mathematical monographs, he has a wide range of interests, encompassing asteroids, rocketry, art and painting. Congratulations Joel to an insightful and interesting work.
Published by Otago University Press, Dunedin.
Read commentary by Peter Entwistle in the Otago Daily Times.
October 2, 2014
Auckland is celebrating its Heritage Festival (27 Sep to 12 Oct), and the Karangahape Road Business Association contributes free guided tours with K Road historian Edward Bennett. Rich in information, with wry humour and even dressed for the part. Highly recommended, and much more than history.
I took last Tuesday’s tour under the title “Opium and Optimism” – a tour of Myers Park, starting and ending at St Kevins Arcade.
September 15, 2014
At the top end of Wynyard Wharf one finds a giant axle connecting two giant cogwheels – eight tons apiece – relics from a steam dredge “Whakarire” where they transmitted the power to the bucket chain. The vessel was built in Scotland in 1903 for service in Wellington Harbour until 1934, and thereafter in Napier until 1974, at which time she was scrapped (in Auckland).
A plaque on the pavement commemorates her history. A picture of the vessel is here. And a rather poetic description of the dredge and its working can be found in Wellington’s Evening Post (1907). Two samples give a taste: “like a true Briton, she does not let the fondness for growling interfere with her usefulness“; and “Forbidding to the eye, at a distance, she is lovely at close quarters, and the music of her engines, compound by name, but simple in work, is something to thrill the blood”.
July 23, 2014
This mural graces a house on Point Chevalier Road. It was created for and used in a 2011 TV documentary by David Ferrier on the history of the New Zealand National Anthem (“God Defend New Zealand” – which replaced “God Save the Queen” in 1972). On the left is a portrait of John Joseph Woods, the composer of the tune, while Thomas Bracken, the author of the words, is on the right.
The mural was created by the Cut Collective.
The house is now a boutique for classy accoutrements, Two Daughters and Friends. Open 24/7 if you shop online, and a very select few hours if you wish to shop in person.
Ending with a quote from the documentary: “The product of an Irishman’s song writing competition during the 1800s, judged by three German guys living in Australia!” The documentary (in several instalments) can be found here (hoping that it’s available outside NZ).
And finally a youtube clip of our national anthem in sign language.
January 29, 2014
Near the Edmonton Road end of Central Park Drive, Henderson, there is a small reserve, some of it below road level: Swan Arch Reserve. A plaque gives the following story:
“In 1898 solicitor Henry Charles Swan purchased land here. Around 1901, reputedly telling friends he was embarking on a solo voyage around the world, he sailed his yacht Awatea to this former tributary of Henderson Creek. Swan lived aboard his yacht for the next 30 years. Between 1901 and 1931 Swan built this brick arch, as well as two cellars to store fruit from his orchard and to house his book collection.”
LocalHistoryOnline has a 1933 picture by Frank Morris of the arch including the watercourse (“Man in dinghy by Swan’s Arch, Henderson”):