Friday, November 18, 2011

Book Review -Love at the end of the Road

 Romance mixed in with rural shenanigans and history

Local writer Rae Roadley brings a down to earth account of her experiences of going from city girl to old farm hand when she meets her future husband to be Rex at a Table for Six dinner date.

Rae has lived in many of the major cities of the world, but perhaps the country  life appealed. Finding employment with the Northern Advocate as a journalist, little did she realise she would meet a farmer who lived in a big old house down the end of a long gravel road.

On the shores of the Kaipara Harbour Rae finds out how to deal with bulls in the garden, getting to know the local characters around the Maungaturoto district, and realising she is becoming a rural woman at heart.

Together with her husband Rex, Rae has transformed the old rambling Batley House into a stunning home. Tales of the dogs Jess and Floss, mixed in the mishaps and triumphs makes this a fun book. Photographs of the Roadley family are scattered through out the book.

Rae spent some time researching the history of Batley, as a result she has included family trees for the Colebeck, Roadley and Masefield families, as well as an excellent time line of events. The index is comprehensive and the bibilography of source references has been included.

David Hill of the New Zealand Herald gave this book an excellent review. He noted some of the characters had what he termed 'flawless grammar, but in my view that's being a little picky. You can read the NZ Herald review here

Published by Penguin books in paperback, Love at the end of the Road - Finding my heart in the country by Rae Roadley is a charming down to earth good read. R.R.P NZ$40 256 pages.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Dargaville Memorial Band Rotunda Circa 1928

Many years a go my grandmother mentioned to me about the band rotunda in Dargaville and of the activities she and Grandpa used to be involved with. Grandpa had a sweet shop in the township next to what was the old picture theatre. Nana was a member of the Bradley clan and was born at Te Kopuru. When she was just a girl of thirteen her parents decided to move along with their villa on a barge to River Road. The property is still standing and is now part of the River Road Historic area. Grandma and Grandpa Bradley had a house just near by and this property is also included in the heritage area. A plaque on the side of the rotunda commemorates the men of Dargaville who fell in World War 1. The structure is a registered Category 2 Historic place with the NZ Historic Places Trust Reg: 3851 and was registered in September 1984

 Situated on the reserve opposite the Central Hotel the rotunda is used even today for many events. The idea of the band rotunda was first discussed at a meeting in 1919 as one of the proposals for a memorial to the men of Dargaville who had fallen during the great war.

 A public meeting last evening decided to acquire a park of eighteen acres at Mangawhare as a Northern Wairoa memorial to fallen soldiers.
Evening Post 29 August 1919

As part of the proposal a grand band rotunda with a concrete base and 8 marbles pillars was proposed at the August  meeting

 "Mr Hayes proposed the erection of a band rotunda on the esplanade; with a concrete foundation and, perhaps, eight marble pillars, on which would be inscribed the names of those who had fallen They had to consider pounds, shillings and pence —the present proposed expenditure and the future upkeep, He estimated that the band rotunda would cost £800 and the upkeep would be a mere fraction Moreover, Dargaville would undoubtedly recognise its responsibility and improve the water frontage."
Northern Advocate 3 September 1919

Other proposals included a memorial institute,  sports ground and park at Mangawhare,  purchase of Dargraville Club as a Soldiers' Club.The meeting resolved to purchase land at Mangawhare for a park. However the idea of the band rotunda, was not lost.

On 16 May 1928 the wife of Prime Minister Joseph Gordon Coates unveiled the band rotunda we see today.

 A Press Association message from Dargaville states that the Prime Minister had a busy day in Dargaville yesterday. From 9 a.m. till 2.30 p.m., with only a brief respite for luncheon, he was attending to deputations, both private and public. In the afternoon he delivered an address at the unveiling ceremony, which was performed by Mrs. Coates, of the Soldiers' War Memorial Band Rotunda, erected at a cost of nearly £300 by public subscription in memory of the men from Dargaville who fell in the Great War. There was a very large attendance of the public. The Prime Minister left shortly after the ceremony for Paparoa, in the southern portion of the electorate, where he delivered apolitical address. He leaves for Wellington, via Auckland, to-day.

Evening Post 17 May 1928

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Central Hotel Dargaville Constructed Circa 1901

Central Hotel, Dargaville
Date of Construction: Circa late 1901 replaced the previous Kaihu Hotel (est.circa 1874) destroyed by fire 16 February 1901.
Architect: John Currie
Owner: Trustees of the Dargaville Estate
Licensee: Edmund Fitzgerald Moriarty

The Central Hotel at Dargaville has always been an iconic building in the township, situated just across from the shores of the Northern Wairoa and the historic band rotunda where ducks gather to take bread from any passing visitors.

Going through one of my many sets of images I have taken of the area I came across some from a trip to the Dargaville Museum a couple of years back. I had taken a photo of the information that came with an old historic photo of the hotel that stated it had been built during the 1870's.
Information panel at the Dargaville Museum states that the Central Hotel was 'built some time in the 1870's'

A search of the Historic Places Trust Register stated that the building was around circa 1890. The building is registered as a Category II Historic Place Reg No: 3825. It was registered in June 1983.

My curiosity got the better of me, so I decided to have a bit of a look into when the construction of the Central Hotel actually was. After a bit of research, I located the hotel which was not constructed in either of the decades indicated by either the Dargaville Museum (noted as 1870's) or the Historic Places Trust register (noted as circa 1890). To be fair both organisations can only go on the information available that was provided to them at the time. A search into Papers Past has now resolved the year of construction for this iconic building.

Originally the first hotel was known as the Kaihu Hotel (circa 1874) until it burned down on the morning of Saturday 16 February 1901. One man James Carmody, a pensioner didn't escape the fire. The victim's bones were discovered amongst the ashes after the fire and an inquest later held to determine the cause of death. The hotel itself was completely destroyed. The licensee of the hotel Edmond Moriarty, had previously been the publican of the Pahi Hotel which coincidently had burned down in September 1897, when he had been in charge of that establishment.

(By Telegraph.—Own Correspondent.)
DARGAVILLE, this clay
During the fire at Moriarty's Kaihu Hotel on Saturday morning a man named James Carmody, a pensioner, was burned to death in his bed. He was found to be missing after the fire, and a search among the ashes by the police resulted in the finding of a number of bones, which Dr. Purchas pronounces part of a human skeleton. 

Carmody was very feeble, and had been under the care of Dr. Purchas for some time.
The names of the injured men who were sent to the Auckland Hospital were Barry and Gemmell. Both were badly burned. They were attended to by Dr. Purchas, who ordered their removal to the hospital. Mrs. Moriarty got out by means of the fire escape. which was at the time so hot that she had to let go her hold, but was caught by those below. The servants had narrow escapes. 

The cottage adjoining the hotel, occupied by Mr. A. Mills, tailor, was completely destroyed. There was no wind at the-time, or the Masonic Hall and nearly all the adjoining buildings would have been destroyed. Temporary premises will at once be erected. Nothing was saved. An inquest was to be held this afternoon on the remains of James Carmody. 

Auckland Star Monday 18 February 1901

Tender for the construction of the new hotel by John Currie Architect Auckland Star 22 March 1901
Prolific Auckland based Architect John Currie designed the new hotel and had advertised for tenders for the erection of the new replacement hotel in March of 1901. Currie was also the architect for the replacement Pahi Hotel (1897) and possibly the Maungaturoto Hotel (1902). He had a strong association with the Nathan family, and also with brewer Moss Davis the owner of Hancock & Co for whom he had designed the Pahi Hotel.

Edmond Moriarty was granted a license renewal in June 1903 (Auckland Star 9 June 1903) by the Kaipara Licensing court under the name of 'Central Hotel'. By 1904 the license holder was under the name of Walker. In July the hotel almost again became a victim of a fire. The Thames Star (7 July 1904) reported the fire had been discovered in a downstairs bedroom then occupied by an invalid. Only the efforts of the hotels occupants prevented the hotel from again being burned to the ground.

I'm still researching this building so this post will be updated as more information is found.

The list of Licensees I have so far are:

1901 - 1904 Edmund Fitzgerald Moriarty
1904 -?        Mr Walker
19?  -  1916 Samuel Thompson
1916 -19?   W. J.G O'Dowd