Sunday, July 21, 2013

Whangateau Cemetery

I had the opportunity to visit the Whangateau Cemetery last Summer. What a pretty scenic quiet area. Located just out of the Warkworth District, it's roughly a 30 minute drive along the coast just before Matheson Bay.


There isn't alot of information about this place, the best I could find was on the Auckland Conservation Board's website which states "formally gazetted in 1892 after many years of historical use as a cemetery by both European and Maori settlers in the area".


Whangateau Cemetery is between the rural Matakana and the small fishing area Leigh. It was a favourite area of the Maori tribe Ngati Wai for fishing before the European settlers arrived.


There are some historical graves there with many linked by their last names such as Wyatt, Torkington, Scott, Wilson, Meiklejohn, Rhodes, Riley, Sadler.


This one above left is a bit creepy, could well be a head statue of the person buried beneath?


I visited the cemetery in Autumn so there were some lovely colourful leaves & scenery to see. Below are some of the death notices found on the Papers Past website for a few of the residents:


Such a beautiful part of the Rodney district. Nearby is Omaha, Matakana, Baddeleys Beach, Tawharanui Peninsular, Matheson Bay, Goat Island etc. Make sure you take your camera because there is lots to see!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Former Warkworth Post Office (1911)

Warkworth township is fortunate enough to have many attractive heritage buildings in and around the town centre. The former Warkworth Post Office was opened in 1911, on the corner of Alnwick and Neville Streets opposite the former Warkworth Town Hall. The building is registered as a Category 2 Historic Place Registration No: 496 on the NZ Historic Places Register.

The second Warkworth Post and Telegraph Office, was built to replace an older building, that had become old and unsanitory.

Some the necessities of his electorate were urged in the House to-night by Mr. Phillipps (Waitemata). A vote, he said, had been passed for the Warkworth post office, but the work had not been proceeded with, although the present building was old and insanitary
New Zealand Herald, Volume XLVII, Issue 14459, 27 August 1910, Page 8

The planning for the new Warkworth Post and Telegraph Office building was announced in the 20 December 1909 Public Works statement by the Hon. Roderick McKenzie then Minister of Public Works.

"...The proposed appropriation for the current year provides for new offices at Kaitaia, Kaeo, Maungaturoto, Warkworth, Helensville, Auckland (new Chief Post Office)..."
AJHR1909 Session II, D-01 

Tender Notice New Zealand Herald, Volume XLVIII, Issue 14624, 9 March 1911, Page 10

The Public Works Department has accepted the tender of Mr. H. M. McKay, of Auckland, at £944 for the erection of the Warkworth post office.
Auckland Star, Volume XLII, Issue 111, 11 May 1911, Page 6
Despite the announcement in the Auckland Star (11 May 1911), the Rodney & Otamatea Times (24 May 1911) editor, complained that no word had been received on the results of the tender process for the construction of the new post office building. The successful tender went to H. M McKay from Auckland.

There is no word with regard to the tenders for the Warkworth Post office. If any private firm was as slow going as a State Department, there'd be ructions. As for the telephone exchange, which people paid a deposit, ever so long ago, to obtain it is still coming. A few poles have come to hand, and they have been dumped on the road, so that all interested may see what deterioration takes place during the years which pass before erection. And some people would like the state to run everything. It ought to be worth considering whether it would not be better to cancel the order with the Department, and arrange for a private exchange to link up with the other private lines through the County.
Rodney and Otamatea Times, Waitemata and Kaipara Gazette , 24 May 1911, Page 4

McKay arrived during early June to begin the construction of the new building.

Mr H. M. Mackay, the contractor for the new Warkworth Post Office arrived on Friday last, and has already got things moving. It has been decided to build the new office at the corner of the present section. The ground floor will be a little over three feet above the roadway. It's quite a relief to know that the building is really to go up at last.
Rodney and Otamatea Times, Waitemata and Kaipara Gazette , 7 June 1911, Page 4 

By the end of September 1911, the old post office building had been advertised for sale by tender, with construction nearing completion on its new replacement.

Notification of the sale by tender of the Old Warkworth Post Office building is made by advertisement in in another column. The contractor for the new building, now nearly completed, also has a quantity of iron, timber and other building material for sale.
Rodney and Otamatea Times, Waitemata and Kaipara Gazette , 27 September 1911, Page 4

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19111026-10-1 

The post office opened its door on Thursday 19 October 1911, without any opening ceremony. Despite the newness the opinion of the Rodney & Otamatea Times (25 October 1911) noted that it had been a 'pity that permanent materials were not used in the building'. The building still stands and now serves as a place for various business ventures after post office closures during the 1980s and 1990s, rendered such buildings as surplus to requirements by the new corporatised New Zealand Post Ltd.

The New Post Office.
The New Warkworth Post Office is open for business. Without fanfare of Trumpets, or ringing of bells, the doors were thrown open last Thursday night, as though new Post offices were as plentiful as blackberries.
The new edifice, standing at the corner of Neville and Alnwick streets, is an addition to the town that was needed, though it is a pity that permanent materials were not used in the building. The contract price was £1050, and the builder was Mr A. Mackay. On the left of the entrance is the private letterbox room, while to the right of the main door is the business room, which has been designed to provide for numerous customers. A brass grille over the counter enables tho public to see the working of the staff in the mail-room. The increased accommodation will be a boon, alike to staff and public.
Rodney and Otamatea Times, Waitemata and Kaipara Gazette , 25 October 1911, Page 5

Big Omaha Wharf

Having spent alot of time down Warkworth way, one weekend my teens & I stumbled across the old Big Omaha Wharf - there's a wee plaque in the building that states it was used back in the 1920s when the tide and water was alot deeper. The first users of the wharf was by local families from the area: Meiklejohns, Birdsalls and Williams. Another attraction was when Jack Walden moved his shop here and many people came to trade kauri gum, produce and gossip. Between the 1850s and 1880s the Meiklejohns built a jetty then thanks to a Government grant the first timber wharf was built here. In 1924 the concrete structure was initiated by the Ministry of Works.

The Dominion Bridge Company Ltd built the wharf and it was registered under the Historic Places Trust 1993 - information about this states:

The Big Omaha Wharf at Rodney is a type of wharf that was built in both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to reach out to deep water, and hence in some cases attained to lengths of up to 300 feet (or just over 100 metres.) In the case of this wharf however, it does not extend out over a beach in order to reach deep water. Consequently the length of the wharf is quite short, being just 37 feet Typical features are:- Twentieth century reinforced concrete construction. Concrete decking supported on beams, Additional extras in the form of bollards and a shed on the decking.

Advertisements from Papers Past suggest it was used as a drop off/pick up for mail & cargo by the Northern Steamship Company, not only that but it was also used as a petrol outlet. Across the way at Point Wells there was a shipyard owned by the Darroch Brothers so I imagine it was a busy wee inlet.

(Rodney & Otamatea Times - 5th September 1928)

When the local authority threatened to demolish the wharf in 1996, local residents formed the Big Omaha Wharf Restoration Society Inc., which has obtained Lotteries funding to prepare a conservation plan for the structure. Lotteries funding for conservation work has been delayed until ownership of the wharf is transferred from the TLA to a society [Dave Pearson, per comment 5/8/97]. (Also from Historic Places Trust website)

Unfortunately I can't seem to find any information about when the wharf ceased to be used so if anyone has any information please let me know.

History always repeats

If any of you are on facebook here is a page well worth checking out called History Always Repeats - it contains numerous kiwiana memories that I remember growing up in the 1970s.


Anyone remember these oldies?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

St Ninian's Digital Cemetery

Taken at Tokatoka Cemetery, Northern Wairoa 2013

Lisa at Timespanner has done a fantastic job of setting on the St Ninian's Digital Cemetery website. St Ninian's Presbyterian Church was built in 1859 in Avondale, Auckland. The Digital Cemetery project deserves a well earned mention. There are some very interesting stories behind those buried there in the grounds. A must see. Check it out here.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Matakohe's first church

The Kauri Museum at Matakohe, should be rightly proud of its beautifully restored Kauri lined and constructed pioneer church situation on Church Road just opposite the museum site. This building is listed on the register of the NZ Historic Places Trust as a Category 2 Historic place. Registration No: 3905. I visited the museum recently and decided to look a bit more indepth into the building's origins.

The small kauri church situated at Church Street, Matakohe was constructed in the year 1868, by its architect and builder Samuel Cooksey. The building was officially opened on Christmas Day (25 December) 1868, with Reverend Thomas Booker presiding over the first service held in the building.

“Christmas Day witnessed the inauguration of a new era in the history of this settlement—the opening of its first church. The building, designed and erected by Mr S. Cooksey, reflects great credit upon him, and the energy of the settlers. Being completed, the day was considered appropriate for its formal dedication to the worship of God.” New Zealand Herald, 31 December 1868

The New Zealand Herald article also noted the debt free status of the new church built with funds raised by subscription from the local community. A new fence was yet to be built around the exterior of the building, and further funds were required to complete the project.

Earlier in 1868, a need for a suitable building was realised when Sunday school classes, religious services and school lessons were being held in the home of one of the settlers.  An initial meeting of settlers was held on 19th February 1868, where it was determined to build a congregational church, and for it to be available during the week for secular education. Cooksey soon fulfilled this need with the construction of the longed for building to fulfil the purposes outlined at the February 1868 meeting.

The first year anniversary service was celebrated in the church on Sunday 19th of December 1869, with two services held and the sermon provided by Reverend Booker to celebrate the day. The next day a meeting was held at Samuel Cooksey’s building, with various topics discussed.

“On the following day a social meeting was held in Mr. Cooksey's building, which was most tastefully decorated with evergreens; conspicuous among which were the fern tree and cabbage palm, most appropriate ornaments for bush gatherings. The weather in the earlier part of the day was very rough, preventing many friends from Paparoa and elsewhere, who would otherwise have been present, from assembling on the occasion. A goodly company, however, appeared to do justice to the good cheer, provided kindly and gratuitously by the ladies in the neighbourhood. The public meeting in the evening was presided over by the Rev. T. Booker, who kept alive the interest of the meeting by his pertinent observations on the various topics referred to by the speakers.”

New Zealand Herald, 31 December 1869

In an 1871 report to the Congregational Home Mission meeting, it was noted on the Kaipara District
“In the Kaipara the agent of the church reported favourably of the disposition of the people to aid the minister. An itinerating cottage service had been established. They had here a handsome church, a harmonium, bell, and other church furniture, all of which had been paid for. He recommended to the consideration of the committee the necessity of appointing a suitable minister for the western portion of the district. Matakohe had a fortnightly visitation.”
New Zealand Herald, 26 May 1871

During November of 1872, a request was made to redecorate the interior of the church. At the meeting, held on November 13, however, it was advised there no funds on hand to do so. White washing the walls, it was noted, were the preferred option, however until the ownership of the building could be ascertained, no upgrading of the interior could be undertaken. The allotment of land the church stood upon, had been gazetted as being vested to the Education Department

As there were no funds in hand, it was thought that whitewashing would be most appropriate, but even that could not be proceeded with till it was known to whom the building belonged as, though built by public subscription, the ground has not yet been conveyed to the trustees by the Superintendent, and the allotment has been gazetted as belonging to the Central Board of Education pro tem. It was therefore resolved that a public meeting be held on or about that day month to receive report of trustees, who could not give the necessary information till then.”

Daily Southern Cross, 18 November 1872

In December of the same year, a meeting was held with a resolution to have a delegation of three members consisting of Isbister, Rees and Sykes to make enquiries regarding the purchase of the land on which the church stood upon.

By 1875, two half time schools were in the district under the care of Mr A. Fisher. The church building continued during the week to be used for secular educational purposes. Services were being held each Sunday, with Sunday school classes taken by Miss Fisher. Reverend William Gittos made occasional visits to the congregation.

On March 18th, 1878, a tea meeting was held for the benefit of the Wesleyan society. A contemporary report of the time refers to the building as ‘the chapel’. A trust deed for the building created at the time of its inception allowed for services by all denominations. Miss Fisher was noted as playing the harmonium. The meeting was attended by 100 people who sat down to eat in the church. Reverend William Gittos was noted as one of those attending.

 A total of £8 had been raised from the meeting for the benefit of the Wesleyan Society. Previously, at an earlier meeting in late February, reported to the New Zealand Herald that it had been found that the chapel was inadequate to hold large public gatherings. The need for a new public hall had been mooted. Reverend William Gould had attended the April meeting.

February of 1880, saw a visit from Bishop Cowie who held a divine service to a large attending congregation. The report of the time noted the conversion of 13 or 14 local Maori to Christianity.

I'm still putting together the research on this building, further information will be added once I've completed the compiling the rest of the information found to date. 

Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXVIII, Issue 4753, 18 November 1872, Page 2
Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXVIII, Issue 4783, 24 December 1872, Page 2
Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXXII, Issue 5776, 1 April 1876, Page 3
New Zealand Herald, Volume IV, Issue 1034, 8 March 1867, Page 6
New Zealand Herald, Volume VI, Issue 1591, 31 December 1868, Page 4
New Zealand Herald, Volume VIII, Issue 2288, 26 May 1871, Page 3
New Zealand Herald, Volume XV, Issue 5083, 2 March 1878, Page 1
New Zealand Herald, Volume XV, Issue 5107, 30 March 1878, Page 3
New Zealand Herald, Volume XVII, Issue 5702, 26 February 1880, Page 3