Daniel Heenan’s mausoleum

Built: 1900-1901
Address: West Taieri Cemetery, 1130 Lee Stream-Outram Road
Architects: Mason & Wales
Builders: J.W. Joseph contractor, William Dick stonemason

On the outskirts of Outram is the picturesque West Taieri Cemetery. It sits beside the highway to Middlemarch, as the road begins its ascent of the foothills. Maukaatua presides over the landscape from the southwest. Not far beyond the gates is a striking Gothic mausoleum – an unexpectedly big memorial to come across in a rural Otago burial ground. On closer inspection a plaque is found above the doorway. It tells us this pointy pentagonal pile is the resting place of Daniel Heenan, who died on 9 December 1898, aged 59. I would say final resting place, but… more of that later.

The only grander Dunedin memorials I can think of are the one built for the Larnach family in the Southern Cemetery, and the now mostly demolished one for Bishop Moran in the Southern Cemetery. These were different in conception, being mortuary or memorial chapels with the coffins in vaults beneath them. Daniel Heenan’s remains are above the ground.

Ngaire Ockwell transcribed many of the West Taieri Cemetery headstones in 1979. Daniel’s story had become part of local legend, and Ngaire recorded what she was told:

Daniel was a farmer, and prized the possession of land. He had arranged that on his death, he was not to be buried, but to be laid to rest above ground. This was accomplished by the building of the […] mausoleum, which contains inside it, clearly visible because of the open wrought-iron work of the door, two concrete shelves. On one of these shelves, in a very plain, shallow, wooden coffin, are the human remains of Daniel. I can’t help wondering how long very dry wood can stay in the form of a coffin, while borer busily devour it? The remaining shelf was to accommodate Daniel’s friend. Together, when Christ came to the earth for the second time, Daniel and Friend, as believers in God, would rise up as promised. Logically, as they were not beneath the ground to start with, they would be the first to ‘arise’ and in that instant, they would claim all of the good Taieri land they desired, before the ‘others’ appeared.

Daniel departed this life first, and duly took up his place on a shelf, but his friend’s wife would have none of this nonsense and saw to it that on becoming a widow, her husband was decently buried in the accepted manner. So the second shelf remains vacant and presumably Daniel is free to claim all the Taieri land he desires, without the need to share!

How much of this intriguing tale is true? Ngaire was careful to include a cautionary note stating she had not verified what she was told. Since then, short versions of Daniel’s story have been published from time to time, usually along the lines of the above. What follows is my effort to piece together more than has been told before, and separate some fact from fiction.

Daniel was born in the market town of Birr (then known as Parsonstown) in County Offaly, Ireland, in 1835. He was the fifth of thirteen children of farmers Dennis and Johanna Heenan. Birr had large Catholic and Church of Ireland (Anglican) churches, as well as independent and Wesleyan chapels, and a Quaker meeting house. The Heenans were Catholic until what was known as the Crotty Schism split the local church.

The former Crotty chapel in BIrr. Image courtesy of the BIrr Heritage Centre.

Michael Crotty, the parish’s disaffected curate, began preaching independently in 1826. He found popular support, particularly among the poorer members of the community. For a while his masses attracted higher attendance than the original church. Michael’s cousin William became co-leader, and together the Crottys increasingly adopted a reformed doctrine. From 1836 this included an English mass. The cousins had a volatile off-and-on collaboration and eventually split over divergent allegiances to the Anglican and Presbyterian churches. William took sole charge and adopted the Presbyterian form of worship, with the congregation joining the Presbyterian Synod of Ulster in 1839. Internal division, external hostility, famine, and emigration, all contributed to a sharp decline in membership and the Crotty movement petered out in the 1840s.

The Heenans maintained their Presbyterian affiliation and were still at Birr about 1848. In 1850, Daniel’s parents and ten of his siblings emigrated from Portsmouth, England, on the ship Mariner, arriving in Otago in September. Daniel’s older brother had come out the year before, and another sister would be born in Dunedin.

Settling in North East Valley, the family established a small farm off what is now Norwood Street, Normanby. They cleared bush and built a fern hut thatched with mānuka bark. For food they caught wild pigs, kererū, and weka. Their first crops included potatoes, grown within log fences to protect them from the pigs. While establishing themselves they were helped by mana whenua Māori, who supplied mangā (barracouta) and kūmara.

The Heenans gradually cultivated more land and Dennis took up cattle breeding. The family home was the first dwelling seen when entering the valley from the north, and Susannah offered warm hospitality to passing tramps and other travellers. She was known to sometimes break into spontaneous, exclamatory prayer. Dennis was described as ‘a stalwart man, to whom persevering work was a delight’. In the mid-1850s he took up an additional and larger tract of land in West Taieri, and some of sons would end up managing the family properties. Active Presbyterians, Dennis and Susannah were members of Dunedin’s Knox Church from its establishment in 1860.

In the mid-1850s Daniel followed his two older brothers to the Australian goldfields, working his passage on a small schooner and arriving with only sixpence in his pocket. Over about ten months in Bendigo the brothers made £600 between them. Daniel operated a team of horses in Victoria for three years before returning to Dunedin in the Otago Gold Rush. In 1862 he was briefly in partnership with his eldest brother, Dennis, building and operating the British Hotel in Dunedin. Daniel then ran a successful business carting goods to the Tuapeka and Dunstan diggings, obtaining as much as £100 per ton of freight, but it was difficult work and he lost one of his best horses when ‘snowed up’ on the Lammerlaw Range.

Daniel next turned to farming, taking up freehold and leasehold land in the Maungatua District. The 1882 return of freeholders records him with 331 acres here, while three of his brothers had larger landholdings in the same district. Daniel’s oat threshing machine was put to much use, and in 1892 did all of the threshing for the Hindon District.

Daniel never married. He served on local committees, including the road board. He was associated with the West Taieri Presbyterian Church in the 1870s, and was an enthusiastic proponent of building a new church at Maungatua in 1879. He eventually became disaffected with Presbyterianism. It is tempting to connect this with an 1892 report, which would at least refer to someone Daniel knew:

A rather unusual circumstance occurred at the Maungatua Presbyterian Church. According to a correspondent of the Taieri Advocate one of the congregation interrupted the Rev. Mr Kirkland’s sermon on Justification, Sanctification, and Faith, by standing up with Bible in hand and saying, ‘I can’t listen to ye anither meenit. Ye are just makin’ a perfec’ hash o’ God’s truths. Frae this book (holding up the Bible) I get comfort and counsel ; but from you I can get neither one nor the other’; and after thus delivering himself he walked out of the church. The minister paid no attention to the matter beyond saying, ‘Poor Mr – I am afraid he has misunderstood me.’

What is known is that Daniel left Presbyterian Church and joined the Christadelphians. He was almost certainly among the those who heard the Christadelphian leader Robert Roberts, during his lecture tour in 1896. Roberts preached at Dunedin’s Choral Hall, as well as at Green Island and Mosgiel.

Christadelphians claim to represent the true faith as revived by John Thomas of Brooklyn, New York. Thomas was an English-born restorationist whose movement gained momentum after his 1848-50 tour of the United Kingdom. Christadelphians believe Jesus Christ was a man, not God, and reject the Trinity doctrine as unbiblical. They do not believe in the immortality of the soul and hold that nobody goes to heaven upon death. They say that with the second coming of Christ there will be a resurrection and God’s kingdom will be established on Earth. Christadelphians do not have ordained ministry and local churches are autonomous. Since the start of their movement they have conscientiously objected to war.

The 1896 census records 952 Christadelphians in New Zealand, with 381 in Otago and 32 in the Taieri District. One of the more active groups was at Green Island. In 1898, Gilbert McDiarmid gave a lecture at Hindon on the principles of the Christadelphian movement. McDiarmid was a labourer from a well-known West Taieri farming family, and a newspaper report described him as a fluent and well-informed man who impressed with his earnestness and belief. It was Daniel who introduced the lecture. The Otago Witness reported:

Mr Heenan is evidently an enthusiastic believer in the Christadelphian religion. His rich Irish accent when speaking of the ‘sky hevvins’ was amusing in spite of the solemness of the subject, and many could hardly restrain a smile. Mr McDermid was listened to attentively by his audience, and I venture to assert that if he comes again he will have a larger congregation.

A correspondent to the paper protested that ‘sky hevvins’ was a mishearing, but whatever was said, Daniel’s earnestness cannot be doubted. About this time he became sick, and after an illness of six months he died at a private hospital in High Street, Dunedin, on 9 December 1898, His death registration records his cause of death as heart failure.

Daniel left a convoluted will and a large estate valued at £4,147. To give that figure some context, most school teachers of the time were paid less than £200 per year. The executors were Gilbert McDiarmid and Outram man William Charles Snow. The will was signed in October 1896, and a codicil just three days before Daniel died.

Heenan made monetary bequests to fourteen people, some of them children, totalling £625. McDiarmid received the books and household furniture, and a ‘rich-toned piano’ was sold. £50 was left to Robert Roberts, for the benefit of orphaned Christadelphian children, and £100 was set aside for the erection of a Christadelphian Hall on freehold land. For such a modest sum a small wooden building would have been the most that was affordable. The probate file records that the expenditure was made and a title secured, but I have not found any trace of the building.

Land was left to Daniel’s brother John, to his nephews James Heenan and James Baxter, and to Herbert Scott. Some sections were bequeathed on the condition of a payment to a Christadelphian fund in Birmingham for the relief of destitute Jews, and another on a rental basis, the income to be used to fund annual prizes for local children with Christadelphian parents. The property left to minors went into trust, and if they died before the age of 30 it was to be spent on Christadelphian literature, or to go towards the hall. In return for some land, Baxter was required to pay an annuity towards the relief of destitute Christadelphians ‘of good repute’.

Daniel specified his mausoleum was to be built ‘in some convenient cemetery’. He left £25 for the purchase of plots and £500 for erecting the building. This was more than the average cost of a three-bedroom home. He instructed:

The dimensions shall be 14 feet by 12 feet by 18 feet in height. The walls shall be two feet in thickness of good Portland cement built upon a good rock foundation and with cement benches in the vault to accommodate any of my friends or relations as well as myself. And I direct my Executor to have the following words engraved on a plate fixed on the vault “Go home, my friends, and shed no tears, I must rest here till Christ appears, And when he comes I know that I shall rise, And get from Him the everlasting prize.” “This is my earnest hope”. I direct that my body shall be enclosed in a leaden coffin.

An extract from Daniel Heenan’s will (1896).

The plaque on the mausoleum, manufactured by Moller & Sons.

Daniel’s body was temporarily interred on 12 December 1898. Nearly a year passed before, in November 1899, Gilbert McDiarmid approached the architects Mason & Wales. Patrick Young Wales, then the sole director of the firm, sent a sketch for approval in January 1900.

Fortunately, the wonderful archive of Mason & Wales records details of the job. Daniel had not specified whether his remains were to be above or below ground, or at least not in his will. It was Wales who suggested:

Instead of placing the vault underground which would be damp and difficult to ventilate, we propose that the building be wholly above ground, and five sided instead of square, each side measuring 7ft inside. This will give space for twelve or sixteen coffins according to the number of shelves put in, the first being raised a few inches above the floor.

What a lot of coffins! The letter from Wales records more details of the original design:

We propose to set the building on concrete foundations using the Port Chalmers stone you have on the ground for the base course and Oamaru stone for the walls and inside of roof and slated outside. The height of the walls &c 12 ft. The roof will rise 12 ft making the total height above ground 24 ft.
We have shown the door as passed of wood solid and a window on each side. These may be built up solid showing panels instead and the door may be fitted with an iron grill leaving the interior exposed to view which we think would be preferable.
Perhaps we should say why we have made the place five sided instead of square. The size of the ground 15 ft by 14 ft would not, after the thickness of the walls are deducted, have room on any side for two coffins in the length so that with the door on one side, there would only be three sides where coffins could be placed and only one on each side where with the pentagonal form we have four sides with room for one coffin on each side.

Architectural perspective of the mausoleum by Patrick Young Wales, as approved by William Snow for the Cemetery Committee, but later revised.

In February, McDiarmid advised the site had been changed for a smaller one. This necessitated reducing the scale of the building, and no longer allowed for coffins on all sides. Despite the reduction the estimated cost still came in over the £500 allocated. The scale was reduced without altering the design, although Wales suggested the iron door could be plainer, the spire could be timber framed and slated instead of stone, and tracery work could be omitted from the gables. He also raised the possibility of building in concrete, or cement-plastered brick.

A new drawing was ready in May. After tender the contract was awarded to John W. Joseph of Woodside on 7 June 1900, his tender being £420. The specification stated that materials were to be obtained through Mr Snow, and local labour was to be used where possible. It also stated that the plaque should give Heenan’s age as 61, but this was changed to 59, and some sources suggest his actual age was probably closer to 63. Moller & Sons manufactured the plaque.

In early August, Wales made new drawings and working copies, including one for the door. He must have been disappointed and likely annoyed when, on 29 August, McDiarmid wrote to say he no longer required him to supervise the job. McDiarmid said he intended to simplify some things in connection with the plan ‘so as to leave (at least) a payable wage’ to the contractor. In a separate note he wrote:

I am sorry things turned out as they have, I thought you understood that the contract was to be flexible. The body of true believers that I belong to would never think of holding anyone to a contract rigidly that would not pay him. That is the way of the world and the so-called Christian world too but Christendom is Astray in doctrine and practice, but it is not so among us. […] Mr Dick is a magnificent craftsman and is making a beautiful job, I am sure we would all be pleased if you came and had a look unofficially at your design being executed.

That Mr Dick was William Dick of Sandymount can be confirmed by a 1970s reference to a plan of the monument in the Dick family’s possession. William Dick was a master stonemason. Born in 1837, his wealth of experience included much of the work at Larnach Castle, the Portobello Bay Road and other roads, and his own stone farmhouse, ‘Luscar’. Among his monumental work was the headstone for Kāi Tahu rangatira Te Mātenga Taiaroa at Ōtākou.

The newly-completed mausoleum, with stone still on the ground. Otago Witness 15 May 1901. George Hicks photographer. Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hākena.

Presumably Dick acted as subcontractor to John Joseph, who was himself a stonemason and monumental mason, as well as a brick maker. Joseph was also a Christadelphian. The only other mausoleum in the West Taieri Cemetery is one built for John’s wife Elizabeth, who died in 1882. John died in 1907 and was also laid to rest there. There is a note in the burial register that Elizabeth had been interred in another plot. I don’t know when the Joseph mausoleum was erected, but the plot was purchased in June 1883. Gilbert McDiarmid died in 1909 and is buried in the cemetery, but without memorial. Possibly his widow, Janet, was the person described to Ngaire Ockwell as the widow wanting ‘none of this nonsense’.

The mausoleum of Elizabeth and John Joseph.

Daniel’s remains were disinterred and moved to his new mausoleum around the autumn of 1901.

This is about as much as I have found out. If some points are unsettled, it at least seems improbable that Daniel was itching to claim the best farmland on the day of resurrection. There is no record of him directing his coffin to be above ground – it is not in his will, and if his executors had been given additional instructions then the architect would not have needed to make the suggestion. The words Daniel chose refer to receiving ‘the everlasting prize’. It was heaven on earth he was looking forward to.

His monument has captured imaginations over the last 120 years, and is still a place of some mystery. I will leave you with the childhood memory of Madeline Orlowski Anderson. Born in 1907, she described Dan Heenan as a local character who ‘had a gadget built over his grave with a glass front and a suit of clothes in it, there for him to use when he returned. He was coming back. It was a box with a door. I’ve seen it. It was quite a good suit waiting for him.’

Newspaper references:
Otago Daily Times 22 February 1866 p.5 (British Hotel partnership); 26 April 1879 p.20 (proposed new church); 21 July 1890 p,4 (Johanna Heenan obituary); 6 November 1899 p.8 (piano); 16 April 1904 p.5 (William Dick), 17 October 1974 p.14 (William Dick)
Otago Witness 26 April 1879 p.20 (proposed new church); 2 June 1892 p.21 (threshing machine); 25 May 1893 p.3 (interruption of sermon); 9 June 1898 p.30 (McDiarmid’s lecture), 23 June 1898 p.39 (further re lecture); 30 June 1898 p.17 (further re lecture), 15 May 1901 p.34 (photograph of mausoleum); Bruce Herald 24 August 1875 p.5 (call of Rev. Kirkland); Evening Star 24 February 1896 p.2 (Roberts lectures), 21 October 1904 p.6 (Denis Heenan obituary).

Other sources:
Heenan-Davies, Karen. ‘Touching the past: an encounter with some Heenan migrants’, blog post, 9 March 2019, retrieved 7 September 2022 from https://heenan.one-name.net/touching-the-past-an-encounter-with-some-heenan-migrants/.
Holmes, Gwenda. The Berwick Story. Mosgiel: Gwenda Holmes, 2016.
Ockwell, Ngaire. West Taieri Cemetery Otago: Headstone and plans transcript 1859-1979. Dunedin: New Zealand Society of Genealogists, 1979.
Ockwell, Ngaire. West Taieri Cemetery: A transcription of burials, headstones, purchasers and plan, completed in 2009. Dunedin: New Zealand Society of Genealogists, 2009.
Scrivens, Barbara. ‘Madeline Orlowski Anderson’, web article, 2017 (revised 2018), retrieved 7 September 2022 from https://polishhistorynewzealand.org/madeline-orlowski-anderson/.
Death registration for Daniel Heenan. Births, Deaths, and Marriages ref: 1899/250.
Death registration for Gilbert McDiarmid. Births, Deaths, and Marriages ref: 1909/6069.
Death registration for John Williams Joseph. Births, Deaths, and Marriages ref: 1907/4741.
‘Heenan, Daniel’ in Cyclopedia of New Zealand, vol. iv, Otago and Southland Provincial Districts (Christchurch: Cyclopedia Company, 1905) p.648.
‘Mr Denis Heenan’ in Cyclopedia of New Zealand, vol. iv, Otago and Southland Provincial Districts (Christchurch: Cyclopedia Company, 1905) p.385.
‘Daniel Heenan’s Mausoleum’ in Heritage Quarterly, Summer 2013, p.10.
‘Farmers remains lie above ground and without company’. From the Stories in Stone series, Otago Daily Times, 3 September 2005 p.Mag2. (This source was the first to use information in Daniel’s will to explore the story of the mausoleum. It includes research by the late Stewart Harvey).
A return of the freeholders of New Zealand giving the names, addresses, and occupations of owners of land: together with the area and value in counties, and the value in boroughs and town districts, October 1882. Wellington: New Zealand Government Property Tax Department, 1884.
Will and probate file for Daniel Heenan. Archives New Zealand R22045651.
Mason & Wales Architects archive. Correspondence, drawing, and specifications.

Acknowledgments:
Thanks to Mason & Wales Architects for use of their archive. My interest was sparked after finding the mausoleum drawing in their records, and I was delighted to find they had also preserved the specification and relevant correspondence.

My thanks to Ngaire Ockwell for her valuable work, and for permission to quote from it at length.

Something to mark ten years, 2012-2022

This month marks the tenth anniversary of the Built in Dunedin blog. The first post I wrote, in July 2012, was about the Hallenstein factory in Dowling Street, so I thought it would be fitting to revisit that by sharing something I didn’t know about at the time.

Illustrated here is the original front elevation drawing made by architect David Ross in 1882. It was only recently added to the Hallenstein Brothers archive in the Hocken Collections, after being rescued some years ago from a rubbish skip.

Front elevation, Hallenstein’s New Zealand Clothing Factory, Dowling Street, Dunedin. Hallenstein Brothers records, Hocken Collecions Uare Taoka o Hākena. MS-5193/001.

Ross was an artist and a skilled draughtsman, but sadly few of his drawings survive, making this one even more special. The most striking feature is the large cupola ventilator above the parapet. Modern ventilation and lighting were a feature of the building, which has a long gallery and roof lantern. This drawing raises some interesting questions about the planning. Ross had travelled in Europe and the United States and Bendix Hallenstein had looked at factory design in England. It would be interesting to know of specific ideas they borrowed from elsewhere.

Unfortunately the other sheets in the set of plans are not known to have survived. The drawing is the contract copy, signed by builders Meikle and Campbell, and the strikethroughs suggest the cupola was deleted by the time of the agreement. Possibly it was more of a grand statement than a functional feature. To me it looks somewhat discordant, partly because the parapet treatment is restrained in comparison.

Thanks to everyone who has followed blog over the past decade, and apologies for not posting much in recent times. When I started , my idea was to write very short posts, but they almost all turned into quite lengthy pieces. I would like to have shared more economical writing, but on the other hand this has allowed stories that have brought out human interest, with more glimpses into the lives of people who lived and worked in the buildings.

The blog has generated many curious questions, sent to me about various local buildings. Apologies to anyone I didn’t get back to – I try to answer them all but they do get away on me sometimes.

And I have the best of intentions to write more here soon!

 

Milnes’ Building

Built: 1877
Address: 34 George Street, Port Chalmers
Architects: Mason, Wales & Stevenson
Builder: Robert Bauchop

James P. Milnes’ store, Port Chalmers, Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena. Ref: MS-5014/002/001.

In 1877 the Cameron family moved into their newly-built home, bakery, and grocery store in George Street, Port Chalmers. The building’s association with the grocery trade continued for more than a century, and today it is part of a precinct of Victorian and early twentieth-century buildings.

The Māori history of the locality reaches back centuries, through the people of Waitaha, Kāti Mamoe, and Kāi Tahu. The north-facing bay, Kōpūtai, is known as a tauraka waka, nohoanga, and wāhi tapu: landing place, seasonal settlement, and sacred site.

It was at Kōpūtai that Kāi Tahu and the New Zealand Company agreed the sale and purchase of the Otago Block in 1844, a pivotal point in the establishment of a colony by the Lay Association of the Free Church of Scotland. The town’s survey followed in 1846, ahead of central Dunedin, and the organised settlement of Otago began with the arrival of the first migrant sailing ships in 1848. The name Port Chalmers is taken from Rev. Dr Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847), the founding leader of the church and influential social reformer.

Growth was slow in the decade that followed. About one hundred people lived at Port Chalmers in 1860. The next year the Gold Rush began, and by 1865 the township’s population numbered over 900. Shipping within Otago Harbour accounted for about 500 more people, over 90% of them men, and the port was one of the busiest in Australasia. Overseas routes provided essential transport and communication links, as did coastal shipping, especially before completion of the Christchurch to Invercargill railway in 1879. The global significance of the port grew through its association with Union Steam Ship Company, established in Dunedin in 1875. By 1891 the company had a fleet of 54 steamships and was the largest shipping company in the southern hemisphere.

Mana whenua connection to Kōpūtai continued throughout these developments. Reading about this can be found in Nyssa Payne-Harker’s thesis, Shared Spaces or Contested Places? Examining the role of Kāi Tahu Whānui in Port Chalmers and Bluff, 1848-2016.

Port Chalmers township about 1872. Burton Brothers photographers. Ref: Te Papa C.011806. The site of the Milnes Building is behind the wooden church in the left foreground.

The port in 1905. Muir & Moodie photographers. Te Papa PA.000180.

Andrew and Margaret Cameron were born at Paisley, near Glasgow in Scotland, and spent their early married life there, with Andrew working as a baker. They came to Otago with their four children in 1863 and settled at Sawyers Bay, where in 1864 Andrew established a bakery and general store.

The family moved to the Port Chalmers township in 1872, when Andrew took over the business and wooden buildings of Taylor & Kilgour. The bakery flourished – its success at least partly attributed to it supplying the Union Company.

The first commercial buildings of Port Chalmers were wooden, and timber constructions still dominated George Street in the early 1870s. By the end of the decade many of these structures had been replaced in more ‘permanent’ materials. In 1877, Andrew Cameron engaged the architects Mason, Wales & Stevenson to replace his existing buildings with structures in stone (for the basement) and brick.

Thomas Stevenson was the architect partner responsible for the design, which was conventional in both layout and form. On the ground floor were a shop, storeroom, and office, while on the first floor were four bedrooms, a sitting room (with two windows facing the street), kitchen, and bathroom. The facade was in the Renaissance Revival style, often referred to in architectural description of the time as simply ‘Italian’. It was the most fashionable style for commercial buildings, and its manifestation ranged from the elaborate to the relatively plain. While not ornate, the Camerons’ building did feature a distinctive arched pediment. Surviving architectural drawings show this with the date 1877 in relief, but in the end the plasterers were instructed to put ‘Established 1864’ in its place. This presumably refers to the business’s Sawyers Bay beginnings.

The original 1877 drawing by Thomas Stevenson, signed by the contractor Robert Bauchop. From the collection of Mason & Wales Architects.

Robert Bauchop won the building contract; at the time he was one of the busiest and best-known builders in the town. Under a second contract he built a stable and large bakehouse at the rear of the section.

According to his Otago Daily Times obituary, Andrew had ‘ever a cheery word for friends, and rarely left them without a quiet joke’. He was closely involved with the local Presbyterian Church but less interested in local politics and societies. Margaret and Andrew had three sons and a daughter. Their youngest son, Andrew Cameron, became the Presbyterian minister at Andersons Bay, and in the early twentieth century was a prominent public figure, known for his leading roles in founding Knox College and the Presbyterian Social Service Association, and as a vice-chancellor and chancellor of the University of Otago.

Detail from a William Williams photograph, c.1890s. Ref: Alexander Turnbull Library 1/1-025830-G. The front of the building is indicated by the arrow.

Another of Margaret and Andrew’s sons, James Muir Cameron, took over the Port Chalmers business when Andrew retired in 1884. He ran the store for over twenty years. One incident that made the court news was a disagreement between two of the bakers, with one throwing a stone that wounded the other above the eye.

James Pickford Milnes bought the business in 1905, and it is the Milnes name that remains most associated with the building’s history. James was a Yorkshireman and had worked as a farmer at Akatore in the Clutha District. When they took up residence, James and his wife Mary Ann had six children, ranging in ages of one to twelve. A seventh child, Robert, known as Bob, was born in 1907. One of his childhood chores was cleaning out large pits where thousands of eggs were preserved for use in the bakehouse.

Photograph of grocer and baker’s van, Port Chalmers. D.A. De Maus photographer. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena. Ref: MS-5014/002/002.

A photograph from around this time shows the horse and cart used for bread and grocery deliveries. For many years Dick Thurlow was employed as the driver. Change eventually came in 1920, with alterations made to the stables and storeroom so that motor deliveries could replace the horse-drawn service. This building work was designed by Salmond & Vanes and carried out by Love Brothers.

A branch store opened along the road at 12 George Street in 1917. This became the cake shop, although its function might have varied over the more than thirty years it operated. Milnes were the local agents for Ernest Adams cakes.

A section of a block plan from 1932, showing in red the site of the Milnes’ Building and outbuildings on the left, and the second store to the north near the Mount Street corner. Drawn by George Duncan. Colour edited. National Insurance Company records, Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena. Ref: MS-2081/037/00.

Advertisement from the Evening Star, 8 November 1934 p.3. Papers Past, National Library of New Zealand.

James died in 1926. For a few years Thomas ran the business with his brother-in-law,  Peter Lawson. In 1933 the registered company Milnes Limited formed for the stated purpose of operating as ‘bakers, grocers, storekeepers, confectioners, restaurant and refreshment room proprietors, and wholesale and general merchants’. The largest shareholders were Thomas and his brother Bob, with smaller holdings by their mother Mary Ann and sister Nellie. Thomas moved to Clinton and after his sudden death in 1941 Nellie increased her stake in the business.

Nellie managed the finances from the office adjoining the shop. Ian Church records that she sold children bags of broken biscuits for a penny, and her niece revealed at her funeral that she sometimes broke the biscuits herself so that she had enough to give them!

The building has undergone many alterations. A suspended verandah was added in the 1940s, and in 1947 the exterior walls were replastered. Most of the old mouldings were removed and Art Deco/Moderne touches added, including a circular motif at the centre of the pediment. The name ‘MILNES’, added to the parapet in relief lettering, can still be seen.

Despite these changes the building still reads as Victorian from the street: the window openings and proportions , the door, the surviving dentil cornice, and the shape of the pediment, are among the original features.

The bakery was in use until the early part of the Second World War, when baking shifted to the other George Street site. This operation closed in either 1953 or 1954.

Bob Milnes had a house in Island Terrace, but Nellie was resident on site until about 1965. The following year she transferred her shares and Bob ran the shop on his own until his retirement in 1967. By this time the grocery had converted to self service.

Bob Milnes in the old bakehouse at the time of his retirement in 1967. Reproduced by permission of the Otago Daily Times.

In later years Nellie was known for her involvement with the meals on wheels service, and for being a keen golfer. She died in 1991. Bob moved to Queenstown where he died in 1994. His son Robert owned and operated a new supermarket at Frankton.

The old Port Chalmers store became Dent’s Mini-Market in 1967, under Charles and Pearl Dent. From about 1971 Lex and Daphne Taylor ran it as Taylor’s Mini-Market, as part of the Four Square chain. Robert and Linda McLean took over in 1980, changing the name to Port Chalmers Discount. In the mid-1980s Foodstuffs, the owners of Four Square, decided to build a New World supermarket on the opposite side of the street. This opened in December 1985 and the old shop closed.

The store in the 1970s. Photo courtesy of Duncan Montgomery.

Later occupants have included Port Chalmers Trading and the Tuanako Private Training Establishment. A new venture on the site, Milnes Market, launched in 2008. Since 2012 the ground floor has been occupied by 2gpysies furniture, homeware, and giftware.

In 2020 the current owners received a Dunedin Heritage Fund grant for earthquake strengthening and fireproofing, which will hopefully secure the future of the building for many more years to come.

Milnes9

Milnes8 small

Milnes1 small

Acknowledgments:
Special thanks to co-owner Rebecca Wilson, and to Mason & Wales Architects. Whenever researching Port Chalmers I’m also reminded of the debt owed to the late Ian Church.

Newspaper references:
Bruce Herald 6 July 1865 p.3 (population). Otago Daily Times 7 February 1872 p.2 (Andrew Cameron), 9 May 1877 p.1 (tender notice), 25 June 1877 p.4 (tender notice), 30 July 1877 p.3 (‘City Improvements’), 14 May 1902 p.6 (Andrew Cameron obituary); 18 August 1905 p.4 (assault); 21 April 1920 p.6 (alterations and motor deliveries); 1 December 1967 p.11 (‘Mr R.B. Milnes’); 10 December 1985 p29 (opening of Port Chalmers New World); 28 February 1994 p.5 (Bob Milnes obituary). Evening Star 14 May 1902 p.3 (Andrew Cameron obituary); 19 August 1905 p.6 (assault); 24 August 1905 p.5 (for lease). Grey River Argus 23 June 1891 p4 (size of Union Company fleet).

Other references:
Church, Ian. ‘A Grave Story – The Milnes Family’ in Rothesay News, vol. 20 no. 1 (November 2007) p.12.
Church, Ian. Port Chalmers and its People (Dunedin: Otago Heritage Books, 1994)
Church, Ian. Some Early People and Ships of Port Chalmers. Dunedin: New Zealand Society of Genealogists, c.1990.
Church, Ian. Sawyers Bay, including Sawyers Bay School 1861-2010. Port Chalmers: Sawyers Bay School 150th Anniversary Committee, 2011.
Stone’s Otago and Southland Directory
Wise’s New Zealand Post Office Directory
Telephone directories
Port Chalmers rates records (with thanks to Chris Scott)
Dunedin City Council permit records and deposited plans

The Hudson house – and now some early photographs

Since writing the last post about the Hudson house at 28 Tweed Street (currently for sale) I have been able to copy these wonderful images by photographer C.M. Collins, taken soon after the house was completed. Click on an image to enlarge it, and follow the arrows through the slideshow. Original descriptions from Stucco’s Evening Star articles are included in the captions underneath. I’ve also inserted them into the original post.

My thanks to Andrew and Denise Lane for allowing me to share this special record.

Ruby and Ambrose Hudson’s house

Built: 1926-1927
Address: 28 Tweed Street, Littlebourne, Roslyn
Architect: Henry McDowell Smith (1887-1965)
Builders: Fletcher & Love

One of Dunedin’s most impressive 1920s homes is on the market. Its listing provides an opportunity to take a closer look at some remarkable architecture and history.

Built for Ambrose and Ruby Hudson between 1926 and 1927, the house cost over £6000 at a time when a standard three-bedroom house could be built for about £800. The only local houses I can think of that matched if for cost between the two world wars were the Brinsley house on Forbury Road and the Stevenson house, now University Lodge, at St Leonards. There was so much buzz around the house when it was new that the architectural writer in the Evening Star devoted no fewer than five articles to it. The columnist, known only by the pen-name ‘Stucco’, wrote: ‘Without exaggeration it can be claimed that Mr Hudson’s new residence is of the most magnificent in the dominion’.

Ambrose Hudson was a director of the chocolate and confectionery business R. Hudson & Co. Established in 1868, this became one of Dunedin’s leading industrial concerns. Cadbury bought a controlling interest in 1930, but for many years the Hudson family remained closely involved in the restructured Cadbury Fry Hudson.

Born in 1877, Ambrose was the fourth of six sons of the firm’s founder, Richard Hudson. He became a director while still in his twenties, and remained in that role until his retirement in 1931. He often went overseas to buy machinery for the factory and was credited with modernising the manufacturing. Gregarious and well liked, he was also a bit of a practical joker. Ambrose made a special chocolate for company chairman Carl Smith that had a castor oil filling!

Ambrose Hudson (1877-1969)

Ruby and Ambrose Hudson (front left) at a family wedding in 1965.

Ambrose married Ruby Christian Cooke, an Australian, at Sydney in 1906. Ruby was announced as the granddaughter of Mrs Tait of Granby Towers, Granville. The couple’s first son, Sydney, was born in 1907, and a second son, Ralph, followed in 1910. In the same year the family purchased the Tweed Street property. It was not until sixteen years later, with the boys all but grown up, that they rebuilt. The old house was only demolished after the new one was completed, so presumably it was on the adjacent site where no.30 stands today. Ambrose’s younger brother William bought the house next door (no.32) in 1922 and the two families had a tennis court between them.

I have been unable find out much about Ruby, but she was active socially. Her interests included women’s cricket, the Otago Women’s Club, and the Kaikorai Kindergarten. Both Ruby and Ambrose enjoyed motoring, and Ambrose also took an interest in aviation, eventually becoming a life member of the Otago Aero Club. He was a keen gardener with a particular fondness for sweet peas and poppies, which he entered in competition. He developed his own variety of poppy, which he named ‘Ambrosia’.

He also kept pigeons. A 1926 report stated that when he left home in the morning about twelve birds accompanied him, ‘flying around, resting now and again on his head and shoulders’. At the intersection of Smith and Stuart streets several of the birds returned to their loft, while about three followed Ambrose all the way to the factory offices in Castle Street.

For the architect of their new house, the Hudsons chose Henry McDowell Smith, a well-established Dunedin practitioner. Born in Manchester, England, in 1887, he worked in Newcastle before coming to New Zealand in 1909. He managed Edmund Anscombe’s Invercargill branch for some years and became his business partner in 1913. He returned to the Dunedin office after his war service and started an independent practice in 1921. McDowell Smith’s building designs of the following decade included other high-spec houses, notably the already-mentioned University Lodge. Other work up to 1930 included St Michael and All Angels’ Church at Andersons Bay, extensive additions to Selwyn College, and the hospital complex at Ranfurly.

The Dunedin City Council issued a building permit for the Hudson house in April 1926. James Fletcher of Fletcher & Love took the building contract. The Fletcher Construction Company had temporarily joined with Love Bros for the purpose of erecting the New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition buildings at Logan Park. Fletcher left Dunedin after the exhibition, and while the Hudson house was under construction, so the completion of the project passed to Love’s.

North elevation. C.M. Collins photographer. The upper balcony was glazed in 1941, and two gables added to the roof.

The view down to the house from the front path.

East elevation. C.M. Collins photographer.

A view looking up towards Tweed Street.

One of the generous balconies.

The front gate.

The house has a transitional style between English Arts and Crafts and the emerging Modernism, and is outwardly characterised by clean lines, neat brickwork, and generous glazing and balconies. Window sills of blue burned blocks were specially made at Abbotsford. The Arts and Crafts influences are particularly evident in a charming entrance gate, and a herring-bone brick path leading down to the house, which sits below the street.

The ground floor sun porches were designed with dancing in mind and originally had a loud speaker for music. The terrazzo flooring was claimed to be the first in Dunedin, slightly predating local manufacture. On the balconies above, the kauri flooring is constructed like a ship’s deck. Stucco commented, ‘it has a delightful spring to the feet, and should send the least sprightly visitor jazzing along its inviting surface’. The views of the harbour from here are stunning. The north elevation was altered in 1941, when the balcony on this side was glazed and two small gables added, all carefully matching the original style. It is surprising the gables were added but they successfully soften this aspect of the building and give it a more domestic quality.

The steel-framed windows were originally painted green, and feature imported British plate glass and exceptional bevelled fanlights. There are also impressive leadlights in the bathroom, over the stairwell, and in a panel in the front door featuring a female figure. This was the work of local craftsman John Brock, of Arnold, Brock, & Raffills.

Floor plans published in the Evening Star (from Papers Past, National Library of New Zealand).

The house originally had five bedrooms (including a maid’s room), drawing room, dining room, meals room, kitchen, billiard room, dressing room, and extensive basement. Stucco observed there was ‘nothing unduly ostentatious, everything being designed and executed in the most artistic manner’, but at the same time thought the interior sumptuous, magnificent, and a ‘miniature palace’. He wrote: ‘The visitor is immediately impressed by the chiselled perfection of everything, and, though he might pardonably go into rhapsodies about what he sees, there is no vulgar flaunting of ornamentation’.

The entrance hall. The coffered ceiling was originally gilded.

Landing. C.M. Collins photographer.

The upstairs landing.

Meals room. C.M. Collins photographer.

Originally the ‘meals room’.

Dining room. C.M. Collins photographer.

The dining room.

Drawing room. C.M. Collins photographer.

Drawing room.

The spacious entrance hall features figured beech panelling with maple panels. Coffered plaster ceilings by the Wardop Fibrous Plaster Co. were originally gilded, and said to give a magnificent golden effect when the hall was lit up. Original light fittings include a blue Venetian glass ball with bronze eagles, from which hang individual lamps. The flush internal doors, by Henderson and Pollard of Auckland, were unusual in Dunedin and the latest fashion.

Both the drawing room and meals room have enormous tiled fireplaces that are architectural works in themselves. Stucco mentioned that a visiting manager from one of the biggest tile firms in England thought the slabs the best he had ever seen. The Wardrop ceilings again impress here. The two rooms are separated by sliding doors with more bevelled glass. English wallpapers originally decorated the walls. All of the spaces on this level flow well into each other and the house must have been excellent for entertaining.

The billiard room is a standout space of the house. It is a single-storey projection, allowing natural light from three sides. It has a coved ceiling, originally stippled with biscuit and cream colours, and massive wooden beams terminate over beautifully carved brackets. Panelling is stained ‘Jacobean’ and the floors are jarrah.

The bedrooms are less ornate but plaster ceilings again feature, and three of the rooms have access to the balconies. The master bedroom was built with a large adjoining dressing room. S.F. Aburn decorated the house, and many rooms and the entrance hallway originally featured stippled paintwork, blending two colours to shade up from dark to light. In one bedroom this was from pink to white, in another from biscuit to white, and in another from grey to white.

Billiard room. C.M. Collins photographer.

The billiard room.

A carved corbel in the billiard room.

Master bedroom. C.M. Collins photographer.

The master bedroom.

Bathroom. C.M. Collins photographer.

The main bathroom.

The kitchen. C.M. Collins photographer.

The Hudsons were keen on their mod-cons and the house boasted over 80 ‘electric points’. J. Hall & Sons installed electric fittings from the British General Electric Co.

Of the kitchen, Stucco commented that ‘everything has been planned with the object of lessening domestic drudgery’, with the coal range banned in favour of gas and electric cookers. This has since given way to a yet more convenient modern kitchen.

The bathroom featured a swivel nozzle tap, a hot rail for drying towels, and modern fittings from Twyford’s exhibit at the New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition. This is another room of beauty, and still largely original. The mosaic floor tiles were specially imported, with other features including grey wall tiles and a streamlined bath.

Ambrose was particularly pleased with the separate shower room. ‘This is one of the best things in the house,’ he exclaimed to Stucco ‘as he entered the glass door to demonstrate how some of the mysterious nickel-plated contraptions work. There are three different sprays, and a special mixer for the hot and cold water… one can splash merrily for hours, if so inclined, without risk of flooding out the house and home’.

A visit to the basement revealed a space with huge concrete pillars, and Ambrose boasted the foundations would carry the biggest building in the city. Stucco described it as like inspecting the engine room of a ship, there being boilers and pipes everywhere. The heating system was served by a coal boiler and two electric elements, and hot water provided by a 100-gallon circulator. There was also a well-equipped laundry.

In their 70s the Hudsons downsized, selling the  the house to the Gardner family in June 1953. Later owners were the Cottle, Shearer, and Lane families. About 1963 Ruby and Ambrose moved to Auckland, where their sons lived, and they led a quiet life at Mission Bay. Ambrose kept up his interest in the factory and last visited it in 1967. He died on 17 November 1969, aged 91, and Ruby died on 6 March 1974, also at the age of 91.

Their former home has been lovingly cared by the current owners of 28 years, while also adapted for modern living. It now awaits the next chapter in its story.

A view of the house when new in 1927. C.M. Collins photographer. Ambrose and Ruby Hudson’s old house on the right was demolished not long after this photograph was taken.

West elevation and forecourt, with Tweed Street on the left. C.M. Collins photographer.

Acknowledgment:
My special thanks to Andrew and Denise Lane, to Alice Munro and Craig Palmer of Bayleys Metro, and to the Hudson family. Images by Bayley Metro reproduced by kind permission.

References:
For the full series of 1927 Evening Star articles follow these links:
12 July 1927 (Stucco, ‘The Home Builder’)
19 July 1927 (Stucco, ‘The Home Builder’)
26 July 1927 (Stucco, ‘The Home Builder’)
23 August 1927 (Stucco, ‘The Home Builder’)
30 August 1927 (Stucco, ‘The Home Builder’)
2 September 1927  (Hydro, ‘Let Electricity Help’)
9 September 1927 (Hydro, ‘Let Electricity Help’)

For more of the early photographs, see the next post.

Co-operative Dairy Company of Otago factory and offices

Built: 1951-1954
Address: 90 Anzac Avenue
Architect: L.W.S. Lowther (1901-1970)
Builders: Love Construction Co.

The building as it appeared when new in 1954. Image courtesy of Naylor Love.

The 1950s Streamline Moderne building that is home to the Hocken Collections was originally built as a dairy factory and offices. The Dunedin-based Co-operative Dairy Co. of Otago produced Huia brand butter and cheese for 75 years, and from this site for over 40. The company disappeared in the dairy mergers of the late 1990s, and their premises became the University of Otago’s new Hocken Library in 1998.

Outwardly, the building perhaps looks older than its years, although it was internally and practically up-to-date when new. It is a late example of a style of architecture introduced to Dunedin in the mid-1930s. Plans were ready in 1947, but there were numerous delays in securing permits and consents, followed by a long construction period of three years. The factory finally opened in 1954.

I’m getting ahead of myself though. First some earlier history of the dairy company…

Dunedin has a long a long association with the dairy industry. New Zealand’s first co-operative dairy factory opened on the Otago Peninsula in 1871, when the eight shareholders of John Matheson & Co. established the Peninsula Cheese Factory at Matheson’s Springfield property. The development of infrastructure and technology saw rapid growth in the industry from the 1880s, when further factories were built around the country. Improved transport networks, refrigeration in both factories and transportation, cream separators, new testing methods, and selective breeding all contributed to the rapid growth of an export industry in the decades that followed. Combined exports of butter and cheese grew from 5,000 tonnes in 1881, to 300,000 tonnes in 1901.

The Co-operative Dairy Co. of Otago formed in Dunedin in 1922. At that time, 564 dairy companies operated around the country, 88% of them co-operatives within a highly regulated industry. The new company claimed it was owned entirely by those who supplied cream, with ‘absolutely no dry shareholders’. 284 individuals operating home separators took 68% of the initial share allocation, while eight small Otago factories (Momona, Mosgiel, Milton, Goodwood, Waikouaiti, Merton, Omimi, and Maungatua) took the remaining 32%. The new company purchased the business of the Dunedin Dairy Co., taking over their newly-built premises opposite the railway station in June 1923. In doing so, it acquired the Huia brand, under which Dunedin Dairy had marketed butter since 1920. By the 1927/28 season the new co-op produced 800 tonnes of butter, the second largest output by a South Island factory.

The original building served the company for thirty years, but by the 1940s it was cramped and behind the standard demanded by regulators. The company bought out the butter business of the Taieri & Peninsula Milk Supply Co. in 1942, taking on its Oamaru factory, but it still sought to expand its Dunedin operation on a larger and more accessible site.

An area of reclaimed Otago Harbour Board land included a vacant and appealing site near the railway line on the east side of Anzac Avenue. The avenue had been built in 1925, in time to link the railway station with the New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition at the newly reclaimed Lake Logan. The idea of such a road been put forward by Harbour Board member John Loudon as early as 1922, before the exhibition was formally proposed. The development or reclamation of the lake had been anticipated for some years, and a new road would also improve connection with West Harbour. It was the exhibition, however, that brought the impetus needed to make what was then referred to as the ‘highway’ a reality. Exhibition architect Edmund Anscombe played a central role in the planning, proposing parks, reserves, and housing for the area to the east of the avenue, but it remained largely undeveloped through the depression years and up to the war.

A late 1920s photograph shows young trees lining the avenue, but by 1933 some had died and others were stunted. Most of the present elms were planted between 1934 and 1938, by school pupils participating in Arbour Day activities.

Detail from c.1902, from ‘Dunedin from Logans Point’ by Muir & Moodie. The future site of the co-op building is under water, next to the shoreline at the far left centre of the image. Ref: Te Papa PA.000184.

Anzac Avenue as it appeared about 1928, meeting Union Street and the southern edge of Logan Park. The future factory site is the furthest of the vacant land on the left. Ref: ‘Dunedin, New Zealand no. 872’, Alexander Turnbull Library Pan-0017-F.

An aerial view from April 1947, showing the vacant site at the centre of the image. Ref: Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library WA-06920-F (cropped detail).

The new Dunedin North Intermediate School opened at the corner of Albany Street and Anzac Avenue in 1934. In 1944, a rehabilitation centre for disabled servicemen opened. Most of the other new land was put to industrial use. Dominion Industries built a linseed oil operation, Shaw Savill Albion a wool and grain store, J. Mill & Co. another wool store, and stationers Williamson Jeffery a factory and head office. On the north side of Leith, a new milk treatment station opened in 1948.

The dairy co-op secured a leasehold section from the Harbour Board in October 1945. Allan Cave, a North Island architect with extensive experience of dairy buildings, prepared preliminary sketch plans and a well was bored on the site in April 1946. Two months later, the district building commissioner deferred issuing a permit, due to the post-war building restrictions and a shortage of cement and labour.

In September 1946, Cave recommended switching to a local architect, and the company appointed L.W.S. Lowther in his place. Lowther immediately began work on plans and specifications, completed in February 1947.

Launcelot William Stratton (Lance) Lowther, architect. Image courtesy of Barbara Parry.

Born in Llanelli, Wales, to a New Zealand-born father, Lance Lowther had worked as assistant to Henry McDowell Smith before taking up private practice in 1945. He had at least a hand in many streamlined designs that came out of Smith’s office in the late 1930s, including the Law Court Hotel and two blocks of flats on View Street. In a more traditional aesthetic, he had a significant and it has been claimed leading design role (under Smith’s name) for the new St Peter’s Anglican Church at Queenstown. Early houses by Lowther include a Moderne/Art Deco design at the corner of Taieri Road and Wairoa Street. He later worked in private partnership with former Otago Education Board architect Clifford Muir.

Huia advertisement from the Otago Daily Times, 27 May 1949 p.7. Papers Past, National Library of New Zealand.

The construction history of the factory highlights the challenges faced in post-war building. Plans had to be approved by both the Department of Agriculture and the Harbour Board, both of which asked for changes. Finance also proved difficult, as although commercial banks were happy to lend, the Reserve Bank could exercise its power to stop advances of more than £60,000 for building work. Building firms were stretched and unenthusiastic to tender for the contract, but Love Construction gave a price from the quantities. They were given the go-ahead in August 1947, before the building controller again deferred issuing a permit. Despite repeated efforts it was not until February 1951 that a permit was finally issued. Drawings held in the Hocken are undated, but the work finally begun in March 1951 was probably mostly carried out according to the 1947 plans.

Michael Findlay has described the building as ‘constructed from steel reinforced concrete with steel roof trusses enabling wide spans and unobstructed floors. The wall and floor surfaces had rounded internal corners for hygiene and the design was efficient and modern, a great step up from their earlier Dunedin factory’. The Moderne exterior is characterised by clean lines and simplicity. It might also be described as Art Deco, as it fits some definitions of that style. Embellishment is minimal, consisting mostly of raised banding or string courses. Glass bricks are a feature of the west elevation, and allowed a filtered light into the factory.

The original plans show a large butter and smaller cheese manufacturing area, and a big garage space at the rear with access from Anzac Avenue. There was also stores, freezers, a box and pallet area opening to the cart dock on Parry Street, dressing rooms, and a dining room. Unusually, a bicycle parking area was placed internally in the south-west corner. Office activities took place upstairs, where there was a public counter, large general office, manager’s and secretary’s offices, strong room, another dining room, and a generously sized and wood-panelled board room.

Rosemarie Patterson’s excellent history of Naylor Love, A Bob Both Ways, provides some insight into experiences on the building site through the recollections of foreman Duncan McKenzie. He remembered laying the foundations on the swampy reclaimed site in the winter of 1951: ‘It was just an absolute bog. We were building a kind of floating foundation, big pads right across. 8 feet wide and 18 inches deep. Alex Ross, manager at the time, put an ad in the paper for labourers’. Because of the strike there were many men looking for work. ‘He started sending them to me, and they just kept on coming. But in those days we worked in the rain, and wharfies weren’t used to working in the rain, so most of them left on those wet days. A few stayed on, three or four who didn’t get their jobs back on the wharf.’

The project employed many new Dutch migrants. Conditions in Europe and a shortage of workers saw significant Dutch immigration after the Second World War, with over 10,000 arriving in the three years from July 1951 to June 1954. Most were single, non-English speaking men from a working class background, including carpenters and skilled labourers. McKenzie used one of his steelworkers, a good English speaker who had been a corporal in the Dutch Army in Indonesia, as an interpreter. McKenzie remembered they ‘had to learn to do things differently, especially the concrete work which all had to be boxed. They were not used to doing that.’

McKenzie also recalled Love’s purchasing their first skilsaw in time for the laying of the upstairs floor. ‘It was big 6 x ¼ inch flooring, and they brought it over for us to cut the flooring with. And everybody’s eyes nearly popped out. Len Griffin, the supervisor who used to go round the jobs, every so often for some particular job would come and borrow our skilsaw! The company’s only skilsaw! It was the same with dumpy levels. Being a big job, I always had one there, but there was always someone coming and borrowing it. We didn’t have one for a job, we had one for a lot of jobs.’

‘We didn’t have cranes. We had electric hoists. You’d fill the barrows, generally on the ground, and take them up on a hoist, and wheel the concrete round to wherever you wanted it, and pour it, and take it back down again. It got a bit more complicated later on. We’d take a skip on the hoist and put it in a hopper on the top. And you’d fill your barrow out of that. All the concrete was done by barrow. You had to have scaffold ramps up every lift. Every four feet you’d probably put a pour. So the scaffold had to be built at the right height to swing the barrow and tip the concrete in. We had pre-mix concrete there, but before that – while I worked on the Nurses’ Home in Cumberland Street – all the concrete was mixed on site.’

When construction began, co-op management optimistically hoped it would be able to its machinery in by April 1952, but there were more delays, including sourcing the roofing material and steel girders. In March 1953, the manager reported a shortage of carpenters. The building neared completion the following summer, but it was practically impossible to move in during the dairying season. In April 1954, building work was complete with the exception of some painting and plastering. Plant was moved from the old premises, and by the end of August all departments had moved in. The final build cost was £150,000.

Butter churners. Campbell Photography. Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena P1998-167-006.

Loading finished products. Campbell Photography. Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena P1998-167-004.

The building officially opened some eight years after the first consent permit was sought. Keith Holyoake, minister of agriculture and future prime minister, performed the honours before a crowd of 450 people on 2 November 1954. Referring to the end of the bulk purchasing agreement with the United Kingdom, he said: ‘This is a new era and a really challenging time as far as the primary producer is concerned’. In a peculiar call to arms for securing market share he said ‘we now have to fight the battle with the British housewife’.

The company had 55 staff in its Dunedin and Oamaru factories in 1954. Its products over the years included butter, process cheese, savoury sandwich paste, and reconstituted cream. A subtle name rearrangement occurred in 1976, when the Co-operative Dairy Company of Otago became the Otago Co-operative Dairy Company. In the 1980s the Dunedin factory was producing over 3,500 tonnes of butter annually.

Cheese continued to be made on the site, with a specialty cheese unit established in 1985/86. The company had large shareholdings in the Otago Cheese Co., and in Mainland Products Ltd, which had some operations at Anzac Avenue. In 1989/90 butter reworking ceased after the Dairy Board decided it could satisfy the Otago and Southland markets with patted butter ex-churn from Westland. In the same year, Mainland’s processing plant moved to Eltham, reducing manufacturing operations at Anzac Avenue to creamery and whey butter, and specialty cheese. A Cheese Shop fronting Parry Street opened in 1990, with some products continuing to be marketed under Huia brand. Adjoining chicken and sausage shops also operated for a time but were less successful. The company performed well for its shareholders, but the Anzac Avenue site was becoming surplus to requirements.

Reconstituted cream point of sale advertisement. Ref: Otago Co-operative Dairy Company records, Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena 84-159/003.

CDCO_9

The building as it appeared in 1997, when vacated by the dairy company. Ref: Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena MS-4069/070.

The University of Otago purchased the building in 1996, for redevelopment as a new Hocken Library. The library had been established in 1910 to care for and provide access to Dr Thomas Morland Hocken’s public gift of his collection of books, pamphlets, newspapers, maps, paintings, and manuscripts relating to Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific. It opened in a purpose-built wing of the Otago Museum and was a much expanded collection by the time it left that site in 1979. By the 1990s the collections were split between the Hocken (now Richardson) Building and a former vehicle testing station in Leith Street. The dairy co-op site brought the library, archive, and gallery together in a secure, environmentally controlled facility, and allowed much improved public access. The architects for the redevelopment were Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates in collaboration with Works Consultancy Services, and the project was managed by Octa Associates Ltd. The main contractor was Lund South.

The University took possession on 30 June 1997 and the work was carried out over most of 1998. The interior was more or less gutted, with the reorganised space including a large foyer, gallery, public reference area, reading rooms, public lunch room (now researcher lounge), staff areas, and stacks. Preserved internal features included steel trusses and exposed timber joists. Two doors with frosted-glass decoration (moved from the entrance) each feature a pair of huia, as used in the co-op’s branding. The building retains the sympathetic colour scheme given to it at this time, of yellow-creams and gold, with grey-green metal joinery. One of the more obvious external changes was the replacement of steel-framed windows with aluminium ones.

Officially opened by Governor General Sir Michael Hardie Boys on 2 December 1998, the refurbished building was the university’s major Otago sesquicentennial project. It is currently home to over 11 shelf kilometres of archives, 200,000 books, 17,000 pictures, and 2 million photographs, bringing it to very near capacity.

The Hocken Library, in case there is confusion, remains the official name for the building, while the institution within is the Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, a branch of the University of Otago Library.

The building during its transformation into the Hocken Library in 1998. Hocken Collections – Uare Taoka o Hākena MS-4069/070.

After selling its building, the Otago Co-operative Dairy Co. did not continue as an independent entity for long. The profitable business made a record payout to shareholders in 1996 but mergers across the industry meant there would only be four co-operatives nationwide by the end of the 1990s, and a further mega-merger would follow. In 1997, Otago merged into Kiwi Co-operative Dairies. One farmer who welcomed the news commented: ‘Otago is sitting as a small company doing well and wondering where it will end up’. In 2001, Kiwi in turn merged with the New Zealand Dairy Group and the New Zealand Dairy Board to form the country’s largest company, Fonterra. The Anzac Avenue building is now one of few tangible reminders of the old business.

The Hocken Library in 2019.

Newspaper references:
Lyttelton Times 16 October 1873 p.3 (‘A Cheese Factory in Otago’, copied from Otago Guardian); Evening Star 29 April 1920 p.6 (advertisement for Huia butter), 8 September 1922 p.2 (formation of company), 25 November 1922 p.4 (Loudon’s proposal), 17 May 1923 p.9 (proposed highway), 7 July 1923 p.4 (housing proposal), 14 November 1924 p.2 (‘Highway proposal’), 11 May 1928 p.5 (trees and verges), 29 April 1933 p.23 (dead trees), 2 August 1934 p.12 (elms, with photograph), 5 August 1936 p.14 (elms), 9 August 1937 p.11 (elms) , 10 August 1938 p.15 (elms), 16 September 1938 p.7 (replacing damaged trees); Otago Daily Times 12 October 1922 p.5 (notice of establishment), 22 October 1923 p.9 (‘famous Huia butter’), 19 June 1928 p.18 (company history and purchase of Dunedin Dairy Co.), 9 March 1934 p.6 (dead and stunted trees), 30 September 1942 p.6 (‘Butter business purchased’), 5 August 1947 p.6 (‘New factory to be built’). 3 November 1954 p.10 (‘New £140,000 dairy facory opened by Mr K.J. Holyoake), 21 March 1996 p.1 (‘Dairy factory to become Hocken Library’), 31 July 1996 p.16 (‘Otago Dairy Co-op makes record pay-out to suppliers’), 30 October 1997 p.3 (‘Otago-Kiwi dairy merger nets suppliers a windfall’ and ‘Dairy merger welcomed by farmers’)

Books:
Ledgerwood, Norman. Southern Architects: A History of the Southern Branch, New Zealand Institute of Architects (Dunedin: Southern Branch, New Zealand Institute of Architects, 2009) p.126.
Patterson, Rosemarie. A Bob Both Ways: Celebrating 100 Years of Naylor Love (Dunedn: Advertising and Art, 2010), p.90.
Philpott, H.G. A History of the New Zealand Dairy Industry 1840-1935 (Wellington: Government Printer, 1937), pp.375-406 (statistics).

Web resources:
Petchey, Peter. ‘La Crème de la Crème‘, Friends of the Hocken Bulletin no.26 (November 1998), https://www.otago.ac.nz/library/hocken/otago038951.html#bulletins (accessed 24 October 2019).
Stringleman, Hugh and Frank Scrimgeour, ‘Dairying and Dairy Products‘, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/dairying-and-dairy-products (accessed 24 October 2019).
Yska, Redmer, ‘Dutch – Migration After 1945‘, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/dutch/page-2 (accessed 24 October 2019).
Zam, Darian, ‘When Lactose Goes‘, Longwhitekid, https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/when-lactose-goes/ (accessed 24 October 2019).

Archives:
Otago Co-operative Dairy Co. records, Hocken Archives, including manager’s reports (84-159 box 6), architectural drawings (97-235 box 32), and annual reports (97-235 box 4).

Special thanks to: Chris Naylor, Rosemarie Patterson, Barbara Parry, Chris Scott (DCC Archives), and the late and much missed Michael Findlay.

 

Mosgiel Cenotaph / Taieri Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial

Built: 1923
Address: Anzac Park, Gordon Road, Mosgiel
Architect: David Gourlay Mowat
Contractors: H.S. Bingham & Co.

Hocken Collections / Uare Taoka o Hākena. Foster Series No. 4, Box 136.

Over 500 community war memorials honour the more than 18,000 New Zealand soldiers who died in World War I. They are expressions of remembrance for the loss of family, friends, citizens, and brothers in arms. This month they are focal points as the country marks the centenary of the end of the war.

Memorials built before the armistice include one at Kaitaia unveiled as early as 1916, but most date from the years after the war. In Otago, the busiest years for construction were 1921 to 1923. The Dunedin Cenotaph was not completed until 1926, and Andersons Bay unveiled its memorial arch in 1928.

Monuments took a variety of forms, including obelisks, statues, arches, and gates. Practical memorials were more common after the Second World War, but examples following the Great War included hospitals and libraries. The description ‘War Memorial’ was most prevalent, but ‘Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial’ was also common and placed emphasis on the dead rather than the conflict itself. Commentary from the time shows an awareness of this.

In April 1920, the Taieri RSA sought progress towards a memorial for the Taieri Plain. In response, the Mosgiel Borough Council organised a public meeting, held in May. RSA President Ivan Spedding suggested ‘something in the shape of a rough-cast monument’ with marble tablets. Little was settled, but there was enough momentum to get the project underway. A further meeting in July elected a committee chaired by Mosgiel mayor William Allan. Other members represented the RSA, the church, patriotic organisations, and the borough and county councils.

Fundraising efforts began with a concert in the Coronation Hall. Performers included singers, instrumentalists, a dancer, a ventriloquist, and comedy jugglers. In March 1921 the committee called for submissions for the design, and the site was debated at a public meeting in May. The leading suggestions were Gordon Road itself, and Mosgiel (now Anzac) Park. The park won out in a close vote.

Mosgiel Park was the gift of the Taieri Amateur Turf Club, which on closing had left funds for the purchase of a reserve. Opened in April 1919, it featured paths and lawn, ornamental entrance gates, and a band rotunda. In July 1919, peace oaks were planted on either side of the entrance, one by the mayoress Mrs Allan, and another by Dr Spedding on behalf of the RSA.

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Mosgiel Park as it appeared when it opened in 1919. Otago Witness 21 May 1919 p.33  (Hocken Collections).

A proposal to dismantle the centrally-placed rotunda to make way for the memorial offended park donors, who threatened legal action. The monument was instead built inside the gates, close to Gordon Road. The rotunda and gates survived another 50 or more years before they were removed.

Referred to in reports of the time as the Taieri Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial, the monument named soldiers from Mosgiel and the wider plain but excluded West Taieri as a separate memorial had been built at Outram in 1921. The committee placed an advertisement inviting parents and families to provide names, and in July 1923 published a list and invited corrections or additions.

The successful submitting architect was David Mowat (1880-1952). Born in Dunedin, he had worked as an assistant to Edmund Anscombe before studying at the Architectural Association School in London. He established his own practice in Dunedin in 1914. His works included the Donald Reid Wing for the Otago Early Settlers’ Association, Constance Hall for Columba College, Maori Hill Presbyterian Church, and various commercial and residential buildings. He also designed the war memorials at Port Chalmers (since demolished) and High Street School.

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Architect David Mowat’s elevation drawing. Hocken Collections / Uare Taoka o Hākena MS-3500/094.

Dunedin monumental masons H.S. Bingham & Co. built the Mosgiel memorial. Established by George Munro about 1870, and taken over by Henry Bingham in 1911, the company continued in business until 2008. Its name can be found throughout Dunedin cemeteries, and other war memorials it built included those at North East Valley and Kaikorai, and the cenotaph at Queens Gardens. The cost of the Mosgiel memorial was a little over £600, about the same as a modest two or three bedroom house. Some proposed features, not specified, were left out to keep the cost down.

The concrete base was complete by the time Major General Edward Chaytor laid the foundation stone on 26 August 1923. Sung items were ‘God Save the King’, and the hymns ‘O God Our Help in Ages Past’, ‘Land of Our Fathers’, and ‘O God of Bethel’. The Rev. David Calder offered a dedicatory prayer and David Hannah of the RSA read the roll of honour. Chaytor, presented with a greenstone-handled silver trowel, remarked that ‘The amount of good that these memorials would do in the future would depend on how the young were brought up to regard them. Those who lived at present knew what the war had meant in every way.’ He emphasised the ongoing struggles of soldiers returning to peacetime lives.

The memorial under construction in 1923. Image courtesy of the Mowat family.

One of four sheets of blueprint plans for the monument held by the Hocken Collections (MS-0688/290) together with a specification.

The monument, 9.1 metres high, is an obelisk rising from a square base with three concrete steps. The main shaft is steel-reinforced concrete, with a central cavity. Most of the facings are bluestone, but the top portion is Oamaru stone over solid concrete. A cross in white Italian marble, representing sacrifice, faces Gordon Road. The monument is surmounted by a bronze stand and bowl or urn, representing the sacrifice of non-Christian peoples and nations. Panels at the base name 60 fallen World War I soldiers, including John Blair Couper,  who died as a result of his injuries in 1923. A biblical quotation comes from John’s gospel: ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’.

Mosgiel mayor J.C. Browne died two weeks before he was due to dedicate the memorial, and his widow Margaret performed the unveiling on Armistice Day, 11 November 1923. The Mosgiel Brass Band and Taieri Pipe Band played. Charles Statham, independent MP for Dunedin Central and Speaker of the House, gave a speech emphasising the scale of the loss of life, and expressing hope for a time without wars.  He said he ‘need hardly remind them of the response of every portion of the far-flung Empire to the Motherland’s call for assistance’, and offered condolences to those who had lost loved ones.

‘Soldiers’ monument at Mosgiel’. Ref: APG-1566-1/2-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington.

The War Trophies Committee had initially allotted Mosgiel four machine guns, but the RSA argued it should have a big gun, and in 1921 the town was allocated a 77mm Howitzer field gun captured by the New Zealand Division on 5 November 1918. It stood in front of the memorial for many years and was probably scrapped around 1956, when it was seen lying in a corner of the tennis court grounds with a collapsed wheel.

After World War 2, tablets with a further 31 servicemen’s names were added to the shaft, and ‘Great War’ was given an ‘S’ to become ‘Great Wars’. The monument was extensively renovated in 2007 at a cost of $10,000, with stonework repointed and replacement marble name tablets installed. These are not replicas of the originals, which had lead lettering. The monument has been referred to as the Mosgiel Cenotaph since at least the late 1930s. Strictly speaking it does not meet the definition of a cenotaph as an ’empty tomb’, but there are other examples of the broader usage (including at Queen’s Gardens in Dunedin).

The Mosgiel Branch of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists has compiled two booklets of soldier biographies: Our Stories of the World War One Soldiers on the Mosgiel War Memorial Cenotaph (2016) and For the Fallen: The Story of the Thirty-one Men of WW2 whose names appear on the Mosgiel War Memorial Cenotaph (2007).

My own grandfather’s first cousin, William Ernest McLeod, was killed in action at Jean Bart Trench near Colincamps, the Somme on 5 April 1918. He had worked in Mosgiel as a bricklayer for my great-grandfather, George McLeod, who was a borough councillor and member of the memorial committee. William was the only child of Isabella and William McLeod. The story in the family (precisely how accurate it is I don’t know), was that the post office boy came to deliver the telegram with the bad news on a lovely sunny day, and saw Auntie Belle working happily in the garden. He didn’t have the heart to deliver the telegram and came back later. Years after William’s death his parents placed a memorial notice that read: ‘Too dearly loved to be forgotten’.

The memorial helps us to remember.



 

Below is a list of the names on the memorial. If you click on a name it links to the serviceman’s record on the ‘Cenotaph’ database, which for World War I soldiers includes further links to digitised military personnel records.

World War I

Eric Oliver ALLAN
James Alexander BEGG
William BYRNE
John CALDWELL
Lyndsay Lyall CHRISTIE 
John Blair COUPER
Stewart George DEWAR
John Pearce EDE
Thomas ELLIS
John FINDLAY
Walter FINDLAY
James Alexander FITZPATRICK
John Samson FLEMING
Norman Douglas FRASER 
Andrew FREW
David FREW
John James GARRETT
George James Wilson GIBSON 
Peter Murray GILLIGAN 
George GOSSAGE
James HAIGH
John HARRIS
Richard George HARRIS
George Huntley HAY 
John Currie HENDRY
Ernest JAFFRAY
Stanley Cecil KEATING
John Dudley KEATING
Donald Stewart KENNEDY 
James KIRK 
Charles Robert KNUDSON
William John MAULSEED 
James McDONALD 
Neil McDONALD
Duncan McLEAN 
Hector Malcolm McLEOD
John Thomas McLEOD 
William Ernest McLEOD 
Murdoch McQUILKAN 
John MORRISON
Albert Robert MOYLE
George Alexander MOYLE
William Hendry NAISMITH 
John O’BRIEN
Thomas OBRIEN 
William O’BRIEN 
Alexander OWENS
Joseph Jenkins RANKIN
John Allan ROBERTSON
William Dunlop ROWAN 
William Mclean SMELLIE 
George Daniel SNELL 
Charles George SPARROW 
James Walter STEELE 
David SUTHERLAND
George WALTON
Kenneth Grigor WILIAMSON 
Thomas Sanderson WINGFIELD 

World War II

William Lewis ALCOCK 
William Maxwell ALLAN 
Donald Duncan BAIN
Frederic Thomas BEALE
Walter John BLACKIE
George Royatt BREMNER 
James Robertson BROWN
Harold Henry BRUHNS
Gordon McLaren CAMPBELL
Allan Henderson FAIRMAID
Murray Alexander GILLON
Frederick Hall GORDON
William HOSEIT
Thomas Leonard KENNEDY
Vincent Xavier KIRBY
William Winder MacKINTOSH
James Seaton McCARTNEY
John Grierson McLELLAN
Charles Graham McLEOD 
George Bertram McLEOD
Peter Robert Shaw MILLER
Albert James MILNER
Archibald John Charles MUIR
Jack Leonard PARTRIDGE 
Frederick James PASCOE
Ernest John PICKERING
Eric Robert SCOTT
George Morton SHERWOOD
William Robert SMEATON
John Ivan THOMSON
Errol James WEDDELL

Newspaper references: Evening Star 28 April 1919 p.4 (handover of Mosgiel Park), 5 April 1920 p.4 (W.E. McLeod), 16 Apr 1920 p.3 (Taieri RSA), 4 May 1920 p.7 (machine guns allotted), 21 May 1920 p.2 (public meeting), 15 September 1920 p.6 (fundraising concert), 26 March 1921 p.7 (call for design submissions), 19 December 1922 p.7 (site and moving of rotunda), 30 December 1922 p.1 (call for tenders), 26 May 1923 p.4 (rotunda to stay in same position), 14 July 1923 p.4 (contract awarded to Bingham & Co.); Otago Daily Times 16 November 1917 p.2 (proposed memorial building), 17 January 1918 p.4 (gift of park), 28 April 1919 p.8 (handover of park), 15 May 1919 p.4 (peace celebrations), 14 July 1919 p/5 (peace celebrations), 24 July 1920 p.10 (memorial for whole plain, committee appointed), 5 April 1921 p.4 (W.E. McLeod), 18 May 1921 p.4 (meeting, vote on location), 7 Jun 1921 p.7 (trophy guns), 30 September 1921 p.7 (Taieri Male Choir concert), 7 November 1922 p.9 (approval by Mosgiel Borough Council), 6 February 1923 p.9 (proposal to dismantle rotunda), 25 July 1923 p.9 (list of soldiers’ names); 27 August 1923 p.10 (foundation stone), 27 October 1923 p.14 (J.C. Browne obituary), 12 November 1923 p.8 (unveiling). Otago Witness 18 December 1918 p.26 (club house opened), 16 July 1919 p.19 (peace celebrations), 14 September 1920 p.23 (West Taieri memorial); Taieri Herald 10 September 1985 p.3 (‘Anzac Park work ready to start), 13 February 2007 p.1 (‘Memorial restoration underway’).

Other references:
Our stories of the World War One soldiers on the Mosgiel War Memorial Cenotaph.
(Mosgiel: New Zealand Society of Genealogists, Mosgiel Branch, 2016).
For the fallen : the story of the thirty-one men of WW2 whose names appear on the
        Mosgiel War Memorial Cenotaph (Mosgiel: New Zealand Society of Genealogists,                  Mosgiel Branch, and Mosgiel Memorial RSA Inc., 2007).
‘First World War Memorials’, from New Zealand History website,
https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/interpreting-first-world-war-memorials
‘Mosgiel war memorial’, from New Zealand History website
https://nzhistory.govt.nz/media/photo/mosgiel-war-memorial
‘Mosgiel’s Missing WW1 War Memorial Trophy Gun’ from The Hangfire: Newsletter of the           New Zealand Antique Arms Association (Otago Branch), March 2015.
Phillips, Jock. To the Memory: New Zealand’s War Memorials (Nelson: Potton & Burton,               2016).
William McLellan Ltd records, Hocken Collections / Uare Taoka o o Hākena, ref: MS-                   0688/290 (blueprint plans and specifications), MS-3500/094 (elevation drawing).

Special thanks to David and Miriam Mowat, Bill Lang, and Chris Scott (DCC Archives).

A version of this post was published in the Otago Daily Times on 10 November 2018.

Hardwicke Knight: Through the Lens

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The newly-released book Hardwicke Knight: Through the Lens is a compilation of colour images of 1950s Britain photographed by Hardwicke Knight (1911-2008). It has been exciting to be part of this project. Followers of Built in Dunedin will be aware of my love of mid-century Kodachrome and these images are all scanned from my collection of Knight’s 35mm slides.

Hardwicke Knight, who died ten years ago this August, will be known to many of you as an author, historian, authority on pioneer New Zealand photography and early Otago architecture, and local Dunedin identity. He was born in London and spent the first half of his life in his native England before coming to Dunedin with his family in 1957 to work as a photographer at Dunedin Hospital. The images in the book were all photographed by Knight in England and Wales in the years prior to his departure, with the earliest dating from about 1950. They were mostly taken in London, the Home Counties, East Anglia, the Cotswolds, Pembrokeshire, and Cornwall. Scenes range from the urban to the rural, architecture to landscape, and portraits to informal street scenes. They have only recently been brought before the public, some in online forums, and now for the first time in book form.

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Sean Naghibi of London came up with the idea to showcase the images in a book, and through his enthusiasm, resources, and design skills the project has now come to fruition. I selected, scanned, and arranged the images, and had both fun and frustration trying to identify the subjects of many unlabelled slides. Meg Davidson, who is working on what promises to be a fascinating biography of Knight, has written the introduction. You can see a selection of the images below (click to enlarge).

I couldn’t put it better than Meg, who writes ‘The colour slide images … provide further insights into Knight and his work, demonstrating as they do the deep love he felt for his native country. The images reveal an interest in architecture whether grand or humble, a penchant for street photography and an eye for telling detail that shifted his work from by-the-book pictorialism towards documentary photography’.

The book has been published in England by August Studio in a limited edition of 100 copies and can be purchased for £19.95 (approx. $39.00 NZD) plus postage (£10.00 by air to New Zealand). Size: 220 x 158 mm (landscape). To buy a copy or enquire about the publication visit the website hardwickeknight.com.

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Dunedin in Kodachrome 3

The first ‘Dunedin in Kodachrome’ post on this blog showed a Ray Hargreaves image, looking south along George Street in 1957. This fascinating image above, taken by David Green, makes an excellent companion piece, as it looks north along the same street five years later.

It can be dated unusually precisely to Otago Anniversary Day, 23 March 1962, at 4:35pm (if the Arthur Barnett clock was functioning properly). The traffic movements, including the Triumph Herald and Hillman Minx (or possibly Humber 80) in the foreground, give an energy to the scene. The buildings on the left are Victorian, but with remodelled facades that have stripped them of ornamentation. The tell-tale sash windows remain. Shops include the Disabled Servicemen’s Shop and Modern Furniture. Further along is the Arthur Barnett department store. On the right is another department store, the DSA. The now-demolished State Theatre is the taller building. In the background the tower of Knox Church can be seen. The hanging boxes are quite spectacular. Are those red hot pokers?

Thanks to David Green for generously sharing this image.

Dunedin Railway Station: its architect and style

Guest post by Michael Findlay

Built: 1904-1906
Address: 20 Anzac Avenue
Architect: George Troup
Design supervisor: John Coom
Building supervisor: F.W. Maclean (District Engineer)
Foreman of works: John Hall
Contractors: John Walker (masonry), Robert Caldow (carpentry), and others

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Dunedin Railway Station c.1925. Reference: The Press Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library, 1/1-008316-G

I was recently asked to provide some background knowledge for a Japanese film production company that was intending to feature Dunedin’s railway station in a television series called Giants of Beauty (title loosely translated by the director). Curiosity piqued, I went to locate what I already knew had been written about the station and its architect George Alexander Troup and found surprisingly little that is new. Despite the fact that Troup’s crowning achievement is one of the nation’s most admired buildings, information about it was often repeated from a limited number of sources including a biography written by son Gordon in the 1960s. From this we know that Troup’s ‘nickname’ was Gingerbread George and that he was knighted after a lifetime of dedicated public service. Troup the man remains somewhat shrouded. The other question is why is the Railway Station described as a Flemish Renaissance building?

Some insights into what drove Troup can be found in his early years in Scotland. Gordon Troup recounts that George Troup senior was drowned in the Union Canal in Glasgow in 1874 when his son was aged 11. His death certificate reports that he was found dead in the Forth and Clyde Canal near the South Speirs Wharf, a short walk from where the Troups were living in Port Street. There is no evidence that Troup took his own life but newspapers of the day often carried reports of ‘well dressed men’ found dead in the city’s waterways. However it occurred, the sudden death of George Troup caused the family great distress. It is sad to note that his body was identified by Jane Troup, the eldest daughter. This background of reversal of fortunes is not uncommon in nineteenth century architecture and may have helped shape Troup’s keen sense of social justice and life long bonds to the Presbyterian church. It may also help explain his dedication to the welfare of disadvantaged boys as the Troup family’s relatively comfortable existence was ended abruptly at this point. All that lay ahead was struggle.

George needed an occupation and fortunately Troup’s father had been granted the status of burgess (a freeman of the city) in Aberdeen, allowing his son to study at high school. George boarded at Robert Gordon’s College, founded in 1750 and located in a fine Robert Adam-designed building in the centre of the city. Gordon (1688–1731), a successful merchant, set up the school in his will with his aim being to ‘found a Hospital for the Maintenance, Aliment, Entertainment and Education of young boys from the city whose parents were poor and destitute and not able to keep them in schools, and put them to trades and employment’. Robert Gordon’s College was something of a double-edged sword, offering a way ahead but also a reminder of the circumstances that brought Troup there. Architecture was often seen as a pathway for self-improvement, not as tied to class and privilege as other professions such as law and medicine. On leaving the college, Troup joined the Edinburgh engineer C.E. Calvert as an articled pupil in 1879 at the age of 16. This was an apprenticeship in the tradition of articled pupilage and the trainee was not expected to earn a wage while learning the routines of the profession. In most situations, parents paid to place their sons with an architect. Calvert is noted as being particularly busy in the late 1870s despite the failure of the City of Glasgow Bank and the general downturn of building in Scotland afterwards. Troup left Calvert and joined another Edinburgh architect, John Chesser, as an architectural apprentice. In 1881, Jane and five of her children were living in Edinburgh while George continued his articles. The office was not particularly busy over the two years that Troup spent there and the arrangement ceased following the death of his mother in 1883 from heart disease. George then followed three of his older sisters to New Zealand, working his passage on the freighter S.S. Fenstanton, soon to be wrecked in the Torres Straits. Fortunately, Troup had left the ship in Port Chalmers although the entire crew survived the sinking. Troup was twenty when he arrived in Dunedin. It is not hard to imagine that the younger members of the Troup family wished to place some distance between themselves and the troubles they had faced in Scotland.

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George Troup in 1927. S.P. Andrew photographer. Reference: Alexander Turnbull Library 1/1-018930-F.

With four years training in architects’ offices, Troup was already considered qualified but opportunities in Otago were limited by the start of the long depression of the 1880s. Troup gained employment as a surveyor with the Survey Department, working initially with a gang at Ngapara and later in the Central Otago ranges. Using the connections made by his brother-in-law, George Burnett, Troup met with James Burnett, an engineer with the New Zealand Railways Department. Troup entered the Dunedin office in 1886 after studying at the Dunedin School of Mines to improve his engineering skills. He set up house in a modest cottage at 21 Leith Street, Dunedin, with his unmarried sister Christina. While living there Troup would have passed the future site of the Dunedin Railway Station while on his way to the Dunedin office, at that time located in the old Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics’ Institute building in Manse Street. Troup was transferred to the Wellington office in 1888, where at 25 he became Chief Draughtsman. He was later appointed to the role of Office and Designing Engineer, only becoming Officer-in-Charge of the Architectural Branch in 1919. His early work was clearly influenced by William Butterfield, as shown in a private commission for the Wellington Boys’ Institute in conjunction with William Crichton.

Troup was allowed considerable authority in Wellington and his first major building after carrying out timber stations at Oamaru and Whanganui was the new head office for the Railways Department, described as being Jacobean in style. Topped with exuberant Flemish gables and lanterns on the roofline, the building stood out from its more reserved neighbours and asserted the profile of the Railways Department amongst the other government offices housed in the capital. Gordon Troup wrote that the ‘Gingerbread George’ epithet arose at this time (1901-1903) and was associated with the rich design of the Wellington building, not specifically the Dunedin station. ‘Gingerbread architecture’ had quite a specific meaning. It was a way of referring to the North American taste for ornate sawn timber decoration of German and Swiss origin that had reached something of a peak during the fashion for Charles Eastlake’s houses. In America these filled the same niche as the Queen Anne style elsewhere. Eastlake himself decried the use of such decoration as a ‘bizarre burlesque’ so it was hardly meant in a complimentary way.  I somehow doubt that anyone ever used this ‘nickname’ to Troup’s face.

Troup is supposed to have entered two sets of drawings in what was described as a competition for the Dunedin Railway Station in 1903, one in Scots Baronial and the other in Baroque style. No evidence exists that any other architects competed for this prestigious work so we do not know what the other proposals were like. The competition may be seen as an effort to avoid accusations of favouritism by the Railways Department, its ministry headed at the time by Joseph Ward (1856-1930), a noted supporter of South Island interests. Ward followed Richard Seddon as Prime Minister in 1906 and was able to open the station in his new role when it was completed.

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Is this the version of the station that Troup preferred? The Gothic details now seem unconvincing compared to the Flemish Renaissance scheme that was finally built. Reference: Alexander Turnbull Library B-064-007.

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Sir Joseph Ward laying the foundation stone of the station on 3 June 1904. Photograph by William Williams.
Ref: Alexander Turnbull Library 1/2-140194-G.

The Baroque variant, initially proposed in red brick, was selected and featured an asymmetrical composition with unequal height towers at both ends of long bays. A porte-cochere occupied the central section under a tall triangular pediment. Troup’s son Gordon in his biography suggests that the Scots Baronial or ‘Francois I’ style alternative was favoured by Troup himself. The reference to King Francis of France I refers to the Château de Chambord and the hunting lodges of the French Renaissance and implies a French Renaissance chateau style design.  This description may involve a misattribution as the only two drawings known to exist show stations of similar proportions and layout. One was in a Tuscan Gothic style and not at all like a Scots Baronial or French Renaissance design. The awkward peaked roof that replaced the expected campanile above the square clock tower showed Troup’s hesitancy about going the whole way towards Italian Gothic Revival. The final result suggests he was on safer ground with his alternative Flemish scheme.

So what was Troup intending by using such an exotic manner on what was to be the Government’s flagship building in Dunedin? Like many of his generation, Troup’s architectural taste was influenced by English seventeenth-century Baroque architecture, at that time being reevaluated positively by critics. Being an admirer of John Vanbrugh (1664–1726) stood both for loyalty to the British Empire and a more adventurous spirit that ranged further abroad for influence. Vanbrugh was of Flemish descent and part of an Anglo-Dutch network of Protestant reformists. He introduced the Baroque manner to England with Blenheim Palace (1705–1722) and Castle Howard (1699-1709). Troup also used ideas from Scottish architect James Gibbs (1682–1754) whose distinctive rusticated openings, known as the ‘Gibbs surround’, appear throughout the Dunedin station composition. As with Gibb (who was quietly Catholic), Troup was not strongly Anglophile and remained attached to the eclectic design principles that he applied with great character to his major buildings in Wellington and Dunedin. These models suggest that Troup was not completely convinced by the alternative ‘Wren-aissance’ direction that took a more academic approach to Neo-Renaissance architecture in the late nineteenth century. This involved close attention to the buildings of Christopher Wren (1632–1723), leading architecture towards a simplified and rational classicism.

The design of the Wellington office was broadly symmetrical in its massing, a treatment that suited its urban setting on Featherston Street. The irregular siting of the Dunedin station aligned to the railway line rather than the street grid itself suggests an opportunity for a building to be seen in the round and that allowed for more formal experimentation.  The definition of the Dunedin station design as Flemish Renaissance comes from Troup himself. Architects assisted journalists with these precise terms that went beyond the knowledge of an observer to deliver with any authority. Was Troup familiar with the Flanders area and its building styles? His other passion for breeding Friesian cattle suggests a connection, as does his support for the Dutch/New Zealand painter Petrus Van der Velden (1837–1913). Troup funded the purchase of nineteen of the Netherlander’s paintings for The New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts in 1922. Anglo-Dutch style was popular in late nineteenth-century Britain, particularly in the London suburb of Kensington. Architects such as Richard Norman Shaw and Ernest George popularised tall red brick houses with elaborately shaped gables at the roofline and the style became known as Pont Street Dutch. Something similar was used at Olveston by Sir Ernest George who had introduced the style in London twenty years earlier. Troup’s reasons for using this particular architectural expression remain obscure but seem to be determined by personal choice rather than some random throwing together of architectural elements. Troup was striving after a distinctive local language for railways buildings in order to set them apart in the rapidly maturing streetscape.

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Petrus van der Velden. Burial in the Winter on the Island of Marken (The Dutch Funeral) 1875. Reference: Wikimedia Commons.

Revivals of past styles always involve a complex relationship with history. Flemish Renaissance Revival architecture itself began in Belgium during the later part of the nineteenth century. Belgium as a nation had only existed since the 1830s, absorbing part of Flanders and French speaking Wallonia. The search for a national style of architecture to express the rich cultural history of the region focussed on the successful trading cities of the Lowlands. Brussels as its major city was essentially rebuilt along French lines in the mid nineteenth century as the new commercial and political hub of the Belgian nation. In order that it did not appear as a clone of Baron Haussmann’s Paris, a form of local revivalism was used in preference to French Renaissance.

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Émile Janlet. Rue des Nations la Belgique, Exposition Universelle 1878. Ernest Ziégler photographer. Reference: Early New Zealand Photographers

Flemish Revival architecture was shown off to the world at the Paris World Exhibition (1878) where the Belgian Pavilion designed by Emile Janlet gained favourable attention. Details of its facade relate closely to George Troup’s station and it is likely that Janlet’s pavilion was published in sources that Troup would have had access to. Albums of photographs of the pavilions were in circulation in New Zealand and have been reproduced in the excellent blog Early New Zealand Photographers and their Successors.  The main characteristic of Flemish Renaissance Revival architecture is the gable which took on a distinctive profile formed with curves and straight line sections. Tall square and octagonal towers offset from the centre of the compositions are also notable. Use was made of polychromatic contrasts of red brick and pale stone. Although a busy composition, Troup’s design pared Janlet’s decoration back to a smaller number of repeated elements able to be assembled from a regular set of parts for economy. Troup, for instance, used standard double hung sashes instead of the transomed multi-section windows used in the Belgian pavilion and elsewhere. There was also the example of the new city stations being built in Amsterdam and Amstel, carried out in a simplified red brick style that blended Gothic and northern Renaissance styles.

The visual height of these buildings was offset by strong horizontal banding. When red brick was combined with pale stone or plaster facings the effect was cheekily called ‘streaky bacon’ and can be seen in John Campbell’s police station and prison (1898) that faces the station across Anzac Square. This visual contrast of materials was accentuated in the railway station by the use of dark basalt stone and Oamaru limestone. Troup’s original brick proposal was closer to its Belgian and Dutch prototypes than the version that was finally built. Stone, particularly when extracted from the railways owned quarry at Kokonga, proved to be a cheaper building material than brick and gave an even more substantial appearance. Troup’s clever economies included using day labour to cut and finish the stone on site. This was then lifted into place by a mobile crane, enabling the building to rise very quickly. Rather than being anachronistic, Flemish Renaissance Revival architecture represented the freedom to experiment with a variety of materials and architectural types as well as signifying a progressive and technological approach.

Troup wanted to place his stamp in Dunedin with its most significant public building of the new century. While it was complementary to Campbell’s Norman Shaw-influenced prison and Gothic Revival law courts just across the road, it was also distinctively different to both, adding a liveliness to the new Government quarter of the city. Dunedin was particularly fortunate to benefit from the creative competition between Troup and Campbell and the interplay between the individual buildings in this key precinct should be the topic for another blog entry. This aspect of generosity and pleasure, if not frivolity, seems a better fit for Troup’s character than the overused sobriquet of ‘Gingerbread George’. We should really stop calling him that.

References:
‘1874 Troup, George’. Statutory registers Deaths 644/7 64.
Berry, Mary Helen. ‘Sir George Troup and the Dunedin Railway Station, 1903-1907: Edwardian Elegance or a Dilemma of Style’. BA (Hons) thesis, Department of History and Art History, University of Otago, 2005.
Irvine, Susan.’ Dunedin Prison (Former)’. Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 6 January 2018 from http://www.heritage.org.nz/the-list/details/4035.
Troup, Gordon. George Troup: Architect and Engineer (Palmerston North: Dunmore Press, 1982).
Van Santvoort, Linda. ‘Brussels Architecture in the Last Quarter of the 19th Century – the Search for National Identity Linked to the Desire of Architectural Innovation’. Ghent University Department of Art History.  Retrieved 6 January 2018 from http://www.artnouveau-net.eu/portals/0/data/PROCEEDINGS_DOWNLOAD/LJUBLJANA/LindaVSljubljana.pdf 
Whiffen, Marcus. American Architecture since 1780: A Guide to the Styles (Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press: 1992).
Session Cases: Cases Decided in the Court of Session and Also in the Court of Justiciary and House of Lords. Volume 4, Scottish Council of Law Reporting, 1842. p.172