July 2004 Newsletter
Frank Larking - A Man of the People - Percy Allison
Greetings. It was good to see so many (65) at the AGM.
This month we pay tribute to Frank Larking, a current member of our committee. His story was first published by Percy Allison in November 1987. I have only included a few of the pictures from the book that will be reprinted later this year.
The Frank Larking Support group wrote to the Guiness Book of Records to try to get them to include him as "the only man in the world to build a beach." They replied that "they receive 10,000 requests a year, but he does not meet their criteria." The Support group replied to ask; "Did it mean that Frank had to build two beaches to qualify?"
In the New Year Honours in 2003, Frank was honoured with the Queen Service Medal (or as he believes Queen's Sand Mover).
In 2003, the wharf was restored, but the shed on it was not replaced. Frank is now fighting the authorities to get a shed replaced on the wharf.
On 10th July we meet to hear further reminiscences by other members. Please ensure that you write these down so that they can be shared later. I am sorry that I cannot be with you.
In August we are visiting Matakohe - a wonderful museum.
Our President, Ray Johanson, accepting the presentation from members of the local Lodge on Dec. 14th
The inscription that went with the presentation was:
EDWARD JAMES FARRINGTON
15 April 1926 - 13 September 1995
Member of 100F Aroatea Lodge No 69, Birkenhead
From 2 April 1946 until his death on 13 September 1995
He was also a member of 100F Auckland Degree Lodge
and Associate Member of 100F Star of Melrose Lodge No 2
Saturday 10th July - Stories at Zion Hill at 2pm
Write down childhood memories and early memories. Come and bring these to another most interesting afternoon. Arrangements for publishing stories collected in previous years is now well advanced and will be available later in the year. Stories do not need to be about the Birkenhead but about wherever you spent your childhood.
Saturday 28th August - Matakohe - $30 - see page 2
The bus leaves the depot at 8-30am, travels via Beach Haven, and leaves the Museum at 9am. Make your booking with Glad and Betty - Phone 483-7545 now. Unfortunately, because of higher fuel costs, we have to pay more for the bus. The cost also includes admission to the museum. Lunch is available at the Museum at your own cost, or bring your own drinks and lunch.
Saturday 25th September - Zion Hill - 2pm
David Verran will be speaking on "Early Northcote History."
Matakohe, like Port Albert, was part of the Albertland Settlement.
Messrs.R.C.Smith and Alex Rintoul were the first of the Albertland settlers to land on the beach at Matakohe. With Mrs Smith and five children, they came via Riverhead, crossing "the portage" to Helensville, some by bullock team and some on foot. The boys were struck by the kauri gum lying on the road (a common sight at that time), the bold pieces being often broken by the passing dray wheels.
One settler, who accompanied another party, with a convoy of four vehicles, on this rough journey, writes:— "In loading the chattels on the carts, a hollow, or kind of well hole, was fixed in the centre of each cart, where the smaller children were carried. About half way the track went up a steep hill, through a clump of bush, deep mud and many tree roots and stumps making the traverse a difficult one. It required three leading horses to pull one cart up that hill. The carts rocked and bumped about greatly, making it necessary to tie all the youngsters down with flax."
A number of Maoris were engaged to bring the Matakohe settlers from Helensville in an open boat. It was a tedious journey, with the usual risks and delays. When the party finally came in sight of the junction of the Matakohe and Paparoa Rivers, a white limestone rock appeared in view with a roof-like summit.
Mrs. Smith, delighted at an apparent sign of habitation, cried, "There's a tent!" But a closer view brought disappointment. It was only a barren rook, which, however, took its name from that day, and has ever since been known as "The Tent Rock." A landing was made near the present site of Hardie's bridge, where the "Settlers' Wharf" now stands, afterwards known as "Smith's Point." A tent was pitched, and the hungry travellers relished their first meal of porridge made with brackish water, sweetened by maple sugar, of which an abundance had been brought from Canada. No fresh water could be found near the landing place. There were no other Europeans on the block, nor any Maoris, the nearest natives being at Karakanui, about five miles down the river. This landing was in November, 1862.
Later, a big whare was erected for the Smiths on their own land, near the waterfront, and here they had to spend three months before the survey lines were cut showing where their sections actually lay. Subsequently they built a substantial house of pit sawn kauri and totara.
Excerpt from "The Albertlanders" by Sir Henry Brett and Henry Hook.
We will be visiting the
Matakohe Kauri Museum
This world famous Kauri Museum depicts the mighty kauri tree and faithfully charts the history of the people, area and community. Magnificent displays, steam sawmills and large mill machinery, kauri gum exhibits, a quality 1900's kauri house, beautiful kauri and other native timber panels, extensive photographs, historic buildings and superb collections of memorabilia make The Kauri Museum a "must see".
Mystery Trip Report - June 12th 2004
We left the Bus depot at 9-30am with 39 members on board. The weather was good with bright sunshine and a gentle easterly breeze blowing,. We travelled over the Harbour Bridge and around the Western Reclamation past the Americas Cup Village and Basin, along Quay Street, Tamaki Drive and past the massive resanding operation at Kohimaramara Beach. This must have been noticed by our own Queens Sand Mover. We the went through St Helliers Bay, up and over the ridge to West Tamaki Rd and down through Glen Innes and Panmure. We crossed the Tamaki River via the old bridge and went through Pakuranga to Howick and out around the Pohutakawa Coast to Beachlands and Maraetai. The tide was well in when we stopped for lunch at the far end of the beach.
We then carried on around the coast past Duders Regional Park to Clevedon where we stopped at the Craft Shops and for members to have a look at the township. Some bought Lotto tickets and one member came back late to the bus with a very nice ceramic hen that she could not resist buying. Glady never complained. He knew better after 61 years and one week of marriage to the young lady. We came back through Papakura and down the Great South Rd to Drury. We turned left via some country roads to Ramarama and then up the Southern Motorway to the Symonds Street off ramp. We went down Anzac Ave, Custom Street , Fanshaw Street and back over the bridge home to the Museum. We arrived at Verrans Corner at 4pm. It was a really pleasant day for all those on board. Ray Johanson
The council decided to apply to the Harbour Board for an area for a swimming bath, 200 feet by 100 feet, on the seaward side of the breastwork east of the jetties; for the construction of a shed behind the vehicular stage bridge; for the provision of boat lockers; and to vest in the council the road reserve. 350 feet long by 35 feet wide, between the waterfront and Hinemoa Park, which is the property of the board, but maintained by the borough council, in order that this might be dedicated as a public thoroughfare.
The Birkenhead Gazette - October 1, 1927
Support our Museum Have you bought a brick in our wall yet?
Bricks only $20 each
See Glad or any member of your committee.