Monday 31 March 2014

"Welcome to Our Royal Visitors" - 1901 Style

The coloured fronticepiece of the official record
of the visit of  the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall
and York to New Zealand in June 1901. Many of
the images below are taken from this publication
[From my own collection]

The Dominion of New Zealand will be hosting Prince William, Duke of Cambridge together with his wife, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, and their young son Prince George to New Zealand from the 7th April to the 16th April 2014. This provides an opportunity to look back at an interesting aspect of past Royal Tours - the Ceremonial Arch. In this Blog we specifically look at the visit to New Zealand of Prince William's Great Great Grandfather, HRH Prince George, Duke of Cornwall & York and his wife, HRH Princess Mary, Duchess of Cornwall & York (later King George V and Queen Mary) in June 1901. 

Perhaps understandably due to their cost and very temporary nature, ceremonial and full floral arches are now a thing of the past. While many look very solid, they were generally nothing more than wood, painted canvas, and/or moulded plaster over a wire frame in the manner of stage scenery. That they did not find other uses elsewhere would also prove this point. 

Auckland Arches

The Auckland Harbour Board Arch on the
Queen Street Wharf comprised of two light
houses connected by a Roman arch.
[Source : "Royalty in New Zealand", 1901]

The construction of ceremonial arches had in fact a long history going back to Medieval England but had even earlier European origins in both Renaissance Italy and early France. By passing through an Arch, a guest would be acknowledged as an honoured and respected friend or ally, perhaps in the manner of an honoured visitor now being given the "keys" to a city. 

The classically designed New Zealand Government Reception Arch
complete with Ionic columns. The wording on the arch reads in
English and Māori : "Welcome - Aroha Tonu, Ake Ake Ake",
meaning literally 'with continuing affection always', with
"Cornwall" and "York" above the side arches.
Photo taken by Mr R.A. Cook.
[From my own collection]

Temporary ceremonial Arches are in fact known to have been hastily constructed in ancient Rome to provide a symbolic "Triumphal Arch" through which a victorious army and Generals could march through, often later being replaced with permanent structures to honour their victory.           

The Auckland Harbour Board Floral Arch at the foot of the
Queen Street Wharf comprising of nikau, grass-tree and
fern, cockades of red and white, and surmounted by
the Royal Arms with  flags flying above, and on either
side the New Zealand ensign.
[Source : "Royalty in New Zealand", 1901]

But it appears evident that by the Victorian era it would not be the done thing for a Government or local body or organisation not to be represented in this way and i'm sure there was often an element of good-natured one-upmanship involved, in other words, not to be seen to be outdone by others. And of course, nobody but nobody would want the Royal visitors to think that New Zealand's welcome was inferior to that of any other country. But the expense appears to have been entirely secondary and in fact the general New Zealand public, who for most had not previously experienced any royal pomp and ceremony first-hand, appear to have revelled in and wholeheartedly embraced this overt display of affection for the Royal couple. That these decorative Arches gave all a demonstrative way to show their loyalty to the Crown and the warmth of their welcome is, I believe, well represented in these images. The only city in these images not represented by a visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in April 2014 is Rotorua.        

Rotorua Arches

The Māori  Floral Arch, Rotorua.
"The most handsome of all the arches... for the Royal tour"
'Muir and Moodie Photo'
[Source : "Royalty in New Zealand", 1901]

Wellington Arches

The Citizens' Arch, Wellington
[Source : National Library of New Zealand]

The Citizens' Arch on Customhouse Quay, Wellington with Hunter Street on the right. The words on the arch read : "Welcome from Pakeha and Maori". Flags, together with the Wellington Coat of Arms, decorate the top of the arch. Taken by James McAllister, June 1901.

The Māori Arch, Wellington
[Source : National Library of New Zealand]

A group waiting to welcome the Royal visitors at the Māori Arch in Charlotte Street, Wellington, taken 18th June 1901.

"The shape was the front of a runanga house above, supported by floral towers. The gable boards of this were no painted counterfeits. They were priceless Maori carvings, old beyond the category of known dates, supposed to reach back to Moriori times. Grass trees in front and rear on each side of the street suggested forest surroundings, and the inscriptions were "Haere Mai" [meaning "Welcome, enter".] and "Naumai" [meaning "Welcome"]." 

The precious carvings were watched day and night, also being insured against fire. A fire hydrant and hose were kept close-by in case of any emergency. 

The Westport Arch, Wellington
[Source : National Library of New Zealand]

The town of Westport's Arch on Lambton Quay, Wellington. 

"A triple arcading, it was singularly massive, with handsome entablature and cornice, like some old Roman arch of triumph, with commemorative tablets; but instead of bronze, cunningly moulded into historic grouping, coal filled the openings; massive blocks of coal - the same that saved the "Calliope" from the Apia hurricane - and gold medallions on each front told of the western resources..." 

The words on the arch read : "Westport's Greeting" and "The coal that saved the Calliope". Taken by James McAllister, June 1901.

The Cereal Arch, representing
Marlborough and Wellington Suburbs
[Source : "Royalty in New Zealand", 1901]

The cereal arch was formed by "piling up sheaves of grain... and adorning them with flowers..."  

The Cuba Street Arch, Wellington
[Source : National Library of New Zealand]

A wooden arch in carved Māori style erected at the corner of Cuba Street and Dixon Street, Wellington. The Māori words "Kia Ora Koutou" are a formal greeting to three or more people. 

The Government Arch, Wellington
[Source : National Library of New Zealand]

The carriage conveying the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York passing under the Government Arch on Lambton Quay, Wellington, during their procession through Wellington. The arch was modelled on the design of Balmoral Castle and bore on one side the inscription "God bless the Duke and Duchess" and on the other the Māori equivalent, "Ma Te atua korua e atawhai". Taken 18th June 1901.

The National Dairy Association's Arch, Wellington
[Source : National Library of New Zealand]

The National Dairy Association's arch on Lambton Quay, Wellington. Taken by James McAllister.

The Wellington Woolen Manufacturing
Company Arch, Wellington
[Source : National Library of New Zealand]

The Wellington Woollen Manufacturing Company Ltd Arch on Jervois Quay, Wellington. It ingeniously reads "See the Warmth of Our Welcome" and included a "tricolour display of bales". Taken June 1901. 

The Chinese Citizens' Arch, Wellington
[Source : National Library of New Zealand]

The Chinese Citizens' Arch on Manners Street, Wellington. Taken by James McAllister.

Christchurch Arches

The Agricultural Arch, Christchurch
[Source : "Royalty in New Zealand", 1901]

"Rural Canterbury lived here for the nonce in foliage, beeves and muttons and dairy cattle stalled on either side, the fruits of the soil arranged above, guarded by stock-riders : an unusual combination, signifying perhaps typically above-ground the burial below of the hatchet, once so deadly between the shepherd kings and the advancing tillers of the soil. The unity above the tomb of that obsolete weapon produced fruit in words of warmth and loyal welcome."

The Frozen Meat Arch, Christchurch
[Source : "Royalty in New Zealand", 1901]

"...with its graceful span of ice counterfeited - as a broken piece of some wandering iceberg of the sea - resting on blocks of ice, real, enclosing carcasses dressed for the butcher, also chrysanthemums of delicate hues and handsome form, and bearing words of welcome, well displayed..."

The Fire Brigade Arch, in
Worcester Street, Christchurch
[Source : "Royalty in New Zealand", 1901]

"A graceful concept this arch, just as if a company of firemen, surprised on the march, by the sudden appearance of the Royal party, had hurriedly put together their long ladders, tossed a few flags over them, thrown in a little greenery hastily plucked, and hoisted up a few words of welcome, had taken their places in helmet and tunic, standing at "attention", while the pageant passed by with the clamour of many voices."

The Government Floral Arches over Victoria Bridge
 [Source : "Royalty in New Zealand", 1901]

"The procession started again in the midst of the cheering, the roll of acclamation settled itself once more alongside the Duke and Duchess as they moved with their powerful escort had converted the Victoria Bridge down Victoria Street, under the Government Arch. This had converted Victoria Bridge into a tunnel of foliage and flower, and it was beautifully reflected in the smooth water of the Avon below..".

Dunedin Arches

The Chinese Arch, Dunedin
[Source : "Royalty in New Zealand", 1901]

"In Princes Street the Chinese Arch rose some 46 ft. over the roadway, two square towers in trellis work flanking, with pointed tops like extinguishers, ornamented with carved boards rising up high on either side; square windows beneath them, just where the latticing connecting the towers and making the arch crosses the street. The whole was a mass of red and yellow, effective, but a little hard, as the primary colours always are in Chinese hands; relieved somewhat by a drapery of red, white, and blue on the lower side of the arch, and thick decoration of greenery at the butts of the towers. "Welcome," the motto on one side, and "Welcome from the Chinese Citizens," the greeting on the other." 

The 'Maypole Arch', in The Exchange, Dunedin
[Source : "Royalty in New Zealand", 1901]

The Government Arch, Dunedin
[Source : "Royalty in New Zealand", 1901]

"...Inside the Octagon [facing George Street]...., was the Government Arch, large central with two smaller flankers of similar Gothic outline, like the medieval castellated entrance to some great city; two turreted towers dividing the three arches, themselves connected by the battlemented top of the city wall, pierced with Gothic ellipse, carrying the shields of York and Cornwall, and rising in the centre two battlement steps above sky-line to display the Royal crown above the Royal Arms. The tops of the flanking arches rising to centre peaks carried each a flagstaff and standard. The turrets above the towers had each a system of poles and standards, four corners, and a central taller one than the rest; and all the standards were joined into a single scheme by a string of signal-flags, which spelt "Welcome." Like the Government Arch in Wellington, it was a close imitation of the entrance to Balmoral Castle. The letters "E.R." flanks the Royal Arms, and the flankers of the ducal shield are the ducal letters "C.Y." The effect is as of the grey granite of Aberdeen; the ducal shields are red and white, and the crown has the national colours. "Welcome to the Duke and Duchess" faces from one side in large warm colours, and the other looks down the brilliant george Street vista in Maori fashion, "Aroha Tonu, Ake, Ake, Ake," which being rendered into English means "Love unceasing, for ever, and ever, and ever."..."        

The Marine Arch, Dunedin
[Source : "Royalty in New Zealand", 1901]

"...Two turreted towers, connected by an entablature, the broad frieze of which carried a large "Welcome;" the arcading hung with a row of life-buoys inscribed with the names of the Union [Steam Ship Company] fleet. The corners of the towers were softened with greenery, their faces carried the Royal and Ducal monograms with steering-wheels, anchors, propellors, and models of steamboats; above the entablature, lying across the street, was a model of the "Monowai", gay with a full dressing of flags; and on the frieze a great warm Celtic welcome, "Cead Mille Failthe." Various house-flags flew from the turrets; two tall flagpoles carried the Royal Standard and the Union Company's familiar house-flag. The arch, covered with canvas, looked like stone, and ta night was charmingly lighted."

The Citizens' [Municipal] Arch, The Octagon, Dunedin
[Source : "Royalty in New Zealand", 1901]

"At the Princess Street entrance to the Octagon towered the Municipal Arch - a construction in foilage, two great square towers connected by a leafy arcading with entablature peaks above to the height of 40 ft. above the road-way, and fashioned into triple eiilptic Gothic outline below, conncted to two small arches, with peaked tops, at each side. It carried the city coat of arms on the centre peak of the entablature; pillared wreaths, each a floral setting to the rose of York; monograms, floral emblems everywhere. Cabbage-palms filled the square top of each big tower, a big flag floated from each corner of these, the Royal Standard flew from a tall pole rising from the centre peak, and the two lesser peaks over the smaller arches carried each its pole and standard. The entablatures carried Maori words of welcome, "Haere Mai te Manuhiri Tuarangi," and "He Mata Kanohi He Toto Kawera" - which signify respectively, "Welcome illustrious strangers," and "At sight of you our hearts burn within us." The various outlines in different shades of green, and heads of palm and punga at diverse coigns of vantage, greatly heightened the effect of this fine arch. A small band of Maoris were posted on the top to give voice welcomes at the proper time."  

Bibliography / Rārangi Pukapuka :
  • Photographs taken by Mr R.A. Cook (from my own collection)
  • "Royalty in New Zealand" by R.A. Loughnan, 1902 (from my own collection)
  • National Library of New Zealand / Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa

Wednesday 19 March 2014

“The Age of Mechanical Ploughing Has Arrived” – A Tale of Two Tractors (Part Two)

A "Cyclone Agricultural Motor" (also known as a
"Sharp's Agricultural Tractor") being demonstrated in 1908
[Source : "The Implement and Machinery Review", 2 June 1908

Note Feb 2016 : My very grateful thanks to members of "The Classic Old Tractors" Forum who identified an image which I had previously thought to be the British "Cyclone" but was in fact a 1918 (but still family owned) American "Moline" Model B (refer to newspaper reference). Unfortunately it appears that there are no extant photos of my family owned "Cyclone".

This Blog follows on from my first article in this series, "The Age of Mechanical Ploughing Has Arrived - The Demise of the Trusty Draught Horse".

The honour of owning the first “Motor Tractor” in Southland New Zealand lies with Mr Robert McNab of Knapdale near Gore who imported and demonstrated an Ivel machine at the Gore Show as early as December 1904. But the following story is still unique in demonstrating the true pioneering spirit - and dogged perseverance - of a forward-thinking southern farmer from the Antipodes. While this particular Blog is the story of one tractor, it also explores one which never got off the drawing board.

The purchaser of the above "Cyclone Agricultural Motor", being my Great Great Uncle Mr William Watson, owner of the 800 acre ‘Mayfield’ estate at Heddon Bush in Southland, was well known as a very progressive farmer. The new "Agricultural Motor" [i.e. tractor] evidently piqued his interest but obviously not enamoured with what was then available, and despite the risks and expense, he appears to have proceeded to take matters into his own hands.

If you only wish to read about the "Cyclone Agricultural Motor" just skip down to the next image on this page.

We know that by late 1907 William Watson had personally arranged for specifications to be drawn up for a 25 h.p. “motor” from Messrs 'Mitchell & Dewar', Engineers of 144 St Vincent Street Glasgow who had been "...appointed Consulting Engineers to the Automobile Gas Producer Syndicate". The engine (one assumes a smaller demo version), which was to be initially demonstrated in a "gas producer car", was to be based on the gas suction principle, a system patented as early as 1891 and successfully used in stationary engines. William received the specifications around late July 1908. But was this a tractor or simply a powered wagon?

One has to remember that a "tractor" was then referred to as an "agricultural motor". The correspondence clearly tells us is that it was intended to be mobile, a powerful engine (at least 25 h.p.), and to be used for agricultural purposes. We do know that by October 1908 'Mitchell & Dewar' now intended trialling the gas producer engine in a "motor wagon" on a hill paddock on his brother John's property at Stonehouse south of Glasgow. But perhaps rather more conclusively, after William had purchased an "Agricultural Motor" in July 1909 the Engineers in Glasgow were promptly advised “that he has got supplied meanwhile”. There is yet one more convincing clue which I will highlight further on in this article. I can only assume that William became interested in the gas suction engine because of its higher horse power rating, most "tractors" then only being rated at no more than 20 h.p.

Concurrent with the original 1907 enquiry, William's brother John also consulted "The National Engine Company", who, "...poured cold water very plentifully over the suction principle of motors and said that supposing I got a firm undertaking to build one for us we were to have nothing to do with it they said it would give us no end of trouble. I may say I do not agree with them as I cannot see why suction gas works so satisfactorily in stationary plants and cannot be the same with a motor..." His brother does however urge William "...not to be in too great a hurry in coming to a decision...".

The latter firm had themselves been building suction gas engines, but as from mid 1908 were now solely producing diesel engines under a new name. This fact alone should have sounded a word of warning!

But by October 1908 we now find that William had not only now ordered new specifications from 'Mitchell and Dewar' but also from 'Murray', a rival Engineer (almost certainly Mr Murray, co-owner of "Murray. Workman & Co." at the Craigton Engineering Works). His brother writes that "[the] new draft to specification is to be £50 more than Murrays but then it is to be 15 horse power more or 40 horse power altogether which is a big difference from the first one." As to what type of engine 'Murray' proposed using is not recorded.

While William was "very anxious to get on with it", 'Mitchell & Dewar', perhaps fearing their client could go elsewhere, generously suggested that William obtain "...the opinion of an independent Engineer for our own satisfaction", no doubt believing their own [agricultural] 'motor' would be the preferred option. But the independent advice given was, "....would Murray not be a good man to look after the building of it. He is a practical Motor builder." It is just infuriatingly annoying that these tantalising plans are no longer extant.

I do note that by August 1908 William was well aware of the “Marshall Agricultural Motor” being landed in New Zealand but for whatever reason he still continued to pursue his own plans rather than ordering any sort of "motor" from a New Zealand supplier with servicing agents, not to mention an availability of spare parts. We also know that the Sentinel [Steam] Road Motor was already in operation in the district for cartage which, due to Government regulation, was normally limited to 30 miles in order to protect the Railways. There is no further mention of the "motor" until 1909.

But a surprising turn of events led to a very sudden change of mind. William evidently held off making a decision as, after an absence of 26 years, he decided to revisit Scotland, the land of his birth, in the summer of 1909. While in Glasgow he had meetings with the respective Engineers, being "Mr Murray at Craigton" and a "Mr Dunlop" in Glasgow. But it would appear that still nothing would or could be ready for him in time and that he would have to leave for home “empty-handed”.

A "Cyclone Agricultural Motor" (also known as a 
"Sharp's Agricultural Tractor") being demonstrated in 1908
[Source : "The Implement and Machinery Review", 2 June 1908

But visiting the large Royal Agricultural Show at Gloucester England in June 1909, William was “very taken” with a demonstration of the “Cyclone Agricultural Motor” at work. This 'motor' could be used for “ploughing, cultivating, mowing, and hauling loads along common roads, &c.” A crankshaft on the driving pulley enabled a belt to drive “such machines as pumps, dynamos, threshing machines, chaff cutters, &c.”

By late July 1909 William had personally visited the manufacturers at 30 Moorgate Street in London, finally decided on a purchase, then completed all the necessary finance and export paperwork to have it shipped out to him in New Zealand. Holding existing overseas funds (from exporting mutton, lamb and wool) would have expedited the process. The price “on board” was UK £300 (around £26,500 in today’s UK values or NZD$53,250 in New Zealand values), being less than what the “Gas Suction people wanted for theirs” (yet another clue that William's plans had been for an "agricultural motor"). William promptly asked his brother to advise the Engineers “that he has got supplied meanwhile”. His brother wryly noted, “I have lost all confidence in them [and] I have grave fears the Suction Gas Motor will end in smoke.” His words were indeed prophetic as their motors did not succeed.

As for the “Cyclone Agricultural Motor” itself, we know that it was exhibited as a “new implement” in the “General Agricultural Tractor” section of the 1909 Royal Show, earning the company a Silver Medal. I believe it to have been a 20 hp Aster-engined machine built to the design of Mr. Wilfred Sharp, being shown at various British agricultural shows during 1909. These "tractors" are also referred to as "Sharp's Agricultural Tractor" after the designer. The engines were made to a French design under license at Wembley. Significantly, and allowing for depreciation at 20% p.a., the overall cost of motor tractor ploughing was estimated at a commendable quarter of what it would have cost had the equivalent amount of work been done by horses. 

A "Cyclone Agricultural Motor" (also known 
as a "Sharp's Agricultural Tractor") shown in 
1908  with a cutter bar attached
[Source : "The Implement and Machinery Review", 2 June 1908

William arrived back home in November 1909, the “Cyclone” following close on his heels. In December 1909 William’s Nephew Thomas, who had personally observed the machine in operation at 'Mayfield', wrote that it is very light, maybe too much so. His Father helpfully wrote back suggesting, “If it is light, you will just have to give it less to do”. This was of course counter-productive to the overall efficiency of the machine. The lightness of the machine would have limited its pulling power and was obviously a weak point. There may also have been reliability issues including mixed success in varying local ground conditions. And being privately imported, most parts for a non-standard engine would have to be sent for and shipped from England, a turn-around of perhaps three months. 

And therein ends the story of the “Cyclone Agricultural Motor” as I have no surviving family or published record of what became of it. It may have been better suited to a smaller scale farming operation but then economies of scale would come into play. Undoubtedly William sold it, but probably at a loss.  

But what William did next - perhaps out of sheer frustration - is not surprising. The Blog title gives a clue as to the next episode of this story which will be continued in my final Blog in this series. I shall be using original photographs and a period report in my possession.

As to the "Cyclone" Company itself,  we know that one of their machines took part in a trial of “Motor Tractors” organised by the Royal Agricultural Society for the 1910 Royal Show. But by June 1910 the “Cyclone Agricultural Tractor Company Limited” had gone into receivership. I believe (although I cannot conclusively confirm this) that they may have struggled on to 1912 but were officially struck off the Companies Register in June 1913. This no doubt accounts for the scarcity of information relating to this early brand of motor tractor. I do not believe they ever manufactured their own engines. They faced stiff competition from other established manufacturers such as “Ivel Agricultural Motors Ltd” who are credited with building the first successful British tractor as early as 1902.

A "Cyclone Agricultural Motor" with a cutter
bar attached. Pictured in 1912
[Source :]

I would also surmise that the 'Cyclone' was the only one of its kind ever imported ever into New Zealand so this story needs to be told. I have found no reference to this make in the on-line "Papers Past" scanned newspapers database. This lack of any report may also be a case of William not wishing to advertise the fact that the machine turned out to be less than successful. That is not to say that as more newspapers are scanned and placed on-line that some reference may yet turn up.

To read the third and final part of this Blog series please click HERE.

Copyright : The content of this blog, including images, may not be reproduced for commercial purposes without the express permission of the writer. Excerpts may however be freely quoted for non-commercial use subject to suitable acknowledgement being given, including a link back to this page.

Bibliography / Rārangi Pukapuka :

  • Watson Family Papers and Photographic Collection (held by the writer)
  • "Papers Past" [National Library of New Zealand / Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa]
  • Dunedin City Libraries / Kā Kete Wānaka O Ōtepoti (McNab Room Resources)
  • The Standard Cyclopedia of Modern Agriculture and Rural Economy” (Volume 9), 1908-11
  • "The Implement and Machinery Review", June 1908
  • A Century of Farm Tractors 1904-2004” (NZ), by RH Robinson
  • The London Gazette”, Jun 1910 & June 1913
  • Motor Transport”, lliffe & Sons, 1910

Sunday 9 March 2014

"Auckland Then and Now - In the Footsteps of Mr R.H. Cook"

"1901 - 2014 - Then and Now" - a Photo Montage of
Smith & Caughey's Block on Queen Street, Auckland

My Blog from June 2013 "Remembering the 1901 Royal Visit to Auckland, New Zealand" featured a number of images from an historic old album in my possession, the photographs being taken around 1901 by a Mr R.H. Cook. I have as yet been unable to ascertain anything more about Mr Cook other than that he appears to have been an employee of "Smith & Caughey Ltd" in Queen Street Auckland, a member of the West End Rowing Club, and possibly residing in or very close to Ponsonby. There appears to be no record of his burial in Auckland. I would be very interested in any further information on Mr Cook. Has anyone access to old Electoral Rolls?

A dapper looking Mr R.H. Cook

I thought it would be fun during my recent holiday to Auckland in the North Island of New Zealand to retrace Mr Cook's footsteps and recreate some of his images. This often proved problematic due to redevelopment and a multitude of multi-storied buildings blocking the original perspective. But still, we are fortunate that the location of the original images can still be discerned or at least estimated. Further images from Mr Cook's album will be featured in the future. So let us now compare Mr Cook's Auckland of 1901 with that of 2014. All images are from my own collection (click for a larger view) :

The original image is taken from an upper window in "Smith & Caughey's" Department Store and shows Imperial Troops on horseback parading up Queen Street in February 1901. The only point of reference now is the old Auckland Savings Bank building, now a McDonald's Restaurant but preserving the magnificent moulded ceiling from the original banking chamber.

This view of the Auckland Public Library and Municipal Offices on the corner of Kitchener Street and Wellesley Street East is just not possible today due to high-rise buildings having been built on the vacant land in the foreground. It would appear to have been taken from Lorne Street. Opened in 1887 and designed by Melbourne architects John H. Grainger and Charles A. D'Ebro in the "French Chateau style", the original unobstructed perspective along Lorne Street would have looked rather impressive.

This beautifully restored building, together with a stylish and very modern adjoining extension, now houses the Auckland City Art Gallery.

A zoom in of the clock tower of the former Auckland Public Library on Kitchener Street together with a view of the old Park Hotel on the corner of Wellesley Street (East) and (the then) Rutland Street which now forms part of Mayoral Drive.

The Ceremonial Arch erected on Wellesley Street (East) outside the old Auckland Public Library and Municipal Chambers during the visit of HRH Prince George, Duke of Cornwall & York and HRH Princess Mary, Duchess of Cornwall & York (later King George V and Queen Mary) to New Zealand in June 1901. In April 2014 we shall be welcoming his Great Great Great Grandson, Prince George, to New Zealand. But the days of erecting ceremonial and floral arches for visiting royalty are now a thing of the past.

A view of "Smith & Caughey's" Department Store on Queen Street. The whole of Queen Street had been decorated for the visit of HRH Prince George and HRH Princess Mary in June 1901. The only point of reference now is barely discernable, being the end building (with four windows) of the smaller building at far left in the 1901 photo.

The ornamental pediment and other decorative elements have however been stripped from the far end façade, something that was common during the 1930's to 1950's, usually in an effort to project a "modern" and streamlined image. But crumbling masonry from lack of maintenance was also sometimes to blame. While some old buildings now at least sport an interesting Art Deco style façade others are unfortunately far less of an 'architectural ornament' to the streetscape. This phenomenon was however not unique to New Zealand but world-wide. The Germans, who before the war enthusiastically "stripped" many elegant old 19th century era and Art Nouveau style buildings of their then 'outdated' architectural features, called this process "entschandelung", literally meaning "re-figurement".

The Auckland Wharf at the very foot of Queen Street, also decorated for the Royal Visit in June 1901, a ceremonial arch just visible at the end of the wharf. There is no point of reference today on what is now known as Queen's Wharf. A number of old commercial and warehouse buildings still survive at far left but are obscured by modern buildings. Behind me in the 2014 image is a great piece of modern architecture known as "The Cloud" with "Shed 10" alongside, being a refurbished historic wharf cargo shed, now used not only as an events centre but as Auckland's primary cruise ship terminal.   

A fountain in Albert Park. But for the missing urns in the foreground and the skyscrapers now looming over the horizon this scene is remarkably similar today.

The Band Rotunda in Albert Park, again looking remarkably similar. The trees in the background hide the inevitable modern high rise commercial buildings and inner city apartments.

A close-up of the above fountain in Albert Park. The view of Mount Eden has been more or less obliterated by mature trees and modern buildings, in this case on Princes Street and belonging to the University of Auckland.

This bronze statue of Queen Victoria in Albert Park is by F. J. Williamson, being erected as a Diamond Jubilee project and unveiled in 1899. Many Empire Day events would be held here. Unfortunately the decorative cast iron railing has been totally removed for reasons unknown. Comparing the two images, I prefer the statue surrounded with the railing.

With a very changed waterfront and the Auckland Waterfront Apartments / Hilton Hotel this is one scene that is, but for the Devonport Peninsula across the harbour, totally obscured today. This view is from behind the Viaduct Events Centre on the short wharf adjoining Wynyard Crossing. Can you see the double exposure? Mr Cook labelled this photo "Auckland Harbour - A Ghost".

A close-up of the boys in the above image splashing about in the Waitemata Harbour. Were this image not a sepia image taken in 1901 all of 113 years ago this could just as easily be a scene from 2014. I must say that even the swimwear looks surprisingly modern. I am actually quite impressed at the fast exposure speed of Mr Cook's glass plate negative for what is a quickly moving image. Swimming would however be actively discouraged here now (it is a well-used shipping and boating lane) and in any case, the water in the inner harbour looked icy cold, despite it being a February day in mid summer.

This image of the Waitemata Harbour looking across to Devonport proved very difficult to achieve the same perspective, being taken from the Wynyard Quarter Wharf. The original image appears to have been taken from a higher elevation and possibly further back. In the modern image the far right "mount" at the end of the Devonport Peninsula is obscured by the boat alongside the Viaduct Events Centre.

Finally, a view of what is most likely Mr Cook's dog taken on College Hill looking up towards the intersection with Ponsonby Road and Jervois Road. The building at rear in the 1901 image, complete with upper veranda, is the original Ponsonby Club Hotel, built in 1875. The name of the owner, Mr SW Buck, appears on the pediment.

A close-up of the Ponsonby Club Hotel. The present tavern on the site, being built in 1937, is known as "The Gluepot", a name that appears to have come into common usage even before the old building was demolished.

Copyright : The images used in this Blog may not be reproduced for commercial use without the express permission of the writer. Non-commercial use is generally acceptable provided suitable acknowledgement is given including (in all cases) a link back to or acknowledgement to this page. Kindly advise me of any non-commercial use as I am always interested in how my images are used, my email address appears in the right-hand menu bar.