Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pt Chev's Hallyburton Archway

Take a stroll through the Auckland suburb of Point Chevalier, and you'll see it's loaded with local history.
For example, 335 Pt Chev Road. Blink... and you may miss a rusting iron archway bearing the words Hallyburton Johnstone. Walk down the path out of curiosity and find, tucked away, the Pt Chevalier Hallyburton Johnstone Tennis Club. These sports facilities were opened in 1927 after bowling enthusiasts made arrangements with the said Mr Hallyburton Johnstone, to buy the property on long-term trickle payments. The bowling and tennis clubs are now in their ninth decade...
Follow the car access out of the property, and you pass an elderly church barely tolerating the indignity of a tacked-on chocolate 1970s-looking reception area. A Presbyterian church until 2010, it's now home to the Serbian Orthodox Church for the Parish of Serbian King St.Milutin.
But back to the club's namesake...
Hallyburton Johnstone
(1862-1949) was a farmer, property investor and benefactor (not to be confused with one of his descendants of the same name, who was a NZ politician).
He actively supported sport - eg: the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield for women's cricket has been contested since 1935. His philanthropy extended to presenting the Auckland Museum with various ornithological specimens and maori artifacts he'd found. He also used to own the Gt.North Road land on which was built the Ambassador Picture Theatre in 1929. The Ambassador still stands, but hasn't shown movies since the mid-80s. At one stage, it was used as an Assembly of God church, and is now a studio for Auckland artist Peter Roche.
Hallyburton Johnstone's interesting life is well-documented in A Waikato Settler's Legacy (researched by Yvonne McCardell).
And an interesting stroll through Pt Chev awaits you any day...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In the early eighties, there was a derelict house just up the road. Both the tennis club area and the empty house are clear impressions to this Pt Chev old boy. Incidentally, there was an aggressive dalmatian dog that loitered around the arch before school that my brother and I tried to avoid.