Postcard Pillar 97


pillar 97

ISSUE 97 (November 2012)


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2012 New Zealand Postcard Society Convention - (Taken by Bruce Isted, 6-7 October 2012)


The Venue “Club Waimea” at Richmond


Registration Table & morning tea


Laurence Eagle setting up displays on Nelson


Geoff Potts (Patron) welcoming the members


Ken Wright presentation - Queens Gardens Nelson


Leo Haks presentation - Rocks Road, Nelson


Members looking at some displays

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The Dinner (at Club Waimea) – members & spouses/partners listening to John Dearing’s humourous pre-dinner speech.


Sales Tables of Ine –Bric-a-Brac & Collectables, Nelson


Sales tables of Doug & Evie South of Wakefield


Sales tables of Len Roberts of Stoke, Nelson

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New Zealand Postcard Society (Inc) Directory


Patron Geoff Potts
President Jeff Long
Vice-Presidents Laurence Eagle
Diane McKoy
VP Research Bill Main
Secretary Jenny Long
Treasurer Ross Alexander
Sales Mgr/Auctioneer Chris Rabey
Editors Jeff Long & Laurence Eagle
Committee Geoff Pots
John Eccles
Bruce Isted
Leo Haks
Glenn Reddiex

Life Members: Yvonne Coles, William Main, Geoff Potts, Chris Rabey, Doug South, Evie South, Ray Staal


The Postcard Pillar is produced four times a year under the editorship of Jeff Long and Laurence Eagle. Contributions are very welcome at any time - please email or post to Jeff Long.

Membership of the Society can be obtained by sending a cheque payable to N.Z. Postcard Society Inc to the Secretary, with your name, address, telephone number, email address and collecting interests. Renewing members can pay online; details are on your subs notice. The subscription for an individual or family member is $35, or $45 for an overseas member.

Editorial: Many thanks to those of you who have sent in contributions. Remember to keep them coming, preferably in electronic format, but it is perfectly fine if this is not possible. The main aim is to get your words and pictures and ideas out to our membership. In this issue we have significant contributions from William Main, Donal Duthie, Brian Vincent, Diane McCoy, and Brian McClintock.

Cover illustration

Rugby World Cup 2011 Postcard. Refer to article by Brian Vincent, pages 12-14.

Table of Contents: Issue 97

1-4 Convention photos, Society Directory, and Snippets
5-7 “Bubbles’ by William Main
8-11 Rose Gardens in Christchurch by Donal Duthie
12-14 The 2011 Rugby World Cup by Brian Vincent
15-19 The Stonehurst Residential Hotel by Diane McCoy
20-23 The Thames Big Pump by Brian McClintock
24-24 Tongan Postcards by ‘Safari’
25-26 2012 Convention Report and photos

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Society News and Snippets

 2012 NZ Postcard Society Convention & Blenpex 2012

This year the Convention was held in Richmond (near Nelson) on 6th and 7th October, the week before the Blenpex exhibition on 12th to 14th October. It was an excellent opportunity to attend both events, and many members did so.

Doug South had organised an interesting range of presenters, and Bruce Isted has kindly written a report on the event. (see inside covers and p.25)

Ray Staal Nominated for Life Membership of the NZ Postcard Society

Ray Staal has been an extremely loyal and dedicated member of the New Zealand Postcard Society since 1993.  Soon after joining he became the Society Treasurer.  Usually he kept a low key profile unless he felt passionately enough about something that affected the Society, and then he let his feelings be known.

During his time as Treasurer he made sure subs were up to date and always presented accurate accounts.  After his term as Treasurer was over, he remained a member of the committee until health caused him to step down in 2010, a period of 17 years.

Ray has always been passionate about Wanganui, so both he and Jacqui decided to shift from Wellington and settle here.  He has a large collection of Wanganui cards as well as Petone cards, which he has collected for years and still looks for elusive cards of both centres.

He always attends the Philatelic and Numismatic Fairs and assists with the organising and running of these events in Wanganui.

In his own quiet way, Ray has always worked behind the scenes to make sure that the Society kept going, and did all he could to assist whenever there was a meeting or convention to be arranged.  At all the Society meetings and functions he attended, he made sure he spoke to everyone and made them welcome.  His efforts and contributions over the years have helped towards making the Society a success. It is without doubt that Ray’s contribution over many years has contributed to the situation our Society is in today.

 Subscriptions are now overdue !! If you haven’t yet paid, an invoice is enclosed with this posting. Please settle your account ASAP. Last year, it was rather hard work prompting some members to pay up. You may pay by cheque or online; details of the Society’s bank account are on the subs notice.

Balance of Articles in Postcard Pillar

The Committee decided to include articles on Pacific Islands postcards in the Postcard Pillar, while keeping the main emphasis on New Zealand material. A short article on Tonga is included in the current Pillar.

Classified Ads

There was little support for offering this facility at a small charge, so it will continue to be free. But for this issue, we have none to print !

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Blenpex 2012 – awards to members

Blenpex catered for the postcard classes and there were a large number of exhibits, 13 in the one-frame class and a further 12 in the multi-frame class, plus excellent non-competitive displays of Blenheim by Don Williams, the Marlborough Sounds by Evie South, and Christchurch by Jill Glasson. Congratulations to the following members of the Postcard Society on their awards:

Three to Eight Frames

Jeff Long William Thompson Wilson Gold with Distinction, Special Prize
Jenny Long     Estuary to Esplanade: The Sumner Coast Gold with Distinction
Ann Still Postcard Views of Early Nelson & District Gold
Yvonne Benson The Day the Earth Shook Large Silver-Gold
Derek Pocock The Postcards of the SPG Large Silver-Gold
Lynda Saunders Waiau Ferry Bridge and Beyond Large Silver-Gold
Paul Ferris NZ Post Office Buildings up to 1940 Large Silver
Laurie Dale Touring the Wanganui River Silver
Laurie Dale A Charm of Bamforths Bronze 

One or Two Frames

Bruce Isted Wanganui ‘Generic’ Comic Postcards Ruby
Derek Pocock Postcards of the Royal Masonic School Emerald
Bob Andrews Colombo Harbour Emerald
Len Roberts Ni Sa Bula – A Glimpse of Fiji Sapphire
Elspeth Wells Around Parts of the Top of the South Sapphire
Hank Smits Napier City – Floral Clock Topaz


The Editors are still working on producing a list of the various lists of postcard information produced by members over the years, which might be helpful for members. This will pull together much information already available about postcard producers and photographers.

We have now reviewed previous issues of the Postcard Pillar for information already published, and we already have published lists on Muir & Moodie, Zak, FGR, Gladys Goodall, etc.

If you have some lists it would be great if you could make them available, in whatever format, so they could be added to our database. Some contributions have already been received, but Editor Jeff Long would be pleased to hear from lots more of you.

 NZPS Website

Work has been proceeding apace on the public section of the website, and the website is now live at The Members Only section is being worked on at present.

Comments about the public section of website, and, perhaps more importantly, what should go in the Members Only section would be welcomed by our Secretary, who is now also the Society Webmaster, at

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The Pre-Raphaelites and their impact on NZ’s Postcard Trade - by William Main

Several years ago, Alan Jackson wrote a very interesting article for the Postcard Pillar in issue No.74 May 2006 on a painting by the English Victorian artist Holman Hunt. It was about a Pre-Raphaelite painting called The Light of the World and depicted Jesus with a crown of thorns on his head standing at a door with a quotation from the Book of Revelations, “Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him and sup with him and he with me”. The article was on three different postcard reproductions of the painting which turned up in New Zealand around 1906, leading Alan to venture that the painting may have toured the country in an exhibition of English Art about that time. Unfortunately, no one has been able to support Alan’s theory, even though we live in hope that some plausible explanation might eventually see the light of day.


Unnamed coloured postcard of Bubbles

Some time later I purchased a reproduction of another well known Pre- Raphaelite painting by Sir John Millais called Bubbles, which caused me to think about Alan’s article. While my thoughts on this lay dormant for some time, the card in my collection was eventually joined by others which I will attempt to explain later.

In the meantime, this is what Wikipedia has to say about Millais painting. “Bubbles, originally titled A Child's World, is a painting by Sir John Everett Millais that became famous when it was used over many generations in advertisements for Pears soap. During Millais’ lifetime it led to widespread debate about the relationship between art and advertising. The painting was one of many child pictures for which Millais had become well known in his later years. It was modelled by his five year old grandson William Milbourne James. The painting portrays a young golden-haired boy looking up at a bubble, symbolising the beauty and fragility of life. On one side of him is a young plant growing in a pot, and on the other is a fallen broken pot, emblematic of death. The painting was first exhibited in 1886 under the title A Child's World at the Grosvenor Gallery in London, and was acquired by Sir William Ingram of the Illustrated London News.

The painting was reproduced and presented in the weekly newspaper as a colour plate, where it was seen by Thomas J. Barratt, managing director of A&F Pears. Barratt purchased the original painting from Ingram for £2,200 which gave him exclusive copyright on the picture. Millais' permission was sought in order to alter the picture by the addition of a bar of Pears Soap, so that it could be used for the purposes of advertising. At the time Millais was one of the most popular artists in Britain and he was initially apprehensive the prospect of his work, and his grandson being the subject of commercial exploitation. However, when he was shown the proofs of the proposed advertisements he grew to appreciate the idea, which portrayed the soap as if the child had used it to make the bubbles.

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Following the success of this advertisement Millais was attacked in print by the novelist Marie Corelli who accused him in her novel The Sorrows of Satan of prostituting his talent to sell soap. Millais wrote to her pointing out that he had sold the copyright of the painting and so was unable to stop the company from altering it in reproduction. Millais’ son later claimed that he had tried to stop the advertisement being made, but had been advised that he had no legal power to do so. Corelli retracted her comments in a later edition of the book.

The advertisement became so well known that William Milbourne James, who later rose to the rank of Admiral in the British navy, was known as "Bubbles" for the rest of his life. Since A&F Pears was acquired by Lever Brothers, the painting has been in their ownership. It was lent to the Royal Academy, but was transferred to the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight in 2006.

How I acquired my unnamed coloured postcard of Bubbles, is a story in itself and will have to wait another day to be told. Suffice to say it was postally used in Wellington in 1907 about the same time as Alan’s Light of the World cards.


Weidner.  Kaikoura.    “Bubbles”

A year or two later I came across a real photo re-creation of Bubbles by the Kaikoura photographer Weidner. This was a very cleverly staged study of a curly headed boy arranged in a setting which replicated Millais painting, right down to the  broken flower pot in the foreground along with a bar of soap, frilly lace collar and a long stemmed pipe.

However, the piece de resistance in Mr Weidner’s composition for me are the bubbles. Obviously these required some arcane skulduggery on the negative! At the time of this acquisition, I thought no more about it and placed it beside the Millais thinking that one day someone would tell me something about this photographer and his tendency to use famous art studies in his studio.

Then lo and behold I acquired another couple of real photo Bubbles studies! These were less convincing in a number of ways when you look at them in comparison to Weidner’s, but none the less are two genuine attempts at recreating Bubbles photographically. A blind stamp on one of these stated Anderson's of Main Street Palmerston North, in what I would consider the weakest of the two professional’s attempts.

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The last was by an unnamed amateur and shows a boy whose expression indicates he was uncomfortable with something and bordering on tears!

Now the big question is, how do we interpret these attempts at replicating the Millais painting by two professional photographers and one amateur? First, the two New Zealand professional photographers: replicating such a famous painting would no doubt attract attention by demonstrating skills beyond the normal and lead to increased patronage by doting parents. But when it comes to our unknown amateur he /she has really “dropped the ball,” failing miserably on a number of accounts as can be seen in the model’s face. I conclude the upset expression is a direct result of being pushed around by the photographer to resemble Millais Bubbles. Then again, I wouldn’t put it past photographic societies or an illustrated weekly sponsoring a photo competition for camera owners, which means that there could be more of these out there waiting to be discovered - hope springs eternal!

Oddly enough, I haven’t been able to locate any more Bubbles photos for five years. Has anyone been following in my footsteps on the collecting trail? Naturally I’d love to hear if there are any more of these real photo studies in circulation.

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Rose Gardens in Christchurch - by Donal Duthie

Former Apprentice of Horticulture, Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

Roses have always been a favourite flower. Most people, when asked what flower they like best of all, will say, ‘a rose.’

Roses were among the earliest plant introductions to New Zealand by Europeans. On his trip round the world on the “Beagle”, Charles Darwin noted hedges of sweet briar roses growing round the Waimate North Mission House in 1835.

Rosa x ‘La France’ was introduced to cultivation in 1867. It was the forerunner of a new class of rose called Hybrid Tea. This new breed became instantly popular. The high peaked buds looked stunning. Most had delicious scent and furthermore, they were repeat flowering. As a shrub, these new varieties were nearly all uniform in size, and this meant that they were well suited for planting in formal beds, simply as a bed of roses. Often they were planted as one variety per bed.

Those with means and money soon had large parts of their garden devoted to the Hybrid Tea Rose and here the formal French ‘parterre’ style of planting in denoted beds was popular. It wasn’t long before this style of gardening reached New Zealand and towns big and small soon had their own public Rose Garden.


Published by Tanner Bros, Photographer unknown.  It was a large garden  defined by Buxus edging.

Christchurch being the ‘Garden City’ soon came to the fore with a very large planting. In 1909 the Christchurch Botanic Garden constructed a huge Rose Garden or ‘Rosary’, as it was sometimes called. It was claimed to be largest Rose Garden in both Australia and New Zealand. Mr James Young was the Curator, having started at the Botanic Garden in 1908.

At that time the Botanic Garden was controlled by the Domain Board, and this Board seemed to have perpetual financial problems. Their main sources of funds were from grazing rights, selling firewood and an annual Garden Fete held at the Botanic Garden.

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In writing of the 1910 Fete at the Botanic Garden, a lady correspondent for The Press said “ even from our beautiful Domain (Botanic Garden) the sordid elements of money cannot quite be banished.”

It was said by The Press, of the two Curators previous to James Young that  “. . very little seems to have been done beyond keeping the grounds in order, owing to the want of funds and consequent lack of skilled workmen. Indeed, on several occasions the only assistants the Head Gardener appears to have had were men supplied by the Charitable Aid Board, and these were too infirm for all but the lightest work.”

James Young had come from the Ashburton Domain where he had been Curator. He had taken a drop in salary from ₤170 to ₤150 per annum to gain the position in Christchurch. His first project was the new rose garden at the Botanic Garden.

On the 17th of August 1908, Curator Young presented a plan of the proposed rose garden to a meeting of the Domain Board. The Board then voted the sum of ₤8 for ‘new Rose trees’ and the Curator was authorised to employ two extra men for a month. This amount of money and the allocated labour seems an incredibly small gesture for this extensive Rose Garden. Perhaps at a later date, James Young was able to persuade the Domain Board to loosen the purse strings.


The Rose Garden Christchurch. C. S. Smith, Tanner Bros. The old Rose Garden had a sundial and was about the size of the Rugby pitch.

The garden was said to be based on the rose garden belonging to the Duchess of Sutherland in Herefordshire, England. The new Christchurch garden was very much in the manner of the French ‘parterre’ style. It was rectangular in outline with numerous ‘criss - cross’ paths enclosing the mainly rectangular rose beds.

By anyone’s terms it was a very large garden. From photos of the time it looks about the same size as a rugby ground. It contained 132 rose beds and there were more than 2,500 rose plants in the beds. Each bed was edged with a little hedge of Buxus sempervirens or Box and it is said that there were over 17 kilometres of this Box hedging in the garden. There would have been considerable maintenance for both the Roses and the Box.

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After the garden opened, postcard photographers were soon on the scene, and S.C. Smith and F.G. Radcliffe were to the fore in producing good quality photos for the postcard trade.

The new garden was a great attraction and was very popular with local citizens. The local papers were full of praise for James Young and the Rose Garden.

In January 1910, the Christchurch Press said that Mr Young was to be congratulated in providing a feast of bloom. It went on to say, “that one of the happiest ideas is that of beds of one variety of rose, this from a dozen to twenty plants in a bed.”

In 1935, in the middle of The Great Depression, for reasons unknown and after James Young had retired, the Board decided to abandon the large rectangular rose garden and proceeded to build a much smaller garden with a new circular plan, of beds radiating outwards from a central feature. At first the centre was a mirror pond but this was later changed to a sundial surrounded by stone paving. The new garden greatly reduced the Box edging. It was now only on one side of the rose beds and even then, that was only for those few beds down the four main paths. Perhaps it was simply the sheer expense of maintaining the old Rose Garden that moved the Board to change.

One of the personalities associated with both the Old and New Rose Gardens was Miss Joan Surtees Raine. This lady commenced work as a gardener in the Botanic Garden about 1927 when she was a teenager. She would not have been getting the same wages as the male gardeners and working for The Domain Board would not have been easy. In her latter years Miss Raine recalled how the staff were sent home on ‘no pay’ when the weather was inclement.


Photograph of Miss Raine

Miss Raine spent most of her long working life in the rose gardens at the Botanic Garden. In her early years she had worked in the greenhouses but the rose garden became her main base. She was there when James Young retired in 1933. She was there when the old rose garden was closed and the new one opened in 1935. She was there in 1946 when The Domain Board reached a nadir with finance and governance of the Botanic Garden was transferred to the Christchurch City Council and, she was there when Gladys Goodall took a black and white photo for use as a postcard in the late 1950’s.

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In 1960 a function was held to celebrate Miss Raine’s longevity with the Rose Garden work. She was presented with a large bunch of flowers and a water colour painting of Rosa x ‘Sutter’s Gold’, her favourite rose. In the speeches, the gathering was told that although this was a retirement party, that in fact Miss Raine was staying on, and she was back at work in the Rose Garden as usual the following Monday morning.

In Miss Raine’s latter years the Foreman of the Glasshouses used to keep a fatherly eye on her as she had been known to take ‘turns’. This gentleman kept half a bottle of ‘medicinal’ brandy in the bottom draw of his desk ready for these occasional ailments.

Well past the usual retiring age, Miss Raine finally finished work not long before she died. Miss Raine passed away on the 31st of August 1970. It had been a lifetime of roses.

I only knew Miss Raine for a couple of years while I was at the Botanic Garden in the late 1950’s. At that time she just seemed ageless. When she died, her death notice in The Press didn’t give her age and I have never been able to deduce precisely what her age was. I have a feeling that she probably wouldn’t want me to know anyway.

Miss Raine had been a very popular person in the Rose garden. Most visitors stopped to talk to her. Many came especially to chat with her because she was a familiar face. She featured in many gardening magazines, and appears in countless private photograph collections. She was a great ambassador for the Rose Garden, the Botanic Garden and the City of Christchurch.


The Rosary, Public Gardens Christchurch. F.G.R. 5668. As well as shrub roses there were long avenues of rambling roses trained over pergolas

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Rugby World Cup 2011 - by Brian G Vincent

Just over a year ago, the All Blacks won the 2011 Rugby World Cup Tournament held here in New Zealand.  By all accounts everyone agreed that it was a most successful tournament, one to be remembered for many years.  A number of products were produced and sold as souvenirs of the occasion.  Included in these were the souvenir programmes, the stamp issues of New Zealand Post, and the various clothing and other products.

Also amongst these were some rugby postcards.  The official IRB (International Rugby Board) RWC 2011 stores sold their own licensed postcards.  There was a postcard issued for each of the cities that hosted RWC games.  The set was produced before the scheduled Christchurch matches were transferred to other centres because of the earthquake damage to their stadium and it therefore included one postcard for Christchurch.  In all 13 different postcards were produced (including two for Auckland which had games scheduled at Eden Park and on the North Shore at Albany). The other venues were in Whangarei, Hamilton, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Napier, Palmerston North, Wellington, Nelson, Dunedin and Invercargill.

These postcards were produced under license by Black Fish design & Publishing Ltd.  Each card had an “Official Licensed Product” sticker affixed to the reverse side, which also detailed the matches to be played in that city.  I visited two of the official outlet stores (one in Wellington and the other in Auckland) but it appears that complete sets were not available at either outlet (although I now have the entire series in my collection).  For my “used” copies of these postcards I affixed one of the New Zealand Post “Participating Nations” stamps to each card.  The selected stamp being one of the teams which played at that venue.


Illustrated here are some of the postcards, including the Christchurch one and the reverse of one other card

Prior to the event commencing, the New Zealand Souvenir Company, Hastings produced a postcard that was on general sale at many souvenir shops.  It carefully avoided any copyright issues with its wording.  Invercargill also got into the act with a humorous “greetings” card featuring their mayor Tim Shadbolt.

There was also “The Cloud” on Auckland’s waterfront, presumably produced by NZTE as shown on the website address “info@NZTE.Govt.NZ” printed on the address side of the postcard. Two other cards were printed to promote the Real New Zealand Festival that was held in conjunction with, and throughout, the RWC tournament.  Both of these depicted some rugby illustrations amongst the events being promoted.  So, all in all, a nice representation of the tournament won by the All Blacks (8-7) in Auckland on 23 October 2011.

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The Stonehurst Residential Hotel - by Diane McKoy

In the early 1900s tourism in Auckland, both local and overseas, was increasing. This inspired Stonehurst, situated on the corner of Symonds and Wakefield Streets, and originally advertised as a “Strictly First-Class Boarding House”, to change its advertising to Stonehurst Residential Hotel, and to expand at a rapid rate.  Previously it had been residential apartments for men only.


Advert from the Auckland Star 14th August 1900

The original building of 60 rooms was purchased from the previous proprietors in 1900, at which date it was a very small business, but under the active personal management of new owners Mr. and Mrs Albert A. Brown, their clientele had so rapidly increased that they were compelled to constantly build and purchase adjoining premises, altering and improving to suit the requirements of the traveling public, so that the buildings and grounds covered an area of one acre.


Advert from the Evening Post 23rd April 1914

Ten original houses fronting three streets were reorganized and converted in to a block of four large modern buildings.   The new block facing Symonds Street, opened for business in December 1922, complete with the most modern conveniences and furnishings, the bedrooms having hot and cold water laid on.

Stonehurst stood unparalleled in the Dominion as pre-eminently the largest and most popular house of its kind, being generally regarded as Auckland’s favourite residence for those seeking a quiet comfortable and family home combined with sound modern appointments and high class service.

As one of the recognized houses for Thos. Cook the world wide tourist agents, and also for the Public Service Association, Stonehurst was largely patronized by tourists from overseas and Government servants, also visitors on holiday and rest tours.

Its situation could hardly be more commanding, standing on a high altitude affording a unique outlook over a magnificent panorama of the Waitemata Harbour and city of Auckland with its numerous volcanic hills, viewed at their best from the flat concrete promenade roof.

Being within five minutes walk of the city’s principal shopping and business centres, theatres, parks and   places of amusement (the municipal trams passing the door to all parts of the city and suburbs), it was in everyway suitable to all classes of guests.  Penny section would bring you from boat or train, passing the General Post Office on the way.

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Multi-view postcards available for guests, showing the original building, Photos by R.Farnell, design by C.. Kinsley Smith

Stonehurst possessed a handsome dining room capable of seating 1130 persons and careful supervision is given to attendance and cuisine in the department. The main drawing room and the large gentlemen’s smoking lounge, also the social lounge, were comfortably and tastefully furnished.   Besides these, three other sitting rooms and a ladies’ writing room was provided to ensure privacy when required.

The bedroom accommodation excelled that of the ordinary tourist houses, while quite a large percentage had access to sunny balconies over looking extensive land and sea, ideal in summer weather.

The fact that the well kept grounds, with their ornamental flower gardens, rose pergolas, arbors, rockeries, fernery and tennis court (previously a croquet lawn) were situated in the centre of the Stonehurst block of buildings added value to the outlook from the various balconies which overlooked the court, and guests could sit in the sheltered nooks in the summer months and watch the games of tennis on the lawn.

The numerous bathrooms in which an abundant supply of hot water was always available at any hour, the ladies wash-house and ironing room, electric light installation, and a large competent staff with the capable management contributed to the high reputation of Stonehurst.

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In 1923 the tariff was very moderate for a house of the standard of Stonehurst.   The usual rates are 14 shillings per day and 4 guineas by the week, or for special rooms 10 shillings per day and 4 pound 18 shillings per week.


Advert from the Evening Post 26th April 1923


Luggage tags showing the expanded hotel


Small folder with smaller version of the first multi-view postcard inside

Sometime in the late 1920s the new owners Mr and Mrs Swain took over the running of the hotel and advertised it as “The only UNLICENSED Hotel-de-luxe”.


Advert from the Evening Post 15th December 1941

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Real Photo Postcards Showing Different Views from the Roof by F.G. Radcliffe.


Auckland Hospital from “Stonehurst” N.Z. F.G.R. 789


Mt Eden from Stonehurst. Auckland N.Z. F.G.R. 1113


Auckland Harbour from “Stonehurst” N.Z. F.G.R. 790

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Two postcards showing the enlarged hotel by C. M. Walls Lltd. “producers of fine photographs”

(The monument across Wakefield Street, a war memorial to “the men who died in the New Zealand wars 1845-1872” is still in the same)

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The area as it looks today


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The Thames Big Pump - by Brian McClintock

As the result of gold being discovered in 1867, towards the end of the 19th century Thames was the largest centre of population in New Zealand with 18,000 inhabitants and well over 100 hotels and three theatres. For a while it was thought it would replace Auckland as the major town in the area.


Big Pump boiler room, poppet head and pump house in foreground FGR 4543

As the mines at the northern end of the Thames flats penetrated below sea level flooding became a problem in the 1870s. With Government assistance a pumping association was set up and a community pump operated between 1872 and 1896.

As time went on the need for a more powerful pump became apparent to keep the water at bay. As early as 1894 a Government subsidy had been obtained and then in 1896 the Thames Hauraki Goldfields Co was promoted in London, the float being oversubscribed.

The Queen of Beauty mine was acquired, buildings erected and machinery acquired from England. Ten boilers were constructed by Price Bros. Engineering. The first trials began in 1898.

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Three of the ten boilers required to drive the pump – photographer unknown


Interior showing the Big Pump – Gordon Real Photo series

Designed to remove 2000 litres of water per minute from depths of 300 metres, this huge pump was erected on massive foundations containing 6000 tons of concrete, said to be the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.

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The company deepened the shaft to 305 metres but then, despite all warnings, unwisely sent out a drive too close to the Moanataire fault, which subsequently released gas and a flood of water into the mine. In 1914 the Mines Dept. closed the mine and took over control of the plant.


Prices Engineering Foundry & Thames Wharf – Dunnage photo No 60


New Loco emerging from Prices – Dunnage Photo No 34.

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Prices engineering had a large part to play in the manufacture of mining equipment since 1871. In addition, they made road graders, rock crushers, flax milling, saw milling and forestry equipment. Between 1904 and 1923 they manufactured 123 steam locos for the Railways Dept. A more recent development has been the making of specialized keels for the America’s Cup/Whitbread/Volvo Ocean race boats.

What’s left today?

The building has become a major tourist attraction for the area. Although most of the machinery has unfortunately been disposed of or scrapped long ago, the original buildings still remain and a group of enthusiastic locals (Bella St Pump House Society) are restoring what can be salvaged, and have constructed a working model of the pump with a fine display of photographs. The huge 9 ton crankshaft has been unearthed from a pit in the floor and a huge driving wheel constructed out of wood. Above is the original gantry crane built 1896 still in use, and outside what remains of the huge wrought iron quadrants each weighing 22 tons which moved the pumping gear in the shaft. In the basement is the original electric water driven generator which provided light for the township.

Well worth a visit.

Early Tongan Postcards - by Safari

One of my interests lies in the collecting of postcards of a pictorial nature bearing some evidence of usage earlier than 1900. As an example, I enclose images of both sides of my earliest postcard for Tonga, posted at Nukualofa ‘28 JL 99’. The reverse has a scene at Neiafu with an interesting message about a shortage of Kava. Hard to imagine how this would have been possible in Tonga !!.


Postmarked at Nukualofa 28 July 1899

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The other aspect that intrigues me is that at some time earlier a photographer must have traveled to Vavau to take the snap, and then process it through to the production of the card itself. Was someone involved from New Zealand? Where was the card printed? Unfortunately there is no indication. My second earliest postcard, January 1900, has a different format, but again the origins of the card cannot be determined.

By the way, if members have early cards mailed prior to 1900 from anywhere in Oceania I would be delighted to receive details. Please contact me through the Postcard Pillar editor.


Neiafu Vavau Friendly Islands. No photographer or publisher, but numbered 270 454


1900 2½ postmarked Haapua 10 Jan 1900 through Vavau on 19th January, received Suva 24 January. Two scenes, one showing Nukualofa: the Kings Palace, the second showing Laka Laka a Tongan dance 1901

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A Report on the New Zealand Postcard Annual Convention at Richmond, Nelson - by Bruce Isted

From 6-7 October, I along with about 45 NZPS members attended the NZ Postcard Society Annual Convention held at Club Waimea, 345 Lower Queen Street, Richmond, Nelson.

The first day was a for members, but some locals also attended. From 9-9.30am, it was registration/morning tea, chit-chat. 9.30-9.45 our Patron Geoff Potts opened the event, followed by Doug South re housekeeping details. From 9.45-12 & 1-3.30pm (12-1pm lunch break) we had some excellent presentations, mainly postcard orientated of course, with the majority focussing on Nelson and its environs:

  • Ken Wright – Queens Gardens Nelson
  • Leo Haks – Rocks Road, Nelson
  • John Dearing – A teacher’s life
  • Kelvin Trower – A life in a box
  • Rob Packer – Nelson & Environs
  • Megan Wells from Nelson Provincial Museum – F N Jones
  • Doug South – Murchison & Its Environs
  • Barry Hancox – pre-1900 New Zealand newspapers (earliest newspaper shown was 1843!)
  • Jeff Long – W T Wilson, photographer of Auckland
  • Robert Rush – Ernest De Tourret’s South Island postcards

From 4-5pm, it was the formal part of the AGM which was dealt with efficiency and little fuss. If you were not present, you can view the reports from the President, Treasurer and Sales Manager on the Society website. Of special note, Ray Staal was elected a Life Member (Geoff Potts received the certificate on his behalf). In the evening (7-9.30pm) about 50 people attended an enjoyable meal (buffet) and drinks in a separate room at Club Waimea.

Sunday 7th was the Collectables Fair Day. Although slightly disappointing with the number of dealers attending (three), it was nevertheless worthwhile. The dealers were:

  • Doug & Evie South of Wakefield (trading as South Stamps & Postcards (they had a huge range of stock spread over eight tables – majority were very well priced so there were bargains galore!)
  • Len Roberts of Stoke (good range of philatelic material and several shoeboxes of assorted postcards)
  • Ine of Bric-a-Brac & Collectables, Nelson (nice range of collectables & some ephemera).

The number of public that attended from 10am-4pm was estimated at be around 50-100 which was perhaps lower than expected despite the event being well advertised (see opposite pictue ). Several people brought in postcards, ranging from a bundle, box full, to one or several albums to be valued and/or sold. No rare postcards, but a number postcards were noted to be “quite collectable”. Some postcards were sold to dealers present but most people wanted to hang on to their postcards, &/or possibly sell on Trademe, or another way.

Laurence Eagle displayed numerous enlarged images of Nelson postcards, accompanied by applicable research notes. Doug and Evie South had a nice display of Embroidered Silk Postcards.

Well over a dozen members stayed on for a bit more of a holiday, as well as attending “Blenpex” the National Stamp Show in Blenheim from 12-14 October. Four of the 10 dealers present had postcard stocks. Some NZPS members were fortunate to have timed it perfectly, as Auckland City Stamps (run by David Holmes) had recently acquired some great new stock!

Special thanks must go to Doug and Evie South (the main organisers) plus the three dealers that attended. Also thanks to all the other members that attended to support this event.

Roll on 2013…

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Life membership of the NZ Postcard Society

Ray Staal receiving his life membership in Wanganui, presented by Geoff Potts and Bruce Isted on behalf of the Society. Congratulations, Ray, and thank you for your work for the Society.


The 2012 Nelson Convention

Some people will do anything to publicise the Society’s Convention! Doug was pleased he was not at work the week this photo appeared in the Nelson Mail. A big thanks to Doug and Evie.


Back Cover

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