In the late 1850s, a Mr. Stark drew up his "East Whau" subdivision in what is now Blockhouse Bay. What we now know as Blockhouse Bay Road from Terry Street down to Donovan Street had two names completely forgotten by the 1880s -- Commercial Road (to the Taylor Street intersection) and Sewell Street (to Donovan Street). Donovan Street itself was then White Swan Road.
The only survivors from Stark’s plan today are: Blockhouse Bay Road, Donovan Street, Whitney Street (Whitaker), Terry Street (Thomas) and Exminster Street (Exeter). The vanished paper roads are: Gore Street, Browne Street, Steward Street, Ayr Street, Railway Road, Wynyard Street, Richmond Street, and Clifford Street.
Speaking of lost paper roads: the oddest mystery still unsolved in Avondale's and Blockhouse Bay’s history continues -- why, in early references, does it seem that Taylor Street and St Georges Road were the same and linked together as one, even as late as 1931, when discussion was held regarding the renaming of our streets? The Ambulance Station (misnamed New Lynn Station, although it is really in Avondale) sits right where the paper road part of Taylor Street once extended. Ulster Street also extended over present day Wolverton Street, meeting Taylor Street at an angle. Neither of them joined up with the line of St Georges Road, but there is a suggestion that old walking tracks between them, the most direct way between Blockhouse Bay and Avondale until the late 19th century, may have led people to think there was a connection. What I do know is when you visit Olympic Park today you're also visiting some of the now unseen paper roads of our past.
Timespanner See more online
Note: Lisa Trutman, aka Timespanner, will be at BHB Library on 5 October 5th. See What’s on at the Library for details. Ed