Posts

Showing posts from 2021

Drumroll! Bruce Fuller, Rudy & the Crystals, and The Ensigns in the 1960s

Image
It is the fascinating, and sometimes humorous stories behind some of the donations that we receive at Auckland Libraries that adds intrinsic value and interest to our collections. Recently, I had great joy in discovering the back story to a small donation of 45 (also known as 7-inch) records donated by drummer Bruce Fuller. The donation of these early New Zealand recordings was accompanied by letters describing his memories of playing in covers bands in the 1960s Auckland music scene. I have incorporated Bruce’s memories into this blog post. A young and bright-eyed Bruce Fuller stepped in to a vibrant Auckland music scene after he started taking lessons from legendry drummer Frank Gibson (Senior). Fuller was fortunate to meet Rudy and Hugo Spemann - the Spemann brothers often played for Bill Sevisi. Friends Jason Hiko (guitar), Neil Johnson (bass), and Brian Prout (second guitarist) also joined the trio and 'Rudy & the Crystals' was born. This was in 1960-1961 when rock and

Books become music: a century of music score covers

Image
A corner of the upper basement at the Central City Library is home to a substantial part of Auckland Libraries’ extensive sheet music collection. At any one time the mechanical tick of the lights on timers, the thrum of air conditioning units, thud of escalators from floors above, or the slow rattle of movable shelving creates a veritable symphony.  Image: Early twentieth century music scores, 1900 – 1930s. The first music score collection in a public library in Australasia was established in 1928, after Auckland Public Library’s chief librarian John Barr and Auckland Councillor Alfred Eady (whose father Lewis owned a music shop on Karangahape Road ) worked together to form a base collection of 1,181 items. This has grown to over 33,000 items, the majority of which are held at the Central City Library and are available to be borrowed. Sheet music or music scores are typically volumes of musical notation used by musicians to record, guide, or perform a piece of music, existing in a ran

The Sun rises and sets and is now online

Image
April 2021 sees the arrival of another Auckland daily newspaper in the online research community. The Sun  (Auckland) provides new insights into Auckland almost one hundred years ago. The newspaper ran from March 1927 to September 1930. It promised something fresh with a team of journalists and a commanding presence on the corner of Albert and Wyndham Streets.  Image: James D Richardson. Wyndham street, 1928. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, 4-1783. James D Richardson took this photograph of the view up Wyndham Street in January 1928. You can see the Sun building at the top, designed by Chilwell and Trevithick in the ‘industrial gothic’ style.  The Sun  (Auckland) was added to Papers Past in collaboration with Auckland Libraries where we hold the bound volumes and microfilm. Online access makes for a glimpse into reporting in Auckland that differs from the New Zealand Herald or the Auckland Star . The Gisborne Times was quoted as suggesting that, “…the advent of the new comp

Hall’s corner: the heart of Takapuna

Image
There was once a time when Hall’s Corner was Takapuna. The Lake or Lake Takapuna, as the settlement was widely known from the 1840s through to the 1920s, began its Pākehā history as a rural settlement consisting primarily of weekend homes of wealthy Aucklanders intermixed with small farms. For decades, it had no permanent commercial structures and most goods were brought in via wagon from Devonport or arrived at the Barry’s Point wharf. Image: Detail from: Takapuna villa sites for positive sale by S. Cochrane, 1863. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, Map 4130 . The Parish of Takapuna’s Lot 80 was 39 acres of poorly-tended bush located between the road to Northcote and the North Road. Andrew Rooney purchased the property in 1845 to use as a farm, but he soon abandoned it. Over the next thirty years, the land was subdivided into smaller lots until only Section X, Lot 1—a half-acre triangle at the intersection of The Terrace (Lake Road) and The Drive (Hurstmere Road)—remained. Image

Mysteries in the archives

Image
Late last year Keith Stuart (Senior Archivist, Auckland Council Archives), made an intriguing discovery. While he was looking through a box containing Tuakau Borough Council committee minutes, Keith found a framed map of Tuakau on waxed linen. He guessed that as the map was framed, it had probably once hung on a wall at Tuakau Borough Council’s office. The map is of the Tuakau Town District showing the location of roads requiring construction work. It is dated 9 January 1924 and was drawn by Harrison and Grierson, a well-known engineering firm which is still in business today. According to an article in the Franklin Times on 11 January 1924, at a meeting of the Tuakau Town Board, consulting engineers Harrison and Grierson forwarded plans and specifications for the formation, re-grading and metaling of Dominion Road, Bollard Road, Carr Street, Church Street and Whangarata Avenue.  Sketch plan showing location of roads to be dealt with township of Tuakau, drawn by Harris

Contemporary collecting in the time of COVID-19

Image
This time one year ago New Zealanders had 48 hours to prepare for the move to Alert Level 4, the nation was thrown into the unknown… Friday 28 February 2020 - the first COVID-19 case is reported in New Zealand. We become the 48th country in the world to have a confirmed case of COVID-19. Saturday 21 March - the Government introduces the 4-tiered Alert Level system, the equivalent of Alert Level 2 restrictions had come into effect the previous day. Monday 23 March, 1.30 pm - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces New Zealand has moved to Alert Level 3. We have 48 hours to spare, it is scary. There is a sense of trepidation, panic, uncertainty, and heightened urgency. For some, an undercurrent of excitement, for others, the sheer fear of going headfirst into the unknown. Some of us panic, some lay low and wait nervously, others look to assist those more vulnerable. We all try to figure out, ‘what will this mean for us?’ We hear the word ‘unprecedented’, used for the first of many times.

The shining white building perched over Shoal Bay

Image
For many years, as I’ve traversed the Harbour Bridge, I have looked across the water toward Bayswater Marina and pondered to myself ‘What on earth is that big white building over there?’. Perched on the waters edge is a large, three storey building with wide veranda’s and a red roof. It is in a rather sad state- the top and bottom veranda’s have lost their railings and the general demeanour has an air of being tired and windswept. I’d tried a simple Google search to no avail, and I’d always intended on going for a drive one day to have a look.  This mystery remained until I briefly joined the Heritage Policy team within the Auckland Council Plans and Places team in November 2020. I was tasked with conducting research and reviewing scheduled buildings, one of which was the Takapuna Boating Club; my shining, white, windswept building teetering on the banks of Shoal Bay. Henry Winkelmann. "Showing the Takapuna Boating Club", 16 February 1924, Auckland Libraries Heritage Collecti