The shining white building perched over Shoal Bay
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 Collections, 1-W364.|
In February 1920 some of the original club members, reviving their passion for sailing, founded a new Club at Bayswater, the Takapuna Boating Club. The first general meeting took place on October 14th 1920 , and the season opened with a picnic on 18 December . After two years of successful sailing and social events, the committee members discussed the idea of building a clubhouse to keep up with the growing club and to further solidify its place in the community. In October 1922 the sale of some large tannery buildings in the Panmure lagoon had caught the attention of the Commodore, and an investigation party was formed to go to evaluate them.
|New Zealand Herald, Volume LIX, Issue 18215, 7 October 1922, Page 4. Accessed through Papers Past.|
|Matt Elliott. "Bayswater Boating Club building, Sir Peter Blake Parade, Bayswater", 16 May 2018, Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, 1385-0639. |
|Unknown. "Showing Ireland's Tannery at Panmure Basin, Panmure", 1910-1919, Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, 1031-P399.|
As new owners of a rather large building very far away, the club set to task. The Club formed a demolition party who ventured to the site in Panmure for four weekends, ready to work during the day and camp at night. By the end of the fourth weekend, the building had been precisely taken apart and was stacked onto a pontoon ready to be transported to Bayswater. Of course, the trip from Panmure to Bayswater these days is around 26km and half an hour by car, but in 1922 it took two trips and around three days for the Auckland Launch and Towboat Company to tow the pontoon the distance.
|Unknown. "Bayswater Boating Club, Bayswater, North Shore." 1930-1939, Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, T0739. |
|Unknown. "Takapuna Boating Club, 1976", 1976, Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, T1475.|
The tale of the club and the building stretches back in time, and further afield, than I would ever have guessed. It is a story of a dedicated community of locals, a love of water sports and also of ingenuity and a ‘can-do’ attitude. The club and club house have had a long association with, and influence on, the local sailing and water sports community. The site was a hub for the progression of sailing in New Zealand and has provided a venue for many social events over the years. The uniqueness of the construction of this building is also notable. Given that it was dismantled, relocated and rebuilt, it demonstrates technological accomplishments and dedication form the local community. With such a prominent position on the landscape, the Takapuna Boating Club is a true icon of the Hauraki Gulf. We can hope that this beautiful building with a long and varied history may continue to be the shining white building perched over Shoal Bay.
|Matt Eliott. "Bayswater Boating Club, Bayswater, 2018", Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, 1385-0643.|