Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bungalows of Avondale, Auckland: Pictures of Home

Well, actually, this is a tale of one bungalow in Avondale...

61 Roberton Road, Avondale, Auckland, NZ, May 1913. S Collins & Son, photo.

This real photograph postcard was sent to "all at home", perhaps in the UK, by Ethel and Frank to show their home at 61 Roberton Road, Avondale, Auckland on May 8th 1913. Perhaps it is their new home.

The house clearly needs some work. Although it has the basics, it clearly needs painting and to the proud homeowner it could do with some "improvements".

Curiously, Ethel & Frank do not comment on the house other than to include a postscript: "P.S. The white frames set in the windows are fly screens, grand things to keep flies out doors." For some curious reason, Kiwis did not widely adopt this innovation to limit bug life indoors. Perhaps this is because flying insects came to be a relatively minor problem - Kiwis wiped out flies like the Chinese did during the Cultural Revolution(!) - or the relative absence of infectious disease borne by insects or their biting behaviour - resulted in little use of insect screens.

61 Roberton Road, Avondale, Auckland, post May 1913. A E Woodall, photographer, Remuera.

Some time later, the above photo materialises. Clearly Ethel and Frank have been busy on the home improvement front. A more stylish (for the time) verandah has been added, window shades have been installed, as has a bay window on the side, and the house and roof have been painted. Some serious work has gone into upgrading the front lawn and flower beds, while a concrete path has been laid. The family "back home" would certainly have been impressed with Ethel and Frank's industriousness in taming the urban landscape.

The house at 61 Roberton Road still stands, with chimneys intact, but the verandah in the second photo has gone, perhaps long ago. It can be seen by loading in the address at Google Earth.

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