Other people who contributed

The Louisa Wadham Walkway runs north-east up Lutners Reserve - to the north of the bowling club.
In July 2014 we asked if you know who Louisa Wadham was or where the name Lutners comes from. 

On 8 January 2015, we heard from Louisa Wadham's great, great niece Terrie Reddish who writes "Louisa (not Louise) never married. A large block of land from Little Shoal Bay up past Wilding Avenue was owned by Louisa Wadham, spinster, of Vincent Street, Northcote.   She died in 1957.   When Aunt Lou died the executors had the land surveyed into sections and the members of the family who wanted a section bought it, including my parents and grandparents.  Aunt Lou was very keen on ferns and loved her bit of bush.   Someone set the bush on fire at one stage and she was really distressed at the loss of her ferns.  The Northcote Borough Council chose the walkway name and should have records about both the walkway naming and land ownership."
Terrie is an award winning botannical artist; she was awarded a gold medal at the Royal Horticultural Society's December 2008 show for her study of Phormium tenax. Click here to see her artwork or to order her prints and greeting cards.

Tennis Courts
We also told that the tennis courts to the north of the bowling club were the home to the local tennis club where renowned NZ tennis player Tony Wilding who won many international championships prior to his death in WW1 used to play.  However the Wikipedia article has his home in Christchurch.  So it seems more research is needed. Another anecdote is that the tennis courts were destroyed when a sewage tunnel was dug under the hill north of Wilding Ave - releasing a lot of sludge which resulted in the swamping of the courts.

Maori Gardens
On the ridge between the Louisa Wadham Walkway and Seaview Ave is an area of regrowth bush with an interesting history.  The old Maori Gardens are a fascinating area with big macrocarpa and lots of invasive pest plants (sweet pea bush, bangalow palm, wattle, etc) and lots of regenerating native bush. The story is that over the centuries local Maori lived and fished around Little Shoal Bay with pa sites on Northcote Point and Needles Eye. Various archaeological sites, food stores and middens surround the bay where, until various reclamations took place in the 20th century, the tide reached all the way up to the bottom of the present Glade Place and Wilding Ave. At some point local iwi members developed an orchard which supplied Auckland markets from the land above the old tennis courts and the current bowling green.
This area of reserve contains some old macrocarpa which are reaching the end of their life and, being allelopathic, sour the soil restricting native regeneration.  There are is a mix of weeds, regenerated natives and some planted natives (kauri and a rimu).
If any readers know more of the history of this area, please let us know.  We'd be interested to know who planted the rimu and the young kauri.  Jim, our guide on our November 2016 walk, learnt a lot of the details from an old-timer Keith Wadham.
WARNING  please don't walk through this area without treating your boots with trigene to counteract kauri dieback diseases as there are young kauri in the area. 

Mr James (Jim) Prickett and Mrs Anne Prickett

The subscription to buy Le Roys Bush was promoted by James (Jim) and Anne Prickett family who lived at the bottom of Maritime Tce (then Marama Tce). The Pricketts were keen supporters of Forest & Bird and other environmental organisations.  A copy of a document from NZPCN files about the dedication of a seat at the entrance to Kauri Park following Mr James Prickett's death in 1965 is attached below (see http://bts.nzpcn.org.nz/bts_pdf/Auck_1965_22_3_3.pdf for the original) and references to Mr J and Mrs A Prickett in http://notornis.osnz.org.nz/system/files/Notornis_9_3.pdf

The transcribed text of the NZPCN article is as follows (with minor corrections):


On 6 March 1965 a representative gathering of local body members, schoolmasters, amateur botanists and ornithologists met at Kauri Park, Birkenhead, to open officially the new Park Entrance and dedicate a park seat to the memory of the late Mr James Prickett.

I have had reports of this ceremony from both Miss Crookes and Mrs. Moisson, who also sent a cutting from a Shore newspaper). What follows therefore is a precis of the 3 accounts with some added notes of my own. My thanks and apologies to both ladies. 

Over 100 people attended the ceremony which impressed everyone with its simplicity and sincerity. The new entrance is a decided improvement and adds, as Mrs Moisson says, to the beauty and dignity of an already fine bush reserve. The memorial, seat, unveiled by Mr Ross McKenzie also met with approval There is a vigorous young kawaka just inside the entrance which adds to the general effect and the reserve contains several botanical rarities which are well worth preserving. Eugenia maire, Libocedrus plumosa, Mida salicifolia, Nothofagus truncataPheba1ium nudum, Phyllocladus glaucus, and among the orchids, Prasophyllum nudum and Corybas aconitiflorus. I was startled once to find a kingfern growing happily in the gully bottom, but discovered later that Jim Prickett had planted it there. I got to know him guite well some 20 years ago during my Winter Garden days. Often on a Monday he would burst cheerfully into the nurseries bearing seedlings of native plants he had gathered during his weekend excursions into the bush. These would be potted up and reared to a decent size and woe betide me if any should fail to thrive) then used to embellish the Cheeseman Flower Show, or planted out in the various ‘native’ corners of the Domain Gardens. Mr Prickett was a foundation member of the Botanical Society and of course a tower of strength to Forest and Bird. He was most enthusiastic about forest preservation, in particular touching the security of the native birds which were his main interest. Mrs Moisson tells me also that he was skilled in woodwork, turning out as an additional hobby, some 50 spinning wheels for the Red Cross. To end on a note from Miss Crookes ‘It is appropriate that the memorial seat should be located in Kauri Park, since Mr Prickett's foresight, energy and enthusiasm played a great part in acquiring this beautiful reserve for the enjoyment of the public’.      

    E.D.H.  [Possibly Edwin Hatch of Laingholm see http://www.nativeorchids.co.nz/Journals/111/page4.html - he is listed in the acknowledgements in The Botany of Auckland by Lucy M. Cranwell. 

A local resident remembers visiting the Pricketts, her parents family friends, when she was young.  She writes:

"Jim and Anne Prickett (also called Dot) were Australian originally and their home in Marama Tce as it was then called, covered three sections, from the road side, along the cliff edge and back towards the neighbours and right of way drive.  They planted it out in NZ and Australian natives, with a fernery, a large fishpond on the lower lawn, and an orchard area. Fairy blue penguins used to reside at the bottom of the cliff in Little Shoal Bay. We used to visit in the 1960s when I was a child and I remember the scent of the foliage and the colours of the jacaranda underplanted with Xeronemas (Poor Knights Lily) along the driveway. 

At that time they drove a red Vauxhall Velox and Jim was a large man with glasses, Ann was small and chunky in shape.  They also had a creosote bach surrounded by forest at Swanson which we visited. I don't know where it would have been now, but I had fond memories of it. 

James (Uncle Jim) died of a heart attack when I was about 10 years old (1964). I think he was 70 years of age. Ann died from a stroke in about 1980 or 1981 after we came to Birkenhead and before our eldest was born. Of their offspring -  one son went to Darwin and the other died soon after. The property was then subdivided and most of the plants and memorabilia were lost.

Muriel Fisher told me that Jim had donated sufficient funds to secure Le Roys Bush as a Reserve. He was a Northcote/Birkenhead Borough Councillor. He was a fine photographer and he and Ann spent much time at Miranda photographing wetland birds. 

He did a lot of woodwork and had a workshop under the house. My brother and I used to stay with them in the school holidays for a night or two, and Ann would make us waffles in her waffle iron.  I was always fascinated with the collection of Pacific shells and other interesting things in a glass cabinet in the drawing room where they also had a piano and a spinning wheel. Ann told me she used to dye wool from plants from New Plymouth/Mt Egmont area (and probably other places as well). She showed me how to spin and card the wool."

She recalls James Prickett had studied metallurgy at the Technical College in Manchester in 1918. He came to NZ from Australia. Before he retired in NZ he worked for the paper mills, Morrison PIM (Printing Inks and Machinery) in town.

Thanks very much to Romily Atkinson for this information.

Neil Sutherland

Neil Sutherland was a key figure in helping to restore the Little Shoal Bay Wetland and in promoting the Le Roys Bush Management Committee.  He was instrumental in the renewed restoration programme which recommenced in 2007 with a grant from the ARC's CEF Fund. He was also chair of the North Shore Branch of Forest and Bird. 

Rod Taylor

Rod Taylor was a vigorous advocate for the Le Roys Bush and LSB reserves and a hard worker. He was chair of the Le Roys Bush Committee from 1992 to 1998.
His name lives on in "Rods Island" where he helped to transform a 'peninsula' of dumped concrete and clay just to the west of Dudding Park from a wasteland of pampas grass and weeds.
With Neil Sutherland and others, Rod cleared a lot of the pampas that had grown up around Rods Island.
Along with Ray Marshall, Rod cleared a lot of the crack willow from the upper wetland. 
In parallel David May and Adrian Meys were working from planks to drill and poison the crack willow in the lower wetland 

Ray Marshall

An email from Tony Holman: "It is with sorrow that I write to tell you that Ray Marshall (former long-time resident of Northcote,) has died. [...]
Ray was a great community man, political activist, environmentalist, and hard worker. In that context he was a long term member and worker for the LSB Action Committee and the Northcote Residents’ Assn for very many years, as well as serving as Chairman of each of these organisations for some of that time. He was very much a hands on person toiling away week end after week end in the Le Roy’s Bush and wetland with a few other devoted people for many years."

Ray was one of the core team who worked with Neil Sutherland, Ray Tomes and others to clear Rods Island of pampas grass in the 1990s and worked with Rod Taylor, Adrian Meys and David May to clear the wetland of crack willow. He resigned from the Le Roys Bush Committee in about 2008 having made a major contribution to Le Roys Bush restoration amongst his many other community activities.

Rod's daughter Sue Malone commented on Facebook ""
Thank you for the tribute to Ray. He was a tireless team worker and supporter for the LeRoys bush and his dedication has helped preserve the area for the future. My late father Rod Taylor would wish to add his respects to this fine man.

Tony and Dinah Holman

In the late 1960s / early 1970s, the Birkenhead Borough Council started "reclamation" in the wetland at the bottom of Maritime Terrace.  What became known as Rod's Island was formed by this dumping of clay, concrete and other hardfill. This work was stopped and the rest of the wetland was saved after local residents led by Dinah Holman, Roger Boshier and others stopped the bulldozers from continuing work. The wetland forms a valuable role in filtering water before it enters Little Shoal Bay. 

Around 2008-2009, Tony Holman as Chair of the North Shore City Council Parks Committee instigated with the support of other Councillors the purchase of the land behind 241 Hinemoa Street and some other nearby sections to extend the width of the reserve where the new board walk was opened in 2016.

Links to history of the area

KW Salmon,
1 Nov 2013, 18:59