For over a year now I have been working on a project to save a historic pottery site at Hobsonville, Akl. Some people may remember the well known crockery making company, Crown Lynn, that made the NZ Railway cups. This site was once home to the company that went on to become Crown Lynn, Clark Potteries. I have come up with a plan to save this site ,with my P, from the developers who currently own the site and want to put houses all over the clay pit part of the site. The developers want to work with the Hobsonville Heritage Trust and the WCC to create a heritage trail around the bottom of the site and other historic sites in the area which we think is a good idea but does not preserve the entire area of land that needs to be saved. Our Plan also incorporates the triangle of land opposite the historic site in Scott Road and Clark House which is next door to the pottery site and is currently used as a medical facility by the Air Force. Below is our concept plan which we came up with:
PROPOSAL FOR A HISTORIC PARK AT HOBSONVILLE
With the proposed re-development of the former Hobsonville Airbase, it is apparently planned to create a substantial housing development with schools, shops and other facilities. At the same time the Motorway will be constructed and this too, creates other opportunities.
The first activity in the area was fishing it seems and the middens left by the Maori inhabitants bear witness to that. Europeans made forestry their first industry. That was followed by the pottery development which had a very wide and long impact locally. Interestingly, it was built on the middens because the shell was burned to make lime for the potteries – hence Limeburners Bay.
Now there is the opportunity to capture all of this as the new phase of development in this district occurs.
Why not form a historic reserve around three features – the former pottery site in Limeburners Bay, the historic church donated by R.O. Clark and Clark House.
The triangle of land between Clark Road and Scott Road which ends at the church could be developed as a historic village incorporating a Village Green which could be used as a Saturday market. Buildings for this village could include: Ockleston House which may well need to be shifted and preserved with the building of the new Motorway Interchange; some of the Workers Cottages from Sinton Road and Clark Lane; and other buildings in the area of historic importance could also join this cluster, west of the existing church with its significant historic cemetery.
The former pottery site needs to be preserved. At present some of the significant foundations are still intact. A park setting would be ideal. The new subdivision will need passive recreation areas and this will meet two needs – historic and recreational.
We understand that the site now belongs to a Developer. The Council would need to consider diverting some of the locally generated Parks and Reserves dollars from the new subdivisions to purchase this special site OR swop it for another suitable parcel of land.
Unitec students could be invited to prepare a development plan in conjunction with the archaeologists, the West Auckland Historical Society and surviving family members of the initial settlers.
Development could be progressive over the next few years following after the style of Eden Gardens where retirees and any other interested individuals or groups give time to the project on a regular rostered basis.
The historic village could house a display of photos and memorabilia of the district and Clark House could in due course become a pottery museum and draw together all the threads of Waitakere history on this site and the New Lynn developments which flowed from it.
The park could be run by three committees elected by an association that would be set up and called the Limeburners Bay Historical Society (LBHS). The reason for three separate committees would be to look after each part of the park, the three parts being (a) the pottery museum (Clark House) (b) the historic village/market square (c) the passive recreation reserve (pottery site). These committees would report back to the President of the LBHS who, along with the Secretary, would report quarterly to the council.
We also have a blog for this proposal where we try to keep our supporters updated.