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2014 November Newsletter



2014 has been a great year of events for Remuera Heritage members:

Our first event for 2014 was a double deal of two iconic buildings in Market Road.  We visited the Remuera Railway Station where Terry Sutcliffe and David Pittman showed us around the finest example in New Zealand of an island station and signal box from 1907.  After that we went to the Remuera Bowling Club pavilion to relax with a talk about the history of the bowling club and its 1906 pavilion.

In June we had an evening with Ian Maxwell, co-author of Great Guns: the artillery heritage of New Zealand, which explores why New Zealanders brought trophy guns back from the Crimean, South African and First World wars, and where these and other pieces of ordnance were displayed in parks and other public places. Many stories of how the weapon was acquired, presented, used and discarded were related. These include humorous accounts of authorised and unauthorised firings of the guns, and their unwitting inclusion in wider debates on war and peace. Every school got a machine gun after WW1!

In August The Very Rev Dr. Warren Limbrick spoke on The Rev Samuel Marsden preaching the first church service in NZ 200 years ago. He covered Marsden preaching the first church service in New Zealand, including the early times of Marsden in Sydney, working with Ruatara, and establishment of the first Church Missionary Society missions up north.

October was the Auckland Heritage Festival. We had a very informative and moving talk by Herb Farrant, president of the N Z Military Historical Society, on the effects of WW1 on New Zealanders at home and at war, especially on the western front in France where Herb has led tours for the last 19 years.

We also had a new heritage walk around the 3 churches of St Lukes, St Michaels and St Marks in Remuera to discover the architecture and history of the churches and other buildings of interest in the area. This event was held in partnership with St Luke’s Church and Community who welcomed us with a warming afternoon tea after the rain and wind had done their worst on the walk between St Marks & St Michaels.

2015 Events

As our members-only Christmas party draws near, it is time to think about events for 2015. The draft list of possibilities so far has:

  • Professor Len Bell on Charles Goldie, painter and Remuera resident
  • An Antiques Roadshow with Terry Sutcliffe
  • 100 WW1 war memorials with Helen Vail
  • Visit to College Rifles archives
  • Visit to Auckland Grammar School
  • Visit to Highwic
  • Helen Geary, Civic Trust, on heritage issues in Auckland
  • UNESCO Memory of the World’s register of New Zealand documentary heritage


2014 to 2018 is the centenary of World War 1 and Remuera Heritage is researching the names on the WW1 memorials in our neighbourhood. Working on this is Helen Vail on 100 New Zealand War Memorials blog and we would really like a repeat of Herb Farrant of the NZ Military Historical Society talking on the effects of WW1 on New Zealanders at home and at war.

Did you know St Mark’s Church of Remuera is an official war grave cemetery? Buried here is Harold John Stilton. 

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-S2171'                   St Mark’s Church, Remuera

Harold was the youngest son of John and Fannie Stilton of Orakei Rd Remuera, born in 1892. He attended Remuera Primary School where he won a prize in Standard two in 1901. He worked as a printer and played football for the Remuera United Club (fourth grade) with his brother Fred. Harold enlisted with the army on 7 April 1916.  He had his photo taken by a Queen St photographer Herman Schmidt in 1916 - these 3 photos are held in the Sir George Grey Special Collections of Auckland Libraries.

Harold joined the 17th Reinforcements Auckland Infantry Battalion, A Company and embarked from Wellington on the Devon on the 25th September 1916 to Devonport in England. He was reported as wounded in June 1917 on the western front. The Auckland Weekly News featured Harold and Fred in September 6, 1917, as “two or more in a family killed in action or wounded”. He was discharged from the army and returned to New Zealand on a hospital ship, arriving back in Auckland on 28 December 1917.

Harold had 3 other brothers: his brother Fred joined the N Z Rifle Brigade and was gassed. His brother William (W J B) was called up in a ballot on 21 August 1918 in the 3rd draft of Class C of Second Division reservists – married men with 2 children. Another brother George had asked for an exemption as he said he was the support of his aged mother: Two brothers had been on active service. One was at present in hospital in England, and the other was in an outpatient of the Auckland Hospital Annexe. George, known as Bert, said he was prepared to go if his soldier brother could be returned. Leave until February 6 was allowed.

However the rejoicings at the signing of the armistice bringing an end to the war on 11 November 1914 were marked with tragedy in the Stilton family. Harold died on 10 November 1918 in Auckland Hospital from the post-war influenza epidemic at the age of 26. His funeral was at St Marks Church in Remuera where he was buried.  His name is on the Roll of Honour on Remuera Primary School’s gates.

Sadly Bert (George Bertram) of Bell Rd, Remuera also died on the 11 November 1918 aged 33 years and their mother Fannie on the 14th November from pneumonia at the age of 71 years.

The Auckland Star (15 November 1914) reported - Bereavements caused by the ravage of influenza have made a deep impression on the sentiment of people during the past few weeks. A case that calls for sympathy is that of the Stilton family of Orakei Road, Remuera. The first to fall victim to the malady was the youngest son, Harold, a returned soldier. 26 years of age, who passed away at the Hospital annexe on Sunday. The following day at the Auckland Hospital his brother Bert, 33 years of age (second soul) succumbed. The climax came yesterday when the widowed mother passed away at the ripe age of 71 years. This practically accounts for the whole of the family.