Originally called Te Whau, after the native tree, (also known as the NZ mulberry) the Auckland suburb of Avondale was settled by Europeans in 1843.
With the completion of the Great North Road in the late 1850s settlement expanded rapidly, with churches, stores and a public hall built in 1867. A railway connection in 1880 increased settlement further.
Te Whau was renamed Avondale District on June 1882. The original name Te Whau survives in the Whau river, an estuarial arm of the Waitemate Harbour, which runs along the western edge of the suburb.
Brickworks, tanneries, mills and pottery works were common in early Avondale, along with market gardens. The area became increasingly suburban from the 1920s.
For many people Avondale is known primarily for two things, the so-called Avondale spider and the Avondale Racecourse.
The Avondale Racecourse is one of only two gallop tracks in suburban Auckland. It is also the location of the popular Sunday markets.
The spider is an introduced species of huntsman spider. It looks spectacular but is harmless.
Town Centre History
Read a Timeline History of the Avondale Shopping Centre and the Avondale Business Association: 1840 – 1997. Researched and compiled by Lisa Truttman, Avondale-Waterview Historical Society. More information in Heart of the Whau (originally published 2003)
Read a Timeline History of the Avondale Mainstreet Programme: 1997 – 2001, and highlights of achievements to the present.
Read some of the memories of what life was like in Avondale during the 1800s and early 1900s. Courtesy of the Avondale Oral History Project (1990-1991)
Avondale Heritage Walks Brochure