Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The forgotten New Lynn Gateway of Remembrance

New Lynn’s First World War memorial was not erected until some years after the war. A proposal first made in 1920 to erect a soldiers’ memorial on the Triangle Reserve in the centre of town came to nothing. Eventually, Reverend W.P. Rankin, the minister at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Hall, took matters literally into his own hands, and erected a substantial brick ‘Gateway of Remembrance' on the corner of Matai Street and Margan Avenue outside his church. The Reverend Rankin was no stranger to bricklaying, having previously built the church hall himself.



The Gateway of Remembrance was formally dedicated on 5 November 1933. Marble tablets on either side of the arch listed the names of 94 men from the district who had served during the war, 19 of whom had been killed in action.

 


Matai Street was later renamed Rankin Avenue. However, the memorial itself has long since disappeared. Its date of demolition has not been recorded, and it is not known what happened to the memorial tablets. Last time I passed by, in December 2014, the old church building still stood on its original site nearby, although it was unused and had a dangerous-looking bulge in its eastern wall. 


The story of the forgotten archway can be traced partly through newspapers accessed on PapersPast. See:  ‘New Lynn Memorial: Gateway of RemembranceNZ Herald, 9/8/1933, p. 11; ‘New Lynn Memorial’, Auckland Star, 30/10/1933, p. 8; ‘New Lynn Memorial’, NZ Herald, 2/11/1933, p. 10; ‘New Lynn Memorial Gateway’ [photograph], ibid., p. 6; ‘War Memorial Gateway at New Lynn’, NZ Herald, 6/11/1933, p. 10; ‘War Memorial at New Lynn’ [photograph], ibid., p. 6; ‘War Memorial: New Lynn Gateway: Official Dedication’, Auckland Star, 6/11/1933, p. 10; ‘Unveiling Reveals More than Plaque’, Western Leader, 3/6/2013, p. 3. 


This is the first of a series on interesting Auckland war memorials by Bruce Ringer, South Auckland Research Centre

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