Appletree Cottage and Former Warkworth US Army Camp

Anderson Road, Warkworth

  • Appletree Cottage and Former Warkworth US Army Camp, 2000.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Antoine Coffin.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7493 Date Entered 15th June 2001

Locationopen/close

City/District Council

Auckland Council (Rodney District Council)

Region

Auckland Council

Legal description

Part Allotment 33, Parish of Mahurangi

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Historic Place Assessment Under Section 23 Criteria report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Historical:

The Maori names of Puhinui, Matakana and Mahurangi are associated with the Warkworth area. The early occupation of the area by Maori is best known on the coastal fringes where a number of fishing and drying sites were recorded by early settlers. The Mahurangi was a particularly favoured area for fish resources, fish liver oil, which was used in mixing dyes was a well known resource in this area. Te Kawerau a Maki, Ngati Paoa and Ngati Whatua are known to have interests in this area. At the time of George Grey, Ngati Whatua supported the Pakeha occupation of

Kawau Island as a means to protect the coastal areas from Ngapuhi raiders.

John George Cruickshank, farmer, purchased the property at Matakana in 1940. The land consisting of 5 acres, 2 roods and 20 perches was flat with margins adjoining the Glen Eden River in the north, a small creek to the west, and Anderson Road in the South. The land was used for pasture farming until temporarily used as an Army camp for US troops stationed in New Zealand during the Second World War.

Following the Japanese bombing of the American Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941, the subsequent fall of Singapore and Hong Kong and the bombing of Darwin in February 1942, Prime Minister of New Zealand, Peter Fraser appealed to Winston Churchill to release the NZ Division from the Middle East.

The threat was real. On March 5, 1942 Churchill asked President Roosevelt to send a Division of US troops to New Zealand on the condition that New Zealanders remained in Egypt. The US Joint Chiefs of Staff who were responsible for the Pacific saw New Zealand as an important strategic position. Soon after US troops were on their way to

New Zealand.

Between September 1942 and May 1943 some 120,000 uniformed NZ and American personnel were in camp. At its peak the "American Invasion" in March 1943, US forces in NZ reached over 40,000.

The camps were in the Warkworth area, Auckland and Wellington. There were 20 US Army camps based in the Warkworth area.

The Anderson Road camp boasted some 28 structures, erected on the land for US Army personnel. These included 20 huts, 2 mess rooms, a cook house, ablutions block, laundry, pump house, latrine and tank stand. A further five structures, 4 stores and a hut were erected directly across the road.

Whilst there are no records of the numbers of troops based at this camp at any one time, an estimate of 80 personnel is based on each hut berthing four occupants, however it was not unusual to have troops occupying tents and bivouacs during temporary stays.

The Apples, pears, quince and plum orchards were planted by the troops and many still survive today. The name Appletree cottage derives its name from these orchards.

The property was purchased from the Cruikshank family after the War by Richard and Ella Stevenson. Richard Stevenson, a builder and architect, designed an English stone and shingle cottage based on images from "English Ideal Homes and Country Life" magazines. Over a period of seven years the couple cast the thousands of blocks required to build the cottage. All the windows and doors were made on site. In 1971 Mrs Stevenson became widowed and survived her husband till 1989 at the age of 93.

Christine and Malcolm Roberts purchased the house in 1989 and made a number of alterations to the interior of the house, front porch and grounds. The property was again sold in 1994 to James (Jim) Ross Lockwood and Wendy Wickens. Mr Lockwood later purchased Wendy Wickens share and is the current owner.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Historic Place Assessment Under Section 23 Criteria report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Social:

The former Warkworth Army Camp is associated with the World War II military campaigns in the Pacific The threat of war on NZ shores was real, having an intense impact on a community.

American troops giving gifts to New Zealanders, particularly women, and the reciprocal invitation into homes was common The Americans brought excitement and interest into the conservative lives of New Zealanders. More than 1500 New Zealand women married US troops. Many of these women moved to the United States. The affection shown to US troops was most notable during formal parades where the outpouring of cheers for those who had come to defend the country from a real and perceived threat of war. For many this was the first time they met Americans.

The contrast to good relations was evidenced through the introduction of baseball, cheeseburgers, doughnuts, coffee and a taste for music and alcohol not seen before in New Zealand. The motto's of 'work hard, play hard', 'overpaid, oversexed and overhere' and 'featherbed soldiers', were evidence of the outgoing nature of the troops during their stay in New Zealand. There were also organised 'cultural exchanges' including visits to Turangawaewae Marae between November 1942 and February 1943. The Tainui regatta of March 1943 was a highlight. The cultural exchanges were seen as important in breaking down dissention between Maori and the racist elements of the US troops. The outgoing nature is known to have caused considerable dissention amongst New Zealand soldiers returning home from the Middle East.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Historic Place Assessment Under Section 23 Criteria report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history:

The site is associated with the US troop occupation in Warkworth and New Zealand during the Second World War. New Zealand was seen as an important strategic position in the South Pacific. The site provided important facilities for daily living and occupation. Some physical evidence of this occupation exists.

(b) The association of the place with events, persons or ideas of importance in New Zealand history:

The presence of the troops provided a security presence and close contact with New Zealanders during World War II while NZ troops were in the Middle East.

The former Warkworth Army camp personnel were responsible for cultural and social intercourse with Warkworth locals and New Zealanders generally. For many conservative New Zealanders this was the first time they had met Americans and shared in social and cultural activities.

The later Appletree cottage built of handmade concrete blocks by Stevenson reflects the shortage of materials after the Second World War and the Kiwi 'can do anything' attitude to building.

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Construction Professionalsopen/close

Stevenson, Richard

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Historic Place Assessment Under Section 23 Criteria report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Items:

Appletree cottage:-

Main dwelling

Adjacent cottage

Former US Army Camp:-

Building platforms

Orchard

Architectural:

Richard Stevenson, a builder and architect, designed an English style stone and shingle cottage based on images from "English Ideal Homes and Country Life" magazines.

The cottage completed in about 1951 incorporates a number styles (eclectic). The dwelling facade appears similar in style to some Chapman-Taylor cottages - Wilkinson House, Pukearuhe and Has Maur, New Plymouth 1913, both examples of English cottage style. However, the low pitched roof 'bungalow style', concrete block exterior walls (to give a stone appearance) and the interior with beamed ceilings and stained timber framed gib board walls suggest a number of trends including North American ideas and sty les of the 1950s, This example is considered to be a late example of an English cottage.

The 1950s saw the introduction of brick and tile houses and the state house in New Zealand. The use of concrete blocks in the early 1950s was unusual for domestic dwellings, this being attributed to a material shortage after the war.

Over a period of seven years Mr and Mrs Stevenson cast the thousands of blocks required to build the cottage and the adjacent garage/storeroom built in similar fashion. The handmade hollowstone blocks were made from locally sourced aggregate. Neville Stevenson, the son of Richard Stevenson believes the aggregate was sourced from the Tickles Quarry on Omaha Valley Road. The exterior mortar is flush with the surface of the blocks and appears quite rough having not been pointed. This suggests that the original intention was to plaster the exterior of the house. One of the reasons for not plastering the exterior could be the wish to create a stone like appearance similar to English stone cottages. Curiously the exterior faces of the blocks were turned inside. All the windows and doors were made on site.

The aluminium pressed tiles used on the roof were purchased from Australia. Researcher, Mrs Dinah Holman states that these may have been the first in the New Zealand. The early use of these tiles on a residential dwelling in New Zealand is considered unusual, possibly rare.

The shortage of materials after the war and the improvisation shown by Mr Stevenson

reflect the Kiwi "can do it" attitude.

The remains of several structures built for the US Army camp are located on the property. The Davies Model D A 1852 pump was put in by the Stevensons in the 1950s. The previous engine used by the US Army would have been a Wisconsin engine with a belt. A wooden shed is located on top of a concrete pad, most likely the former mess-room or laundry. The army remains provide some physical evidence of the former occupation of the site by US Army troops. The later Appletree cottage has been built over many of the former building platforms near the road frontage of Anderson Road. Some of the apple trees planted by the US troops are still located on the property. Appletree Cottage derives its name from these trees.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1951 -

Information Sources

Salmond, 1986

Jeremy Salmond, Old New Zealand Houses 1800-1940, Auckland, 1986, Reed Methuen

Shaw, 1991 (3)

Peter Shaw, New Zealand Architecture: From Polynesian Beginnings to 1990, Auckland, 1991

Bevan, 1992

D Bevan, United States Forces in New Zealand 1942-1945 , Alexandra (1992)

Bioletti, 1989

H Bioletti, The Yanks are Coming: The American Invasion of NZ, 1989

Warkworth NZ

Bioletti, 1993

H Bioletti, Tales of Mahurangi, Warkworth, 1993

Phillips, 1992

J Phillips, Brief Encounter: American forces and the NZ people - 1942-1945, 1992

Rodney Times

Rodney Times

10 March 1992 'Apple Tree Mews - a cattery and cottage with loads of history and character

Other Information

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.