New Clubrooms for the North Shore Branch

Target Audience

Rediscovering our history, from Break-In for Dec 1950 pp 3-5, this is the story of how our first clubrooms came to be.

Our Own Clubrooms

The author is unknown but suspected of being Wally Briden ZL1PN or maybe Bert Batty ZL1HQ.

The history of the North Shore Branch starts way back in 1934, when six enthusiasts decided to form the North Shore Radio Club. From this early start the membership grew and we have in the branch today 35 financial members including three of the early gang, Bert Batty 1HQ, Tay Hayward 1DG, and Jif Fleming 1IH. The club affiliated with N.Z.A.R.T., becoming the North Shore Branch in October, 1945. 


Our first clubrooms

In the early days meetings were held at members' homes and various other convenient places. For the last five years the Waitemata Power Board's Test rooms in Takapuna became our regular meeting place, but one of the things always in mind has been "our own clubrooms." The war of course brought to a standstill most club activities, but a small group carried on. In 1947 it was decided that something must be done about our own club rooms, and an Alluvial Gold Art Union was organised. Stan 1AB did much useful work arranging for the printing of 8,000 tickets and the distribution of them to all members and other N.Z.A.R.T. branches. Wally 1PN turned out to be the master ticket seller, selling over 1000. Everybody, however, did their bit, culminating in an all day drive the day before the closing date. On this day no less than 1,600 tickets were sold. The whole effort resulted in the sum of ₤150 being raised. 

With this in hand our activities really commenced, and all members were busy searching the district for a suitable building site. Bert 1HQ then advised we had been offered a share in two very large pine trees, if we were prepared to fell them. This offer was accepted and several weekends were spent felling and cutting ready for the mill. Sore muscles were the order of the day but the gang came back for more each week. This resulted in a lot of fine looking logs resting peacefully in the valley with roadway several hundred yards up the hillside. Haulage to the road presented a problem until Roger 1SG came to light with bulldozer assistance. This made easy work of the job and in no time the logs were ready on the roadside. After milling we were the possessors of many hundreds of feet of first grade timber, which was duly stacked one fine meeting night, under Wally 1PN's new house. During this time envious eyes were cast on pieces of land owned by the local Borough Council and so in August, 1948, Wally 1PN and Keith 1LM waited as a deputation on the Takapuna Council requesting the possibility of a lease of suitable property.

The Council kindly agreed to help us in this direction and negotiations for a lease were commenced. Unavoidable delays occurred at this stage, while we continued our meetings at the Power Board's Test rooms, until finally in March, 1950, the lease was signed. We could now make some real progress. The Building Committee comprising Bert 1HQ, Roger 1SG and Keith 1LM got down to work, and with the aid of Mr. Bill Dymock, plans were prepared. It was agreed that finances limited the building to some 300 square feet but provision was made for later extension to twice this size. 

Considerable argument developed as to the most suitable type of roofing, and after hearing the proponents of fibrolite, aluminium and malthoid, the final decision was in favour of the malthoid, the walls to be of fibrolite. We decided to do the entire building job ourselves, even though we had no qualified builder in our ranks. Wally 1PN having built his own house was unanimously declared to be foreman in charge. Wally did a fine job but we were soon able to forecast accurately his opening remarks when returning to the job after an absence of a few hours. "Who the h-- did that?" And every time he looked at the roof, "I think we'd better have a bit more bracing!" A large tree on the section was promptly taken down and removed by 1PN and Ken Morrison for firewood. We rather think they regretted this action as it turned out to be pretty tough. The site was now cleared and the foundation blocks put in. 

With King's Birthday weekend now rapidly approaching a drive was made to get everything ready for commencing erection. A record crowd gathered at 1PN's, where the framing was all laid out and cut. During the holiday week-end no fewer than twenty-eight of our members turned up to help and it was to us a grand feeling to see the framework completed. Some of us found that punching four inch nails was even harder than punching the key. Gradually the building took shape, as the roof went on, and the walls were covered. Flooring timber caused a serious hold up, though it at least developed among the older members a surprising agility in leaping across the joists. Eventually Lance 1RJ worked the oracle and the flooring arrived after one or two false alarms. 

We had now arrived at the stage where a date could be set for the opening of the Clubrooms. 

Labour Day weekend was to be the big day and the last few weeks prior to this saw feverish activity. There was much to be done and all the materials were now on hand. Efforts were concentrated on finishing the interior for the opening, leaving the outside, the building by this time being completely waterproof. As will be seen from the photos quite a lot remains to be done on the outside. The walls and ceiling were lined with Pinex, and the interior finishing completed. 

Then came the painting. With the aid of Shorty 1AGA's portable (?) spray painting outfit, Roger 1SG and Bert 1ADS did a fine job, though there was some doubt at one stage whether Bert had been painting the clubroom or himself.

While this was going on, another party with a truck man-handled several tons of rocks to form a suitable approach from the roadway. The last job of all was a grand and glorious clean up and the installation of the Branch transmitter ZL1WO using a 34ft. vertical ZC1 whip. The opening ceremony took place on the Saturday evening starting at 8 p.m. The branch Chairman, Ken Morrison, welcomed a large crowd including many visitors. Representatives of Northland, Western Suburbs and Auckland branches were present, as were also our two Radio Inspectors.


A view of the inside

Our local Mayor, Mr John Guiniven and one of the Councilors, Mr Henderson, were present and at the conclusion of the proceedings the Mayor declared the Clubrooms open and switched on ZL1WO. Stan Waite 1AB, as will be evident a ham of long standing, gave a most interesting talk on the development of ham radio. Stan was presented later in the evening with a clock as a mark of appreciation for his efforts for the branch during the past years. Monty Miller 1HA, Dave Andrews 1ACK and Harry Presswood 1QT spoke on behalf of their respective branches and Harold Boyd 1CH, replied on behalf of the association, after which our Mayor, Mr Guiniven expressed pleasure at the work members had done both on emergency and in connection with the Clubrooms, and assured us of his support in the future.

Supper was then served and a general rag chew developed bringing the evening to a successful conclusion. Well, chaps, there it is. At last we have our own Clubrooms and though the outside requires more work before it is finished, we can sit back a bit and consolidate. Organisation of Branch equipment for emergency use, instruction of young members, and last but not least the acquiring of funds for expanding the building—all are on the agenda. The thanks of the Branch are due to certain "Key" men who turned up so regularly and also the wives who put up with the many absences. However, those home jobs are now getting the necessary attention so all is well. We trust that this will provide inspiration to any other Branch, in similar trouble over Clubrooms. What we did others can do and believe us, it is a great feeling to walk into your own Clubrooms.

1.  Text as published in Break-In with 2 typos. 
2.  Penultimate word "own" and the top title line are in bold face. 
3.  Authorship. Although large tracts of this article are repeated in the later article by ZL1HQ it does not follow that Bert was the author of this article. There are stylistic differences. Ken ZL1FZ, who was Branch Scribe to Break-In's regular branch activity column at the time, denies authorship. Jim Fish ZL1GF says it wasn't him either. Harold Boyd ZL1CH was a member of 02 at the time. So it looks like we shall have to call it anonymous. 
4. The article was illustrated with 2 photos entitled EXTERIOR AND INTERIOR VIEWS.

Here's a scan of the original article: