• Mr and Mrs James Smale (taken around 1930), and William John and James Henry Smale (taken in the 1900s).

James Smale and ‘Smale Brothers’, to the 1940s

James Smale was born around 1859 in Launceston, Devon, and arrived in New Zealand around 1879. He was the fourth son of James Smale, with that first name continuing on down the generations. On 2 February 1882 James was married in Wellington to Frances Emma Reed Gynn, youngest daughter of William Gynn, of Cornwall. She had just arrived in Wellington on 24 January 1882, on the ship ‘Weatherfield’.

They had six children: Hilda Jane (1884-1958), William John (1885-1964), James Henry (1887-1967), Annie Gwyn (1890-1979), Ivy Amelia (1893-?) and Irene Mary (1897-1980). Henry Hopper Adams’s fourth oldest son, Harry Hopper (1886-1972), married Annie Gwyn on 7 May 1913 and one of Adams’s daughters, Aroha, married William (Bill) John Smale in 1915.
By January 1884, the Smale family was living in Brighton Road, Parnell, and soon after moved to Pupuke Road in Northcote, near the corner of Ocean View and Raleigh Roads, where they lived for nearly 40 years. In January 1886, James was involved in a legal case over a cow with the Reverend Alexander Murray McCallum, a Presbyterian minister who farmed a neighbouring large plot of land on the northern side of Ocean View Road. Over the years, James’s expertise at horticulture was demonstrated by winning a number of prizes for flowers, tomatoes, potatoes, rhubarb, home-made wine etc. at the local Fruitgrower’s Show. He was also acknowledged for his strawberry and dairy farming.
In May 1911, James was involved in another legal case over a commission for a land sale, and had previously tried to sell his six-room house, with its surrounding three to four acres. In the mid-1920s, he and Frances moved to 30 Spencer Street in Remuera, while he retained a farm at Hunua from around 1915. In the late 1930s, they moved to 84 Maskell Street, St Heliers, but still owned the house in Spencer Street.
From 1909, the two Smale sons, William (Bill) John and James Henry, worked as carters and contractors in the Northcote and Takapuna area. On 20 November 1913, William John leased land from the Catholic Church next to the orphanage and what is now St Joseph’s Church to operate a blue metal quarry in Takapuna. Operations started from 1 November 1914 and what became ‘Smale Brothers’ had contracts to supply with both Waitemata County and Takapuna Borough Councils. James Henry served in the First World War and married Sylvia Winifred Judd in 1924.
In 1923, the two brothers also purchased land in Tiri Road, Milford, and from 1925 took sand, shell and shingle from Milford Beach, until the Takapuna Borough Council put a new sewer pipe through in 1931. They received compensation for that and by 1934 the brothers also owned Henry Hopper Adams’s old quarry on Taharoto Road and Lake Pupuke. They sold to the Takapuna Borough Council a ten year right, from 1 October 1934, to take blue metal from that site. Birkenhead, Northcote and Takapuna Boroughs were already quarrying on the north side of the site, and in August 1941 Takapuna Borough Council also sought permission to re-open the Adams’s old family quarry off Lake View Road.
In 1943 James Henry sold his half share in the Taharoto Road quarry to his brother, William John, and in 1949 James also sold his Taharoto Road wood, coal and builders’ supply business to Takapuna Carrying and Supply Ltd. Their father James died 12 August 1942 aged 84, while their mother Frances died 1 August 1939 aged 86. Nevertheless, W. Smale and Co. and its quarry continued on for the next generations.

My thanks to the Smale family for their assistance and support.

By David Verran

Issue 98 May 2019