Auckland’s Cones, Creeks and Springs

May 4th, 2009

There are early paintings of the original landscape of Owairaka/ Mt Albert and Maungawhau/ Mt Eden – and the “cabbage tree swamps” in between :

1) ” Cabbage Tree Swamp ” by John Backhouse in the 1880s

http://find.natlib.govt.nz/primo_library/libweb/action/dlDisplay.do?vid=TF&docId=nlnz_tapuhi134515

held at the Turnbull library and used on the cover of the recent reprint of Dick Scott’s “Old Mt ALbert“.

2) And at Auckland Art gallery: http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/wetlands/1/1

(Note that Alfred Sharpe painted this in 1889 – after he moved to Australia. John Webster of NZHPT referred to Roger Blackley’s biography, and says since Sharpe did it in NSW for an exhibition, he was obviously doing it as a piece of remembrance, or memories of his NZ life, and cites no specific location. See also http://www.art-newzealand.com/Issues1to40/sharpe.htm )

These paintings illustrate the relationships in the natural landscape between the volcanic cones, and the springs and aquifers surrounding and underlying them. Today some remaining ecological sites of special significance include:- volcanic peaks such as Maungawhau and Owairaka ; lava features such as Meola Reef on Waitemata Harbour – reaching nearly to the North Shore; botanical sites like Withiell Thomas Reserve;  and wetland features such as Gribblehurst Park,  Meola Creek, Western Springs and Motions Creek.

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