Origins of Anzac Ave & Beach Road

Article By LUMO – Media Release – 20th April 2017

History does have a peculiar way of repeating itself so with LUMO just weeks away from launching its latest in a series of new Smart Billboards, we have taken the opportunity to look back on the background to this site.

This image taken on 22nd August 1906 looks south from the chimney of the New Zealand Laundry Company in Quay St East showing the Beach Rd Fire Station (left), JJ Craigs coke yards, JB King Plumbers next to W Gunson & Company and John Burns & Company store on Beach Rd (foreground), Admiralty House (centre) on Jermyn St (left, now Anzac Ave) and Emily Pl (right).

According to Auckland City Council records, work begun in 1914 on a new eastern outlet road from the waterfront, linking Beach Road with Symonds Street. This road followed the route of the old Jermyn Street, and the council initially proposed to name the new thoroughfare Jellicoe Street. However, in December 1918, at the suggestion of Councilor A.J. Entrican, it selected the name ‘Anzac Avenue’ instead, as a memorial to the men who had died at Gallipoli.

Although there is no record that the avenue was ever formally consecrated as a war memorial, on 19 September 1918, a tree planting ceremony was held to commemorate its construction. Governor-General the Earl of Liverpool planted two Puriri trees at the corner of Waterloo Quadrant and Lower Symonds Street, opposite the Supreme Court building, and school children from various Auckland schools planted a number of other native trees and exotic shrubs.

The new concrete road was partially opened to traffic in June 1919, and a tram service began along it in February 1921 (one stop was the St Paul’s Church war memorial tram shelter which had been opened further up Symonds Street on 28 March 1920).

Jump ahead to June 1921 and you can see that most of the buildings in the centre and left of the previous picture have been demolished to make way for the new access way (Anzac Ave) to lower Symonds St.

JB King Plumbers and the building where W Gunson & Company previously resided are in the right side of the foreground. The Paykel Brothers building is under construction (centre) and we see trams operating on Beach Road and along Anzac Ave.

We estimate that the old Fire Station on Beach Road (see top picture) and its neighbour used to be where Anzac Ave now meets Beach Rd. Interestingly, you can see in the foreground to the left, the back of the first billboard to be built on Beach Rd. And on the Anzac Ave and Beach Rd corner site, you can clearly see what remains of the old sea wall that was likely built in the mid-late 19th century. This same concrete wall still partially exists today and will feature inside the new tenancies currently under construction..

As the years marched on, little was done to build on the site. However, it appears early owners of the land had great foresight in seeing greater potential for the site by developing several billboards along the property’s perimeter. Beach Road was also swathed in billboards from around this time with several signs running along the road edge in the area that now runs along the perimeter of the residential buildings Scenic One, Two & Three.

Today, the Anzac Ave and Beach Rd corner is going through a major facelift which will transform the traditional billboard site into a 21st century digital advertising icon.

The redevelopment is well underway which will see the introduction of five new boutique retail tenancies with Beach Rd frontage, a new and larger car parking platform with driver access from Anzac Ave and pedestrian access from Beach Rd. And living up to its heritage, the eight old billboards have been removed to make way for architecturally designed Digital LED Screens that will bring new life, energy and vibrancy to this fast moving city environment.

LUMO Digital Outdoor is a boutique specialist digital outdoor media business established to disrupt the existing model and help inspire greater creativity in the digital outdoor space. We’re driven to make it easy for advertisers to access the untapped benefits of digital outdoor advertising collaboratively and with the best technology in New Zealand.

For more information, go to lumodigital.nz or contact phil@lumodigital.nz or kent@lumodigital.nz