Competition Page


And the winner is…

Mike Cole was our ONLY correct entrant…. keep your eye on the post Mike, your prize will be on it’s way shortly.

So, what is this building??

The LIBERTY HUT

Now known as “The Prairie House”

This building was named by the residents of Matea Trust (see www.mateatrust.co.nz) , because of similarity to a TV programme of the same name, but its history is quite different.

It was first erected by the Royal New Zealand Navy in 1942 at the Admiralty Steps on the Auckland waterfront.  This site is a few hundred metres to the east of the ferry terminal.  It was the Navy’s city base, an outpost of its main activities at Devonport.  It was used as the landing station when the Navy came to town.  When sailors at Devonport had leave they were transported by the liberty boats to Admiralty Steps and returned the same way, provided there were on time to catch the last trip at 10pm.  Not surprisingly, from time to time, some dallied on their leave, missed the boat and had to spend an uncomfortable night on the wooden benches in the building.  This was in the days before the Harbour Bridge had been built and there was no other way of crossing the harbour at that time of night.

The Admiralty Steps were also used for other official Navy activities such as landing the Queen from the Royal Yacht “Britannia” using the Navy’s Royal barge, sometimes known at the “Green Parrot”.

The building was thus used and became a small but well recognized part of Auckland’s waterfront.  However, in about 1995 the Navy ceased to have use for the building and it was offered for the use of HM Customs.  They used it to receive and process arriving overseas yachts and many a stormy night the Customs officials would be summoned to huddle in the building to complete the paperwork for such vessels.

It was in 2002 that the building was no longer required for that purpose and Jim Bacon negotiated with the Navy who agreed to sell it to Matea Trust for a gold coin.  History does not state if this was a $1 or $2.  In due course, it was transported by truck in the dead of night to its new site at Matea Trust in Albany.  Some renovation was required to repair the ravages of time and a new coat of paint was applied.  On 11 November 2003 a ceremony was held and Commander Rob SKINNER (Command Works Officer) officially passed ownership of the building to the Chairman of Matea Trust and assembled group of trustees, residents, parents and friends of the trust.

Reproduced with kind permission of the Matea Trust, 1016 Dairy Flat Highway, Albany.

It is intended that during the course of a future Otago Assn reunion in Auckland, that we visit the site, maybe during a mystery bus tour.

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What is the “Naval Significance” of this building??

For a bonus prize, where is the building currently located?

All correct entries go into the draw for a Lotto Lucky dip.  Bonus prize is an upgrade to a triple dip.

Enter via the form below – winner will be announced on 31 October on this page.

One Response to Competition Page

  1. Pingback: Welcome to the HMNZS Otago Association | HMNZS Otago

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