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12 RODNEY TIMES, MARCH 20, 2012
Focus On: Silverdale, Dairy Flat
SILVERDALE / STILLWATER
The first settlers in the Silverdale area -- then
commonly known as The Wade until 1911 -- were John Hatfield, wife
Emma and their children, in 1845.
Hatfield never completed the legal requirements to own the land and lost it to Irishman Maurice
Kelly and wife Mary.
The couple ran a large timber felling business with a number of workers.
"By 1853 there were probably 200 to 300 people living in the area around the Weiti River,"
writes Robin Grover in Why the Hibiscus? Place Names of the Hibiscus Coast.
The Kellys established the Wade Hotel and built the first Catholic church.
Residents changed the town's name in 1911 to Silverdale to improve its image.
Settlers used the Weiti River to travel by boat from Silverdale to Auckland and export fruit,
timber and kauri gum.
Stillwater was a secondary port. The last shipment of gum to leave Stillwater was in 1892.
Sea captain and timber merchant Ranulph Dacre purchased the Weiti Block of 1370 hectares
(3334 acres), in 1848. The land was said to be bordered in the north by the Weiti River. The
land was farmed by sons Henry and Life Septimus Dacre. Dacre Cottage was built in 1855 by
The first Stillwater settler was Andrew Wotherspoon Thorburn who arrived in 1852. Other
settlers include the McPikes, Percy and Blackshaw families.
The 1958 subdivision of the McPike property provided the land for most of Stillwater. The area
was previously known as Five Finger because of the spits extending into the river.
The motorcamp was developed after World War Two at Percy's Point via a rugged farm track
which is the current road. The site was the location of a significant home and the first concrete
building, a store constructed for the storage of fruit. The Percy family owned 30.35 hectares (75
acres) from 1913 to 1940.
Visit www.stillwater.org.nz for information.
Pioneer village: Run by the Silverdale and
Districts Historical Society.
Banner picture: Silverdale township today,
at the top of the Weiti River.
Silverdale settlers Maurice
and Mary Kelly also owned
and farmed land at Dairy Flat in the early
1850s, probably where the airfield is
Their son, also called Maurice, felled timber in the
west of the area in the 1860s and 1870s.
The area's top gumdigging site was Poyntons, near
Potter and Kennedy roads. As the gum ran out, the
land was left for settlers to break in for farming
It was a farming district until the early 1990s when the northern motorway extension attracted more
people into the area for lifestyle farming.
Redvale Landfill, on Landfill Access Rd, has nine, one megawatt generators to produce electricity
from the landfill gas. It provides enough energy to the national grid to power 7500 homes.
Dairy Flat has a small shopping centre, primary school and a pony club. A major facility in the area
is the North Shore Aerodrome owned and operated by the North Shore Aero Club.
Wainui has beautiful farming countryside, a
primary school, church and some industry.
William Hamilton and wife Martha, from Ireland, took up a land grant
at Stony Creek in 1863, according to The Rock and the Sky by H.
They had six children. Their son William Hamilton Jr was the founder of the
Warkworth branch of the family.
On the flat land beside Wainui Rd, gumdiggers would organise race meetings,
according to 'Why the Hibiscus? Place names of the Hibiscus Coast' by Robin
In the mid 1940s quarrying started at Flat Top when the hill dominated the Wainui
skyline and could be seen from Auckland.
Waitoki district was founded in 1924 and its school opened to 22 pupils. The
31-year-old building had been used by the early bush-felling and gumdigging
population. It was transported from Horseshoe Bush by horse-drawn wagons.
The school building was used for church services and other community activities
until the area's population grew.
The Wade: Silverdale was called the Wade until 1911. This photo was taken before 1913.
Photo: Silverdale & Districts Historical Society
Popular pub: The Wade Hotel, Silverdale 1900. Photo: Silverdale & Districts Historical Society.
Pioneer history: The Wainui Settlers Church.
Kindly sponsored by The Wade Hotel
The Wade has an extensive history in the Silverdale area and has now
been lovingly renovated to become the hub of the community once
Features include a sports bar and a garden/
bistro bar with expansive deck and grass
areas, as well as a conference and a summer
room ideal for small gatherings.
There's an original fireplace, friendly staff,
fabulous food and a great time to be had!
2 Tavern Road, Silverdale Ph 09 426 4311
Open 7 days
Mon -- Fri 11.30 -- late
Sat -- Sun 10.30 -- late
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