Index , Selected Works,


Brickbat Bay

…on the banks of a tidal creek, where there is a large stock of pipes ready for burning, and every appliance for making and finishing for the trade. Mr Clark drives his machinery by horsepower and has one kiln the product of which has met with a ready sale in Auckland and the South.

- Printed in the Auckland Weekly News Supplement (10 May, p.2)


Rice Owen Clark purchased 139 acres from the crown at Hobsonville on July 3rd 1854. For ten years he was the first and only white settler in Hobsonville, as many prospective buyers were disappointed with the quality of the land. In 1854, two words could not be more apt to describe west Auckland than “dreary and sterile” (Scott 1979, 94). Much was the view at the time, as reported by the surveyor general Felton Mathew: “sterile and desolate… totally unfit… and indeed ill-adapted for a settlement at all” (98). However dreary it may have been, west Auckland was anything but sterile.

R. O. Clark migrated to New Zealand as the result of a cruel practical joke. His friends had convinced him, after a night of heavy drinking, that he had contracted an unwanted marriage. Clark “caught the first boat leaving town” – the destination of which happened to be New Zealand (97). The land Clark purchased was at the waters edge, and was originally intended for produce to supply to Auckland. However the grey and white pleistocene clay that lies beneath Hobsonville was proving difficult for the pioneering farmer (98).


Scott, Dick. 1979. Fire on the clay: the pakeha comes to West Auckland. Auckland Southern Cross.

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