Albany Village History Walk

Walk in the footsteps of early Lucas Creek settlers in this historical tour of Albany Village.

Albany Village History Walk

Auckland, Albany, Auckland 0632, New Zealand

Created By: Auckland Council

Tour Information

The area of the North Shore known today as Albany Village was once a dense bushland called Ōkahukura by its original Māori inhabitants. The name means ‘place of Kahukura’, who was the atua (god) of rainbows and may refer to the waterfall in Gills Reserve. More important was the creek, which was abundant in flounder. Māori called it ‘Kaipatiki’, but early European settlers renamed it Lucas Creek, a mistitled reference to Daniel Clucas, an early Pākehā entrepreneur who may have run a flax mill on the creek. Most early Europeans came to the area to harvest timber. Following in their wake, gumdiggers tore up the ground seeking hardened kauri sap (gum) to make a quick profit. They left a relatively barren wasteland behind.

Gradually, fruit-growers came to populate the area around today’s Lucas Creek bridge. This was the furthest upstream boats could navigate, so a small wharf was built on the west bank of the creek. Residents initially named the settlement after the creek, but in 1890 they adopted the name Albany after an important fruit-growing region in Western Australia. Albany also marked an important crossroad between travellers heading north from Northcote Point and those travelling east-west between Wade (Silverdale) and Riverhead.

Despite its importance as a trading centre and crossroads, Albany as a settlement did not grow substantially for many decades. Even with the opening of the Auckland Harbour Bridge in 1959, the population only increased gradually even as suburbs to the south, closer to the bridge and the ever-lengthening motorway, exploded in size. Albany was merged into the City of Takapuna in 1974 but remained a distant outpost. In 1989, it was amalgamated into North Shore City and later, in 2010, into the Auckland supercity. Today, Albany is a bustling suburb but there are hints of its earlier history hiding in plain sight.

Terrain: Slightly hilly terrain atop concrete or asphalt footpaths

Starting Point: Albany Village Library (30 Kell Drive)

Parking: Free parking is available at Kell Park, accessible from Kell Drive. Paid parking is also available at the east end of Kell Drive.

Disclaimer: This walk is along public roads and includes historical facts about the buildings and the area. Most of the sites are private businesses or homes. Please respect the environment and do not trespass on private property. Neither Auckland Council nor private property owners accept responsibility for any loss, damage, or injury to you or your property arising from use of this tour.

Credits: Much of the information comes from Alison Harris and Robert Stevenson, Once there were green fields: The story of Albany, New Zealand (2002). Additional material from The History of Albany Presbyterian Church (2018) and The Station: A concise history of the Albany Basin 1840-1940 (1986).

Acknowledgments: Thanks to the staff of Albany Village Library for originally researching and designing this tour, and to Philippa Templeton and Derek Whaley from Research North (Takapuna Library) for expanding the tour and site descriptions. Tour adapted for Walk Auckland and PocketSights in 2022 by Derek Whaley on behalf of Auckland Council.

Copyright 2022 Auckland Council. Auckland Council holds all copyrights associated with this tour. You may not copy or reproduce the content of this tour without permission from Auckland Council. Auckland Council has taken every care to ensure that the information contained in this tour is accurate, but accepts no responsibility arising from, or in connection with, your use of this tour and the information contained in it.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

The Albany Village Library is the second purpose-built library in the suburb. It opened in 2004 when it replaced the War Memorial Library on Library Lane. The library sits on the site of the Kell family’s homestead ‘Vinewood’. Some of... Read more
Albany’s transition from a rural settlement into a more established town began with the opening of the Hillind building in 1958. It was the first multi-storey commercial structure in the area and was commissioned by Harry Hillind, a retir... Read more
Matthew and Sarah Phillips arrived in Auckland from England aboard the Empress in 1865. After only a few years, they relocated to Lucas Creek where they built their home above the Upper Landing alongside the main west road. They began selli... Read more
The original vehicular crossing over Lucas Creek was slightly to the northeast above the waterfall that is now in Gills Reserve. During storms and when the tide was especially high, the bridge would often flood making east-west travel impos... Read more
A village is nothing without an inn, and Albany has had such an establishment since almost the very beginning. In 1857, William B. Montgomery, an Auckland surveyor, purchased 42 acres of land from Joseph Lyes, a Fencible soldier. Montgomery... Read more
The area today comprising Gills Reserve was likely the original site of Te Rere, a small Māori kaianga (village). The settlement sat on a bluff above Waikahikatea Stream, which is one of the principal feeders of Lucas Creek. Māori and Pā... Read more
From its earliest days, Albany was a crossroad between Northcote Point to the south, Riverhead to the west, and the main north road to Devonport and Wade (Silverdale) to the northeast. Before the extension of the Northern Motorway in the ea... Read more
Albany was still a lightly populated rural area when residents began agitating for a library. On Peace Day, 19 July 1919, a resolution was passed to construct a war memorial to soldiers who fell in the Great War. Residents decided that a li... Read more
Following the death of King Edward VII in 1910, Albany residents gathered funds to erect a community hall to celebrate the new king, George V of the United Kingdom. Land to the east of the village that had once been owned by Michael Mahoney... Read more
Local farmer Michael Mahoney owned the Albany Domain and the surrounding areas, but in 1858 he disappeared without trace. Mahoney had not paid his rates and debt collectors were after him. The Public Trust took Mahoney’s property and gave... Read more
Like most small communities, Albany residents insisted upon a school for the training and wellbeing of young pupils. Lucas Creek School, operating out of a small Presbyterian Church-owned chapel, opened in 1865 with George Morton as its fir... Read more
In 1858, a Scotsman, Reverend David Bruce, bought several acres of land east of Lucas Creek on behalf of the Presbyterian Church. He hoped that he could build his tenth church in the Auckland region on this property. Unfortunately, the popu... Read more
The open lot across the road was once one of the earliest structures built for the Albany Campus of Massey University. The main campus in Palmerston North was searching for ways to expand and discovered that the University of Auckland was a... Read more
For much of its recent history, Albany was a fruit-growing area. The path through The Landing Reserve from Days Bridge to Kell Park passes through an area that was once orchards. It is now a grassy parkland along the west bank of Ōtehā St... Read more
The northern fork of the trail continues between Ōtehā Stream and Lucas Creek until it crosses the former and enters Kell Park. Albert and Naomi Kells had owned a small orchard on this property until 1977, when they sold it to the Takapun... Read more


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