Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

15 October 2009

Albany Inn

I wrote and illustrated ‘The Good Old Kiwi Pub’. It was published in 1995 and was a snapshot of some New Zealand pubs as they were at the end of the 20th century. I have decided to share some of the entries from the book from time to time on this blog.

Albany was called Lucas Creek until 1891. It was named after Daniel Lucas, a whaler who’d come ashore and set up a flax mill here before 1840. The name was changed because upright, decent settlers were unhappy about a reputation the hamlet had gained both for illegal whisky distilling and for harbouring deserting sailors and other ne’er-do-wells who, it seems, were able to melt into the background here while they earned a bob or two as labourers. The muddy, tidal stream that slides under State Highway No. 1 north of the village is still called Lucas Creek.

The Albany Inn is my local. It’s about four kilometres down Albany Hill from my place. It’s still called The Wayside Inn bv some people for it only changed its name a short time ago. While its architecture is hardly typical of the classical historic New Zealand pub, it has a certain solid dignity that gives it distinction and lifts it out of the ordinary. To my mind it’s an inviting sort of place with a touch of class about its shape and decor.

Local history sets 1847 as the year of the first pub in Lucas Creek. It was called The Wharfside Inn. It burned down in 1886, the same year that the first pub was built on what is now the site of the Albany Inn. It was built by William Stevenson, whose descendants still live in Albany and it was named The Bridge Hotel in honour of what turned out to be a succession of bridges which were repeatedly washed away by floods until something more reliable was constructed in 1906. The present, totally inadequate, concrete ‘Hotel Bridge’ has stood since 1935.

The Albany Inn was built in 1936 so it’s quite young. One hopes that it will, in future years, continue to be looked after as well as it is today for it represents that generation of good old Kiwi pubs that will succeed the pioneer classics of the nineteenth century.



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By Don Donovan

About Me

My photo

Don Donovan: Biography

I was born on 20 January 1933, nine days before Hitler came to power in Germany, I grew up in south London. Although evacuated during the phoney war and the quieter times I lived in and out of air raid shelters during the blitz and experienced both V1 and V2 attacks on London. Left grammar school in 1948 aged 15 substantially undereducated. I wanted to go to art school but because of family ‘poverty’ joined a commercial art studio in the West End. I was, thereafter, variously a messenger boy, commercial artist and typographer. I was in the Royal Air Force from 1951 to 1953 when the only useful thing I did was to take part in King George VI’s funeral parade.

In 1955 I married Patricia O’Donnell, a RADA graduate, at that time playing opposite Derek Nimmo, they were juvenile leads in a touring repertory company. He went on to great success because he had a funny voice.

We came to New Zealand in 1960 where I worked in advertising. At length I became managing director of one of the companies of whose holding company (the largest domestic advertising complex in New Zealand) I was also a proprietor and shareholder. I left the industry in 1990 when my company was bought out by American interests. My timing was brilliant, at that point my first book had been published and the next was on its way.

We have two daughters and four grand-children.

Now, apart from writing, I function as a self-educated grumpy old man.

Books & Writings

‘New Zealand Odyssey’, with Euan Sarginson, Heinemann-Reed, 1989.

‘One Man’s Heart Attack’, New House, 1990. (A special edition of this book was purchased by CIBA-Geigy for distribution to NZ doctors).

‘Open 7 Days’, Random Century, October 1991.

‘The Good Old Kiwi Pub’ by Saint Publishing in 1995 followed by:
‘New Zealand House & Cottage’ in 1997. (Saint Publishing have also published calendars for the years 1994 to 2004 using my watercolour illustrations).

‘The Wastings’, my first novel was published in July 1999 by Hazard Press. Although an international subject it had very limited distribution, only in New Zealand, and the rights have reverted to me. (Colin Dexter read 'The Wastings' and wrote to me: 'I enjoyed and admired "The Wastings"... a beautifully written work... a splendid debut in crime fiction... More please!'.)

Also the texts of photographic books:
‘Colourful New Zealand’
‘New Zealand in Colour’
‘Top of the South’
‘Above Auckland’
‘Hauraki Gulf Destinations’
‘Bay of Plenty’
and a compilation of photographs and quotations titled ‘Anzac Memories’ 2004 all published by New Holland.

My written and illustrated book, ‘Country Churches of New Zealand’ was published in October 2002 by New Holland, who also published ‘Rural New Zealand’ 2004 (photographs and text), and a series of four humorous books of photographs and quotations in 2004 and 2005 titled ‘Woolly Wisdom’, ‘Chewing the Cud’, ‘Fowl Play’, and ‘Pig Tales’. My most recent book was published in August 2006 by New Holland, titled ‘Political Animals’.

Over the years I have written for NZ Herald, Heritage Magazine, Next Magazine and various local and overseas travel and general interest media.