Grafton Gully - a selective biography
1910: Grafton Bridge constructed
1925: Blandford Park sports ground opened, on a site that was “a marshy, willow-covered area terminating in a dump for road spoil and old tins at the point where the gully under Grafton Bridge opens onto Grafton Rd, almost at that road and Stanley St.”
(Auckland Star, 19th April 1925 ) 1937: Safety barriers erected on the bridge.
1960-67: Construction of motorway network through Grafton Gully. Demolition of several thousand buildings in the area. 4000 Catholic and Anglican graves disinterred from Symonds St. Cemetery. A large corrugated iron fence constructed to shield the disinterring process from view. The remains then cremated at Waikumete and reinterred in two mass grave sites either side of Symonds St.
Vegetation removed, and 1,000,000 cubic metres of soil excavated and used to fill in the Waiparuru streambed. Anecdotal tales of multiple accidents amongst workmen on motorway project.
1966: Blandford Park reverts to previous use as site for dumping of road spoil for motorway project. Later levelled and incorporated into road system.
1971: On 13th August a citizen initiative begins to replant native species in the gully
1990: The discovery by Jim Goulstone of a rare native snail, still surviving in the Grafton gully bush remnants.
1993: Reports of hauntings in the Stanley St “Gasoline Alley” building. A Maori spirtualist brought in to “clear” the building.
1996: The safety barriers judged “unsightly” and removed from the bridge. Five-fold increase in jumper suicides over the next four years.
2001: Periodic detention gangs brought in to clear overgrown areas of cemetery by clearing vegetation and spraying.
2003: The reinstatement of the safety barriers.
2007: Construction commences on the Owen Glenn Business School on the lower Stanley St aspect of the gully.
2012: A young man leaps to his death from the 26m Business School atrium.