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History in the making: podcast delves into Devonport’s past

Flagstaff Team

Community project… recording part of the podcast at Depot Sound last week were (from left)
Margot McRae (Devonport Heritage), Toni van Tonder (Devonport BID manager), Jeremy Salmond (heritage architect) and Morgan Allen (Depot Sound)

A heritage podcast will bring to life stories of prominent Devonport buildings and a cast of local identities.

The community project is being coordinated by Devonport BID manager Toni van Tonder. Historian David Verran wrote the background content from which van Tonder developed a script.

Heritage advocate Margot McRae agreed to narrate the audio; with heritage architect Jeremy Salmond discussing architecture; former Esplanade owner Grant Gillon talking about the historic hotel; Anne Iremonger, a former owner of businesses The Dresser and Clarrys, giving some commercial history; and cinema enthusiast Murray Thompson taking listeners back to the days of Benwells (the original owners of The Vic) and the old State Theatres.

The Devonport Business Association has commissioned Devonport Museum to produce six bronze heritage plaques to be placed on notable commercial buildings.

“These can be read in isolation, or will be used as touchstones on the audio journey,” van Tonder said.

Jeremy Salmond was the first to be recorded at Depot Sound last week.

“It’s been a real community collaboration and we’re excited about being able to produce a fabulous self-led heritage tour for Devonport’s visitors, locals and even students in our local schools to learn more about the place they call home,” van Tonder said.

The podcast is expected to be around 45 minutes long and van Tonder hopes to launch it, along with the plaques, in time for the Auckland Heritage Festival in October.

“My long-term vision is that this is the first audio in a series of walking-tour audios. “It ends with listeners up at The Vic and we make suggestions on where to go next – including our maunga, Torpedo Bay and further up Victoria Rd to the cemetery, etc.

“Assuming the audio is a success, I would like to work on subsequent ones that lead visitors to those places.” But this will be dependent upon funding, van Tonder said.

This article originally appeared in the May 3 edition of The Devonport Flagstaff. Download PDF.