Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 25, November 1981
By L. MATHIESON
To most people passing, Norwood Road is a fairly insignificant street extending in a westerly direction off Thames Road opposite the Racecourse, and until about 15 years ago, this was indeed quite true from then, continuing to the present day. It has [seen? – words obscured – E] development, and extension, and soon will connect with Quarry Road in the near future, it is hoped.
Records appear sketchy regarding the building of Norwood Road in its original form, but it appears to have been from about 1920. The original road was quite short, in fact only about 400 yards in length, ending at Point "A" on map. Most homes in that section date from the Post - 1940 period, so it was a very secluded and peaceful area then.
Let's take a walk from the Thames Road entrance to the end of the road. Beginning opposite the Racecourse, stands a beautiful large old home, 60 Thames Road, with the words "Rydal Mount" adorning the gateway, formerly owned by the Hares and McDonalds, now by Dr. Budge, it was featured in the August 1980 No. 24 O.R.H. Journal in a photo titled: "Crowds At Paeroa Races - 1930" near the top right-hand corner of it. On the corner of Norwood Road itself, is the Racecourse Motel, built in 1971 and opposite are 3 modern houses before coming to the home of Jim and Val Morrison, moved to this site in 1962 from Cadman's Road, I understand.
Crossing Claremont Avenue, we come to a home of considerable historical significance, No. 8 Norwood Road, occupied by Les and Ann Jamieson, who would certainly qualify for the affectionate title "unofficial Mayor and Mayoress of Norwood Road". Their home was part of Waitekauri School near the turn of the century, and was moved to its present site in the 30's. Mr. & Mrs. Jamieson moved there in 1941 and so have resided there 40 years, and recently celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary. (For further information refer to "Waitekauri To Paeroa" Article by Mrs. Anne Jamieson, Page 21, O.R.H. Journal No.16 - 1972 [see Journal 16: Waitekauri to Paeroa - E]).
No. 10 was built by Earl Jamieson in 1958 and occupied by him for a short period, than A.R. Wyllie (Chemist), and now by George and Jean Trembath since 1964.
The next - No. 12 was built in 1954 and my Grandfather, Tom Mathieson (1890-1958) purchased it in 1955 on his retirement from farming on Rotokohu Road (1918-55). After his death, my Grandmother, Mrs. Eileen Mathieson (1898-1973) continued living there until I joined her in 1965 until her death 8 years later. At this stage I should mention that there have been two Eileen Mathiesons. The afore-mentioned (1900-73) (nee Clements), and the widow of Jim Mathieson (nee Sorensen). Jim and Tom were brothers, therefore the wives were Sister-in-laws with the same name.
No. 14 was originally a Post Office residence located on corner of Victoria and Willoughby Streets prior to 1926 along with the original Paeroa P.O. About 1929 it was moved to Norwood Road and the Borough Foreman, Mr. Gus Knap and family moved in. Mr. Knap died in 1950 and Mrs. Daisy Knap lived there a widow until her death on September 13, 1966. Phil McWatters lived here briefly in 1967 whilst awaiting the completion of his new home in the sub-division - the first of many.
The sub-division, begun in 1965 after the swamp was drained was owned by Mr. Ben. McDonald, whose name is perpetuated in one of its streets - McDonald Place. The growth rate accelerated since the very first home in 1968 and now (1981) there are just a handful of sections left. Paeroa's second Welfare Home, Goldfields Special School and many fine homes dot the area, a far cry from what it was when I first remember visits to Grandma's just 20 years ago, a wonderful haven for adventures (and occasional mischief too).
Returning to the old part of Norwood Road, there are some houses being built opposite No. 14 and 12. The old house at No. 7 for years on its own across from No. 8, was occupied by Mrs. Ivy Peat and her daughter Mrs. Marge MacDonald (who was Dr. Charles Anderson's nurse) until 1973. They are now at St. Heliers.
Washington Square adjacent to No. 7 and extending northward from Claremont Avenue is a most recent development, dating only from 1979, and already becoming built up. Returning to Norwood Road again, we arrive back at the Racecourse Motel at the terminus of our walk.