Topic: Walsh Road (TDN 04/10/2014)

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Walsh Road 

The entry for this Westown cul-de-sac in our list of street names states simply that it was named after Mr. Walsh, who, apparently, was one of the first residents.

Although the road was first surveyed in 1877, it was not until 1913 that we find the name Walsh Road in a local street directory. The only resident listed was Mrs Annie Kendall, there is no sign of Mr. Walsh in this directory, or any of the following.

We believe, however, that the road was named after Thomas Walsh. His name appears in the 1896 Wise’s Post Office directory as a resident of Westown. At this stage, only residents  in streets closer to town were identified separately – the residents of Westown were merely listed alphabetically with no street address.

Although it may be a co-incidence, 1913 also happens to be the year that Thomas Walsh died. A brief obituary appeared in the local newspaper on the 5th of April. Aged only 62, he was well known, not only for his genial disposition, but also for the distinction of being the first railway guard on the trains between New Plymouth and Hawera. We assume then that this kindly man, unfortunately forced to retire early due to a serious accident, had the honour of having a road named in his memory.

Local tennis players will know the road well as it is the home of Rotokare Tennis Club. The club, then with five grass courts, was first established in the 1920s. The club went into recess in the 1960s and it was not until the early 1990’s, after the closure of Kawaroa Tennis Club, that the club re-established itself.

It now boasts six astro turf courts, a modern clubroom and an active membership. Although the new Rotokare Tennis Club will celebrate its 21st year in 2014, the sport has a much longer association with the area.

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Walsh Road (TDN 04/10/2014)

City:New Plymouth