Khandallah's landmark road

Last updated 14:58 09/05/2012
Simla Cres 1904 vert
Then: Simla Cres in 1904, at the Khandallah end.
Simla Cres now
Now: The railway station at its southern (Ngaio) end is how most Wellingtonians will recognise Simla Cres.

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Simla Cres, on the foothills of Mt Kaukau, is an old and important thoroughfare through Khandallah.

It begins on the boundary of Ngaio and winds through the western hills to Clark St, by Box Hill.

Many will recognise Simla Cres as one of the eight stops on the Johnsonville railway line.

The railway station that sits at the Ngaio end of Simla Cres was opened in 1938.

In 1925 Simla Cres became the first street in Khandallah to be given an Indian name, a practice that soon spread. It was originally known as Crescent Rd.

Khandallah itself was named after Khandallah Rajasthan. The suburb was named by Captain James Andrew, who served in the Indian army and settled in Wellington.

The street was named after a house built on Crescent Rd by Samuel Crispe Vickers in the 1890s, which Mr Vickers called Simla.

Mr Vickers, a Londoner, immigrated to New Plymouth in May 1851, travelling on a ship called the Simlah.

He lived in Taranaki, Auckland and Wellington before buying land in Khandallah in 1890.

Mr Vickers became town clerk, returning officer and valuator for the borough of Onslow.

He would raise the British flag each day at dawn and lower it at sunset and his flagpole is a landmark in old photographs.

Another notable Simla Cres resident was Robert Stevenson Aitken, who lived at the beginning of the 20th century.

Dr Aitken studied medicine at Otago University College and became vice-chancellor of the newly-created University of Otago in 1948.

Fanny Louise Irvine-Smith, author of Streets of my City, was another prominent resident.

Her book, written in 1948, is still valued by researchers.
Mrs Irvine-Smith wrote of the importance of understanding and embracing street names.
"Guard well your heritage,'' she advised.

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- The Wellingtonian


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