I wrote recently of the Windsor Park campground's history, now here is a little more of the history of Windsor Park.

Thomas Tanner created a park of 44 acres (18 hectares) in 1885 when he subdivided 1000 acres of his Riverslea Estate for sale.

The land which formed Riverslea Estate was leased, then subsequently purchased from, Maori in the 1870s.

The Park (as it was known) was at that stage bounded on two sides by the Mangapouri Creek.


Pinus radiata was planted on 15 acres by Thomas Tanner, and willows alongside the creek to form "a charmingly cool retreat on hot, summer days".

A clear area of 20 acres was left for recreation, such as a cricket ground.

When Thomas Tanner's financial difficulties in 1889 led to the sale of the Riverslea Estate to a syndicate of three gentlemen, The Park was included.

One of these men was John Beatson (1843-1931), who bought The Park in the early 1890s after the Hastings Borough Council could not afford to purchase it from the syndicate.

It was from John Beatson that The Park received the name which lasted about 40 years - Beatson's Park.

Beatson's Park was sold by John Beatson to the council in 1912, with the settlement payment of £4000 (2017: $651,000) to be made in April 1932. Interest was payable at 4 per cent per annum.

However, when the Audit Office said the purchase by the council of Beatson's Park on extended terms was illegal, a parliamentary sitting in 1916 validated the transaction under the Washing Up Act.

As the pinus radiata trees had matured, the council felled the pine plantation in 1919, to be sold as firewood.

The Parkvale Golf Club was given rights in 1924 to form a golf course where the pine plantation was.

Tree stumps had to be removed by the club before they could create their nine-hole course.

Grazing rights to the park were held by the golf club, so they put sheep on the park area.

The course closed in December 1946.

Also in 1924, thanks to the efforts of the Parkvale Progressive Society, a swimming pool was created at the park.

The council designed the pool, and paid some of the costs to build it, in addition to the public fundraising.

This pool was enlarged in 1934 by the council.

During the Great Depression of the late 1920s and early 1930s, unemployment work schemes transformed a section of the Makirikiri Creek into a boating lake and made other improvements.

The Art Deco-styled bridges that still exist today were completed in 1934 and designed by council employee Ernest Garnett.

They were built from Hastings CBD rubble of the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake.

Tennis courts were provided for by the council in 1932 for the newly formed Parkvale Tennis Club.

In 1935, Beatson's Park was renamed Windsor Park on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of King George V. Other names had been promoted, such as Gallipoli Park.

During the late 1930s, there was a severe shortage of accommodation in Hastings, so the council provided some transit housing buildings.

In 1946, two of these buildings were transferred to the camp area.

A children's playground and paddling pool were added near the camp during the late 1930s.

Several properties (including Miss Shaw's orchard) were purchased to extend Windsor Park around 1946 over the Grove Rd end.

This added about 27 acres to Windsor Park.

The Windsor Lodge building was built on the old orchard area owned by Miss Shaw in 1951.

The Skate Park was added in 1952.

• If anyone knows about the Hastings Beautifying Society, of which the late Dr Michael Bostock was a member, please contact me 027 4521 056 or by email.

• Michael Fowler (mfhistory@gmail.com) is a chartered accountant, speaker and writer of history