A village and farming district in the Mackenzie County in the province of South Canterbury, New Zealand. Albury was the first village in the Mackenzie County.
At 800 feet above sea level, 28 miles north west of Timaru and 10 miles South East of Fairlie on State highway 8. The boundary of the district runs from Monavale Rd in the south to the Te Ngawai river in the north; from the Brothers hills in the East to the Dalgety range in the west.
The entire Albury District was once part of "The Levels" sheep station during the 1850's the northwestern boundries were split into four sheep runs. "The Levels" retained the southern end, "Mount Nessing" the west, "Opawa" the middle and "Albury" the northern area. "Albury was named after Albury in Devonshire, England by the Kennaway brothers (Walter, Lawrence and John) who were early surveyors. Albury means "Old Fort" in Saxon.
The Albury sheep run was taken up by the Reverend John Raven and Thomas Kinnersley Adams in 1855. The homestead was on the Cricklewood side of the Te Ngawai river and was moved to the Albury side of the river in the 1890's when it was run by Edward Richardson.
"Opawa" was taken up by the Kennaway brothers and Frederick Delamain (another surveyor) in 1856. Any one of these four gentlemen may have been the first residents in what is now the Albury district.
Albury's Heraldic Description
Crest: A Paschal lamb, proper, holding a pennant staff, or flag per Fesse Azure and Or.
Arms: Per Fesse wavy, Azure and Or, in Chief Three garbs Or, wreathed of the second and first. In base on N.Z.R. class 'F' locomotive, proper, All within a bordure counterchanged.
Motto: "Per Ardua Deo Favente". Through difficulties by god favouring me.
Note: The Paschal lamb represents the meat and wool trade. The three garbs (wheat) for agriculture. The loco (F25) pulled the first train to Albury (officially 1 January 1877). The wave represents the "Te Ngawai" river. Azure (blue) and or Gold are Albury's colours which were introduced in 1934 when the Albury football club (black & gold) combined with Te Ngawai football club (Black & royal blue) to make the new colours of royal blue and gold. The motto is of Butterworth, the villages first residents.
The Albury Tavern, a Brief History
Published in 'The Accessible' Newspaper; Issue 4:04 2 March 2006 (delivered free to residents of Albury, Fairlie, Lake Tekapo and Districts)
On the evening of Tuesday 23rd December 1879 George Joseph Palmer officially opened the Railway Hotel at Albury. Palmer was a Timaru auctioneer who saw opportunity in the rapidly growing hamlet of Albury. The Railway Hotel was built to fill a huge shortage in the village's accommodation needs in the 1870's. Palmer's Hotel was Albury's third. The first was William and Mary Butterworth's Opawa Accommodation House, a sod, iron and wooden structure was originally a single room set up. The Butterworths were separated from their guests by a curtain. This humble separated from their guests by a curtain. This humble establishment opened in 1861, grew considerably, and at one time included a General Store. It's proximity to the to the Opawa and Tengawai River junctions created some problems with flooding. On the 18th February 1873 the Opawa under the ownership of James McAlister, was burned down.
Albury's second hotel was build 50 yeard west of the original in Limestone block and was completed some time in the spring of 1873, in the style of the Opawa Hotel. The original village was known as Opawa until the railway from Timaru reached the village. Two new villages were surveyed, one on the Chamberlain/ Camp Valley Road corner, and the other on the present Albury location. The first option failed because it was too far from the planned railway.
With the railway officially reaching Albury on 1st January 1877, the village became the railhead and remained so for some eight years. The Opawa Hotel was far from adequate in catering for the needs of the numerous contractors and railway workers. Publican Murdoch McLeod saw the necessity for expansion, but the new village was growing around Station Street and the new Main Road. Various investors, including McLeod and Palmer, financed the new venture.
The design was similar to many rural hotels built in New Zealand in the late 19th Century, a functional weatherboard two storeyed establishment. George Palmer owned the hotel until 1884 when he sold it to Leo Pastorelli and purchased the Lynwood Hotel in Timaru. Subsequent owners were: 1885 John Dore (owned various pubs in Sth Canterbury); 1892, John Henkley (partner in a coaching and livery business) 1893; Timothy Twomey (who later owned the Waimate Hotel); 1897 Thomas Driscoll and 1903 Fred West. West had owned the Opawa Hotel since 1893 and combined the two pubs as one business. It is trought he ran the Opawa Hotel after 1903 on the Railway Hotel's licence. West sold the Railway to C.J O'Malley in 1910, continued to live at the Opawa and farmed the surrounding ten acres. By then the Opawa and farmed the surrounding ten acres. By then the Opawa had become known as "the Albury", or the 'Pig n Whistle' to the locals. West named the building Westmere in 1911. In 1911 William Ward came into partnership witC.J O'Malley, followed in ownership, by Thomas Aspell in 1913 and Charlie Clark in 1917.
Clark had the longest tenure of 19 years at the Railway until he sold to Mary Gibson in 1936. Clark's record was shattered somewhat by Mary Gibson, who with her husband had previously owned the Cave Arms. For 45 years 'Mrs M Gibson, Proprietor was painted on the north wall of the Railway Hotel. "Nana', as she was affectionately known, was known throughout New Zealand. If anyone from Albury was traveling about the nation the question was always asked 'Is Mrs Gibson still at the pub?'. 1967 saw two major changes to the Railway Hotel. Firstly it was the first hotel in Sth Canterbury to obtain a tavern licence. With it came a name change. With the Fairlie branch railway scheduled to close in 1968, Mrs Gibson renamed the pub "Albury Tavern'. For the first time since 1879, alterations to the bar took place. The old dark paneled walls and cream plaster ceilings were replaced by duck egg green hardboard, chrome and mirrors. (very hip in 1967). The only obvious change to the exterior was the removal of two sash windows on the Main Road side of the bar. Mary Gibson (at an age unknown) sold the Albury Tavern to Charlie Davie in 1981. Subsequent owners were: 1984 Earl Corcoran 1987 Doug Budge 1990 Kevin Gray.
The rural downturn of the 1990's and the 1992 snow took a heavy toll on the pub. Maintenance was put on the back burner and the pubs future was looking increasingly bleak. In 1997 the hotel closed for seven weeks, it's first ever closure. Thankfully the licence was still current which ultimately saved it from permanent closure. Warren Laffey from Christchurch 'saved' the pub from difficult situations in 1995 and 1997, taking on the role of manager. In 2002 the pub was sold to an Aucklander, Pascal Brown and for the first time in many years, some serious maintenance was undertaken. To alleviate fears that an Auckland owner may turn the business into a 'wine and quiche bar', Brown employed previous owners Earl and Lorraine Corcoran as managers. Upstairs, the pub has had some major upgrading, gas showers, refurbished rooms etc, to attract backpackers. The view of the pub from the back gives an accurate impression of the progress made so far on the exterior.
The Albury Tavern is now the oldest continually licenced wooden pub in the South Island, and with current restoration is looking good for another 127 years.