Louis Henry de Brabandere

Louis Henry de Brabandere came out from Belgium with his family and farmed part of what was earlier the Brimmer property in the Valley of Little Muddy Creek.

His house was right near the road bridge across the creek-  it’s still there today, across the road from Tangiwai Reserve at 200 Huia Rd.

deBrandebeerHouse.PNG

In Titirangi Fringe of Heaven, Essie Hodge (daughter of Chappie Bishop) remembers:

Adjoining us, down the valley, bordering Little Muddy Creek, was de Brabandere’s farm. These folk came from Belgium and spoke Flemish…by sheer hard work they established a good sheep and dairy herd, mostly Jersey cattle.

One of the earliest records of their arrival was from 1892, one of many newspaper ads listing wandering stock for collection – a very common thing in those days.

AS18920213deBrandebeer
Auckland Star 13th February 1892

In October 1893 a memorial service was held for his naturalisation (citizenship).

The Brabanderes became known for their stock raising abilities, winning prizes in shows. Later his son Robert carried on this tradition.

AS19000712.2.10_deBrandebeer
Auckland Star 12th July 1900

In his later years he became chairman of the board of Titirangi School – then directly up the hill from them in South Titirangi Rd.

AS19000426.2.11Committee
Auckland Star 26th April 1900
NZH19001228.2.61-a2-412w-c32
NZ Herald 28th December 1900

Louis (Henry) died in 1901, leaving his wife and children to run the farm.

BOPT19010911.2.11-a2-402w-c32_death
Bay of Plenty Times 11th September 1901

Within the year Louis’ son Robert was winning awards at shows and placing more notices about wandering stock.

A 1913 notice he placed in the Auckland Star banning digging for Kauri Gum on his land is a reminder of the earlier history of the land.

AS19130626.2.3.7-a2-351w-c32_gumdigging
Auckland Star 26th June 1913

Louis’ wife, Zelie Eliza Brabandere died in 1927, closely followed by their son Eugene.

NZH19250604.2.2.3-a2-400w-c32_wifedeath
NZ Herald 4h June 1925

Robert de Brabandere continued farming the same land for many years after this, but as a 1915 NZ Herald article shows, he didn’t always have the best relationship with the school – being fined 5 pounds for writing an ‘indecent letter’ in response to a letter the school had written him requesting the child in his care attended more regularly.

NZH19150925.2.24-a8-396w-c32Swearing
NZ Herald 25th September 1915

When the Nihotupu filter station opened, the Brabendere’s complained that the outflow into Little Muddy Creek was affecting their milk production.

Later, when the Huia Water Treatment plant was first build, the sediment dam overflowed and flooded their land at the bottom of the valley.

AS19310907.2.90-a3-435w-c32DamBurst
Auckland Star 7th December 1931

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