T.A. (Gus) Bishop was born in 1895, spent his life in Titirangi and is one of our most well known early residents. As the son of Chappie Bishop, he grew up in Dunevagan, one of the original houses in Titirangi. He volunteered for WWI with his 2 brothers, but returned alone and with severe leg damage. He raised a family in the house he built in Waima Rd. The house still exists at 75 Woodlands Park Rd – across the road from the Huia Water Treatment Plant, and just below Exhibition Drive.
Gus was one of the 6 children of John Joseph (Chappie) and Emily Bishop. They lived in the home that was originally built by Chappies father John in the late 1850s. This house, Dunevagan was at 25-35 Huia Rd, on the eastern side of Yorke Gully of Little Muddy Creek, just above todays Clark Bush track.
He went to Avondale School and gained a scholarship to go to Auckland Grammar. He there attained a University Scholarship which led to Auckland University to study law. He didn’t get a chance to finish though as the Great War came along and he volunteered along with his two brothers.
Sadly both brothers were killed in action.
His father petitioned to the Military Service Board for Gus to be given leave. The board approved two months.
Sadly, for some reason this didn’t occur, as on the 10th of October he was reported as wounded. A piece of shrapnel had severely damaged his left leg. He spent time in hospitals overseas before being sent home. He received an award for Galantry.
Back in NZ he spent a year in the Military Annex of the Auckland Hospital in the domain and used a wheelchair to get to lectures at the University of Auckland. He completed his BA but gave up law, instead returning to the family farm in Titirangi.
In 1920 he purchased land from his father and built a house on the corder of Waima Rd which still stands today – (now right across the road from the Hiua Water Treatment Plant). Much of the land was still covered in original bush and it formed an L-shape and spread down as far as the present day Manuka Rd and Tainui Rd. He married Lillian Lusty and they raised three children here.
Rewi’s Last Stand was filmed on this land in the 1930s because of the outstanding scenery.
In 1930 he attended the opening of the Titirangi Hotel (now Lopdell House), and had a great response to an M.P. giving the meaning of Titirangi as Fringe of Heaven:
In 1931 the overflow pond of the newly built Huia Water Treatment Plant overflowed onto his land below, causing property damage to what would now be the area of Ngaio Rd.
At various times Gus was on the committee of the Titirangi Beautification Society, and a founding member of the Ratepayers association. He was a key part of developing the Soldiers Memorial church, an idea started by his mother.
Later he entered politics. First standing unsuccesfully against his cousin Alec Bishop for seats on the Hospital Board and Power Board. He then became a member of the Auckland Harbour Board, eventually becoming chairman.
In 1938 he stood for the newly formed National Party for the Auckland Suburbs seat. This seat had previously been contested by his cousin.
He was unsuccessful, but this is not all that suprising. This was a safe Labour seat in a time when Labour were at their peak. The Labour candidate for the neighbouring Auckland West suburb was Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage.
In the 1943 election he stood again for Auckland Suburbs but was again unsuccessful.
From 1945 he started subdividing his land, forming Waima Crescent, and Manuka Rd. He had a requirement that section sizes stayed large so that not too much bush was cleared to build houses.
Gus only died in 1988, so was an important link to our past.