17 Bargy Road East Wall Dublin D03 VY60 Ireland • +353 86 6088843 • email Will

The Seven Wonders of Stoke -and Ranui Road’s NASA star

I love living in Stoke, New Zealand but sometimes feel it is under-appreciated in the wider Nelson, not to say global, community.

So, to raise us up among suburbs worldwide, here is my Stunning Stoke Postcard, and a list with the first seven of the many, many Wonders of Stoke.

Stunning Stoke postcard

Stunning Stoke postcard

  1. Stoke Brewery
  2. Trees in Isel Park
  3. Our Poorman Stream was found in summer 2013 to have 16 species of fish in a 100-metre stretch!
  4. Barnicoat walkway and its stunning views to Farewell Spit
  5. The Hand of Stoke sculpture at the amazing Warren Wiggins-designed Library
  6. Beautiful new Athletic Pavilion at Saxton Field by Arthouse Architects (image below)
  7. Proper Crisps Factory.  Crisps, beer and -at Pic’s- high-quality peanut butter.  All the crucial food groups!
Hand of Stoke Hand of Stoke

And that list of Wonders doesn’t include our very own astronomer- Albert Jones, only coming to our attention in September 2013 just after he has gone before us into the stars.  Rest in peace, Albert, we are heartened for your gifts to Stoke.

Some words about Albert from the blog, Simostronomy-”  This quiet, unassuming New Zealander has made over 500,000 variable star measurements over the last 60 years or so. He has received honors from the Royal Society of New Zealand, the American Association of Variable Star Observers, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the British Astronomical Association, the Royal Astronomical Society, and has received an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand.

In 1964 he was made one of the first four Fellows of the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand, and in 1987 he was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to astronomy. Minor planet 3152 was named after him in 1988 in recognition of his achievements

Albert told Somostronomy, ‘After I left school at the age of 16, I was well aware of my limited knowledge and never dreamed that one day I might be able to make a contribution to Astronomy, but for my own fun, and to satisfy my curiosity, I could at least learn the constellations and be able to recognize planets. So with the aid of books, I did that.

‘Then in answer to a request in the newspaper for reports of aurorae, I made detailed notes of the next aurora that I saw, sent it in and was thrilled with the reply stating it was the best report received. So two years later, I timidly asked if there was an astronomy club or society that might accept me as a member. Soon after, I became a member of the New Zealand Astronomical Society (later to become the Royal Astronomical Society New Zealand; RASNZ). Then I started receiving their journal ‘Southern Stars’”.

I often wondered why there were screens on some street lights outside Albert’s house, a minute’s walk from ours on Ranui Road. Turns out they were screened by Council on request from the US’ NASA- Albert’s work was so valuable to them that they sent a letter backing his request for less light spill onto his observatory!

Truly a wonder of his own.

Saxton Pavilion Arthouse Architects’ stunning pavilion at Saxton Field

Comments are closed.