Visited on January 28
Just another obliterated volcano. Styak Swamp formed inside the explosion crater centred on the intersection of Greenmount Drive and Polaris Place just north of Green Mount Volcano. There really is nothing to see now. Not even Google Maps will show anything but we saw a slight slope of land and decided to investigate. Maybe it was the edge of the crater? It’s a long shot.
Styak’s Swamp is named after a family who farmed in the area around 150 years ago.
I found this letter written by John Styak himself. It’s almost as difficult to read as a doctor’s handwriting. In it he discusses the possibility of grazing cattle on his “…first rate, grass paddocks in Otahuhu, East Tamaki”.
I think I’m trying to read something volcanic into the area but in reality there is nothing. I knew that from the outset though so I’m not too disappointed. It would’ve been nice to see a little plaque or something to commemorate the volcano that once was.
Speaking of thing that once were and no longer are, the National Library Archive contains an article on the DEATH OF MR. JOHN STYAK. Stating in part “Amongst the obituary notices which appear in our columns this morning will be found that of Mr. John Styak, a very old and esteemed colonist. The deceased gentleman arrived in Auckland from Sydney in the year 1846, and since that time has resided in the province. Shortly after his arrival he entered the Royal Engineer Department as foreman of works… After a few years’ honourable service he obtained his discharge, and, purchasing a farm at West Tamaki engaged in agricultural pursuits, which he prosecuted with pecuniary success. Mr. Styak was also engaged in business in Auckland for several years. Feeling the infirmities of age creeping upon him, Mr. Styak, a few years ag resolved upon retiring from active life, and with this intention, purchased the property at Otahuhu, known as Greenmount, where he dwelt until the time of his death. The deceased was a man of genial disposition, always cheerful and ever ready to assist the needy…” He sounds like a genuinely nice chap.