There is this story which has been talked about through the generations of speedway fans stating that the Motion family gifted the land at Western Springs to the Auckland Council with the agreement that it was to be kept for speedway/sport.
We decided it was finally time to get to the bottom of this once and for all and here’s what we found!
After colonisation, the stadium area was part of a block of land farmed by Scottish settler William Motions who entered into a partnership with Joseph Low, building a flour mill (reason for the name Old Mill Road) on what is now called Motions Creek. The area was purchased by the council because as Auckland grew it found that they needed a larger water supply. In 1875 the swampy ground was made into a 15-acre artificial lake 6 feet in depth and capable of holding 22 million gallons of water. A pump house was designed and it pumped water up to the two new reservoirs, one on the corner of Ponsonby Rd and Karangahape Rd and the other in the block bordered by Khyber Pass, Symonds St, Mt Eden Rd and Burleigh St from where the water was gravity fed down to the city.
Having spent the last week or two delving into the historical site of the stadium which included a trip to the Archives of New Zealand and many hours trawling through the internet studying the history of our great venue, we can now categorically state that the agreement had absolutely nothing that would help us in any way possible.
The Motion family sold the site to Auckland Council in1875 when there were no motorcars in New Zealand and Speedway wasn’t even heard of. Yes there was an agreement written in 1875, however the agreement which we finally located at the NZ Archives (took us an hour to read) had nothing about the Motion family requesting that the venue was to be held for sport of any kind, it was actually about monetary requirements, payments, the flour mill and the containment of water.
So sadly we can now categorically state that there is nothing whatsoever about any agreement and hopefully put this myth to bed once and for all.