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Buchanan Award booklet found nearly 80 years after it was created2 min read

Feb 2, 2023 2 min

Buchanan Award booklet found nearly 80 years after it was created2 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Diana Edwards (left) and Bridget Graham hold the booklet in front of the honours board featuring Fred Beckett

At the Onehunga Community House, Fred Beckett’s name is there in gold on the Buchanan Awards honours board, and now a wonderful piece of history has joined it, with the discovery of a booklet he created in 1947 to mark the awards’ 25th anniversary.

The booklet is completely handcrafted, with Fred’s skill as a calligrapher on full display in the ornate lettering, and his love of colour in the blue, red and gold accents throughout. It has retained its quality despite its age and was only recently discovered by his daughter, Diana Edwards, who has gifted it to Onehunga Community House, to honour the centenary of the award.

Fred Beckett was born in 1914 and grew up in Royal Oak, going on to become a renowned architect and lecturer, and a talented painter. He won the Buchanan Award in 1926 while at Onehunga Primary, when the school was on the community house site. It evidently made an impact, as he created the booklet two decades later, to gift to the Buchanan family.

Diana says she feels a special buzz visiting the building where her father went to school and is pleased the booklet and letter will live there for visitors to see.

“I gifted it here when I realised that it was the one hundredth anniversary of the award,” says Diana.

“I thought, what’s the point of it sitting in the bookcase and the occasional family member flicking through it when it really belongs to the Onehunga community.”

Friends of the Community House chairperson, Bridget Graham, is looking forward to adding the booklet to their museum, where it will sit protected in a glass case to view.  A letter of thanks from Euphemia Buchanan to Fred Beckett was tucked into the booklet when Diana found it, and this will also be on display.

The Buchanan Awards began in 1922, celebrating its centenary last year. It was created and funded by Euphemia Buchanan and her husband Robert to go to students at local schools and Sunday schools in Onehunga who had shown good behaviour and cooperation and done well in their work. It is currently awarded annually  to students at Onehunga Primary, Te Papapa School and Royal Oak Intermediate.