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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

Borough Of Marton

Borough Of Marton.

The Marton Borough Council consists of nine councillors, exclusive of the mayor. The rateable annual value of the borough is £10,300. The rates are a general rate of one shilling in the pound, a library rate of one penny in the pound, and a special rate of one shilling in the pound, the total rate income being about £1000 per annum. There are about 250 rate-payers in the borough, the population being about 1200, and the number of dwellings 230. The special rate is levied to cover the cost of water-supply, for the purpose of which two large dams have been constructed about a mile-and-a-half out of the town, at a cost of about £5000. The reservoirs hold about thirteen million gallons of water. The library is well kept, and includes about thirteen hundred volumes, and additions are frequently made. Mr. D. C. Tennent is the mayor, and the councillors are:—Messrs. J. Anderson, B. Goile, H. Henderson, E. H. Humphrey, E. Read, J. Richardson, J. F. Siceley, W. Saywell, and S. Skerman. The council keep their account with the Bank of Australasia.

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His Worship the Mayor, Mr. Douglas Cowper Tennent, was elected to that position in November, 1896. A native of London, Mr. Tennent came to the Colony in 1864, per ship “British Empire,” landing at Lyttelton. For eleven years he was with the late Mr. R. Levien, of Nelson, where he acquired his knowledge of mercantile business. Mr. Tennent left Nelson to purchase his present business, which he conducted for six years, Mr. Simpson then joining the firm, under the style of Tennent and Simpson, auctioneers, stock and station agents. Since Mr. Simpson's retirement, Mr. Tennent has relinquished the auctioneering, and confines himself to the above lines. Although leading a very busy life, Mr. Tennent has found time to serve his fellows. He was for some time a member of the Marton Borough Council, and has for nine years served on a local school committee.

Councillor John Anderson has been for six years a member of the Marton Borough Council. He is also a member and treasurer of the Marton Fire Brigade, a member of the Caledonian Society, and a trustee of the local Foresters' Court. For six years Councillor Anderson served as a member of the local school committee. He is a native of Scotland, and came to New Zealand per ship “Black Swan,” arriving in Wellington in 1866.

Councillor Bernhard Ludwig Gustave Goile, who has held a seat on the Marton Borough Council in the years 1892–93–94–96, was born in Posen, Prussia, in 1845, his father being a tailor. Coming to South Australia with his parents when only two years old, he was educated in that colony, and worked on his father's farm till 1861, when the family removed to Marton. Here he eventually acquired a farm of his own, of about 140 acres, which was so neatly kept as to earn the name of the “Model Farm.” This he sold in 1893, removing to his beautiful Councillor Bernhard Ludwig Gustave Goile residence in Marton, with its prettily designed garden and neatly-kept grounds. In 1876 Mr. Goile married Miss Gundop, who is a native of Germany. Mr. Goile is an elder and the secretary of the Lutheran Evangelical Church, and is widely respected in the district.

Councillor Henry Henderson is a member of the firm of Henderson Bros., Marton Roller Flour Mills. The family have been prominent in Marton for many years, and Councillor Henderson has been a member of the Marton Borough Council for the last four years.

Councillor Edwin Harrison Humphrey is a native of Eastbourne, which he left when very young, and for some years lived in Hastings until 1874, or thereabouts, when he sailed for New Zealand in the ship “Waimea,” arriving in Wellington during the same year. He at once came into the Rangitikei district, taking the steamer to Foxton, and thence travelling overland. For ten years Mr. Humphrey was in business in Marton as a timber merchant. In the year 1887 he married Miss Follett, whose father was one of the first settlers in the Rangitikei and the purchaser of a large piece of ground in the centre of the town of Marton, having a large frontage to Broadway. Mr. Humphrey is at present a member of the Marton Borough Council, having occupied the seat for about four years. He has been a member of the local Foresters' court for the last thirteen years, and has taken a considerable interest in volunteer matters, being a member of the Royal Rangitikei Rifles, and when the celebrated Parahaki expedition was undertaken, Mr. Humphrey was one of the party, being six weeks away from home.

Councillor James Richardson, who entered the Marton Borough Council in 1892, was born in Hastings, England, in 1834, and came to New Zealand in the ship “Arab” in 1841. He received most of his education at Finnimore's School, Wellington, and joined his father in the building trade, eventually starting business for himself. After some experience in Willis Street, Wellington, he came to Rangitikei in 1866, where he worked till his retirement in 1893. Councillor Richardson now lives in Oxford Street, Marton, with his son Harold. During his residence in Marton he has identified himself with many of the public institutions of the place, and has been especially prominent in church work.

Councillor John Freeman Sicely is a native of Kent, from whence as a lad he removed to Essex to the care of his grandfather, in consequence of his father having to go to the Crimean war in 1855 Mr. Sicely went to sea, in a merchant vessel, and followed a sailor's life until 1868. He was on board the “Blue Jacket” on her last touching at a New Zealand port, and left at Lyttelton, having elected to remain in the Colony, a most fortunate occurrence for him, as the vessel was burned at sea on her homeward trip. Mr. Sicely was master on board a coasting vessel trading at New Zealand ports for some years, but decided to leave the sea in 1870. Councillor Sicely was a member of the Marton Borough Council from 1885 to 1888, and was again elected in 1893. He has contested the mayoralty on two or three different occasions, and in each instance was defeated, though by a small majority.

Councillor Sidney Skerman, who is also an ex-mayor of Marton, was born in Essex, England, in 1855. Educated at Bedford Grammar School and at King's College, London, he matriculated in 1872, and qualified as a medical practitioner in 1876. Coming to New Zealand a year later, he settled in Marton in page 1306 1878. Dr. Skerman entered the Marton Borough Council in 1886, and after four years' service was elected mayor. In 1891 he was re-elected, and on his return from England, two years later, he was again elected. After retiring from office he did not rejoin the Council till 1896, when he re-entered as a councillor. Dr. Skerman, who was for some time captain of the Rangitikei Royal Rifles, is surgeon-major of the Wellington Battalion of Volunteers, a Fellow of the Royal Colonial Institute, and one of the local board of Trinity College, London. Locally, he is surgeon to the Marton Fire Brigade and the Foresters and Druid's lodges, and chairman of the committees of the Rangitikei Hunt and Jockey clubs.

Marton Municipal Chambers.

Marton Municipal Chambers.

Mr. Frederick Charles Wilson, Town Clerk, Borough Valuator, Rate Collector, Returning Officer, Registrar of Dogs, Inspector of Nuisances, and Librarian for the Marton Borough Counch, is a native of Bromley England, and came to Wellington, New Zealand, per s.s. “Rimutaka,” in 1890. He afterwards obtained a position on the railway, and on the death of Mr. Harris, the late Town Clerk, received the appointments above mentioned. Mr. Wilson is secretary of the local chess club.

Marton Public Library and Reading-Room is situate in the new Borough Council Chambers in High Street. During the past few years the library has made rapid progress, and Marton may be said to now possess a library equal to any town of its own size in the Colony. In the reading-room all the principal papers of the Colony are filed, as well as the leading page 1307 English illustrated journals. The institution is subsidised by the Borough Council, and is well supported by the inhabitants. Mr. F. C. Wilson is the librarian.

The Marton Fire Brigade is one of the oldest institutions in the township. The station and fire-bell are situated opposite the White Hart Hotel. Although the water-pressure is somewhat low, the brigade has done good service.

The Marton Brass Band was established about thirty years ago by Captain Heywood, so well known throughout New Zealand in connection with the Invercargill Band. In the first instance, the Marton Band was attached to the Rangitikei Royal Rifle Volunteers, with which corps it continued till about 1892, when it became detached. The band, which is a credit to the town, is well known on the West Coast, having been engaged to perform at the Palmerston North Agricultural and Pastoral Show of 1896, and elsewhere. There are nineteen active members in regular practice, and the band competed at the Wellington Exhibition (1896–97) Band Contest. Mr. W. J. Smith is the bandmaster, and Mr. T. J. Lound fills the office of secretary.

Mr. William Joseph Smith, Bandmaster of the Marton Brass Band, was born at Woolwich in 1862. Educated in England, he came to the Colony per ship “Star of India,” landing in Wellington in 1876. Mr. Smith developed a love for music early in life, his favourite instrument being the cornet. For about twelve years he has acted as bandmaster, first in connection with Woodyear's Electric Circus Brass Band, which he conducted for two years, and for nearly ten years in Marton. Mr. Smith has been successful in producing three operas in Marton—“Pinafore,” “Pirates of Penzance,” and “The Yeomen of the Guard.” He was married in 1888 to a daughter of Mr. W. Adams, builder, of Wellington, and has two sons.

Photo by Billens. Bandmaster W. J. Smith.

Photo by Billens.
Bandmaster W. J. Smith