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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]



Christ Church, the principal Anglican Church, occupies a good centre position in Victoria Avenue. The foundation stone was laid on the 10th November, 1865, and the church was opened in 1866. It is a wooden building, and was enlarged in July, 1894. The seating accommodation is for 550. The large organ, having 1000 pipes, cost about £800. The church site comprises about one acre of ground, and the parsonage, which is situated a good deal higher up the avenue, occupies half-an acre. Services also are held at St. John's, which church was built in 1887, at a cost about £250, including seats which accommodate 150 people. At Aramoho a church is being erected, a good site having been secured. The Anglicans have a Sunday school at Christ Church numbering 300, at St. John's about 75, and at Aramoho a similar number.

The Rev. Thomas Billing Maclean is the clergyman in charge, and lives at the Parsonage, Victoria Avenue, Wanganui (telephone 104). Mr. Maclean is a native of London, and arrived in New Zealand about 1860 with his parents. His father, the late Mr. Benjamin Maclean, was for many years prominent in Auckland as holding, among other positions, that of provincial auditor. The rev. gentleman was educated at St. John's College, Auckland, chiefly, but for two years subsequently was at Bishopdale, Nelson. He was ordained as deacon in Nelson on August 24th, 1881, and as priest on September 21st, 1883. Mr. Maclean resided in Collingwood for two years, Reefton for eleven months, Greymouth for seven years, Greytown North nearly one-and-a-half years, and has ministered to the Wanganui congregation since October, 1893.

The Wanganui Parochial Missionary District, which contains three churches, is under the charge of the Rev. R. Herman. The largest, which is unconsecrated and known as St. John's, at Matarawa, has accommodation for 130 worshippers. St. Mary's, Upokongaro, which has sittings for 120, was consecrated on the 20th of July, 1879, while St. George's, at Turakina, which was consecrated on the 15th of January, 1885, is seated for eighty-five adults.

The Rev. Reginald Hermon, Vicar of the Wanganui Parochial Missionary District, studied for the Church at St. John's College, Auckland, and at Bishopdale College, Nelson, and there passed the fourth grade of theological studies. He was ordained deacon on the 30th of November, 1885, and priest on the 29th of September, 1887, and after being curate in charge of Waimangaroa and Charleston for two-and-a-half years, and then Ngatimoti, Nelson, for two-and-a-half years, he was appointed to his present charge in 1891.

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St. Paul's Presbyterian Church is situate in the Victoria Avenue, Wanganui. It was built about the fear 1872, and is a handsome structure with a fine spire. There is accommodation for about 600, including the gallery over each aisle on both sides of the transept. A fine organ occupies a position in the recess at the back of the platform and is worked by a pneumatic console in front of the pulpit, the choir being located in this position. There are about 1000 adherents in connection with the Presbyterian Church in and around Wanganui. Of the two Sunday schools in connection with the cause, that in Wanganui has about 225 scholars, while the auxiliary school at St. John's numbers about 150. The Presbyterians employ a home missionary to assist their minister, and thus have been able to take up services at Westmere, Okoia and St. John's weekly, and at Aramoho and Castlecliff fortnightly. The Rev James Treadwell is the Minister of the Church, he having occupied the position for about eighteen years.

The Rev. James Treadwell, Minister at St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, Wanganui, was born in Gloucestershire, England, and educated at the Edinburgh University and Free Church Hall, being four years in each institution. Mr. Treadwell was licensed by the Presbytery of Blairgowrie, Perthshire, Scotland, in 1859, and was ordained by the Presbytery of Ballarat, Victoria, as minister of Balmoral and Harrow, in the year 1860. He left Victoria in the year 1865 and subsequently was for ten years or so in the Free Church Ministry in Ayrshire, Scotland. The reverend gentleman came to New Zealand in 1876, having accepted the appointment which be now holds as minister of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, and which was offered to him by the colonial committee of the Free Church of Scotland on behalf of the congregation [Since the above was in type the reverend gentleman has passed away, his death taking place in January, 1897.

Saint Mary's Roman Catholic Church is in a central position in Victoria Avenue. The land occupied by the church buildings is one-and-a-half acres in extent. St. Mary's is a handsome wooden structure on brick foundations, the foundation stone having been laid April, 1876. The building was opened for divine worship in May, 1877. There are four magnificent stained glass windows, one of which was given by the Very Rev. Father Kirk, one by the Children of Mary, and one by offerings obtained by the sisters, the fourth being the gift of four persons. Two splendid new windows are soon to be erected, one being presented by Mrs. Mayer in memory of her late husband, the other by Mrs. Morrow and Mr. Parker in memory of their father and mother. There is an excellent organ by Bishop and Sons, of London, specially imported, the original cost of which was £700, and generally the church contains a large number of munificent gifts. The actual seating accommodation is 400. The church will, however, hold 600 when crowded. There is a gallery which is used by the choir. The adherents of the church between Wanganui and Bulls number 1000. The Marist Brothers' School in connection with the church is in charge of three brothers, there being about ninety boys under their care. The Convent Select School has ninety-five girls, and some fourteen or fifteen sisters are engaged in the work of the convent and school. Children of all denominations attend both these schools. St. Mary's Parish School is likewise under the control of the sisters. About 130 boys and girls attend the latter school. The Marist brothers teach the boys, and the sisters the girls. There is a large association in connection with the church called “The Association of the Sacred Heart,” which numbers about 250, and tends to keep the people in practical exercise of their religious duties. There is also Black and white photograph of Saint Mary's Roman Catholic Church a Temperance Society, numbering fifty members. The Association of the Children of Mary is for all young women who have made their first communion, and numbers about sixty. There is also a youths' association for reading and amusements, which has a weekly meeting. The Roman Catholics have a church at Turakina, which is built of wood, and accommodates about 150. They have likewise a wooden church at Balls holding 100, and one at Hunterville for about eighty, St. Mary's Church, Wanganui, cost over £3000.

The Very Rev. Father Charles Henry Kirk, S.M., in charge of St. Mary's Catholic Church, Victoria Avenue, Wanganui, was born at Monaghan, where he attended the Diocesan Seminary for four years. He was educated partly in England, and partly in Dublin, and studied at St. Mary's, Leeson Street, Dublin, and later at the Catholic University. He was ordained in November, 1870, as priest in the pro-cathedral, Dundalk. At the time of his ordination the reverend gentleman was Prefect in St. Mary's College, Dundalk. About a year after his ordination Father Kirk was sent out to Sydney as Curate of St. Patrick's. Here he remained for three years and two months and came to Wellington direct in February, 1874. After a short time in the Colony, Father Kirk was appointed to Wanganui, where he has resided continuously since that time. Since taking charge in Wanganui, Father Kirk has worked hard in the interests of his Church. He has had the pleasure of seeing almost the whole of the church buildings erected in connection with his church in the Victoria Avenue. He gave the designs for the wind ws, altars, and seating of St. Mary's. He also acted as architect for the Convent, the Presbytery, and the Marist Brothers' School.

Trinity Wesleyan Church is situate in Victoria Avenue. The church property includes about one and a-hall acres of ground, having a frontage likewise to Wicksteed Street. The church is built of wood, and was completed in 1873, and, with the school behind, cost about £2200. There is a small gallary opposite the pulpit used by the choir. The Wesloyans in Wanganui circuit number about 1100. There is a good Sunday school, numbering About 230. An infants' school is conducted in a separate building from the main school. There is also a church at Aramoho, built in 1877, with a seating accommodation of 120, and of page 1393 Springvale, a small church which seats sixty, and is used also for a Sunday school. The parsonage, which fronts Wicksteed Street, was built in 1870.

The Rev. George Bond, Minister of the Wanganui Wesley an Church, was born on the 3rd of February, 1848, in County Durham, England. His early education was received in the Wesleyan day school at Houghton-le-Spring. He commenced to preach when quite a youth, and in 1869 was accepted as a candidate for the Wesleyan Ministry. He forthwith went to Richmond College, London, where he remained three years. He arrived in Auckland in the early part of 1873 in the ship “Warwick,” and was sent to Christchurch to be the co-pastor of the Durham Street Circuit with the Rev. James Buller; from that time he has laboured with much acceptance in several important circuits in Canterbury, Auckland, and Nelson. In 1892 he was elected president of the Conference in Wellington by the united votes of ministers and laymen. During his year of office he secured the passing of a Bill by the New Zealand Parliament, to give effect to the legislation of the General Conference extending a minister's stay in a circuit from three to five years. As president of the conference and as chairman of the district, Mr. Bond has filled the highest posts of honour his church could confer on him.

The Baptist Church is situated in Ingestre street, Wanganui. The building is of wood, and was erected about 1891, prior to which time, for some eight years, a hall had been used for the services. The church will accommodate about 150. There is a Sunday school connected, which numbers from eighty to one hundred, with a branch school at Castlecliff. The minister is the Rev. Harold Peters.

The Rev. Harold Peters, the Minister in charge, was born and educated at Dunedin. He was accepted as a student for the ministry by the New Zealand Baptist Union, and studied at the Presbyterian Theological College and the New Zealand University College, Dunedin. Throughout his course of study Mr. Peters had the advantage of the friendly assistance of the Rev. A. North, pastor of the Hanover Street Baptist Church, Dunedin. He was ordained in Wanganui in November, 1893, and has ministered to the Baptist Church in Ingestre Street since that time.