The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]
The Wanganui Public Museum was erected in the Domain about 1892. The plans of the building are by Mr. A. Atkins, architect. The total floorage space exceeds 3000 square feet. Wanganui owes its museum chiefly to the energy and ability of Mr. S. H. Drew, the hon. curator. There are few who can equal this gentleman in the all-round knowledge which he possesses, and which has enabled him to deal so intelligently with the various sections of the museum. With few exceptions, the whole of the exhibits, including mammals, birds, fishes, shells, and minerals, have been treated, classified, and actually prepared by Mr. Drew. Skeletons, including those of whales and moas, are effectively grouped in the centre of the room and surrounded by an iron rail. On the right hand, near the entry, there are a multitude of New Zealand fishes of all kinds, sizes, and colours: then a splendid collection of the birds of the Colony in equal variety. There are also shells and minerals, old maori weapons, implements, and curios. On the other side of the museum are a great variety of exhibits which are foreign to the Colony, but are none the less of general interest. The Wanganui Museum is a credit to the district, and particularly to the gentleman who has done so much to make it complete and attractive.
Wanganui Club, Victoria Avenue, Wanganui. President, Dr. Earle; Hon. secretary, Mr. A. Atkins. The clubhouse, which was built in 1881, comprises rooms for visitors, writing, card, dining, and sitting-rooms. In fact there is a full suite of rooms, including every convenience except bedrooms. There is a fine large billiard-room with a first-rate table. Lunch is provided daily. The members of the Club number about 100, and include a large number of professional and commercial men and settlers in the district. [Since the above was in type Mr. Atkins has retired, and Mr. H. S. G. Harper has been appointed secretary and treasurer.]
St. John's and Suburban Working Men's Club, Wanganui, was the first working men's club opened in Wanganui. Formed in 1892, it has now 200 members. The late Hon. John Ballance was the first president. The building is the old St. John's Hotel, which has eight rooms on the ground floor, with eleven rooms upstairs, four being reserved for the use of country members. Cricket and quoit clubs are associated with the institution, and there are the usual card, chess, and draughts conveniences. The custodian, Mr. J. R. McGregor, with his wife and family, resides on the premises. The club's officers for 1896 were:— Messrs. J. Duigan (president), W. Hall (vice-president), E. Butler (treasurer), G. Brown (secretary), T. Thatcher and W. Parnell (trustees). The club gives an annual picnic to members and their wives and families on Boxing Day.
Mr. George Brown, Secretary of the St. John's and Suburban Working Men's Club, Wanganui, was born in Wantage, Berks, England, in 1869, and educated at Wantage Grammar School. Coming to New Zealand in 1884, he resided in Wellington for about a year, and then went to Wanganui on the staff of the Colonial Mutual Life Insurance Company. He subsequently entered the service of Messrs. Borlase and Barnicoat, solicitors, where he still remains. Mr. Brown is an all-round athlete of considerable ability, and has distinguished himself in representative cricket, as well taking part in football, baseball, rowing, running, and musical and dramatic performances.
The Cosmopolitan Club, Wanganui, which was established in 1893 for social purposes, had a membership of 550 in 1896. A very suitable building in Campbell Street is fitted up with reading-room and library, chess, draughts, and card-rooms, social hall—with stage—liquor-bar, and the other appurtenances of a well-conducted club. The officers for 1896 were:—Messrs. J. W. Day (president), T. G. Nicholas (vice-president), F. Beavis (secretary and treasurer), E. G. Harding (custodian), and a committee of ten.
Mr. F. Beavis, Secretary and Treasurer of the Cosmopolitan Club, was born in 1858 in Brixton, Surrey, England, and was educated at Stockwell. He entered his father's grocery business, and afterwards gained further experience in that line at Finsbury Park and Lavender Hill. Coming to New Zealand in 1887, he served with Messrs. Joseph Nathan and Co., of Wellington, for a few years, and subsequently went to the Wairarapa Farmers' Co-operative Association at Greytown and Pahiatua, remaining for about four years. Eventually he opened a fruiterer's shop in Victoria Avenue, Wanganui, which he still carries on. Mr. Beavis, who is a married man with two children, is a Freemason, and was at one time a member of the Pahiatua Fire Brigade.
Tongariro Lodge, No. 705 (Wanganui), meets on the third Thursday in the month. Officers (1896):—Messrs. E. M. Clarke (W.M.), E. W. Andrews (S.W.), J. W. Gossett (J.W.), and F. G. Newcombe, P.M. (secretary).
St. Andrew Kilwinning Lodge, No. 79 (Wanganui), meets on the second Thursday in the month. Officers (1896):—Messrs. J. L. Stevenson (W.M.), J. Fairburn (S.W.), G. Calman (J.W.), and J. W. Muir (secretary).
Loyal Wanganui Lodge of Oddfellows, No. 4738, was established in 1888. This Lodge is one of the wealthiest in the Provincial District, owning a number of buildings, including the hall used as the theatre of the town in Ridgway Street. Fortnightly meetings are held on Mondays in the lodge-room, Ridgway Street, the membership being 180; the permanent secretary is Mr. John Wright.
Bishop Lodge, No 4, United Ancient Order of Druids, Wanganui, was established in 1883, and has a membership of 110. Meetings are held on alternate Mondays in the Druids' Hall, at the corner of Ridgway and Bell streets, the property being the freehold of the lodge.
Mr. George Tuffin, Secretary of the Bishop Lodge, was born in 1873 at Wanganui. Educated locally, he entered the office of Messrs Borlase and Barnicoat, solicitors, Wanganui, where he is still engaged. Mr. Tuffin takes a keen interest in Friendly Society matters, and a justifiable pride in his lodge.
Court Rhoderick Dhu, U.A.O.F., No. 4926, Wanganui, was established in 1867. It meets on alternate Wednesdays in Christ Church schoolroom, and has a membership of 184. Mr. Walter Briggs is the permanent secretary.
Court Young Rhoderick Dhu, U.A.O.F., is a juvenile court, and meets on alternate Tuesdays in Christ Church schoolroom, the secretary being Mr. W. Briggs.
Court Onward, U.A.O.F., No. 8262, is a female lodge which was established in 1895, and has about thirty members. It meets on alternate Tuesdays in Christ Church schoolroom, Mrs. J. M. Williamson being secretory.
Wanganui Amateur Athletic and Cycling Club has been established two or three years. The secretary is Mr. Basil Ferguson, and the vice-president, Mr. J. McNaught, who also acts as starter for all the Club's sports, is referred to below.
Wanganui Caledonian Society is one of the most successful institutions in the town. The gathering is held on the 22nd of January in each year in Victoria Park. Included in the sports programme are bicycle races run under the rules of the N.Z.C.U. The president (1897) of the Society is Mr. T. D. Cummins, and the vice-presidents, Messrs. R. Ross and H. Black. Mr. James P. Watt is secretary.
The Union Boating Club, Wanganui, which was established in 1887, has its sheds on Taupo Quay, the membership being sixty-five. The colours are light blue, and the Club has a good fleet of racing and pleasure-boats. Its representatives have been fairly successful at regattas. Mr. A. Gray is the captain, and Mr. G. Brown the secretary.
The Wanganui Rowing Club was established in 1875, and has a membership of about 100, and a good fleet of boats. The sheds are on Taupo Quay, and the Club's colours are red and black. Mr. D. Bell is the captain, and Mr. A. W. Wigzell the secretary.
Wanganui Amateur Swimming Club is one of the most popular institutions of the town. It was established some years ago, and has a very large membership. A large share of its success is undoubtedly due to Mr. Alfred Gray, for some time its captain.
Mr. Alfred Gray, the late Captain of the Wanganui Swimming Club, is a builder residing in Glasgow Street, Wanganui. Born in 1863 at Dunedin, he came to Wanganui with his parents when two years of age, and was educated at a private school. After three years in the Telegraph Department, he served seven years to the cabinetmaking and building trade. Mr. Gray has been very conspicuous in aquatic circles, both as a rowing man and a swimmer, while his record as a footballer, fireman, cricketer, and rifle-shot are most brilliant, and his achievements too many and varied to be recounted here. He has thrilled the public on several occasions by sensational dives from the top of the Aramoho Railway Bridge into the river—a distance of seventy feet. He has swum from the Town Bridge to Aramoho and back in one effort, and has rendered great public service on many occasions by rescuing drowning persons and diving for bodies. He has an extensive collection of cups, medals, and trophies, won in different competitions. Mr. Gray is captain of the Union Boat Club.
The Wanganui Bowling Club. Officers:—Messrs. R. Anderson (president), A. Elliott (vice-president), J. Tawse, D. May, E. Perritt, J. Bennie, J. Graham, R. Russell, J. Purnell, W. H. G. Foster, and W. R. Tuck (committee), J. Notman and F. M. Spurdle (auditors) W. Rodwell, E. Moult, and G. Ross (match committee), W. Rodwell (hon. secretary and treasurer). The bowling green, which is situated in St. Hill Street, is kept in perfect condition by the caretaker, Mr. J. E. Mooseman.
Mr. Robert Anderson, President of the Wanganui Bowling Club, who is the Wanganui manager of the wellknown Auckland house, Messrs. A. Clark and Sons, is a native of Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland. He came to the Colony in 1878, having had experience in Glasgow with Messrs. J. and W. Campbell. After four years with Messrs. Clark and Sons in Auckland, he was appointed manager of the Wanganui branch on its establishment. Mr. Anderson is an enthusiastic bowler and a lover of sport. He is Consul in Wanganui for the New Zealand Cyclists' Touring Club, a steward of the Wanganui Jockey Club, and takes an interest in amateur photography.
Mr. William Rodwell, F.I.A., New Zealand, the Honorary Secretary and Treasurer of the Wanganui Bowling Club, was born in 1859, at Hildersham, Cambs., England, and came to Wanganui in 1877. For some years he was clerk to Mr. Edward Churton, accountant, and subsequently entered into business on his own account. He holds powers of attorney for several absentees, is auditor for some of the principal companies in Wanganui, and acts as agent for the Trade Auxiliary Company. In rowing matters he has taken a prominent part, having represented his club at various regattas, besides acting as captain for some years. He was a member of the Wanganui Rifles for sixteen years, occupying the position of colour-sergeant. Mr. Rodwell is married, and has two children.
Photo by A. Martin.
Mr. W. Rodwell.
Wanganui Chess and Draughts Club holds its annual meeting in May. Officers (1896):—President, Hon. J. Bryce; captain and referee, Dr. Hatherly; secretary and treasurer, Mr. H. B. Williamson.
Wanganui Cricket Club. Officers (1896):— Messrs. C. H. Mitford (president), James Watt (captain), W. B. Cave (deputy-captain), L. V. Caldwell (treasurer), and W. H. McLean (secretary). The club, said to be one of the strongest on the West Coast, has a membership of 165. It has had a chequered career since its foundation, languishing and reviving at different periods, but now gives promise of permanent prosperity. Hawera is the only county club with which matches are played regularly. The club's colours are chocolate and gold, and the annual subscription is 25s.
The Tennis Club associated with the Wanganui Cricket Club has the same officers and fifty members. There are five grass lawns in Victoria Park, leased from the Caledonian Society. The principal players are Messrs. W. H. McLean, C. H. Mitford. H. B. and L. P. Cave, and J. M. Marshall.
Wanganui Rugby Union has been established several years. The clubs in the Union include the local town clubs, with their senior and junior teams, as well as those from the country, the district extending from Fordell to Waverley.
Wanganui Lawn Tennis Club, which was founded in 1880, has fifty playing members, equally divided between ladies and gentlemen, and fifteen non-playing ladies. The ground in Campbell Street is laid out in four courts, three being turfed and one asphalted. The officers (1896) were:—Messrs. W. H. Barnicoat (president), G. Marshall, J. M. Marshall, D. Meldrum, J. Harold, J. Fairburn (treasurer), and F. V. Kempthorne (secretary), who are all members of the committee.
Wanganui Gun Club, which was established in 1896, has a membership of thirty. Monthly pigeon and glass-ball shooting matches are held at the rifle range, and a large prize meeting in March each year. Mr. H. S. G. Harper is the secretary.
Wanganui Jockey Club is the oldest institution of its kind on the West Coast of the North Island. Three meetings are held during the year—in March, May, and October. The course and its appointments are admirable. The following are the officers for 1897:—President, Dr. R. C. Earle; vice-president, Mr. H. N. Harrison; judge, Dr. R. C. Earle; handicapper, Mr. J. O. Evett; clerk of the scales, Mr. E. A. Campbell; clerk of the course, Mr. D. McDonald; timekeeper, Mr. R. Higgie; hon, surgeon, Dr. Tripe; hon. veterinary surgeon, Mr. J. A. Hawke; hon. starter, Mr. C. H. Chavannes; committee, Drs. Connolly and Saunders, and Messrs. E. E. Fletcher, A. Higgie, A. J. Parsons, J. H. Nixon, and R. Anderson. Mr. F. R. Jackson is the secretary and treasurer.
Wanganui Polo Club. Officers (1896):— Messrs. W. T. Owen (president), H. J. R. Tilly, Hon. Dr. Grace, M.L.C., W. Empson, and R. D'Anvers (vice-presidents), C. Patterson (captain), J. A. Hawke (vice-captain), and L. Cowan (secretary). This club, which was founded in 1894, has been very successful, and numbers from thirty-five to forty members. The Polo Sports held in connection with the Club, on the racecourse, are very popular.
Wanganui Acclimatization Society holds its annual meeting in June. Officers (1896):— President and chairman, Mr. W. T. Owen; vice-president, Dr. R. C. Earle; secretary and treasurer, Mr. E. N. Liffiton, Ridgway Street, Wanganui.