Wanganui Electoral District.
The population of the Electoral District of Wanganui, according to the census of 1896, is 10,207 actual and 11,468 nominal. The district is bounded towards the west, north, and east generally by the Patea Electoral District, and on the south by the right bank of the Wangaehu River. The area of the electorate was considerably altered in the redistribution of electorates in September, 1896, a large portion of country being placed in the Patea Electorate. A noteworthy circumstance in connection with the representation of the electorate (as will be seen from the names which follow) is the fact that some of the most distinguished politicians the Colony has seen sat at different periods for Wanganui.
Mr. Gilbert Carson,
J.P., who was returned as Member of the House of Representatives for Wanganui at the General Election of December, 1896, was born at sea, on board the good ship “Jane Gifford,” on her way to Auckland in the year 1842, while his parents were emigrating from Scotland to the Colony, and he thus escaped the honour of New Zealand birth by about a fortnight. Mr. Carson was educated in Auckland, where he spent his young days. He learned his business with Messrs. Williamson and Wilson, of the old New Zealander
office, Auckland, completing his term in 1863, shortly after which the position of manager was conferred upon him, and this he held when the offices were burned down. Mr. Carson served with the Auckland volunteers at the time of the Maori war, and assisted in the building of the Waiora redoubt under Colonel Lyon. He was
Photo by A. Martin.
in active engagements at Wairoa, and was a recipient of the war medal for active service. About 1867 he went to Wellington, where for a period of seven years he held a position as compositor and Hansard
reader in the Government Printing Office. In 1874 Mr. Carson purchased the Wanganui Chronicle
, and has been associated with the management of that journal ever since. Mr. Carson is a life-long total abstainer, and is ever ready to do his best in the interests of temperance. He is a forcible speaker, and likewise uses his pen to further this and every other good cause. Mr. Carson has previously contested the Wanganui seat in the House of Representatives on four successive occasions, but in each case he was defeated. On the second occasion he was but twenty-seven votes behind the late Hon. John Ballance, and but for the fact that some forty electors went to an adjoining district to vote, he would in all probability have been returned. Further reference to this gentleman's public career appears under Wanganui Borough Council.