The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]
Mr. Edward Thomas Gillon, the Editor of the Post, is of Irish parentage, but was born in Douglas, Isle of Man, on the 21st of January, 1842. He arrived with his parents at Nelson, New Zealand, by the ship “Maori” on Christmas Day, 1851, en route for Otago. There, as a lad and youth, Mr. Gillon experienced all the rough, hard work incidental to early settlement in a new country. Well grounded at a famous school—Forester's—in Douglas before leaving Home, he had very little opportunity of attending school in Otago; but his education was carefully carried on by his mother—an accomplished lady, who still survives—and being of a studious disposition, with plenty of perseverance and the aid of a prodigious memory, he, in the midst of many difficulties, managed to qualify himself for the positions he was destined to occupy. Always disposed to literary pursuits, he, when a mere boy, became a contributor to the Otago Witness, furnishing it with both sketches and correspondence. Then, when the Provincial Council was in session, he used to go to Dunedin to report its proceedings for the Witness. He was so engaged when the Otago goldfields were discovered, and he was at once despatched to Gabriel's Gully by the Witness as correspondent, being the first press representative there. He remained on the field during the first terrible winter, and then was recalled to resume reporting at the next session of the Provincial Council. During this session Mr. (now Sir Julius) Vogel, a recent arrival from Victoria, entered into partnership with Mr. W. H. Cutten, the proprietor of the Witness; and the Otago Daily Times, the first daily paper in New Zealand, was projected and launched by the new firm, Mr. Gillon being chief reporter. Early in the following year (1862), he was stricken down by what was known as colonial fever, which played sad havoe in Dunedin at the time. He recovered, but was forbidden to resume newspaper work, and he was appointed Clerk to the Bench at Tokomairiro. There, a year or two later, he was one of the founders of the Bruce Herald, and edited it for a long time, resigning his Government appointment in the end to do so. Subsequently he established and edited the Bruce Standard. In 1867 he was appointed a member of the first Hansard staff, and removed to Wellington. After the session he was appointed Clerk of Private Bills to the General Assembly, with permission from the Stafford Government to continue to act as a correspondent for various journals and a contributor to the local press. This did not last long, as the next Ministry objected to the arrangement, and Mr. Gillon elected to continue his press work, and resigned the parliamentary appointment. For some years Mr. Gillon continued his connection with the local press, the Evening Post especially, and to represent several of the leading papers, North and South, in Wellington. In 1872 a combination of these formed an association for mutual supply of telegraphic news, and Mr. Gillon was selected by Mr. Vogel and the late Mr. W. Reeves to act as manager. He was sent to Melbourne to arrange a contract with the Argus for participation by the New Zealand Press in the cable news then just beginning to be received in Melbourne by the completion of cable communication between Europe and Australia. This he did most successfully. The Association shortly after disposed of its business to Messrs. Holt and McCarthy, the New Zealand Press Agency, and Mr. Gillon resumed a position he had occasionally filled for short periods as editor of the Post, remaining in that position for two or three years, and resigning it to contest a seat in Parliament, in which he was not successful. A new Press Association was soon afterwards formed, and Mr. Gillon again appointed manager. After a long and bitter struggle, the Press Association absorbed the Press Agency, and the present United Press Association, Limited, was formed, Mr. Gillon retaining the management until 1884, when he resigned it to again fill the editorial chair of the Evening Post, which position he has since retained. He is a Justice of the Peace, at one time sat in the City Council, and was one of the City members in the last Provincial Council. In 1868 one of the prizes offered by Government for essays on the best means of settling the people on the land was awarded to him. He is now the doyen of New Zealand Pressmen, and he took an active part in founding the New Zealand Institute of Journalists, holding the office of president for the first three years, and being chairman of the Wellington branch for four years. Mr. Gillon is an eminent Freemason, and was the father of the movement for Masonic self-government by the formation of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand. He was chairman of the Central Executive Committee, and in face of many and great difficulties, carried the movement through to a highly successful conclusion. He has several times refused election to the Masonic throne in the Grand Lodge, but the brotherhood conferred upon him the highest possible mark of their appreciation of his services by giving him the honorary rank of Past Grand Master. Mr. Gillon has had an interesting career, and a long and creditable connection with the colonial press. He has worked hard, and always with a well defined object; and he has fought hard, probably too hard, for his once robust constitution is now much shattered. As a Shakespearian scholar the Colony hardly possesses his equal; and his knowledge of political history must be the envy of more than colonial pressmen. That he loves his work, and is no “penny-a-liner,” is beyond all possibility of doubt. He has a kind heart and a tender sympathy for the page 460 suffering but if, in his opinion, the occasion demands it, he can write with vitrol almost as easily as with the milk of human kindness.
Mr. Gresley Lukin, the acting Editor of the Evening Post during the illness of Mr. E. T. Gillon in 1895–6, is a journalist of wide experience, who took up his residence in the Empire City in 1893. Born in Launceston, Tasmania, on the 21st of November, 1840, and educated in his native city, Mr. Lukin studied engineering for about two years. He then removed to Brisbane, and in 1866 he entered the Queensland civil service. He was promoted to the position of chief clerk in the Crown Lands department after two years service, and in this capacity he drafted the Land Act of 1868. Three years later Mr. Lukin was transferred to the Justice department as chief clerk of the Supreme Court. In 1873 he resigned his office and purchased the Brisbane Courier and Queenslander newspapers, which he conducted and edited for several years. At the Sydney International Exhibition of 1879, Mr. Lukin represented Queensland as executive commissioner. Soon afterwards he disposed of his interests in the two Queensland newspapers, and took up his residence in Sydney. Subsequently Mr. Lukin returned to Brisbane and founded the Boomerang, a journal which he successfully conducted for several years. In 1893, his health becoming seriously affected, he decided to try the equable climate of Wellington, and has had abundant reason to be satisfied with the result, his health having been completely restored. The climate has proved most acceptable to Mr. Lukin, who has prolonged his stay till he begins to feel like a New Zealander. He is still a large contributor to the leading journals in Australia and New Zealand, and has acted as locum tenens for Mr. Gillon, editor of the Evening Post, during his illness.
The New Zealand Times Company (Limited), proprietors of the New Zealand Times and Mail. Directors, Messrs. A. Warburton J.P., (managing director), J. Plimmer, L. L. Harris, A. Collins, J.P., M. Kennedy, J.P., J. Young, and M. P. Cameron. General manager, Mr. P. S. Cassidy; secretary, Mr. J. F. Buddle. Office, 86 Lambton Quay, Wellington.
Mr. Patrick Sarsfield Cassidy, General Manager of the New Zealand Times and Mail, is a many-sided man of long journalistic experience. Born in the County Donegal, Ireland, on the 31st of October, 1850, and educated in his native land, Mr. Cassidy was preparing to enter the legal profession when he met a gentleman from America, who described the greatness and glory of that country so vividly that he captured the young man's fancy, and caused him to emigrate thither. Arriving in New York at the age of seventeen, Mr. Cassidy became acquainted with some young newspaper men and joined the fourth estate. He started in life as a reporter on the New York World, but soon left there for a responsible position on the staff of the New York City Press Association, where he remained for several years, leaving only to become attached to the Associated Press, at that time the largest news gathering organisation in the world. He was a member of the permanent night force, and had charge principally of the European cable department. For seven years he occupied this position with great credit to himself, and then on account of changes owing to the death of the general manager, Mr. J. W. Symonton, Mr. Cassidy left and became city editor and special article writer for the Sunday Mercury and the New York Mercury, with which papers he continued for some sixteen or seventeen years. When a daily issue of the Mercury was established some years ago, he became one of the advisory committee for managing the establishment. During the time he occupied these onerous positions he found time to write several books and many poems. He was also part proprietor and publisher of a monthly magazine, which was afterwards sold to a company, and in addition to all this work, he supplied the editorial pages for two weekly papers, the Illustrated Times and the Sunday Democrat, holding regular positions in five newspaper and magazine establishments at the same time. His reputation as a rapid and brilliant writer, as well as an industrious worker, soon became widely known, while his personal reputation as a thoroughly good fellow, a steadfast friend, and an honourable and courteous gentleman, made him extremely popular in New York society, especially in the higher literary and artistic social circles, which in New York, as in London and Paris, are so charming. Back early in the seventies, Mr. Cassidy, with half a dozen other young newspaper men, organised the New York Press Club, which is now one of the most delightful clubs of that city, occupying a splendid house (rented), and with a building fund of over $100,000, a charity fund of some $20,000, and endowed beds in four of the principal hospitals. In 1886, Mr. Cassidy came very prominently before, not only New York, but the whole world, by his exposure of that peculiar “patriot,” O'Donovan Rossa—an exposure that happily eliminated that noisy individual from public life. Possessed of a very high sense of honour, Mr. Cassidy took action against the Brooklyn Daily Eagle for libel contained in a letter written by Rossa. The letter contained only three lines, and after a trial which occupied the New York Supreme Court for eleven days, with a large and brilliant array of counsel on both sides, he obtained a judgment for one thousand dollars and costs. In the summer of 1895–6, Mr. Cassidy paid a long-promised visit to his relatives in New Zealand, one of whom, Mr. Hugh Cassidy, of coaching fame, is a brother, and an old settler. He was so delighted with the Colony, its magnificent scenery, and its wonderful progress and bright prospects, that he was induced to accept the position of general manager of the New Zealand Times and Mail Company, having complete supervision page 461 and control of all the departments of the Company's large establishment on Lambton Quay.
Mr. Joseph Foster Buddle, Secretary of the New Zealand Times Company, Limited, is the fourth son of the late Rev. Thomas Buddle, Wesleyan Minister. He was born in Auckland in 1853, and educated at the old Wesley College in his native city, and at Christ's College, Christchurch. On leaving school, Mr. Buddle joined the Bank of New Zealand, where he remained for thirteen years, rising to the position of manager, which office he held for five years in Tauranga. On leaving the bank in 1881 to enter commercial life, Mr. Buddle joined Captain Turner in establishing the firm of Turner and Buddle, as auctioneers, stock and station agents, Tauranga. Five years later he removed to Auckland, and entered into partnership with the late Mr. Richard Arthur, under the style of Arthur and Buddle, auctioneers. In 1891 Mr. Buddle went to New South Wales, where he was appointed to the management of the Stock and Station Agency of Messrs. J. A. Mackinnon and Co., of Young. For climatic reasons he was soon compelled to return to his native land, and settling in Wellington, joined the staff of the New Zealand Times in February, 1893. In May, 1876, he was married to the third daughter of the late Lieutenant Hewitt, R.N., of Ireland, and has five sons surviving.
The New Zealand Times. It can not be said that Mr. Samuel Revans was the father of the New Zealand Times. That honourable position belongs to Mr. Thomas Wilmor McKenzie, as is narrated in the sketch of that gentleman, which appears earlier in these pages. But Mr. Revans was the founder of journalism in Wellington, and the trainer of Mr. McKenzie, who became his apprentice to the printing trade at the age of twelve. In this capacity and others he acquired so much experience and vigour that he was able, with two others, to start a newspaper, which very quickly took the lead in the journalism of the City, and has endured under various names to the present day. Mr. Revans was a man of noted resource, and a great friend, by the way, of Mr. Justice Chapman, who preceded him to his long home by many years. The two were fellow-politicians and fellow-patriots—men of strong character, sound constitutional judgment, and much learning. Being in Canada at the time of the rebellion, which everybody has since admitted to be right—a verdict no one can doubt in face of the Canadian Federal Dominion, which was its outcome and justification—being in Canada at that time, they were rebels as a matter of course, and equally as a matter of course, they being men of light and leading, a price was set upon their heads. One became a prominent pioneer in this part of the Colony; the other died at Dunedin a puisne judge of the Supreme Court. With characteristic thoroughness Mr. Revans joined the first batch of emigrants sent by the New Zealand Company, who got ahead of the British Government. They landed at Petone in January, 1840, and they brought with them the first number of the New Zealand Gazette, which had been published in London in September, 1839. The type, printing press, and all requisites were got together by the subscriptions of the emigrants who sailed with Mr. Revans in the “Adelaide,” arriving as above. In April of the same year, 1840, appeared the second number of the Gazette, of which Mr. Revans was editor, printer, manager, and inter alia carpenter. The first and several subsequent numbers were printed on the Petone beach, while the quarters were building. Thus was published the first newspaper in Wellington by Mr. Revans, who will therefore live in history to the end of time as the father of the New Zealand press. In that sense he is the father of the New Zealand Times, and there is a claim to nearer kinship in the fact that the founder of the Independent, which merged afterwards into the Times, was trained under the personal supervision of Mr. Revans in all the mysteries and ramifications of the printers' art, and the famous science of journalism. Hence the name of Revans must be accorded an honoured place in the story of the New Zealand Times. Even in those early days there was something unstable in the names of the journals which have preceded this one, for the New Zealand Gazette soon became the New Zealand Gazette and Britannia Spectator, Britannia being the name contemplated for the new settlement. That was in August, 1840. It must not be omitted that New Zealand had become a British possession while the “Adelaide,” with Mr. Revans, his friends, and their types and presses, were at sea. The second number of that journal, that which was set up on the Petone beach, duly contained Governor Hobson's proclamation assuming the Lieutenant-Governorship at Kororareka, and was read among the tents and whares without any thought of the changes in store for the locality of the Capital. Kororareka, Auckland, Wellington! No one thought it in that far-off day; not even the far-seeing pioneer Revans, who, with his friend Chapman, had just established the first daily paper in British North America. In 1875 the paper changed hands, and Mr. McKenzie, with his fellow-workmen, was left out in the cold. He and two others started the Independent, with an allusion to “the circumstances which have called our publication into existence at thirty-six hours' notice.” Those will be found fully explained in the memoir of Mr. McKenzie's career. The Independent began life as a weekly, and struggled with big difficulties, which can be judged by the fact that the printers had to work on what is now known in the Lands Department as the alternative system, i.e., half-time for pay and half time working on their own account, chiefly on page 462 their sections. It was not a day of readers or of advertisements. It succeeded, and of its success a leader-writer in its columns said thirty years later:- “The paper began very humbly thirty years ago. But even in those days, when the settlement was in a state of chronic siege, and there was a possibility from day to day of ‘cold editor’ being found among the dishes on a Maori sideboard, the Independent was conducted in a spirit worthy of its name.” That was written when the old Independent was disappearing into the New Zealand Times. During those thirty odd years a good record had been established. Consider, for example, the men who had contributed to the columns. The list of contributors is, indeed, one of the most brilliant in New Zealand history: Robert Godly, John Edward Fitzgerald, Dillon Bell, William Fox, Edward Gibbon Wakenfield, Daniel Wakefield, Edward Stafford, Isaac Featherston. These stand at the head of the list, and are sufficient to let the modern reader know that “there were giants in those days.” One of the early editors was Mr. W. Jas. Knowles. Under him was trained Mr. W. H. Anderson, one of the most vigorous writers of English the Colony has yet seen, commonly known amongst his friends as “Jock Anderson,” and of his literary quips, cranks, oddities and vigorous power, many stories are told to this day. He grew up in a school the writers of which maintained the title of “Independent” by their robust vigour, enriched it by their classical style, made it acceptable by their sterling honesty and genuine power. Before the days of electric cable it was, when the newspapers of the Colony were dependent on arriving ships for their news of the outside world. In the beginning, the owner, manager, editor, reporter, and printer—all rolled into one—would stop in the midst of his work of setting up a leading article, put down his composing stick, hurry to the “Beach,” put off in a whaleboat, take an oar, and pull, as if his life depended upon it, for the Heads, to intercept a vessel coming in. Once on board, he bought up every newspaper in the ship, going as high as £1 for a single copy on important occasions. The literature secured, the reporter hurried back to the office, became once more printer, and resuming his composing stick, finished the leading article from the brilliant pen of a Fox, or a Wakefield, or a Bell, or a Fitzgerald, or a Godly ! With Mr. T. W. McKenzie in the ownership were associated Messrs. W. E. Vincent and G. Fellingham; the editor was Mr. Knowles, and the writers were as above. For the reporting staff there was quite a little flotilla of boats; smart craft, as ready for skimming out to the arriving shipping as for sweeping everything before them in the periodical regattas. One of these boats was taken home in the “Acheron” (the famous survey ship, to whose officers we owe the chief portion of the Admiralty charts of the colony), just to show the builders what fine lines marked the boat-building of the colony. Mr. T. W. McKenzie sold the paper to the New Zealand Times Company, giving delivery on June 1st, 1874. On that date the brave old Independent disappeared and the New Zealand Times took its place. The list of its editors, from the day of change, comprises such names as Creighton, well known as a strenuous writer and an original, well-informed, acute thinker, who now represents New Zealand in San Francisco; as Pollen, the “Angelic Doctor” of the polemics of the “seventies,” whose aggregate of articles is in itself a liberal education to any man who likes to hunt them up in the old flies of the paper and read them; as Newman, he of the sanguine temperament and ingenious enterprising brain; as Fitzgerald, of Johnsonian phrase, and careful erudition, who writes always in the highest tone; as Rous-Marten, capable journalist of phenomenal industry, who is well known for his musical critiques, and better known for his acquaintance with railway, management and railway engineering, on which subjects he has contributed some very valuable papers to the sum of colonial knowledge. About five years after the incorporation of the Independent, the New Zealander started into life under the auspices of the members of the Grey Government and their friends, and under the editorship of Mr. E. T. Gillon, who now fills the editorial chair of the Evening Post, The directors were Mr. Ballance, Dr. Diver, Mr. J. S. M. Thompson, Mr. Buckley (now Sir Patrick), with Mr. Seymour George, Sir George Grey's nephew, as chairman and managing director. The paper was for a year or so one of the best morning dailies of its time in New Zealand, by reason of the excellence of its articles and the quantity and variety of its news.But its proprietary lost confidence, having lost their money, which they did early, and left off their spirited policy of keeping up a good article until the public should feel bound to take it. Mr. Gillon retired very soon, not being able to submit to the dictation of the managing director. Mr. R, A. Sherrin took his place, and before the days of starvation produced their inevitable result, Mr. Senior got the management. One fine morning Mr. Senior disappeared. Shortly afterwards the New Zealander went into liquidation, its title and remnants were bought by the New Zealand Times proprietary some where in 1880 or 1881, and from that time the New Zealand Times has reigned without a rival for morning honours. Mr. R. Reed, the founder of the West Coast Times at Hokitika. managed the paper for some time, until Mr. J. S. Harris purchased the property. In June, 1890, Captain Baldwin, well known in Otago as having filled the position of managing director of the Otago Guardian in the year 1874–75, before that paper's amalgamation with the Otago Daily Times, bought the property from Mr. Harris. Mr. R. A. Loughnan, page 463 who for fifteen years had edited the Lyttelton Times, of Christchurch, one of the foremost and most successful morning dailies in New Zealand, joined the New Zealand Times as editor, and held that position until Captain Baldwin, finding the task of running a morning daily beyond his strength, sold out to the present Company. The Company's managing director at first was the Hon. W, P. Reeves, Minister of Education. The position is now filled by Mr. Arthur Warburton, J.P., and the directors are Messrs. John Plimmer, L. L. Harris, Andrew Collins, Martin Kennedy, John Young, and M. P. Cameron. Mr. Loughnan is still in the editorial chair, and the paper is a consistent supporter of the Government.
Mr. Robert Andrew Loughnan, Editor of the New Zealand Times, is a man of wide and varied experience. His father was the late Judge Loughnan, of the Indian Civil Service. Born in the city of Dacca, in Bengal Province, the subject of this sketch was educated in France, at Stonyhurst College, England, and at the Catholic University, Dublin, of which he became a licensiate. It is many years ago since Mr. Loughnan came out to the colonies. His first four years were spent in pastoral pursuits on a back block of the Murrumbidgee, not far from the site now occupied by the sanatorium of Hay, the terminus of the New South Wales Riverina railway. Arriving in New Zealand in December, 1865, he bought the Mount Pisa Station, near Cromwell, in Central Otago, and as partner and manager, remained for several years. Subsequently, he took the management of the Green Island Meat Preserving Works, and while so engaged registered a patent for an improved method of canning, whereby the meat could be advantageously cooked at a considerably lower temperature. The success of this invention was prevented by the rise of the meat-freezing industry. In 1874 Mr. Loughnan began to write for the Otago Guardian and Otago Daily Times, of which he became musical critic, His work attracted the attention of the proprietors of the Lyttelton Times, who on the first opportunity offered him the vacant editorial chair. This position Mr. Loughnan accepted, assuming charge of that influential journal in January 1875, and retaining office till August, 1889. He then accepted the editorship of the Catholic Times and removed to Wellington, still continuing as a contributor and correspondent of the Lyttelton Times. When Captain Baldwin acquired the New Zealand Times in 1890, Mr. Loughnan joined that paper as editor, and has occupied this important position to the present time. As a musical critic Mr. Loughnan is well known, and he frequently undertakes this part of the editorial work, and always with marked ability. The breezy political notes, which are unique in themselves, have made a name for ‘ R.A.L’ and the Times. It is matter of common remark that the light, terse, humourous and picturesque style, which is peculiarly that writer's own, gives such a representation of the doings of the House as conveys the impression to many readers that they have actually been themselves present. These notes are couched in such language that no one's feelings are hurt, while every sitting is adequately described with impartiality and fairness, the ability of which is only equalled by their brilliance. As an interviewer, Mr. Loughnan has achieved marvellous success, and has received flattering acknowledgments from such celebrities as Rudyard Kipling, Rev. Mr. Haweis, General Booth, H. M. Stanley, and Mark Twain. Mr. Stanley remarked that no journalist among the hundreds that had interviewed him in all parts of the world, including Paris, London, and New York, had ever shown such intimate acquaintance with his work, with the map of Africa, and with the policies of the different European nations on the dark continent, as Mr. Loughnan had displayed in his sketch of the great explorer. The leading articles in the Times are almost entirely from the editor's pen. They are characterised by brevity of statement, logical power, and forceful illustration. Mr. Loughnan has long been a prominent member of St. Mary's Cathedral choir. He is married to the second daughter of the late Mr. De Malmanche, one of the oldest colonists at Akaroa
Mr. Patrick J. Nolan, sub-Editor of the New Zealand Times, is a New Zealander by birth, Auckland, Queen of the North, being his native city. He is a son of Mr. Matthew Nolan, was born on the 17th of March, 1866, and named after the saint on whose day he first saw the light, and was educated at the old St. Patrick's High School, and at other private schools. Mr. Nolan began his career as assistant reader at the office of the New Zealand Herald in Auckland, and subsequently served an apprenticeship of six years to the printing business in the same establishment. After his term of service he became day proof reader for the Herald, and Weekly News, the duties of which position he performed for two years. In the meantime, he had become a shorthand writer; and, as he showed also other qualifications necessary for the duties of a reporter, he was appointed to the reporting staff of the Herald, and in the course of a few years became assistant sub-editor, and in 1891 was sent to Wellington as special Parliamentary correspondent for that powerful journal. He again acted in that capacity on behalf of the New Zealand Herald in the session of the session of 1892. Immediately before the session of 1893. Mr Nolan was appointed to the staff of the New Zealand Times, which journal he represented in the Parliamentary press gallery in that year, and at the close of that session he received the appointment he now holds. Mr Nolan was married, in 1894, at St. Mary's Cathedral, Wellington, to Miss Kathleen J. Moran, eldest daughter of Mr. James Moran, surveyor, formerly of Auckland.
Mr. Alfred Ashbolt, Overseer (technically known as printer) of the New Zealand Times, is a son of one of the earlier settlers. His mother, who was a fellow passenger of the venerable John Plimmer, the father of Wellington, is still alive, and has resided under her son's roof for over a quarter of a century. Mr. Ashbolt was born in Wellington in 1848, and educated at the Te Aro school under Mr. Holmes. He was the first apprentice received by Mr. J. E. Fitzgerald, now Controller and Auditor-General, but at that time proprietor of the Christchureh Press newspaper. On completion of his term of five years a very flattering testimonial was endorsed on his debentures by his employer. Mr. Ashbolt continued altogether nineteen years in the office of the Press Company, and for the last few years of this long term he was overseer of the Globe, an evening paper which afterwards became the Telegraph, and is now published as The Truth. During his term of service in his first situation the Hon. G. Jones, M.L.C., at one time, and Mr. George Fisher, Mayor of Wellington, at another, were fellow employees. After a term of three years on the Lyttelton Times the subject of this notice removed to Wellington in 1882. Entering the New Zealand Times office, then owned by the late Mr. C. Harris, he was placed in full command at the end of the first week, and has held that important office through all the changes of the proprietary. Mr. Ashbolt has taken an active interest in cricket, and for many years has been elected a life member of the Wellington Cricket Association. He is also a member of the Selection, Champion, and Ground Committees. In 1869 Mr. Ashbolt was married to the eldest daughter of Mr. John Nuttall, now of Merivale, Christchurch, and has three sons and three daughters. His eldest son, Alfred, qualified as an accountant in Mr. T. K. Macdonald's office, and now fills an important sitnation in a large commercial house in Tasmania. Mr. Ashbolt's second son, Frank, is well-known as a prominent cricketer.
The New Zealand Mail. The New Zealand Mail, which possesses the lengthy sub-title of “Settlers' Journal, Sportsmen's Guide, Family Magazine, and General Newsletter,” was founded as a weekly edition of the New Zealand Times in 1870. For some years it was practically a reprint of the most important articles and news items which had appeared in the daily paper, and its circulation was very limited. When, however, the late Mr. Chantry Harris took over the two papers, he recognised that the Mail might be made a much better property, and so devoted much time and personal attention to its improvement. Original matter in several departments was introduced, and the paper grew steadily in public esteem, especially with the country settlers. For various reasons, financial troubles amongst others, Mr. Harris was not able to bring the Mail up into line with powerful old established rivals in Canterbury, but when Captain Baldwin purchased the two papers he increased the size of the Mail, put it under separate and competent editorial control, and considerably enhanced its reputation as a weekly newspaper. Mr. Ellis, a gentleman of no small versatility, edited the paper with great ability, but it was not until the Times and Mail became the property of the present owners, the New Zealand Times Company, that the Mail became in any way worthy of its position as the weekly paper of the capital city of the Colony. Upon the advice of the late Hon. John Ballance, then Premier, the services of Mr. C. Wilson, who had made a name for himself on the Napier News and other papers, as being a most energetic and able journalist, were secured, and under Mr. Wilson's control the Mail has made most substantial progress, its circulation having largely increased, and the original matter, that is, matter not previously appearing in the Times, now reaches 100 columns a week. A strong feature of the paper is its excellent agricultural news, the articles being notable primarily for their essentially practical character. The Ladies' Pages are under the editorial control of a lady who veils her identity under the nom de plume of Aunt Ellen, and who is assisted by several regular contributors. The sporting pages, for some years under the control of that once well-known turf scribe, “Vigilant” (the late Alfred King), and now edited by “Te Whiti,” are bright and newsy. The paper enjoys a reputation which extends to the Australasian colonies for the careful attention it pays to literary and theatrical gossip. Every branch of athletics receives attention, and for general reading matter of a recreative character, such as high class serial and other fiction, short stories by New Zealand writers, and extracts from the leading papers and magazines, the paper justly enjoys a wide reputation. A special feature of the Mail, which has added very largely to the popularity of the paper, is the weekly gossip of “Scrutator” under the heading of “Echoes of the Week’ Within the last four years the New Zealand Mail has doubled its circulation, and is admitted by journalists and the public alike to be one of the most generally interesting and valuable publications of its kind to be found in the Australasian colonies.
Mr. Charles Wilson, Editor of the New Zealand Mail, has been well known in the Colony for the past fifteen years. He is a son of the late Mr. John Wilson, chemist, of Harrogate, Yorkshire, England, who was considered to be the father of the drug business in that town. Mr. Wilson's brother has the largest drug business in the north of England. The subject of this notice was born in Harrogate in 1859, and educated at the local college. Shortly after leaving school he went into the woollen trade in Bradford, and when about eighteen left for Paris, where he remained for four years, being engaged in mercantile pursuits. It was during his residence on the Continent that Mr. Wilson became proficient in the French language: he is now considered to be one of the best French scholars in the Colony. In search of health he came to New Zealand in 1880, landing at Port Chalmers. After remaining in Dunedin for a few months, he accepted the appointment of assistant master at Te Aro School, in Willis Street, which position he retained for twelve months. In 1882 Mr. Wilson joined the staff of the page 465 Wanganui Collegiate School, under the Rev. (afterwards Dr.) Harvey, remaining four years. Subsequently he joined the staff of the Wanganui Chronicle, as sub-editor, and after some twelve months' experience, accepted the position of editor of the then resuscitated Gisborne Standard. Later on, after a short experience in the Press Gallery of the House of Representatives, Mr. Wilson was appointed to the editorial chair of the Napier Evening News. On the News Mr. Wilson proved himself an exceptionally industrious and able journalist, his strong advocacy of the democratic side in politics winning for him more than merely local reputation, and his articles being widely quoted throughout the Colony. He remained in Hawkes Bay for three years, after which he went to Marton, Rangitikei, and founded the Marton Mercury, whose principal promoter was Mr. (now the Hon.) F. Arkwright, M.L.C. In February, 1891, at the request of the late Hon. J. Ballance, who had taken a considerable personal interest in his journalistic career Mr. Wilson accepted the appointment he now holds. Since he has been editor of the Mail he has completely revolutionised that journal, bringing it into line with the other important weeklies of the Colony. To its columns, under various noms de plume, Mr. Wilson contributes a large amount of matter. His knowledge of, and experience in, the country districts has enabled him to make the farming pages of the paper of special value, and his theatrical and literary notes, and his “Echoes of the Week,” written under the now well-known pen name of “Scrutator,” are widely read and esteemed for their lightness and brightness of touch. Whilst in Wanganui, Napier, and other places, Mr. Wilson has frequently appeared on the lecture platform, where his command of good-natured satire stands him in good stead, and he has also shared in the foundation of more than one successful debating and amateur dramatic society. As a Yorkshireman he is deeply interested in the Yorkshire Society, of which he is vice-president. In 1894 Mr. Wilson was married to a daughter of the late Mr. A. Carter, of Motukaraka, near Pahautanui, and has one daughter.