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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]


The Pahiatua Rifle Club was formed in 1893 by some of the rifle shots of the district. The present strength of the Club is about thirty. The captain is Mr. J. C. Taylor. Mr. W. W. McCardle, junr., is the secretary and treasurer. The rifle range is situate on the properties of Messrs. Maxted and Bottomley, and is within easy distance of the town. Meetings are held every Wednesday afternoon during the summer months. The Club can boast of having some splendid shots among its members, and great interest is always taken in the various shooting competitions held from time to time.

The Pahiatua Post-Office, with which is connected a money order office, is the central office for a large district. It is connected by telegraph with other parts of the Colony, page 1025 and a telephone service communicates with five outlying districts. The postmaster, Mr. C. J. Norton, is assisted by two telegraphists, a letter-carrier and a messenger. Mails for Wellington close at Pahiatua daily at 10.30 a.m. by the Wairarapa route, and 1.15 p.m. by the Manawatu route: mails for Pahiatua close at Wellington daily at 6.45 a.m. The building, which is of wood and iron, was erected in 1894, and is an exceedingly handsome and imposing structure, as will be seen by reference to the picture on page 1014. Mails are delivered in Pahiatua twice every day with the exception of Wednesday.

The Pahiatua Police Station has been established several years. The officer in charge is Constable Charles Cooper.

Mr. Robert McGonogle, an Inspector of Roads, Railways, and Bridges, in the Public Works Department, is well known throughout the North Island of New Zealand, having, in the discharge of his duties, visited almost every part of it. Mr. McGonogle was born in Armagh, in the North of Ireland, on the 4th of October, 1844, and landed in Auckland with his father and family on the 10th of May, 1848. His father, Mr. William McGonogle, was an Imperial pensioner, and lived for many years at Otahuhu, near Auckland. Here Mr. McGonogle was educated at the Rev. Mr. Ward's school. After a turn at carpentering in the Papakura district, he went to the Thames in September, 1867, very soon after the proclamation of the goldfields. Then he was engaged in the erection of batteries for Mr. John Gibbons, of Onehunga, assisting in the erection of “The Big Pump.” In 1872, leaving the Thames, Mr. McGonogle found employment as an overseer with Mr. John Taylor, the contractor for the Auckland Harbour Works. To name all the breakwaters, bridges, roads and railways in which Mr. McGonogle has been employed as foreman or inspector would occupy more space than the writer has at command, and a few, therefore, must suffice. One of the first was the Onehunga-Mangere Bridge, one of the longest in the Colony. Then followed the extension of the Auckland Breakwater in 1874-5, the New Plymouth-Waitara Railway, constructed by the well-known firm of Brogden and Sons, the Wanganui-Kai Iwi Railway and numerous other large undertakings. Before entering the Public Works Department as inspector in 1880, Mr. McGonogle was for some time contracting on his own account, his operations being chiefly confined to the erection of bridges and buildings. Both before and since receiving his Government appointment, Mr. McGonogle was and has been the recipient of a great many most valuable testimonials from such gentleman as Mr. James R. Davis, of the Auckland and Waikato Railway; Messrs. John Brogden and Sons, Mr. James Stewart, district engineer for Auckland; Mr. J. D. Gillies, assistant engineer in the Public Works Department, a number of resident engineers, including Mr. Gerald FitzGerald, of Wellington, and many others. One of the works undertaken by Mr. McGonogle, of which he is especially proud, was that of floating the “Hauraki” off the North Spit of the Waitara River. For this he received an honorarium of £25 and a vote of thanks from the directors. As a colonist Mr. McGonogle has by no means restricted himself to paid performances. He has done a great deal of honorary work on school committees and in the Volunteer Force, besides taking part in the Maori wars around Auckland. In 1863 he was under fire with No. 1 Third Battalion of the Auckland Militia, and assisted in the building of the Galloway Redoubt on Thorpe's Farm, Wairoa, about twenty miles south of Auckland. Until recently he was lieutenant in the Palmerston North Rifles; and at Ashurst and Ohingaiti, he was a most energetic member of the school committee. As a verse-maker Mr. McGonogle has written both humourous and heroic compositions. For a patriotic song addressed to the Prince of Wales, he received His Royal Highness's acknowledgment and thanks. In 1871 Mr. McGonogle married Miss Martha Goodwill, daughter of Mr. Charles Goodwill, of Otahuhu. Mrs. McGonogle died in January, 1895, leaving six daughters and two sons. Two of the daughters are married—the eldest to Mr. Charles Clare, of Patea, and the second to Mr. Ernest Pratt, of Hunterville.

Mr. Henry Welch, the Rabbit Inspector for Pahiatua County, is a gentleman well known not only in his present district, but throughout the eastern half of the province. He is a son of the late Mr. Henry Welch, of Opaki, near Masterton—who came to the Colony with his parents early in 1840–and therefore a member of the renowned Welch family. The late Mr. Henry Welch and his three brothers settled in the Hutt Valley in the early days, and in 1873 removed into the Masterton district. That they were of the genuine material needed for the subduing of rough country may be inferred from the fact that their sons, now mainly resident in and around Masterton, constitute one of the most formidable football teams to be found in any county in the Colony. The Masterton Football Club, which on at least one occasion beat the Christchurch Club, succeeded only in drawing the game with the Welch family. The accompanying group shows eighteen members of the family. Seven are the sons of the late Mr. Henry Welch, five are sons of the late Mr. Wm. Welch, three of Mr. J. R. Welch, himself one of the party, and two of the late Mr. Richard Welch. In cricket the prowess of the family is only less remarkable. The cricket matches in which they have engaged have been mainly against private teams, such as the Wairarapa Farmers' Association Club, but in all cases the Welch family have proved victorious. In all athletic exercises the members of the Welch family have been prominent, several championships Mr. Henry Welch page 1026
Welch Football Club.—1892.Top Row—A. Welch (Line Umpire). H. Welch (1/2 back) 12st., W. C. Welch (forward) 12st., G. Welch (forward) 12st., W. J. Welch (forward) 12st., H. Welch (forward) 12st., 61b., M. Welch (Line Umpire). Middle Row—J. R. Welch (Manager), E. Welch (3/4) 10st. 61b., T. Welch (3/4) 12st., W. E. Welch (forward) 13st., Wr. Welch (forward) 12st. 10., J. Welch (forward) 11st 31b., Front Row—Arthur Welch (3/4) 8st., Herb. Welch (forward) 11st., F. Welch (1/2 back) 10st. 61b., E. Welch (1/2 back) 10st. 61b., Alf. Welch (full-back) 12st.

Welch Football Club.—1892.
Top Row—A. Welch (Line Umpire). H. Welch (1/2 back) 12st., W. C. Welch (forward) 12st., G. Welch (forward) 12st., W. J. Welch (forward) 12st., H. Welch (forward) 12st., 61b., M. Welch (Line Umpire).
Middle Row—J. R. Welch (Manager), E. Welch (3/4) 10st. 61b., T. Welch (3/4) 12st., W. E. Welch (forward) 13st., Wr. Welch (forward) 12st. 10., J. Welch (forward) 11st 31b.,
Front Row—Arthur Welch (3/4) 8st., Herb. Welch (forward) 11st., F. Welch (1/2 back) 10st. 61b., E. Welch (1/2 back) 10st. 61b., Alf. Welch (full-back) 12st.

page 1027 being held by various members, including the standing high jump, putting the stone, tossing the caber, vaulting and running. Four on the family have on several occasions been chosen to represent the Wairarapa in football matches. Mr. Harold Welch, the huntsman of the Wairarapa Hunt Club, in 1895 made a record as a rider at the Wairarapa Agricultural Show's jumping contest. In three events the horses ridden by him took the three first and three second prizes. The subject of this notice was born at the Lower Hutt. He was educated in Masterton, first at the public school there, and afterwards by private tuition. For some three or four years he worked on his father's farm at Opaki, and after about three years practical experience in rabbiting, joined the Stock Department, superintending the extermination of the rabbits on Crown lands. Efficient service in this position led to his appointment, in 1892, to the post of rabbit inspector. In the first two years his duties were confined to the Masterton district, but the rapid extension of settlement in the Pahiatua County necessitated Mr. Welch's removal thither. His present district is exceedingly rough, a very large proportion of the country being so broken as to be quite inaccessible on horseback. Notwithstanding this, Mr. Welch's district is carefully and constantly inspected, and the great stock-carrying capacity of the land throughout the country shows very plainly that the rabbits are being kept well under. Mr. Welch is exceedingly popular throughout his district, which, of course, speaks well for his impartiality as an inspector. In his days of greater leisure Mr. Welch took an active part in connection with the Wairarapa Hunt Club, following the hounds in all the principal hunts. He still occasionally rides with the Woodlands Club. Mr. Welch is a prominent member of the North Wairarapa Gun Club, and a capital shot, several prizes for pigeon shooting having been carried off by him. He destroys in this way quite a large number of rabbits in his peregrinations, accompanied by his dogs, and is always willing to advise and help the settlers in such important matters as mixing and laying poisoned food, and all other methods of exterminating the pest.

Pahiatua Public School. This school is situated almost in the centre of the Pahiatua township, and immediately opposite the Post-office. The number of children in the district has so increased of late that it was found necessary to enlarge the school, and its accommodation has been very much improved. The schoolhouse and grounds are particularly fine, part of the latter having been converted into a beautiful flower garden by the late teacher, Mr. C. W. Lee, now in charge of the Waihenga School (Martinborough). There is a vegetable garden, too, in splendid condition, but this is the result of hard work on the part of the Black and white photograph of Pahiatua Public School and grounds resent teacher, Mr. Thomas. As in all new settlements, the number of young children at Pahiatua, seems very large when compared with the number of settlers, and the roll number of this school is now no less than 317. With an average attendance each day of 250 girls and boys. The intelligence and manners of the children are very good, and in all things they compare favourably with their city counsins. All the necessary comforts of the school are provided by a considerate school committee, of whom Mr. George Moore is chairman. The other members of the committee are: Messrs. Bogle, John Dawson, De J. Fraser. H. Godfrey, and Reeve. The teaching staff consists of the head master, two assistants, and three pupil teachers.

Mr. Joseph Thomas is the Headmaster of the Pahiatua School, a position he has held since October, 1894. Mr. Thomas was born at Aughneskeagh, County Down, Ireland. He left the Emerald Isle, with his father's family, for the colonies, in 1852, and arrived in Lyttelton during the same year, per ship “Queen of the Mersey.” Mr. Thomas was educated at Ashley School, in the Canterbury district, throughout which district his father, Mr. Samuel Thomas, is very well known as a thriving farmer. Two years at the Training College, Christchurch, completed Mr. Thomas's educational career, and by this time he had distinguished himself in a very marked degree. He successfully went up for various examinations, in the end winning a certificate which takes very high rank in the order of teaching certificates, namely C1. This he obtained in the year 1890. Before joining the Training College, Mr. Thomas had served his apprenticeship as a pupil teacher at Ashley, and after obtaining his certificate, was appointed assistant teacher at Pleasant Point, South Canterbury. He was next in charge of the Aylesbury School, then master at Wakanui, near Ashburton, and later on assisted at Richmond, Christchurch. Mr. Thomas then came to Wellington, where he received an appointment as assistant at the Te Aro School, shortly after being transferred to Mount Cook Boys' School, a position which he retained until he accepted the charge at Pahiatua. When in Wellington, Mr. Thomas was a member of the council of the Acclimatisation Society. He is at present a member of the sub-committee of the Pahautanui branch, and takes great interest in the distribution of the trout, and other acclimatisation work.