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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]

The Hon. William Thomas Jennings

The Hon. William Thomas Jennings, M.L.C., is a native of Auckland, receiving his education at the old St. Paul's school, and learning his trade—that of a printer—in the same city. He was apprenticed in the early sixties with his uncle, Mr. W. Siffern, at the old “New Zealander” office, and, after completing his term, went to the Thames, where he became foreman on the “Thames Guardian.” Later on Mr. Jennings proceeded to Dunedin, where he occupied the position of foreman of the “Guardian,” and was also manager of the “Dunedin Age”; subsequently going to Oamaru, he received a similar appointment in connection with the “Oamaru Mail.” He returned to Auckland in 1882, and accepted the position of foreman on the “Evening Star.” Mr. Jennings has been connected with the Knights of Labour and the Trades and Labour Council, and was for some years hon. secretary to the Auckland Liberal Association. He now holds the positions of past district grand president of the order of Druids, and chairman of the Auckland Typographical Association. Politically, Mr. Jennings is well known and popular. On labour questions his views have ever been moderate, and they have been invariably characterised by sound common sense. The hon. gentleman takes a great interest in social reform, and, in conjunction with the secretary of the New Zealand Tailoresses' Union, has worked hard to improve the condition of women workers engaged in that industry. He was called to a seat in the Legislative Council by Mr. Ballance's ministry on the 15th of October, 1892, and, as a representative of labour, it would be hard to excel him. Enjoying as he does the confidence and esteem of his fellow workmen, and possessing both ability and courtesy, he is better calculated to advance the cause of labour, and the condition of the labouring classes generally, than a host of loud talkers. Mr. Jennings was one of the earliest members of the Hobson Rifle Volunteer Corps (which has now been extinet for some years), and held the position of lieutenant in that company. His term of office as Legislative Councillor expired by effluxion of time on the 15th of October, 1899, but he was re-appointed next day for another term of seven years.