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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]

The Hon. James Williamson

The Hon. James Williamson was one of the best known citizens of Auckland, and one of the oldest colonists of New Zealand. He was born at Belfast, Ireland, in 1814, and was the son of a merchant and shipowner of that city. Being of an adventurous disposition when a boy, he went to sea, and was several times shipwrecked. In 1840 he sailed from Sydney to the Bay of Islands as chief mate of a vessel. He then left the sea and went on to Auckland, where he was present at the first Government land sale, and bought an allotment in Shortland Street, on which he erected a store. About 1876 or 1878 Mr. Williamson bought the Pa estate at Onehunga, where he resided up to the time of his death. Mr. Williamson was one of the original founders of the Bank of New Zealand and the New Zealand Insurance Company, and was a leading director in both of these institutions for many years; at the time of his death he was president of the Bank of New Zealand. He was called to the Legislative Council in 1870, and died on the 22nd of March, 1888. Mr. Williamson left a widow, three sons and three daughters.