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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]



Mongonui (or Mangonui), in the county of that name, is 134 miles from Auckland. It has a fairly good harbour, which was visited by Captain Cook. The country is poor in character as a rule, though there are the rich valleys of Oruru and Victoria. Mongonui possesses a good hotel, a church and a public school, and has weekly communication with Auckland. It also has a telegraph and money order office, and a post office savings bank.

Mr. R. M. Houston, Member in the House of Representatives for the Bay of Islands, is the son of a clergyman, and was born at Belfast, Ireland, in 1846. He arrived in New Zealand when he was about twenty years of age, and was for several years school teaching at Otahuhu. After that he became a storekeeper at Mongonui, where he was afterwards chairman of the county council. Mr. Houston first entered Parliament in 1890. At the general election of 1900 he was opposed by Mr. N. A. McLeod, and the voting was—Houston, 2002; McLeod, 1935.

Mongonui County is the most remote northern subdivision in the Colony and has an area of 934 square miles, with a population of 2,262. The capital value of property is about £200,000, on which there is a general rate of 3/4d in the £.

Mr. Henry Havelock Thompson was born in Southern Wairoa in 1866. and is a son of Mr. W. F. Thompson, of Victoria Valley. As a young man he followed farming, but afterwards carried on business for some ten years as a road and bridge contractor. Until 1895 he was in partnership with his brother, since when he has confined page 591 his operations to smaller contracts. In November, 1896, Mr. Thompson was elected a member of Mongonui County Council, and he consistently agitated for the appropriation of money for the improvement of the roads in the district. In February, 1897, he was appointed assistant inspector of roads. Mr. Thompson is fond of athletic sports and is an ardent cricketer.

The Post And Telegraph Offices, Mongonui, were erected about 1873 and constitute an important northern station, with seven telephones along the coast connected with it. These latter are the lighthouse at Cape Maria, ninety miles distant, and intervening wires at Taipa. Kaitala, Awanui, Waipapakauri. Hohoura, and Parengarenga. The arrival of the s.s. “Clansman” at noon every Wednesday necessitates the making up and despatching of mails to many small country townships, situated in a northerly direction, the closing hour being six p.m., at which time southern mails are closed for Whangaroa, Kawakawa, Russell, and Auckland. The post office is an unpretentious wooden building, certainly not what it should be for a station of its status.

Mongonui Harbour, Looking West.

Mongonui Harbour, Looking West.

Mr. Alexander Dougal Clemett. Postmaster, Telegraphist, and Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, was appointed to the Mongonui office in 1889. He was born in Ballarat, Victoria, in 1857, came at an early age to New Zealand and received tuition in Wellington under the Rev. Mr. Porritt, completing his education at Kalkoura, where he joined the post and telegraph service. Mr. Clemett served two years at Wanganui and a like term at Marton. He was first appointed postmaster at Te Kopuru, North Wairoa, and five years later was removed to Ohaupo, Waikato. Mr. Clemett was afterwards stationed at Ohaeawai for four and a half years, when he was appointed to his present position. He is the founder of Lodge Mongonul and a past master of Freemasonry, and also takes a lively interest in tennis, being president of the Mongonui Tennis Club.

O'Neill, William Campbell, Licensed and Authorised Surveyor, “Moana,” Mongonui. Bankers, Bank of Australasia, Auckland. Mr. O'Neill was born in Inverary, Scotland, in 1847, and came out to Victoria in 1862, followed the “rush” to the Otago goldfields, subsequently tried his luck on the West Coast, and afterwards at Coromandel, where he experienced the privations and rough camp life which fall to the lot of a surveyor, a profession Mr. O'Neill had elected to follow. For twelve months he was in partnership with Mr. R. Campbell, of Whangaroa, but has now for about thirty years been practising on his own account, page 592 and during that time has surveyed many thousands of acres of country. Mr. O'Neill makes astronomy his special hobby and is a lover of tennis; the view accompanying this notice shows one of the best laid out and prettiest lawn tennis grounds to be found in the Colony. His fine residence is situated on the top of Mongonui Hill, overlooking the harbour and commands an extensive view. Mrs. O'Neill is a daughter of the late Mr. Thomas Shaw, architect.

Mr. W. C. O'Neill's Residence.

Mr. W. C. O'Neill's Residence.

Irvine, John, Baker, Confectioner, and Boardinghouse-keeper, Mongonui. Mr. Irvine established his business in 1895 and it has continued to expand till it is acknowledged as the leading bakery in Mongonui, with a wide country trade. A popular private boardinghouse is also in the hands of Mr. Irvine, assisted by Mrs. Irvine, and they do all in their power to make settlers and strangers feel perfectly at home. It contains twelve lofty bedrooms affording accommodation for eighteen lodgers. Mr. Irvine was born in Belfast in 1842, was brought up as a baker and followed his trade in Ireland for twelve years, when he went to Liverpool. For fifteen years he was ship's baker on the Cunard, Inman, White Star, and London National steamers. In 1877 Mr. Irvine came to New Zealand per s.s. “Otaki,” and subsequently joined the Union Steamship Company for a few years. He then established himself in business as a baker in Khyber Pass, Auckland, but after two years returned to the sea for another twelve months, when he finally settled at Mongonni.

Mr. J. Irvine (In 1885).

Mr. J. Irvine (In 1885).

The Settler's Hotel (Thomas Berg-han, proprietor), Mongonui. This hotel was erected in 1842 and is the oldest wooden building in the Auckland province. It is of two storeys with twelve rooms, is nicely situated and commands a good view of the harbour. There is a pleasant dining-room, and an excellent table always affords a complete welcome to the hungry traveller.

Mr. Thomas Berghan, Proprietor of the Settler's Hotel, was born in Mongonui in 1859, and spent his early life at farming. Subsequently, he took up 240 acres of land on Cooper's beach, two miles from the township, which he continues to farm. The land is flat, ploughable, good for cropping, and carries a small flock of Lincoln sheep. There is also a fine little homestead. Mr. Eer-ghan has many friends and acquaintances throughout the district, and is the right man in the right place as host of the Settler's Hotel. He is married to a daughter of Mr. Joseph Evans, of Waipapakauri, and has a family of two sons and three daughters.

Garton, William, General Storekeeper, Mongonul. Agent for the National Fire Insurance Company. Bankers, Bank of New South Wales, Auckland. Mr. Garton took over this old-established business as a going concern in May, 1895. The premises are well-situated in close proximity to the wharf and consist of a two-storey building with a frontage of forty feet. Large stocks, including goods of almost every description are kept on hand. Mr. Garton was born in the East Riding of Yorkshire in 1835, and followed farming pursuits till his departure for Auckland per ship “Matoaka” in 1859. At Awanui he purchased á farm of 200 acres and after spending nearly four years there he sold out owing to the difficulty of communication with Auckland and the natives at times being troublesome. He then commenced farming in the Oruru Valley on a thousand acres of rich land. After twenty years of farm life Mr. Garton turned to the more congenial occupation of storekeeping. He was for eight years a member of the Mongonui County Council, was secretary to the Oruru Road Board, and at various times secretary, treasurer, or chairman of the Oruru School Committee (filling the latter position for fifteen years). He has always given his best assistance to different clergymen visiting the district. Mr. Garton is married to a daughter of the late Mr. Edward Skelton, of Barnetby, in Lincolnshire, and has a grown up family of six sons and three daughters.

Wake, Charles Augustus, Gum Buyer and General Storekeeper, Mongonui. Branch at Terairi. Mr. Wake purchased this business in 1897 from Mr. A. S. Holmes, by whom it was first established in 1886. There are several buildings occupying many
Mongonui Wharf, Post Office, Etc.

Mongonui Wharf, Post Office, Etc.

page 593 hundreds of square feet of floor space with a street frontage of thirty feet. Mr. Wake has by hard work and perseverance succeeded in greatly extending his business, especially the kauri gum trade, of which he has had considerable experience. Several pack-horses are kept continually on the road delivering goods on the gumfields and returning laden with gum. Mr. Wake is a son of Mr. W. H. Wake, formerly schoolmaster at Timaru. He finished his studies at the Normal School, Christchurch, then went to sea for eight years, trading between Australia and New Zealand, and for a like term to foreign ports. In 1894 he went to Rorua and assisted his brother in his store there till 1896, when he moved northwards and established himself at Whangaroa as a gum-buyer and afterwards bought his present business. Mr. Wake is married to a daughter of the late Mr. Henry Rosleur, a well-known old identity of Mongonul.
Wyles, Robert, J.P., General Storekeeper, Mongonui. Bankers, Bank of New South Wales, Auckland. Agent for the Northern Steamship Company and South British Insurance Company. Mr. Wyles established his business as far back as 1862 and it now occupies one of the best positions in Mongonui, on a fine section facing the harbour. The premises are of two stories, with a total floor space of over 1600 square feet. There are also commodious sheds. During the seventies Mr. Wyles had a partner and the business was on a very extensive seale, the firm keeping a small fleet of vessels engaged in trading between the Bay of Islands and North Cape. On the retirement of his partner, Mr. Wyles sold out his business branches at Awanul and Whangaroa, and has since only carried on the one at Mongonui, where by reasonable prices and strict attention he has been more than ordinarily successful. Mr. Wyles was born in Fifeshire, Scotland, in 1833, and educated at the borough school, followed the calling of a draper in Kirkealdy, afterwards in Dublin and later was buyer for a Glasgow firm. He landed in Auckland per ship “Matoaka” in 1859 and took up land outside
Hanna, photo.Mr. J. R. Wyles.

Hanna, photo.
Mr. J. R. Wyles.

the township of Mongonui. Finding this life uncongenial he gave up farming after three years' trial and established himself in business. Mr. Wyles is a past master in Freemasonry and has been a Justice of the Peace for over twenty years. He sat as a member of the first Mongonui County Council and occupied a seat on the local road board for many years.

Mr. James Reid Hendry, Clerk to Mr. R. Wyles, District Agent of the Northern Steamship Company and United States Consular Agent, Mongonui, was born in Perth, Scotland, in May, 1837, and arrived in Auckland as an Albertland settler by the ship “Hanover” in 1862. He served with the Mauku Forest Rangers through the Waikato war of 1863–4, and received the New Zealand medal. He took an active interest in volunteer matters at Thames, Onehunga, and Otahuhu. Mr. Hendry is a Mason of long standing and an office-bearer in the Provincial Grand Lodge, S.C. He has been connected with various friendly societies, is a past master of the Orange Institution and a Forester. For many years he was connected with the sawmilling and timber industries. Mr. Hendry is married to a daughter of the late Mr. T. J. Blakey, J.P., ex-mayor of Onehunga, and has a son and daughter.

Kauri Timber Company's Sawmills (Robert Smith, manager), Mongonui. Formerly the property of the Auckland Timber Company, these mills were erected about 1880 and taken over by the Kauri Timber Company in 1888. They are situated on ten acres of land in the northern part of Mongonul harbour, and consist of a two-storey wooden and iron building with floor space of over 10,000 square fect. The mills are capable of turning out 300,000 feet of sawn timber monthly, but are now worked at half-time. Motive power is supplied by a sixty-four horse-power Marshall steam-engine for driving the “break down” and four circular saws. When in full work some twenty-five hands are employed, two of whom are engaged in rafting the logs from the company's booms at the mouth of the Mongonui river, where as many as 2000 or 3000 logs are usually caught, and which have been brought down by means of freshes and dams for a distance of thirty miles.

Mongonui Harbour, Showing Kauri Timber Company's Sawmills.

Mongonui Harbour, Showing Kauri Timber Company's Sawmills.

Mimiwhangata Station, the extensive freehold property of Mr. R. J. Corbett, borders the east coast for five miles and faces the bay from which it takes its name. The area is 1692 acres, and, with the exception of 400 acres, is fenced throughout and subdivided into ten paddocks. Full half the property is of an undulating character, is cleared and rich in grass and graces over 1000 healthy sheep and about 150 head of cattle. Mr. Corbett forwards his produce to Auckland, there being monthly communication with that city, and obtains the best market prices. The homestead is a very complete one with numerous outbuildings, etc., giving an air of solid prosperity to Mimi-whangata. Puriri and pohutukawa timber abounds and is of considerable commercial value.

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Mr. Roger John Corbett, the owner of Mimiwhangata, took over the property from Mr. Greenway in January, 1897. He is a son of Mr. John Corbett, of Black Horse salt fame, was born in Worcestershire in 1863 and completed his education at Christ Church College, Oxford. For some two or three years he assisted his father at the salt mines and in 1886 came out to the Colonies. Mr. Corbett has paid several visits to the Old Country, the last occasion being 1896, on returning from which he stayed in Auckland for a time before settling down at Mimiwhangata.

Mr. John Kitchen, Old Colonist, Mongonui. The late Mr. Kitchen was a well-known settler and shoemaker in Mongonui. He was born in Grimsby in 1831, and was apprenticed to the shoemakers' trade. He came to New Zealand in 1860 in the ship “Phoenix,” landed in Auckland, and went on to Victoria Valley soon after, being one of the first settlers in that district. At first, he followed his trade in Mongonnui, but he afterwards purchased 171 acres there, and 120 acres at Uruaiti, and turned his attention to farming. He was a member of the Mongonui County Council and Road Board and for some time kept the local post office. Mr. Kitchen was a popular man and respected throughout the district, and when he died of a tumour in 1891, his loss was generally regretted.