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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]

Mr. Robert Thompson

Mr. Robert Thompson, Member for Marsden in the House of Representatives, was born in 1840, at Newtown Butler, County Fermanagh, Ireland, and is the eighth son of Mr. William Thompson, who was a farmer in that district. In 1859 he was sent out to some relatives who were sugar planters, in the Danish Island of St. Croix, West Indies, to learn sugar planting. After a residence there of five years, he determined to try his fortune in Australia, and after visiting the United States, Canada, and Ireland, he arrived in Australia in the early part of 1864. He had four years' experience of sheep-farming on the Yanko Station, New South Wales, but was then induced to visit New Zealand, and was so captivated by the climate and future prospects of the colony, that he determined to become a settler. In 1870 Mr. Thompson bought a farm close to Whangarei, and after a few years of the usual monotonous life of a settler in those days he determined to commence business in Whangarei as an auctioneer, and land and commission agent, and there for twelve years he carried on a fairly successful business. At the same time Mr. Thompson took an active part in local politics, and became chairman of the local body, then chairman of the Town Board, and was afterwards chairman of the County Council for six years previous to his election to the House of Representatives, in 1887, as member for Marsden. Since then he has continuously represented the Marsden electorate, and his majority at the election of 1899, exceeded that of all previous elections. It was above 1300. Mr. Thompson's home is within the borough of Whangarei, and consists of twenty-five acres, half of which is planted with lemon and orange trees, now in full bearing. On his election in 1887 Mr. Thompson retired from business, and he now humorously calls himself a fruitgrower.