The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]
Drury was selected as a settlement early in the history of Auckland. It is connected by rail with the city, from which it is distant twenty-two miles southward, on the sea coast, and in the county of Manukau. The district is agricultural, and dairying is carried on by the settlers with much advantage. Flaxmilling, too, is successful as a local industry. Game abounds in the district, which has a public school, a post, telegraph and money order office, and a daily mail service.
The Hon. Henry Chamberlin was born at “The Close,” Norwich, England, on the 31st of July, 1825, and was the eldest son of Mr. Henry Chamberlin, of Narborough Hall, Norfolk. He first came to Auckland in 1853, and soon after his arrival bought part of the Waihoihoi estate, Drury, and a large block of land at Raglan. He subsequently went to other parts of New Zealand, and then returned to England, visiting Palestine, and the East on his way. His father died in 1857, leaving him ample means. In 1859, he married Elizabeth Catherine, second daughter of Mr. George Hammond Heard, of Norfolk, and shortly afterwards the newly-married couple sailed for Auckland, via Melbourne, by the s.s. “Great Britain.” Soon after his arrival in Auckland Mr. Chamberlin bought a large block of land at Hobsonville, extending to Riverhead. In 1863 he again visited England, and he returned to New Zealand in 1866. It was then that he bought more land, including the Drury coalfields. Of this he sold a considerable portion before he died, but retained about 1250 acres, upon which his widow sometimes resides. Mr. Chamberlin spent over £7000 upon his Drury property, but knowing nothing whatever of farming, it was a total loss to him, though his outlay helped the surrounding small settlers. In 1869 Mr. Chamberlin was called to the Legislative Council by Sir Edward Stafford's Government, and remained a member until his death in 1888. Mr. Chamberlin cordially supported the Deceased Wife's Sister [gap — reason: illegible]l, and he advocated the abolition of the employment of barmaids in hotels. As a private citizen and public man, he shunned public giving, but he was a silent and liberal benefactor in deserving cases and causes in his native and in his adopted country. None of his benefactions were made public during his lifetime, but after his death some or them were mentioned in Norfolk and New Zealand newspapers. One noteworthy instance is recorded in the following letter written by Sir Francis Bateman: “Norwich, October 13, 1888. Dear Mrs Chamberlin—I was deeply grieved at seeing the announcement of the death of Mr. Chamberlin. I know how coldly words of sympathy fall upon the ear in times of such crushing bereavement, but as he was one of my oldest friends, and as we were schoolfellows, I cannot refrain from tendering you my warmest sympathy. The city in which he was born has also lost a substantial friend, for thirty years ago he gave the large sum of £500 to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, and a similar sum to the Norwich Blind Asylum. These acts of charity are tangible proofs of his benevolent character. Trusting you may be comforted and sustained in this great trial, I am, dear Mrs Chamberlin, yours very sincerely, F. Bateman, M.D., Senior Physician to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital. To Mrs Henry Chamberlin.” When Mr. Chamberlin died in 1888, he was survived by his widow and one daughter, married to Mr. J. A. Laing, now Dr. J. A. Laing, of Devonport, Auckland. Mrs Chamberlin resides at “Fir Grove,” Gladstone Road, Parnell, Auckland.
The late Hon. H. Chamberlin.