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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]

Lands And Survey Department

Lands And Survey Department.

The Lands And Survey Department is situated in the Provincial Council Buildings, and may be entered from either Durham Street or Armagh Street. The principal work of the department consists in collecting the rents on Crown lands and settlement lands, and conducting the surveys of the district. The Christchurch branch is in charge of Mr. Thomas Humphries, Commissioner of Crown Lands and Chief Surveyor. Mr. Charles B. Shanks is Chief Draughtsman, and the Receiver of Land Revenue is Mr. Alexander A. McNab.

Mr. Thomas Humphries, Commissioner of Crown Lands and Chief Surveyor of Canterbury, is a native of England, and came to New Zealand in 1851. He joined the Government Survey Department at Taranaki as cadet under the late Mr. Octavius Carrington, then Chief Surveyor. He had as fellow cadets Mr. W. Hursthouse, now Chief Engineer of Roads, and Mr. S. Percy Smith, late SurveyorGeneral. Mr. Humphries afterwards occupied the position of Chief Surveyor for Taranaki until the abolition of the provinces, and continued to hold the same appointment under the General Government. On the death of Mr. C. D. Whitcombe he succeeded that gentleman as Commissioner of Crown Lands and ChiefSurveyor of Taranaki. Mr. Humphries held the corresponding positions in Auckland from 1889 till 1891; in Hawke's Bay, from 1891 till 1897, and in Nelson from 1897 till February, 1902, when he was appointed to Canterbury. As a volunteer Mr. Humphries served in the Taranaki Rifles during the Maori war, and while so serving was engaged in making surveys and plans at Waitara with the general staff, under General Pratt. He subsequently served with Major Atkinson's Forest Rangers, and was later on a lieutenant in the Taranaki Militia. Mr. Humphries is a student of astronomy and, on behalf of the Government, he made the observations of the transit of Venus, in 1882, at New Plymouth. On behalf of the Government, he also did the photographic work in connection with the total eclipse of the sun on the 9th of September, 1885, at Bennett's Hill, Masterton. His observations on the transit of Venus were incorporated in the calculations made at the Radcliffe Observatory, Oxford, England, in 1882.

Mr. Charles Barnes Shanks, Chief Draughtsman in the Lands and Survey Department, was born in 1841 in Glasgow, and educated at the celebrated Bluecoat School in London. Mr. Shanks came out to Port Chalmers at the age of sixteen per ship page 148 “Southern Cross,” via Wellington, and entered the Otago Provincial Government's service as a cadet in 1857. He resigned the position of district surveyor, which he had filled for nine years, in order to visit England in 1869. On his return to the Colony two years later he rejoined the service, and was again appointed district surveyor at Dnnedin, which position he held till the abolition of the provinces, when he was transferred to the General Government service in the same capacity. Having to leave the field work on account of ill-health, Mr. Shanks was made chief draughtsman in 1877, and transferred to Christchurch.

Standish & Preece, photo.Mr. C. B. Shanks.

Standish & Preece, photo.
Mr. C. B. Shanks.

Mr. Joseph Rowley, Draughtsman In the Lands and Survey Department at Christchurch, halls from Staffordshire, England, where he was born in 1849. He arrived in Lyttelton with his parents per ship “Mystery” in 1859, and completed his education, which had been begun in England, at local public schools, entering the survey department of the Provincial Government in 1867 as writing clerk, and was placed on the draughting staff In 1877. Mr. Rowley has taken great interest in musical matters in Christchurch, and for many years was well known as the principal flautist in musical and orchestral societies In Canterbury; he continues as fond as ever of his instrument, and is willing to assist at public performances for deserving objects. Mr. Rowley was married in 1873 to the youngest daughter of the late Mr. A. H. Monk, of Wellington, a very old New Zealand settler, and has two sons and four daughters.

Standish and Preece, photo.Mr. J. Rowley.

Standish and Preece, photo.
Mr. J. Rowley.

Mr. Lionel Octavianus Matthias, District Surveyor in the Lands and Survey Office, Christchurch, is a son of the late Archdeacon Matthias. He joined the service as a cadet in 1877, at Christchurch, and has ever since been attached to the Canterbury branch.

Mr. Gordon Hurrell Morlane McClure, District Surveyor in the Land and Survey Department, joined the public service as a cadet in Southland in 1877. After serving there two years, he was transferred to Canterbury, became a qualified surveyor in 1880, and was promoted to be district surveyor twelve years later.

Mr. Alexander Allan McNab, Receiver of Land Revenue for Canterbury, was born in Oporto, Portugal, in 1847, and educated at various schools in England. He came out to Port Chalmers per ship “Echunga,” arriving in December, 1865, and went almost immediately to the West Coast diggings, with his brother, soon after the commencement of the “rush.” After two years of the usual mining experiences in the early days, he spent three years at station life on the Malvern Hills and in the Mackenzie country, and afterwards did some mining in the Carrick Ranges. Mr. McNab's next movement was to try mining in New South Wales, but returning to New Zealand shortly afterwards he joined the Land Office in Invercargill in 1876, as a clerk, and in 1894 was transferred to Christchurch to fill the position he now holds.

Mr. John Edwin March, J.P., Superintendent of Village Settlements in New Zealand, entered the employment of the Can terbury Provincial Government in 1863, as clerk in the Immigration Office. He was promoted in rapid succession to higher posts, and was appointed Chief Immigration Officer for the Middle Island in 1872. This appointment he retained during the time there was a Resident Minister for the Middle Island, after which he was called upon to resume his previous appointment as chief immigration officer for Canterbury. In 1885, Government immigration having ceased, Mr. March was transferred to the Land and Survey Department of the General Government, as Steward of Village Settlements, and six years later was appointed to his present position. He was for a number of years administrator of charitable aid under the Provincial Government, and, afterwards, under the General Government also, until the establishment of local boards. Mr. March was born in 1836 at St. Stepnen's, Cornwall, England. He arrived in New Zealand in October, 1853, and entered the employment of a Canterbury station holder, with whom he gained some experience in farming. Later on he went to Nelson, where he found employment for some years prior to entering the Government service in 1863. Mr. March was appointed by the Government in 1895 to inspect the village settlements throughout Australasia, and he wrote a valuable report on the subject. When Sir John McIntyre, the Minister of Lands for Victoria, visited New Zealand, Mr March accompanied him on his tour through the colony, and he also accompanied the Victorian Commissioners when they were in New Zealand.