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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]

The Hon. John Edward Jenkinson

The Hon. John Edward Jenkinson, Member of the Legislative Council, is a son of the late Mr. John Hartley Jenkinson, who arrived in Dunedin in the early forties, and was the first jettykeeper at the harbour of that city. Subsequently he removed to Balclutha, where, at various times, he was chairman of the road board, school committee, and county council. Mr. J. E. Jenkinson was born in Dunedin in 1858, educated at various schools in Otago, and completed his studies under the late Mr. J. B. Park, of the South School, Dunedin. On leaving school in 1875, he entered the service of Messrs Sparrow and Co., at the Dunedin Foundry, and served an apprenticeship of five years to boilermaking and iron shipbuilding. Mr. Jenkinson occupied rooms in the Octagon at the disastrous fire at which thirteen lives were lost, in 1879, and after barely escaping with his life he returned to the burning building, fought his way through fire and smoke, and was successful in rescuing several people. Three months after joining the Dunedin Boilermakers' Union he was elected president of that body, and visited Australia to represent New Zealand at a conference with New South Wales, Victorian, and South Australian representatives, concerning the formation of an Australasian Federation of Boiler, makers' Unions. After returning to New Zealand in 1884, Mr. Jenkinson turned his attention to farming, and later on to gold digging. Subsequently he went to Wellington, where he engaged in his trade, and assisted to form the first Wellington Boilermakers' Union. On returning to his old employers in Dunedin he was re-elected president of the Dunedin Boilermakers' Union, and assisted in forming the Trades Council. In 1886 he accepted employment in the Addington Railway Workshops, but left in the following year as a protest against the system of piecework, which was shortly afterwards abolished. Mr. Jenkinson returned to the Addington Workshops in 1888, and took an active part in the formation of the Christchurch Boilermakers' Union, of which he was secretary for several years, and afterwards president and also treasurer. He advocated and inaugurated scientific lectures under the auspices of the Union, and was successful in having the study of poilermaking promoted in the Canterbury School of Engineering. Mr. Jenkinson assisted in forming the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, and was a delegate from the Canterbury branch, at the first conference. He was one of the founders of the Canterbury Trades Council, and was successively its vice-president, president, and treasurer. Mr. Jenkinson. helped to form the first Labour Day Demonstration Committee, of which he was treasurer for many years, and is now a trustee. He was the first president of the Kingsley Club, which was formed for social unity, and he is president and honorary life member of the Tailoresses' Union, Mr. Jenkinson was called to the Legislative Council in June, 1893, and was re-appointed for a second term in 1900. He is a Justice of the Peace and also an Official Visitor to the Sunnyside Asylum. Mr. Jenkinson resides in Wellington, where he owns the New Zealand Cycle Works. He was married in 1890 to Annie, daughter of Mr. James Eaton, of Christchurch.