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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]

Mr. George John Smith

Mr. George John Smith, Member of the House of Representatives for Christchurch City, was born at Consett, county of Durham, in 1862, was educated at schools in his native county, and at the Wesleyan Church School in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He entered the office of the Government solicitors in the latter town and remained there until he left for this Colony. Arriving in Lyttelton at Christmas, 1879, Mr. Smith obtained an appointment in the office of the well-known firm of Garrick and Cowlishaw, in whose employ he continued for a period of eleven years, severing his connection with them in consequence of the active part he took in the prohibition movement. Mr. Smith commenced his public career in the Sydenham Borough Council, and at the general licensing committee elections of 1891, was elected a member of the celebrated prohibition licensing committee, in which he held office, until, with his coadjutors, he was removed by order of the Supreme Court, for “incurable bias.” Mr. Smith was Induced to contest the Christchurch electorate in 1893 when he was returned second on the poll. Three years later he was re-elected, his name appearing in a similar position. In 1899 he was defeated at the general election, but at the by-election of 1901 he was again returned to represent the city. He has long been interested in the Volunteers, having served for two years in the Newcastle Engineer corps, in England. On settling in Canterbury, he assisted in the formation of the Christchurch Rifles, in which he held the rank of lieutenant for three years, and in 1898 he was elected captain of the Sydenham Rifles, the H Company of the North Canterbury Battalion. He is a wellknown member of the Methodist Church, and has several times been a delegate to the New Zealand Annual Conference, and was a representative at the General Conference held in Adelaide. Mr. Smith has been an energetic and consistent member of the Prohibition movement. He was married in 1887 to the only daughter of the late Mr. R. Dawsson, member of the well-known firm of Ballantyne and Co., drapers.

Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo.Mr. G. J. Smith.

Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo.
Mr. G. J. Smith.