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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]

Mr. George Gould

Mr. George Gould, whose name is a household word in Canterbury, was born at Hambeldon, two miles from Henley-on-the-Thames, in Oxfordshire, England, on the 23rd of April, 1823. In 1850, just after his first marriage, he left England to seek his fortune in New Zealand. He landed first at Auckland, but, shortly afterwards, proceeded to Canterbury, where he remained till his death. Mr. Gould left New Zealand only on two occasions—once on a trip to Australia, and once when he visited England for the benefit of his health in 1877. His first undertaking in Christchurch was the erection, with his own hands, of a small wooden store and house in Armagh Street. It was the first finished house in Christchurch, and is still in existence at Addington. Mr. Gould commenced by opening a general store. About 1855 he was joined in the business by the late Mr. Grosvenor Miles, and the firm was carried on under the style of Gould and Miles until, 1859, when the partnership was dissolved through the ill-health of Mr. Gould, who then removed into the premises still known as Cookham house. Mr. Gould carried on business there until 1875, when he sold it to Messrs Chisnall and Stewart. For many years Mr. Gould himself had been personally occupied chiefly with his financial business as an agent for the owners and occupiers of sheep stations. At one time he was the largest exporter of wool from Canterbury, and he was the first to ship wheat from New Zealand to London. Like other early colonists, Mr. Gould had to go through a lot of hard physical work, and in the days before the tunnel was made, he knew what it was to trudge over the Port Hills with a load of goods on his back. Mr. Gould was a, man of very orderly habits, with a clear and vigorous undertanding. He was a singularly calm man, yet prompt and energetic, though never giving way to worry or excitement. As an employer he was well served, for his employees respected and liked him, as he treated them with unvarying frankness and manly fairness, Mr. Gould was a large landowner, and used his ample wealth in the employment of productive labour. He took a prominent part in the promotion of banking, insurance, building societies, and such institutions as the Christchurch Gas Company and the New Zealand Shipping Company. Mr. Gould was essentially a religious man, but was undemonstrative about this religious beliefs. He never took any part in politics, as his deafness prevented him from entering on a political career, though one was open to him at any time. Mr. Gould took a warm interest in all matters affecting the people, but he relied more on moral elevation than on acts of Parliament to improve their condition. He was for many years an active member of the old Canterbury Education board, and was a generous benefactor to Christ's College. His valuable gifts to the art gallery and the museum are lasting memorials of his liberality in respect to the purposes of those institutions. Mr. Gould's general benevolence was very great, and request for help for a deserving object never met with a refusal from him. He was a good friend to the Christchurch Working Men's Club, not only helping financially, but also by frequent donations of books. Although believing in the necessity and importance of hard work, he recognised the benefit of healthy amusements, and was a liberal patron of manly sports. In him the Agricultural and Pastoral Association had a staunch friend during the days of its early struggles; he helped to free it from debt, and gave many valuable prizes for competition at its shows. Mr. Gould was never a strong man, and was seriously ill for a considerable time before his death, which took place on the 28th of March, 1889.

The Late Mr. G. Gould.

The Late Mr. G. Gould.