The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]
The Corporation of Christchurch has jurisdiction over an area of 1,249 acres. The city contains 4,754 ratable properties owned by 3,146 ratepayers, and is divided into four wards—north-east, north-west, south-east, and south-west. The town is lighted by gas, and it is well supplied with water by artesian wells, which are to be found on almost every property. A public cemetery of twenty-six acres, about three miles from the centre of the town, on Buckley's Road, is under the council's control. It was opened some years ago, when the cemeteries in Barbadoes Street, comprising the Church of England, Wesleyan, and Roman Catholic grounds, were closed. An efficient fire brigade, with two stations, one in Chester Street and the other in Lichfield Street, is maintained by the city. The municipal offices consist of a handsome two-storey red brick building, stationed on the corner of Worcester Street and Oxford Terrace. There are thirty-eight miles of formed streets within the city.
Revenue And Expenditure.
The city council obtains most of its revenue from rates. It levies a general rate of 1s 7d in the £, a charitable aid rate of 2d, a special rate of 2d, a Drainage Board rate of 1s, and a Waimakariri River Board rate of 3/4d. The council's total receipts for the year ending the 31st of March, 1901, amounted to £71,240, and the total expenditure to £64,572. The rates are adjusted on the annual value of property in the city area, which amounts to £236,798. The total loans raised by the corporation amount to £121,140. Of this sum, £18,500 has been devoted to sanitary works and the destructor, which has been erected recently; £25,000 to public works, and £6,000 to the municipal offices. Interest on £31,000 of the gross amount is provided for out of the general rates. It has also been decided to raise a special loan of £15,000 for the erection of abattoirs. On the 31st of March, 1901, the assets of the council amounted to £8,498, exclusive of sinking funds (£42,525), freehold land, buildings, and reserves, and the liabilities to £9,795, exclusive of loans.
Drainage And Sanitation.
Though drainage in the city and suburbs is under the control of a Drainage Board, it is appropriate to mention it here. The Board constructs the sewers, and the surface drainage is collected by side channels. House connections are made, and these, together with internal and external sanitary appliances, receive every care, the work being done by plumbers and pipelayers licensed by the Board for the purpose. About six or seven miles from the city, on the New Brighton sandhills, there is a sewage farm, where sewage is distributed over paddocks, which are laid down in grass. A complete system of collecting the refuse has been in operation for a number of years. Formerly the material was carted to a depot outside the city boundary, but it is now consumed in a destructor, constructed on the latest English model. This work is done without cost to individual ratepayers in all cases where the rubbish is put on the street frontage ready for loading; but a small charge is made if the employees of the council have to enter the property for the purpose of removing the refuse.
The city is lighted by gas supplied by the Christchurch Gas, Coal, and Coke Company, Ltd. There are 384 single incandescent lamps, 21 double incandescent, and four arcs. A scheme is now (1902) on foot to obtain water power for electrical and other purposes, including the lighting of the city. A special committee has been set up to consider the advisableness of utilising the Waimakariri or some other river in this connection, and it has also been suggested that an electrical plant for lighting the city might be established in conjunction with the destructor.
At present the city is supplied with water from the numerous artesian wells, one being found on almost every property. Therefore, the council has not provided any special water supply. It has been decided, however, to take a poll on a proposal to raise a water-supply loan, with a first instalment of £7000. The scheme formulated embraces about four miles and a half of streets. It is proposed to pump the water to a tank on to a tower, 70 feet high, by means of power generated from an electrical plant at the destructor.
City abattoirs are to be erected at Sockburn, which is within a few miles of Christchurch. It has been decided to raise a special loan of £15,000 for this purpose, by issuing 150 debentures for £100 each. The abattoirs will be used by the surrounding district as well as by the city. It is proposed that a special rate of 3/4d in the £ shall be levied in the city in connection with the project.
At present the City Council consists of the Mayor, Mr. H. F. Wigram, and the following councillors: Messrs J. M. Taylor, H. H. Loughnan, Henry Wood, south-east ward; C. M. Gray, G. Payling, R. M. Macdonald, north-west ward; W. E. Samuels, J. Clarke, G. Simpson, north-east ward; and C. D. Morris, H. B. Sorensen, and J. T. Smith, south-west ward. The officers are: Messrs H. R. Smith, town clerk; A. Dudley Dobson, M. Inst. C.E., city surveyor and engineer; J. F. Matthews, chief clerk; J. S. Neville, rate collector; J. H. Stringer, chief inspector; W. Smith, junior inspector; T. Russell, foreman; V. Esselborn, caretaker; and E. Smith, superintendent of the fire brigade.
Mr. H. F. Wigram.
Councillor Henry Hamilton Loughnan, who represents the South-East Ward in the Christchurch City Council, is the second son of the late Judge Loughnan, H.E.I.C.S., and was born in 1849 at Patna, Bengal, India, and educated at Stonyhurst, College, England. Mr. Loughnan came out to Melbourne in 1868, and after a short stay crossed the Tasman Sea and spent some time on the Otago diggings, after which he was engaged for a few years on a sheep run. He studied law as a judge's associate to the late Hon. H. B. Gresson, judge of the Supreme Court, and also to the late Mr. Justice Johnston. He was admitted a barrister of the Supreme Court in 1876, and commenced to practise his profession in Christchurch. In 1878 he joined Mr. William Izard, under the style of Izard and Loughnan. Mr. Loughnan is well known in musical circles as a member of the Christchurch Orchestral Society and Musical Union. In his younger days, as an enthusiastic cricketer he look part in several intercolonial matches, and still belongs to the Lancaster Park Cricket Club. Mr. Loughnan was elected to a sent in the city council in 1896. He is a member of the Christchurch Club.
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Councillor H. Wood.
Councillor Charles Mathew Gray, J.P., who has been prominent in local politics for many years past, was born at Geelong, Victoria, in 1853, and arrived in New Zealand in 1862, per s.s. “Gothenburg,” from Melbourne. Mr. Gray was brought up to the soft goods trade, and for seven years was in the employ of Mr. Peter Bell, of Wanganui, Removing to Christchurch, he was for ten years with Mr. Robert Black, draper, afterwards Messrs. Black, Beattie and Co. Mr. Gray commenced his present business on his own account in High Street in 1884. He has been a member of the Christchurch City Council since 1885, and was mayor in 1891. He has been an active member of the Christchurch Hospital Board, and on the retirement of Mr. R. D. Thomas in 1898, was elected to the chair. Mr. Gray for many years has taken a deep interest in the Temperance cause. In 1874 he commenced to compile “An Annual Table of the Drink Bill of the Colony,” taking the Customs returns as his basis, and giving an estimate of the total cost to the consumer. The accuracy of his statements has been severely criticised, but Mr. Gray has defended his position with much effect, and his data have been frequently referred to in Parliament. He was married in 1877 to a daughter of the late Mr. N. Kent, of Christchurch, and has two sons and two daughters.
Councillor George Payling, who is one of the Members for the North-West Ward, carries on business as a general merchant, under the style of G. Payling and Co.
Councillor Ronald Macintosh Macdonald was elected to the City Council, for the North-West Ward, in 1901, and was made Chairman of the Works Committee. He was born at Orari, South Canterbury, in 1860, and is the eldest son of the late Mr. W. K. Macdonald, one of the early pioneers of Canterbury. After serving an apprenticeship as a mechanical engineer at the Ad dington workshops, he became a partner in the engineering firm of Booth, Macdonald and Co., and was subsequently a member of the firm of McLaren and Macdonald, from which he retired in 1889. He has been Managing Director of the Christchurch Tramway Company, Limited, since its inception, a director of the Christchurch “Press” Company since 1891, and has also been a member of the committee of the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association for several years. In 1884 Mr. Macdonald married a daughter of the late Mr. George Gould, a well-known pioneer of Christchurch, and has three sons and two daughters.
Councillor William Epthorp Samuels, J.P., who represents North-east Ward in the Christchurch City Council, was born at Stepney in 1833, and educated at Poplar. He came out to Sydney in 1853, and six years later to Canterbury. With the exception of six years on the Auckland goldfields, Mr. Samuels has resided continuously in Christchurch. He was one of the page 102 founders of the Christchurch Fire Brigade in 1860. During the time he was in Grahamstown he was prominently connected with the Thames Brigade, of which he was the first superintendent, and on leaving that district was presented with an illuminated address and purse of sovereigns. Mr. Samuels has been in business on his own account as a painter and decorator for many years. He was elected in 1894 to the City Council, and re-elected three years later. He is past district president of the Druids' Order, and probably one of the oldest members of the order in the Colony. Mr. Samuels was married in 1855 to a daughter of Mr. J. Osborn Parks, and has one son and ten daughters.
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Councillor J. Clarke.
Councillor G. Simpson.
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Councillor C. D. Morris.
Councillor Henry Bylove Sorensen, who was elected to the City Council in 1901 as a representative of the South-West Ward, has been a member since 1895, when he was returned for the Richmond Ward. Mr. Sorensen was born in Denmark on the 15th of October, 1845, and received his education at the Weile High School, in Jutland. He arrived in New Zealand in 1862, when he landed at Dunedin, and two years later he came to Christchurch. Mr Sorensen has taken an active interest in the social welfare of the community; is a member of the Richmond school committee, and chairman of the House Committee of the page 103 Samaritan Home. His business is that of an auctioneer.
Councillor J. T. Smith.
Mr. Henry Rawe Smith, Town Clerk of Christchurch, is a native of Doncaster, Yorkshire, England, and was educated at the Doncaster Grammar School. He was articled to Mr. B. S. Brundell, M. Inst., C.E., with whom he was engaged in many important works. Mr. Smith came to New Zealand in 1880, after serving two years in the drawing office of the Midland Railway Company, a Derby, and after arriving in the colony was employed on the Government survey of the West Coast road. Mr. Smith was appointed clerk to the Linwood Town Board in 1882, and, on the incorporation of the borough became town clerk and district surveyor. He was appointed to his present position in 1901 as successor to Mr. Haskins.
Messrs Garrick, Cowlishaw, and Fisher are Solicitors to the Christchurch City Council. The firm is further referred to in the Legal section of this volume.
Mr. Arthur Dudley Dobson, City Surveyor and Engineer for the Christchurch City Council, was born in London, and came to New Zealand with his father in the ship “Cressy,” one of the first four ships. He was educated at Christ's College, and served a pupilage to his father, under whom he was employed in connection with the construction of the Lyttelton tunnel. In 1863 he undertook a contract to survey and explore the West Coast from the River Grey to Abut Head, and while trying to get his horses through to the coast he discovered the pass into the Otira which was named after him Arthur's Pass. Finally, he took the horses— which were the first on the Coast—up through the Lochinvar country to the south branch of the Hurunui, and thence over the old Maori track to the Teremakau, and down that river to the beach. In 1866 Mr. Dobson was appointed assistant provincial engineer in Nelson, and was engaged on the Nelson waterworks, and in opening up the Nelson-West Coast goldfield. He was appointed provincial engineer in 1871, and subsequently chief surveyor, and during his term of office he built the Nelson gasworks, and laid out and constructed the main roads between Greymouth, Reefton, Westport, and Nelson. After joining the Public Works staff in 1875, Mr. Dobson laid out the Westport-Ngakuwaho railway and other works, and left the department on their completion in 1878, when he joined his father, Mr. Edward Dobson, in Christchurch, forming the firm of Edward Dobson and Son, civil engineers and surveyors. This firm carried out the Timaru waterworks and a number of irrigation works, roads and bridges, for the New Zealand Government, and various county councils and road boards. In 1885 Mr Dobson went to England on Midland Railway business, and in the following year visited Australia, where he entered into contracting, in partnership with Mr. J. B. Mackenzie, M.I.C.E., and constructed the Warrnambool breakwater, a very large work. Subsequently Mr. Dobson returned to Christchurch where he has since practised his profession. He was elected a member of the Geological Society of London in 1874, and a member of the Institute of Civil Engineers in 1882. Whilst in Victoria he obtained a certificate entitling him to practise as a hydraulic and also as a municipal engineer, and he holds the certificate and license issued to surveyors by the Victorian and New Zealand Governments. Mr. Dobson married a daughter of the late Mr. Henry Lewis, chief surveyor of Nelson, and has four sons and three daughters.
Mr. William Thomas Champion Mills, City Valuer to the Christchurch City Council, was appointed to his present position in 1898. Mr. Mills was born in Tasmania in 1838, and educated at Hobart, where he followed various commercial pursuits until 1863, when he came to New Zealand. He was manager of the Glenmark estate for five years. Mr. Mills has had considerable experience in Government valuation work.
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Mr. J. H. Stringer.
The Christchurch Fire Brigade, which is under the control of the City Corporation, has its principal stations in Chester and Lichfield Streets. The Chester Street station has a large frontage to the street, and is a two-storey brick building, with sleeping accommodation for the firemen, stabling for the horses, and quarters for the engines and other appliances. The Lichfield Street station is also a two-storey brick building, situated at the corner of Madras Street, and is equipped in a manner similar to that of the Chester Street station. The plant of the Brigade is considered to be one of the best in the Southern Hemisphere, although the city possesses no hydrant-water supply. There are two large Shand-Mason engines, which cost £600 each, and are respectively known as the “Extinguisher” and the “Deluge.” These engines are capable of throwing 300 gallons and 450 gallons of water per minute. Besides these fire engines, there are two chemical engines, the “Pioneer” and the “Beltana,” the former holding 70 gallons and the latter 150 gallons of a compound of soda and sulphuric acid, which has a quenching power equal to eight times the same quantity of water. The engines of the Railway Fire Brigade and the St Albans Fire Brigade also co-operate with those of the city in cases of emergency.
Mr. Edward Smith, Superintendent of the Christchurch Fire Brigade, was born in 1848 in Birmingham. When a little boy he was rescued from a fire by his mother, who dragged him down three flights of stairs by his foot, having no time to see what portion of his body she had taken hold of. The family having removed to London, Mr. Smith witnessed the great Tooley Street fire. Settling in New Zealand in 1864, the subject of this sketch served for three years in No. 1 Rifle Company. In 1867, he removed to Melbourne, and twelve months later visited the South Sea Islands, where he learned ship-building, the native language, and cotton planting. He formed one of an expedition to punish some Fiji mutineers, and received two bullet woundsin his right leg. He was nine years inthe Fijis, acting as interpreter and pilot, and was engaged in the labour trade. Returning to Christchurch in 1877, he joined the local fire brigade in the following year, and rose successively to be foreman, lieutenant, and superintendent. Mr. Smith is the inventor of a fire-escape which took the first prize in 1888, and which he presented to the Christchurch City Council. Since 1886 he has been a member of the St. John Ambulance Association, on the committee of which he has served, and received the society's medal. He has long been associated with the Canterbury Industrial Association, and was for some time on the executive. Mr. Smith is the founder of the firm of Messrs E. Smith and Co., boot importers and manufacturers.