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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]

[Port Robinson]

Port Robinson is about five miles distant by road from McKenzie. The harbour office, where the business of the local post office is conducted, is connected with McKenzie by telephone. A capital shed for receiving and delivering cargo is in daily requisition, and the steamers that trade with the port are there two or three times a week. Surf boats act as lighters to the steamers, and are hauled up on to the slip by an engine. Port Robinson is in the Seaward riding of the county of Cheviot, and at the census of 1901 had a population of sixty-three. It has a public school, which stands on the bluff, over-looking the harbour.

Taken and presented by Mr. J. Sinclair.Port Robinson: Landing Slip.

Taken and presented by Mr. J. Sinclair.
Port Robinson: Landing Slip.

Taken and presentd by Mr. J. Sinclair. Cathedral Cliffs, near Port Robinson.

Taken and presentd by Mr. J. Sinclair.
Cathedral Cliffs, near Port Robinson.

Mr. John Sinclair, Harbourmaster at Port Robinson, was born in Caithness-shire, Scotland, where he learned carpentry and the building trade with his father. He came to New Zealand in 1863 by the ship “Lancashire Witch,” and worked at his trade for two years in Christchurch. Mr. Sinclair entered the service of the late Hon. W. Robinson in 1863, when he went to Cheviot to erect some buildings, and to do some carpentry work, which he expected to finish in three months. However, he found that one building after another was required, and what was originally supposed to be a three months' job lasted twenty-eight years. As a matter of fact, all the buildings which stood on Cheviot when the Government bought the property had been erected, page 569 or the erection superintended by Mr. Sinclair, who also acted as mechanical engineer for Mr. Robinson; measured all the ploughing done by contract, designed, erected, and worked the present landing service, and filled other responsible positions on Cheviot. He still, in conjunction with Mr. McQueen, manages Lady Charles Campbell's Cheviot homestead and Happy Valley estates. In 1893, the Government appointed Mr. Sinclair harbourmaster at Port Robinson. Mr. Sinclair is an excellent amateur photographer, and has a fine collection of views taken by himself at Cheviot and Port Robinson. He is a member of the district school committee and shares in the management of church affairs; is also a vice-president of the Cheviot Farmers' Association, and takes a keen interest in the annual Caledonian games. Mr. Sinclair was married, in 1870, to Miss Rose, of Caithness-shire, Scotland, and has two sons and one daughter.

Mr. Frederick William Hughes, Clerk at the Port Robinson Harbour Office, was born in South Australia in 1853, and brought up to country life. He found employment there till he came to Canterbury in 1879. For five or six years he was engaged in Government survey work, in the South Malvern district, and also on the West Coast. In 1893 he took up a section of twenty-two acres under a lease in perpetuity at Port Robinson, and has held the position of harbour clerk there to the Cheviot County Council, since the establishment of the county. Mr. Hughes takes an interest in local affairs, and is chairman of the Port Robinson school committee and Domain Board. He is a member of the Amuri Mounted Rifles, and was one of the founders of the Cheviot Mounted Rifles. Mr. Hughes was married, in 1878, to a daughter of Dr. Mustarde, of Millicent, South Australia, and has four daughters and two sons. One of his sons was a member of the Ninth New Zealand Contingent, sent for service in South Africa.

Taken and presented by Mr. J. Sinclair.Cathedral Road.

Taken and presented by Mr. J. Sinclair.
Cathedral Road.

Taken and presented by Mr. J. Sinclair.Bluff Road, near Port Robinson.

Taken and presented by Mr. J. Sinclair.
Bluff Road, near Port Robinson.

The Public School At Port Robinson was established in 1896. The site, a very fine one, occupies an elevated position on the bluff overlooking the bay, and commands a magnificent view of the sea, with the Kaikouras in the distance. The building, which is of wood and iron, consists of a class room and a porch. There is accommodation for forty pupils; the number on the roll is twenty-six, and the average attendance is twenty-two. Adjoining the school there is a residence of five rooms, and about five acres of land are attached to the school premises.

Mr. Henry John Chapman, who is in charge of the Port Robinson School, was born in Dunedin, in 1875. He was educated at the St. Albans Main School, where he served a pupil-teachership of four years. After a year at the Normal Training College, Mr Chapman was relieving teacher at St. Albans for a time, and took up his position at Port Robinson, on the 30th of September, 1898. He is a member of the Amuri Mounted Rifles, in which he has held the position of trumpet-major since 1901. When he resided in Christchurch he was bugler to the Canterbury Scottish Rifles.