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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]

Government Institutions

Government Institutions.

Post Office.

The Timaru Post Office dates back to about 1862, and the district was connected with the telegraph system of the colony in 1866, Christchurch having been connected with the Bluff by wire in May, 1865. The post office building was erected in 1881. It is of two stories, in brick and concrete, with a clock tower, and has ample accommodation for the postal and telegraphic work; also for other Government departments. The private boxes number 231, and the local telephone exchange has 174 subscribers. The Timaru postal district extends from the Rangitata to the Waitaki, and has, altogether, about sixty-one offices. The officers employed in connection with the office number thirty, and there are two postal deliveries in the borough every day.

Mr. John Augustus Hutton, Chief Postmaster at Timaru, was born and educated in Edinburgh, Scotland. He arrived in Victoria, in 1860, joined the Victorian Post and Telegraph Department in November, 1861, and in January, 1864, came to New Zealand under engagement to the Provincial Government of Southland, to operate the line of telegraph between the Bluff and Invercargill. Mr. Hutton held, in succession, the appointments of Chief Clerk, General Post Office, Wellington, and Chief Postmaster, Oamaru, before taking up his duties at Timaru, in 1897. He married a daughter of the late Mr. C. N. Campbell, of Invercargill, and has five sons and one daughter.


The Custom House At Timaru is a handsome building, in the Corinthian style of architecture, and was opened in August, 1902. It stands at the corner of Strathallan Street, Cane's Terrace and the railway and cost about £2000. In addition to the offices of the landing waiter, it contains a long-room and a capacious strong-room. Mr. C. S. Nixon, the Collector, succeeded Mr. A. Hart, in October, 1901.

Mr. Charles Stafford Nixon, Collector of Customs at the Port of Timaru, was born in 1855, at Wanganui. On leaving school he entered the customs department, and occupied various positions before his appointment to Timaru in 1901.

Mr. Andrew Hart, formerly Collector of Customs at Timaru, and Sub-Paymaster of Imperial Pensions, was born on the banks of the Tweed, near Melrose, Scotland, and was educated at the Grammar School there. Mr. Hart came to New Zealand in January, 1865, and in the same month joined the Customs at Lyttelton under Mr. Hamilton, then collector. He was removed to Timaru in 1867 as assistant to the late Mr. Cooper. The custom-house then stood on the cliff near the breakwater, but was afterwards removed to make room for the railway, temporary premises in Turnbull's auction rooms, Beswick Street, being occupied until the department was located in the Post Office buildings in 1880. Mr. Hart was successively officer-in-charge at Greymouth, Hokitika, and Oamaru; he was also for two years in the Dunedin office, and about the same period at Wellington, where he was acting-landing surveyor. On the retirement of Mr. Rich in April, 1892. Mr. Hart was appointed collector at Timaru, where Mr. C. S. Nixon is now (1903) in charge. Mr. Hart is connected with the Presbyterian church, has page 978 been president of the mechanics' institute, and is an active member of the Timaru Bowling Club.

Mr. A. Hart.

Mr. A. Hart.

Land Office.

Crown Lands Office, Timaru . The Crown Lands Office is situated in Stafford Street, and is subordinate to the Christchurch district branch of the same department.

Mr. William Henry Williams, Crown Lands Ranger and Land Officer for the district of South Canterbury, was born in 1840, and came with his parents to New Zealand when a boy, arriving at Auckland by the ship “Victory” in 1851. He received his education in Onehunga, and on leaving school, served two years in a builder's office with a view to studying for an architect, but, changing his mind, he took an engagement in the Provincial Government office. In 1861 he went to Otago and entered into sheep-farming pursuits with Mr. F. D. Rich and on his own account until 1867, when he returned to Auckland and Joined in the “rush” to the Thames, where rich gold had been recently found, and was speculating for three years on different parts of the fields. In 1870, he was appointed manager of the Bay of Islands Coal Company's mines at Kawakawa. During his term of management he was successful in getting native coal used for the first time in the Union Company's steamers. He relinquished his position in 1878 to take the management of the Shag Point coal mine (of which he was part owner) in Otago, and was identified with that mine till 1890, when he lost his interest and went in for farming. In 1894 he was temporarily appointed in the Land Office in Invercargill, and after serving eighteen months in that town, was appointed to his present position in Timaru. It was through his influence that the Government were persuaded to use native coal on the railways in the South Island. He is a member of the Oddfellows lodge. He has been twice married, having lost his first wife in 1884, and has seven children, all by the first marriage.

Mr. Thomas Noel Brodrick, District Surveyor for the South Canterbury Crown Lands Department, was born in London in 1855, and came with his parents to Auckland in 1860 by the ship “Nimrod.” He was educated privately in Invercargill, and for a time was in the employment of Mr. H. J. Gibbs, of Cargill, Gibbs and Co., merchants of Dunedin. Subsequently, he received a cadetship in the survey department under the Hon. G. F. Richardson, and was licensed to practise as a surveyor in 1877. He then joined the Government survey department, and is one of the first of the original staff that came to Canterbury on the re-organisation of the department by Mr. J. T. Thomson. He was engaged, at first, at Banks' Peninsula on sectional surveys, and has since done much triangulation and topographical surveying in the mountainous districts of Canterbury, during which period he has thoroughly explored Mount Cook and the Southern Alps. He was appointed to his present position in 1887. Mr. Brodrick is married to a daughter of the late Mr. Justin John Aylmer, formerly resident magistrate at Akaroa, and has four children.

Inspection Of Machinery.

The Branch Of The Inspection Of Machinery Department For South Canterbury, which has its officer in Stafford Street, Timaru, was established on the 1st of August, 1902. The district extends south to the Waitaki river, and north to Ashburton, and is under the charge of a resident inspector.

Mr. James Williamson, Inspector of Machinery for the South Canterbury district, was born at Balloch, Dumbartonshire, Scotland, in 1858. He was educated at Springfield Academy, Helensburgh, and brought up as an engineer in the establishment of Messrs Denny and Co., Dumbarton. In 1882 he obtained his chief engineer's certificate at Glasgow. Mr. Williamson first went to sea in 1878, as fourth engineer in the service of the British India Steam Navigation Company, and in 1884 he joined the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand and became a chief engineer in its service in 1889. His last ship page 979 was the s.s. “Wakatipu,” trading from Sydney; and he left that vessel in 1902 to accept his present appointment, after following a seafaring life for twenty-four years. Mr. Williamson was married, in 1884, to a Miss McCall, of Helensburgh, at Falkirk, Scotland, and has one son and one daughter.

Police Department.

The South Canterbury Police Sub-District extends from the Rangitata to the Waitaki river, and was constituted in 1892. For about twenty years previously it was a police district, with a resident inspector. The out-stations of the district are Waimate and Temuka, with two constables each, and Glenavy, Geraldine, Pleasant Point, and Fairlie, each with one constable in charge. The staff in the borough of Timaru consists of seven constables and one detective, in addition to the sergeant in charge. The police station is in North Street, where it has a site of one acre, and in addition to stabling, buildings of stone with slate roofs, for the constables, a residence of five rooms for the mounted man, and a house for the local officer in charge.

Mr. William Warring, Sergeant in charge of Timaru Police Sub-District, was born in Cornwall, England, in 1852, and was brought up to the trade of a butcher. He came to Wellington, in 1875, by the ship “Waipa,” and has almost ever since been an officer of the police force. He was placed in charge of Timaru in October, 1901. Sergeant Warring was married, in 1883, to a daughter of the late Mr. Andrew Perry, of Auckland, and has six sons and two daughters.

District Gaol.

His Majesty's Gaol, Timaru, was established in 1869, and occupies a position on the West Belt. Till 1890 it ranked as a third class prison, but since that year it has been a police gaol, for the detention of persons who are convicted for periods of a month or less, or for those who are awaiting trial. The building, which is of concrete with an iron roof, has accommodation for eleven males and five females. A glebe of three acres and a half is used as a garden, and is planted with ornamental and orchard trees.

Mr. John Joseph Weathered, Gaoler at Timaru, was born in 1857, in County Armagh, Ireland. He served in the Royal Irish Constabulary, and landed in Wellington in 1883. Mr. W. Weathered was appointed to his present position, in January, 1890, and is a member of the New Zealand police force, which he joined on his arrival in the colony. Mrs Weathered acts as matron at the gaol.

Railway Department.

Timaru Railway Station is adjacent to the wharves and is situated in the centre of the town. It ranks third in importance in the South Island, is one of the finest passenger stations in the Colony, and is a handsome building of wood, with slate roof. The general conveniences are very complete, and in the most approved style. The public lobby, stationmaster's office, luggage and parcel rooms, waiting and refreshment rooms are all well-appointed and of easy access. Sidings connect with the National Mortgage and Agency Company's stores, the Atlas, Bedford, and Timaru mills, Messrs. J. Mills and Co., Mr. J. Mee's stores, and with the Harbour Board offices. All the produce in the district passes through this station, and the traffic over the wharf lines is continuous. Apart from coastal and intercolonial steamers, the refrigerating vessels of the Union Steam Shipping Company, New Zealand Shipping Company, and Shire lines, call regularly at the port, and are loaded direct from the Smithfield meat freezing works. The supervision of this traffic is under the stationmaster. Branch lines connect with Fairlie, Mount Somers, and Waimate. The stationmaster, Mr. C. A. Marcus, is assisted by Mr. A. Morgan, chief clerk, Mr. A. Owen, wharf foreman, Mr. A. Kane, yard foreman, and Mr. Andrews, head porter, besides shunters, porters, and night watchmen, the entire staff numbering thirty-seven. Timaru's principal exports are frozen meat, wool, grain, and flour, and all the coal imported for the Waimate, Levels, Geraldine, and Mackenzie districts landed at the port, passes through this station. The telegraph office, which is under the supervision of the stationmaster, is conducted by two operators. Both passenger and goods departments are connected with the local telephone bureau.

Mr. Christian Augustus Marcus, Stationmaster, Timaru, was born in 1840 at Dusseldorff, on the Rhine, Germany, where he was educated. On the death of his father, he went to London for six years. Subsequently, after visiting a relative at Rio de Janeiro, he went to Queensland. In 1865, during the height of the gold-fever, Mr. Marens came to the West Coast of New Zealand. He entered the New Zealand railways department in 1874, and after two years was appointed stationmaster at Marton. He was transferred to Halcombe in 1878, and two years later to Wanganui, where he remained for sixteen years. Mr. Marcus took charge of the Timaru station in 1896. He was a delegate at the Insurance Conference in 1893 and was elected a member of the executive council of the Railway Officers Institute in 1895, and again in 1898. Mr. Marcus' services at Wanganui were highly appreciated by the public, and on his leaving that town, a complimentary banquet was tendered to him, on which occasion he was presented by his worship the mayor on behalf of the citizens, with a gold watch and chain, by the carters and expressmen with a silver coffee-pot, by the railway employees with a tea and coffee service, and by the members of the working men's club with an illuminated address.

Mr. Albert William Morgan, Chief Clerk, Timaru Railway Station, was born in Lyttelton in 1867. He was educated at Christchurch, and at the age of twelve entered the railway service as a cadet in the accountant's office. When the head offices were removed to Wellington in 1880, he was transferred to the booking-office, where he remained for four years. He was then removed to Ashburton, where he filled the position of booking and parcels clerk, was transferred eighteen months later to Addington, and after six years, was placed in charge at Templeton. Six months afterwards he was appointed assistant relieving-officer, which position he held for fifteen months. He acted as correspondence clerk in the Christchurch goods department for three years, and in May, 1896, was promoted to be chief clerk at Timaru. Mr. Morgan is secretary of the Canterbury branch of the New Zealand Railway Officers' Institute, page 980 and was a member of the first executive council held in 1895. As a Freemason, he is a member of St. Augustine's lodge, Christchurch.

Mr. Benjamin Verdon, Locomotive Foreman, Timaru Section of New Zealand Railways, was born at Upper Clapton, Hackney, London, in 1843. He served his apprenticeship at the East London waterworks, and remained there until 1866, when he came to Lyttelton by the ship “Mermaid.” Mr. Verdon went to the West Coast and tried his luck at goldmining for a time. He entered the New Zealand railway service in 1869, at Christchurch, under Mr. Dickenson, locomotive foreman of that yard, and worked as cleaner, fireman, and driver, taking the first train through from Christchurch to Dunedin. In 1880 he was promoted to his present charge in Timaru, and with the exception of brief changes to Oamaru and Auckland, has remained there ever since. Under his charge are twenty-five men, including eight drivers and an equal number of firemen. Mr. Verdon is married, and has five children.

Mr. B. Verdon.

Mr. B. Verdon.

Mr. James Stewart, Inspector for New Zealand railway bridges in South Canterbury, was born in the parish of Kirkmichael, Ayrshire, Scotland, in 1843. He was educated in his native land, and brought up to the trade of a shipwright. Mr. Stewart arrived in Lyttelton by the ship “Ivanhoe,” in 1863, and after some experience on the diggings, took part in the construction of the Rakaia bridge. For some years he was employed by Mr. White, a contractor for public works, and on leaving that gentleman's service in 1873, was presented with an inscribed silver watch. Mr. Stewart joined the maintenance branch of the railway department in Christchurch, in 1874, and was appointed a bridge inspector in 1880. His district extends from Springburn to Glenavy, including branch lines. He is a Scotch Freemason, but is not attached to any order in the colony, and he is a member of the local Druids' Lodge, No. 11. Mr. Stewart was married, in 1875, to a daughter of Mr. James Hepburn, sometime of Christchurch, and has four daughters and one son.

Ferrier, photo.Mr. J. Stewart.

Ferrier, photo.
Mr. J. Stewart.

Mr. Charles Worsley, Inspector of Permanent Way on the South Canterbury Railways, was born in 1847, in Kent, England. He joined the London police in 1872, and came to Port Chalmers two years later by the ship “James Nicoll Fleming.” Mr. Worsley joined the railway service at Oamaru, and was appointed to his present position in 1886.

Mr. Thomas Gordon Lilico, M.R.C.V.S. (London), Government Veterinary Surgeon for South Canterbury, Timaru, was appointed to his present position, in May, 1901, as successor to Mr. D. H. Reit. He was born in Northumberland, England, in 1868, and is a son of Mr. William Lilico, a well known estate manager in Northumberland. His early education was received at Belfast, Ireland, and he afterwards studied at the New Veterinary College, Edinburgh, where he took his diploma, in 1888. On graduating, he commenced to practice his profession at Berwick-on-Tweed. In 1890 Mr. Lilico left England for America, where, after conducting private practice in several centres, he was appointed Inspector for the Massachusetts' Board of Cattle Commissioners. He retained this post till 1899, when he came to New Zealand. Mr. Lilico went to South Africa as veterinary officer for the Fifth Contingent, and on returning in May, 1901, he was appointed to his present position.