The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Otago & Southland Provincial Districts]
Otago Harbour Board
Otago Harbour Board
Hon. H. Gourley.
Mr. James Robin , one of the Government representatives on the Otago Harbour Board, was born in Stirlingshire, Scotland, where he learned the business of coach-building. For a few years he turned his attention to engineering, and worked with the firm that built the steamer “Pirate” (the first steamer to trade between Dunedin and Melbourne), and did a considerable portion of the fitting up of the machinery of that pioneer in her line. In 1854 Mr. Robin left Scotland to try his fortune in Victoria; where for seven years he worked at coachbuilding, and was one of the founders of the well known firm of Stevenson and Co., afterwards Stevenson and Elliot. Mr. Robin and a partner bought a twenty-ton schooner in 1863, with the object of trading in Fiji, but the excitement caused him to change his plans and come to Dunedin. For two years Mr. Robin and his partner traded between Dunedin and the adjacent ports; but, in 1865, Mr. Robin retired from that mode of life and laid the foundation of the coachbuilding business which has ever since been carried on by him. Since his settlement in Dunedin Mr. Robin has devoted a large portion of his time to the affairs of the city. One of the first of his public services was in connection with the widening of Princes Street. The citizens were much dissatisfied with the arbitration award made in that respect, and Mr. Robin and two other gentlemen, by getting the award set aside, were instrumental in saving the city the large sum of £11,000. Mr. Robin was a member of the first Railway Board of Appeal appointed by the Government. With the late Mr. James Macandrew and others Mr. Robin took an active part in the endeavour to prevent the abolition of the Provinces. He was a member of the City Council for several years; and was the first chairman of the Hospital and Charitable Aid Board—a position which he occupied for over ten years. Mr. Robin was one of the members of the first Licensing Committee for Bell Ward, and chairman of the committee; and was also for fourteen years a member of the Dunedin school committee, and its chairman for a considerable period. He has for nearly fifty years been a member of the Order of Oddfellows, and joined the Manchester Unity in 1854. He has been treasurer to the Otago District Lodge for thirty years.
Mr. James Taylor Mackerras , who for many years has been a prominent member of the Dunedin Harbour Board, is founder and senior partner of the firm of MacKerras and Hazlett. He was born in 1827 in Aberdeen, Scotland, and was educated at Grantown, Inverness-shire, where he commenced his mercantile career as a boy in a country store; after five years business experience in London, he came out to Geelong, Victoria, in September, 1851. Mr. MacKerras went into commercial life in that town and continued in business till coming to Otago in 1862. Arriving in Port Chalmers in that year with a partner, he established the well-known business which has for so long been conduct under the style of MacKerras and Hazlett. He was the first member elected to the Dunedin harbour board in 1885. Since then he has sat continuously on the board. He has been chairman of the finance committee for some years, and generally has used his influence and abilities to further the interests of the port. For many years he has been an active member of the chamber of commerce, and was its president for the year 1884–5. Mr. MacKerras has greatly assisted in the development of the industries of Otago, notably as a director of the Kaitangata Railway and Coal Company, Ltd., and other companies. Mr. MacKerras was married in 1860 to a daughter of Mr. Murdo Jaffary, of Budget Cawdor, Nairnshire, Scotland, and has six daughters and one son.
Mr. Thomas Ross , J.P., one of the Government members of the Otago Harbour Board, and sometime Mayor of West Harbour, is a well known draper in Princes Street, Dunedin. For a number of years he was identified with the borough council of West Harbour as a councillor, and for several consecutive terms he occupied the Mayor's chair. Mr. Ross has also taken an active part in many other local matters, and has been commodore of the Ravensbourne yacht club, and president of the Ravensbourne boating club and football club.
The Hon. David Pinkerton , who is one of the Government members of the Otago Harbour Board, is referred to in another article as a member of the Legislative Council.
The Hon. Thomas Fergus , a Member of the Otago Harbour Board, represented the district of Wakatipu in the House of Representatives for the years 1881–93. He has been many years a member of the committee of the Agricultural and Pastoral Society; he was one of the originators of the Agricultural Hall, and has been chairman of the committee since its inception. Mr. Fergus took a prominent part in connection with the Otago Jubilee Exhibition, and was vice-president and chairman of the executive and general committees. He has been a member of the Dunedin Jockey club for many years, and had a seat on the education board for a lengthened period. He is also a director of several local companies, notably the New Zealand Minerals company, Kaitangata Railway and Coal commpany, Standard Fire and Marine Insurance company, and is chairman of directors of the Hartley and Riley Dredging company, Bakery Flat Hydraulic Sluicing company (Waipori), Moonlight No. 2 Hydraulic Sluicing company (Wakatipu), and many others. Mr. Fergus is further referred to at pages 83–84 of the Wellington volume of this work, as having been a member of Sir Harry Atkin-son's Government.
Hon. T. Fergus.
Mr. Edward Fawns Duthie , one of the members who represnt the city of Dunedin on the Otago Harbour Board, was elected to that body on the 21st of January, 1904. Mr. Duthie, who is a native of Otago, joined the firm of Messrs James Duthie and page 120 Co., general carriers and contractors, in 1887, but this business was subsequently amalgamated with the New Zealand Express Co., of which Mr. Duthie is now the Dunedin manager, and also is one of the company's directors. Mr. Duthie held the position of secretary to the Otago Agricultural and Pastoral Association for some time, and he successfully carried out many important operations; in fact, it is mainly to his efforts that the Society owes its present flourishing and prominent position. Mr. Duthie is one of the directors of the Otago Agricultural Hall Company Limited, and also a member of the committee of the Otago Agricultural and Pastoral Society. He has been officially connected with many public functions, such as the Industrial Exhibition of five or six years ago, the organisation and despatch of the Fourth Contingent to South Africa, and the reception of their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, now Prince and Princess of Wales.
Mr. William Dawson is one of the two members who represent the city of Dunedin on the Otago Harbour Board. He is referred to in other articles as a former Mayor of Dunedin, and also as a former member of Parliament.
Mr. John Thomson , one of the repre-sentatives for Port Chalmers on the Otago Harbour Board, was born at Dalkeith, Scotland, in 1844. His father, the late Mr. John Thomson, one of the pioneers of Otago, whom he accompanied to New Zealand, in 1848 in the ship “Blundell,” was for many years Sheep Inspector in Otago, died at his residence, Dalkeith, Port Chalmers, in 1895 Mr. Thomson was educated at Port Chalmers, and afterwards followed mercantile pursuits for some years. On the breaking out of the gold rush he gave up business, and was for some time at Gabriel's Gully, and, later on the West Coast. He returned to Port Charmers and joined the Customs Department at the Port, but retired from the Government service during the retrenchments of 1880. Mr. Thomson then entered business as a licensed victualler, and carried on as such until 1892, when he disposed of his hotel interests. Since then he has carried on a commission and general agency business at the Port. During the many years of his residence at Port Chalmers Mr. Thomas has been always identified with the progress of the town, and has taken a leading part in all municipal matters. He was a member of the Borough Council for six years, and Mayor for the years 1902 and 1903. During his Mayoralty the handsome rotunda in commemoration of the accession of King Edward the Seventh was erected. For over ten years he has represented Port Chalmers on the Harbour Bad. He has been a member of the Dock Trust since 1899, and was acting-chairman in 1903. Mr. Thomson is a member of the Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, Hospital and Benevolent Trustees, and of the Port Chalmers school committee. He has been an Oddfellow since 1866, and has gone through all the chairs, and became a Freemason in 1881.
Mr. E. G. Allen , one of the Port Chalmers members of the Otago Harbour Board, is elsewhere referred to as member for Chalmers in the House of Representatives.
Mr. John Watson is one of the members who represent Port Chalmers on the Otago Harbour Board. He was born at Pete[gap — reason: illegible] head, Scotland, and is a son of Captain Watson, dockmaster at Port Chalmers. Mr. Watson was a member of the borough council of Port Chalmers for a number of years, but retired when he revisited his native country in 1900, after an absence of thirty-six years. He was Mayor of Port Chalmers from 1893 to 1895, and during that period many important improvements were carried out in the borough. Mr. Watson is chairman of directors of the local gasworks, and was elected to a seat on the Otago Harbour Board in 1903. For over sixteen years he was connected with the volunteers, first in the Naval Brigade, and afterwards with the L Battery, until its disbandment. Mr. Watson is referred to in another article as a general draper and outfitter, and as an exporter of frozen rabbits.
Mr. Alexander Campbell Begg , J.P., Member of the Otago Harbour Board, was born in 1839 in the parish of Liberton, near Edinburgh. Educated at the Edinburgh High School, he entered an insurance office. On completing his course of study, and after serving two or three years, he came out to New Zealand in 1859 by the ship “Alpine,” landing at Port Chalmers. For three years prior to the opening up of the Otago Goldfields, Mr. Begg was in the office of Messrs. Young and McGlashan, merchants; he then commenced farming at Clutha, remaining on the property four years. The original land, purchased at this time, now forms part of his station known as “Williamburn.” Returning to Dunedin in 1866. Mr. Begg became manager for a pastoral firm, Messrs. Dougtas, Alderson and Co., and in 1870 established his present business. For many years Mr. Begg has been prominent as a citizen, and has done a great deal more than his share in relation to local governing bodies. In Roslyn, he filled the civic chair for eight years consecutively, and still holds a seat on the Council; for nine years he was a member of the Otago Education Board, and at the time of writing is a member of the Harbour Board, Charitable Aid Board, and the Dunedin Licensing Committee; of the Otago Acclimatisation Society he is president, and had previously filled the office of vice-president for fifteen years. A member of the Prebyterian Church, Mr. Begg has a seat on the Board of Property, and is convener of the finance committee of the Synod of the Church of Otago and Southland. He is an ardent prohibitionist, and a member of the local Prohibition Council. In 1869 he was a candidate for the House of Representatives for Dunedin City, but was defeated. Mr. Begg was married in 1867 to a daughter of Mr. Peter Clarke, of Mossfield, Clinton, and has five sons and three daughters.
Mr. A. C. Begg.
Mr. William Barclay, J.P. , who represents the Borough of West Harbour and North-East Valley on the Otago Harbour Board, was born at Brechin, Forfarshire, Scotland, and for a number of years carried on a bookselling and publishing business in Edinburgh. Owing to failing health, caused by a too close application to business, Mr. Barclay, on the recommendation of his medical adviser, left Scotland and came to Otago in 1881. He settled at Ravensbourne shortly after his arrival and started his present business, which has been progressively successful. Mr. Barclay was for six years continuously Mayor of the borough of West Harbour, where many improvements were undertaken and carried out during his term of officer. He has been a member of the Otago page 121 Harbour Board for fourteen years, and a Justice of the Peace for several years. Mr. Barclay is a trustee of the Ravensbourne Savings Bank. He has been chairman of the Ravensbourne school committee, and has taken a prominent part in all other matters connected with the prosperity and progress of his district. He has been twice married, and there is a family of two children.
Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo
Mr. W. Barclay.
Mr. George Simpson , for some time a Member of the Otago Harbour Board for the city of Dunedin, was born in Scotland, and came to Dunedin by the ship “Timaru” in 1879. For some years after his arrival he worked as a journeyman at his trade, and in 1886 entered business on his own account as a builder and contractor. Mr. Simpson was a member of the first Drainage Board, but retired with several other members, as a protest against the way the affairs of that body were conducted. He was nine years a member and two years chairman of the Arthur Street school committee. On the 3rd of December, 1903. Mr. Simpson was elected a member of the Harbour Board, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Mr. John Carroll. At the biennial election on the 21st of January, 1904, his nomination was handed in five minutes too late, and was therefore declared informal.
Mr. Thomas Harold Rawson , M.I.C.E., Secretary, Treasurer, and Engineer to the Dunedin Harbour Board, and formerly engineer to the Westport Harbour Board, is the third surviving son of the late Dr T. E. Rawson, M.D., of New Plymouth. He was born in London, in 1851, came out to New Zealand in 1859, and was educated at the grammar schools of Auckland and New Plymouth, and at Nelson Colege. Mr. Rawson entered the Public Works Department as an engineering cadet in 1872, and was engaged on extensive road and railway works in North Otago and South Canterbury, and in the Wanganni, Manawatu, and Taranaki districts. He conducted exploration surveys over about forty miles of difficult country, and finally located the line, and supervised the construction of about thirty miles of railway in the Wanganui district. In 1891 he was transferred to Greymouth as resident engineer and engineer to the Greymouth Harbour Board, and while in that position he completed the Greymouth-Hokitika railway, and extended the Greymouth breakwater. Mr. Rawson was transferred, in 1894, to Westport as resident engineer and engineer to the Westport Harbour Board, and while so engaged he completed the railway line to Mokihinui, and carried out extensive harbour works, including training walls, dredging, and wharves He was appointed to his present position in November, 1898.
Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo.
Mr. T. H. Rawson.
Captain D. McCallum , Harbourmaster and Piermaster for the Otago Harbour Board, was born in Argylshire, Scotland, and arrived in New Zealand from Victoria in 1861. He was gazetted Railway Piermaster for Port Chalmers in 1873; two years later he was appointed by the Harbour Board as Deputy Harbourmaster, and received his present appointment in 1893.