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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Otago & Southland Provincial Districts]



The Dunedin Club , Fernhill, Dunedin. This club was originally formed in 1836. Its first abode was a modest wooden structure in Maclaggan Street, with a verandah and balcony in front, and is now used as a Chinese laundry. In those early days the club was composed chiefly of squatters, though all the leading townsmen also were members, and amongst its earliest supporters were the late Mr. E. B. Cargill, Hon. Matthew Holmes, and Mr. E. P. Kenyon, and Mr Charles de Vere Teschmaker, as well as many other prominent men, past and present. The club afterwards removed to a stone building higher up in the same street, but this was soon found to be unsuitable, and a second move was made, this time to High Street, where rooms were engaged in the old Commercial Hotel. A third move was made some time in the seventies to Wain's Hotel, in which apartments were engaged. In 1874 the most memorable event in the history of the institution took place. In that year the club was reconstituted, and the Fernhill House and grounds were purchased for its home. The Fernhill property is one of the finest and most valuable of its kind in New Zealand. The Club House stands back about fifty yards from Melville Street, on a two-acre section, and is approached by a crescent-shaped drive through a well grown plantation of trees and shrubs. It was built in the early days by the late Mr. John Jones, and was occupied by the Duke of Edinburgh during his visit to Dunedin, having been placed at his disposal by Mr. Jones. After the death of Mr. Jones, it was leased to the Provincial Government as the Governor's residence, and was retained for that purpose till 1874, when it was bought by its present proprietors. The building stands on a pleasant eminence, and commands a view right down the harbour. It is surrounded by fine gardens, always kept in good order and gay with flowers, and the club has a well formea bowling green and tennis lawn. The house itself is of stone, and is two stories high, with a verandah and balcony. It possesses one of the best equipped billiard rooms, in the colony, a spacious dining room, a splendid drawing room and library, a smoking room, reading room, several semi-private rooms, two card rooms, and about nineteen bedrooms, together with a kitchen, lavatory and other necessary appointments. The Dunedin Club has always been most hospitable in entertaining the colony's Governors, and in 1889, the year of the Exhibition, a magnificent ball, for which a large temporary building was constructed, was given, and formed one of the principal festivities of the season. The Governors of all the Australian colonies were present, and about 1000 invitations were sent out. During the visit of their Royal High-nesses the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York to Dunedin, in June, 1901, the Dunedin Club was occupied by them, and was for the time entirely given up by the members for that purpose. The club is well known in all parts of the world, and is a favourite with tourists and visitors, on account of its homelike comforts and well kept grounds. At present (1904) the club has about 200 members. The club is under the management of a president, a vice-president, a secretary and treasurer, and a committee of five members. The president of the year 1903–4 is Mr. C. W. S. Chamberlain, and the present secretary and treasurer is Mr. D. Crawford. Mr. Charles Bird, who has been manager of the club for abou thirty years, is held in the highest esteem by the members on account of his personal worth, and the unfailing ability with which he fulfils his duties.

The Dunedin Club Company, Ltd. , has rooms which occupy the greater part of a handsome three storey brick and plaster building situated at 4, Lower High Street. The premises were erected in 1880, and for several years were used as the Exchange Hotel. Later on they were purchased by the Standard Insurance Company, from which, in 1888, the Otago Club Company leased its rooms. The club has forty-two large, lofty and well-furnished apartments; and the appearance of the whole place reflects the highest credit on the management. In addintion page 194 to storerooms, bath-rooms, bedrooms, lavatories, kitchen and private office, there are the billiard room, dining room, card rooms, visitors' room, and a smoking room on the first floor; and on the second floor there are sitting rooms, bedrooms, and the manager's private apartments.

Mr. William Hoff , Manager of the Otago Club, is a son of the late Mr. Hans Hoff, for some time departmental manager in the firm of Messrs Guthrie and Larnach. He was born in Christiana, Norway, in 1866, and came to Dunedin with his parents in 1872. After completing his education he entered commercial life in Dunedin, and subsequently visited Auckland, Melbourne, and Sydney. In 1893 he was appointed to an assistantship in the Fernhill Club, but five years later resigned to enter the employment of the Union Bank, with which he remained till October, 1900, when he became manager of the Otago Club. Mr. Hoff is a member of the Masonic Lodge Otago, Kilwinning, No. 417, Scottish Constitution, of the Dunedin Bowling Club, and of the Dunedin Liedertafel, and the Orphans' Musical Club. He was married in October, 1900, to Miss Weir, of Mosgiel.

Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo.Mr. W. Hoff.

Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo.
Mr. W. Hoff.

The New Zealand Commercial Travellers' and Warehousemen's Association was formed in 1884. For several years the club held rooms in Moray Place, but in 1879 the present handsome club building was erected in Dowling Street. Up till that date the club had enjoyed a large measure of success, but its removal to better and more central premises greatly added to its popularity and prosperity, and it has since grown at a rapid rate. At the institution of the body a relief fund was commenced, on condition that it was not to be drawn upon till £1500 had been accumulated. In 1898, this total having been reached, the fund became available for purposes of relief, and immediately gave a further impetus to the association. In 1902 a mortuary benefit fund was established, for the purpose of providing for the payments upon the death of a member, of a sum of money to his widow or children, or to his next of kin. This again has proved a popular action, and tradesmen are manifesting an ever increasing willingness to support an institution so alive to their interests and needs. The acculated funds have now reached a total of £3,600, and the club has at present about 350 members. In February, 1904, the association bought, for £2,600, the freehold of a section, over a quarter of an acre in area, and situated in the Octagon. The block is admirably adapted as a site for a club house, and will be built on as such when the leases of the present tenants expire. The annual meeting of members is held in January in the Club Rooms, Dowling Street. The officers elected in January, 1904, were: President, Mr. D. McPherson; Secretary, Mr. James Brown; Treasurer, Mr. James Todd. There are also six vice-presidents, a committee of seven, and a house committee of three.

Mr. Dugald Mcpherson , President of the New Zealand Commercial Travellers' and Warehousemen's Association, was born in Kintyre, Scotland, in 1846, and at the age of twenty began his commercial career in the darpery trade in South Wales. He afterwards filled positions in other parts of Great Britain, and later on entered the employment of a wholesale confectioner in Glasgow as city traveller. In 1883 he established, with Mr. Kemp, the firm of Messrs McPherson, Kemp and Co., and in the following year commenced operations in New Zealand. The firm has since developed rapidly, and is now well known throughout the colony. Mr. McPherson is Chief of the Gaelic Society of New Zealand.

Mr. James brown , the energetic and popular secretary of the New Zealand Commercial Travellers' and Warehousemen's Association joined the organisation many years ago, and to his consistent efforts the present success and prosperity of the club is in a large measure due. Mr. Brown is more fully referred to in the commercial section of this volume.

The New Zealand Commercial Travellers' and Warehousemen's Association Club Rooms are situated at 17, Dowling Street; and comprise a handsome two storey brick and plaster building erected by the club in 1897. The building possesses every possible convenience, and there are about a dozen apartments. A large and lefty hall leads from the front entrance to the billiard room, which is to the rear on the ground floor. This room, which is frequently spoken of as one of the finest billiard rooms in the colony, is spacious and well lighted, and has two large tables. There are three card rooms, two visitors' rooms, and three well supplied reading rooms. The bar adjoins the billiard room, and there are also lavatories, a large cellar, etc. The club is handsomely furnished, and a competent staff is employed.

Mr. William Arnold Lucas was appointed manager of the New Zealand Commercial Travellers' and Warehousemen's Association Club Rooms, in 1899, in succession to Mr. Silk. He was born in Dunedin, in 1865, is a son of Mr. John Lucas, a local leather merchant, and was educated at the Arthur Street public school and apprenticed as a brass finisher under Messrs A. and T. Burt. He subsequently worked for another firm of engineers and brass finishers in Dunedin, and later on visited Melbourne and Sydney. In 1891 Mr. Lucas gave up his trade, and for several years was travelling for various commercial firms in the city. In 1895 he was appointed an assistant in the Dunedin Club, where he remained till taking up his present position. Mr. Lucas is a member of the Dunedin Bowling Club, and also of the Manchester Unity, Independent Order of Oddfellows.