The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Otago & Southland Provincial Districts]
Borough Of Invercargill
Borough Of Invercargill.
Southland's chief town was proclaimed a municipal corporation in June, 1871, and the first mayor and councillors were elected in the following August. The Hon. William Wood was the first mayor; and Messrs George Lumsden, George Goodwillie, William Garthwaite, Henry Jaggers, William Blackwood, Henry Thomas Ross, Thomas Pratt, and Robert Tapper were elected councillors. Shortly afterwards, Mr. William Benjamin Scandrett was appointed town clerk, and Mr. Edwin Cuthbert (now engineer of the Christchurch Drainage Board), town engineer. The Corporation was fortunate in having as its first mayor one well versed in, and determined to follow, parliamentary procedure. Standing orders and bylaws were framed with great care, and the excellent management of the town's affairs then initiated has been more or less observed by succeeding mayors, so, that, on the whole, the burgesses of Invercargill have good reason to be abundantly satisfied with their local administration from the beginning up to the present time. The progress of the town may be exemplified by noting the assessment for rating purposes. In 1871, the assessment on the annual value to let amounted to £10,350, and in 1891 it exceeded £50,000, the valuation during all these years being made by the town clerk, Mr. Scandrett, as municipal valuer. Since 1891 it has gradually increased until the annual value to let has reached £66,736.
The town has been well provided with endowments, every tenth section being a reservation; especially is this the case in respect to the recreation reserves, which have been set apart on three sides of the town, the broad estuary making a fourth or aquatic pleasure ground. The Queen's Park, on the north side, has an area of 200 acres, and will in the not distant future become an ornamental public estate of great value.
Revenue, Rates And Expenditure.
The first important work undertaken by the Borough Council was the erection of gasworks, and very great care and interest have been shown in the construction and management of these works. Parliament authorised the borrowing of £30,000, which was raised in the colony on debentures bearing six per cent interest. The plant was supplied by Mr. George Bower, of St. Neots, England, Mr. William Daley, gas engineer, being appointed to superintend its erection and afterwards to assume the management of the works. Mr. Daley was a very capable man, having had experience in towns of somewhat similar size in England and Russia. The splendid illuminating quality of the gas supplied during Mr. Daley's management was the subject of general remark, and the engineer explained that the result was due to the excellence of the coal from the Brunner mines on the West Coast. Mr Daley died at Caversham some years ago, while acting as attorney and manager for the London owners of the Dunedin and Suburban Gas Company's works in that district. The Invercargill gasworks occupy three acres of land, adjoining Spey Street, and lying between the railway and the New River estuary. They were completed in 1874. There are three large holders capable of storing 200,000 feet of gas. The gas is distributed through about twenty miles of pipes, and there are about 1,400 consumers.
In 1877, the council was authorised by vote of the ratepayers to undertake the construction of waterworks, but considerable differences of opinion existed as to the best system of water supply. A gravitation supply from the Dunsdale river in the Hokonui was available, the Government having reserved several thousand acres as a gathering area; but, after reports had been furnished, it was decided to sink for an artesian supply, and ultimately a water-tight iron cylinder well was sunk on the highest part of the town to a depth of 100 feet where a waterbearing strata had previously been discovered. The water rises in this well to within twelve feet of the surface, page 796 and is pumped into a large reservoir capable of containing 66,000 gallons, and built on an ornamental tower 100 feet above the ground. This tower was designed by the present borough engineer, Mr. William Sharp. The water is distributed by gravitation, the mains being laid through every street, and with sufficient pressure to lift it to the top of the highest building, the pressure of 150 lbs to the square inch being equal to effectually quenching any moderate outbreak of fire. The water tower has a site of an acre and a half, fronting Gala, Doon and Yarrow Streets, and Elles Road. The tower is ninety feet in height to the floor of the gallery, and 140 feet to the top of the lantern. The weight of water contained in the tank is equal to 300 tons. There are three concrete cisterns constructed at the foot of the tower for holding the reserve water, and these contain half a million gallons. The water is filtered through gravel shale, thirty feet in thickness, and is aerated by being passed through large sprays, and thus exposed to the atmosphere. The ordinary every day pressure throughout the borough is from 55 to 60 pounds to the square inch, but for fire purposes the mains are connected directly with the pumps, bringing up the pressure to the maximum already stated. The capacity of the pumps is equal to 36,000 gallons per hour. These are worked by two horizontal high-pressure steam engines, of fifteen horse power each. There are two Cornish boilers with Gallaway tubes, each of twenty-two horse power. About twenty-four miles of mains distribute the water over the town. The engine house and tower are erected in brick and concrete.
Invercargill has abattoirs, which were completed in 1899. They occupy a site of thirty-eight acres, including paddocks, at Waikiwi, on the main line of railway to Riverton, Winton and the Lakes. The railway siding is utilised for the receipt of stock, and the despatch of meat. The abattoir building is constructed on the open-hall system, and is composed of brick and concrete. There are two pithing pens for cattle, and separate apartments for the slaughter of sheep and pigs, combined with the necessary appliances. About seventy head of cattle, and five hundred sheep, more or less, are usually slaughtered every week. The cost of this establishment was £5,000, and the revenue from the abattoirs in 1903 was £1,000.
New River Harbour.
The New River harbour is under the control of the Invercargill Borough Council. It consists of an estuary fed by the Oreti (or New River) and the Waihopai stream, and empties itself into the sea at Foveaux Strait. A jetty at the foot of Tweed Street is a quarter of a mile long, and has tramways, and trollies for the conveyance of goods, with sheds and a crane. There is also a railway siding for convenience of shipment. Two small steamers ply regularly to the Invercargill whari, apart from special trips. One of these is the “Invercargill,” of 156 tons, which trades regularly between Invercargill and Dunedin.
The Fire Brigade.
The Invercargill Fire Brigade is under the control of the Borough Council. It was re-organised in 1888 and again in 1903. Officers for 1904: Mr. R. Miller, superintendent; Mr. W. Hamilton, lieutenant; Mr. John Young, first foreman; Mr. J. Challis, second foreman. There are fourteen fireman, and Mr. A. Harkness is secretary. The principal station in Esk Street, was completed in March, 1903. It is two stories in height, is built of brick, and has a bell tower sixty feet high. The ground floor of the building is laid down in asphalt, and the plant consists of a Merryweather steam engine, ladder carriage, and two reels. The Merryweather engine is retained so as to be prepared for any mishap which might occur at the water works during a fire. On the front floor there are ten bedrooms for the accommmodation of the firemen. At Invercargill South there is a branch station in Ettrick Street, where 500 feet of hose, with a reel, ladder, hooks, etc., are kept ready for any emergency. Both stations are connected by telephone, and with, the private residence of the Superintendent in Bowmont Street.
The corporation has erected baths at the corner of Tweed Street and Ayr Street. The building is of wood and iron, and is well appointed in every respect. The swimming bath measures 60 feet by 30 feet; and there are four hot plunge baths, and a large boiler for heating water, so as to adjust the temperature in the swimming bath, which is filled by pumping from the estuary.
Gardens And Reserves.
Invercargill is noted for its remarkably pretty gardens, and its extensive reserves. There are four small blocks, which are being gradually reclaimed from a state of nature, and brought into a high state of cultivation. These blocks average about four acres each, and are centrally situated in the town; Puni Creek passes through them. About the half of one block, which extends from Clyde Street to Nith Street, is laid down in gardens and lawns, including a very fine bowling green another, extending from Nith Street to Conon Street, is planted with well-grown shelter trees on the north side, where numerous seats are placed for the use of visitors; and on the south side there are beautiful grass lawns and flower borders, which are resplendent with bloom in the season. A very pretty conservatory was erected in 1898, and is divided into two parts, devoted respectively to ferns and flowers. The third block, between Conon Street and Ythan Street is set off with a large oval lawn, flower borders and trees, and an ornamental pond, with black swans. The fourth block, which extends from Ythan Street to Ness Street, is planted with ornamental trees, and laid down in grass. Besides these gardens there is a strip of land all round the town boundary which has a total area of about sixty acres; and that, too, will be beautified as Lime goes on. The ground around the Water Tower is also prettily kept. The town's reserves include 5,000 acres, known as the Point Domain, 1,300 acres on the Bluff Road, and 1,000 acres at Seaward Bush. These large properties are gradually being improved by sowing suitable grasses.
The Public Cemetery is outside of the town, on the East Road.
Mayors And Town Clerks.
During the existence of the corporation, the following citizens have been, successively, mayors of the town: Hon. William Wood, M.L C. (two years), Messrs George Lumsden (two years), Thomas Pratt (two years), John Walker Mitchell (two years), George page 797 Froggitt (two years), Charles Steven Longuet (two years), John Robert Cuthbertson, Joseph Hatch, George Goodwillie, Nicholas Johnson, Henry Jaggcrs, John Kingsland, William Shirrefs Moir, John Lyon McDonald, David Roche, Edwin Alfred Tapper, Thomas Fleming, William Horatio Hall, James Walker Bain, Duncan McFarlane, Andrew Re aside, William Benjamin Seandrett, John Sinclair, Josiah Alfred Hanan, Hugh Mair, John Stead, James Smith Goldie, and—for a second term—William Benjamin Seandrett.
Invercargill has been fortunate in its Town Clerks, as in the long course of thirty-three years it has had only three, all men of high character and exceptional ability. Mr. W. B. Seandrett, the present mayor, held the office From 1871 to 1893, when he was succeeded by Mr. James Ewart Hannah. Air. Hannah resigned in 1895, and was succeeded by Mr. William Young, formerly manager of the Colonial Rank of New Zealand at Invercargill.
The present Council consists of the Mayor, Mr. W. R. Seandrett, and Councillors R. Cleave, S. M. McDonald, C. S. Longuet, D. Roche, J. Stead, J. F. Lillicrap, R. B. McKay, W. A. Ott, W. N. Stirling. J. C. Smith, W. Stead, and James Allan.
Mr. W. B. Scandrett, Mayor of Invercargill.
Councillor D. Roche.
Councillor Charles Stephen Longuet was elected to the Invercargill Borough Council in 1897, as representative of the South Ward, and, after being absent for a term, was re-elected to a seat on the Council. Mr. Longuet is a member of various other bodies, and is referred to in another article as a barrister and solicitor.
Councillor John Frederick Lillicrap has been a member of the Invercargill Council since 1900. He was born in Wellington, in 1806, and, having passed the prescribed examination, was admitted to practice as a barrister and solicitor in 1894. Mr. Lillierap is a member of the firm of Hall, Stout, and Lillierap.
Councillor W. A. Ott.
Councillor J. Stead.
Councillor W. Stead.
Councillor William Neilson Stirling , J. P., who was elected a member of the Invercargill Borough Council in 1901, was horn in Dunedin in 1853. He attended school in Dunedin and Invercargill to which his parents removed in 1860. Mr. Stirling was brought up to mercantile life in Invercargill, with which he has been closely and continuously connected, except during a short sojourn on the Central Otago goldfields. In 1887 he commenced business in Dee-Street, as a storekeeper and merchant. Mr. Stirling is a vice-president of the Southland Horticultural Society, a director of the Star-Bowkett Building Society, chairman of the Middle School committee, and the Borough Council's representative on the management committee of the park. He has also for many years been a member of the session of First Church. Mr. Stirling became a Justice of the Peace in 1902. He was married, in 1882, to a daughter of the late Mr. Abel Kerr, of Table Hill, Milton, and has five daughters.
Councillor Joseph Crosby Smith has served as a member of the Invercargill Borough Council since 1901. He was born in Keithley, Yorkshire, England, in 1853. In 1876 Mr. Smith landed at Port Chalmers, by the ship “Calypso,” and was for about twenty-five years in the service of the late Mr. H. E. Shaddock, in Dunedin. He removed to Invercargill in 1901, and entered into business as an ironmonger in Esk Street, in partnership with Mr. J. M. Laing, under the style of Smith and Laing. Mr. Smith was a member of the Cavershatn Borough Council for about three years. He was married in 1877, and has three sons.
Councillor Samuel Mcculloch McDonald was returned as a member of the Borough Council in 1903. He was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1805. At the age of ten he landed in Wellington by the ship “Howrah.” Subsequently he resided for about twenty years in Oamaru, where he learned clicking, a branch of the boot manufacturing trade. In 1893 he commenced business in conjunction with Mr. J. McDiarmid, as manufacturers and retailers, under the style of McDonald and McDiarmid. Mr. McDonald retired from the firm in 1899, when he removed to Invercargill, and established a boot business in Dee Street. Mr. McDonald was married, in November, 1896, to a daughter of Mr. George Broad, of Oamaru, and has one son.
Councillor John Duncan Mcgruer has been for some time a member of the Invercargill Borough Council. He is senior partner in the drapery firm of MeGruer, Taylor and Company, of Dee and Esk Streets, Invercargill.
Mr. W. Young.
Mr. Andrew Harper , Water Works Engineer to the Borough of Invercargill, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1849, he attended school at Portobello, near Edinburgh, and also a night school in the city. After leaving school he was apprenticed as an engineer to Messrs Bertram and Sons, of Leith Walk, Edinburgh, and remained with that firm twenty years, during which he gained an insight into all branches of the work. In 1883 he came to Port Chalmers by the ship “Trevellyan” (Captain Roberts), and settled in Invercaroill, where he found employment at the Vulcan Foundry for eight years, during the greater portion of which he was foreman. Mr. Harper left this employment, to accept the position which he has held since 1891. As a Forester, he is attached to Court Star of the South. Inverenrgill, and has passed all the chairs. Mr. Harper was married, in 1870, to a daughter of the late Mr. James Wilson, of Leith, Scotland, and has one son and five daughters.
Gerstenkorn, photo. Mr. A. Harper.
Gerstenkorn, photo.Mr. W. Rennie.
Gerstenkorn, photo.Mr. H. Edginton.
Mr. Herbert Seton Stewart Kyle , Government Veterinary Surgeon in charge of the Invercargill Abattoirs, was born in Melbourne, Victoria, in 1874. He was educated at Geelong College, graduated at the Melbourne Veterinary College, and was in private practice at Ballarat for about four years before being appointed to his present position. Mr. Kyle provided the plans, and supervised the whole of the erection of the establishment, and has been in charge since the opening. He was initiated as a Freemason in Lodge Unity and Prudence, Geelong, and is attached to Lodge Victoria (Irish Constitution) of which he was Worshipful Master in 1903. Mr. Kyle has held office as president of the Invercargill Bog and Poultry Society, and is now Honorary Veterinary Surgeon to the Southland Agricultural and Pastoral Society, and also to the local Racing Club.
Superintendent Robert Miller , who has been in charge of the Invercargill Fire Brigade since March, 1903, and has been foreman of works of the Borough Council since September, 1900, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1862. He was educated in his native city, where he learned the trade of a carpenter. In 1872 he came to Port Chalmers by the ship “Peter Benny” After working at his trade for live years in Dunedin, and for three years at Lawrence, he removed to Oamaru. where he continued until settling in Invercargill in 1882. Mr. Miller followed his trade in Southland until his appointment under the Borough Council. He is a prominent member of the Order of Oddfellows and has taken the highest offices in connection with Lodge Shamrock, Rose and Thistle, as well as district offices; in 1902 he was raised to the position of Provincial Grand Master at Mataura, and is also a member of St. John's Masonic Lodge, Invercargill. Mr. Miller was married, in 1875, to a daughter of the late Mr. William Archibald, of Glasgow, and has three sons and four daughters.
Gerstenkorn, photo. Mr. R. Miller.
Gerstenkorn, photo. Mr. W. Cook.