The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts]
Since the inception of the Borough Council of Blenheim, seventeen citizens, exclusive of the present Mayor, have occupied the Mayor's chair. Mr. F. J. Litchfield and Mr. Henry Dodson, the first and second Mayors of Blenheim, were elected by their colleagues in the Borough Council. Mr. Dodson, however, contended that this mode of election was not sufficiently representative, and he carried a proposal in the Council that the Mayors of Blenheim should be elected by the ratepayers. Accordingly, for several years the ratepayers — without statutory sanction—elected their Mayors, and this plan became so popular that “The Blenheim Mayors Bill” was read in the House of Representatives in the year 1875. It gave the ratepayers the legal right to elect their Mayors, and though it did not pass it was included in the Municipal Corporations Act of the following year; and that Act applied to the whole colony the democratic principle which had been first brought into use at Blenheim.
Macey, photo. The late Mr. F. J. Litchfield.
Mr. Henry Dodson , the second Mayor of Blenheim, first held office in 1870, and was returned in the following year. He again filled the position for two consecutive terms in the years 1883 and 1884. Mr. Dodson is further referred to as a former member of the House of Representatives.
Mr. George Henderson , four times Mayor of Blenheim, was first elected to that office in 1872, and was re-elected in the following year. He again held office for the years 1885 and 1886. Mr. Henderson had been previously a member of the Town Board, and he also served as a borough councillor. He unsuccessfully contested a parliamentary election against Mr. Henry Dodson. Mr. Henderson was in the service of Messrs N. Edwards and Company, as manager of their store in Blenheim. Subsequently he went to Australia, where he died some years ago.
Mr. John M. Hutcheson was Mayor of Blenheim during the year 1874. He was born in 1816, in Glasgow, Scotland. After his arrival in New Zealand, he was for some time connected with the timber industry in the Wellington district, and afterwards took up land on Banks Peninsula, Canterbury. Mr. Hutcheson subsequently joined the service of the Bank of Australasia, and for some time was connected with the Nelson branch. In 1858, he resigned, and went to Marlborough, where he entered into business. Mr. Hutcheson died in 1899.
Mr. James Edward Hodson was Mayor of Blenheim for the years 1875 and 1876, and had previously served as a borough councillor. He was also a member of the Education Board, and other local bodies. Mr. Hodson was a pastoralist, but after disposing of his run he retired and lived in Blenheim up to the time of his death, in or about the year 1900. He took a leading part in Freemasonry, and was the first and only Worshipful Master of Lodge Reunion, No. 1956, English Constitution.
Mr. Alfred George Fell was Mayor of Blenheim during the years 1877 to 1879. He was born in Nelson, in the year 1848, and is the third son of the late Mr. Alfred Fell, who came to New Zealand by the ship “Lord Auokland,” in 1842, and was founder of the firm of Messrs Cock and Company, and for many years a general merchant in Nelson. Mr. Fell was educated in London, where he resided for about thirteen years. He returned to New Zealand in 1871, and opened business shortly afterwards as a general merchant in Blenheim. Some years later Mr. Fell sold out to Messrs Levin and Company, and then removed to Picton, where he has since conducted extensive malt houses. He has been an energetic and useful citizen, and has served his fellow colonists in many capacities. Mr. Fell was a member of the Blenheim. Borough Council for several years, and has been for many years a member of the Marlborough Education Board; he is chairman of the Picton Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, and was for a long time a member of the Picton Borough Council. He is also a devoted oarsman, and has done good work as president and trainer of the Picton Rowing Club.
Mr. Frederick Thomas Farmar was Mayor of Blenheim from the year 1880 to the year 1882, and he also served a considerable period as a borough councillor. Mr. Farmar came from Nelson to Blenheim, and established a business as a cordial manufacturer. He afterwards removed to the North Island.
Mr. William Douslin was Mayor of Blenheim for the year 1887, and had previously served as a borough councillor. He was an architect by profession, and a man of considerable inventive genius. Mr. Douslin came to New Zealand from Tasmania at the time of the Wakamarina rush, and settled for a time at Havelock. He afterwards practised his profession in Blenheim, where he designed many of the important buildings of the town. Mr. Douslin is now (1905) chief designer and architect for the Rhodesia Chartered Company, in South Africa.
Mr. George William Riley was Mayor of Blenheim for the years 1888 and 1889, and he also served some time as a councillor. He was a man of ability and though suffering much from ill health, he devoted a good deal of time and attention to public affairs. Mr. Riley was formerly a cooper, but afterwards owned a livery stable in Blenheim. He died several years ago.
Mr. Elijah Bythell was Mayor of Blenheim during the year 1892–1893, and had, for many years previously, been a member of the Borough Council. He was born in the year 1842, at Heaton-Mersey, near Manchaster, England, where he was educated, and learned the trade of a carpenter and joiner. Mr. Bythell afterwards went to Australia, where he prospected for a few years on the Victorian diggings. He then came to New Zealand, and from that time until his death, in 1894, he spent most of his time in Marlborough. For a long time Mr. Bythell worked for Mr. Caleb Davis, one of the oldest builders in the province; and about 1875, he started on his own aceount as a builder and contractor, and carried on a successful business. He was a member of the Lower Wairau River Board, of which he was for some time chairman; he was also a member of the Borough School committee, and of the Volunteer Fire Brigade, of which he afterwards became captain, and was an enthusiastic volunteer in one of the local military corps. Mr. Bythell died in the year 1894, leaving a widow, three sons, and one daughter.
Mr. Thomas Horton was Mayor of Blenheim from 1894 to 1897, and he also served several terms as a councillor. He was born in York, England, and came to New Zealand in 1860. In the service of the Bank of New South Wales, Mr. Horton opened and managed branches of the bank on the Otago goldfields. Subsequently, he went to Victoria, Australia, where he engaged in mining for two years, and returned to New Zealand at the time of the West Coast “rush.” Mr. Horton became treasurer of the Westland Provincial Council, a position which he held for three years. He subsequently went to Fiji, where he opened the first bank established in the colony; and during his stav there he became a member of the Legislative Council, and held office as Colonial Treasurer. Mr. Horton returned to New Zealand in September, 1876, and has since been engaged in business in Blenheim.
Mr. Edward Purser was Mayor of Blenheim in the year 1898. He came from Nelson, in the early days of the settlement of the Wairau, and started a grocery business in the township of Blenheim. Subsequently, he removed to Wanganui, where he is still (1905) in business as a manufacturing cabinetmaker.
Mr. John Grey Trevor was Mayor of Blenheim in the year 1899. He was born at Wallsoken, Norfolk, England, and was a great grandson of Lord Hampdeu, and a nephew of the Bishop of Ripon. After receiving a preliminary education at King William's College, Isle of Man, where he was associated with Archdeacon Farrar. Deacon Williams, Crossley Ward, Hamilton Ward, and others whose names have become household words. Mr. Trevor went to the Moravian College at Neuwied. Prussia. He was also for one year at Heidelberg University. Mr. Trevor then returned to England, where he entered the Customs, and was engaged in the tea and East India department, at London, for five years. He subsequently came to New Zealand, and settled in Blenheim. Mr. Trevor was, for some years, a member of the Blenheim Borough Council, a member of the Blenheim Hospital Board, and a member and president of the Blenheim Bowling Club. He died on the 10th of August, 1903, aged sixty-seven years.
Mr. Robert Mcartney was Mayor of Blenheim in the year 1900. He was born in Nelson, but at an early age went to Blenheim, where he was engaged at various occupations. Mr. McArtney was a member of the Blenhem Borough Council for fourteen years, was for seven years a member of the Wairau River Board and chairman for three years, was captain of the Fire Brigade for four years, and a member of the Wairau Licensing Committee. He is now (1905) farming at Dillon's Point.
Mr. Richard Mccallum was Mayor of Blenheim during the years 1901 and 1902. He is further referred to as a barrister, and as Crown Solicitor, at Blenheim.
Macey, photo. Mr. W. H. Macey.