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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts]

Greymouth Corporation

Greymouth Corporation.

The Greymouth Borough Council was instituted in the year 1868, and the late Mr. Edward Masters, who was afterwards a member of the House of Representatives, was the first Mayor. Greymouth has an area of 2,000 acres; half of which is Native Reserve; and the rentals are collected and disbursed amongst the native owners, through the Public Trustee. The borough has over seventeen miles of metalled streets, fifteen miles of asphalted footpaths, and four miles of main roads; and there are two bridges over the Grey river, one connecting Cobden with Greymouth, and the other the State coal mine with Greymouth.

Water Supply.

The water supply for Greymouth is obtained from the Grey river. The water is filtered before being pumped, by means of a subterranean channel under the gravel bed of the river. The two pumps employed consist of three throw rams each, driven by two Tangye forty-two brake power gas engines. The water is lifted 286 feet to the reservoir, which is situated on a limestone spur. It holds 800,000 gallons. The average pressure is equal to 116 pounds to the square inch, and about eleven miles of mains have been laid within the borough. The works for the construction of water supply were commenced in the year 1900, and were completed in 1904. A change of one shilling per thousand gallons is made for water supplied by meter as extraordinary supply, but the charge for ordinary supply is six per cent, on the annual value of each dwelling.

In the year 1900 the Borough Council purchased the local gasworks at a cost of £17,000, and a sum of £1500 has since been expended in improvements. The gas works include holders, retorts, purifiers, etc. When the Council took over these works in 1900, the annual output of gas was seven million feet; but, in 1905, the output amounting to seventeen million feet, and the revenue had increased to over £6000 per annum. The gas mains are laid throughout Greymouth, and the charge is nine shillings and twopence per thousand feet for ordinary consumers, seven shillings and sixpence for public lighting, and five page 548
Mawhera Quay. Ring, photo.

Mawhera Quay. Ring, photo.

shillings per thousand feet for motors and cookers.
Street Lighting.

The streets are lighted by ninety-four street gas lamps.


Greymouth is drained by a brick main, sewers through the principal streets, and pipe sewers an the bystreets; and the main outfall is into the estuary. The whole of the drains are properly trapped and ventilated. The total length of sewerage in Greymouth is eight miles and a-half. The whole of the water supply and drainage works were designed and carried out by Mr. E. I. Lord, the Borough Engineer.


The rates levied in the town of Greymouth are: A general rate of 4½d on the unimproved value, a Charitable Aid rate of 5–16ths of a penny on the capital value, a water rate of six per cent, and a library rate of 1d in the pound on the annual value. The annual revenue of the Corporation, from all sources for the financial year which ended on the 31st of March, 1905, was £15,000. The estimated population is 4,400, and the capital value of property is £481,450, of which the unimproved value is £168,900. The annual value of property in the borough is £30,000.


The loans that have been raised for municipal purposes are: Loan for the construction of the Cobden bridge, £1885, obtained under the Loans to Local Bodies Act; general loans, £40,000, £9,348, £15,000 and £5000 at five per cent; total £71,233, less £3000 for redeemed debentures. The Council has not collected any of the security rates on loans, but pays all interest and sinking fund out of profits from gas and water.

Fire Brigade.

Greymouth has three fire brigade stations; the principal one in Boundary Street; a branch station in Tainui Street, and another in Blaketown. The Boundary Street station possesses a Shand and Mason fire engine, two manual engines, hose, ladder carriage, and the usual appliances, and the branch in Tainui Street has 200 feet of hose, and a ladder. Officers for the year 1905: Mr. Ryan, captain; Mr. T. C. Clark, lieutenant; Mr. J. Walton, secretary; and twenty-two firemen. Besides the fire engines mentioned, the brigade has at its disposal the high pressure water supply, and 140 fire plugs distributed all over the town.

Public Buildings.

One of the most notable works undertaken by the Borough Council is the erection of a Town Hall, on a site of half an acre, with frontages to Mackay. Albert, and Tarapuhi Streets. It was designed by the Borough Engineer, and the total cost of the site, building, and furniture has been £12,500. The foundation stone was laid on the 30th of December, 1904. The building consists of a main hall, measuring ninety feet by fifty feet, with a horse shoe gallery, and has accommodation for 700 persons. It is provided with separate exits as fire escapes from various parts. The western, or municipal wing, measures fifty feet by sixty-four feet, and contains offices for the town clerk, and borough engineer, in addition to the mayoral and committee rooms and a small hall for council meetings, which measures forty feet by eighteen feet. The eastern, or library wing, measures fifty feet by sixty-four feet, and contains a free lending library and public reading room, measuring thirty-four feet by twenty-seven feet. There is also a large ladies' reading room on the first floor. The museum and art gallery, measuring forty-two feet by eighteen feet, is on the second floor. The Free Library was subsidised by Mr. Andrew Carnegie to the extent of £2,250, on condition that the library should be free, and that a rate of a penny in the pound should be levied for its maintenance. The building is of brick, in the Renaissance style of architecture, and possesses a tower of eighty feet, in which it is proposed to place a four-face chiming clock. The interior of the building is finished in elastic pulp plaster, and the ceilings are in steel.


Greymouth has a reserve of about eighty acres, which has been cut up into quarter-acre sections for the purpose of leasing for periods of twenty-one years each, with right of renewal on a re-valuation clause for a further period of twenty-one years; and so on. A considerable revenue is likely to accrue to the borough from this source.

The Council.

Members of the Borough Council for 1905–6: Mr. J. A. Petrie, Mayor; Messrs D. Sheedy, D. Tennent, J. Petrie, J. E. Coates, D. Shannahan, J. Kerr, B. Hart, H. Bignell, and J. McLean, Councillors.


Officers for the year 1905: Messrs E. I. Lord, Town Clerk, Borough Engineer and Building Surveyor; E. Warnes, Assistant Town Clerk and Rate Collector; I. Lord, Junior Clerk; J. Warnes, Overseer of Works; S. Ainsworth, Inspector of Meat during Slaughter; M. Cane, Sanitary Inspector and Poundkeeper; J. Evans, Water Inspector; C. McQueen, Engineer of Water Works Pumping Station; E. Goodall, Caretaker Fire Brigade Plant; J. Kennedy, Manager of Gas Works; A. Scott, Gasfitter; W. Ryan, Captain of Fire Brigade; and four assistants.

Mr. James Andrew Petrie was elected Mayor of Greymouth in April, 1903, and again in the year 1904. He was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in 1852, and landed in Port Chalmers page 549 in 1861. Subsequently, for about nineteen years, Mr. Petrie was in the service of the Bank of New South Wales, and of the Bank of New Zealand in various parts of the colony. He settled in Greymouth in 1892; and founded the firm of Petrie and Company, general merchants, Mackay Street. Mr. Petrie is a member of the Greymouth Harbour Board, and also of the Hospital and Charitable Aid Board. He married a daughter of the late Mr. J. S. Hickson, of Dunedin, in 1885, and has two sons.

Councillor Joseph Petrie has been a member of the Greymouth Borough Council since the year 1875. He was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland in the year 1848, and arrived in New Zealand in 1880 [sic], by the ship “Silistria.” For some time Mr. Petrie followed the Otago goldfields, and visited Gabriel's Gully. He settled on the West Coast in the year 1865, and has been connected for many years with the “Evening Star,” of which he is editor and part proprietor. Mr. Petrie is a member of the Jockey Club and Trotting Club. He married Miss Creer in 1874, and has, surviving, three sons and two daughters.

Councillor Alfred Guy Ashton has served as a member of the Greymouth Borough Council, since the year 1903. He was born in Greymouth in 1867, and is the eldest son of the late Mr. Edwin Ashton, who was well known as a livery stable keeper and hotel proprietor.

Councillor Henry John Bignell has been a member of the Greymouth Borough Council since the year 1899. He was born in the year 1859, in London, England, where he was educated, and learned his trade as a carpenter. Mr. Bignell came to New Zealand in 1873, and landed at Port Chalmers by the ship “Tweed.” He afterwards removed to Oamaru, where he was in business as a builder for about fifteen years. Mr. Bignell was then employed in connection with bridge construction and buildings on the Midland railway for two years, and commenced as a builder in Greymouth in the year 1887. He has since erected many considerable buildings at Greymouth, including the grand stand at the racecourse, Messrs Thomas McBeath's building, the Victoria wing at the local hospital, and was engaged in the erection of a further wing in 1905. Mr. Bignell has been a member of the Greymouth Licensing Bench since 1900, and as a Freemason, he is a member of Lodge Oamaru Kilwinning.

Councillor Daniel Sheedy has been a member of the Greymouth Borough Council since the year 1880. He was born in the year 1839, in County Cork, Ireland, where he was educated, and learned farming. Mr. Sheedy went to Australia, in 1859, and followed the goldfields for some time. He was then attracted to New Zealand by the Gabriel's Gully rush in 1861, and was one of the pioneers of the Otago goldfields. Mr. Sheedy went to Hokitika in 1865, and was afterwards engaged in storekeeping at Waimea for three months. He then removed to Greymouth, and became the licensee of the Brian Boru Hotel on the 9th of June, 1865. Mr. Sheedy has been a member of the Greymouth Harbour Board for fifteen years and was one of the founders of the Grey River Hospital, of which he was a member for many years, and was, also, at one time, chairman of the Hospital Trustees. He was one of the two who marked out the Greymouth racecourse in 1867, and has since been connected with the Greymouth Jockey Club, as a member and steward. In 1862, Mr. Sheedy married a daughter of the late Mr. E. Two-hill, who died at the age of ninety-six, and has four sons and four daughters. Mr. Sheedy is further referred to as the proprietor of the Brian Boru Hotel.

Councillor Joseph McLean was elected a member of the Greymouth Borough Council in the year 1900. He was born in 1872, in Greymouth, where he was educated, and brought up to a mercantile life by his father, Mr. Duncan McLean. Mr. McLean afterwards had thirteen months' experience in Melbourne, Australia, in his uncle's firm—Messrs McLean Brothers and Rigg. He subsequently returned to New Zealand, and for about fourteen years has had the management of his father's business at Greymouth. Mr. McLean has held the office of chairman of the Greymouth Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, since the year 1902.

Councillor Benjamin Hart has been a member of the Greymouth Borough Council since the year 1903. He was born at Plymouth, England, in 1863, and was brought as an infant to New Zealand. Mr. Hart was educated at Greymouth, and learned the trade of a sailmaker with his stepfather. Mr. C. Hansen. He went to sea for a year in connection with his business, and during that time visited New Caledonia, Melbourne, and Sydney. Mr. Hart afterwards gained experience in connection with his trade in Melbourne, Sydney, Dunedin and Auckland. He then settled at Greymouth, and in the year 1904 became proprietor of his present business. Mr. Hart is interested in temperance work, and is a trustee and treasurer of the trust board in connection with the Greymouth Methodist church, and was also for some time superintendent of the Sunday school. He married a daughter of the late Mr. J. Ball, of Auckland, in the year 1886, and has an adopted daughter.

Ring, photo.Councillor B. Hart.

Ring, photo.
Councillor B. Hart.

Councillor David Tennent has been a member of the Greymouth Borough Council since the year 1903. He was born in Motherwell, Scotland, in 1869, and was educated at Gartsherrie
Ring, photo.Councillor D. Tennent.

Ring, photo.
Councillor D. Tennent.

Academy. Mr. Tennent [gap — reason: illegible] to New Zealand by the ship “Embleton,” and landed at Port Chalmers in September, 1883. He afterwards page 550 removed to Brunner, where he resided for two years. After about two years of storekeeping, Mr. Tennent became manager of the firm of Peterson, Anderson, and Company, sawmillers, and for their successor, Mr. O. Peterson, with whom he remained for over seven years. He subsequently joined the firm of Stratford and Blair, and continued to act as manager for nearly eleven years, but left in July, 1904, to buy out the Greymouth Sash and Door Factory. In September, 1904, the business of Stratford, Blair and Company, and that of the Sash and Door Factory, were amalgamated in an incorporated company, under the style of Stratford, Blair, and Company, Limited, of which Mr. Tennent became managing director. As a Freemason, he is a Past Master of Lodge Greymouth. In 1892, Mr. Tennent married a daughter of the late Mr. William Blair, one of the pioneers of the West Coast, and has two sons and two daughters.
Mr. Edward Iveagh Lord , C.E., M. Inst. M.E., member of the Incorporated Association of Municipal and County Engineers, member of the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors, etc., etc., Town Clerk and Engineer to the Greymouth Borough Council, is an engineer of considerable standing, and was appointed to his present position on the death of the late Mr. Lahman. Mr. Lord was born near Hobart, Tasmania, in the year 1843, and his grandfather, Edward Lord, R.N., was Acting-Governor of Tasmania from 1810 to 1812. He was educated at the Hobart High School, where he gained some distinction, was articled to a leading firm of civil engineers, and at the completion of his term successfully passed the necessary examination. Mr. Lord came over to New Zealand in 1864, and commenced the practice of his profession at Auckland. He assisted in the surveys for the military settlers until interrupted by the war, and he then returned to Tasmania. On returning, in 1866, to New Zealand, he went to Hokitika, where he received a contract from the Canterbury Provincial Government to survey 200 miles of prospecting tracks on the West Coast. He next obtained an engagement from the Public Works Department to survey several large water-races on the Coast. In 1875, he accepted the position of district surveyor at Greymouth, and held the post until 1885, when it was abolished. Shortly afterwards Mr. Lord was appointed Borough Engineer. He has acted as engineer to the Kanieri Lake Water-race Company and Greenstone Sluicing Company. Since 1899 the whole of Mr Lord's time has been devoted to the affairs of the borough, and as Borough Engineer, he has carried out water works, drainage works, and street improvements at a cost of £40,000; and supervised the erection of the Greymouth Town Hall and Municipal Buildings, from his own design, at a cost of about £10,000. He has also designed public abattoirs; and all these works have been successfully carried out without
Mr. E. I. Lord.

Mr. E. I. Lord.

accident or hitch of any kind. Mr. Lord has been a member of the Greymouth Education Board and the Greymouth school committee, and the High School Board, and he is a director of the Greymouth “Evening Star” Company, the Permanent Building Society, and also acts as one of the fire inspectors for the borough.