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Nineteenth Century New Zealand Artists: A Guide & Handbook

BLACKETT, John 1818–1893

BLACKETT, John 1818–1893

Born and educated at Newcastle-on-Tyne. Had a career as an engineer in Great Britain before coming to New Zealand in 1851 and taking up land near New Plymouth. Was ensign in New Zealand Militia 1858, but in 1859, through the good offices of painter J. C. Richmond, was appointed Provincial Engineer for Nelson, exploring connections to West Coast, Canterbury and Marlborough. Was also appointed Commissioner for goldfields in the Grey Valley, Inangahua and Buller districts. Gave vigorous service throughout a large district. In 1870 was appointed Acting Engineer-in-Chief and Marine Engineer for the colony and was responsible for much major work, eventually becoming Engineer-in-Chief for page 44 New Zealand 1884–89. Went to London as consulting engineer for the colony, but returned to New Zealand because of his health. Furkett mentions that perhaps his greatest contribution to New Zealand engineering was seeking out and surveying lighthouse sites. Sketches of sites for South Island lighthouses are amongst those attributed to Blackett in Turnbull.