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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

Mr. John Cole Edwards

Mr. John Cole Edwards, who sat as a representative of Cook Ward from September, 1885, to October, 1888, was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, England, on the 7th of May, 1854. In 1862 his father, Mr. John Edwards, of Mangere, near Auckland, accepted the position of schoolmaster of the Non-conformist Settlement, and in May of that year sailed with his family for Auckland per ship “Matilda Wattenbach.” Mr. Edwards was educated principally in his father's school at Mahurangi, north of Auckland, and subsequently at the Wesley College, Auckland. After a few months in the publishing office of the Evening News, he entered the employ of the late Mr. William Aitken, printer, in the business now being carried on by the Hon. W. McCullough, M.L.C. In 1877, having in the meantime risen to the position of foreman, Mr. Edwards accepted a twelve months' engagement with the late Mr. R. Burrett, to manage that gentleman's printing department during his absence on a trip to the Old Country. A year later he began business as a printer, in partnership with Mr. G. W. Dutton, the well-known bookseller, of Lambton Quay, under the style of Dutton and Edwards. This partnership was, however, dissolved in September, 1878, and in the following month Mr. W. H. Green was admitted to a share in the business. The firm of Edwards and Green became well-known throughout the Colony as the printers of the Law Reports, the Industrial Gazette, and many other important publications. In 1886 Mr. Green withdrew from the firm, and Mr. Edwards continued alone, under the style of Edwards and Co., until August, 1894, when he disposed of his printing plant and business to Messrs. Edwards, Russell and Company, Limited, one of the firms engaged in the production of this Cyclopedia. This change was made to enable Mr. Edwards to give a greater portion of his time to the service of the Cyclopedia Company, of which also he is one of the directors. As a member of the Destructor, Electric Lighting, and other Committees, Ex-Councillor Edwards rendered good service; but the principal thing for which he will be remembered by his colleagues and a few others, was the timely aid he gave to the settling of the vexed question of the limit of foreshore reclamation. A committee of councillors had for several months Leen conferring with a committee of the Harbour Board, with the object of agreeing upon a limit for the Te Aro reclamation; but with so little prospcet of success that the report of the Committee was ordered to be “laid on the table for six months.” This was locked upon as an insupersble difficulty in the way of securing a settlement; but Mr. Edwards held an opposite opinion, and immediately tabled a motion for a conference of the whole membership of both bodies. This was deemed so reasonable a project that no one was found to oppose it. The Harbour Board accepted the invitation, the conference was held, and, to the surprise of all, the points which had been in dispute for many months were amicably and satisfactorily settled in two hours. In 1879 Mr. Edwards was married to Fanny, daughter of the late Mr. William Mr. John Cole Edwards page 302 Bradford, of Ballarat, who, however, died some six years later, while on a visit to her friends in Victoria. Mrs. Edwards, having no family, was enabled to devote much of her time to hospital visiting, and other charitable and Church duties, and by her amiability of disposition and execptional tact, made and kept many and trne friends.