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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]


Borough Of Palmerston North.

The Palmerston North Borough, which was incorporated in August, 1877, the provisions of “The Rating Act, 1882,” being adopted in 1887, is one of the most important inland towns in the Colony. Its area is 4595 acres, and the population at the census of 1896 was returned at 5910. There are 2500 reteable properties, including 1232 dwellings in the Borough, owned by 900 ratepayers, the total rateable value in 1896 being £554,500, which is more than double the amount in 1887. The Council has raised £50,000 at five per cent. in London, on which there is an accrued sinking fund of £1829, and in the Colony £1200 at the same rate. A very important work was accomplished in 1888 in the shape of a high-pressure water supply, the Tiritea stream in the Fitzherbert dsitrict being utilized for the purpose. Two-hundred-and-sixty chains of seven-inch mains convey the water from the river to the reservoir, which has a capacity of 300,000 gallons and is situated about 100 chains on the other side of the Manawatu River at a height of 195 feet above the town. The water comes into the Borough by nine inch mains, at a pressure of eighty-five pounds to the square inch, which extend for 220 chains in length. The street mains—about ten to twelve miles in length—are of four to eight inches in diameter, with the exception of a few miles of one inch piping. The total cost of the Palmerston North waterworks was £20,000, the water rate being seven per cent. on six per cent of the capital rateable value, with one shilling per thousand for extra supply, the ordinary and special (to provide interest and sinking funds on Loans) rate being 2 3/8 d. in the £. The councillors for the borough (Dec. 1896) are:—Messrs. Edgar Barnaby Pearce, Frederick Aisher and David Bowen Harris (No. 1 Ward); James Robert Montague, Joseph Charles Nathan and William Park (No. 2 Ward); Solomon Abrahams, Henry Haydon and George Caird (No. 3 Ward.)

His Worship the Mayor, Mr. William Thomas Wood, was elected to the high position he now holds in 1895. Born in Hobart, Tasmania, on the 11th of June, 1854, he was apprenticed to his trade with Mr. John Wilmot. Mr. Wood came to this Colony in 1872, and worked with various firms in Dunedin. In 1875 he went to the West Coast, and there in Kumara established himself in business. It was at this time that the gold-diggings broke out, and Mr. Wood was doing well when he sold out in 1879 and came to Palmerston North. He was first returned as a borough councillor in 1880, which position he has filled nearly every year since. Mr. Wood was also for many years a vestryman in the Church of England, and has been a parishioners' warden. He has been a member of the school committee for four years, and chairman for two years. Mr. Wood also assisted in the establishment of the Loyal Manawatu Lodge, I.O.O.F., M.U., and holds the office of Past Provincial Grand Master. Mr. Wood was one of the founders of the Fire Brigade, and also of the Druids Lodge in Palmerston North, and holds the office of first Past District President. He is vice-president of the Agricultural and Pastoral Association, the Manawatu Racing Club, and the Cricket and Cash Cycling Clubs.

His Worship the Mayor.

His Worship the Mayor.

Councillor David Bowen Harris, who represents No. 1 Ward on the Palmerston North Borough Council was born in 1856 in Swansea, Wales. Educated in Aberystwyth at the Welsh University, Mr. Harris qualified as a chemist in England. Coming to New Zealand in 1874 per ship “Normal,” he entered the service of Messrs. J. Hatch and Co. in Invercargill, subsequently removing to Wellington, where he was employed by Messrs. Kempthorne, Prosser and Co. In 1886 Mr. Harris commenced business as a chemist and druggist in Willis Street, Wellington, and after three years he sold the business and went to Australia. Returning in 1890, he settled in Palmerston North, establishing the business page 1144 which he has conducted for the past six years. Councillor Harris, who was returned to the Council in 1894, sits as Chairman of the Reserves Committee, and is a member of the Public Works Committee. He is also a member of the Palmerston North Hospital and Charitable Aid Board. Mr. Harris takes a keen interest in the recreations of the people as a member of the local racing, football, and cricket clubs. In 1886 he was married to a daughter of Mr. J. B. Thompson, for many years librarian at the Mansion House, London, and has one son.

Councillor Edgar Barnaby Pearce, an old settler, who, until recently, declined to enter public life—was returned in 1894 in the interests of No. 1 Ward to the Palmerston North Borough Council. A native of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England, where he was born in 1829, Mr. Pearce was educated in Oxford, and after serving seven years in the Money Order Department of the General Post-office, London, came to New Plymouth per ship “St. Michael” in 1852. Remaining two years he went to the Australian goldfields, and in 1857 took a trip to England, travelling by the “Oliver Laing,” which vessel made a record passage of sixty-eight days. Returning the same year to Melbourne, Mr. Pearce came to Nelson, and after a time on the West Coast goldfields, established himself in business as an auctioneer in Christchurch in 1861. Two years later he removed to Dunedin, and after some time as a commission agent he returned to the West Coast, where he followed farming pursuits till 1871. He then settled in Palmerston North, opening “Pearce's Land Mart,” which he has now conducted for over a quarter of a century. Mr. Pearce is a member of the Masonic Order, his mater lodge being Oamaru Lodge, No. 1111; he is also a member of the Oamaru Lodge of Oddfellows, A. C. In 1866 Mr. Pearce was married to a daughter of the late Mr. John Beechey, of Bampton, Oxfordshire, England, and has three surviving daughters, a daughter and a son being deceased.

Councillor James Robert Montague, J.P., who represents No. 2 Ward in the Palmerston North Borough Council, has long been well known in the district. As an auctioneer and general house furnisher he is referred to at length among the business firms of the town. As a councillor he holds the office of chairman of the Waterworks Committee, and takes a lively interest in everything that affects the progress of the Manawatu. Mr. Montague is a member of the Palmerston North Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, the Manawatu Racing Club, the Manawatu Kilwinning Lodge of Free Masons, also the Royal Arch Chapter, vice-president of the Cycling Club, director of the Caledonian Society, honorary member of the Fire Brigade, was first lieutenant in the Palmerston North Rifle Corps, is a member of the committee of the Racing and Trotting Clubs, and of the Agricultural and Pastoral Association.

Presbyterian Church, Palmerston North.

Presbyterian Church, Palmerston North.

Councillor Joseph Charles Nathan, of the Borough of Palmerston North, is a son of the late Mr. Henry Nathan, who was a member of the Wanganui Borough Council for a quarter of a century, and only retired from the mayoralty a year before his death in 1893. Born in Wanganui in 1846, and educated at the old Collegiate School, Councillor Nathan was brought up to the business of a contractor, and for twenty-five years conducted business on his own account on the West Coast of the North Island, retiring two years ago. He was returned as one of the representatives of No. 2 Ward in July, 1896, against Mr. A. page 1145 Jack, by a substantial majority, and sits as a member of the Public Works and Waterworks Committees. Mr. Nathan takes a lively interest in sport, and has acted for years as a member of the Manawatu Racing Club, of which he is a vice-president. He is also a member of the Manawatu and West Coast Agricultural and Pastoral Association. As a member of the craft, Mr. Nathan is a Past Master of United Manawatu Lodge, E.C., and second Principal in the Royal Arch Chapter, N.Z.C. He resides on the Fitzherbert Road, his homestead comprising thirty-two acres, which is all in cultivation. Mr. Nathan married a daughter of the late Mr. Thomas Penfold, of New South Wales, and has four daughters and a son.

Councillor William Park, who was elected to represent No. 2 Ward of the Palmerston North Borough Council in 1896, is referred to elsewhere in this section as an ex-mayor, as chairman of the Charitable Aid Board, and as a bookseller and stationer.

Councillor Henry Haydon, who represents No. 3 Ward, was born in 1847 at Bodmin, Cornwall. His early days were spent at sea, and he first saw New Zealand in 1863. In 1874 Mr. Haydon became master, and he followed his profession until 1888, when he came to the colony and settled down at Palmerston North, commencing business as a grocer. Mr. Haydon is married, and has five sons and one daughter.

Councillor George Caird, who was elected to a seat on the Palmerston North Borough Council in 1896, is a native of Arbroath, Scotland, and came to this Colony in 1862 per ship “Gannonoque,” from London. He was apprenticed to his father, Mr. G. Caird, of Arbroath, and completed his term in 1860. Soon after his arrival, Mr. Caird went to the goldfields of Westland, where he was digging for seven years. He then removed to the Canterbury district, where he spent some fourteen years engaged in various pursuits. On the whole Mr. Caird's career in the colonies has been fairly successful. He has travelled a good deal, and is personally acquainted with many of the most startling incidents in the history of the Colony for the past thirty years. He is now comfortably settled in Palmerston North, and has every prospect of a successful career. Mr. Caird carries on business as a general storekeeper in Main Street, and in that connection he will be found referred to further on in these pages.

Mr. Robert North Keeling, Town Clerk of the Borough of Palmerston North, and Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages was born in Liverpool, England, and was educated and brought up to a general mercantile life in Birmingham. He came to New Zealand per ship “Minerva” in 1859, and gained his colonial experience in the manner most usual in the early days of settlement. Mr. Keeling settled in Palmerston in 1872, taking up the duties of schoolmaster of the first school. He began with but eight scholars. Now there are three large schools with more hundreds than the units with which Mr. Keeling started the educational course of the town. On the establishment of the Local Board in 1875, Mr. Keeling was appointed clerk, and on the incorporation of the borough he became town clerk, and has occupied that position ever since. As a member of the United Manawatu Lodge of Freemasons, Mr. Keeling has passed through all the chairs, his mater lodge being the old St. Andrew Kilwinning, of New Plymouth, in which he was initiated thirty years ago. He is also a member of the Foresters Order, Court Manawatu, in which he has held the various offices. In 1868 Mr. Keeling was married to a daughter of the late Mr. George Hoby, of New Plymouth. Mrs. Keeling died in 1894 at the age of forty-six years, leaving six sons and three daughters.

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Mr. Henry Samuel Fitzbertert, Borough Solicitor to the Palmerston North Corporation, is the younger son of the late Hon. Sir William Fitzherbert. Born in Wellington in 1851, he was educated at Christ's College, Christchurch, and at the Melbourne University. His professional career is more fully referred to hereinafter as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court. Mr. Fitzherbert was appointed legal adviser to the Borough Council in 1892. He has always taken a great interest in the volunteer movement, having served as captain of the Petone Navals for five years, and now ranking as captain-commandant of the New Zealand Naval Artillery on the Active Unattached List. As a member of the Diocesan Synod, he represented the Hutt parish, and also had a seat on the General Synod of the Church of England, held in Wellington. In 1876 Mr. Fitzherbert was married to a daughter of the late Mr. W. Baillie Muir, of Dunedin, and has four sons and three daughters.

Photo by Attwood and Co. Mr. H. S. Fitzherbert.

Photo by Attwood and Co.
Mr. H. S. Fitzherbert

Mr. Thomas Bastin, Inspector of Works and Waterworks for the Palmerston North Borough, was born in 1860 in Devonshire, England, where he was educated. Arriving in Lyttelton, per ship “Cardigan Castle,” in 1875, he was for a number of years engaged in surveying in Hawkes Bay, Taranaki, and Wellington provincial districts, and in 1895 he was appointed to the position he now holds. Mr. Bastin was married in 1886 to a daughter of the late Mr. T. Smith, of Wellington, farmer, and has one son and two daughters.

Mr. James William Deblois, Inspector of Nuisances, Cabs and Bye-laws, and Ranger and Registrar of Dogs for the Borough of Palmerston North, Ranger and Inspector of Slaughter-houses and Nuisances for the Manawatu Road Board, and Special Constable for the prevention of cruelty to animals, was born in 1854 in Nelson. Brought up to general farm work, he was afterwards a gaol warder at Dunedin, Lyttelton, and New Plymouth, and had charge of the native prisoners, acting as Maori interpreter when required. Retiring from the service early in 1891, Mr. Deblois accepted the appointment he now holds under the Borough Council. He was married to a daughter of Mr. Donaldson, settler, of Otepopo, Herbert, and has seven daughters and two sons.

Palmerston North Volunteer Fire Brigade was formed in 1887; previous to that year a small bucket brigade did duty in coping with the fire fiend. Before the high-pressure water supply was laid on by the Borough Council, in 1888, a manual engine was employed. The station—a wooden building with a bell-tower—is situated in Coleman Place, adjoining the Square, and contains engine and reel-room, three bedrooms, and a library and reading-room, being connected with the telephone exchange, and by a special wire with the hospital. The plant at the main station includes two hose-reels and a ladder carriage and reel combined, with about 4000 feet of hose, the usual fittings, and a manual engine. At the sub-station in Main Street, Terrace End, where two men sleep each evening, there is another reel and 1000 feet of hose. Palmerston North does not possess a free public library and reading-room, strange to say, an oversight which it is difficult to understand in so large and prosperous a town. The officers of the Volunteer Fire Brigade have, however, done a good deal to remedy this defect. A few years ago a suggestion was made that honorary members should be enrolled who should contribute £1 per annum to the funds of the Brigade. In 1894 a library was established for honorary and working members. Beginning with sixty members, £40 worth of books was purchased during the first year; the number of subscribers at the time of writing (1896) is 210, and £400 worth of books—numbering 3000 volumes—is now in hand, the weekly exchange being over 1200 volumes. The Palmerston North Volunteer Fire Brigade numbers thirty-six, including officers, besides two messengers, the officers being: Messrs. A. Tingey (superintendent), F. W. Dunderdale (lieutenant), W. A. Browning, W. R. Hall, and T. W. Lovejoy (foremen), and W. H. Collingwood (secretary and hon. librarian).

Superintendent Albert Tingey, of the Palmerston North Volunteer Fire Brigade, was born in London in 1861, and arrived in the Colony, per ship “Tibernia,” the following year with his father, Mr. William Tingey, commercial traveller, of Auckland, who died in 1870. Educated in New Zealand, Mr. Tingey learned his trade with Messrs. R. and E. Tingey, painters and decorators, at Wanganui, and settling in Palmeston North in 1880, he became manager of the local branch of the firm's business. The subject of this notice, who is mentioned elsewhere in these pages as an ex-member of the Borough Council, joined the Fire Brigade on arrival, becoming lieutenant, and eight years later he was promoted to the office he still holds. He is a member of the order of Druids, being attached to the Oroua Lodge. In 1886 Mr. Tingey was married to a daughter of Mr. C. W. Roberts, of Stoney Creek, settler, and has two daughters.

Photo by Attwood and Co. Superintendent Tingey.

Photo by Attwood and Co.
Superintendent Tingey

Lieutenant Frederick William Dunderdale, of the Palmerston North Volunteer Fire Brigade, was born in 1864 at Thorne, Yorkshire. In 1879 Mr. Dunderdale was sent out to Melbourne by the Home house of Messrs. Coates and Co., Limited, and remained there for ten years, when he page 1147 was selected by them to put the Palmerston North gasworks into good working order. He managed the concern for eighteen months for his old employers, who then sold to a syndicate, and the latter to the Palmerston North Gas Company. Mr. Dunderdale's services have been retained, as “nothing succeeds like success.” Mr. Dunderdale joined the local fire brigade in 1890 as a fireman, having since advanced to branchman, foreman, and in March, 1894, to the office of lieutenant. He threw in his lot with the brigade from a desire to help his fellows by combatting the fire fiend. As a free-mason Mr. Dunderdale belongs to the Manawatu Kilwinning Lodge, No. 47, of which he was secretary for two years; he has also taken the Royal Arch degree. In the Orient Lodge of Oddfellows, A.C., No. 42, he has long been a member, and has passed through all the chairs. Mr. Dunderdale is a lover of sport, is an enthusiastic cyclist, and a member and former captain of the local Cycling Club. He was married in 1888 to a daughter of Mr. Bettridge, of Bennalla, Victoria, settler, and has two sons and a daughter.

Palmerston North Salvage Corps was established in 1890. The object of the corps is to assist the Brigade in protecting goods from damage during outbreaks of fire. The officers (1896) are: Messrs. W. H. Cox (captain), J. Deblois (first lieutenant), G. Hill (second lieutenant), W. Ebden (secretary), and W. Ryan (treasurer).