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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]



Mr. George Mathew Snelson, who was the first Mayor of Palmerston North, and held office from 1877 to 1880, and on two occasions since that time, was born at Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, England, in 1837. He was brought up to the ironmongery business in England, and landed in Wellington in 1861. After ten years with Messrs. E. W. Mills and Co., in Wellington, Mr. Snelson settled in Palmerston North, where he has resided for a quarter of a century. He has been in business as an auctioneer and commission agent, and is well known throughout the whose district. Mr. Snelson was the first chairman of the Manawatu Road Board; for two years he was a member of the Manawatu County Council; for a like period he was chairman of the Hospital Board, and for about five years he represented the district on the Wanganui Education Board. Mr. Snelson was a candidate for Parliamentary honours on two occasions, but was unsuccessful. As a Mason he is attached to the Manawatu Kilwinning Lodge, in which he has passed all the chairs. In the Order of Foresters he initiated the first Court in Palmerston North, and succeeded in obtaining a grant of land from the Wellington Provincial Council for Court Manawatu. Mr. Snelson was married in 1865 to a daughter of the late Mr. Henry Buck, of Wellington, but has no family. Mr. Snelson was elected the first captain of the Palmerston North Rifles and his commission dates from the 8th of September 1879.

Mr. James Linton, who was Mayor of Palmerston North for three terms, is a native of Dumfries, Scotland. He arrived in Australia in the “fifties,” and came to New Zealand in 1860. Working on the diggings at Queenstown, Otago, for some years, he experienced the “ups and downs” of goldmining life. In 1871 Mr. Linton settled in Palmerston North, where he has resided ever since. He is what might be termed one of the fathers of this prosperous brought, and has always taken a deep interest in its advancement. During his term of office as mayor he was successful in obtaining a loan of £50,000 for the town, to enable the water, sewerage and other schemes to be carried out. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the Wellington-Manawatu Railway from the inauguration of the Company, and was appointed a director when the work was commenced, retiring just prior to its completion.

Mr. Ludolph George West was Mayor of the Borough of Palmerston North in the year 1886–7, Her Majesty's Jubilee celebration taking place during his term of office, and was a member of the Council for eight years. Born in 1846 in Denmark, he was educated at a college on the Island of Falster, and at the Agricultural and Forestry College of Copenhagen. Arriving at Lyttelton, per ship “Matoaka,” in 1868, Mr. West came to the North Island, and has been a settler in the Manawatu since that time. He has shown great interest in the prosperity and advancement of the district, and during his period of service in the Council he took a leading part in securing the high pressure water supply from the Tiritea stream, which has proved so valuable to the town. Before the establishment of the Palmerston North Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, Mr. West was a member of the Wanganui Hospital Board. As a member of the Order of Freemasons he is attached to the Manawatu Kilwinning Lodge, which he joined at the time of its establishment, and as a Forester he belongs to Court Manawatu No. 5655, in which he has passed all the chairs, and has twice been elected C R. In 1878 Mr. West was married to a daughter of the late Mr. E. Bannister, of Johnsonville, who died in 1891, leaving five daughters and two sons; in 1894 he again married, the lady being a daughter of Mr. C. W. Greenwood, of Akaroa, by whom he has a son. Further particulars of Mr. West's career will be found in his notice as an architect.

Photo by Attwood and Co. Mr. L. G. West.

Photo by Attwood and Co.
Mr. L. G. West

Mr. William Park, ex-mayor of the Borough of Palmerston North, is mentioned an another part of the Cyclopedia page 1148 as chairman of the Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, and again among the business firms of the town. Mr. Park was elected mayor in 1893, and found the Council's financial position in anything but a satisfactory condition, and that the strictest economy was necessary, and unfortunately a slight increase of rates. He faced the difficult position, and though an increase in public burdens is generally distasteful, especially when accompanied by a large curtailment of expenditure, it is evident that the right thing was done, and the burgesses showed their appreciation by electing him for a second term of office.