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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

Government Offices

Government Offices.

The Masterton Post-Office was opened in the early days in Mrs. Hacker's store, the first mail being carried by an old settler, Mr. G. W. Woodroofe, J.P. The present building at the corner of Queen and Hall Streets was erected about 1876. It is a wooden edifice, containing public office for money orders, post and telegraph work, etc., with private office for the post-master and his staff of assistants, including two clerks, two cadets, two letter-carriers, two messengers, and a lineman. Mails are received and despatched both north and south twice daily by train.

Mr. Samuel Johnston, Postmaster-in-charge of the Masterton Post and Telegraph Office, was born in 1838 in Derby, Nottingham, England, and came to New Zealand per ship “Zealandia” in 1859. Joining the Postal Department in 1865 in Christchurch, Mr. Johnston was promoted to the position of postmaster at Kaiapoi five years later, and remained till 1895, when he was transferred to Masteron. In 1862 Mr. Johnston was married to a daughter of the late Mr. James Whitehead, of London, and has four sons and four daughters.

Mr. William Gillespie, Clerk and Telegraphist at the Masterton Post-office, and Deputy-Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages for the district, was born in Liverpool Mr. William Gillespie in 1869, coming to New Zealand in 1874. He was educated in the public school and at the Masterton High School. In 1885 he entered the Telegraph Department at Wellington as a cadet, and was subsequently transferred to the Masterton Post-office under Mr. Bagge, formerly chief postmaster at Blenheim. At that time the post and telegraph were separate departments, but upon the amalgamation in 1890 Mr. Gillespie was appointed post and telegraph clerk at Masterton. When the chief postmaster is absent Mr. Gillespie has full charge of the office. For the past six years Mr. Gillespie has acted as deputy-registrar of births, deaths and marriages for the district. He is also in charge of the mail-room. As secretary to the Wesleyan School for many years the subject of this sketch has done good work. He has for a great many years been the superintendent of the Masterton Juvenile Rechabite Lodge, being the first to fill that office. In social circles Mr. Gillespie is well known, being admired for his many genial qualities.

The Masterton Police Station —a wooden building of four rooms, to which are attached three cells and a watchhouse—was established in 1868. The office, which is very central, adjoins the post and telegraph office on one side and the magistrate's court on the other. The district under the control of the local officer embraces the borough and suburbs of Masterton.

Sergeant Nicholas Kiely, the Officer in charge of the police district of Masterton, who ranks as a second-class sergeant, was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1855. Coming to Wellington per ship “La Hogue” in 1872, he was on the West Coast goldfields till joining the force in 1875. Sergeant Kiely has been successively located in Picton, Blenheim, Renwicktown, Nelson, Auckland, Wellington, and Tauranga. He entered on his duties in Masterton in May, 1896. Sergeant Kiely was married in 1883 to a daughter of the late Mr. A. Regan, of Papatoitoi, and has three sons and two daughters.

Masterton Stock Office —a two-roomed wooden structure—was specially built on a portion of the Magistrate's Court site in 1896. The whole of the Wairarapa district and Pahiatua are controlled from this office, the health of stock and the stamping out of the rabbit pest being specially considared by the department. The total number of sheep in the district in June, 1896, amounted to the grand total of 1,470,196. The staff includes a chief inspector residing in Masterton, an inspector in Carterton, three rabbit agents and several rabbiters.

Mr. Walter Miller, Inspector of Stock for the district, was born in Otago in 1859, and was educated at Dunedin High School and at Barrett's Private Collegiate School. Mr. Miller's father, who came to the Colony in the early days, and had large properties in Otago, was brought up among stock in Scotland. After leaving school, the subject of this notice had two years experience in a merchant's office. Entering the Government service in July, 1883, as sheep inspector, he was successively stationed at Dunedin, Palmerston South, Queenstown and Oamaru, and after eleven years service in the South was placed in his present position in 1894. Mr. Miller leases a small farm on the Upper Plain, where he keeps horses, of which he is very fond, and with which he has taken prizes in the show-ring in the hackney classes. As a poultry fancier he has been successful in winning prizes for Brown Leghorns, and Gold-pencilled Hamburgs at Dunedin, Oamarn, and Timaru. Mr. Miller, who was married in 1878 to a sister of Professor Long, formerly instructor of gymnastics to the Dunedin High School, has three sons and two daughters.

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Mr. Wilfred Richard Rutherfurd, Rabbit Inspector under the Stock Department, was born at Dunedin in 1854. His parents shortly afterwards came to the Wairarapa, where Mr. Rutherfurd received his education, first under a tutor, and subsequently at the public schools in the district. Choosing a country life, he was engaged on various stations, rising to the position of manager of a run. After several years, Mr. Rutherfurd was appointed in 1892 to the position he now occupies. As a sportsman Mr. Rutherfurd is well known, he having been very successful, particularly in deer-stalking, in which sport he possesses a record not easily surpassed. Assisted by his brother, Mr. Rutherfurd was instrumental in forming a rifle club in Carterton, which club still flourishes, and has had much success in its public rifle matches.

Masterton Railway Station, which is a second-class station, was established in 1880. The buildings, which are of wood and iron, include stationmaster's and public offices, vestibule, two waiting-rooms, baggage and parcels and lamp rooms, a large goods shed, and an engine shed. The passenger platform is completely asphalted: there are coal stages, a large loading bank, a stationary crane, the usual water services, and one of the finest stock-yards in the Colony. Large numbers of cattle and sheep are passed through these yards on their way to and from the markets and freezing works.

Mr. Benjamin Couborne, the Stationmaster and Telegraphist at Masterton Railway station, has been in charge for some twelve years. Born in 1855 at Waterford, Ireland, and educated at Waterford College, Mr. Couburne came to Port Chalmers, per ship “Taranaki,” in 1878, and in the following year he joined the service at Wellington as clerk. Shortly after-wards Mr. Couborne was placed it charge of Petone Station, where be remained till transferred to Masterton in 1884. The subject of this sketch was one of the six foundation members of Lodge Leinster, N.Z.C., Wellington, and as an Oddfellow he was secretary of the Petone Lodge at the time of its formation. In 1883 Mr. Coubourne was married at Petone to a daughter of Mr. J. D. Benge, one of the oldest Wellington settlers, and has two daughters.

The Masterton Hospital, which is situate on the north side of the Waipoua River, on the road to Tinui, about half a mile from the township, is a single story wooden building. It contains six wards, having fourteen beds in all, in addition to the medical attendants' and operating rooms, and custodian's quarters. The office-bearers (1896) are: Messrs. J. C. Boddington (chairman), G. Heron, J. C. Boddington, E. Feist, J. Iorns, J. B. Keith, and Rev. J. McKenna (trustees), W. H. Hosking, M.R.C.S.E. (surgeon), W. Dey, M.B., Greytown (hon. surgeon), J. Williams (custodian), Mrs. Williams (matron), and W. Sellar (secretary). From seventy to eighty patients pass through this institution each year.

North Wairarapa Benevolent Society. Officers (1896): Messrs. R. T. Holmes (chairman), C. E. Cockburn-Hood, R. D. Dagg, W. Perry, E. Feist, and W. H. Beetham (committee), T. Duncan (secretary). Established in 1878 as a local institution supported by voluntary contributions and subsidised by the Government, this body was constituted under the Hospitals and Charitable Aid Act under its present name in 1885. The Society undertakes the administration of charitable aid in the Wairarapa North County.