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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]

Mr. Thomas Bannatyne Gillies

Mr. Thomas Bannatyne Gillies was elected Superintendent of the Province of Auckland on the 18th of November, 1869, and held office for the full term of four years. As stated elsewhere, the contest was between Mr Williamson and Mr. Gillies, and it was the most exciting witnessed up to that date in New Zealand. Mr. Gillies who was born in 1828, came out from Scotland to Otago in 1852, in the ship “Salinas Castle,” which also brought his wife, his father, Mr. John Gillies, a Scottish lawyer, his mother, two sisters and three of his brothers to the country at the same time. Mr. T. B. Gillies had both a commercial and a legal training before coming to the Colony; the former in the well-known house of Robert Barbour and Sons, Manchester; the latter, in his father's office in Rothesay, Scotland. On arriving in Otago he took to farming, which he carried on for several years, first at Riversdale, Tokomairiro and then as one of the earliest settlers in the Warepa district. In 1858 he succeeded his father in a legal partnership with Mr. John Hyde Harris, of Dunedin. Two years later he was elected to represent the Dunedin country districts in Parliament, in which he also represented the district of Bruce from 1861 to 1864. Mr. Gillies removed from Dunedin to Auckland in 1865. He represented Mangonui in Parliament in the session of 1870, and was member for Auckland City West from 1871 to 1874. In Mr. Alfred Domett's Ministry, which lasted from the 6th of August, 1862, to the 30th of October, 1863 Mr. Gillies was Attorney-General; in the Whitakers-Fox Administration of 1863–1864, he was Postmaster General and Secretary for Crown Lands; and he was Colonial Treasurer in the short-lived Stafford Government of 1872. On the 3rd of March, 1875, he was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court, and held office as such till he died on the 26th of July, 1889. In 1884, about five years before he died, Mr. Gillies presented the Auckland College Council with £3000 to found two science scholarships, one to be named in memory of his wife's uncle, Dr. Andrew Sinclair, and the other in memory of Mrs. Gillies herself. These scholarships have each a present value of £50 per annum. Mr. Gillies had only two successors in the Superintendency of Auckland—Mr. John Williamson and Sir George Grey. He retired from office early in November, 1873, and on the 1st of November, 1876, the system of government by Provincial Councils ceased to exist. By that time Mr. Gillies had been for more than a year a Judge of the Supreme Court of the Colony.