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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]


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All the banks in Christchurch are situated in business thoroughfares, where they are easily reached by their customers. The best site, probably, is that occupied by the Bank of New Zealand, which is at the corner of Hereford Street and Colombo Street, and quite close to Cathedral Square. The Bank of Australasia is in Cashel Street, and the Bank of New South Wales, the Union Bank, and the National Bank in Hereford Street, Speaking generally, and without going into any particulars, it may be said that banking in New Zealand was never on a sounder footing than it is at present. Eight years ago the Bank of New Zealand was shaken, and the Government was called upon to give it assistance in the shape of a guarantee of £2,000,000 for a special issue of shares. The institution, however, is now in a sound position—a position favourable to progress with stability. The total average liabilities of all the five banks in the colony for the year 1900, in respect to New Zealand transactions, were £16,964,582, and the average assets were set down at £17,314,535. The average amount on deposit during the year was £15,570,610, of which £777,381 belonged to the Government. The value of the notes in circulation was £1,299,826. The deposits in the several banks of issue, the two classes of savings banks, and the building societies reached an average of £28 7s 8d per head of the population, exclusive of Maoris.

The Bank Of New South Wales, Christchurch, is a two-storey brick building with stone front, situated in Hereford Street. It was erected in 1867 on half an acre of freehold land, purchased for the bank from the second Superintendent of Canterbury—Mr. Moorhouse—together with that gentleman's residence, which stood on the section and which was used for the first few years for the purposes of the branch. Until the removal of the inspector's department to Wellington in 1895, Christchurch was recognised as the headquarters of that officer in New Zealand. The ground floor contains the banking chamber and manager's office, the upper floor being set apart for the use of the inspector. The manager's residence, which was built in 1881, is situated behind the bank.

Mr. Boulton Merlin Molineaux, Manager of the Christchurch branch of the Bank of New South Wales, was formerly manager of the Wellington branch, in connection with which he is referred to on page 500 of the Wellington volume of this work.

Mr. Herbert Erle Blythe, Accountant in the Bank of New South Wales, Christchurch, was born in Wanganui, in 1861. He was educated at the Collegiate School there and joined the service of the Bank of New South Wales, in the branch of his native town. In 1885 he was transferred to Christchurch, and was appointed to his present position in 1890.

The Bank Of Australasia occupies a central position in Cashel Street, opposite the Triangle. Formerly it was a two-storey stone building, said to be the oldest of the kind in Christchurch. At present (October, 1902) a handsome building, in brick and stone, is being erected from designs by Messrs Clarkson and Ballantyne, architects. The bank has been represented in Christchurch since the very early days.

Mr. Walter Synnot Cobham, Manager of the Christchurch branch of the Bank of Australasia, is a native of Melbourne, where he was born in 1856, and educated at the Scotch College. He is the son of Mr. Francis McCrae Cobham, of Kallara, Victoria. He joined the Geelong branch of the Bank of Australasia as a junior in 1872. Two years later, he was transferred to Yackandandah, and a year later to New Zealand, where he was attached to the Wellington office for about three months after his arrival in the Colony. When only eighteen years of age Mr. Cobham was promoted to the position of manager, and was certainly the youngest bank manager in Australasia. He was entrusted with the opening of several branches, and was in charge at Marton, Foxton, Waverley, Featherston, and Hawera, at the last of which he remained between four and five years. In 1886, Mr. Cobham was recalled to Melbourne, where he joined the inspectorial staff, and after two years returned to New Zealand as acting subinspector, holding the position till 1891, when his services were again required in Australia. In 1886, he became sub-inspector in Victoria, and was appointed to the position which he holds in Christchurch in
Standish and Preece, photo.Mr. W. S. Cobham.

Standish and Preece, photo.
Mr. W. S. Cobham.

page 262 September, 1898. Mr. Cobham has been twice married, the second time in January, 1897, to a daughter of the late Mr. W. H. Foster, police magistrate, of Ballarat, and has one son, born in May, 1898.

Mr. Cyril Keate Sams, Accountant at the Christchurch branch of the Bank of Australasia, was born in 1859 in Tasmania, where he was educated. He entered the service of the bank in Launceston as a junior in 1875, and was transferred to Ballarat in Victoria, two years later. In 1881, he was entrusted with the opening of a branch bank at Tallangatta, and continued as manager for two years. After a year at Adelaide, he was appointed agent at Smeaton, Victoria, and two years later manager at Mount Barker in South Australia, where he remained two years. In 1889, he was re-transferred to Adelaide, and became acting accountant in Geelong in 1891. Mr. Sams was subsequently teller at Batlarat for a year, and then returned to Geelong as accountant; eighteen months later he was transferred to New Zealand in a similar position at Christchurch, and received his present appointment in 1894.

Mr. C. K. Sams.

Mr. C. K. Sams.

The Union Bank Of Australia Limited Is centrally situated in Hereford Street, Christchurch. In the report of the directors of that bank in 1851, it is stated that “the directors had been applied to by the leading persons engaged in the formation of the Canterbury Settlement in New Zealand to facilitate the transmission of the funds of the settlers and others, and the negotiation of their monetary transactions, and they readily undertook to meet the wishes of so respectable a body by an arrangement mutually beneficial and satisfactory. An agency was thereupon opened at Lyttelton, under the direction of Mr. Quintin K. Gale, having associated with him, as local directors, Messrs W. G. Brittan, Henry Phillips, and E. R. Ward.” In 1856, Mr. Joseph Palmer came from Australia and assumed the management, and in 1857 opened an agency in Christchurch under the charge of Mr. John F. Lucas, but in 1860 transferred his own quarters thither and personally took up the management. The business was first carried on in a wooden building in Cashel Street, but the present site was purchased in 1856, and subsequently the bank erected a handsome stone building thereon, which was, however, partially destroyed by fire on the 4th of January, 1882. The present handsome two-storey building was erected in the same year. The banking chamber is a remarkably handsome apartment, is lighted by a noble dome, and, together with the manager's office, occupies the ground floor, the bank residence being at the side and on the first floor.

Mr. Joseph Palmer, J.P., for upwards of forty years a well-known figure in Christchurch, and a local Director of the Union Bank of Australia, Ltd., comes from an old Bedfordshire family. He was born in London in 1829, educated in England, where he entered the service of the bank in London, and was sent out to Sydney in 1850 as clerk. The vessel by which he travelled completed the passage in three months, being the quickest voyage on record that year. Soon after his arrival in New South Wales, Mr. Palmer was sent to Adelaide, to which he sailed in the forty-ton cutter “Louisa,” which took one month to do the trip. He continued in the bank at Adelaide till 1856, when he was transferred to Canterbury, as manager at Lyttelton, then the sole branch in the provincial district. Mr. Palmer opened the office in Christchurch shortly after his arrival, and rode over the Bridle Path twice a week to superintend it until his permanent removal to Christchurch about two years later. For a great many years prior to 1800,
Standish and Preece, photoMr. J. Palmer.

Standish and Preece, photo
Mr. J. Palmer.

Mr. Palmer was chief officer of the bank in New Zealand; in the latter year he retired from the service, and has since filled the office of a local director in Christchurch. Mr. Palmer has been closely associated with local institutions, having been for very many years a member of the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association, of which he is a life member. He has long been a member of the Christchurch Chamber of Commerce and Jockey Club. Mr. Palmer is a member of St. Michael's church vestry. He holds a sent on the local board of directors of the Alliance Insurance Company, and is a director of the Christchurch Gas, Coal, and Coke Company. Mr. Palmer was married in 1856 to a daughter of the late Sir James Hurtle Fisher, of Adelaide, and has four sons and four daughters.

Mr. Thomas Yuile Wardrop, Manager of the Union Bank of Australia, Christchurch, is referred to at length on page 576 of the Wellington volume, as manager of the bank's branch in that city whence he was transferred to his present position towards the close of 1896.

The Bank Of New Zealand in Christchurch occupies a valuable section at the junction of Hereford, Colombo, and High Streets and Cathedral Square. The bank, which was founded in Auckland in 1861, was established shortly afterwards in Christchurch, Business was commenced in a twostorey wooden building in Cashel Street, not far from the site of the “Press” office. The substantial building now used was erected about the end of the sixties; it is of stone, a single storey, on an elevated foundation, and entirely utilised for the purposes of the local branch. A capacious banking chamber, well lighted on all sides, is handsomely finished, and has an entrance from Hereford Street.

Mr. Burnet Murray Litchfield, formerly assistant-inspector at Wellington, is now manager of the Christchurch branch of the Bank of New Zealand. There is an article about him on page 511 of the Wellington volume of this Cyclopedia.

Mr. George Umbdenstock Tapper, Accountant at the Christchurch Branch of the Bank of New Zealand, is a son of Mr. Robert Tapper, of Clifton Station, Southland, and was born in that province in 1865. He was educated at Orakanui College, Otago, and at Christ's College, Christchurch and afterwards joined the service of the Bank of New Zealand, at Gore, in 1885. After remaining four years in that branch he was transferred to Christchurch, where his service has been continuous. Various promotions followed, and he was appointed to his present position on the retirement of Mr. Burns, in December, 1899. Mr. Tapper, besides being a very
Standish and Preece, photo.Mr. G. U. Tapper.

Standish and Preece, photo.
Mr. G. U. Tapper.

popular bank officer, is well known in athletic circles. He is a member of the United Canterbury Cricket Club of which he was secretary for three years. He filled the position of page 263 secretary to the New Zealand Cricket Council for four years; and for five years he has been honorary treasurer of the Canterbury Cricket Association. Mr. Tapper is a member of the Canterbury Club. He married a daughter of the late Archdeacon Cholmondeley, vicar of Opawa, who died in December, 1901.

The National Bank Of New Zealand, Limited, which has been represented in Christchurch since the foundation of the bank in 1872, occupies a two-storey brick building at the corner of Hereford and Manchester Streets. The premises were erected in 1883, previous to which business was conducted on a leasehold property in Hereford Street, owned by Mr. Charles Clark.

Mr. Alexander Ferguson, Manager of the National Bank of New Zealand in Christchurch, was born in 1849, and educated at the Tain Academy. He served for about three years in the British Linen Company's bank at Tain, Scotland, (which dates back for 150 years), and three years later removed to London, joining the staff of the Oriental Bank Corporation. Subsequently Mr. Ferguson had a short commercial experience in Liverpool, and in 1873, joined the National Bank of New Zealand, in London. Four years later he was transferred to New Zealand; in 1878 he was appointed manager at Balclutha, and after two years' service was transferred to Timaru in a similar capacity. Since 1885, he has had charge of the bank in Christchurch.

A River Scene. Butterfield, photo.

A River Scene. Butterfield, photo.