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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]

The Hon. William Montgomery

The Hon. William Montgomery was called to the Legislative Council on the 15th of October, 1892, and re-appointed on the 16th of October. 1899. He was born in London in 1821, and was educated at the Belfast Royal Academical Institution, where his uncle, the Reverend Dr. Henry Montgomery, L.L.D., was the head English master at the time. On leaving school Mr. Montgomery went to sea, and two months before he was nineteen years of age he was in command of a vessel trading in the Mediterranean. After spending twelve years at sea he migrated to Australia. In 1860 he arrived in New Zealand, and page 84 settled in Canterbury. He was elected to the province's first Road Board—the Heathcote— in 1864, and became its chairman. A year later he was returned to the Provincial Council for Heathcote, which he represented up to 1870. During the Superintendency of Mr. Rolleston he held the office of Provincial Treasurer for the two years preceding his retirement from the Council. In 1872 he was re-elected to the Provincial Council without opposition, and for a year and a half was President of the Executive Council. Mr. Montgomery was elected to the House of Representatives for Akaroa in 1874, and represented that district for many years. He refused the office of Colonial Treasurer in the Grey Ministry of 1877, but when Major Atkinson became Premier Mr. Montgomery was put forward as the leader of the Opposition. On the formation of the Stout-Vegel Administration he became Colonial Secretary and Minister of Education. Mr. Montgomery's political views were in favour of manhood suffrage, triennial parliaments, and representation according to population, and on all occasions he voted on these questions with the advanced Liberal party. He was chairman of the Canterbury Chamber of Commerce in 1867, and was also a member of the Canterbury Board of Education from 1866 to 1875, and was its chairman in 1867. In 1877 he was elected a member of the Board of Education under the New Zealand Education Act of that year. He was appointed by the Provincial Council as a Governor of Canterbury College in 1873; and was elected chairman in 1876, a position he continued to hold till the year 1885. Although Mr. Montgomery was for many years actively engaged in private business, he made the subject of education one of the main studies of his life. During his career, he has done a large amount of public work for the colony, and especially for the Province of Canterbury, in which he has lived so long.

Hon. W. Montgomery. (About 1885.)

Hon. W. Montgomery.
(About 1885.)