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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]


Southbridge, in the county of Selwyn, is in the neighbourhood of the sea, Lake Ellesmere, and the Rakaia river. It is thirty-one miles from Christchurch, and is the terminus of the Christchurch-Southbridge branch railway. Wheat-growing, sheepfarming and pig-rearing are carried on extensively on the rich lands of the district, and the township is noted for its industrial enterprise. It has implement works, flour mills, a bank, stores, a post, telegraph, and money order office, a savings bank, other Government offices, a newspaper, a public library, two hotels and an excellent public school, a courthouse and police station; three churches—Episcopalian, Presbyterian, and Wesleyan; and the public-spirited town board has erected a first-rate swimming bath. The nearness of Lake Ellesmere, swarming with ducks and fish, makes Southbridge a favourite resort with anglers and sportsmen. Southbridge is constituted as a town district for the purposes of local government, and has a population of about 500 persons.

Constable William Pool, in charge of the Southbridge district, Clerk to the Magistrate's Court, Bailiff, Inspector of Factories, and Labour Agent, joined the Otago police in 1875, during the last year of the Provincial Government. He served first under Inspector Weldon at Queenstown, and was successively at Cromwell, Clyde, Roxburgh, and Kaitangata, and for two years he served on the gold escort from Queenstown to Dunedin, via Naseby. He had experience with all sorts of crime during his time on the goldfields, and on one occasion he had three cases of murder on hand, and was the first policeman in the colony to have official communication with the notorious Donnelly, alias Butler, now serving a long term of imprisonment in Victoria. Mr. Pool was born in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, in 1854, and came to New Zealand in 1874. He was married in Queenstown, in 1878, to Miss Smith, and has three sons and three daughters.

Constable W. Pool.

Constable W. Pool.

Southbridge Railway Station. —The railway was opened to Southbridge on the 30th of July, 1875. The chief freights inwards consist of merchandise, coal, and timber; and outwards, of grain, wool, potatoes and live stock, chiefly sheep and pigs.

Mr. W. H. Alderton, Stationmaster at Southbridge, joined the railway department at Christchurch in September, 1874. During the same year he was transferred to Addington, and was appointed stationmaster at Balcairn on the 3rd of November, 1875; Hornby Junction, on the 14th of March, 1879; Doyleston, on the 31st of January, 1883; Temuka, on the 10th of April, 1883; and at Southbridge, on the 8th of February, 1895. Mr. Alderton was born in Norfolk, England, in 1838, and educated at Middleton. He joined the army in 1855, and served in the 1st Royal Scots Regiment for ten years. In November, 1865, he entered the service of the North London Railway Company, with which he remained till 1874, when he came to New Zealand by the ship “Carisbrook Castle.” Mr. Alder ton married Miss Ingle, in 1871, and has one daughter.

St. James' Anglican Church, Southbridge. This church has accommodation for 250 worshippers. It possesses a good pipe organ and a well trained choir, and the interior decorations are very beautiful. Adjoining the church there is a large parish room, which is used as a Sunday school room and social hall. The vicar holds weekly services at All Saints, Killinchy, St. Thomas', Dunsandel, and St. Mark's, Sedgemere.

The Rev. H. H. S. Hamilton, B.A., Vicar of Southbridge, was born in 1846, in Yorkshire, England, and was primarily educated at a private school. He studied at page 709 St. John's College, Cambridge, where he obtained his B.A. degree in 1871. Mr. Hamilton was ordained deacon in 1871, by the Bishop of Durham, and priest in 1872 by the Bishop of Ripon. His first appointment was that of curate at Berwick-on-Tweed, where he remained for one year, and was afterwards curate at Bradford for three years, and for one year in Lincolnshire. Mr. Hamilton came to New Zealand, in 1876, and was for three years vicar of Cust, and for the three years thereafter, of Hokitika. He held the position of locum tenens for six months at Gisborne, previous to his appointment at Banks' Peninsula, where he was vicar for eleven years. He was also vicar for seven years and a half in the Hororata-Malvern district, and received his present appointment in 1902. Mr. Hamilton is married, and has four sons and one daughter.

Rev. H. H. S. Hamilton, Mrs Hamilton and Daughter.

Rev. H. H. S. Hamilton, Mrs Hamilton and Daughter.

The Presbyterian Church, Southbridge, is a fine wooden building, plain outside, but rather handsome in its internal appearance. It has seating accommodation for about 200 worshippers. The manse, which is only a short distance from the church, is a commodious villa, and stands in large and well laid out grounds. There is a well attended Sunday school in connection with the church.

The Rev. Robert Winchester Jackson, Minister in charge of St. John's Presbyterian Church, Southbridge was born at Galashiels, Selkirkshire, Scotland. He was educated at the public school of his native town, and studied for the church at the Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities. His first call was to Bell's Hill, Lanarkshire, where he remained five years, and for fourteen years afterwards he ministered at Falkirk. Mr. Jackson was then commissioned by the Church of Scotland to come to New Zealand, and previous to his departure for the colony was presented with many valuable gifts by his friends and parishioners. After arriving in New Zealand, Mr. Jackson, with Mrs Jackson and their two children, travelled through the colony for about six months. He then received a call to enter on the charge at Whangarei, but also shortly afterwards received another from Southbridge, which he accepted in preference to the other.

Rev. R. W. Jackson, Mrs Jackson and Family.

Rev. R. W. Jackson, Mrs Jackson and Family.

Withers, Thomas John, M.D. and Master in Surgery, Queen's University, Ireland; Southbridge. Dr Withers was born in County Down, Ireland, and educated at the Royal Academical Institution, Belfast. He studied for his profession at the Queen's College, Belfast, the Royal College of Surgeons, and the Rotunda, Dublin, and obtained his degree in 1877. In 1880 he went to Belfast, where he practised for two years in the fever hospital for acute and infectious diseases, and he also practised for two years at Comber. Dr Withers came to New Zealand in 1885, when he began the practice of his profession at Southbridge. He has been a Justice of the Peace for some years, surgeon-captain in the Ellesmere Rifles, a member of the Southbridge school committee; and chairman of the Town Board. As a Freemason he is a Past Master of the Southbridge Lodge and Past Deacon of the New Zealand Grand Lodge. Dr Withers has been president of the Leeston Cyoling Club since its inception; and is sessions clerk of the Southbridge Presbyterian church.

Webster, Robert, General Blacksmith and Implement Maker, Southbridge.—Mr Webster was born at Montrose, Forfarshire, Scotland, in 1849, and educated at Arbroath. He came to New Zealand in the ship “Canterbury,” in 1864, and two years later he went to Southbridge, where he learned his trade. Subsequently he was, for five years, with Messrs P. and D. Duncan. In 1877 he purchased his present business, which was established in 1865. Mr. Webster has been a member of the Southbridge Town Board ever since it was constituted in 1885, and has been chairman for ten years. He has also been a member of the school committee for twenty years, and chairman for two years. He became a Freemason in 1874. Mr. Webster was married, in 1875, to Miss Kitchen, and has three sons and one daughter.

Mr. R. Webster.

Mr. R. Webster.

Royal Hotel (R. Parker Hill, proprietor), Southbridge. This hotel was established in 1870. It contains thirty-six rooms, of which twenty-two are well furnished bedrooms. The large, well-ventilated dining-room, has chairs for forty persons; there are four sitting-rooms and two bar parlours, and one billiard-room fitted up with one of Thurston's tables; and there are hot and cold water baths The hotel has a good six-stalled stable, three loose-boxes, and a large trap shed, with three well-watered and secure paddocks, and a large garden and orchard. In addition to commercial travellers, tourists, and the numerous country settlers who come and go, the sports men who visit the Rakaia and the creeks running into Lake Ellesmere, all patronise the “Royal” at Southbridge.

Mr. R. Parker Hill, the Proprietor, was born in 1846, at Lenton, near Nottingham, England, and came to New Zealand with his parents, in the ship “Roman Emperor,” in 1860. After obtaining some commercial experience he owned a business, which he afterwards disposed of in order to try his luck on the Auckland and Wakamarina goldfields. He worked in the Lucknow and Long-drive claim, and secured as much as seventeen ounces of gold for four hours' work; and he also did a good deal of prospecting at the head of the Rakaia river, under the late Mr. W. F. Warner, of Christchurch. Mr. Hill was the first to organise coursing in New Zealand, and he was very successful in that sport. Amongst dogs owned and bred by him were “Ridley,” page 710 “Champagne Charlie,” “Bordeaux,” “Waitangi,” and “Peeress.” Mr. Hill has also taken an active part in cricket, and has on more than one occasion been captain of his team. He is a member of the Southbridge Town Board, treasurer to the library committee, deputy superintendent of the fire brigade, and he is a Freemason and a Druid. Mr. Hill has had considerable experience in hotel management, as he was in business with his father in 1863 in the Albion Hotel, Lyttelton. In 1873, he entered into business on his own account, first in the Lower Selwyn Hotel, and subsequently at the British Hotel, Christchurch. He retired temporarily on account of ill-health, but on recovery, he reentered the trade in 1892. Mr. Hill was married, in 1871, to Miss Collier, daughter of Mr. John Collier of Moeraki Downs, and has two daughters. He is referred to in the Military section of this volume as Lieutenant of the Ellesmere Mounted Rifles.

Scott and Co. (William Scott), Grain Merchants, Southbridge. Mr. Scott is a son of Mr. Samuel Scott, who was living in Lyttelton previous to the arrival of the pioneer ships. He was born, at Little Rakaia, in 1869—one of a family of twenty-five, of whom fifteen are now living—was educated at his native place, and brought up to farming. In 1894 he acquired the business carried on by Mr. C. H. Willis, of Southbridge, and has ever since conducted it with marked success. Mr. Scott has not yet taken any part in the public affairs of Southbridge, as, so far, his time has been fully occupied in looking after his large and increasing business.

Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo.Mr. W. Scott.

Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo.
Mr. W. Scott.