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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts]


page 67


The Nelson Cathedral on Church Hill is naturally one of the most noticeable buildings in the city. The first building erected on the site was a fort, which the early settlers constructed as a means of defence against the warlike Maoris. Fortunately the fort was never required for its original purpose, and it was used as Nelson's first Anglican Church. The Rev. Octavius Hadfield, afterwards Bishop of Wellington and Primate of New Zealand, was the first Anglican clergyman to officiate in Nelson, and he was followed by the Rev. C. W. Saxton, who held services during 1842 and 1843. Bishop Selwyn paid his first visit to Nelson in August, 1842, when he was accompanied by the Rev. C. L. Reay, M.A., who was appointed the first resident clergyman. The foundation stone of the first Christ Church was laid in June, 1850, and the building was opened by Bishop Selwyn on Christmas Day, 1851; on this occasion the Presbyterians and Wesleyans closed their places of worship, and took part in the inaugural service. In 1856 the bishopric of Nelson was created, and, by the Queen's command, the village was thereupon proclaimed a city. Before that date, the fort had given place to a properly constructed church, which was afterwards enlarged, and subsequently rebuilt as the present Cathedral. The Right Rev. Edmund Hobhouse, D.D., was consecrated the first Bishop of Nelson in 1858; but he resigned in 1864, owing to failing health. His successor, the Right Rev. Andrew Burn Suter, D.D., who was consecrated in 1866, resigned in 1891, for a similar reason, and was succeeded by the Right Rev. Charles Oliver Mules, M.A. On the outbreak of the Maori war in Taranaki, in 1860, from 1,000 to 1,200 refugees from that district arrived in Nelson, and separate services were held for their benefit. Their arrival in the settlement led to the establishment of a second parish, that of All Saints. The original Christ Church was enlarged in 1867, and the corner stone of the present Cathedral was laid on the 17th of November, 1886. In February of the following year the building was consecrated by the Bishop of Nelson; and Dr. Harper, Bishop of Christchurch and Primate of New Zealand, with a very large number of visiting clergy, were present on the occasion. The Presbyterians have a handsome church in Nile Street, and the Catholic Church and conventual buildings are in Manuka Street. The Wesleyan and Congregational denominations have places of worship in Hardy Street, and the Baptists in Bridge Street. The Church of Christ and the Salvation Army, also, have places of worship, so that the chief religious denominations are worthily represented in Nelson.

The Diocese Of Nelson comprises the provincial districts of Nelson and Marlborough. It is bounded on the south by the Hurunui river, and by the Teremakau river on the West Coast. There are six constituted parishes, nineteen parochial districts, forty-three churches, and twenty other buildings, such as mission halls, etc.; and twenty-four ordained clergymen and numerous lay readers are engaged in the ministry. All church properties are vested in various Trust Boards, but there are no large endowments. The diocese was constituted in 1857, the first Bishop being the Right Rev. Edmund Hobhouse, who was consecrated in 1858. He was succeeded by the Right Rev. Andrew Burn Suter, who was consecrated in 1866, and resigned in 1891. The present Bishop is the Right Rev. Charles Oliver Mules, M.A.

Mr. Robert Ingpen Kingsley , Secretary and Treasurer of the Nelson Diocese, was born in Hertfordshire, England, in 1846, and arrived in New Zealand in 1881. He has held his present position since 1884, and is also Secretary of the Nelson Aid Society, and treasurer of the Harmonic Society. In 1899, Mr. Kingsley married a daughter of Mr. R. Bryant, of Brightwater, and has one son.

The Right Rev. Charles Oliver Mules, M.A., Bishop of the Diocese of Nelson was born in Ilminster, Somersetshire, England. He was educated at Cheltenham College, and took his B.A. degree at Trinity, Cambridge. Subsequently he became a mathematical master in New College School, Oxford, where he remained for three years, and took the degrees of M.A. Cantab., and M.A., Comit. Caus., Oxon. He was ordained by the Bishop of Durham, and appointed curate at Whorlton, in the county of Durham. Before leaving England Mr. Mules occupied the position of curate to Mr. Ryle, afterwards Dr. Ryle, Bishop of Liverpool. In 1867 he arrived in Nelson by the ship “Cissy.” He was appointed to the parochial district of Brightwater, then called Spring Grove, where he remained for twenty-five years. In 1880 he was appointed archdeacon of the Waimea, in the diocese of Nelson, and after the death of Bishop Suter, was consecrated as his successor.

The Right Rev. Bishop Mules.

The Right Rev. Bishop Mules.

Christ Church , Nelson, stands on Church Hill, of historic memory. It was there in 1843 that the settlers fortified themselves against a threatened attack from the Maoris, after the Wairau massacre, at which Captain Wakefield and other colonists lost page 68 their lives. Then again in 1845 there was another scare, owing to hostilities in the Bay of Islands, and the inhabitants once more entrenched themselves on Church Hill. Divine service was first held on the hill in a tent brought out by Bishop Selwyn; the officiating clergyman being the Rev. C. L. Reay. Services were afterwards held in one of the New Zealand Company's huts. The foundation of the present building was laid by the Rev. H. F. Butt in 1818, and it was ready for divine worship on Sunday morning, the 14th of December, 1851. The church was erected partly by subscription, and partly out of the Church Endowment Fund, at a cost of £890. In 1886 the church was altered and enlarged under the direction of Mr. Mountfort, architect, and it was re-opened for divine worship by the Primate of New Zealand, Bishop Harper, in February, 1887.

Rev. John Pratt Kempthorne, Vicar of Christ Church, Nelson, was born in Auckland, where he was educated at the Church of England Grammar school, St. John's College, and afterwards trained for the Church at the Theological College, Nelson. He was ordained in England by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1873. Mr. Kempthorne was curate of All Saints, Nelson, from 1874 to 1878, when he was appointed to Reefton, and two years later he became incumbent of Trinity Church, Greymouth, where he resided five years. Mr. Kempthorne is Bishop's chaplain and a member of the standing committee.

All Saints Church , Nelson. The earliest record in the church books shows that a meeting was held on the 8th of April, 1866, under the presidency of the Rev. G. H. Johnstone. A vestry of five members was appointed, and a stipend was provided for the Rev, C. L. McLean. The vestry consisted of Dr. Cusack, and Messrs Lowe, Burnett, Darby, Elson, Symons, and Watkins. The next meeting of which any account has been left was held on the 25th of April, 1867. Six months later another meeting was held under the presidency of the Bishop of Nelson, several members of the congregation being present. At this time services were held in the Oddfellows' Hall. On the resignation of the Rev. C. L. MCLean, the Bishop stated that he was able to guarantee a stipend of £100 a year, and the offer would hold good for two years. In November of the same year a subscription list was started for the purpose of building All Saints Church, and was well supported. A site was secured from Mr. Hewlings at a cost of £200. The foundation stone was laid on the 26th of June, 1868, and the consecration ceremony was performed by the late Bishop Suter on the 11th of November in the same year. In order to provide a parsonage, a cottage was bought by the Bishop and transferred to the vestry for £150, the Bishop expressing a wish that the balance (£300) should be considered a gift from himself and Mrs Suter. The church is now capable of seating 500 persons, and contains a manual organ built by Lewis, and specially imported by the congregation. The tower has an excellent peal of tubular bells, which cost £120, and were presented by Mr. H. Firth. The Sunday school is capable of seating 250 pupils, and
Christ Church, Nelson.

Christ Church, Nelson.

page 69 has an average attendance of 170. There are eighteen teachers under the superintendency of Mr. E. Boyes.

The Rev. William Stanley Lucas, Rector of All Saints' Church, Nelson, entered upon his present duties in May, 1904. Mr. Lucas was born in England, and received his education at Uppingham and Cheltenham Colleges; and he holds the fourth grade certificate of the New Zealand Board of Theological Studies. In 1877 he came out to New Zealand in the ship “Sophia Joachim,” and landed at Port Chalmers. He was ordained by the late Bishop Harper, and accepted the charge of the Anglican Church at Charleston, near Westport. Subsequently he was appointed rector of Waikouaiti; where he remained for ten vears, when he left to take up duty as rector at Wakefield, in the Nelson district. While he was at Wakefield Mr. Lucas was for many years, chairman of the School Committee and of the Domain Board. In May, 1904, he was rector of All Saints Church, Nelson, with charge of the Port and Toi-toi Valley Missions. He is also Honorary Chaplain of the Nelson Bearer Corps. Mr. Lucas married a daughter of Mr. Hutchinson, Brighton, England, and has two sons and three daughters. One of his sons is Dr. S. A. Lucas, of Nelson.

Tyree, photo. Rev. Canon W. S. Lucas.

Tyree, photo.
Rev. Canon W. S. Lucas.

The Presbyterian Church in Nelson is situated in Nile Street East, and was erected in 1891. The earliest records of Prosbyterianism in Nelson date back to 1848, and the first minister was the Rev. T. D. Nicholson, who laid the foundation stone of the first church building in 1849. In 1857 Mr. Nicholson removed to Renwicktown, and died five years later. He was succeeded by the Rev. P. Calder, who conducted divine service in Nelson from 1857 till 1890, when he was obliged to give up work on account of the infirmity of age. Mr. Calder died in 1892. The present church was opened in February, 1892, and the Rev. James H. Mackenzie was inducted in March of that year.

The Rev. James Hutton Mackenzie was born in Thornhill, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, and studied in the Free Church College, Edinburgh. He was licensed by the Free Presbytery of Penpont in 1880, in which year he sailed for Otago. In 1881 he was ordained by the Presbytery of Southland to the charge of Wallacetown, where he remained for eight years, and was then called to Lyttelton. Three years later he was appointed to his present position in Nelson.

All Saints' Church, Nelson.

All Saints' Church, Nelson.

The Roman Catholic Church In Nelson , which forms part of the arch-diocese of Wellington, dates from 1844, when Bishop Pompallier, VicarApostolic for New Zealand, visited the town for the first time. He was accompanied by the Rev. J. J. P. O'Reilly, and preached to the Maoris in their own language. At a meeting held on the 11th March, 1845, it was resolved to build a chapel and school house. On Easter Sunday, 1847, the first Catholic Church was opened; it page 70 was a modest building, erected at a cost of £40. The Rev. A. H. Garin, who was appointed the first rector, arrived in Nelson, in May, 1850. Father Garin established Catholic schools, which gained a high reputation, and were attended by children of Protestant parents, as well as by the children of Catholics. A new church, built in 1856, was destroyed by fire on Easter Sunday, 1881. Under Father Garin's leadership, the Catholics set to work to build a new place of worship, and in this endeavour they were assisted by people of many denominations. The foundation stone of the present St. Mary's Catholic church was laid by Bishop Redwood on the 1st of January, 1882. Father Grarin, who died in April, 1889, was succeeded by the Very Rev. Dean Mahoney, and the present rector of St. Mary's is the Rev. George Mahony.

St. Mary's Church , Nelson, is one of the neatest and most complete in the city. It was erected in 1882 at a cost of £2500, Mr. Turnbull, of Wellington, being the architect. Since then it has been beautified very much by stained glass windows and other internal fittings, and later on a grand pipe-organ was fitted up by Messrs Holday and Finchday, of Melbourne, at a cost of £550. The parish includes not only St. Mary's church, but also St. Joseph's, Wakefield, St. Peter and St. Paul, Waimea West, and the church of the Sacred Heart at Takaka, all of which are very complete and tastefully designed. The convent is the largest building in Nelson, and commands a beautiful view.

St. Mary's Church.

St. Mary's Church.

The Rev. George Mahony, Rector of St. Mary's Church, was born in London, England, in 1869. He came out to New Zealand at an early age, and received his education at St. Patrick's College, Wellington. In 1901 he was appointed rector of St. Mary's Church, and Principal of St. Mary's Orphanage and Industrial School at Stoke.

Tyree, photo. Rev. Geo. Mahony.

Tyree, photo.
Rev. Geo. Mahony.

The Very Rev. Dean Mahoney, S.M., sometime Rector of St. Mary's Church, Nelson, was born in Limerick, Ireland, and educated at Mount Mellary Seminary, Waterford, and St. Mary's College, Dundalk. He finished his philosophical and theological studies at Dublin, where Archbishop Reawood of Wellington, was professor. Dean Mahoney was ordained priest at Dundalk College by the Most Rev. Dr. McGettighan, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of Ireland. About the close of 1874, he came out to New Zealand with Archbishop Redwood, and early in 1875 was sent from Wellington to Nelson as curate to Father Garin, S.M., who was then beginning to feel the severe hardships of a long missionary life. Dean Mahoney had, therefore, had, almost from the beginning, the practical working of the page 71 parish and district in his own hands. In answer to his zeal and energy, the congregation, assisted by numerous friends of all denominations, erected not only a handsome church to replace the one that was burnt down on Easter Sunday night in 1881, but also a fine presbytery, a convent, and a mortuary chapel to the memory of Father Garin, S.M., at the public cemetery. But the most important and successful works are the orphanages for boys and girls and the industrial schools at Stoke. Dean Mahoney died in Dublin on Easter Sunday morning, 12th of April, 1903. He had gone on a visit to his native land, and was in good health when he left Nelson. A cenotaph to his memory has been erected in the grounds of St. Mary's Church.

St. John's Wesleyan Methodist Church , Nelson, is one of the handsomest ecclesiastical buildings in New Zealand. It was erected in 1889, and possesses a splendid fullsized pipe-organ, by E. Bishop and Son, of London. The church has an excellent choir under the conductorship of Mr. A. P. Lucas. The Wesleyan body was established at Nelson about 1842, and the Rev. S. Ironside was the first pastor in charge. His successors have been the Rev. Messrs Innes, Vickers, Warren, Kirk, Crump, Watkin, Buddle, Harper, Bavin, Lee, Beck, Olliver, Isitt, Bond, Prior, Smalley, and W. J. Williams. The first church of note built for the congregation was of brick, and was situated near the Customhouse. The foundation stone of the present fine building was laid in 1889 by Lord Onslow, and the church was opened in the following year. The Sunday school is attended by about 200 children, and there are about twelve teachers. The Rev. W. J. Williams was appointed to the pastorate in 1902.

The Emmanuel Congregational Church , Nelson, was begun under the auspices of Mr. Benjamin Short, in 1875. Its first pastor was the Rev. John Beckenham, who was succeeded by the Rev. H. J. Lewis, Rev. R. J. Williams, Rev. W. A. Evans, Rev. E. C. Isaac, and the present pastor, the Rev. David McKee Wright. Two years after the foundation of the church, the building was considerably enlarged; and again in 1901, the church was re-modelled and renovated, much to its improvement. The congregation has considerably increased since Mr. Wright entered on the duties of the pastorate. There is a good choir, and Miss Fanny Coote is the organist.

The Rev. David Mckee Wright, Pastor of Emmanuel Congregational Church, Nelson, was born in County Down, in the north of Ireland and educated in England, and at the University of Otago. He arrived in New Zealand in 1887, and for many years resided in Otago, studying and preparing himself for the ministry. In 1897 he published a book entitled “Station Ballads and Other Verses,” which had a wide circulation in the Middle Island, especially in Otago and Southland; in the same year be won the first prize given by the University of Otago for a poem. Mr. Wright began his ministerial work in 1898, when he took charge of the Congrenational Church at Oamaru, whence he was called to the pastorate of the Newton Congregational Church. Wellington. Mr. Wright is a fluent and earnest speaker, and takes a great interest in politics, and often gives his services as a lecturer on leading questions of the day. In 1898 he married a daughter of Mr. R. Couper, of In vereargill, and has one son.

Rev. D. M. Wright.

Rev. D. M. Wright.

The Baptist Church at Nelson —the first Baptist, Church in New Zealand—was established in June, 1851, with the Rev. D. Dolamore as its first pastor, and a membership of eleven, which has since increased to 125. Mr. Dolamore remained for twelve years, and was succeeded by the Rev. Messrs Thomas, Biss, Davis, Hamilton, Standring, Cale, and Bray. In 1896, during the ministry of the Rev. R. S. Gray, the present handsome wooden church was erected, and opened for service in April, 1897. The Rev. F. G. Buckingham succeeded Mr. Gray, and the charge is at present (1905) temporally filled by the Rev. T Beeson, of Maldon, Victoria. The first pastor, the Rev. D., Dolamore, is still living and resides in a suburb of Christchurch.

Church Of Christ , Nelson was the first place in New Zealand if not in Australasia, at which the Church of Christ was established. Mr. Thomas Jackson was the first preacher, and among the earliest members were: Messrs Thomas Butler, James Barton, Thomas Magarey, Charles J. Nicol, and John Batt. For a while the congregation was fairly prosperous, but a period of depression, due to various causes more or less associated with the Wairau massacre, led to the church's formal work being discontinued for some years. However, in 1879, the work of the church was again taken up, and meetings were held in the Masonie Hall. Later on a church was built at a cost of £350. upon land given for the purpose, and the new building was opened in the 24th of May, 1883.

Mr. Joseph J. Franklyn , Evangelist of the Church of Christ, Nelson, was appointed to his present charge in May, 1902. He was born in Victoria, Australia, in 1866, and educated in Melbourne. In 1895 he was placed in charge of the Ascot Vale district and South Melbourne, where he remained for four years, when he left to accept the charge of the Church of Christ in Oamaru. There he was President of the Prohibition League, and was always ready to give his services as a lecturer to that cause. Before accepting his present charge, he spent a year in Mataura, where he did good work for the church. Mr. Franklyn is a member of the Southern Star Lodge of Freemasons, Nelson, No. 735, English Constitution, and is a Rechabite, and chaplain of the Orange Lodge. In 1901 he married a daughter of Mr. John Hair, of South Melbourne, and has one son and three daughters.

Salvation Army . The Nelson branch of the Salvation Army opened its campaign on the 1st of February, 1884, under Captains Whitchurch and Bowerman. There was a good attendance, and the celebrations were carried out in the Volunteer Drill Shed. A considerable number of people were enrolled in the ranks, and it is computed that the corps grew during that year to a strength of 250 members. Major Perry was the first officer in charge of the district. Outposts were opened at Richmond and Brightwater, with officers in charge, but after a time they were withdrawn, and the districts have since been worked from Nelson. At present (1905) the Army's strength in Nelson consists of thirty six members. The barracks are situated at the corner of Collingwood and Bridge Streets, and there is accommodation for 300 persons. Regular services are held at the barracks on Sunday in or nine, afternoon and evening, and open air services during the week. Adjutant Buttimore, who was appointed in 1904, is the present officer-in-charge.