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


page 80


The Nelson people are proverbially a law-abiding community, and during a sojourn of some months in the city, a close observer witnessed only one case of drunkenness. The first offence recorded in the town was heard by Mr. F. A. Thomson, the first Police Magistrate, who held a court in Captain Wakefield's tent within a week after his arrival, when three sailors of the ship “Lord Auckland” were convicted of stealing some wearing apparel. They were sentenced to three months' imprisonment, but as there was only one room in the ranpo gaol or lock-up, it was arranged that they should “reside” with the sole policeman then possessed by Nelson, and their promise not to attempt to escape was accepted by the Magistrate. They did the cooking and the housework in turns, and were occasionally allowed to ramble over the hills for a stated time. During the same month, however, there was another conviction; but in this case the newcomer had only a crude conception of discipline, and he was not only often late for meals, but sometimes stayed away all night.

His Honour Mr. Justice Chabman presided at the first Supreme Court sessions at Nelson; and Mr. Justice Richmond, who resided in Nelson from 1867 to 1875, was the only resident Supreme Court Judge that ever had his home and headquarters in the city. County Courts and Courts of Bequest were successively in vogue in the early days, but under “The District Courts Act, 1858,” Mr. W. T. L. Travers was appointed District Judge. He resigned, however, and the Court was for some time in abeyance. It was reconstituted in 1875, with Mr. Lowther Broad as District Judge, and he was succeded by the late Mr. H. W. Robinson, who in turn was succeeded by Mr. H. Eyre-Kenny; but the duties of the district judgeship have latterly devolved on the District Judge for Otago and Westland. Mr. F. A. Thomson, Mr. G. P. White, Mr. Donald Sinclair, Major Richmond, Mr. John Povnter, Mr. John Sharp, Mr. Lowther Broad, Mr. Oswald Curtis, Mr. Andrew Turnbull, Mr. H. W. Robinson, and Mr. H. Eyre-Kenny have been successively the Resident or Stipendiary Magistrates of Nelson.

Law Courts.

The Courts in Nelson are conducted in the Government Buildings, the foundation stone of which was laid by the Superintendent on the 26th of August, 1859. The old Provincial Hall is used for the Supreme Court sessions, which are held three times a year, either by the Chief Justice or one of the Puisne Judges. There is a law library, and the Magistrate's Court and offices are in another part of the building. Mr. H. Eyre-Kenny is the present Stipendiary Magistrate.

Mr. H. Eyre-Kenny , Stipendiary Magistrate of the Nelson, Collingwood, Takaka, Motueka, and Brightwater
Tyree, photo.Mr. H. Eyre-Kenny.

Tyree, photo.
Mr. H. Eyre-Kenny.

districts, was appointed to his present office on the 1st of May, 1904; and he is chairman, ex-officio, of the Nelson and Motueka Licensing Committees. Mr. Eyre-Kenny was born in Montreal, Canada, and is the son of the Hon. Lieut.-Colonel W. H. Kenny, of the Black Watch, who was subsequently a member of the Legislative Council of New Zealand, and of Mary Watson, daughter of Lieut.-Colonel Claye Watson, H.E.I.C.S. As a lad he came out to New Zealand, in 1847, by the ship “Ramilies.” He was educated at St. John's College, Auckland, and after completing his studies there, was articled to the Registrar of the Supreme Court, Auckland, and was afterwards for two years secretary to Chief Justice Sir George Arney. On resigning that position Mr. EyreKenny commenced the practice of his profession in Auckland, where he remained until August, 1867, when he accepted the position of Registrar of the Supreme Court at New Plymouth. Two years later he was appointed Resident Magistrate, and in 1870, District Judge of the district, which included Patea and Wanganui. In 1879, he was appointed District Judge at Napier, for Hawke's Bay and Poverty Bay; but in 1882 he resigned, to again enter into a private practice. Mr. Eyre-Kenny re-entered the public service in 1890, as Magistrate and Warden at Westport, and in October, 1893, he was appointed to a similar position at the Thames. In March, 1897, he was appointed Magistrate for Wellington, and two years later was transferred to the Wanganui district, which included Hawera, Patea, and other small towns on the west coast of the North Island. In May, 1898, Mr. Eyre-Kenny was appointed Deputy District Judge for the District Court of Taranaki, Wanganui, and Wairarapa; and in October, 1904, Deputy District Judge for Westport, Greymouth, Reefton, Hokitika, Kumara and Nelson. At the request of the Government he resigned this position in order to enable Mr. Hazelden to be appointed Deputy District Judge for all District Courts in New Zealand except those in the Auckland province, and to take the place of District Judge Ward, who had been granted leave of absence. Mr. Eyre-Kenny is a Past Master of the Egmont Lodge of Freemasons, No. 670, E.C. He was married, in 1866, to a daughter of Mr. David Buchanan, of Edinburgh. His only son is in the Imperial service in the Straits Settlement.
page 81

Mr. Ernest Charles Kelling , formerly Sheriff and Registrar of Electors at Westport, is Deputy-Registrar of the Supreme Court at Nelson, and Clerk of the District Court and Magistrate's Court. He also holds the offices of Mining Registrar, Registrar of Poisons, Deputy-Registrar of Old Age Pensions, Clerk of Awards of the Nelson Industrial District, and Receiver of gold revenue for Wangapeka.

Barristers And Solicitors.

Fell And Atkinson . (Charles Yates Fell), Barristers and Solicitors, Hardy Street, Nelson. This firm was established in 1871.

Mr. Charles Yates Fell , B.A., Sole Partner in the firm of Fell and Atkinson, was born at Nelson in 1854. After receiving his early education from Archdeacon Paul, he went to England and attended King's College, London. Thence he went to St. John's College, Oxford, and took his degree in 1877. Having previously entered at Lincoln's Inn, and afterwards moved to the Inner Temple, he was admitted as a barrister in England in July of that year, and joined the Home circuit. After a short experience of English practice, he returned to his native town, where he was soon after joined by his late partner, Mr. A. S. Atkinson. Mr. Fell filled the mayoral chair for five years. For many years he has been Crown Solicitor; he has been for twenty-five years Registrar for the diocese, and for twenty-five years a Governor of the Nelson College. He is also well known in athletics, and at Oxford he was for four years “stroke” oar in his College boat.

Mr. Arthur Samuel Atkinson was a native of the North of England, and was born in 1833. He was educated at Blackheath, London, and on coming out to New Zealand at the age of twenty, he settled in Taranaki, which was then in a very wild state. It was, in fact, necessary to form a force to protect the settlers from the hostile natives, and Mr. A. S. Atkinson served as private in the Taranaki Volunteers under his brother, Major Atkinson, afterwards Sir Harry, the well-known politician and statesman. After things had quietened down, Mr. Atkinson became editor and part owner of the “Taranaki Herald.” In 1867 he went to Nelson as secretary to the late Judge Richmond, and finished his legal education while with him. He was admitted to the bar in 1871, and soon afterwards he joined Mr. Fell in the legal firm of Fell and Atkinson. Mr. Atkinson was for some years a member of the Provincial Council of Taranaki, and in 1866–7, he sat in the House of Representatives as member for Omata, He was a leading member of the Nelson Philosophical Society, in which he took an active interest almost up to the time of his death. His eldest son is a barrister and solicitor at Wellington, and was elected one of the members for the city seat at the general election in 1899. Mr. Atkinson died on the 10th of December, 1902.

Maginnity, Andrew Thomas, Barrister and Solicitor, Hardy Street, Nelson. P.O. Box 47. Bankers, Union Bank of Australia. Private residence, Brougham Street. Mr. Maginnity was born in Wellington in 1849, of Irish parentage. His father came to the Colony in 1847, and was on the hospital staff of the 65th Regiment. Mr. Maginnity was educated at the military school and at Toomath's commercial and grammar school in Wellington. He passed the Civil Service examination in 1868, and at once entered the Treasury as a junior clerk. In 1873 Mr. Maginnity was appointed chief clerk of the Telegraph Department, assistant secretary in 1876, and in the following year he was promoted to the position of secretary. Three years later he was transferred to Collingwood in charge of the post and telegraph office, and as clerk of the Warden's and Resident Magistrate's court. He retained these positions for seven years, when he resigned and commenced practice as a solicitor in 1887, having in the meantime studied law and passed the necessary examination. Mr. Maginnity was admitted to the Bar in 1898, and owing to his long residence on the goldfields and experience in the Warden's court, he is well versed in mining procedure. He has also for many years been a member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers of England. The first torpedo corps of New Zealand was formed whilst he was secretary to the Telegraph Department; it consisted principally of employees of the service, and Mr. Maginnity was elected captain. After taking up his residence in Nelson he was elected captain of the H Battery of Artillery, and held the command for about eighteen months.

Mr. Roger William Kingdon , sometime barrister and solicitor, Nelson, was a native of Nelson, and the only son of Mr. Samuel Kingdon. He received his preliminary education at Nelson College, and was articled to Messrs Adams and Kingdon. In 1879 he went to London, and there passed the preliminary examination in law, the final of which he afterwards passed in Auckland. Mr. Kingdon was the senior partner in the firm of Messrs Greenslade and Co., tanners, Nelson. He was secretary to the Nelson Acclimatisation Society, in which he took a keen interest, and was also a trustee of the Nelson Savings Bank. As a Freemason, Oddfellow, and Druid, he was attached to the various Nelson lodges. In 1887 he married a daughter of the late Mr. Herbert Curtis, of Nelson, and had issue. Mr. Kingdon died on the 18th of July, 1903.

The Late Mr. R. W. Kingdon.

The Late Mr. R. W. Kingdon.

Mr. John Poynter , sometime Resident Magistrate at Nelson, was one of the first immigrants who landed on the shores of Blind Bay. He arrived in the ship “Fifeshire,” on the 1st of February, 1842, and became the purchaser of the wreck of that vessel. Like many of the early settlers, Mr. Poynter underwent many vicissitudes, but he also filled many important public offices. His first appointment was that of Crown Prosecutor, and he held the office until he became Resident Magistrate in the year 1854, in succession to Major Richmond. On the 30th of June, 1868, Mr. Poynter retired from the Magistracy, and was succeeded by Mr. John Sharp. He also filled, at various times, the offices of Colonial Sub-Treasurer, Provincial Treasurer, Commissioner of Native Reserves, Registrar of Marriages, Registrar of Joint Stock Companies, and local Commissioner of Stamps; and was a director of the Union Bank, Mr. Poynter was a man page 82 of kindly disposition, liberal and open-handed, and peculiarly easy in temper. He died on the 30th of August, 1868, and left a widow, two sons, and two daughters.

The Late Mr. J. Poynter.

The Late Mr. J. Poynter.

Mr. Henry Wirgman Robinson , sometime Judge of the District Court for Nelson, was born in London, where his father, Mr. Thomas Robinson, was a merchant in a large way of business. Mr. Robinson was educated at Hall Place School, Bexley, Kent, and upon leaving school he was for a while employed in business; but in 1852, when there was so much excitement about the gold discoveries in Victoria, he—in company with Mr. George Smales Searle, referred to at page 830 of the Otago volume of this Cyclopedia — went out to Melbourne to try his fortune at the diggings. He was mining for a short time at Forest Creek and other places, but was not so fortunate as to make a “pile.” After trying various pursuits, he settled on journalism as a profession, and early in 1860 became editor of the “Maryborough and Dunolly Advertiser,” in succession to Mr. Julius Vogel, afterwards better known as Sir Julius Vogel, Premier of New Zealand. At the end of 1861, at the invitation of Mr. Vogel, who had recently started the “Otago Daily Times” in Dunedin, Mr. Robinson came to New Zealand and joined the staff of that paper as sub-editor. He was at the same time editor of the “Otago Witness,” which was already a well-established weekly paper, owned by the proprietors of the “Otago Daily Times.” During the time that Mr. Robinson was on the “Times,” the paper rapidly grew from a small sheet to almost its present dimensions. In 1863 he abandoned journalism to enter the public service, and was appointed Warden and Resident Magistrate for the Mount Benger district in Otago, his headquarters being at the Teviot Junction, now Roxburgh. In the following year he took charge of the Dunstan goldfield, then in the full flush of its prosperity, and remained thore for five years. Thence he removed to Naseby (Mount Ida), and had charge of that district for thirteen years. In 1882 he was appointed to Oamaru, where he remained until 1888, when he was called to undertake the arduous duty of Resident Magistrate at Wellington. In 1889, Mr. Robinson, who had some time before been admitted a barrister of the Supreme Court, was appointed District Judge for Wairarapa, but continued to hold office as Resident Magistrate for Wellington, a second magistrate being appointed to take the duty during his absence on District Court business. In 1893, Mr. Robinson took charge for some months of Judge Ward's extensive district, on the east and west coasts of the Middle Island. In the same year he was appointed District Judge at Nelson. In addition to the office of district judge, he performed the duties of stipendiary magistrate, registrar of the Supreme Court, examiner of titles, and district land registrar. Judge Robinson had been twice married; firstly, to a daughter of the Hon. Thomas Dick, and, secondly, to a daughter of Archdeacon Mathias, of Canterbury. He retired in January, 1904, and died at Masterton on the 12th of March, 1905, in his 76th year.

The Late Mr. H. W. Robinson.

The Late Mr. H. W. Robinson.

Mr. Charles Hugh Webb-Bowen , formerly Clerk of the District Court, Deputy-Registrar of the Supreme Court, Clerk of the Warden's Court, Receiver of Gold Revenué, Mining Registrar, Clerk of the Licensing Committee for the District of Nelson, Patent Office Agent, Clerk of Awards (under the Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration Act, 1894), Deputy-Registrar for Nelson District (under the Registration of People's Claims Act, 1896), and Registrar of Poisons (under Sale of Poisons Act, 1871), is a native of the diocese of St. David's, Pembrokeshire, South Wales, where he was born in 1836. He is the eldest son of the late Rev. W. W. Webb-Bowen, vicar of Camrose, and was educated, first, at the Tenby Grammar school, Pembrokeshire, and finished at Brockley Grammar school, Somersetshire. He came to Wellington by the ship “Royal Stuart, in 1855. After devoting some years to pastoral and agricultural pursuits, he entered the service of the Canterbury Provincial Government in 1865, and was stationed on the West Coast goldfields. In 1867 he received an appointment under the Nelson Provincial Government as clerk of the court at Charleston, and filled that position till 1880, when, at the request of the Superintendent of Nelson, he went to Wangapeka, a newly-discovered goldfield, and did service there as clerk of the court for four months. The late Mr. A. S. Kynnersley was the warden, and he and Mr. Webb-Bowen lived and discharged their duties in tents. He afterwards returned to Westport, and filled the office of clerk of the court from 1870 to 1883, when he was transferred to Nelson, and held the position of deputyregistrar and clerk from that date till the end of July, 1904, when, on his own application, he retired on a pension. In 1870, Mr. Webb-Bowen married a daughter of the late Major Cooke, H.E.I.C.S., and has two sons and two daughters.