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

Nelson Harbour Board

Nelson Harbour Board.

Nelson has a natural harbour formed by a boulder bank running in a north-east and south-west direction for eight miles. The entrance is to the southward, and the tide runs through it at the rate of five to six knots an hour. The navigable portion of the harbour is about three-quarters of a mile long, by about two hundred yards wide, and the harbour is well marked with buoys and lamps. There is an average rise and fall in the tide of 12 feet 6 inches, giving a depth of 20 feet on the bar; and neap tides are 6 feet 6 inches. Owing to the shallowness and intricacy of the present entrance, only vessels of the smaller class are able to call at the port; the largest, so far, having been about 1000 tons. In the early fifties, however, vessels of considerable tonnage either sailed or were towed into the harbour, but there was no wharf at which they could lie afloat at low tides. The first deep water wharf, built in 1856, was known as the “Napier Wharf,” and this had eight feet of water at low spring tides. Subsequently the Provincial Government built another wharf, which gave from ten to eleven feet at low water. The present railway wharf was constructed at a cost of about £24,500. The wharves, which are controlled and worked by the Railway Department, have a total berthage of 900 feet, and at 700 feet there is a depth of 20 feet at low water, ordinary spring tides. The facilities for quick despatch provided by the Department include a steam winch, hand cranes, and sheerlegs for heavy weights up to fifteen tons.

The lighthouse is situated on the Boulder Bank, and also the telegraph and signal station, from which the general bar and tide signals are shown, as well as tidal signals indicating the depth of water at the entrance, as shown by the inner tide gauge. The lighthouse has telephone communication with the pilot station; and an efficient pilot service, which is compulsory, has been established.

page 44

The Harbour Board is now (1905) cutting an entrance through the Boulder Bank, and, when completed, this will be a great improvement on the old entrance. The new entrance is to be dredged to a depth of fifteen feet at low water, ordinary spring tides, and will enable coastal vessels to enter the harbour at any time, and cargo steamers at high tides. The whole undertaking is under the personal supervision of Mr. John Barrowman, the Engineer to the Nelson Harbour Board.

The members of the Nelson Harbour Board for 1995 are: Mr. John Graham M.H.R. (chairman), Mr. R. McKenzie, M.H.R., Mr. O. W. Hanby, Mr. A. H. Bisley, Mr. A. H. Hounsell, Mr. George Talbot, Mr. Philip Best, Mr. W. Coleman, and Major Franklyn. Captain H. Collins is Harbour Master and Pilot, Mr. R. Catley, Secretary, Mr. John Barrowman, Engineer, and Mr. John McHarg, Dredgemaster and Dredge Engineer.

Mr. John Graham , Chairman of the Nelson Harbour Board, is further referred to as member for Nelson City in the House of Representatives.

Mr. Philip Best , J.P., has been a member of the Nelson Harbour Board since its inception. He also serves on the Waimea County Council—of which he has been chairman—and is a member of the Licensing Committee, the Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, and the College Board of Governors. Mr. Best was formerly on the Education Board, and was chairman of the Appleby school committee and the district Road Board.

Mr. Austin Herbert Bisley was elected one of the members of the Nelson Harbour Board on the 13th of February, 1905. He is further referred to as a partner in the firm of Messrs Bisley Bros. and Co.

Mr. William Coleman , one of the representatives of the Waimea district on the Nelson Harbour Board, is further referred to in the Military Section of this volume. Mr. Coleman is a Justice of the Peace, a director of the Brightwater Butter Factory, chairman of the Stoke Road Board, a member of the Richmond Borough Council, the Agricultural and Pastoral Association, Chamber of Commerce, Inland Communication League, etc.

Mr. William Norris Franklyn , one of the representatives of the Waimea district on the Nelson Harbour Board, is also a member of a number of other local bodies. Mr. Franklyn is elsewhere referred to as a member of the Waimea County Council.

Mr. Osmond Wellesley Hanby , who has served on the Nelson Harbour Board since its inception, headed the poll for the city members at the election held on the 13th of February, 1905. Mr. Hanby is further referred to as editor of the “Nelson Evening Mail.”

Mr. Arthur H. Hounsell , who became a member of the Nelson Harbour Board in February, 1905, is elsewhere referred to as a member of the City Council.

Mr. Roderick Mckenzie , M.H.R., who is one of the members of the Nelson Harbour Board, is referred to in another article as a member of the House of Representatives.

Mr. George Talbot has been on the Nelson Harbour Board since its inception. He has served on the Education Board since 1892, and for ten years of the time filled the office of chairman. Mr. Talbot has also been a member of the Waimea Road Board, the Richmond Town Board, the Licensing Committee, and the Hospital and Charitable Aid Board. He was elected the first Mayor of Richmond, and held that office, without opposition, for over eleven years.

Mr. John Barrowman , who was appointed Engineer for the Nelson Harbour Board in August, 1901, was born at Shettlestown, near Glasgow, Scotland, in 1835, and received his education at the Shettlestown and Cambusland public schools. His father, who was a mine manager, took him into the works, where he served four years underground, and afterwards attended an engine. At seventeen years of age he was apprenticed as a mechanical engineer to the Camlachie Foundry Company, Glasgow, where he served two years and a-half, and finished his time at the Cowlairs Engine Works of the North British railway. When his term had expired Mr. Barrowman worked in various engineering shops in Glasgow and Greenock, and then received an appointment as mill manager at the Grangetown Iron Works, near Cardiff, South Wales, where he remaiend in charge for nearly five years, before taking control of the Mount Stuart Shipbuilding and Engine Works. Two years later he returned to Glasgow, and entered the firm of Clarkson Brothers, and after two years as a journeyman he was placed in charge of the firm's branch shops at Maryhill. However, illhealth compelled him to seek a change of climate, and in 1874 he sailed for New Zealand in the ship “Auckland.” On landing at Dunedin Mr. Barrowman found employment at the Railway Foundry of Messrs Fraser, Wishart, Buchanan and Company, where he remained until the firm dissolved, when he was placed in charge, on behalf of Mr. Fraser, with whom he continued until the business was wound up. Shortly after the inception of the Greymouth Harbour Works, Mr. Barrowman became mechanical engineer at the works for the Government, and was afterwards promoted to be inspector. In 1885 he was appointed Inspector of Harbour Works at Westport, and early in 1899 was engaged to superintend the harbour works at Strahan, Macquaire harbour, on the West Coast of Tasmania, where he remained until receiving his present appointment at Nelson in 1904. Before coming to the colony Mr. Barrowman took a great interest in Home politics, and was the means of forming several political and social clubs in Cardiff, Glasgow, and elsewhere in the Old Country. While in Cardiff he was a prominent member of the Loyal Windsor Lodge of Foresters, No 2379. He joined the Greenock Artillery in January, 1859, and is consequently one of the oldest British volunteers residing in New Zealand. He was also lieutenant of the Greymouth Rifle Corps for a time, and subsequently organised and commanded the Westport Navals, now known as the Westport Artillery. Mr. Barrowman was married, in 1857, to a daughter of the late Mr. John Tennant, of Westmuir, Scotland, and has had one son and two daughters.

Tyree, photo. Mr. J. Barrowman.

Tyree, photo.
Mr. J. Barrowman.

Captain Henry Collins, who was appointed Harbourmaster and Pilot of the Port of Nelson in October, page 45 1904, is the son of an old colonist, and was born in Nelson, and educated at the local High School. At an early age he took to the sea, and was for a number of years on sailing ships engaged in the intercolonial service, and in the Wellington-Wanganui trade. After passing his examination and receiving his certificate, he joined the Union Steamship Company, and was successively appointed third officer of the “Rotomahana,” second officer of the “Penguin,” and first officer of the “Wainui,” before receiving his present appointment at Nelson. Captain Collins was married, in January, 1905, to a daughter of Mr. James Eyre, of Dunedin.

Tyree, photo. Captain H. Collins.

Tyree, photo.
Captain H. Collins.