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



Lyell is the name of a mining settlement, and a riding in the county of Buller, and is in the provincial district of Nelson, and the electorate of Buller. It is ninety-nine miles from the city of Nelson, sixty-eight miles from Motupiko, the terminus of the Nelson-Motupiko line of railway; from Westport thirty-eight miles, by a coach road along the Buller river, and twelve miles from Inangahua Junction. In former days, Lyell was a busy little place, with its weekly newspaper, and a branch of the National Bank of New Zealand, but with the decline of mining the paper ceased, and the bank was closed. Lyell is connected with Westport, Motupiko, and Reefton by mail coach. At the census of 1901, the total population of the riding of Lyell was 308, and of the township itself, ninety. The township stands on the side of a hill, which rises abruptly from the Buller river, and to visitors arriving on a moonlight evening, it has a romantically weird appearance. The Warden's Court still sits periodically at Lyell, where there is also a police station. There are two churches; namely, Roman Catholic and Anglican. About nine miles from Lyell there are waterfalls about 400 feet in height. The sportsman can find fair shooting in the district. Lyell has a public school, which is attended by about forty children, and there are three hotels and two stores in the township. Since the year 1900 there has been a considerable falling-off in the population. To the northward of the settlement, the Lyell ranges extend a considerable distance, and one peak, known as Bald Hill, is 4,229 feet high.

The Post Office at Lyell is conveniently situated in the centre of the township. It has a telegraph office, a money order and savings bank department, and is an agency for the Government Insurance.

Mr. James Potter , Postmaster and Telegraphist at Lyell, is also Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages. He was born in Victoria, in 1863, and came to New Zealand at an early age. Mr. Potter was educated at various schools in the Otago district, and entered the postal service at Cromwell. He has served successively in the Wellington, Christchurch, Blenheim, Wellington, and Westport offices, and from Westport was appointed to Lyell. Mr. Potter is married, and has two sons and six daughters.

The Court House at Lyell contains a court room, a Warden's office, and a clerk's office. The court sits every two months, and sittings are held by Justices of the Peace. The police buildings consist of a four-roomed residence for the constable in charge, and one cell.

Mr. Edward William Scott , Constable in charge of the Lyell and Murchison districts, is also Clerk of the Magistrate's and Warden's Courts, Receiver of Gold Revenue, Mining Registrar, and Bailiff. He was born at the Thames, Auckland, in the year 1877, and educated in the Northern Wairoa district. Mr. Scott worked for some time at blacksmithing, and was afterwards employed at a sawmill. When eighteen years of age he entered the Permanent Artillery, and was afterwards transferred to the police force. Mr. Scott has been stationed in Wellington, Greymouth and Reefton, and was appointed to Lyell in January, 1904. He was a member of the Auckland Interprovincial Football team in 1899, and is a member of the Order of Druids in Reefton. Mr. Scott is married, and has two sons.
Ring, photo.Mr. E. W. Scott.

Ring, photo.
Mr. E. W. Scott.

National Bank , Lyell. This is a branch of the National Bank of New Zealand.

Mr. Angus J. Campbell , formerly Manager of the National Bank at Lyell, was born in Melbourne, educated in Reefton, and was for three years in the office of the late Mr. George Bowman. In 1885, he joined the National Bank at Reefton, where he remained until 1890, when he took charge of the Cullensville branch. In 1893, Mr. Campbell took up his duties at Lyell, where he made himself popular. He is enthusiastic in sporting matters, and is a good tennis and football player. Mr. Campbell is now (1905) in charge of the National Bank at Alexandra South, Otago.

Arnold's Hotel (Arthur George Arnold, proprietor), Lyell. This hotel has been established for many years, and is situated on the Lyell road midway between Lyell and Inangahua Junction. It was purchased by the present proprietor in the year 1901. The building is of wood and iron, and contains about thirteen rooms. The accommodation is good, the best of liquors are kept, and the tariff is moderate. There is a farm of 100 acres in connection with the establishment.

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Mr. Arthur George Arnold is the son of an old Nelson colonist who settled in the Waimea district. He was born in the year 1861, and brought up on his father's farm. Mr. Arnold was afterwards farming in the Motupiko district for fourteen years, and in 1901 removed to Lyell, where he became the proprietor of Arnold's hotel. He is a member of the Three Channel Flat school committee. Mr. Arnold married a daughter of Mr. Thomas Larchin, of H.M. Customs, Wellington, in the year 1887, and has five sons and two daughters.

Mr. and Mrs A. G. Arnold.

Mr. and Mrs A. G. Arnold.

Post Office Hotel (proprietress, Mrs M. A. Mangos; manager, Mr. C. Mangos), Lyell. This hotel has been established for about nineteen years. It contains thirty rooms, including a large billiard room. There is good accommodation, a moderate tariff, and only the best liquors are kept.

Mr. Constantine Mangos is the son of Mrs M. A. Mangos, and manages the Post Office Hotel for his mother. He was born in the year 1880 at Lyell, where he was educated; his father was an old settler in the district, and was engaged in mining on the Buller. Mr. Mangos has established a mining agency, and is agent for the Australian Mutual Provident Society, and agent for Mr. J. J. Lawson, boot importer, Westport. He is a rate collector for the county of Buller, Returning Officer for local elections, and Deputy Returning Officer for parliamentary elections. Mr. Mangos is a member of the Lyell school committee.

Alpine Extended Gold Mining Company, Ltd . Registered office, Maih Street, Lyell. The present company, which is an amalgamation of the United Alpine Company with the Lyell Creek Extended Company, was formed in 1897. Previous to the amalgamation the Alpine Company had yielded many rich returns and paid handsome dividends. The present company has a capital of £25,000 in 50,000 shares of 10s. each. The plant is one of the most complete of its class in New Zealand, and consists of a twenty-head stamper battery. Altogether about sixty persons are constantly employed. The company's property is situated three miles from Lyell township.

Mr. R. W. Shallcrass , formerly manager of the Alpine Extended Gold Mining Company, is a native of Nelson, and was educated at the Nelson College. After leaving college he was employed successively in different offices in Nelson, and was appointed manager of the Alpine Extended Gold Mining Company in August, 1895.

The New Feddersen Gold Dredging Company, Limited . Offices, Reefton; Secretary, Mr. Joseph Steele, Reefton. The dredge of this company (formerly the Feddersen Gold Dredging Company) is on the Buller river about two miles below Lyell. The dredge is solidly built, with pontoons one hundred feet by thirty feet by seven feet. The buckets have a capacity of five and a half feet, and the ladder is capable of dredging to thirty feet. Power is derived from a thirty horse-power boiler by A. and T. Burt, with a sixteen horse-power Marshall engine, and the winches are also worked by a Marshall engine. A dredgemaster and eight other persons are employed.

Mr. William Mollison is Dredgemaster and Engineer of the, New Feddersen dredge, and was born in Arbroath, Scotland, in the year 1856. He followed a seafaring life for many years, and served as an able seaman and boatswain until 1880. In April, 1896, Mr. Mollison gained his certificate as master of a seagoing steamer, and was afterwards for some time captain of the ship “Gertie.” He settled in New Zealand, and obtained a knowledge of dredging in the Grey distriet, and on the Buller river. Mr. Mollison holds a dredgemaster's certificate, and a first-class enginedriver's certificate. He took charge of the Feddersen dredge in September, 1903. Mr. Mollison is married, and has two sons and five daughters.