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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]

Charitable Institutions

Charitable Institutions.

Fortunately, it is not needful to expend very large sums of money in connection with charitable aid in Taranaki, and there is plenty of work for willing workers. Provision, however, is very fully made for the care of those who are sick, or suffering from accidents, and also for those who, having passed the prime of life, need special care in their old age, and have no relatives or friends who are able to perform these duties for them. There is a very fine and well equipped hospital, which occupies a magnificent site, overlooking the town, and near to it is an excellent Old Peoples' Home. They are under the control of the Taranaki Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, which raises funds by levies on counties and boroughs, and thus the public is taxed for these necessary institutions. The funds raised by this means are supplemented by private subscriptions, and the whole amount is subsidised by the General Government. Apart from the two institutions named, the Board undertakes the administration of charitable aid.

The Taranaki Hospital and Charitable Aid Board was established about the year 1880. Members for 1906: Mr. G. Tisch (chairman), and Messrs R. Cock, C. Andrews, J. Burgess, J. Brown, C. O'sullivan, and D. H. McDonald. Mr. C. M. Lepper is the Secretary and Treasurer. The Board controls the administration of the New Plymouth Hospital and Old People's Home, and administers Charitable Aid for the district. Dr. Leathain is Medical Superintendent of the Hospital, and Dr. Walker of the Old People's Home. The revenue of the Board is derived from contributions levied on the local bodies, and from Government subsidies and public subscriptions. The Board's offices are in Brougham Street, New Plymouth.

Mr. Charles Maxwell Lepper, Secretary and Treasurer of the Taranaki Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, is a son of the late Major Maxwell Lepper, after whom the township of Lepperton is named. He was born in Wellington in 1861, educated at Adams' school, New Plymouth, and afterwards gained a thorough knowledge of farming as a cadet on Captain Armstrong's farm, “Tekorangi.” He took charge of Woodlands, his present property, in 1881, and devotes his attention chiefly to dairying. Mr. Lepper has always been prominent in local politics, and has been connected with the Waitara West Road Board, the New Plymouth Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, and the Lepperton school committee for many years. He takes great interest in sporting affairs, is a member of most of the local clubs, and is also a Freemason. Mr. Lepper married a daughter of Captain Armstrong.

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Mr. C. M. Lepper's Residence.

Mr. C. M. Lepper's Residence.

The New Plymouth Hospital occupies a spacious site of ten acres of land, with a frontage to Dawson, Vivian and Fulford Streets. The main building, which is constructed of wood and iron, was erected about the year 1887. It is one storey in height, and a central corridor rums through almost its entire length. A very fine verandah stretches along the tront, and affords a magnificent view of the town of New Plymouth, and the sea beyond. The ends of the verandah are glassed in, for the greater comfort of convalescents. At each end of the building there are two convenient wards; those for men contain seventeen and ten beds respectively, and those for women ten each. A small ward for pneumonia cases contains two beds. There is a very fine dining room for male patients; a commodious kitchen; nurses' dining room, matron's room, and servants' quarters. The surgery, dispensary, and operating room are up-to-date in all respects. There are two cottages for the nurses; one of these, which contains eight rooms, was erected in 1905. There are two wards in the isolated quarters, and an annexe for consumptives was erected in 1905. This has two shelters, each containing four beds, for men and women respectively. In the centre it has an administration department, containing a dining roon, nurses' room, sitting and bathrooms, linen presses and kitchen, A convenient laundry, containing three apartments for washing, drying and ironing, is attached to the hospital. There is a fine tennis court for the use of the nurses and officers; and all the vegetables needed are grown in the hospital gardens. The town water is laid on to the hospital, which is lighted by electricity. The grounds are remarkable for their natural beauty, and for the way in which they are kept; and have, besides the ordinary flower borders and ornamental shrubs, refreshing fountains and artistic lakes. The staff consists of a matron, thirteen nurses, a warder, two housemaids, a cook, laundress, assistant and gardener; and the nurses are employed on the eight hours system.

Dr. Henry Blackburn Leatham, Superintendent of the New Plymouth District Hospital, is further referred to as a medical practitioner in New Plymouth.

Miss Elizabeth Browne was appointed Matron of the New Plymouth Hospital in 1899. She is a native of Belfast, Ireland, and was educated in Auckland, where she arrived in the year 1883. Miss Browne served as a probationer at the Gisborne Hospital, where, after three years, she became head nurse, and served in that position for a similar period. In 1898 Miss Browne came to New Plymouth as senior nurse of the hospital, and was appointed Matron in the following year.

Mr. William Irvine Chinn was appointed Honorary Librarian of the Taranaki Hospital in the year 1893, and was instrumental in the establishment of the library in that institution in the early days. He was born in 1849, in the south of England, where he was educated, and served his time as a bookbinder. In 1869 he left England for New Zealand, in the ship “Ocean Maid,” and landed at Wellington in 1870. Mr. Chinn then went to New Plymouth, and joined the Armed Constabulary Force, with which he served for three years in Taranaki. For a number of years subsequently he was publisher of the “Nelson Evening Mail,” but owing to failure of health returned to New Plymouth, and settled at Inglewood, where he has since carried on business as a painter and paperhanger. In the year 1904, he married a daughter of the late Mr. William Baldwin. of New Plymouth, and relict of Mr. William Crozier, of the 65th Regiment. Mrs Chinn has three sons and four daughters, most of whom are married. Mr. Chinn is further referred to as a painter and decorator at Inglewood.

The New Plymouth Old People's Home is situated on a portion of the Hospital grounds, consisting of about three acres, and was rebuilt in the year 1900. The building is of wood and iron, with a large verandah on three sides, from which fine views are obtained. There are three main corridors, from which the various apartments open. Of the two sick wards, one contains four beds, the other one bed. There are two dining rooms, convenient sitting rooms, a large kitchen, scullery, store room, laundry, and baths, and lavatories. The building is lighted by gas, and supplied with town water, which is also laid on at fire hose at intervals of twenty yards in the corridors. There is accommodation for thirty-eight men and twenty-four women. Each inmate has a separate room comfortably furnished. The building is surrounded with well kept walks, lawns and flower borders, and there are large vegetable gardens, all of which are kept in order by the inmates, under the supervision of the officer in charge.

The Old People's Home, New Plymouth. Collis, photo.

The Old People's Home, New Plymouth. Collis, photo.

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Mr. Arthur Edwin Farrar was appointed Master, and Mrs Farrar Matron, of the New Plymouth Old People's Home in the year 1902. Mr. and Mrs Farrar have both had a very wide experience of institution work, extending over a large number of years, in hospitals and mental hospitals.

Collis, photo.Mr. A. E. Farrar.

Collis, photo.
Mr. A. E. Farrar.