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

Borough Of Stratford

Borough Of Stratford.

The Stratford Borough Council was constituted on the 1st of August, 1898. Stratford has an area of 1920 acres, with a population of 2126, as disclosed by the census taken in April, 1906. The capital value of property in the borough is £354,000; and the unimproved value, £191,000. The rating is carried out on the basis of the unimproved value, and the general rate of 2⅜d in the pound. Special rates, aggregating one penny and seven-tenths of a penny in the pound, are struck to provide interest on various loans.

Water and Drainage.

Stratford is particularly fortunate in its water and drainage schemes, as an inexhaustible supply of water is obtained by means of filtration tunnels sunk under the bed of the Patea river, which rises at the base of Mount Egmont, some nine miles away. The drainage of the borough is on the septic tank principle, and is a striking testimony to the thoroughness of the bacteriological system for the disposal of sewage. As both water and drainage schemes are carried out by means of gravitation, the cost of upkeep is practically nil. The average pressure of the water service is 100lb to the square inch. The work of installing both schemes was designed and carried out by Mr. H. W. Climie, C.E., the Council's Engineer.


The Council possesses a large number of municipal reserves, which produce a revenue that is annually increasing. The town is also fortunate in the possession of several domains, the largest of which is King Edward's Park, fifty acres, and Victoria Park, twenty acres in extent. The former is used chiefly for hockey and golf, whilst the latter is the principal ground for football and cricket and other sports.

Town Hall.

The Town Hall, situated in Juliet Street, is a commodious building capable of seating 800 persons. It is lighted throughout by electricity, and has every accommodation and convenience for theatrical performances, dances and other entertainments. The municipal buildings are situated in the centre of the town, on a valuable reserve. The lower portion of the building is at present (1906) divided into four large shops, from which a revenue is derived by the Council. The upper portion consists of the Council Chamber, the Town Clerk's room and other offices, the Public Library and Reading Room.


The municipal abattoirs are situated about two miles and a-half out of the town, and stand in an area of thirty-two acres, sub-divided into six paddocks, which are let to butchers at a yearly rental of £10 each. The cost of the land, buildings, slaughterman's cottage, yards, etc., has been £4,300, which was obtained from the Colonial Treasury at 3½ per cent., one per cent. of which goes to provide a sinking fund. As the annual charges on the loan are met out of revenue derived from the slaughtering fees and paddock rents, the ratepayers are in the position of having an extremely useful institution, which will become their own property in forty-one years, when the loan expires, without any extra burden whatever being laid on their shoulders.

Street Lighting.

The streets of Stratford are well lighted by means of electricity; and the lamps, fifty-five in number, burn from sunset to sunrise, the year round.

Fire Brigade and Public Library.

A well equipped and up-to-date fire station is situated in the centre of the town, and there is a smaller station south of the Patea, river. The Public Library and Reading Room in the Municipal Buildings are open to the public daily, free of cost, from 9.30 a.m. to 9.30 p.m. A regular supply of the latest literature is received each month.


Stratford possesses two cemeteries, one within the borough, five acres in extent, and another, about three miles outside on the Ohura road, ten acres in extent. The old cemetery will page 166 shortly be closed, and all interments will then be made in the new cemetery, which is known as Kopuatama, and is situated at the junction of the Kahouri and Patea rivers.

The Council.

The members of the Council, who hold office till 1907, are Messrs N. J. King (Mayor), D. J. Malone, H. L. Betts, A. B. Blackett, H. N. Liardet, R. McK. Morison, P. F. Ralfe, R. H. Robinson, G. Sangster and S. A. Ward. The officers of the Council are: Town Clerk and Treasurer, E. F. Hemingway; Assistant, W. Whitlock; Borough Solicitor, T. C. Fookes; Borough Engineer, H. W. Climie; Sanitary Inspector, F. B. Gardner; Ranger and Town Hall Custodian, C. J. Wickham; Abattorr Manager, G. Thomson.

His Worship The Mayor, Mr. Nathaniel John King, was elected Mayor, of Stratford in April, 1903, and again in the years 1904–5–6. He was born in 1860, in Bedford, England, where he was educated, and brought up to the trade of a builder. He came to New Zealand in 1879, and landed in Auckland by the ship “May Queen.” In 1888 Mr. King went to Melbourne, Australia, where he gained four years' experience, and returned to New Zealand in 1892. He finally settled in Stratford, where he established his present business. Mr. King has been a member and chairman of the Stratford school committee, and has been a member of the Stratford Borough Council since its inception. In 1881 he married a daughter of the late Mr. J. B. Lawrence, of Auckland, and has two sons and one daughter.

Councillor Robert McKinney Morison was one of the first members of the Stratford Borough Council, and, except for two years, has served continuously since its inception. He was born in the year 1862 at Mahurangi, where he was educated, and gained his first experience of nursery work. In 1880, Mr. Morison settled at Ngaire, where he took up 130 acres of land. This property he farmed for a number of years, and was one of the promoters, and for several years a director, of the now famous Ngaire Co-operative Dairy Factory. Mr Morison has been a member of the Egmont Licensing Committee for three years, has been a member of the Stratford school committee, and now represents the Borough Council on the Technical School committee. He has also been a member of the Library Committee since its establishment. In 1886 Mr. Morison married a daughter of Mr. Thomas Drake, of New Plymouth, and has one son and five daughters. He is further referred to as the proprietor of “The Nurseries.”

McAllister, photo.Councillor R. McKinney Morison.

McAllister, photo.
Councillor R. McKinney Morison.

Councillor Pilcher Frederick Ralfe was elected a member of the Stratford Borough Council in the year 1902. He was born in Sheerness, Kent, England, and was educated at King William College, Isle of Man. He afterwards followed a seafaring life for seven years, and was also engaged in farming in the Old Country for about five years. In 1851 he went to Australia, and in the year 1862 came to New Zealand, and settled in Canterbury, where he carried on farming for some years. Mr. Ralfe subsequently removed to Taranaki, and settled in Stratford in 1871. Later, he acquired 500 acres of land at Cardiff, which is now (1906) farmed by his son. Mr. Ralfe has been a member of the Ngaire Road Board, the Stratford County Council, the New Plymouth Harbour Board, and other local bodies. In 1866 he married a daughter of the late Mr. Charles Bates, of Banks Peninsula, and has three sons and one daughter. He is further referred to as secretary of the Stratford Bacon Curing Company, Limited.

Councillor Sidney Arthur Ward was elected a member of the Stratford Borough Council in April, 1903. He was born in the year 1878, at New Plymouth, and is the youngest son of Mr. J. Ward, J.P. He was educated at New Plymouth, and afterwards learned the ironmongery trade with his brother, Mr. H. Ward, with whom he continued until starting on his own account at Stratford in May, 1899. Mr. Ward has been secretary of the Stratford Municipal Band for some time, and is a member of the Stratford Chamber of Commerce. As a Freemason, he is Junior Warden of Lodge Stratford, No. 75, New Zealand Constitution, and is a member of the Loyal Stratford Lodge, Independent Order of Oddfellows, Manchester Unity. In 1900, Mr. Ward married a daughter of Mr. William Doughty, an old resident of Stratford, and has two sons and one daughter. Mr. Ward, who is a Justice of the Peace, is further referred to as a member of the firm of S. Ward and Co.

McAllister, photo.Councillor S. A. Ward.

McAllister, photo.
Councillor S. A. Ward.

Councillor Herbert Llewellyn Betts was elected a member of the Stratford Borough Council in April, 1905. He was born in the year 1869, at Brighton, England, and at an early age came to New Zealand with his parents. He was educated at Southbrook, North Canterbury, and in 1884 removed to Okaiawa, Taranaki. He then entered the employment of the Hawera Star, and four years later was appointed accountant, a position which he held for thirteen years. In the year 1901 he went to Stratford, where he had acquired a stationery, bookselling, and fancy goods business in Broadway. Mr. Betts is vice-president of the Stratford Tradesmen's Association, and secretary of the Stratford Bowling Club. In 1892 he married a daughter of Mr. W. Sanson, of St. Albans, Christchurch, and has two sons. Mr. Betts is further referred to as a bookseller and stationer.

page 167

Councillor Robert Henry Robinson was elected a member of the Stratford Borough Council in April, 1905. He was born at North Allerton, Yorkshire, England, in the year 1853, but came to New Zealand with his parents when he was ten years of age, and landed in Auckland. Mr. Robinson was educated at the Old Wesley College, Upper Queen Street, and was afterwards apprenticed to the drapery business under Messrs S. and J. R. Vaile. Shortly after completing his term he went to Napier, and resided there for twenty-five years. He established a business in Napier, which he conducted successfully for nearly twenty years. With a view to further advancement, and to keeping his family around him, Mr. Robinson removed in 1898 to Stratford, where he acquired and built up a large business. Mr. Robinson takes a keen interest in local affairs, and is president of the Stratford Tradesmen's Association, a very live organisation. He married in 1875, and has five sons and three daughters. Mr. Robinson is further referred to as a draper.

McAllister, photo.Councillor R. H. Robinson.

McAllister, photo.Councillor R. H. Robinson.

Mr. Edward Fredric Hemingway, Town Clerk and Treasurer of the borough of Stratford, comes of an old Yorkshire family, though he spent the greater part of his early life in the South of England, and was educated at the Sutton Valence Grammar School, near Maidstone, Kent. He landed in New Zealand in 1892, and removed to Taranaki the following year. Mr. Hemingway has been closely identified with municipal matters since 1896, and has occupied the position of Town Clerk since February, 1902.

Mr. R. H. Kivell, Captain of the Stratford Volunteer Fire Brigade, is a son of the late Mr. H. Kivell, a well known colonist, and was born and educated in New Plymouth. He was brought up to farming, and was for some time with Mr. H. R. Hulke, of Bell Block. Subsequently he learned his trade as a saddler under Mr. Cunningham, with whom he remained for four years; later on, he was employed by Mr. Henderson, of Hawera. He returned to New Plymouth in 1889, and entered the service of Mr. Harris Ford. About three years later, he opened the Stratford branch of his business, of which he has since continued in charge. Mr. Kivell has always taken an active interest in fire brigades; he has filled his present position for several years, and done much to place, the Stratford Brigade in its present flourishing condition. He has been a prominent athlete, represented the district in the football field against England in the year 1886, and is handicapper for the Taranaki district for athletic sports. As a member of the Ancient Order of Foresters, Mr. Kivell has held office as Past District Chief Ranker, and in Hawera was instrumental in forming Court Egmont, of which he was for some years secretary.