The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]
The Stratford Electric Supply Company, Limited, was established in the year 1899. Directors for 1906: Mr. R. H. Cameron (chairman), and Messrs F. J. Steuart, G. E. Wilson, N. J. King, A. W. Reid, and S. H. James. Mr. W. J. Newton is engineer, and Mr. J. H. Thompson, secretary. There is a capital of £5000, and there were dividends at the rate of eight per cent, in 1904. and five per cent, in the years 1905 and 1906. The works, which were the first established in Taranaki, and the first, outside Wellington city, to supply public lighting by electricity in the North Island, are situated on the Patea river, about three-quarters of a mile east of the town boundary. The plant includes two Brown Boverie alternators single phase forty cycles, each driven by twin turbines of Swiss manufacture. The current leaves the station at 2200 volts, and is transformed in the town to 100 volts. The capacity of the plant (1906) is ninety kilowats. The company runs a night load only, but it is intended shortly to supply a day load for motors.
Mr. Walter Joseph Newton entered the service of the Stratford Electric Supply Company's service in August, 1902, and was appointed chief engineer in February, 1903. He was born in the year 1850, at Tunbridge Wells, England, and was educated partly in his native place, and partly in Sweden. Mr. Newton served an apprenticeship in fitting and turning in his father's workshop, after which he became a partner. Disposing of the business in Sweden, Mr. Newton returned to England in the end of 1872, and in 1874 came to New Zealand, landing in Dunedin. In 1887 he removed to Wellington, and for about three years was in charge of the industrial branch of the New Zealand Equitable Fire and Life Assurance Society. He afterwards became a member of the firm of Gaby and Newton, engineers, Wellington, and commenced the systematic manufacture of split pulleys, bearings, etc. After dissolving partnership, he went into business as a practical electrician, and was a co-patentee of the “Pononga Electric Belt.” In January, 1897, he was appointed assistant engineer at the Porirua Asylum, and held the position until August, 1902. In 1871 Mr. Newton married a daughter of the late Mr. Carl Johan Scherstrom, of Stockholm, and has one son.
Mr. W. J. Newton.