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

Ex Councillors

Ex Councillors.

Mr. William Arthur Beecroft, formerly a member of the Hastings Borough Council, was born in Lowestoft. England, and came to New Zealand in the year 1865, by the ship “Liverpool,” He landed at Auckland, and for a short time after his arrival was engaged in gum-digging. In 1866 he went to Napier, and then visited the Thames in the early days of the field. Two years later Mr. Beecroft returned to Napier, and was appointed salesman and manager to Messrs Kinross and Company, merchants, and remained with the firm for eight years. In 1877 Mr. Beecroft removed to Hastings, and purchased the Railway Hotel. Subsequently he established and conducted for many years one of the largest and most complete livery stables in Hawke's Bay. During the visit of the viceregal party to Hastings. His Excellency the Governor specially complimented Mr. Beecroft on the style of his laundaus and general turnout on that occasion. He also took first prize at the Palmerston Agricultural and Pastoral Show, for four years in succession, for the best pair of carriage horses. Mr. Beecroft owns the Lucknow estate at Havelock, on which he has built a residence known as “Dilkhoosha.” He has been a successful breeder of Shropshire sheep, and has won first and champion prizes with his exhibits at the local agricultural and pastoral shows. Mr Beecroft took part in all matters associated with the advancement of Hastings, was a member of the Heretaunga Road Board until the district was taken over by the County Council, and was a member of the Hastings Borough Council in 1894. He is a Freemason, was lodge secretary for two years, and claims to be the father of the Foresters in Hawke's Bay, having called the first meeting of the Order, at Napier in 1871.

Mr. William Young Dennett first entered the Hastings Borough Council in the year 1898, in the following year was elected Mayor, and has five times since occupied the civic chair. He was born in Hobart, Tasmania on the 4th of October, 1845, and spent some years on the Victorian gold-fields. In the early “sixties” he took part in the rush to the Otago diggings, and, later, joined the A troop of the Colonial Defence Force, under Captain Lassier, and proceeded to Hawke's Bay, where he was stationed at Peka Peka, and other military posts. Soon afterwards Mr. Dennett enlisted in the Napier militia, saw active service at Omaranui, and in other engagements, and for some years subsequently was a member of the Napier Rifles. He was afterwards engaged in survey work on the coast between Napier and Gisborne, and then started a cab service between Napier and the Spit. He then took over, the Central Hotel in Napier, and was afterwards manager of the Masonic Hotel. He subsequently engaged in hotel-keeping at Havelock North, and, later, in Hasting, where he built the Albert Hotel, and then conducted the Carlton Club Hotel. Mr. Dennett finally established himself as an auctioneer, financial, insurance, land, and general commission agent, and has been appointed agent for the State Fire Insurance, and is Registrar of Electors. He is a life Governor of the Napier Hospital, has been for many years a member of the Hawke's Bay United Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, a director of the Hawke's Bay and Star-Bowkett Building Societies, a trustee of various Friendly Societies, a trustee of the Hastings Technical School, and a
Brown and Ross, photo,Mr. W. Y. Dennett.

Brown and Ross, photo,
Mr. W. Y. Dennett.

page 450 staunch supporter of the Church of the Sacred Heart. Mr. Dennett is married, and has, surviving, five children, one daughter being married to Mr. A. L. D. Fraser, M.H.R.

Mr. Cecil Augustus Fitzroy was a member of the Hastings Borough Council at its inception, and was Mayor for four years. During his term of office a system of surface drainage, involving an expenditure of £5,000 was undertaken. Mr. Fitz-Roy was born in Norfolk, England, and was educated at Eton and Cambridge. He went to Australia in the year 1867, afterwards came to New Zealand, and took up land in Canterbury, where he was engaged in sheep-farming for twelve years. Mr. Fitz-Roy then removed to the North Island, has since resided on his property, “Ringstead,” near Hastings, and has taken an active part in public affairs. For several years he represented Selwyn in the House of Representatives. He was one of the first members of the Selwyn County Council, has been a member of the Hawke's Bay Education Board, was a member of the Hospital and Charitable Aid Board for some considerable time, is a member of the Hawke's Bay Agricultural and Pastoral Society, and has taken an active part in acclimatisation work. Mr. Fitz-Roy married Miss Beetham, of the Hutt, and has two sons and two daughters.

Mr. Charles Hughes, J.P., formerly a member of the Borough Council of Hastings, is a grandson of the late Colonel James Hughes, who fought at the Battle of Waterloo, and settled afterwards in Victoria. Mr. Hughes was born in Fitzroy, Melbourne, in the year 1850, and was brought up by his grandfather, who articled him to a firm of architects. Not liking the profession, he entered the service of Mr. W. S. Cox, pork butcher, Bourke Street, Melbourne, with whom he served for five years as an apprentice. After serving his time he went to the Spring Creek “rush” for a short time, when he joined a meat preserving factory, in which he was employed for five years. In 1868 he came to New Zealand, landing at Dunedin, but continued his journey to Oamaru, where he found employment in the meat preserving works for two years. He then started business for himself, and about three years after wards made arrangements to proceed to Melbourne by the ill-fated “Tararua,” but owing to some changes in his plans he had to forego his intended journey, and came to Wellington, a fortunate change for him, as the “Tararua” was lost with nearly all hands. In Wellington he entered the service of Mr. Gear, remained with him three years, and in 1883 removed to Hastings, and started a business which he afterwards sold to Messrs Nelson Brothers, Mr. Hughes then proceeded to Masterton, where he bought an old-established business, which he carried on for three years, then returned to Hastings in 1894, Mr. Hughes has been fortunate in his speculations, and is the owner of considerable house property in Hastings. He takes a keen interest in politics, and has been a strong supporter of the Ballance Government and its successors. He is a member of the Hibernian and Druid societies, and was formerly a member of the licensing committee. In Masterton he was a member of the borough council, after defeating a candidate who had been member for fourteen years. Mr. Hughes was first returned to the Hastings Borough Council in 1886, and re-elected an 1895. He married the daughter of Mr. John Bridgeman, of Knockfinney, Ballingarry, County Limerick, Ireland, and has an only son.

Mr. Donald McLeod, J.P., formerly a member of the Hastings Borough Council, was born in Cape Bretón, Nova Scotia, in the year 1843. He left that Colony with his father and family for New Zealand, in 1859, by the barque “Ellen Lewis” (330 tons), and landed in Auckland in 1860. He worked for nearly fourteen years in the Auckland province, engaged in carpentering, bridge and ship-building, bush-felling, pit-sawing, and other pursuits, a considerable portion of this time being spent at Waipu, Omaha, and Whangarci. In 1873 Mr. McLeod removed to Gisborne, and was engaged in building the first Masonic Hotel in that town. In the following year he settled in Hawke's Bay, where for a number of years he was engaged in house and bridge-building. He erected Mr. Sydney Johnston's beautiful residence at Takapan, and at Waipukurau—where he resided for six years—he built the Angliean Church, town hall, and other buildings, and also Mr. Bridge's flour mill at Onga Onga. In 1881 he removed to Hastings, where he was engaged in the house building trade, and in 1887, in conjunction with Mr. Knight, started a saw-mill at Tahoraite, which was carried on for about four years, during which time he was a member of the Dannevirke Road Board and School Committee. Returning to Hastings in 1891, he started in business in 1893 as a timber merchant, and purchased the Makotuku saw-mill, which was burnt down early in 1896, but was re-erected at Waikopiro in the same year. Mr. McLeod was elected to the first Hastings Borough Council in 1887, retired in 1888, was reelected in 1892, and retired in 1895. In 1878 he married Miss Isabella Coghill, of Bower, Caithness, Scotland, and has, surviving, one son.

Mr. Samuel Thomas Tong, formerly a member of the Hastings Borough Council, has been connected with local politics for many years. He was a member of the old town board, and was a member of the school committee for fifteen years. Mr. Tong was born in Falmouth, England, where he was educated and page 451 brought up to the building trade under Messrs Olver and Sons, with whom he reamained for thirteen years. In 1872 he went to New York, and spent four years in the United States. Returning to England in 1876, he decided to come to New Zealand and join his parents, and after a stormy voyage in the ship “Brodrick Castle,” during which the vessel was dismantled in the Bay of Biscay, arrived safely in Auckland. For some time Mr. Tong was in business in that city, and then removed to Hamilton and Cambridge. He settled in Hastings in 1878, and established his present flourishing business. He promoted the local fire bridgade in 1882, and was captain and fire inspector for twelve years. Mr. Tong is a Freemason, and has held office as J.W., and was also P.P.G.M. in the Order of Oddfellows. He has been a very successful rifle shot, and won many prizes whilst a member of the Hastings Rifles. Mr. Tong is married, and has five daugthers and three sons.

Mr. Robert Wellwood, formerly a member of the Hastings Borough Council, has been connected with local affairs for many years. He was chairman of the old town board before the town wss formed into a borough, a member of the borough council at its incpetion, having been the first mayor, and filled the civie chair for three years in succession. Mr. Wellwood has been an energetic supporter of all progressive movements for the welfare of the town, such as drainage, and the formation of streets and footpaths. He was born in Ireland, and came to Wellington in the ship “Queen of the Avon,” in the year 1859. He subsequently visited the Otago and Hokitika diggings, and then removed to Hawke's Bay, where for two years he managed Mr. J. William's estate. He then took up the land on which he resided until he acquired his present property in 1887, which consists of 450 acres of good pastoral country. Mr. Wellwood devotes his chief attention to grazing and stock-dealing. He has been connected with the local Masonic lodge for many years, and has held office as W.M. Mr. Wellwood has been twice married, and has nine children.