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



Mr. Alexander Lawrence Gordon, a former Mayor of Dannevirke, was born on the Waipori goldfields, Otago, in the year 1869, and was the son of a ship-builder. He was educated at public schools in Oamaru, and afterwards learned the cabinet-making trade in the North Island. In 1886 he established himself in business in Dannevirke, and for many years conducted a successful business as a cabinet-maker and furniture manufacturer, under the style of Messrs A. L. Gordon and Company. Mr. Gordon died in the year 1905, and left a widow and four children.

Mr. William Henderson, who was Mayor of Dannevirke in the second year of the borough's existence, was born in Sunderland, Durham, England, in the year 1852, and is a son of Mr. John Henderson, an early colonist, who came to New Zealand by the ship “Evening Star” in 1858. He was educated at Auckland and Otahuhu, and afterwards entered into farming pursuits with his brother, Mr. Matthew Henderson, in the Manawatu district, where they started a sawmill, and after a successful period transferred their interests to Dannevirke. Mr. Henderson subsequently devoted himself once more to farming; but the project for lighting the town of Dannevirke with gas offered at once fresh scope for his energy and capital, and he established the Dannevirke gas works. He was a member of the Road Board, and subsequently of the Town Board, and was page 544 placed at the head of the poll at the first election of borough councillors, but resigned his seat on initiating his gas-works enterprise. As a member of the Waipawa Licensing Bench, chairman of the Waipawa School Committee, and president of the Progressive Association. Mr. Henderson rendered useful public service, and, as one of the originators of the Dannevirke tennis and bowling clubs, he earned the thanks of his fellow members by laying out and forming the ground. In 1884 he married the daughter of Mr. Friis, farmer, of Norsewood.

Mr. Angus Mackay, the first Mayor of Dannevirke, was born in Pictou. Nova Scotia, in the year 1820, his father having been a builder and farmer from Sutherlandshire, Scotland. He was educated in his native town, and learned the trade of a stonemason and builder. In 1853 he went to Melbourne, Australia, where he carried on building operations until 1865, when he came to New Zealand, in order to erect, in conjunction with Mr. McKenzie, the large wharf at Mokomoko, near Invercargill, at a cost of £30,000. Mr. MacKay was successful in this undertaking, and was afterwards appointed Government inspector for the Panmure bridge, near Auckland, the new Post Office and the Supreme Court, Auckland. He then removed to New South Wales, where he was employed by Messrs Ames Brothers to supervise the construction of the railway between Muswellbrook and Murruranda. In 1873 Mr. MacKay returned to New Zealand to inspect, for Messrs Brogden and Sons, the bridge on the Picton-Blenheim line. He then went to New Plymouth to manage the construction of the line between Sentry Hill and Inglewood for the contractors, Messrs Henderson and Davies. His next move was to Napier, to superintend the construction of the groins in the harbour. Mr. MacKay then entered on bridge building on his own account, his first contract being at Clive, over the Ngaruroro River, and he was subsequently employed as inspector of the railway under construction between Woodville and Matamau. In 1883 Mr. MacKay settled in Dannevirke. He has been a member of the Road Board and the Town Board, and on the formation of the borough was elected first mayor, and was again elected for two subsequent terms. Mr. MacKay was also chairman of the School Committee for several years, was a member of the Domain Board, and was elected to the Licensing Committee at the head of the poll in his own district. He is also an elder of the Presbyterian Church, in which he takes very great interest. In the year 1850 Mr. MacKay married Miss Janet Murray, of Easttown, Nova Scotia, and has an only daughter— Mrs. S. W. Luxford, of Awapuni.

Mr. John James Patterson, who occupied the Mayoral Chair during the year 1905–1906, was born at Collingwood, Melbourne, Australia, on the 6th of January, 1857, and is the only surviving son of Mr. Thomas Patterson. He was educated at the Ballarat public school, Grenville College, and the Ballarat School of Mines, and at the latter institution gained a certificate as a duly qualified mining survevor. He then went to Melbourne University, and in 1874 came to New Zealand, under engagement to the Education Department of the Provincial Government. For some time he was an assistant-master of the Christchurch Normal School, and from 1882 to 1889 was head-master of the Woolston Public School. During this period he studied at Canterbury College, and in 1884 gained his B.A. degree. Mr. Patterson is also a proficient shorthand writer, and, while in Melbourne, was for a time a reporter on the staff of the Melbourne “Herald.” In 1889 he resigned his position as head-master of the Woolston School, and after living for a time in Auckland, settled in Palmerston North, where, in 1896, he gained his law degree. Shortly afterwards he removed to Dannevirke, and has since conducted a successful practice. Mr. Patterson holds the Kensington art master's certificate, and an advanced tonic sol-fa certificate. For six years continuously he has represented the Dannevirke district on the Hawke's Bay Education Board, and in fraternal matters is a Freemason and an Oddfellow. Mr. Patterson is married, and has three sons and three daughters. His eldest son is a medical practitioner, the second is in a banking institution, and the third is a matriculated student following his legal studies.