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

Fuel Trade

Fuel Trade.

Neilson, Robert, Wood and Coal Merchant, East Town, near Wanganui. This business was established in the year 1905. The premises consist of a large store-house, with an office, 40 feet by 20 feet, and an extensive yard. A large stock of coal is kept, and a good supply of firewood. A considerable business is also done in produce and fencing materials. Mr Neilson was born in New Zealand in the year 1864, and was educated both at private and public schools. For several years he was employed with survey parties in different parts of the Dominion, and subsequently followed dairy and sheep farming in the Wanganui district for some years, before establishing his present business. Mr Neilson has always taken a keen interest in public affairs, and for twenty years has been a member of the Wanganui County Council, of which he was for seven years chairman; has been chairman of the local Road Board from its inception; is a member of the Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, the River Trust, the Harbour Board, the Agricultural Association, the Farmers' Union, the Caledonian Society, and the School Committee, of which he was chairman for some years. Mr Neilson is married, and has two sons and nine daughters.

The New Zealand State Coal Depot, Churton Street, Wanganui; Offices, St. Hill Street, near the Borough Council Chambers. This depot was established in Wanganui in the year 1907. Coal is delivered at the yard by a railway siding, and the large supply maintained is drawn from the Government mines at Westport and Greymouth. The coal is sold for cash, and is delivered to all parts of the town by a well-equipped plant. The office is connected with the telephone exchange, and also by a private wire with the depot.

Mr Francis Arthur Nalder, Manager of the State Coal Depot at Wanganui, has been in charge since the opening of the office. He has had ten years' experience in Wanganui, and was formerly manager of the Wanganui Coal, Produce, and Carrying Company. Mr Nalder was born in Nelson, where he was educated, and entered the Customs Department, where he remained for five years before removing to Wanganui.

page 607
Deuton, photo.New Zealand State Coal Depot.

Deuton, photo.
New Zealand State Coal Depot.

The Westport Coal Company, Limited (R. Mathison, manager), St. Hill Street, Wanganui. This branch was established in the “eighties,” prior to which there had been an agency carried on by Mr John Rendell. The business was first conducted on Taupo Quay, but the present buildings in St Hill Street were taken over in 1902. The premises occupy a site of half an acre, and consist of a large general office, the manager's private office, a storage room, an engine room (with a four and a half-horse power gas engine), large stables, and a commodious coal and wood yard. A large stock of coal and wood is carried, including Coalbrookdale, Puponga, Mokan, and Newcastle coals; and rata, matai, and tawa wood, cut into lengths of eight inches, sixteen inches, and two feet. The Wanganui branch controls the firm's business between New Plymouth and Foxton; the coal is distributed from five ports: Wanganui, Foxton, Patea, New Plymouth, and Waitara; and there are three depots: Wanganui, Palmerston, and New Plymouth. The company has two steamers, the s.s. “Canopus,” and the s.s. “Regulus.” The latter was built specially for the Wanganui trade, and is 175 feet in length, and has a beam of twenty-nine feet, is of exceptionally light draught, and is fitted up with most efficient collier appliances.

Mr Robert Mathison, branch manager of the Westport Coal Company, Limited, was born in Dumbarton, Scotland, in the year 1873, and is a son of the late Mr James Mathison, chief engineer of the s.s. “Hauroto.” In 1883 he came to New Zealand, with his parents, and was educated at the Albany Street School, Dunedin, and the Otago Boys' High School. He then spent some time at civil engineering under Mr L. O. Beal, of Dunedin, and in 1889 joined the service of the Westport Coal Company. After spending about nine years in Dunedin, latterly as assistant accountant, he was promoted in 1898 to the management of the Wanganui branch. Mr Mathison is a past master of the local lodge of Freemasons, and a member of the Orchestral Society, the Liedertafel Society, and the Bowling Club. He is married, and has one son and one daughter.