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

Civic Institutions

Civic Institutions.

The Palmerston North Volunteer Fire Brigade, The central station is in Coleman Place, in the Square, and there is a sub-station at Terrace End. The central station is a two-storeyed building, containing a library, reading room, and a club room, with a caretaker's residence at the rear. The Brigade is well furnished with up-to-date appliances, and there is an ample supply of water. There is a membership of twenty-five.

Mr. Albert Tingey, Superintendent of the Palmerston North Fire Brigade, has been a member for twenty-five years. He first joined the brigade in the year 1883 as lieutenant, four years later was elected superintendent, and during his term of twenty-five years has devoted himself with untiring zeal to the interests of the fire brigade. Mr. Tingey was born in Hackney, England, in the year 1863, and came to New Zealand at an early age. He was educated in Auckland, afterwards entered the employment of Messrs. R. and E. Tingey, of Wanganui, and four years later opened the local branch. In 1905 page 666 this business was formed into a limited liability company, and Mr. A. Tingey was appointed managing director for Palmerston North. Mr. Tingey was for three years a member of the Palmerston North Borough Council, and is a member of various social clubs. He is married, and has two daughters.

Bunting, photo, Superintendent A. Tingey.

Bunting, photo,
Superintendent A. Tingey.

The Palmerston North Opera House, which is the property of the municipality, is situated in Church Street East, close to the Square, and is a massive two storeyed brick building with ferroconcrete facings and concrete foundations. It was designed by Mr.F. J. Wilson, erected by Messrs. Trevor and Sons, of Wellington and Palmerston North, and was formally opened in July, 1905. The Opera House and Municipal Hall, on the ground and first floor respectively, are the principal divisions of the building; the former has accommodation for 1,300 people, and the latter for about 700. The Opera House is a model of its kind, and nothing has been spared in making it thoroughly up-to-date. The dress circle (with seating accommodation for 413 persons) is furnished with the latest pattern opera chairs, upholstered in red leather; whilst the reserved stalls are upholstered in green leather. The stage is sixty-four feet deep, with a clear space of forty-seven feet, there are nine dressing rooms, and the theatre is provided with a considerable amount of scenery. The building has several separate entrances and exits, and five functions may be conducted simultaneously and yet quite independently of one another. It is at present lighted with gas, but an installation of electric light is projected for the near future.

Mr. Harry P. Muller, Manager of the Palmerston North Opera House, was born at Pleasant Point, near Timaru, in March, 1882, and at an early age removed with his parents to Palmerston North. He was educated at the Central School (afterwards known as the Campbell Street School), and then entered the office of Mr. E. O. Hurley, barrister and solicitor, for whom he afterwards became managing clerk. After studying law for six years Mr. Muller entered the theatrical profession as manager of the old Theatre Royal. He soon afterwards resigned this position to join Mr. R. S. Smythe as treasurer and assistant manager of the Rev. Charles Clark's lecturing tour, and subsequently managed the Australasian tours of other important companies, including those of “Banjo” Paterson, Madame Dolores, Harry Rickard's No. 2 Star Company, Dix's Gaiety Companies, and others, until receiving his present appointment. Mr. Muller takes a keen interest in all kinds of sport, and is secretary to the Manawatu Rugby Union, as well as being a member of various local clubs.

The Palmerston North Cemetery is situated on the main Palmerston-Ashhurst Road, about two miles from the post office. In the early days of settlement seven acres were set apart for the purposes of a cemetery, which is now under the control of the Borough Council. The grounds are well laid out with asphalted walks and flower beds, and surrounded by macrocarpa and cypress trees. There is a small section set aside, where comparatively free burial is provided, and the remainder is divided between the various religious denominations. The sexton's residence is on the north-east corner of the cemetery, on a hill, with the slope in front laid out with flowers and shrubs.

Mr. John Richard Meredith, caretaker of the Palmerston North Cemetery, took up his duties in the year 1902. He was born in Geraldine, South Canterbury, in October, 1867, was educated and brought up to general manual work in Melbourne, and then returned to New Zealand. For five years he was engaged as a farm assistant at Winton, Otago, afterwards worked for seven years in Canterbury, and then removed to the North Island. Mr. Meredith followed sheep station life until he was appointed to his present position. He is married, and has two daughters.