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



Shannon is a sheep and dairy-farming settlement, on the Manawatu river, sixty-nine miles north by rail from Wellington. The township forms part of the Tokomaru riding of the county of Horowhenua, in the provincial district of Wellington and electorate of Manawatu. The sur- page 704 rounding country is subject to occasional floods. The Makerua swamp, with its extensive areas of low-lying land, lends itself naturally as a basin to receive overflow waters. By systematic drainage the River and Drainage Boards will ultimately overcome this liability to floods, which has had a considerable influence in checking the advancement of the district. Shannon had a population of 506 at the census of 1906, and an additional 337 in the neighbourhood, making a total of 843— considerably more than half the total population of the riding. The public school was founded in the year 1889, and has about 120 children in attendance. The local newspaper, the “Shannon Advocate,” is published by the Horowhenua Publishing Company, Limited, at Levin. It has been a triweekly journal, but the company have arranged to make it a daily paper. There is a post and telegraph office and a telephone bureau, and two mails are received and despatched daily. Shannon has a savings bank, a library, a creamery, and several stores. There are good roads in the district and very good shooting, hares, pheasants, wild pigeons, and ducks being in abundance. Moutoa is a farming centre three miles from Shannon, in the Awahou riding of the county of Manawatu, and has a population of 222. A coach runs daily to and from Shannon and Foxton, via Moutoa.

Shannon Bowling and Lawn Tennis Grounds.

Shannon Bowling and Lawn Tennis Grounds.

Spencer Brothers (E. J. S. Spencer and A. R. Spencer), Builders and Contractors, Shannon. This business was founded in the year 1893 by Mr. Edmund Spencer, and was taken over by the present senior partner in 1899. The firm have erected many buildings in Shannon, including Mr. W. H. Gunning's premises, and the Presbyterian and Anglican churches. They use only the best timber, their workmanship is thoroughly reliable, and six persons are employed in connection with the business.

Mr. Ernest John Stuart Spencer, the senior partner, is the eldest son of Mr. Edmund Spencer, and was born in Wellington in the year 1879. After leaving school he was brought up to the building trade in Shannon, and afterwards worked as a journeyman under his father until the latter retired, when he took over the business. Mr. Spencer takes a keen interest in military matters, and during the South African Boer war he served with the Sixth Contingent. He is an able marksman, and has won the local cup twice out of three contests, his record on the last occasion being 101 points out of a possible 105. He is also a member of the Order of Druids and the tennis club. Mr. Spencer married Miss Newton, of Shannon, in the year 1907, and has one daughter.

Rawle and Company, Clothiers, Mercers, Boot and Shoe Importers, Ballance Street, Shannon. This business was established in the year 1907. It is conducted in a well-fitted shop, in which a large and varied stock of men's and boys' ready-made clothing, mercery, and boots and shoes is maintained. A specialty is made of boys' clothing, the Roslyn underclothing, and the celebrated “Zealandia” boots and shoes. The firm hold the agency for the Norwich Union Fire Assurance Company.

Mr. Alfred Rawle was born in Parkhurst, Isle of Wight, in April, 1870, was educated at Fleetwood, Lancashire, and then apprenticed to the drapery trade under Messrs. Frisby and Dyke, in Liverpool. Four years later he went to London, where he was employed successively by Messrs. Debenham and Freebody, Lewis and Allenby, James Shoolbred and Company, and Hitchcock, Williams and Company. In the year 1895 he came to New Zealand, and found employment with Messrs. Milne and Choyce, of Auckland, but two years later removed to Palmerston North, and entered the drapery department of the United Farmers' Co-operative Association. He removed to Shannon in the year 1905, and was employed for a short time by Mr. W. H. Gunning, prior to starting business on his own account. Mr. Rawle is secretary of the local lodge of Druids, the Shannon Bowling and Lawn Tennis Club, the Shannon Hack Racing Club, the Shannon Public Library, and holds the position of secretary to the school committee, cricket club, and the football club. He married Miss F. Johnston, of Otahuhu, Auckland, and has two children.

The Albion Hotel (T. A. Sowman, proprietor), Shannon. This hostelry is a large two-storeyed wooden building, and contains forty-two rooms. The rooms on the ground floor include three sitting rooms, a dining room (with accommodation for forty-five persons), and a well-appointed bar. The first floor contains fifteen bedrooms, a bathroom, and a comfortable sitting room. The best brands of liquors are kept, and a good table is maintained.

Mr. Thomas Arthur Sowman, proprietor of the Albion Hotel, was born in Nelson in the year 1865. He was educated in Nelson and Blenheim, and was then apprenticed to the hair-dressing trade, which he followed for twenty-two years, chiefly in Wellington, where for some years he conducted a business on his own account. In 1904 he entered the hotelkeeping trade, and conducted the Manakau page 705 Hotel and the Eketahuna Hotel, prior to taking over the Albion Hotel. Mr. Sowman has been a Freemason since 1896, is a steward in the local racing club, vice-president of the cricket club, and a member of the Order of Druids.

Bunting, photo.Mr. A. Rawle.

Bunting, photo.
Mr. A. Rawle.

Carter, Samuel William, Butcher and Farmer, Shannon. This business was established by the present proprietor. The premises are up-to-date in every respect, and a good trade is conducted with the surrounding districts. A fine farm of 600 acres, on which sheep and cattle farming is carried on, is conducted in conjunction with the business. Mr. Carter was born at Moutoa, Manawatu, and is the son of an old Cornish settler. He was educated at Moutoa, and afterwards worked for his father until twenty years of age, when he joined his brothers in dairy-farming and flax-milling. Five years later he started on his own account at Shannon, and has since been very successful. He married Miss Fanny Cumberland, daughter of Mr. William Cumberland, of Wanganui, and has two sons and one daughter.

Gunning. William Henry . Manawatu Stores, Shannon. This business was established by Mr. Powell, and was subsequently acquired by the present proprietor in conjunction with Mr. Kiddle. Twelve months later, however, Mr. Gunning bought Mr. Kiddle's interest. The business has since greatly increased, and is now one of the largest county stores in the district; a bakery has been added, and a branch store established at Tokomaru. Mr. Gunning was born in the year 1857, near War-minster. Wiltshire, England, was educated at Frome, in Somersetshire, and in 1886 came to New Zealand. He landed in Auckland, and afterwards proceeded to Wellington. Mr. Gunning entered the employment of Mr. David Anderson, of Wellington, with whom he remained for fourteen years, and subsequently became manager of the tea department. He then left New Zealand, went to British Columbia, North America, and opened a store at the Yukon gold-fields. The climate, however, proved unfavourable, and Mr. Gunning and his family decided to return to the Colony. He finally settled at Shannon, where he has since conducted a very succesful business. In 1891 Mr. Gunning married a daughter of Mr. James Boys, surveyor, of Timaru, and has four sons and three daughters.

The Manawatu Supply Stores.

The Manawatu Supply Stores.

The Shannon Land and Saw-Milling Company Limited was established in July, 1906, when it took over the landed interests of the Campbell Land and Timber Company. These comprise 5,023 acres of virgin forest in the Waiopehu and Mt. Robinson survey districts. The timber area is about 4,500 acres, consisting of rimu, totara, birch, and hinau. In April 1907, the company erected the Tepaki mill, which consists of a wood and iron building, situated six miles from Shannon. It contains a complete up-to-date plant of milling machinery, driven by a twenty-horse power stationary steam engine. The timber, after leaving the mill, is drawn up the mountain side a distance of twenty-three chains, by a powerful steam hauler, and is lowered on the other side of the hill, and brought to Shannon on a tramway. The planing sheds are situated close to the railway station, and the office of the company is in the township. The output of the mill is 10,000 feet of timber per day, and forty persons are employed in connection with the business. The directors of the company are: Messrs. A. A. S. Menteath (Wellington), J. R. Stansell (Shannon), J. Peterson (Shannon), and J. H. Schmidt, managing director.

Mr. John Henry Schmidt, Managing Director of the Shannon Land and Saw-milling Company Limited, was born at Makotuku, Hawke's Bay, in July, 1872, and was educated at the public schools. He afterwards spent a few years on sheep stations, then turned his attention to the saw-milling industry, and found employment at Makotuku and Dannevirke for six years. He then went to Waikanae, and soon afterwards was placed in charge of Mr. Campbell's mill at Makarau, where he remained for three years. This mill was removed to Shannon, and Mr. Schmidt bought and conducted it on his own account for three years, when the Shannon Land and Saw-milling Company Limited acquired his interests. In the year 1898 he married Miss Josephine Olsen, of Danne- page 706 virke, and has two sons and one daughter.