The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 6 (October 1, 1930)
Mr. Gavin Wilson, who has had a long and distinguished career in the Mechanical Engineering Branch of the Railways Department, retired on superannuation a few weeks ago after completing forty years’ service. On the eve of his retirement he was met by a large gathering of officers and members of the Locomotive and Mechanical Branches at Wellington, and presented with a gold lever watch, suitably inscribed, as a token of the high esteem in which he was held by his fellow members in the Railway service.
On making the presentation, Mr. E. T. Spidy, in the course of his remarks, expressed regret that Mr. Wilson was severing his connection with the service in which he had served so long and so honourably. Mr. Wilson's experience, gained during a period of forty years, was invaluable to the Department, and his retirement was a distinct loss to the service. He hoped Mr. Wilson would live many years to enjoy his well-earned rest.
Other officers spoke in similar terms and paid a tribute to Mr. Wilson's devotion to the highest interests of the Department, to his ever ready assistance on all occasions and to his charming personality.
On rising to respond, Mr. Wilson was greeted with applause. He recalled many interesting incidents throughout the long period of his service with the Department and expressed regret that the gathering of his fellow officers on that occasion marked the termination of his official career. He made reference to his always pleasant relationship with members of the staff and felt that he was leaving the service with their genuine regard and good wishes. This would always be a precious memory. The gift which he accepted feelingly would be treasured as a reminder of his happy association with the Railways Department.
Mr. Wilson is the youngest son of the late Mr. W. Wilson, who was well known in Dunedin as the father of the engineering trade of Otago and who, during the gold-mining rush, about 1870, was the owner of the Otago Foundry which, at the time, was the largest engineering shop in New Zealand.
Mr. Wilson served his apprenticeship at locomotive fitting at the Hillside Railway Workshops and for some years after was employed on the Picton section. In 1900 he was appointed draftsman on the staff of the Locomotive Superintendent, Wellington, and subsequently became Technical Clerk to the Chief Mechanical Engineer. In 1918 he was appointed Assistant Locomotive Engineer and stationed at Petone. In 1920 he was sent to Great Britain as Inspecting Engineer, in charge of a large contract for locomotives and rolling stock. On his return to New Zealand in 1922, he was appointed Relieving Locomotive Engineer, being attached to the Chief Mechanical Engineer's Office, and subsequently was designated Locomotive Engineer in charge of the South Island Railways. In 1926 he was transferred to Wellington, to take up special duties in the Chief Mechanical Engineer's Office, where he had been stationed until his retirement.page 60