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Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.



John Tombleson (born at Barton-on-Humber in 1866) served as a station cadet in Hawke's Bay (1883–5). In 1886 he took up a property in the Waimata district, and, later, acquired Newstead (Makaraka). He served on Waimata Road Board, Cook County Council and Gisborne Harbour Board. His death took place in August, 1938.

George Smith (born at Auckland in 1864) was orphaned when he was 10 years old. He became a foreman carpenter on the Manawatu railway works. In 1903 he started in business in Gisborne as a builder, and, later, he also entered the sawmilling industry. The erection of Gisborne Intermediate School was his last big contract. He served on Gisborne Harbour Board for 20 years, and also on Gisborne Borough Council for several terms. In 1925 he unsuccessfully contested the Gisborne seat. He died on 21 September, 1943.

Frederick John Lysnar (a son of W. Dean Lysnar) engaged in sheepfarming at Waimata, Parikanapa and elsewhere. He served on Cook County Council, Cook Hospital Board and Gisborne Harbour Board. In 1920 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the Bay of Plenty seat. He was prominent in Turf circles. For some years he held the extensive property at Waiouru which became the site of an important military camp during the Second World War. He died in London in February, 1941.

James William Witty (born at Fifefield, England, in 1837) went out to Victoria in 1858, and, four years later, left the Bendigo diggings for Gabriel's Gully. In 1865 he joined Sergeant Scully's Company of 100 Otago recruits for active service on the East Coast. In conjunction with Ensign F. E. Hamlin he led a very successful native force against sympathisers with Te Kooti around Lake Waikaremoana. He was the “Father of Bowling” in Poverty Bay. He died in July, 1925.

Leslie Hunter Reynolds (born at Dunedin in 1862) served an apprenticeship with Kincaid, McQueen and Co., mechanical engineers, Dunedin, then he joined the Survey Department and qualified as a surveyor, and, later, he studied harbour engineering under W. Shields at Peterhead (Scotland). Sir John Coode sent him to obtain technical information with reference to harbour problems at Grenada and Port of Spain (West Indies) and at Table Cape (South Africa). He was then engaged by Livesey and Son, London, to assist in the work of estimating the cost of canalizing the Desaguadero River in Bolivia. In New Zealand he supplied reports on a number of harbours, water supply and sewerage schemes, and was the first consulting engineer to the contractors for the Arthur's Pass tunnel (5¼ miles in length). He died at Gisborne on 15 November, 1947.

John Thomson, B.E. (known as “Belltopper” Thomson, because he frequently wore a morning coat and a silk hat), returned to the West Coast (South Island) upon leaving Gisborne. F. W. Furkert, C.M.G., C.E., informed the writer that he served his cadetship under Mr. Thomson, who supervised the following works: Greymouth Harbour, Jackson to Otira railway, and the Great South Road to the Franz Josef Glacier. He added that Mr. Thomson also held a mate's ticket in sail, and that he was “a chain smoker of cigarettes.”

Robert Campbell (born in Scotland) served his apprenticeship with Denny Bros., shipbuilders, Dumbarton (1891–7), and then, for four years, was on the staff of W. Hill and Co. Ltd., engineering contractors, London. page 414 He was associated with the preliminary work on the Flinders Naval Base (Melbourne) and the Henderson Naval Base (Cockburn Sound, W.A.). During the Great War of 1914–18 he served in the A.I.F. for three years. He then became superintending civil engineer in connection with Navy Department works in New South Wales. In 1928 he returned to Sydney, where he died some years afterwards.

John Alexander MacDonald, M.I.C.E., received his early engineering training in England. He was appointed to the staff of the Engineer-in-Chief in New South Wales in 1879, and, 10 years later, became bridge engineer for that State. Under C. Y. O'Connor, C.E., he served as assistant-engineer on the Fremantle harbour works, having charge of three dredges and control of 1,000 men. He was appointed Deputy Engineer-in-Chief for West Australia in 1898, and held the position of Deputy Town Engineer in Johannesburg from 1903 till 1908. Upon retiring from the service of the Gisborne Harbour Board he was, for four years, engineer to Gisborne Borough. His death occurred in June, 1930.

When Captain J. H. Hawkes, master of the tender Tuatea for 24 years, retired in June, 1929, consequent upon Gisborne ceasing to be a port of call for passenger steamers, he was publicly presented with an illuminated address and a well-filled wallet. He had carried 300,000 passengers to or from Gisborne roadstead without a single mishap, although many of the trips had had to be made in stormy weather, necessitating the use of a basket, on a number of occasions, to lift passengers up to, or from, the deck of a steamer.