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Early Wellington


The following are extracts from a letter (25th Jan., 1844), written by Mr. A. P. Holroyd, of Wellington, to Mr. W. Bridges, Secretary of the New Zealand Society, and published in the “New Zealand Journal,” 17th August, 1844, page 548:—

“I take the opportunity of writing by the “Tyrian” for London direct.… In the district of Port Nicholson there is only one bank which discounts bills at the present time after the rate of 10 per cent.…”

“A branch of the Oddfellows Lodge was established in June, 1843, comprising 80 members.”

“Land to be cleared for farming is usually let upon lease for 21 years at the following terms:—First four years at peppercorn. Next three for 5/- per acre. Next seven for 10/- per acre, and the remaining seven at 20/- per acre, with a covenant to clear half an acre of land, or thereabouts annually.…”

“Church service is held in the Country Courthouse by the Rev. Cole. Other churches are the Scotch Kirk, Independent Wesleyan, and Roman Catholic.”

“A brick built gaol has also been recently erected on Mt. Cook.”

“We have a theatre adjoining the Ship Hotel and a substantial Billiard room adjoining Barrett's Hotel.” (Hotel Cecil site.)

“A congratulatory address was presented to Captain Fitzroy, signed by upwards of 350 of the inhabitants.”

“I have not yet taken any steps to form a branch here of the New Zealand Society, because I prefer waiting the arrival of Mr. Chapman,* who is expected from Auckland.”


Arthur P. Holroyd


* Afterwards Mr. Justice H. S. Chapman.