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Early Wellington

Wellington College

Wellington College.

It is stated that certain reserves were set aside in 1853 by way of an endowment for this institution, and on Monday, 4th February, 1867, the Rev. E. Tuckey, B.A., and Mr. W. S. Hamilton commenced a Grammar and Commercial School—the future College—in the little Congregational Schoolroom in Woodward Street. Seven youths presented themselves.

In 1868 the school's existence was spent in the old barracks on Fitzherbert Terrace, and in 1869 removed to Clifton Terrace until 1874, when the present College on
Fig. 245.—Wellington College, 1875.

Fig. 245.—Wellington College, 1875.

page 408 the Town Belt Reserve was opened by His Excellency Sir James Fergusson, father of His Excellency the present Governor-General (Sir Charles), amidst much rejoicing. Mr. Kenneth Wilson, M.A., was selected by Dr. Vaughan to be Principal. Mr. A. D. Crawford, son of the earliest white settler to meet the “Tory” in 1839, was the pioneer boarder, and slept in the dormitory by himself until the arrival of the other boarders. In 1881 Mr. Mackay, of Nelson College, was appointed master, and in 1892 Mr. Firth assumed charge.

The writer is indebted to Mr. W. H. Field, M.P. for Otaki, for the following information:—

Among the masters in Fig. 245 are:—Messrs. Kenneth Wilson (headmaster), H. E. Tuckey, C. J. Hardy and C. R. Buckland. Some of the boys recognizable are:—C. R. Bidwill, A. C. and H. A. Bishop, C. S. Brandon, G. Burnes, G. Butts, D. G. A. Cooper, H. D. and A. D. Crawford, C. M. and A. F. Crombie, G. and P. Dransfield, W. H. Field, M. Fitzgerald, J. R. R. Gair, R. Giesen, H. M. and A. H. Gore, H. B. Harvey, H. C. Hazelden, W. B. and F. B. Henderson, F. J. Johns, C. and R. Kebbell, G. G. Knight, A. C. Koch, R. and F. McLeckie, Albert and Arthur Martin, J. M. Meredith, W. H. Sefton Moorhouse, E. H. and F. D. Morrah, James Muir, R. Nairn, J. T. Nott, G. C. Ormond, F. G. Parkes, R. C. Port, C. A. Pownall, W. H. F. Richards, G. St. John, E. V. Sanderson, G. E. F. Schultze, J. G. Seed, S. K. Sleigh, C. Snow, G. E. Swainson, J. and R. W. Taylor, K. D. Webb, Arthur Young, A. W. and F. Young.

The Provincial Council Act of 1871 came into operation in July, 1872. The first Wellington members of the Education Board, which consisted of ten members, one for each district, were Messrs. A. de Bathe Brandon (City) and E. Toomath (District).

The “Wellington College Old Boys Record, 1891,” gives further particulars.

Technical Colleges, Schools and Universities from 1884 to 1910 are dealt with from page 112, Stouts' New Zealand, published in 1911.

The College Jubilee celebrations were commenced on Saturday evening 29th November, 1924, by a concert in the Town Hall, at which Mr. W. F. Ward, Chairman of the Board of Governors, presided. Speeches were given by Sir Robert Stout, Sir Francis Bell, Mr. Firth and Mr. R. Darroch (representing the Old Boys' Association, on behalf of its President, Mr. Walter Bethune, who was absent through illness). The College orchestra assisted in the excellent programme provided.

On Sunday a procession of scholars and old boys proceeded to the Town Hall, where a Jubilee service was conducted. Sir Robert Stout, Administrator of the Dominion in the absence of the Governor-General (Sir Charles Fergusson), Mr. J. Caughley, Director of Education, Mr. and Mrs. Firth, Mr. and Mrs. Cresswell and members of the College Board of Governors occupied the place of honour in the front row of seats.

The opening of the Pavilion, Firth House and the Gifford observatory took place on Monday, 1st December, 1924. A long account is given in the “Evening Post,” 1/12/1924. The foundation stone of the War Memorial Hall was laid by His Excellency the Governor-General (Sir Charles Fergusson) on the 3rd September, 1926, and officially opened by him on the 2nd March, 1928. About 80 of the old boys, who saw active service, paraded under the command of Colonel page 409 St. J. Beere, and were reviewed by His Excellency. A guard of honour was formed by the College Cadet Corps.

The erection of the Hall was brought about by the active work of the Old Boys' Association, who had contributed over £6000 for the Hall and its internal embellishments.