| The Streets of my city, Wellington New Zealand, |
by F. L. Irvine-Smith. (1948).
Part Two : Chapter Three
|Contents: a letter | Part One chapters: 1 | 2 | Part Two chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 |
Part Three chapters: Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Appendix
A Pioneer is a brave fellow with the courage of his own curiosity.
A great city is that which has the greatest men and women.
ONE of the most striking characteristics of the early settling of Wellington - of most of New Zealand in fact - has been the unusually high mental calibre of its immigrant pioneers. It is true that Wakefield in his wisdom, and his supporters following suit, had ruled out the submerged classes of society with which previous colonising companies had thought fit to people empty Iands, and had insisted upon health, strength and character to an unusual degree, but even WakefieId and his disciples could scarcely have visualised men of such exceptional ability and training, of such lofty ideals and fearlessness of purpose, as responded to his call, and crossed sixteen thousand miles of trackless sea to lay the foundations of a life that might approximate more closely to their conceptions of what seemed right and just and free. The step was irrevocable; ties were severed for life; material comforts, as many had known them, passed out of their ken, but they won through with a shining faith that had something of the sublime, and we are, let us pray, because they were.
It were invidious to single out for pride of place any of the gallant antipodean knights of the Round Table. Colonel Wiiliam Wakefield as leader, had not the all-embracing brain of the Great Coloniser - such brains are rare - but he was a loyal servant of the Company, a good organiser, tactful and courteous, if inscrutable, to all alike, and his early death, September 23rd, 1848, was sincerely regretted by every member of the community. The inscription on his tombstone in the Sydney Street Cemetery, the Per la Chaise of early Wellington, compiled by Alfred Domett, an arrival of 1842, the friend of Robert Browning, and himself a poet, reads as follows : -
first principal Agent of the New Zealand
Company, Colonel of the first Regiment of
Lancers in the British Auxiliary Force
of Spain, Knight of the Tower and Sword
of Portugal, Knight of San Fernando in Spain.
Colonel Wakefield was the fourth son of Edward Wakefield Esq.,
of Burnham, in the County of Essex, in England. In the
year 1825 he acted as Secretary to the English Minister at
Turin. In 1828 he travelled through Austria, Russia and
Lapland. From 1832 to 1838 he served with distinction in
the English Regiment of Lancers engaged in the constitutional
cause throughout the civil wars of Portugal and Spain and in
1839 led the first body of English Colonists to the shores of
New Zealand. From this period to his death he acted as principal
agent to the New Zealand Company. He died at Wellington on
the 19th September, 1848, in the 48th year of his age, and was
followed to the grave by a large body of settlers and of natives
from the surrounding districts."
It is as a poet that Alfred Domett will live longest in New Zealand history. Domett the politician was more or less an accident of circumstances. A dreamy man who loved nature, and rejoiced in the virgin setting into which Fate had dropped him.
I am Tane - the Tree-God ! Mine are forests not a few - Forests, and I love them greatly, Moss encrusted, ancient, stately.Domett and Heaphy had much in common - to posterity's gain.
Of Wakefield's lieutenants, George Samuel Evans, D.C.L. (1800,1868) well versed in any question pertaining to law, was a tower of strength in matters constitutional. Before leaving England he had taken an enthusiastic interest in the New Zealand Company, and had shared with Edward Gibbon Wakefield the expense of trying to get an empowering bill passed. Like most of the pioneer leaders, he was a man of many parts, even at one time Headmaster of Mill Hill School, London. Dr. Evans was designated as Judgc for the Company's first scttlement, and sailed with his family in the "Adelaide," arriving March, 1840, but though his judicial appointment never materialised, he occupied in the young colony a sort of semi-official commission as advocate for the Company and the interest of the settlers. On his arrival, Colonel Wakefield was absent in the north, and the town of Britannia was being laid out by the Company's chief surveyor, Captain William Mein Smith. It was already clear that the site was open to manifold objections, and Evans, "with the intrepidity of a practised controversialist," (his long suit) immcediately took up the cudgels, with ultimate succcss, for the Lambton site. It is right and fitting therefore that he should be commemorated in the city he helped to found, and Evans Bay marks the shore confines of a residential suburb to thc south-east of thc city.
His own home he made at the Thorndon end of the settlement and called it Golder's Hill after his old English home at Hampstead, a name since changed, not without protest, to Eccleston Hill, after the Lancashire birthplace of the Rt. Hon. Richard Seddon, a New Zealand Colossus to come. Two parallel streets, off Tinakori Road, George Street and Harriett Street, are named after Dr. and Mrs. Evans. He married Harriet, the widow of Dr Riddiford, and she predeceased him by two years. His stepson, Daniel Riddiford (1814-1875) who like himself, had voyaged to New Zealand in the "Adelaide," after acting for some time as emigration agent for the Company, moved to the Hutt. In 1845 he purchased the Orongorongo station, but returning to the Hutt after the earthquake of 1855, remained there until his death, March 20th, 1875. Riddiford Street is named after him.
Another legal pioneer was Richard Davis Hanson who arrived in the "Cuba," January 3rd, 1840. He was a man of great ability and learning but had an itching foot, and in 1846 passed on to South Australia where he became Chief Justice and received a knighthood. He also became Chancellor of the University of South Australia, a rare double distinction combined in Wellington in later years in the person of Sir Robert Stout. Sir Richard is commemorated in Hanson Street and his New Zealand counterpart in Stout Street.
Halswell Street and Point Halswell are named after E. S. Halswell, who arrived in 1841 by the "Lady Nugent," under appointment to the New Zealand Company as Commissioner of Native Reserves. Later, in 1842, he was made a Judge of the County court but left the colony in 1845.
Mr. Michael Murphy, who came from Sydney and acted as Police Magistrate for the settlement in 1840, gives his name to Murphy Street. He was the magistrate who accompanied Captain Stanley in the "Britomart" when the British flag was hoisted at Akaroa, and British authority was exercised for the first time, August 11th, 1840, by the holding of a court.
Another street, commemorative of an early magistrate, is St. Hill Street, a small but busy thoroughfare leading from Manners Street to Bond Street. Mr. Henry St. Hill, a passenger by the "Adelaide" in 1840, died in London in 1866 and is commemorated by a brass tablet in St. Paul's. (1). His brother, the Rev. Woodford St. Hill, for ten years (1865-1875) was headmaster of Crofton (Ngaio) College for boys.
Yet another, though later, Wellington street of legal origin is Arney Street, named after Sir George Alfred Arney (1810-1883) who in 1857 was appointed Chief Justice of the Colony. He arrived in 1858 at Auckland in the "Gertrude" and at that time was the only judge in the colony. In 1875 he returned to England where he died in 1883 and was buried in Salisbury Cathedral - a man of immense learning and a profound classical scholar.
Mansfield Street is said ("Early Wellington," p. 264) to have been named after "Judge Mansfield of New Zealand," but this cannot be substantiated. Perhaps the name is a mistake for Mansford.
Though not an early street, Duppa Street, forming the approach to the Berhampore Golf Links, commemorates a "first arrival," George Duppa, who reached Port Nicholson by the "Oriental" in January, 1840. He was the first European settler to live beyond the Destructor site, but did not remain long in Wellington, as he soon took up land for sheepfarming in the Upper Motueka Valley and prospered exceedingly well. Thomas Arnold in his book, "Passages in a Wandering Life," describes him as "a handsome dark-eyed man with a face like a Spaniard, descended from the Bishop Duppa of Charles II's time."
Attention has already been given to Samuel Revans, the father of the New Zealand Press. Revans Street is now merged into Riddiford Street, but Rintoul Street commemorates a most distinguished pressman in the person of Robert Stephen Rintoul (1787-1858), editor and founder, in 1828, of the London "Spectator." Rintoul, ever ready to lend support to the amelioration of the condition of the workingclasses, was the invaluable friend and champion of the Wakefield colonising theories, evolved by the latter's active brain during his enforced seclusion at Newgate, indeed, it may not be too much to say, that without such "publicising" by this gifted supporter, Wakefield's policy may never have matured. Another instance of those fortuitous collaborations that have from time to time happened along in history to the infinite benefit and happiness of humanity.
McKenzie Terrace recalls another pioneer who did well for his city, Thomas Wilmor McKenzie (1827-1911) who arrived in the "Adelaide" 1840, and became assistant printer to Mr. Revans, editor of the settlement's first paper and subsequently proprietor of the Wellington "Independent."
Fittingly remembered in Mein Street is Captain William Mein Smith (1798-1869) who in 1840 held the post of Chief Surveyor to the Company. He landed at Port Nicholson from the "Cuba," January, 1840, accompanied by three assistants, Messrs. Carrington, Park and Stokes, whence Carrington Street, Park Street and Stoke Street. (2) In 1842 Captain Mein Smith retired on half pay, and Iater, with Mr. Revans, took up a Wairarapa sheep station, which they worked together till 1869. Together they sleep in the old Greytown cemetery, in the land they helped to carve out of the wilderness. Their graves lie side by side, with one wooden fence separating them, the inscriptions on the wooden headpieces growing fainter with the passing of the years but the record of their achievements indelibly inscribed upon the pages of Wellington's first beginnings.
Like so many of his colleagues in the great pioneering enterprise, Captain Mein Smith was a man of the most schoIarIy tastes and attainments. His academic mantle has apparently fallen upon a descendant, who in the year of grace, 1946, trapped two of the Senior Scholarships of the New Zealand University.
Bidwell Street (wrongly spelt for Bidwill) commemorates Charles Robert Bidwill (1820-1874) who came first to Australia in 1841 to join his elder brother and later in 1843 sailed for New Zealand in the schooner "Posthumous," bringing with him some 1,600 sheep, as well as cattle and brood mares. He was the first to take sheep into the Wairarapa, and later became one of the leading runholders of the Dominion. His elder brother, John Carne Bidwill, visited New Zealand in 1839 and 1840 and in 1841 published "Rambles in New Zealand." He was the first white man, possibly the first man, to climb Ngauruhoe, since the Maoris, as with Mount Egmont, avoided it because of tapu. Though engaged in mercantile pursuits in Sydney, he was an ardent botanist, and to a large extent instrumental in founding the Sydney Botanical Gardens. A New Zealand timber tree the Libocedrus bidwillii(kaikawaka) is called after him. In the forties he owned land in Wellington at Point Halswell and in Murphy Street. He never married and died in 1853 at the early age of thirty-eight.
At No. 28 Bidwell Street, ((3) there lived until her death in 1944, Mrs. E. J. Moore, J.P., one of the most active women social workers the city has produced. She was one of the first to advocate prison reform and to visit women prisoners in the old Terrace Gaol, now replaced by the Te Aro School. To lovers of rare china and antiques her home, later the residence of Mr. and Mrs. J. Thornley (nee Moore) was a veritable treasure house, a home that still stands in a delightful city garden three-quarters of an acre in extent.
Mrs. Moore, from its inception, was one of the supports of the Early Settlers' Association and rightly so, as her father-in-law, Captain Moore, was a pioneer of the forties, who sailed the "Jewess" round the coast and guided Captain Wakefield to the site of the town of Nelson.
Yet another of the 1840 pioneers is commemorated in the name of Daniell Street, after Captain Edward Daniell (1802-1866) of Trelissick, Cornwall. He was one of a group of Cornishmen, including some of the leading thinkers of the county, who were keenly interested in the Wakefield policy of colonisation, and as a result Captain Daniell sailed with his family in 1840 in the "Adelaide" to Port Nicholson, where he took an active part in the affairs of the settlement. In 1845 he commenced farming at Upper Kaiwharawhara (Ngaio) making a bridle track up the narrow gorge at his own expense, but on his return from a visit to England in 1855, he settled in the Rangitikei district where his descendants still reside. Trelissick Crescent (N.4) marks the site of his early farm, from which led Daniell Street, now Kenya Street.
Woodward Street is a memorial to Jonas Woodward (1810-1881). He and his brother, Samuel Woodward, were two of the earliest pioneers to land upon these shores, the former arriving by the "Bolton" and the latter by the "Duke of Roxburgh." Jonas Woodward was at first employed as a clerk in the firm of Bethune and Hunter. Having had a good business training he entered into various administrative activities of the settlement and from 1855 to 1865 was a member of the Provincial Council. He was much interested in education and philanthropy and was one of the leaders of the temperance movement. He founded the Congregational Church and was its pastor until 1859, Mary Taylor pays him an encomium in one of her letters to Charlotte Bronte.
Another arrival by the "Oriental" in 1840 was Richard Barton (1790-1866) after whose family Barton Terrace (N.1) is named. Before leaving Scotland he had been a factor on the Duke of Sutherland's estates, and was indebted to the Duke for a gift of a Company's share which entitled him to one hundred acres of land in the new colony. Barton was the means of persuading a number of Highlanders to emigrate to New Zealand. In the late forties he established the sheep station of "White Rock," in the Wairarapa. From 1861 to 1865 he was a member of the Provincial Council for the Hutt.
One of the most useful pioneers of early days was David N. Wilkinson, "the father of Wellington viticulturists," who left for New Zealand by the "Olympus" in December, 1840, and reached the settlement in May, 1841. He was a professional gardener and did much to promote horticultural interests in the new centre. He settled in Oriental Bay, near the corner of what is now Oriental Parade and Grass Street, on half a dozen acres which he laid out in flower-beds, paths and arbours, and provided light refreshment for visitors. "Wilkinson's Tea Gardens" soon became, and remained for many years, the popular outing for early settlers, and a favourite Sunday afternoon diversion was to stroll "round the rocks" to the gardens, admire the blooms and hothouses, drink tea in the arbours and chat about the Homeland of not so distant memory. No gift for the sick was more acceptable than a bunch of grapes from Wilkinson's hothouses. Wilkinson Street keeps his memory green.
It was at Wilkinson's Tea Gardens that the Wellington Rechabite Society held its First Anniversary Celebrations. One of the founders was Mr. John Harding (1820-1899) who had reached the settlement by the "Birman" in 1842. In 1850 he took up land in Hawke's Bay and made his home at Mount Vernon in Waipukurau.
No mention can be made of the earliest Wellington pioneers without paying a word of tribute to the earliest of them all. To James Coutts Crawford belongs the distinction of being the first genuine Wellington settler. After an early naval career he resigned and went first to Australia, and from there in the schooner "Success" he travelled in 1839 from Sydney to New Zealand. Upon reaching Kapiti or Entry Island, where the vessel was forced to anchor for shelter, he crossed over to the mainland with a couple of friends and came down the old Porirua-Korokoro track to Petone. The "Tory" which had reached Port Nicholson September, 1839, had just left for the north with Colonel Wakefield to make further land purchases, but Mr. Crawford, for 1,300 guineas, bought five land orders there and then from Mr. Henry Moreing, agent for Colonel Wakefield, each order being an authority to select one town acre and one hundred country acres.
Mr. Crawford settled on and farmed Miramar Peninsula, where many street names (see Suburbs) bear evidence of his interest and occupation and which today forms the most easterly group of the city's suburbs. He was the "beau ideal" of a pioneer, possessing remarkable intellectual gifts and a natural flair for geology and exploration. Entering keenly into the life of the settlement he filled many offices with distinction, contributed valuable papers to the Philosophical Society, was for some years a member of the Legislative Council and for fifteen years Resident Magistrate of Wellington. He died in England in 1889.
One of the longest lived of the early pioneers was John Kilmister (1836-1937) who died at his residence in Cottleville Terrace on October 12th, 1937. With his parents he had reached Wellington in the "Lady Nugent," as a child of five and spent his boyhood on a farm in the Tinakori Hills where Northland has arisen. After his marriage with Miss Sarah Judd, he invested in a farm of his own - "Sky Farm" (wellnamed) of 750 acres, behind what is now the Karori Cemetery. This he purchased for ten shillings an acre, and there he brought up his family of ten. At his death he was one hundred and one years old! One marvels at the longevity of many of the early pioneers. Life was not easy in those days. A mud and slab hut at the head of Bolton Street was the Kilmisters' first colonial home. Often, he relates, he would return at the end of a day to find nothing to eat, and without the assistance of friendly Maoris, would have fared worse. And yet, Mr. Kilmister's father and mother, who died in 1904, on the same day, had seen ninetysix and ninetyfour years of life. His wife lived eightyeight years. So here we have four pioneers in one family whose combined ages amounted to about four centuries. Kilmister Avenue is one of the terraces leading off Glenmore Street.
Not a few of our streets bear the names of early pioneers who farmed in what are now closely built areas. The town in its beginnings was little more than two scoops of level land at Thorndon and Te Aro connected by a shoreline of shops and business premises. Away and around were farms which supplied the townsfolk with milk and vegetables, horse grazing and firewood. On the lower slopes of Mount Victoria, between Pirie Street and Ellice Street, was the farm of Peter Tutchen, whose name is perpetuated in that locality in Tutchen Avenue. He too was an arrival in the forties. Between Constable and Mein Streets, on land now thickly built upon, and cut up in the early nineties under the name of the Wellesley Block was "Howe's Farm," a favourite - picnic rendezvous of early days.
The present suburb of Hataitai was partly occupied by a hundred-acre farm acquired in 1841 by Robert Jenkins, who used it largely for horsebreeding purposes. Much of what is now Kelburn (W.1) was farmed for many years by William Moxham, a later arrival by the "Montmorency" in 1858. Taitville occupies the former lands of Henry Tait; Mitchelltown, those of Henry Mitchell; and Fitchett, the wellknown Ohiro Dairy Farm of John Fitchett. Parts of Wadestown were farmed by Job Wilton and the Whittons, and Mornington by Elijah Wilton. Miramar and Seatoun abound with reminders of its first stock-raising owner, James Crawford. Melrose was first owned and farmed by Alex Sutherland, who settled later in South Wairarapa and after this by Henry Mace. At Kaiwarra was the dairy farm of Patrick Cavannagh and at Khandallah those of James Nairn and John Casey, while in Karori street after street commemorates early pioneering farmers who found their way in the forties into this upland valley and with unsparing toil converted its forestclad slopes into smiling fertile farms. The farms are no more and perhaps nothing so marks the rapid growth of the city as their disappearance.
1. St Paul's Pro-Cathedral, Wellington.
2. This is spelt "Stokes Street" in the 1841 map of the city.
3. This property has since been sold (November, 1946).
Part Two : Chapter Four : Early Maori Street Names