| The Streets of my city, Wellington New Zealand, |
by F. L. Irvine-Smith. (1948).
Part Two : Chapter Seven
|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
There are few more impressive sights in the world than a Scotsman on the make.
THE EARLIEST promoters of the New Zealand Company, realising that the colonists were proceeding to a country under no accepted sovereign authority, and fully alive to the needs of sound local government and the preservation of law and order, provided as part of the necessary equipment a provisional constitution to come into operation as soon as settlement began. Accordingly, as early as March 2nd, 1840, a Council was elected at Port Nicholson with Colonel Wakefield as President and Dr. Evans as Umpire, and local government was soon in full swing. Such procedure however, coming to the ears of Captain Hobson, was promptly denounced as "usurped authority," and the said constitution quashed. In reply to a deputation from the Wellington settlers requesting some machinery of local government, Hobson proclaimed the town a borough, with power to elect a Council. 1. By this act Wellington became the first municipality in the Colony and George Hunter, who headed the poll, the first Mayor, and after his early and much lamented death, William Guyton, the second.
The Home Government, however, disallowed the ordinance creating the borough, and not till 1867 was an Act of Parliament passed for the institution of Municipal corporations throughout the Colony, nor till 1870 was a Wellington Borough Council elected with Joseph Dransfield as the first Mayor. Hence the gap in the list of Mayors of the city.
In spite of the fact therefore, that the naming of mayoral and councillor streets does not belong strictly to the earliest pioneering days, no section of the community more worthily deserves such recognition. Beyond all others are they constantly being called upon to shoulder the risk and responsibility of calling into being new city streets. No light effort of brain or purse when one considers the height and hollows of Wellington hills. Such recognition is a worthy memorial. What better tribute to a City Father than to use his name down all the years, ever directing along the city streets the busy feet of passersby? Here are some Mayoral Streets:
|J. Dransfield (2).||1870-1873, 1878-9||Dransfield St (S.W.1)|
|C. B. Borlase (2)(4).||1874||Borlase St (S.W.1)|
|W. S. Moorhouse(4).||1875||Sefton Street (N.2)|
|(for Christchurch)(2).||Moorehouse Street (N.2)|
|Geo. Allen||1879||Allen St (S.1)|
|Wm. Hutchison(2)(4)||1876-77, 1879-1881||Hutchison Rd (S.1)|
|Samuel Brown||1887-1888||Brown St (S.1)|
|John Duthie(3)(4)||1889||Duthie St (W.3)|
|Francis Bell(3)(4)||1892-3, 1897||Bell Road (S.W.1)|
|J. R. Blair||1898-9||Blair St (C. 3)|
|J. G. W. Aitken(3)(4)||1900-1904||Aitken Street (N.1)|
|Guthrie Street (N.1)|
|Thos. Hislop(3)(4)||1905-1908||Hiropi St (S.1)|
|Dr. Newman(3)(4)||1909||Newman Tce (N.1)|
The only Wellington Mayors listed above are those after whom city streets are named. For complete list see Appendix. Hunter Street, a comparatively new street, is not called after our first Mayor, George Hunter (1788-1843) but after his son, George Hunter (1821-1880), who was a member of the Wellington Provincial Council from 1857 until its abolition. George Hunter II was the father of George Hunter III (1859-1930), .C.M.G., run-holder of Porangahau, Hawkes Bay, and one of the pillars of racing in New Zealand. Sir George was for many years Member of Parliament for Waipawa, Hawkes Bay.
Similarly, Lukes Lane is not named for either Sir John or Sir Charles Luke, both former Mayors, but for their father, Captain Luke, whose foundry was situated in this thoroughfare. Johnston Street does not commemorate Sir Charles Johnston, Mayor of Wellington, 1890, but his father, John Johnston, merchant, and Brandon Street takes its name from the early pioneer, Alfred de Bathe Brandon, and not his son Alfred de Bathe Brandon, Mayor of Wellington in 1894.
Wellington has every reason to be proud of its Mayors. A glance at the footnote will show that one and all, they were men of affairs. Not that every man of affairs aspires to such distinction. Far from it. The heavy social demands entailed keep many a man (and his wife) at a safe distance from the mayoral chair. Socially speaking, it behoves the Mayor to be persona grata to all citizens on all legitimate occasions. As the late A. R. Atkinson, when ruminating in verse upon the sociability of a local candidate, wittily wrote:-
No dame escapes without a bow, No babe without a kiss.and who so popular in the mayoral chair, say old-timers, as J. G. W. Aitken, affectionately known to the Wellington public of his day as "Momma." After all, to be able to well and truly greet is one of the happiest accomplishments for any mortal to possess, mayor or otherwise. Sincerity is of its root and essence. Laura Jackson (nee Mair.) in her memoirs, relates as an eye-witness the charming greeting given by the Rev. Mr. Spencer of Te Mu, Tarawera, to the Duke of Edinburgh, when touring New Zealand in 2869. On the approach of the party the old man hurried out to meet them, his white hair blowing in the wind, both hands outstretched in welcome. "And how did you leave your Mother?" "Thank you, sir, thank you, very well, sir," from the gratified Prince.
Mayor J. R. Blair, who died in 1914, was a native of Scotland, with all a Scotsman's veneration for education. Fate had made him a printer and publisher, but Nature had marked him out for all-round administrative service to his fellow men. To an earlier generation the leading publishing firm of Wellington was Lyon and Blair, the forerunners of the present firm of Whitcombe & Tombs. Books obviously correlate with schools and in Mr. Blair the Wellington Education Board, the Technical College Board and the Wellington College Board of Governors possessed a most liberal and understanding Chairman of all three. It is doubtful if any other holder of the office has had so wide a grip of the administration of the New Zealand school system and the needs of the child mind as the faraseeing mayor, John Rutherford Blair.
William Hutchison, Mayor of Wellington no fewer than five times, was another Scotchman of parts. His strength lay in journalism, and he wielded a powerful pen, not only on political topics, but on matters religious, social and economic as they came his way. He sat at various times as member of the House of Representatives for Wellington and for Dunedin, where he died in 1905. His son was Sir James Hutchison, editor of "Otago Daily Times."
Yet another Scotch-born mayor who has left his mark on our street names is Thomas William Hislop (1850-1925), to whose father, John Hislop, LL.D. an early Otago inspector of schools, the Dominion owes much of the national education system, "free, secular and compulsory," of which New Zealand is justly proud. Thomas William, like so many public men, was a lawyer, and like so many of that profession gravitated to politics, representing two southern constituencies, Waitaki and Oamaru, before settling in Wellington. He was unsuccessful in his candidacy for Wellington city, but later was appointed to a seat in the Legislative Council.
Scotland gave us another Mayor in the person of John Duthie, who, after an early training in the hardware business, reached New Zealand (from Aberdeen) in his early twenties and ultimately established, in 1879, the well.known hardware firm of Duthie & Co. His Scotch caution and foresight soon made him a valuable director of several city companies, in addition to which he served Wellington for several years as one of the city members of the House of Representatives. Two years before his death in 1915 he was called to the Legislative Council. As Dr. Johnson himself well and wisely remarks: "Much may be made of a Scotchman if he is caught young."
This grows monotonous but John Guthrie Wood Aitken, Mayor of Wellington for five years in succession (1900-1904) came from nowhere but Scotland. He was a native of Argyllshire, and being public-spirited and well-trained along mercantile lines, became of immense service to his adopted city. Like Mr. Hutchison before him, he was one of the pillars of the Presbyterian Church, which in 1917 elected him Moderator of the General Assembly. Being unmarried, all boys in need became his care, and to such institutions as could minister to their wants-Orphanges, Boys' Institute, Y.M.C.A.-his benefactions were endless. He showed a similar interest in education, where he held the position of Chairman of both the Education Board and the College Board of Governors. For some years he represented the city in the House of Representatives and later, in the Legislative Council. In 1921 this good and faithful servant of humanity entered into his well-earned rest.
Sir Francis Bell (1851-1936): three times Mayor of Wellington, the son of an earlier Sir Francis Bell, who reached Wellington in 1843 in the service of the New Zealand Company, in spite of the eminence he attained in his legal profession, is a somewhat shadowy figure. For law he possessed an almost uncanny instinct and graced every branch, receiving at all times full measure of recognition for his powers. Acknowledged for many years as the leader of the New Zealand bar, he was at times Crown Solicitor, President of the Wellington Law Society, President of the N.Z. Law Society, as well as being created King's Counsel, K.C.M.G. (1915) , G.C.M.G. (1923) and Privy Councillor. In 1893 he entered the House of Representatives as member for the city, and when the Reform Parliament came into power in 1912, he was called to the Legislative Council. Owing to his skill in drafting and his interest in law reform, he was exceedingly useful in Parliament, and after the death of Mr. Massey, May May 10th, 1925, in order to enable the party to elect a new leader, Bell became Prime Minister from 14th to 30th May. He married in 1878 Caroline, daughter of the Hon. William Robinson of the Cheviot Estate, at that time comprising 84,000 acres of North Canterbury.
In addition to Mayors, we have a whole regiment of City Councillors worthily enshrined in city streets of their own bull-dozing. Herewith:-
|P. Buckley||1871-1873||Buckley Road (S.2)|
|B. G. Burn||1920||Burn Street (W.3)|
|John Coombe||1885-1888||Coombe Street (S.1)|
|L. L. Harris||1888-1896||Harris Street (C.1)|
|J. H. Heaton |
(Also Mayor of Melrose)
|1887-1889||Heaton Terrace (S.W.1)|
|J. W. Henderson||1920-21||Henderson Street (W. 3)|
|W. T. Hildreth||1915-1919||Hildreth Street (W.3)|
|C. H. Izard||1898-1907||Izard Road (N.5)|
|F. A. Krull||1871-1874||Krull Street (S.W.1)|
|T. W McKenzie||1881-1887||McKenzie Terrace (C.2)|
|T. K. Macdonald||1877-78||McDonald Crescent (C.2)|
|J. Maginnity||1877-1884||Maginnity Street (C.1)|
|E. W. Mills||1870-1877||Mills Road (S.W.1)|
|P. Moeller||1876-77||Moeller Street (E.1)|
|S. M. Stone||1921||Stone Street (E. 4)|
|F. Townshend||1899-1901||Townshend Road (E.4)|
|F. Townshend||1899-1901||Townshend Road (E.4)|
|Trevor Terrace (S.1)|
|C. E. Willeston||1888-1901||Willeston Street (C.1)|
|A. Wilson||1883-1886||Wilson Street (S.1)|
|A. Young||1878-1881||Young's Avenue (C.2)|
E. W. Mills (1822.1892) the son of Charles Mills who arrived in 1842 in the "Birman," a well-known contractor of early days; in 1854 erected the Lion Foundry in Aurora Terrace. In March, 1871 the foundry was removed to the reclaimed land and Mr. Mlls built a large residence on the old site. This he called "Sayes Court" after the estate of John Evelyn, the diarist, from whom the Mills family were descended on their mother's side. The foundry was afterwards taken over by Mr. Cable and later removed to Kaiwarra, Mr. Mills from that date confining his interests to the hardware firm that still bears his name. Mills Wharf, one of the city's early private wharfs, was situated about one hundred yards west of that of Bethune and Hunter. Mills Road commemorates the name of E. W. Mills.
Speaking of early contractors, one of the most active "builders" of early Wellington and one of its most versatile settlers was Charles Rooking Carter, who reached Wellington in 1856. In the following year he erected the Houses of Parliament and was soon engaged in many of the leading city projects. He was an active promoter of the three-mile bush settlement of Carterton, so named in his honour. Books were one of his greatest hobbies, and he left a valuable collection of works on New Zealand to the Turnbull Library, as well as a literary collection to the library at Carterton. His own literary ability was of no mean order, and his "Recollections of a New Zealand Colonist" is one of the most valuable accounts of early days. In politics Mr. Carter represented Wairarapa in both the Provincial Council and the House of Representatives. He was widely travelled for his day, and in 1885 presented a valuable Egyptian mummy to the Wellington Museum. ,p> Mention of foundries recalls another family that has served its city well, the Lukes of Luke's Foundry, approached by Luke's Lane. Two of the sons, Sir John Luke and Sir Charles Luke, have occupied the Mayoral Chair. The family in 1874 left Cornwall and arrived at Wellington when it contained between nine thousand and ten thousand inhabitants. In 1879 Captain Luke purchased a small engineering business at Te Aro Pa, on the site of T. Kebbell's Mill where the Opera House now stands. Here they built the two lighthouses at Palliser Bay and Castlepoint, these being built in the firm's yards, taken to pieces and reperected on their present sites. What is more, they also built the first steel ship constructed south of the line. This was the steamship "Matai," classed A1 at Lloyds, 275 tons burthen, with accommodation for twenty-five passengers, built in the Luke shipyards in 1885, just forty-five years after the first pioneer had set foot upon the shores of the settlement. Her life was useful but brief. In 1889 she struck an uncharted rock off Mercury Island, and within ten minutes sank with the loss of two of her crew. The remainder of the ship's company reached Mercury Island, where they were rescued later by the government steamer "Hinemoa."
Older housewives may also remember that Lukes held a patent for cooking-ranges, the fame of which spread through the Colony.
Sir John and Sir Charles gave their time and ability unsparingly to the civic welfare of the city. Sir Charles too was a pillar of the Primitive Methodist Church. "I shall never forget," said one who was present, "the memorial service to Sir Charles Luke - the rendering of the Lord's Prayer - the great concourse of men - the volume of voice that rose like a mighty organ, as the sublime yet familiar phrases poured forth with heartfelt feeling to speed a good comrade on his way to Heaven."
The Rev. Percy Paris, so gifted, and so soon to follow, conducted the service.
Mention has been made of Arthur Richmond Atkinson (1863-1935) whose memory deserves well of his city and its reading public. Though never much drawn into public life, he was for a time a member of tthe City Council, Member of Parliament for Wellington city (1899-1902) and President of the Temperance Alliance, a movement very near to his heart. But books were his treasures, and there was his heart also. At his death his superb library of some twentyfive thousand volumes, after family needs were met, was divided among the Turnbull, the Public, the Assembly and the Victoria University College Libraries. Not only had A. R. Atkinson collected from his alma mater (Corpus Christi, Oxford) a full measure of classical honours, but on the athletic side had found time to add a football "blue" to his collection.
In addition to his legal activities, he acted for many years as the New Zealand Correspondent of the English papers, "Morning Post," and the "Times." Of such writing William Pember Reeves in the "Long White Cloud" makes estimate: "It is far the best New Zealand writing that comes to England." One can but add that the privilege of a literary conversation with A. R. Atkinson was probably by far the best-informed speaking that stayed inside New Zealand.
His partner, James Murray Dale, before the amalgamation of the Onslow borough with the city (1919) was Mayor of Onslow. Mrs. J. M. Dale in her Varsity days made by comparison every other women student, on Science and Mathematics bent, fade out of the picture. Her brother, Sir Theodore Rigg, the present Director
of the Cawthron Institute, possessed similar gifts to the nth degree, but perhaps the star performer of the family was Dr. Ernest Rigg, whose brilliant medical research was brought to a close in the Homeland in 1924 at the early age of fortyone. Truly is life measured, not in length, but in quality.
1. In 1863 when the population had increased to six thousand, the town was divided into three wards, and a Town Board elected the commissioners of which were presumably appointed by the Provincial Council. This lasted until 1870.
2. Member of Provincial Council.
3. Member of Legielativa Council of General Assembly.
4. Member of House of Representatives.
Part Two : Chapter Eight : Configuration Streets