| The Streets of my city, Wellington New Zealand, |
by F. L. Irvine-Smith. (1948).
Part Three Chapter Four
|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
THESE TWO DISTRICTS constitute the S.1 section of the city. The former received its name from a hotel built in the early days on what was then the outskirits of the city by Mr. Moodie who expressed a hope that a "new town" would grow around it. It certainly did. The latter consisted of adjacent blocks of land owned by G. M. Luxford and Geo. Hunter. Mr. Luxford, who arrived by the "Adelaide" in 1840, was one of the large graziers of early days and one of the first occupiers of part of "Watt's Peninsula" as Miramar and Seatoun were then called. He was also one of the Melrose Proprietors Ltd. and owned part of the Ohiro Farm, as well as large blocks of land at Oroua (Foxton) and Awapuni (Manawatu).
Mr. Geo. Hunter had close Indian connections, having married the daughter of Major Paul, an ex-Indian Army officer, hence the name "Berhampore." In later years, in conformity with this name, Indian names were given, as at Khandallah, to newer streets, such as Chilka Street, Burwah Street and Jeypore Street. Mr. G. E. Hunter of Wadestown in his book, "Round About," writes: "It was at Poona and Deccan in Hindoostan, in Aurungabad, that one of my grandfathers, Thomas Paul, was with the old 65th Regiment, and was afterwards Quartermaster, dying in Wellington in 1851."
As regards further Berhampore streets, Luxford Street recalls the above-mentioned owner. Britomart Street, Herald Street, Stanley Street, and Lavaud Street will be found in the chapter on "Ship Streets." Dawson Street and Blyth Street are named after the sons of Mr. Edward Reeves (formerly of Plimmer, Reeves & Co.) who owned a block of land in the neighbourhood. Waribori (i.e. Wharepouri) Street commemorates the friendly chief of the Ngahauranga, who with Te Puni, welcomed the "Tory" to our shores in 1839; Angus Avenue, the son of T. Kennedy Macdonald, a well-known Land and Estate Agent; Duppa Street, the first settler to reside in 1840 in Oriental Bay, and Russell Terrace Jas. Russell, contractor, who for many years lived in lower Tory Street. Glendavar Street is a reminder of the cattle farm established on Watt's Peninsula by J. C. Crawford in 1840. The block containing Morton Street was divided when W. H. Morton, A.M.I.C.E., was City Engineer and Emerson Street commemorates Mrs. Morton, whose maiden name was Emerson.
This southern portion of the city is well supplied with breathing spaces. Here are the Municipal Golf Links, the Athletic Park of football fame and Newtown Park, the last containing the Wellington Zoo which came into existence forty years ago, with the presentation in 1906 by Wirth's Circus, then on tour in the colony, of a stalwart young half-grown lion, born in South Africa, February, 1905, "King Dick" speedily became the adoration of all small (and less small) Wellingtonians, and spurred on by such an auspicious beginning, a committee of Wellington citizens purchased a small collection of interesting animals in Australia. This was followed by the presentation of a valuable collection of rheas, thar and axis deer by the Duke of Bedford, President of the London Zoological Society, who generously sent them to New Zealand at his own expense. Close on the heels of the ducal gift came a collection of white storks, presented by the Wellington Post Office officials. After that specimens came thick and fast - leopards and bears, jackals and hyenas, elephants and camels. How man delights to get the defenceless denizens of the wilds behind iron bars - birds of wonderful form and plumage, monkeys and more monkeys, and last but not least, a consort for the reigning monarch. Moral: Start a ball rolling - and it rolls.
A Newtown resident recollects walking across the Town Belt at the close of a day forty years past and coming across no less an apparition than a live lion! King Dick, newly installed in his barred bungalow on the windy hillside. Alas! His Majesty, in leonine fashion, was weeping bitterly. Who could blame him? Torn from friends and family and heady circus life, transformed without a moment's warning into a Zoo, a whole Zoo, and nothing but a Zoo. On many a night thereafter to the ears of Newtown folk, there wafted down the southerly the lament of the lonely Zoo. Debonair Dick! His stuffed remains now grace our National Museum. Later lions may be greater lions, but the first must always remain the first.
Mention of "stuffed remains" recalls that it was touch-and-go that Dick was not stuffed at the beginning, instead of the end of his career. As already stated, H.R.H. was offered to the city by Mr. Geo. Wirth of Wirth's Circus, but the first public meeting convened to consider the gift decided by a majority that they would prefer him as a stuffed specimen. Whereupon Mr. Wirth, in righteous indignation, gathered up his gift, so to speak, and departed. A second meeting, however, reversed the decision, and the Rev. Daniel Bates was despatched to Palinerston North as ambassador extraordinary to convey to the donor the altered sentiments of the community. Matters being happily settled, Dick was accordingly boxed and put on to the Manawatu train, chaperoned by the reverend gentleman. A great lover of animals was Mr. Bates, a constant visitor at the Zoo, and along with the late Mr. John Castle, Councillors Frost and Luke, one of the leading enthusiasts in securing for Wellington the first Zoo of the Dominion. He is best remembered by Wellington citizens as the able Director (1909-1927) of the Meteorological Department, and as well as being one of the founders of the Zoo, served as chaplain to the New Zealand Forces of the ninth contingent in the South African War, and was the first President of the Numismatic Society from 1931 to 1933. A man of many parts!
A poor man served by thee shall make thee rich;
A sick man helped by thee shall make thee strong.
Thou shall be served by every sense
Of service which thou renderest.
E. B. Browning
The largest of all city institutions is situated in Wellington South. This is the Public Hospital which began its career September 15th 1847, when the first hospital was opened in Pipitea Street on a piece of land presented by the Maoris (v. Part 1). In 1855 the growing needs of the settlement made the erection of a new building necessary on the site now occupied in Pipitea Street by the Girls' College. The third stage was reached when in 1878 a new and larger hospital was erected, not on the old Thorndon site, but on a Government Reserve of eight acres in Adelaide Road. This solid structure consisted mainly of what is now known as the corridor and Wards I, II, III, IV (to which were given Maori names), and the hospital so built, lasted without change for the next seventeen years.
Such a beginning however, though it marked a rapid advance in its day, is but a small part of the greater cluster of buildings which now constitute the Public Hospital of the city. It may be convenient to list briefly some of the additions since made:-
|(a)||In 1893 there was erected the eastern wing, known as the Fraser and the AlIen Wards, after the Hon. F. H. Fraser, M.L.C., for sixteen years Chairman of the Hospital Board, and Mr. Allen, one of the Board of Management.|
|(b)||Seven years later the Victoria Operating Theatre was built by funds publicly subscribed in commemoration of Her Majesty's Jubilee.|
|(c)||At the same time an X-ray plant was installed, largely through a generous donation of £500 (carrying a subsidy) made by Mrs. George Beetham.|
|(d)||Three years later the Trustees decided to erect a Nurses Home, opened October 26th, 1904, by His Excellency, Lord Plunket.|
|(e)||In 1905 the Victoria Hospital for Chronic Invalids was opened by Mrs. T. C. Williams (née Beetham), one of its most generous donors.|
|(f)||In 1906 the Seddon block for consumptives was built, and a start made with a Sanatorium at Otaki for incipient cases.|
|(g)||In 1907 a large scheme of Hospital improvement was inaugurated, including a Children's Hospital, whose pressing need the Chairman, the Hon. C. M. Luke, M.L.C., emphasised at every opportunity. On June 14th, 1910, it was recommended that the Mayor call a public meeting to condsider the question of raising funds, and so immediate was the response that by September 10th, 1910, the sum of £7,314/3/4 - a sum far in excess of expectation and carry, ing a subsidy of £8,772/10/ - was handed over to the Board. This was largely raised by the enthusiasm and support of Lord Islington, Mrs. T. M. Wilford, Mr. T. G. McCarthy and Mr. Hugh Ward and his Comedy Company, in recognition of which the four Children's Wards were named Islington Ward, Wilford Ward, McCarthy Ward and Hugh Ward Ward, and as the accepted tender for the building (£11,713/15/8) did not absorb all the funds, the Board felt justified in the expenditure of £800 upon tile pictures for the ornamentation of the wards.|
|(h)||The building of the Children's Hospital was followed by the acquisition of seven acres of land, away from the main block, for an Infectious Diseases Hospital.|
It is true that the Wellington Hospital Board is in possession of valuable endowments in the city from which a steadily increasing income has accrued, with corresponding relief to the ratepayers.
Its buildings and equipment are among the finest to be had, but away and beyond this, Wellington Hospital is far more than bricks and mortar. It is a symbol of sympathy, sacrifice and love of one's fellow men, of trusteeship of possessions for the common weal. "the spirit and service of a noble band of men and women bound together by indestructible ties of kinship and common citizenship," a spot where doctors, nurses and public alike meet on a shining plane of service.
Like a gleaming line of lamps along its pathway shines' the memory of its many medicos - Ewart, Hardwick-Smith, Collins, Valentine, Grabham, Hay, Grace, Gillon, Kemp, Hassall, Anderson, Gillies, Cairney and others - the best the colony had to offer.
Looking back on the bright patches of earlier days, it is possible that no philanthropic movement in the city ever took root and bore fruit more rapidly than that undertaken in 1910 for the erection of the Children's Hospital. For this the leading credit must go to Hugh Ward, actor-manager of a Comedy Company then touring the Colony, who on finding that Wellington did not possess such an asset, proposed, per the press (August 4th, 1910) :-
The suggestion acted as a match to tinder, indeed, so great was the enthusiasm evoked, that by August 6th the first £1,000 was passed. helpers the Mayoress, Mrs. Wilford, was one of the foremost. The Governor, Lord Islington, headed a list with £25. Sweets for the matinée were donated by Messrs. C, M. Banks, Godber, Aulsebrook and Cadbury. Picture theatres gave performances for the fund. The Wellington Football Association contributed half the proceeds of the Inter-island match. The Garrison Band gave a concert in the Town Hall for the cause and the Wellington Central Mission's Silver Band followed suit. Kelburn Tea Rooms contributed the proceeds of a Sunday afternoon tea. School children emptied their moneyboxes in their efforts to help and even the Chinese residents came to light with the generous sum of £133/9/-. A published letter, signed by the local doctors, heartily endorsed the movement and suggested that, in order to commemorate the Great Peacemaker, recently deceased, the hospital should be called the Edward VII Memorial Hospital.
Needless to say, Mr. Hugh Ward, who had done similar service for Perth, was the man of the hour. The Hugh Ward season boomed. Packed houses greeted every programme. Never had Wellington seen such a matinée. Never had Miss Grace Palotta, the leading lady, sung with such fervour her original London hit, "The Soldiers in the Park," whose chorus, taken up by a wildly enthusiastic audience, threatened serious destruction to the roof.
How merrily they play!
Oh, don't you think it grand?
Hear everybody say:
Oh, listen to the band!
Who doesn't love to hark
To the shout of, "Here they come!"
And the banging of the drum.
Oh, listen to the soldiers in the Park!
Throughout the audience boxes of sweets, autographed by members of the Company, sold like hot cakes. Amidst a veritable tornado of applause, the two Wards - Sir Joseph, a Premier-to-be, and Mr. Hugh Ward - appeared on the stage to announce the extent of the swelling funds. Mr. T. G. McCarthy (per the Rev. H. van Staveren) capped the announcement with a message that if £4,500 was raised he and his wife would add another £500! (Oh, don't you think it grand!) By August 15th, no less than £5,500 was gathered in and by September 10th, over £2,000 more which, with the Government subsidy, gave a grand total (Hear everybody say!) of over sixteen thousand pounds!
What we spent, we had,
What we left, we lost.
In Wellington South is also to be found the Home for the Aged Needy, standing in four acres of ground, and erected in 1888 by voluntary contributions, largely donated by W. H. Levin, C. J. Pharazyn, John Plimmer and others.
Her part; do thou but thine.
(Motto of Plunket Societies, selected by the Founder.)
On the Town Belt of Wellington, adjoining the Melrose Heights, is to be found one of the most interesting institutions in New Zealand - the Karitane Babies' Hospital, opened by our present Queen, when visiting the Dominion in 1927. "It is the loveliest thing I have seen since I came to New Zealand,"(1) was the enthusiastic comment of Lady Freyberg on the occasion of her first visit. Building, contents and site are alike lovely and inspiring. The exquisite harbour view, the many-windowed building adorned internally with beds of beautiful babies and externally with beds of beautiful flowers, are a lasting city memorial to the "World's greatest friend of little children," the tribute which by common consent posterity has bestowed upon the Dominion's greatest benefactor to humanity, Sir Frederick Truby King.
Truby King was a New Zealander, born and bred. Trained for medicine at Edinburgh University, where he carried off the coveted Eccles Scholarship for the most distinguished graduate of the year, he did some promising work at the Edinburgh and Glasgow infirmaries before returning to his native land to take charge of Wellington Hospital. At Seacliff, a later appointment, he effected, by judicious outdoor activities and careful diet, a revolution in the health of the patients. Impressed by the wastage, especially of young life, he embarked upon the greatest health crusade ever made by any country in the world, and in 1907 founded in Dunedin the first Society for the Protection of Health of Women and Children, or, as all the world calls it, the "Plunket Society,"(2) for the saving and welfare of infant life.
Recognition was instantaneous in and out of New Zealand. England, America, all European countries, China, Japan, the whole world quickly established Mothercraft centres and triumphantly demonstrated his theories. The tiny seed sown in Dunedin grew with amazing rapidity into a mighty forest, whose branches now extend over the habitable globe, and wherever his system has been put into vigorous operation, steady and rapid reduction of child mortality has resulted. In New Zealand today the mortality of children from one to twelve months is less than one per cent, an outstanding record for the whole world.
Truby King is no more. On the Melrose Hcights he lies in a simple grave, not a stone's throw from the Babies' Hospital. But his work will never die. To the world he has left the heritage of legions of healthy children, and to his own land, so dear to him, the prideful memory that, with him as leader, New Zealand pioneered the greatest achievement in humanitarian progress that the world has ever seen. Well may he be ranked as one of the greatest, if not the very greatest, of New Zealand's sons.
Yet another humanitarian comes to mind at the sight of her memorial in these parts, Truly are we citizens of no mean city. This is Lewisham Hospital, one of the so-named numerous nursing institutions that today stand throughout the world for the highest efficiency in nursing that the service has to offer.
Mary Potter, daughter of an English father and an Irish mother, died in 1915. Thirty-six years before, in the face of almost insuperable opposition and the frailest of health, she had succeeded at long last in founding the "Little Company of Mary," an order of nursing sisters, pledged to devote their lives to intercession for and the nursing of the sick and the dying, wherever to be found.
At one time nursing was regarded as one of the lowest types of work, and the conditions of sick nursing were appalling. In this respect the pioneers of reform were the, Sisters of Mercy, and Florence Nightingale herself obtained permission from Cardinal Manning to enter a Catholic nursing sisterhood in Paris for her training before the Crimean War.
The Little Company of Mary commenced their labours near Nottingham where, owing to the generosity of a donor, premises had been secured in an old disused factory. Their reputation speedily grew and when, after some years of ever-increasing activity, Mother Mary Potter visited Rome, it was to remain, at the request of the Pope, and organise similar institutions in Italy. What is generally conceded to be her masterpiece is the Calvary Hospital, established in Rome in 1907 on the Cælian Hill, though that of Fiesole, on the Florentine Hills, one can recall as likewise a golden centre of healing.
Meanwhile Cardinal Moran, on a visit to England, was appealing for nursing assistance for Australia, and in 1885 six of her sisters accompanied him on his return to Sydney, where a cottage was in readiness in the suburb of Lewisham. For this reason was the subsequent hospital which crowned their efforts popularly known as the "Lewisham Hospital," and when, in later years, a contingent of her nurses passed on to Christchurch, in New Zealand, the same name was adopted for the ensuing hospital, and at a later date, for the Wellington institution. Today their hospitals are established all over the world. London has three of them; others are found in many of the provincial towns of Great Britain, in Europe, U.S.A., South America, Africa, Australia and New Zealand - all alike regarded by critics of every denomination as the very perfection of hospital service.
Mary Potter is a signal instance of the triumph of mind over matter, of the spiritual over the merely corporeal. Unceasing physical suffering was her daily portion,
Ah! must Thou char die wood ere Thou
canst limn with it?
but stronger than her own suffering was her ceaseless solicitude for the suffering of others, combined, perhaps, thanks to an Irish mother, with a gay and irrepressible spirit and an ever present sense of humour, which jested at earthly scars and carried her through to the consummation of her Divinely appointed purpose. One of the saints of the World!
It would scarcely be possible to write of Wellington South without mentioning its chief residence, that of the Governor-General of the Dominion, which since 1910 has occupied the former site of the Mental Hospital on the lower slopes of the Te Ranga-a-Hiwi Hills. Standing in about fifty acres of ground, and approached from Dufferin Street by a lengthy drive cut off the edge of the Wellington College Reserve, it is just what it appears to be - a comfortable, two-storeyed, spacious, manor-like house of weather. board and plaster, tiled-roofed and E-shaped, looking out upon the western hills. The Hall is interesting with its panelled records of successive Governors, the ballroom impressive, running almost the full length of one side, the drawing-room dainty and invariably flower-filled, but to most visitors it is the gardens that convey the greatest charm. These are the work of successive Governors since 1910, but especially of Lady Galway, who was the gardener par excellence of all vice-regal occupants. In both her English homes at "The Mantles" and at "Serlby Hall" she had been instrumental in laying out beautiful gardens, of which at times, she showed to privileged visitors coloured films, and in her colonial home, albeit a temporary one, she gave full rein to her talent, creating rhododendron delIs, herbaceous borders and rock gardens that gave delight to many hundreds of visiting enthusiasts. Lord Galway too, was interested in the New Zealand Alpine Flora, and during his term of office brought together a fine collection within the Government House grounds.
A subsequent letter to New Zealand mentioned that the Hon. CeIia Galway, second daughter of Lord and Lady Galway, was showing unusual promise in art, and had not only finished her Diploma but had gained an Art Scholarship. One wonders if she remembers her first instruction in Wellington (3) in animal painting from life. The lesson was taken outside - the pupil duly seated upon an upturned bucket and the model tied by a groom to one of Lady Galway's flowering shrubs. Unfortunately it was blowing great guns, and the lesson was on the point of commencing when an extra-furious gust sent paper and materials into the air. The model followed (of his own accord), dragging his anchor, so to speak, the last seen of both for a while being his hindquarters fast disappearing over the hill and the tree taking flying leaps to keep up with him. "Oh dear! Oh dear!" gasped the light-hearted young artist. "Isn't this lovely - far better than an ordinary lesson inside?"
What of the streets of Wellington South? They are legion. As shopping and shipping grew, population was pushed further out of the central area, and with the advent of the trams, nay, before, followed the flatter ground towards Island Bay, south to the very confines of the outer sea. Hard on their heels came hosts of little builders and land speculators. Building costs were insignificant in those days; land, as far out as this, easily obtainable, with the result that small alleys and terraces soon branched out from the main southern thoroughfares in every direction.
There are however, some fine highways in Wellington South. Adelaide Road (v. Ship Streets), notwithstanding the shabbiness of its buildings today and the crowded alleys on its eastern side, is one of the finest of Wellington streets, wide, straight and sun-swept. To the east branches Drummond Street, one of our earliest small streets, laid out in 1840 and now forming the trade entrance to Government House. At the Public Hospital the tram route passes into Riddiford Street (q.v.) which has of late years absorbed Revans Street. This is regrettable. It is not every settlement that has a Samuel Revans to remember, our first newspaper editor and the coefounder of Canada's first daily paper. Early history is likewise recalled by the names in this part of Constable Street, Daniell Street, Mein Street, Hanson Street, Bidwell Street, Wright Street, Owen Street, Coromandel Street and Rintoul Street, all of which have been elsewhere considered. Parallel to Daniell Street is Minerva Street (see Ship Streets). City Fathers have left their imprint in Hutchison Road, Trevor Terrace and Coombe Street. Manley Terrace is not a mayoral street, but is named after Manley Luke, son of George Luke, brother of two of our mayors; Kenwyn Terrace is also a "Luke" street, having been named by Mr. George Luke after the little village of Kenwyn in Cornwall, their native county. Ranfurly Terrace is a Governor street; so is Normanby Street. Two legal luminaries are recorded in Mansfield Street, and Arney Street; two prominent pioneers in Rhodes Street and Donald McLean Street; two Premiers in Seddon Terrace and Hall Street, the latter changed from Hunter Street in 1879; two early surveyors in Carrington Street and Stoke Street. Noah's Ark is not in it. John Howard Wallace (q.v.) has no fewer than three streets to his credit - John Street, Howard Street and Wallace Street - and traces of the career of the Iron Duke are recalled by the streets constructed through the Wellesley Block by W. Turnbull in 1903 - Corunna Avenue, Douro Avenue, Somerset Avenue, Picton Avenue and Blutcher Avenue, to say nothing of an academic aura (not at all in evidence) that is suggested by the name of Girton Terrace and Oxford Terrace. Off Wallace Street runs Finlay Terrace, constructed by William Finlay in 1889. Hayward Terrace was constructed over Sec. 718, granted to E. G. Wakefield in 1853 and sold in portions to C. Howard in 1865 - presumably called after Col. W. Hayward Wakefield. The origin of the name of Alfred Street, next to Girton Terrace, is somewhat hazy. This section (town acre 741) passed through many hands and was finally purchased by Samuel Parkes and E. Stafford who, in 1875, sold their holdings in pieces, leaving Alfred Street along the common boundary. Recollections of the first royal visit to New Zealand, that of Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, in 1869 (v. page 287) may have been in their minds - a visit which made a deep impression upon the young city and in a measure put the colony itself upon the map.
Flanking Hospital Road to north and south are Hugh Street and Howell Avenue. A snug little grocery store (what history it could relate!) at the corner of Howell Avenue affords a clue to the name. It was the first such store in these parts and for the eighty years of its existence has had but two proprietors. For the last forty-three years - Mr. Barley (still going strong), and for the thirty-seven years before, Mrs. Howell, who, when bylaws were conspicuous by their absence, built some tiny houses behind the shop, the entrance to which was for long known as "Howell's Alley," raised later by the Council to the dignity of Howell Avenue.
Hugh Street recalls Robert Port, a much-esteemed merchant of early days, who had his warehouse in Featherston Street. Mr. Port, who is further commemorated in Port Street (E.2), constructed Hugh Street in 1876, naming it after a favourite brother. He was also responsible for the construction of Broomhedge Street, a private right-of-way over town acre 746, "transferred June 1st, 1879. from Robert Port, merchant, Wellington, to Her Majesty the Queen," and between 1876 and 1881 sold the sections flanking Yale Road, constructed over town acre 731, which had been granted in 1854 to Mr. J. Abbott. Early settlers too, will rememeber "Port's Lane," off Manners Street, now built over by the premises of Messrs. R. & E. Tingey & Co. Another mercantile pioneer is recalled by the name of Anderson Terrace, made through the property of David Anderson, whose family still occupy the Anderson residence at the head of Nairn Street.
McDuff Terrace owes its name to Alan Smith, a native of Glasgow, who after some years of sea-faring life, settled in Wellington and opened a grocery store at the corner of Owen Street and Balmoral Terrace. Like most of her sons, though lost to sight, Scotland was still to memory doubly dear, and when the proprietor of the "Highland Laddie Store" amassed sufficient siller to acquire some land and build cottages thereon, why, what could sound better than "Terrace McDuff?" G. H. Bayliss, an early S.1 contractor in sand and gravel, likewise secured a share of city territory, constructing several small streets in Island Bay (q.v.) and Berhampore (q.v.). Two more contractors were Messrs. Boyd and A. Mudge, who acquired land and joined forces in the construction of Boyd Terrace and Mudges Terrace (1899) with Torquay Terrace between them.
With the death of Alexander Wilson in 1919, at the age of ninety, Wellington South lost one of its most enterprising patriarchs. Mr. Wilson, also a builder, haled from Scotland. Attracted by the gold discoveries he emigrated in 1854 to Victoria, but gold not coming his way, he passed on in the following year to New Zealand, reaching Wellington but three weeks after the Great Earthquake of 1855. In course of time he pegged out some highly auriferous claims in Wellington in the shape of city property in Cuba, Tory and Constable Streets, and from 1883 to 1886 was a member of the City Council. Keenly interested in local institutions, he was one of the founders of St. James Presbyterian Church and also of Newtown School, for which he donated part of the land. The name of Wilson Street, the upper part of which was formerly known as Waterloo Avenue, keeps his memory green. Russell Terrace is a reminder of Mr. Jas. Russell, a large contractor, who for many years lived in Lower Tory Street.
Another prominent builder, who has left his imprint on city streets, is Mr. H. Crump, now at the age of ninety-two enjoying well-earned retirement in the picturesque Dunedin suburb of Anderson's Bay. Mr. Crump developed some important leaseholds in Wellington. Not only was he responsible for the construction of several streets already considered in other parts of the city, but in 1898 he acquired (for £2,500) the Wallace Estate, consisting of the old horse-tram paddocks of Adelaide Road, which the new electric system had made available for purchase, and through which, at a further cost of £1,800, he constructed a street. "What shall I name it, I asked a relative," writes the old gentleman in reminiscent mood, and the reply was, "Name it after that infant in the cradle." Thus did Myrtle Crescent come into existence, called after the diminutive Miss Myrtle Crump (Mrs. Howard Ashworth of Anderson's Bay), surely the youngest person in the city to be so honoured.
Pause for a moment at the angle of Florence Street and Gordon Street. A long, low gate. But over the gate is a garden fair, and Mr. P. Bydder is master there, in spite of his weight of years, still conjuring blossoms from Mother Earth, bestowing them upon the flowerless, and watching the city he helped to build creep steadily up and up, over the hills and far away.
Mention of Florence Street and Gordon Street calls to mind William James (1834,1907), an arrival in 1862 from Penmorfa, Cardigan, Wales, and one of the first settlers to reside in Newtown. In the vicinity of Florence Street, Gordon Street and Gordon Place, he acquired a considerable block of land, naming the above streets, constructed in 1886, after a granddaughter Florence (Mrs. Heyting), at present residing in Sydney, where among other activities she wields a ready pen as a writer of children's stories, (4) and his youngest son, Gordon Stuart James, whose widow still resides on part of the estate, the presiding deity of one of the prettiest remaining gardens of South Wellington. Upon one occasion, relates Mrs. James, her father-in-law journeyed back to Wales, reappearing in due course with gifts for the thirteen young replicas awaiting his return. These included some small rubber coracles to enable their youthful owners to indulge in aquatic sports in the long since vanished pools and streams which at that time meandered over the present site of these closely built streets. O tempora!
The first home (No. 69 Rintoul Street) built by William James in Newtown, and still standing, was subsequently occupied for a short time by Sir Harry Atkinson, Premier of the Colony, 1883 and 1884. Mr. James had first resided in Lambton Quay, opposite the present site of the Midland Hotel. In the early days much of of this thoroughfare, with its buildings on one side only, marked the very confines of Lambton Harbour; indeed, the term Lambton Quay was regarded as not a little pedantic by the early comers who invariably referred to it as "The Beach." His section ran back to the Terrace, and leading in from Woodward Street was a little right-of-way, now devoid of any name, but in earlier days always known as "James Lane."
Some of the old street names, here as elsewhere, have of necessity been changed since early days. Hospital Terrace was altered in 1925 to Regina Terrace to avoid confusion with Hospital Road. Pitt Street (there is one in N.2) was renamed Chatham Street, since Pitt the Elder was raised to the peerage as Earl of Chatham. St. Hill Street became Rolleston Street, after the learned southern statesman of that name (q.v.); Dock Street, adjoining the Basin Reserve, which was fated not to be a dock, became Rugby Street, as more appropriate to its new activities. Douglas Wallace Street, so named after a popular manager of the Union Bank of Australia, was shortened in 1911 to Douglas Street, and College Terrace, still intent upon academic aspirations, took on the new name of Girton Terrace.
One of the earliest property owners in College Terrace, or College Green, as it was then called, was Mr. Jas. Bourke, a native of Limerick who, after seeking his fortune first in Queensland, and finding it in the person of Mrs. Bourke, came on to New Zealand in 1866. In College Green he xquired nine houses and lived there until 1869, when he purchased land at Kilbirnie and established wool-scouring works, still carried on by his descendants at Lower Hutt.
Emmett Street, cut up by Mrs. Emma Emmett, was constructed through town acre 777, acquired by Christopher Emmett in 1858. The name disappears from the list of owners in 1894. Green Street, through section 781, was also cut up and sold by Mrs. Emmett in 1876. She died in 1885. William Cardall in 1888 bought section 838, and in the same year had it subsdivided and sold lots through which he constructed Cardall Street, which bears his name. Millward Street takes its name from Mrs. Elizabeth Holder Millward, who cut up and sold the lots so reached, giving her name to the street.
Horner Street derives from Mr. J. H. Horner, who was an auctioneer and valuator in Customhouse Street in 1866, and three years prior to that, one of the Te Aro Commissioners on the Town Board. Hargreaves Street is named after a merchant who subsequently went to Christchurch. Ferguson Street was cut up in 1875 by Mr. G. G. Schwartz, a well-known city architect. It is generally regarded as a Governor street, taking its name from Sir George Ferguson Bowen, Governor of the Colony from 1868 to 1873. From the date of its construction it cannot be called, as is sometimes stated, after Wm. Ferguson, engineer to the Wellington Harbour Board, who did not reach New Zealand until 1883. Eleven years later he and his wife (nee Miss Sefton Moorhouse) were among the fortunate survivors of the wreck of the s.s. "Wairarapa" on the Great Barrier. Mr. Ferguson who died in 1935, was a man of vast attainments, as was his brother, Sir Lindo Ferguson. His greatest memorial is undoubtedly his twenty-four years of service to the port of Wellington by means of which it became one of the best-equipped and most efficient ports in the Southern Hemisphere.
Along the northern boundary of the Zoological Gardens runs Roy Street, constructed in 1905 by Archibald Hall, manager of the City Tramways, and named after his youngest son, Roy McDiarmid Hall.
Regent Street (q.v.) is a memorial to Richard Keene, Mayor of Melrose Borough, at a time when it comprised a larger area even than that of the city proper.
In and out. Streets and more streets. It is by dipping into their naming and beginnings that one realises how steadily the pioneers of Wellington South met life at every turn, how much civic spirit and mutual collaboration were engendered by the determination to pull together for the common weal. It speaks well for the result that so many of the city's public institutions have arisen in their midst. Withdrawn by distance from the bulk of city attractions, toned up by muscular exercise and sweeping southerlies, the "new town" bred a hardy and independent section of the community, that has certainly pulled its weight in the onward and upward development of the capital city of the Dominion.
And sight is dim, and hair is gray
I trust I'll ne'er forget to pray,
'God prosper folks at Newtown.'
Loud wind, strong wind, sweeping o'er the mmountains,
Fresh wind, free wind, blowing from the sea,
Pour forth thy vials like streams from airy fountains,
Draughts of life to me.
Island Bay, the most southerly of the city suburbs, lying full face to the southerly "breezes," brings us to the shores of Cook Strait, and gazing seaward at a passing vessel beating up to Wellington Heads, one has a fleeting reminder of the waters of the Channel and the distant coast of France. The suburb takes its name from the bay, so called because of the island of Tapu-te-ranga which sits sentry-wise across its mouth and shelters it from the full force of Cook Strait rollers. Reef Street is opposite the reef in the bay.
To the west of Island Bay is Houghton Bay, which, together with Houghton Bay Road and Houghton Terrace, is called after Robert Houghton, master mariner, first signal man at the station above Newtown.
In the early days of the settlement Geo. Hunter II was the chief proprietor of the Island Bay Estate and on his stud farm at the bay bred stock and exhibited successfully. Some time prior to 1879 the freehold of the Island Bay and Happy Valley Estate, over 6,000 acres in area, was purchased by Jacob Joseph and J. F. E. Wright. The Island Bay portion was subdivided by the partners and offered for sale by auction by Messrs. Bethune & Co., in March, 1879, the Happy Valley Estate being retained by the partners and used as a sheep run until the death of J. F. E. Wright in 1891. A few years later Jacob Joseph bought the share of Mr. Wright's widow and continued to farm the run until his death in 1903, after which the property was sold.
The Island Bay Race Course, of which no trace now remains, was approached from the north by the Parade, with Clyde Street as its eastern boundary and approximately the present line of Derwent Street as its west.
Most of the streets of Island Bay are called after the rivers of the United Kingdom and Europe (see appendix), and a few after British seaports. Of the remainder :
|Buckley Road is named after Sir Patrick Buckley, Judge of the Supreme Court, 1895, an Irishman who had sojourned for a few years in Australia before coming on in 1865 to Wellington. As well as the practice of law he took a keen interest in politics, and more than once held ministerial rank. Sir Patrick was one of the proprietors of the adjacent district of Melrose. In 1869 he married a daughter of Sir William Fitzherbert.|
|Robertson Street was put through the property of Alexander Robertson who owned part of the Happy Valley Station. Mr. Robertson also presented to the city Adelaide Park (with an entrance from Robertson Street) and this he named after his wife. Dargle Street, Rhone Street and Lea Street in this vicinity are still paper roads. Hudson Street takes us to the U.S.A., Waikato Street to our own longest river. Freeling Street, cut up by Mr. Jacob Joseph, was named after Chas. Freeling Reeves, who bought some of the lots in 1906. Mace Street and Jackson Street recall the two partners who once owned Melrose when it was but rough land running stock.|
G. H. Bayliss, through whose property in Wellington South Penrose Avenue was constructed, also owned property adjacent to Island Bay Esplanade, and High Street, Beach Street and Valley Street were all put through this land. The portrait in the Wellington Gallery of Mr. Bayliss, painted by the late Mrs. M. E. R. Tripe, may be known to some readers. Like all Mrs. Tripe's portrait work, it was of a high order.
One of the greatest women of New Zealand - one might truly say of her century - will ever be associated with these southern Wellington suburbs where, at Island Bay, by the foundation of the Home of Compassion, she brought her life's great labours to a close. Mother Mary Joseph Aubert (1835 - 1926) one of the greatest pioneers in the service of charity and devotion to sick and suffering mankind, was born at Lyons and came to New Zealand in 1861, working among the sick, first in Auckland and later at the Meeanee Mission in Hawkes Bay. From Meeanee she moved in the eighties to "Jerusalem" on the Wanganui River, where she established homes for incurables, and where she founded the Order of Our Lady of Compassion, acknowledged by the Pope during Mother Aubert's visit to Rome in 1914, In her youth she had studied medicine and chemistry at Lyons, and with a remarkable flair for the practical side of botany and chemistry, she applied her knowledge to a study of the medicinal properties of New Zealand native plants, preparing many valuable patent medicines and using the proceeds for the upkeep of her charitable institutions. Invited to undertake district nursing in Wellington, she founded first a Home for Incurables and later in 1908, the Home of Compassion at Island Bay. For many years, she and her devoted sisters were familiar figures in Wellington Streets, wheeling their wicker handcarts, collecting food and other offerings for the poor.
It is difficult to over-estimate the great extent of her ministrations. One might excusably twist the words of the Great Charter to frame for her a fitting motto:- "To none will we refuse, to none will we deny or delay, food or raiment." Rich and poor, Dissenter and Catholic, felt the influence of this little Frenchwoman with her worn features, coarse raiment and understanding eyes, and when she was called upon to close her earthly accounts, the whole city felt that something of beauty and of holiness had passed from their midst.
1. "Evening Post," October 9th. 1946.
2. Lord Plunket then Governor of New Zealand, was an immediate convert to the theories of Truby King, and from then onwards, never failed to lend the movement all possible support.
3. Her art teacher was Miss F. Richardson, a well-known Wellington painter of native plants and birds.
4. Vide "Four Winds and a Family," by D. Cusack and F. Heyting, 1947.
Part Three : Chapter Five : Eastern Suburbs