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Lower Hutt Past and Present (1941)

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The Story from the Borough Minutes

Reading the records of a town's growth, from its birth to maturity, is rather like looking through an old family album. Much of the reader's interest is held by the quaint episodes and the tremendous trifles of bygone days; but to the civic fathers of the time these were no less serious than the tall hats and the heavy beards at which we smile to-day, but which they wore with dignity and even reverence.
Lower Hutt had grown from an infant settlement to adolescence when, just fifty years ago—half the century which has brought it the dignity of city status—it was made a borough. It was, in fact, rather like a well-grown
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The First Mayor of Lower Hutt.

1891 to 1898
Mr. W. A Fitzherbert.
youth going into long trousers and making hopeful experiments with a razor. It had a lot of youthful ideas to overcome, and had to struggle to manhood by its own efforts. And some of its youthful problems still bother it.
The proclamation of the borough was gazetted on the 7th July, 1890, to be effective on the 1st February, 1891. On the 21st of that month Mr. R. K. Jackson, returning officer, announced the election, unopposed, of Mr. W. A. Fitzherbert as Mayor, and two days later the election for six councillors brought Messrs. J. R. Ransom, J. Cudby, H. D. Atkinson, F. Cooper, T. P. Allen and J. Wilkins into office. Mr. Wilkins owed his seat to the returning officer's casting vote, having tied with Mr. J. Knight.
Voting was on a property basis; and Mr. E. J. Riddiford, the largest landholder and heaviest voter, was popularly called "King."
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The borough had then a population of 1329, and the revenue, at 3/4d. in the £1 on the capital value, was estimated at £667/14/-.
The council met on the 25th February, and adopted the standing orders of the Petone Borough Council, its senior by two years.
It knew well enough what had to be done, but the way to do it had to be hammered out. Principally the borough lacked roads and drainage and a check on the unwanted activities of nature. Te Mome, known as the "black swamp," was fast becoming covered with broom and gorse; everywhere unruly growth spread into the roads.
The level land made drainage a grave problem. There were open drains everywhere; every settler led his surplus water to the most convenient watercourse; there was little, if any, co-operation.
In these circumstances everybody was a civil engineer—including the councillors; and so the "works" which were so necessary were the subject of much debate, wide differences of opinion, and much procrastination. The simple formula for any very contentious matter was an adjournment till the next meeting, and progress was consequently slow.
One of the first duties of the newly-formed council was to revise and amend the valuation and electoral rolls, and Cr. Ransom, and Wm. Donnelly who had been appointed working foreman at 7/- a day, were appointed to go through the district and make a valuation of the buildings and improvements. During this procedure some 136 transfers of property and amendments to the valuation and electoral rolls were effected. The council obtained a plan of the borough, showing all boundaries and subdivisions, at a cost of £14.
In April, 1891, R. K. Jackson was appointed town clerk and borough solicitor at a salary of £52 per annum, and Giles Edwards was appointed ranger during the pleasure of the council, his remuneration to be fees only.
A number of licences were established: for hotels, £40 a year, the same as to-day; auctioneers, slaughterhouses, dogs, and drays. Licences were required also for vehicles carrying passengers to the Hutt Park Racecourse.
Mr. P. R. Purser was appointed Town Clerk in February, 1892, and Mr. T. M. Wilford Borough Solicitor two months later.
The Hutt Bridge was the birthplace of municipal street lighting and the fire brigade; for in March, 1892, two lamps were placed on it, and some months later the bridge caught fire, and the council decided to provide six buckets, with ropes, at a convenient place, to deal with subsequent trouble of the kind. Leonard Parker, who gave the alarm, was paid £1 for his action, and the thanks of the borough went to others who put the fire out. Petone, however, had a brigade, which attended some fires in Lower Hutt. In 1894 it was voted £5 for its services in the new borough.
Despite its revenues from rates and licenses, and the small expenditures upon salaries, the borough found it necessary as early as April, 1893, to establish a milestone—its first overdraft. In the following year the estimates were
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for an income of £1298/9/10, and the town clerk's salary went up to £62. The year's programme included the improvement of streets and footpaths, the piping and filling of an open drain along Railway Avenue, the erection of a footbridge on the south side of the main bridge, and the filling of five chains of a large open drain on the Middle Waiwhetu (now Waterloo) Road. Two years later the first concrete culvert was built to carry water from the creeks to the river across the Western Hutt Road.
Drainage problems continued to loom large—indeed they persisted in the Valley for decades longer. In 1896 a suit was brought against the council to prevent the council emptying a large drain along the main road into a watercourse on private property and so to the river, and £400 damages was claimed. The case was settled; but the council soon undertook a general clean-up of watercourses and various drainage works which cost £3500.
The council had also to remove its office, as there was some dispute over the ownership of the site, but the office was re-erected in High Street, just south of Plowman Street. In the period of removal the council held its meetings in a small shed on Mr. Trevethick's property nearby.
One of the works contemplated at this time was the improvement of the Middle Waiwhetu Road; but owing to disputes regarding boundaries the matter was hung up, and tenders for the work were not accepted until 1903.
The first medical officer, Dr. J. R. Purdy, was appointed on the 5th April, 1896.
The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria's reign in 1897 was made a great occasion, commemorated by the gift to the borough by Cr. Eglington of a strip of land fronting Hutt Park for tree-planting, and also by changing the name of Johnson to Victoria Street.
Mr. Fitzherbert's Mayoralty terminated on 21st December, 1898, and Mr. W. G. Foster followed him. The members of the new council were Messrs. Bunny, Burridge, Cudby, De Rosa, Ward and Moorhouse.
The council inherited, among other assets, twenty-one street lamps. Property owners in Bloomfield (now Laing's) Road were informed of their liability to pay half the cost of a new timber kerb for the footpath. Timber was the material generally used for this purpose, and kerbing was extended to all graded and formed streets. The obvious source of metal for road-making was the river, and the council had to deal with the River Board for it. As the board intended to have a complete survey of the river made, leave to take gravel from below the bridge was refused.
In August, 1899, the council was asked by the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners to observe its rules regarding hours of labour; and the council decided to pay 7/- a day for first class and 6/- per day for second class men employed on borough works.
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Cycling was well in fashion, and a favourite run was over the Wainui Road, which was steep and dangerous. To check their speed down-hill, cyclists were in the habit of towing bunches of brushwood as brakes. Either because of the dust they raised, or the damage to the road, or the destruction of the native scrub, the council ordered the practice to stop, and threatened prosecutions.
The war in South Africa was in progress, and a number of Hutt residents had joined the New Zealand contingents. Patriotic funds were raised here as everywhere else—it was the day of the shilling in the tambourine—and were transmitted to the Mayor of Wellington.
On the 5th March, 1900, the Mayoral chair was handed over by Mr. Foster to Mr. Bunny. The councillors were Messrs. Allen, Cudby, De Rosa. Ward, Moorhouse, R. Stevens.
The population of the borough was 1640.
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Mr. W. G. Foster.

1898 to 1900
Early in the year there was much alarm about an outbreak of bubonic plague in Australia. Dr. Purdy attended a council meeting, which discussed the possibility of preventing the disease gaining a footing in its territory. The Wellington City Council offered to supply rat poison free of charge, and the Inspector of Nuisances was instructed to make a thorough examination of all premises in the borough. These precautions at least did no harm, and the disease did not appear in the borough—nor for that matter in New Zealand anywhere; but the alarm did not end till much later. In 1902 a bonus of 2d., later increased to 4d. per head, was offered for rats. Another alarm about the same disease arose shortly before the Great War; it was much better founded, for cases actually occurred in Auckland, but fortunately it was stamped out without spreading elsewhere.
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But another crisis of a different kind faced Mr. Bunny's council. The bridge, vital to the town, was showing signs of age: it had been built in 1872. Its replacement was discussed with the River Board, and as an immediate step Mr. Fulton, civil engineer, was asked to report on its condition, on restrictions on traffic to prevent serious damage, and on temporary repairs. The engineer urged that the bridge should be replaced, and in the meantime repairs were carried out. The council unanimously decided to build the bridge approximately where the present concrete bridge stands, though this site was not, in fact, eventually adopted.
In March, 1901, plans for the bridge were submitted by Mr. Fulton; and Messrs. Treadwell and Field were retained to ascertain how the cost of the work was to be allocated among the adjoining local bodies.
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Mr. E. P. Bunny.

1900 to 1901
1909 to 1914
The bridge problem extended over into the life of the next council, of which Mr. Orton Stevens was Mayor, and was characterised by a lively discussion about the site. Strong influences were brought to bear against the position chosen by the Borough Council, and the selection of its position was finally left to the Minister of Lands and the Government Engineer. The River Board pressed for action, and at the end of January, 1902, the tender of Mr. M. O'Connor, for £7,731, was accepted. Mr. Field, M.H.R., was asked to have £5000 placed on the Estimates as a Government contribution towards the cost of the bridge, which was opened on 3rd April, 1904.
It too came to the end of useful life, and was closed to vehicular traffic after the opening of the present concrete bridge on the 14th March, 1929.
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Early in 1901 Nikau Avenue, Wainui Avenue and Pretoria Street were added to the town's communications.
In this year the Colonial Secretary advised that towns with a population of 2000 were entitled to have nine councillors. This dignity Lower Hutt had now reached, sixty years after its beginning. In another forty years, with over 20,000 population, it has acquired the status of a city.
Building by-laws were now adopted, and an important addition was made by the Mayor, fixing the building line 33 feet from the middle of any street within the borough.
Mr. Orton Stevens was elected Mayor in May, 1901, and presided over an enlarged council of nine members.—Messrs. J. Cudby, G. F. Glen, E. Hayes. C. Hollard, F. Moorhouse, R. Stevens, J. Ward, T. Waugh and J. H. Whitton.
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Mr. Orton Stevens.

1901 to 1905
An event for which provision had now to be made was the visit of the Duke and Duchess of York, and the council authorised a contribution up to £20 to assist in making a special display in Wellington. In the following year the council decided to subsidise £1 for £1 any amounts raised to celebrate the coronation of King Edward VII.
This council inaugurated the use of concrete instead of wooden kerbs, reached an agreement with church organisations concerning the closing of local cemeteries, and took over the old Wesleyan cemetery, which lay in the course of the road to the bridge.
In 1913 a tablet, bearing the names of those who had been buried in the portion of the cemetery invaded by the widening of Bridge Street, was erected in the cemetery.
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Mr. Thomas Ward was appointed Borough Engineer early in 1902, and was asked, among other duties, to prepare an estimate for a drainage scheme.
A most important event occurred on the 7th July, 1902—the inauguration of rating on unimproved values. The rate was 2d. in the £1, and on a total unimproved value of £225,879 amounted to £1882/6/6. The rate, of 13-16d. in the £1 on the capital value, £357,866, figured out at £1770/11/2. (The present general rate is just under 7 1/4d. in the £1).
Mr. Stevens was re-elected in 1903, and presided over the following Council:—Messrs. J. Brasell, J. Cudby, E. Hayes, C. Hollard, W. Judd, R. Lee, H. E. Leighton, W. P. Pringle and T. Waugh.
The widening of the Middle Waiwhetu Road to a full chain was undertaken in 1903. There were many negotiations over this project, and much of the required land was given to the borough by the owners of the frontages. There was some activity in subdivision of properties at this time; new streets were being formed, and residents were allowed to suggest names for them. Two brick shops—the first in the borough—were built on the main road. The main road was provided with a footpath along its western side.
In 1903 the council put before the ratepayers a proposal to borrow £3500 to purchase a recreation ground, but it was rejected; though in the following year a loan of £2800 was raised to purchase part of the present "Rec."
The council petitioned the Government to proceed at once with the erection of a new Post Office; the old council office (established in 1902) was sold; and the first step towards office mechanisation was taken. This year's estimates were typewritten and coincided with an increase of the rates to 2 1/2d.
Mechanisation moved ahead outdoors as well; the council bought a steam roller, and this was no doubt used in the formation of Herbert Street and Knight's Road.
The next Mayor was Mr. T. W. McDonald. There was a break with tradition in his council, for, after twenty-three years' service as a member of the Town Board and Borough Council, Mr. J. Cudby ceased to be a member, and a minute recording his lengthy service was adopted.
The councillors were Messrs. H. Baldwin, A. B. Clark, F. de J. Clere, G. T. Croft, W. Hobbs, G. M. Mason, J. O'Sullivan, J. Ward and G. M. Yerex.
The town was now growing fast; the population reached over 3000, and the rate income was calculated at £7298. The purchase of a gas works was contemplated, but the negotiations fell through. Talks were held with Petone about a joint hospital and ambulance, and a joint drainage scheme; and a committee was set up with a view to establishing and equipping a fire brigade.
A proposal which was felt to be too advanced for the times was made by a syndicate which asked for a concession for the provision and working of an electric tramway and lighting system. This was not settled in a day. It was later the subject of a conference with the Petone Council, and a poll of ratepayers, held in 1911, when the ratepayers rejected the idea.
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Mechanisation again. Mr. Rix-Trott, who was appointed borough engineer in June, 1905, was provided with a bicycle, and permitted to select it himself. But there had to be some check on these progressive enthusiasms, and the council rejected a motion to have all houses and business premises numbered.
This set-back was a minor one, and progress began to show some pace. A ratepayers' association was formed. Plans for a water supply and a drainage scheme were matured and a loan of £52,000 for the work was authorised. An area along the main road from the railway station to the Black Bridge was declared a "brick area," within which future building in wood was prohibited; a drill hall (since destroyed by fire) was built, on land given by Mr. E. J. Riddiford; and the volunteer fire brigade was established. Mr. Peters was required to have two horses available for the brigade, at a remuneration of five shillings per horse per fire.
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Mr. T. W. Mcdonald.

1905 to 1907
By this time the railway line between Petone and Lower Hutt had been duplicated, and a new railway station built. One line of access to the station —the right-of-way at the northern end of the platform—had been presented to the borough by Mr. W. A. Fitzherbert.
In March, 1906, the foundation stone of the Post Office was laid; and three pillar-boxes were installed—one at Naenae Lane, one in the Middle Waiwhetu Road, and one in Alicetown.
The steam roller had now been supplemented as a spectacle not only by the fire-cart, but by an occasional motor-car; and early in 1906 Mr. George Bradley, who had opened a motor-garage, was granted a licence to carry passengers by automobile.
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The borough was presented by the Defence Department with six Mauser and two Martini rifles as mementos of the South African War; these relics are now in the Public Library.
The first record of proposals for the amalgamation of the Hutt and Petone Boroughs is written in the minutes of 1906. In this year the council accepted an offer by Mr. Hawthorn to lease to it part of the building he proposed to erect, opposite the council's premises, for use as council offices, council chamber and library, and these premises are still occupied by the council.
The Fire Brigade was now provided with a manual engine, bought from the Feilding Brigade; and the council bought a fire-bell, which weighed 398 pounds, and cost 1/5 a pound.

Lower Hutt Volunteer Fire Brigade, 1906.

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Back: J. J. Doran, W. Collett, G. Maul, E. Hobman, B. Devereux, E. Collett, F. Greig.
Middle Row: B. Fleet, G. Bradley, G. McIlvride, T. W. Slinn, E. Stoupe, E. Strand, S. Strand.
Front: K. McIlvride, T. Slinn (Jnr.).
The Lower Hutt Volunteer Fire Brigade was established on the 13th October, 1905, and became the Municipal Fire Brigade on the 1st May, 1940.
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One of the last actions of the council under Mr. McDonald's Mayoralty was the commencement of the Normandale reservoir and the purchase of suction-gas generators and engines for the pumping plant required to feed it. This scheme came into operation on the 22nd February, 1908. There had been a very dry spell, and the supply was liberally extended by allowing the Fire Brigade to fill the rain-water tanks of those residents whose premises had not been connected with the system.
Mr. T. A. Peterkin was elected mayor in May 1907. The members of the Council were Councillors Baldwin, Greig, Hollard, Hutchison, Judd, O'Sullivan, Ross, Russell and Ward.
This Council opened the recreation ground for regular sports—to the Wellington Rugby Union in 1907 and to the Hawthorn, Defence Department, and Waiwhetu Cricket Clubs in 1908.
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Mr. T. A. Peterkin.

1907 to 1909
It put the firebell on a 50ft tower, and took over the town clock, which it insured for £500.
Mr A. C. Thomson, who had made a beginning with the business in Timaru several years earlier, applied to the Council for a permit to run four motor buses.
Another transport project under consideration was a tramway system, and a joint Hutt and Petone committee was set up to discuss it. Nothing came of the various schemes and the Committee ceased to function in 1912.
Relics of the farming days in the borough were the remains of barbedwire fences, which had become illegal, and several property-owners were prosecuted for failing to remove them.
The first Dominion Day (the 26th September, 1907) was observed as a close holiday.
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Subdivisions in progress at this time were those of the Willoughby Knight Estate and the Te Mome area, though the latter, owing to its liability to flooding, remained unpopular for many years, until it was drained.
The control of Hutt Park was vested jointly in the Hutt and Petone Councils; and these two bodies, along with Eastbourne, set up a board to manage the Taita Cemetery.
In 1908 the Council held its first meeting in the new Town Hall building, on the 13th January. As a memorial of the event the mayor presented the Borough with a mayoral chair, which is still in use.
The present Courthouse was opened in the same year.
It had become necessary to re-name a number of streets, and a committee of the Council, in association with Dr. Hector, drew up a comprehensive list. The following changes were adopted:—
White's Line to be known as White's Line East and West, the river being the dividing point. (Shortly afterwards the western portion was called Wakefield Street).
The Main Road to be divided up as follows: From the southern boundary of the Borough to the Railway Station, Hutt Road; from the Railway Station to the River, Railway Avenue; from Railway Hotel to the old Hutt Bridge, Riverbank Street; from the Hutt Bridge to the V.LC. corner, Main Street; from V.LC. to the north end of the borough, High Street.
Public Road, Alicetown, to be called Tama Street.
Waiwhetu Road from the Central Hotel to the Black Creek, Woburn Road; from Black Creek to White's Line, Ludlam Crescent.
Racecourse Road, Randwick Road.
Gracefield-Lowry Bay Road, Gracefield Road.
Middle Waiwhetu Road, Waterloo Road.
Back Waiwhetu Road, Waiwhetu Road.
Orr's Lane, from the junction of King's Road to the Main Road, Heke Street.
Parker's Lane, Brunswick Street.
The mayor's honorarium (£15 in 1902) was fixed at £75 per annum, and the rates for the year were raised to 2-83/106d. in the £.
A committee was appointed to draw up objections to be lodged against the inclusion of Gear Island within the Borough of Petone.
The Hutt Valley Motor Club was granted permission to hold a hill-climbing contest for motor-cycles on the Wainui Hill. By-laws were drawn up prohibiting motor-cyclists from riding on the cycle-tracks which had been constructed along Railway Avenue and between the township and Park Avenue along the Main Road.
This Council had the first serious taste of a trouble that a few years later caused a minor revolution in the municipality. The gas supply from the Petone Borough Council's works was the subject of many complaints, mainly due to inadequate pressure. A suggestion that the Lower Hutt Council should build its own works was made, but was not pressed, and the trouble
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was left to simmer—which it did, more or less gently, for ten years and more.
Mr. E. P. Bunny was elected mayor for the second time, in 1909, and took his seat on the 5th May. The councillors were Messrs Anson, Baldwin, Barlow, Clere, Hayes, Kempthorne, Macaskill, Mowbray and Pearce.
This Council, on taking office, found itself in grave financial difficulties, with a debit balance of nearly £7000, and the engineer, reporting shortly afterwards, stated that there was no money available to carry out works. On investigation it was found that there had been heavy overspending on streets and waterworks (from a loan of £52,000), and the Town Clerk and Engineer were asked to report as to how these expenditures had been authorised and whether the Council's attention had been drawn to the fact that the authorised amounts were being exceeded. This problem was the subject of several meetings and as a result the office staff and the accounting system were reorganised. In August 1909 the Engineer (Mr. Rix-Trott) resigned and Mr. Roche was appointed to succeed him.
A further loan of £10,000 was later raised, the interest being covered by a special rate of 1-7 of a penny.
The purchase of the Recreation Ground had been completed, and the mayor and several of the councillors presented seats to be placed in it; and in the following year the United Fire Brigades Association held its annual competitions on these grounds. On the 20th May, 1911, a memorial service for the death of King Edward VII was held there.
The drainage scheme having made good progress, residents found it necessary to make use of it, and the minute book contains ten pages filled with the names of people who were required to connect their properties with the public sewers.
On the petition of a large number of residents, the name of Camp Road was changed to Melling Street.
Mr. Bunny was re-elected mayor in May 1911, the Council comprising Messrs J. Ball, S. Clendon, J. T. Hawthorn, A. J. Hobbs, M. J. Hodgins, H. E. Kempthorne, Willoughby Knight, A. E. Roots, and J. W. Stevenson.
The records show that typewriting was now in constant use in the Council offices. The rates were struck at 3 3-15d.
It is evident from the Council minutes that motor traffic was growing in importance. Eight new licenses to sell petroleum had been granted to traders in the borough; it was decided to support a suggestion made by the Woodville Borough Council that the Government should be asked to impose a tax on "motor-cars and motor-cycles plying for hire", the proceeds to be handed over to the local bodies for road purposes, and attention was drawn to the number of cars which were passing through the borough without number-plates. There was already a "motor by-law" and appropriate notice boards as required by it were erected. A little later it was proposed to obtain a motor-vehicle for the Fire Brigade, and the Council agreed to pay a £ for £ subsidy on any money the Brigade could raise for the purpose. (A machine was bought in 1914 for £420).
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The Council now began to deal with the erring drivers, and established a "speed trap," which resulted in a number of prosecutions for fast driving.
Re-elected mayor again in May 1913, Mr. Bunny sat with Councillors J. Ball, S. Clendon, T. C. Dawson, A. J. Hobbs, M. J. Hodgins, H. E. Kempthorne, W. G. Meldrum, A. D. Parsonage, and W. C. Phypers.
One of the Council's customers for metered water had a nasty shock when he received a bill for 95,000 gallons—a quantity which, however, was recognised as absurd, and his bill was reduced to 12/-. It was found that the meter had been put in wrongly and was running backwards.
The Town Clerk, Mr. Percy Purser, resigned on the 21st August, 1913, and was succeeded by Mr. W. Nicholson.
A now familiar question was raised in a letter from Mr. T. M. Wilford, who drew the Council's attention to the probable injury to the Hutt Valley through the operations of a sawmilling company in the Akatarawa area, causing risk of floods.
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Mr. H. Baldwin.

1914 to 1918
Taking office in May 1914, Mr. Henry Baldwin presided over the Borough Council during the greater part of the period of the Great War, and much of its activities diverged from purely municipal affairs and reflected the anxieties and activities connected with the conflict.
The members of the Council were Messrs Ball, Brasell, Clendon, Hobbs, Hodgins, Kempthorne, Meldrum, Parsonage and Purely.
Soon after the outbreak of war, the Council took its share in patriotic activities of many kinds, assisting in the organisation of supplies for the Expeditionary Force, the entertainment of the men in camp at Hutt Park, and the collection of relief funds. Among other contributions to the war effort, part of the Recreation Ground was set aside for the growing of potatoes.
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The local topics under discussion included, of course, the evergreen gas problem, and also proposals for a cottage hospital and a bus service for the Valley—neither of which was new, and neither of which came to fruition. The matter of a bus service had been under consideration for years, being raised either by offers of private enterprise, or by municipal propositions. A private service was offered to the Council, but declined, and the proprietor was granted a licence to run four buses. A loan was also proposed for the purpose of purchasing a municipal service, but nothing came of this plan. In fact, as time went on, buses were run by private enterprise, until the Railway Department bought them out and established its own service in 1929.
A minor episode related to transport was the steam roller's breach of decorum in discharging a spark into a lady's umbrella, which faux pas cost the Council 10/-.
On the hospital question, conferences were held with the Petone Council, and representations were made to the Wellington Hospital Board, urging it to provide facilities in the Borough.
Mr. Baldwin was re-elected in May 1915, his councillors being Messrs Ball, Brasell, Carver, Clendon, Hobbs, Hodgins, McDougall, Meldrum and Purdy.
The engineer was asked to report on the best place in the Recreation Grounds for a swimming bath, and provision was made for the Plunket Society to carry on work in the borough. These decisions are of interest in view of the subsequent provision made for both in Riddiford Park a few years later.
A reminder that motor-vehicles were not, even as recently as 1915, lit electrically is given by the fact that the new fire-engine had arrived with incomplete lighting equipment, and steps had to be taken to obtain dissolved acetylene cylinders to provide gas for its lamps.
Increasing levies for hospital and charitable aid purposes had been causing concern to local bodies for some time, and a remit was proposed for the Municipal Association that the Government should be asked to nationalise all charitable institutions.
The rates were set at 4 5-16d. in the £.
Mr. E. P. Bunny was appointed Borough Solicitor on the 26th July, 1915.
A proposal to build new Municipal Offices was made in 1915, but it was decided to renew the lease for five years.
The weekly half-holiday was changed from Wednesday to Saturday as from the 1st March, 1916.
The Council was notified that its share of the cost of reconstructing the Hutt Road was £8,400, and arrangements were made for the amount to be covered by an issue of debentures repayable over a period of fifty years.
As a result of the burden imposed on the several affected local bodies by the cost of this work, Councillor Ball proposed that a toll gate should be erected on the road, and this was submitted to the other bodies. The replies showed that Wellington and Onslow opposed the idea, Hutt County and Ma-
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kara supported it, Johnsonville preferred a graduated wheel tax, and Eastbourne expressed no opinion.
The financial problem of paying for this road was subsequently solved by imposing a special tax on all motor vehicles using the road. This established a fund for the maintenance of the road and enabled it to be soundly paved.
In August 1917, a new method of rating was adopted, General, Special and Separate rates being grouped at 4 3-5d. in the £ on the unimproved value. The water rate was 2% on the annual rateable value.
Mr. Roche, the engineer, resigned on the 23rd October, 1917.
Mr. Baldwin resigned the Mayoralty on the 8th April, 1918.
Mr. E. P. Rishworth was elected mayor in May, 1918, his councillors being Messrs. Brasell, Clendon, Cotton, Hobbs, Kerr, McDougall, Meldrum, Walton and West.
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Mr. E. P. Rishworth.

1918 to 1921
In his first year of office he had to deal with the deadly influenza epidemic, the outbreak of which occurred shortly before the end of the war and overlapped the Armistice celebrations. This emergency claimed all the energies which men in public office could afford. Relief of all kinds was actively carried on in the borough and was ably organised by the mayor. Mr. Rishworth was warmly commended for his work in this respect and himself paid well deserved tributes to the local committee and all others who had helped during the epidemic.
Several years earlier, tentative approaches had been made to the subject of establishing a hydro-electric station in the Hutt tributary valleys, but it remained only a matter of discussion because it was evident that the Government would sooner or later establish a national system. Action in this direction was delayed by the war, but various local bodies were established to prepare to deal with the supply when it came.
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Early in 1919 representatives of the Borough visited the works in progress at Mangahao, and in the following year negotiations with the City Council were begun as to the terms on which electricity could be supplied to the Borough. There was still a prospect that power might be developed in the Mungaroa Valley, but in May 1921 the Council was advised that this scheme would be dropped, but that it should proceed with the local reticulation to be ready to take power from the Mangahao station.
Towards the end of 1918, the Wellington City Council established its municipal milk supply, which in effect monopolised the available milk from all approved dairy farms within practicable reach of the city, and thus threatened other areas with a shortage. This position made it necessary to make an arrangement to have a definite quantity of milk left available for the Borough's requirements.
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The Main Street, Lower Hutt, Looking North, About 1920.

—Courtesy Tanner Bros., Ltd.
The old Fire Brigade Station and Bell Tower are shown on the left, and the Council leases its offices in the building on the right.
This building, and the King George Theatre, at the rear, completed in 1907, were the first ferro concrete buildings of any size to be erected in Lower Hutt, and amongst the earliest to be built in New Zealand. The theatre was originally used as a skating rink. This block of buildings is generally, though erroneously, referred to as the Town Hall.
In April 1920, the mayor drew attention to the fact that only one constable was stationed in the Borough, and had often to be absent, sometimes for days at a time, leaving the district without police protection, and it was decided to refer the question to the Inspector of Police. There are now twelve officers at the Lower Hutt Police Station.
A sensation was caused at a meeting of the Council on the 24th January,
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1921 when the Town Clerk reported that the offices had been entered and £790 stolen from the strong-room and cash boxes.
Mr. Rishworth was re-elected unopposed in May, 1921. The councillors were Messrs Brasell, Cotton, Dempsey, Hobbs, McBain, Meldrum, Mitchell, Strand and West.
Mr. J. F. Fames was appointed Town Clerk.
The rates were 5 2-5d, covering all charges except water, which remained as before.
The gas dispute, which has been briefly referred to as coming to head in Mr. Rishworth's period of office as Mayor, developed along remarkable lines. There had long been grave dissatisfaction with the supply, which came from the works owned by the Petone Borough Council, mainly on the ground that the pressure of the gas was insufficient. Mr. Rishworth attacked the matter with great energy, and in 1919 he introduced a proposal that the Lower Hutt Borough Council should establish its own gas works. There were continued efforts to come to a satisfactory arrangement with the Petone Council, but they failed; and in the early part of 1921 the ratepayers were asked to authorise a loan for works in Lower Hutt. The poll was carried, but there was an unexpected turn, and the Ratepayers' Association presented a petition against the proposal, and claiming that its protest represented the voice of the ratepaying community, demanded the resignations of the Mayor and Council. This drastic step was not taken; but the Mayor did resign, to enable the opinion of the ratepayers to be expressed at an election at which he and Councillor Strand, who opposed the new works, were the mayoral candidates. Mr. Strand accepted the challenge, and won the mayoralty with 1265 votes, Mr. Rishworth polling 906.
The sequel, worked out in the following year, was the establishment of the Petone and Lower Hutt Gas Lighting Board, which consisted of three elected members representing each borough and a chairman elected by these six.
The total value of the gas properties was approximately £62,000.
The board has operated ever since, with a complete absence of the friction which had previously existed.
When Mr. W. T. Strand took office on the 23rd December, 1921, his councillors were Messrs. J. Brasell, W. T. Cotton, W. N. H. Dempsey, A. J. Hobbs, A. Macaskill, A. McBain, W. G. Meldrum, J. Mitchell and A. J. West.
The population of the borough had doubled since May, 1918—from 5327 to 11,625, and was beginning to strain the seams of its garments. Easier access from the city had much to do with this, and by the acquisition of many amenities which its growth justified, increased its popularity. There followed a period in which many of the features that now decorate the town were acquired. It was in a sense fortunate that this period of municipal expansion and enterprise, stimulated by an important railway development, came within a period of grave unemployment. The local works were thus able to offer many opportunities for employment, and much of what might have been
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obviously labelled relief work produced advantageous results.
Promptly after taking office as Mayor, Mr. Strand had the satisfaction of seeing the completion of an agreement for the setting up of a gas board, to purchase the Petone Borough Council's works, and the "washing out" of the arrangements that had been made to borrow money for a local plant. There was an amicable ceremony in which Mr. McEwan, Mayor of Petone, and Mr. Strand both expressed the opinion that before long the two boroughs would be amalgamated. And about two years later—in April, 1923—the two borough councils met in formal conference to discuss the question of amalgamation, so often raised, so often shelved, so often a cause of bickering. This conference had a full discussion, and unanimously resolved: "That in the opinion of this meeting the time has arrived when the question of amalgamation should be seriously considered, and that it recommends the incoming councils to consider same." And that was that. It was shelved again.
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Mr. W. T. Strand.

1921 to 1929
1931 to 1933
In May, 1922, the position of borough engineer became vacant, and on 4th September Mr. E. J. Barnes was appointed.
One of his first jobs was to estimate the amount of electric power the borough would need, now that the Government supply was becoming available (the Hutt Valley Electric Power Board began its regular meetings in August), and in November he stated that 370 kilowatts was needed.
On the 28th January, 1923, the council authorised the erection of the War Memorial at the Bellevue Road entrance to the Recreation Ground, and the unveiling ceremony was performed, and a memorial service held, on Anzac Day following. At the same time arrangements were made for the stone commemorating those who fell in the Maori War, to be erected at the corner of Old Military Road.
Mr. Strand was re-elected Mayor in May, 1923, and had the following as
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councillors: Messrs. D. A. Ewen, A. J. Hobbs, E. W. Hunt, A. McBain, W. G. Mel drum, J. Mitchell, A. F. Roberts, H. G. Teagle and L. T. Watkins.
In July, 1923, the Mayor submitted proposals, which the council approved, for the purchase of the land which is now Riddiford Park—a complicated transaction which enabled this fine reserve to be acquired without cost to the ratepayers, and which was followed by many acts of private generosity that helped to convert it into a highly attractive place of recreation.
A tender was accepted in November, 1923, for the erection of the present fire brigade station in Laing's Road, for £2685.
The electric lighting of the streets was now taken in hand, and in May an agreement was made with the Electric Power Board for the provision of 265 street lamps.
In June, 1924, the council endorsed the scheme for the extension of the permanent paving carried out on the Hutt Road, over about four miles of streets in the borough.
The council distinguished itself on the 15th July, 1924, by not holding a meeting because, for the first time on record, there was not a quorum.
A very important project in view at this time was the construction of the branch railway from Petone to Waterloo—ultimately to be extended further northward. This work involved an extensive subdivision of the land along the route, and a competition was held by the Borough Council for designs for the planning of the affected area. The competition was won by Mr. R. S. Hammond, of Auckland.
In October, 1924, the Middlemarch Estate was purchased by the Government from Messrs. Riddiford, and they, expressing a desire to mark the family's long association with Lower Hutt, presented the borough with £5000 to provide a swimming bath. When the plans were drawn it was found that the work, on the approved design, would cost considerably more, and Messrs Riddiford at once generously increased the amount of their gift. The baths are now one of the features of Riddiford Park, which was so named in recognition of the gift.
Construction of the Waterloo line, nearly three miles long, was begun in 1923 and completed in 1927; and was later supplemented by a branch of 70 chains to serve the Railway Workshops. This branch was later extended 70 chains to the borough boundary, to serve the industrial area.
An important feature of the new railway was that level crossings were eliminated by the construction of over-bridges. The river was crossed by a girder bridge of sixteen 45ft. spans.
The new railway was opened on the 27th May, 1927.
The land purchased in connection with this railway comprised 682 acres, which cost £181,000. Of this area the railway occupied 29 acres, and the workshops 80 acres. Roads and reserves took up 135 acres, and 438 acres was available for residential and industrial sites. The purchase was an excellent bargain, for the railway was more than paid for by the proceeds of the sale of the land. Up to March, 1939, the investments showed a profit of £148,478.
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Mr. Strand was again re-elected in April, 1925, with the following council: Messrs A. Grierson, A. J. Hobbs, E. W. Hunt, A. McBain, W. G. Meldrum, J. Mitchell, H. G. Teagle, E. Waldie and L. T. Watkins.
The new fire brigade station was opened on the 6th June, 1925.
The engineer's salary, now £500, was increased in September to £750, rising in two years to £850, and applications being called for at the new rate, Mr. A. G. Bush was appointed on the 1st October, 1925. On the 10th December Mr. B. S. Knox was appointed Town Clerk.
On the 27th January, 1926, three licences (the first in the borough) were granted for the installation of kerb-side petrol pumps.
Subdivision of the land purchased by the Government in connection with the Waterloo railway was now in progress, and a number of new streets were laid out. A committee set up for the purpose recommended that these should be named after old identities, statesmen, English counties, and native trees. Some of the work of clearing the land was undertaken by the Borough Council as relief work.
Re-elected in May, 1927, Mr. Strand presided over a council comprising Messrs. F. C. Campbell, A. Grierson, A. J. Hobbs, E. W. Hunt, A. McBain, W. G. Meldrum, J. Mitchell, E. Waldie, and Sir A. F. Roberts (who had been knighted in January, 1926).
The year 1927 was marked by a much increased need for relief works, and loans amounting to about £7000 for the purpose were authorised. A large amount of road work was put in hand; and to deal with urgent cases of necessity a local relief committee was set up, and functioned for some time.
In July, 1927, the police staff was increased to a sergeant and two constables.
By the end of the year a township had grown up near the new railway line, unhappily labelled "Mandel, Eglington and Awamutu Blocks." At the request of the residents, it was more happily named "Moera."
Unemployment continued to be severe in 1928, and a large amount of loan money was raised and spent on borough works to help those in distress. The construction of the new bridge, a number of large drainage operations, and other undertakings provided welcome opportunities.
At the end of 1928, Kauri, Hinau, Rangiora, Tawa, Miro, Matai, Baldwin, and Manuka Streets and Massey Avenue, all new roads in the Government subdivision, were taken over by the council.
The new traffic bridge was opened by Sir Joseph Ward on the 14th March, 1929, and the new road to its eastern approach was named after him.
Sir Alexander Roberts was elected Mayor in May, 1929. The members of the council were Dr. J. R. Boyd, Messrs. F. Campbell, A. E. Carver, A. Grierson, A. J. Hobbs, A. McBain, W. G. Meldrum, J. Mitchell and D. S. Patrick.
One of the first undertakings of the new council was an endeavour to reorganise the grave unemployment problem in the borough.
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The council was also concerned at this time over a scheme for the establishment of a water board to develop a supply for the whole of the metropolitan area and the Valley. The scheme was regarded as not acceptable, and the Borough Council dissociated itself from it.
In July one phase of the question of finding new accommodation for the municipal offices was settled, if only negatively. It had been proposed that Feist's building should be converted, but the council now received a report that the necessary alterations were so extensive as to rule the idea out permanently.
In October it was resolved that the old traffic bridge should be closed except for pedestrian traffic.
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Sir Alex. F. Roberts.

1929 to 1931
The development of the municipal reserves and parks, which had been under the charge of Mr. E. Hutt since April, 1928, was reflected in the Horticultural Society's award of a silver medal for the borough's display at its show in November, 1929.
In February, 1930, the following changes in street names were authorised: Hutt Road, from Wakefield Street to Railway Avenue, to be High Street; Princes Street to be Mudie Street; Henry Street to be Buckley Street; Clifford Street to be Valentine Street; Donald Street to be Montague Street; Old Wainui Road to be Hinemoa Street; Parliament Street to be Western Hutt Road; Back Waiwetu Road to be Waiwhetu Road; Riverbank Road to be Marsden Street; White's Line to be divided into East and West, the Division at Randwick Road, Brunswick Street West and Melling to be Melling Road; Miller Street to be Bell Road; Bloomfield Crescent (from Laing's Road) to be Bellevue Road; King's Road and Heke Street to be King's Crescent; Connolly, Rata and Mills Roads to be Connolly Street; Wainui Avenue to be Tirohanga Road; Thames, Bristol and Trent Streets to be Bristol Square.
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The council decided, on the 14th July, 1930, that its official advertisements should appear in the "Hutt and Petone Chronicle" and the "Hutt News." The "Hutt News," established in April, 1927, is remarkable because it is distributed gratuitously.
On Good Friday, 1931, a severe storm, which did much damage to the Hutt railway line, caused the greatest flood in the Hutt River for many years. This effectively tested the River Board's protective works, and the council sent a letter to the board expressing appreciation of the success of its work.
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High Street Lower Hutt Looking North. 1941.

Photo, J. A. Shadlock
At the end of the year the Mayor announced that owing to pressure of business he would be unable to continue in office.
Mr. W. T. Strand, elected unopposed, returned to the Mayoralty in May, 1931. The members of the council were Messrs. A. Anderson, F. Campbell, B. A. Ginger, A. Grierson, A. McBain, W. G. Meldrum, J. Mitchell, D. S. Patrick and W. H. Wilson.
The council continued the organisation of relief work.
Lord Bledisloe, Governor-General, and Lady Bledisloe visited Riddiford Park on the 30th November, and her Excellency planted a tree as a memento of the visit.
Mr. Bush, the borough engineer, resigned on the 26th September, 1932, on the ground of ill-health, and was succeeded by Mr. R. F. Mainland, who had been assistant engineer.
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Mr. J. W. Andrews, the present mayor, was elected on the 3rd of May, 1933. The Council consisted of Messrs A. Anderson, C. J. Ashton, F. Campbell, B. Ginger, A. Grierson, W. G. Meldrum, J. Mitchell, J. E. Napier and W. H. Wilson.
The depression was still having its effect on employment and Mr. Andrews set about in earnest to clear off the debt owing in the Relief of Distress Account and to raise a considerable sum of money for further relief. A strong committee was set up, with Mr. W. P. Williams as Honorary Secretary, a position he still holds and in which he has given yeoman service to the community.
On the first Sunday after the election Mr. Andrews and his Council attended service at St. James's Church, a revival of an old English custom, and this was followed by invitations to him and the Council to attend at other places of worship.
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Mr. J. W. Andrews.

1933 to 1941
The celebration of Arbor Day was revived and since 1933 over 11,000 native trees have been planted in streets and borough reserves.
Steps were taken to convert the borough's loans and by 1934 the major portion was converted. The total loan liability has been reduced from £297, 914 in 1933 to £257,680 in 1940, a reduction of over £40,000.
The Council, which had a debit balance of £36,000 in May 1933, had a credit balance of £16,758 in November, 1940. The population has increased from 14,000 to 21,000, and the loan indebtedness has been reduced from £20/10/11 to £12/5/5 per head. The only new loans raised during Mr. Andrews's terms of office are entirely self-supporting and do not constitute any charge on the ratepayers.
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The Recreation Ground was reconstructed, bringing it to one level by the shifting of 28,000 yards of soil, between the winter and summer sports seasons in 1934, and the grandstand was erected.
Successful negotiations were completed by the mayor, and Messrs Staples and Coy. gave a strip of land which permitted the new entrance to Riddiford Park to be erected.
The innovation introduced by Mr. Andrews of giving a discount for prompt payment of rates has resulted in considerable savings in bank overdraft interest with consequent benefit to the ratepayers.
After the next election in 1935 Mr. Andrews had the following Council:— Messrs C. J. Ashton, J. Brasell, W. Cole, J. S. Dallenger, P. Dowse, W. A. F. Hall, J. Mitchell, W. B. Rainey and R. M. Russell.
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The Garages, Main Store and Workshops at the Borough Council's New Yard in High Street.

The menace of unemployment gradually receded but another national problem, the housing shortage, brought difficulties in its train. Large areas of borough land were taken over by the Government for the construction of houses and the Council suffered heavy losses of rates and permit fees, from which the State claimed exemption. The matter was energetically pursued by the mayor, and as a result of further assistance from the Municipal Association the position is now very much more satisfactory. In 1935 the mayor brought forward a proposal that Parliament should be petitioned for redress
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The Lower Hutt Borough Council, 1941.

Back: H. Reynolds Bach (Borough Engineer), A. Marshall, W. T. J. Morrison, W. A. F. Hall, W. C. Gregory, B. S. Knox (Town Clerk).
Front: C. J. Ashton, J. Mitchell (Deputy Mayor), J. W. Andrews (Mayor), E. P. Hay, H. V. Horlor.
Inset: J. E. F. Vogel (on Active Service).
in respect of the huge losses of rates on State reverted properties, and as a result a sum of nearly £6,000 was received from Parliament.
The rapidity of development in the area led to the preparation of a Town Planning Scheme, and Mr. R. D. H. Hill was appointed Town Planning Officer. Notable property purchases have been the Catholic Church property and the Post Office, both acquired in connection with the Town Planning Scheme. Negotiations for an exchange of land provided a site for the new Post Office, now being erected at the corner of Andrews Avenue.
The next Council, elected in 1938, shares with Mr. Andrews the honour of seeing the borough raised to city status. The members are Messrs C. J. Ashton, W. A. F. Hall, E. P. Hay, W. C. Gregory, H. V. Horlor, A. Marshall, J. Mitchell, W. T. J. Morrison and J. E. F. Vogel. Councillor Vogel is now serving overseas.
During this term Strand Park, of 20 acres, was formed. Jubilee Park was secured in 1938, cleared of gorse and blackberry and converted into a place of beauty with native trees and shrubs, and through Mr. Andrews' generosity has been supplemented by a beautiful fernery.
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Lower Hutt Borough Council
Administrative and Office Staff
, 1940.

Back: R. Peel, W. E. Currie, J. Ashforth, J. Fletcher, W. K. Blyth, J. W. Harbord, C. H. Breach.
Middle Row: E. Hutt, G. F. Hogg, Mrs. B. Stichbury, Mrs. J. M. Williams, Miss F. F. Taylor, Miss R. I. Newman, Miss E. W. Wood, Miss M. T. Walsh, A. F. Wagner.
Front: Miss M. W. Adamson, Miss B. Marston, H. Reynolds Bach, B. S. Knox, T. G. Richardson, Miss H. M. Wright, Miss E. M. Martin.
Absent: R. D. H. Hill.
On Military Duty: S. R. Robson, T. Hindley, S. H. Pattinson
Photo, J. A. Shadlock
Mr. Mainland resigned to take a position in New Plymouth, and Mr. H. R. Bach was appointed Engineer in October, 1938.
The new yard site in High Street was purchased and modern permanent buildings erected.
The Mayor has taken the initiative in promoting closer co-operation between neighbouring Local Bodies and was responsible for the establishment of a Joint Committee with the Petone Borough Council. Traffic control over the combined areas is one of the functions of this committee and the future development of Gear Island as the principal park and sports ground in the district has been assured by reason of a joint agreement sponsored by Mr. Andrews between the Hutt River Board and the Petone and Lower Hutt Borough Councils.
Since 1933 the length of sealed streets in the borough has been increased from 13 3/4 miles to 38 3/4 miles, without the necessity of any loan for the purpose.
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In November 1940, a petition was presented to the Governor-General seeking an extension of the area of the borough. A Commission took evidence and as a result about 1800 acres and some 2,000 residents will be added to the borough as from the 1st of April 1941.
Mr. Andrews has been for several years a member of the Executive and Vice-President of the Municipal Association of New Zealand, and a member of its Emergency Committee. He is a member of the Wellington Harbour Board, Hutt River Board, Hutt Valley Electric Power Board, Provincial Centennial Council, Wellington Patriotic Provincial Council, Hutt Valley Town Planning Advisory Committee, Wellington Home Guard Executive and numerous other public bodies; President of the Wellington Joinery Manufacturers' Association, and past President of the Chamber of Commerce. At the outbreak of war, the mayor, who held the rank of Captain in the Rifle Brigade during the last war, was appointed to command the Hutt Valley National Reserve.
To mark the change of status from borough to city a Mayoral Chain has been constructed, each ex-mayor or his family contributing a link, and the deputy-mayor, Cr. J. Mitchell, contributing the pendant. Mr. Andrews will be invested with this Chain at the celebrations held to mark the Jubilee of the Borough and the birth of the City.
Elected in 1933, Mr. J. W. Andrews' three consecutive terms of office have been signalised by steady consolidation of the financial position of the borough and a forward policy in the development of road works, reserves and other amenities. Elected during a depression period when his sympathetic administration and generosity earned for him the gratitude of hundreds, he is still in control during these days of war when his qualities of leadership, and wide knowledge of soldier problems are of great value to the community.

Bibliographical

A list of books and publications dealing with the settlement and development of Lower Hutt and the surrounding districts appears on pages 367 to 370 of Louis Ward's book "Early Wellington," and on pages 343 and 344 of Alan Mulgan's book "City of the Strait."
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The Method of Local Government

"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter."—Eccles. xii, 13.
The new city at its inception will be controlled by His Worship the Mayor and nine Councillors.
The major portion of the detailed work is done by committees of the Council, which have administrative and technical officers attached.
The committees report to Council at each regular monthly meeting, and, on adoption the report of a committee becomes a decision of Council.
The Finance and Estates Committee consists of the whole Council, in Committee, presided over by the Mayor, Mr. J. W. Andrews.
Works Committee—Cr. C. J. Ashton (chairman), His Worship the Mayor, Crs. W. C. Gregory and H. V. Horlor.
Reserves and Baths Committee—Cr. J. Mitchell, deputy mayor, (chairman), His Worship the Mayor, Crs. A. Marshall and W. T. J. Morrison.
By-laws, Library, Health and Band Committee—Cr. E. P. Hay (chairman), His Worship the Mayor, Crs. W. A. F. Hall, and J. E. F. Vogel.
Rates Appeal Committee—His Worship the Mayor (chairman), Crs. A. Marshall and J. Mitchell.
Joint Committee (with Petone)—His Worship the Mayor (chairman), Crs. C. J. Ashton and J. Mitchell.
The members of the Council constitute the Matai-Awa Domain Board, of which the mayor is chairman.

Industrial Activity in the Borough.

Among the large organisations are:—
Employees
N.Z. Govt. Railway Workshops 2100
Ford Motor Coy. of N.Z. Ltd. 640
N.Z. Slippers Ltd 800
Griffin & Sons 180
Grant & Co., Carpet Works 140
Grant & Co., Flock Mills 70
B.A.L.M 102
Commission Wool Scourers 31
Ajax Bolt & Rivet Co 58
Acetone Welding Co 11
Atlas Products Ltd 12
Lr. Hutt Borough Council 125
H.V. Electric Power Board 100
Turn bull & Jones, Ltd 100
Exide Batteries Ltd 54
Rokfire Batteries 20
N.Z. Raincoat Factory 21
Lyceum Manufacturing Co. 17
Schweppes Ltd 20
Wgtn. Concrete Pipe Co 22
Hume Steel Ltd. 27
Hume Pipe Co. (Aust.) Ltd. 15
Stevens Motors Ltd 25

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