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Petone's First 100 Years (1940)


Mayors of Petone.

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Petone Borough Council.:

Standing: Mr. G. A. Booth (Inspector), Councillors J. Heggan J. Cumming. J. R. Gaynor, H. Green, A. M. Macfarlane, and Mr. H. C. Dalley (Assistant Clerk).
Sitting: Councillors W. H. Edwards, J. C. Burns (Deputy Mayor), Mr. H. Firth (Town Clerk), G. London, Esq. (Mayor), Mr. C. L. Jackson (Engineer). Councillors E. N. Campbell and H. E. Fleet.
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Mr. W. J. Kirk

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Mr. S. R. Johnson

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Mr. R. C. Kirk

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Mr. R. Mothes.

Mayors of Petone, see page 82–86.
Those who have served the Borough as Mayors are:—
Mr. W. J. Kirk (Chairman of Town Board,1882—1888, and Mayor of Borough for two meetings before the first Mayor was elected).
Mr. S. R. Johnson, 1888–1889
Mr. R. C. Kirk, 1889–1891, 1892–1901
Mr. R. Mothes, 1891–1892, 1901–1903
Mr. G. T. London, 1903–1907
J. W. McEwan, 1907–1927
Mr. D. McKenzie, 1927–1934
Mr. A. Scholefield, 1934–1938
Mr. G. London, 1938–1944
The record of those who served on the Town Board prior to 1884 have been lost, but after that date the following served:—
Messrs. D. Buick 1884, E. Battersby 1885–1887, G. Carter 1885–1887, J. Curtis1885–1888, E. Jackson 1885–1888, S. R. Johnson 1885–1886, Hart Udy 1885–1886, A. W. Collett 1886–1888, J. C. Kelly 1886–1888, C. W. Haines 1886–1888, A. Fraser 1887–1888.
The following have served as Councillors:—R. Mothes 1888–1892, 1895–1900, F. W. Upton 1888–1890, W. G. Henry 1888–1892, A. Fraser 1888- 1891, 1896–1898, 1900–1903, J. C. Kelly 1888–1889, D. Wilkie 1888–1889, J. Hess 1888–1889, J. R. Stansell 1888, S. V. Burridge 1889–1892, 1894–1896, 1900, 1911–1912, —Fisher 1889–1892, J. Battersby 1889–1890, J. Curtis 1889- 1895, E. Jackson 1890–1895, J. Smith 1890–1893, P. C. Smith 1890–1893, Croft 1891, F. Burnley 1891–1894, J. Austin 1891–1894, 1896–1900, J. P. Gaynor, Senr. 1891–1894, C. Couchman 1892–1893, — Hollard 1892- 1893, C. Lusty 1892–1900, T. Price 1893–1894, 1898–1900, 1901–1902, Henry Damant 1893–1896, E. C. Corner 1893–1899, T. Webb 1894–1896, 1898, J. G. Castle 1894–1897, 1899–1903, 1906–1907, Henry Findlay 1896–1900, 1905–1906, 1913–1914, L. Raby 1897–1900, H. D. Baker 1900–1901, W. B. Nicholson 1900, 1904–1907, W. D. Perry 1900–1902, C. F. Priest 1901–1902, Wilson 1901, J. W. McEwan 1901–1902, 1903, 1905–1906, W. G. Lodder 1901–1902, 1907–1908, 1911–1912, Henry Alexander 1901–1902, 1905–1906, J. Piper 1903, 1909–1912, H. Vogel 1903, W. Jounnax 1903, W. H. Cook, 1903, G. D. Macfarlane 1905–1906, J. Wakeham 1904, 1905–1906, 1911–1912, W. Kidd 1905–1906, J. F. Bowles 1904, W. Hill 1904, A. Coles 1905–1908, R. W. Short 1907–1912, H. W. L. Harding 1907–1910, R. F. Smith 1907–1908, R. J. Southgate 1907–1910, A. Colquhoun 1907–1909, H. G. Young 1906, 1908–1909, T. A. Hastings 1905, J. W. List 1909–1915, W. Trueman 1909. 1916, C. P. Brockelbank 1910–1926, 1930–1933, R. H. Jones 1910, 1913–1918, 1921–1934, W. Cox 1911–1920, A. Anderson 1913–1916, 1919–1922, W. E. Forsyth 1913–1916, T. Townsend 1913–1914, J. McDougall 1915–1918, D. McKenzie 1915–1918, J. P. Gaynor 1916, J. L. Churchhouse 1917–1922, J. Foster 1917, S. J. Newland 1917–1918, E. J. Tovey 1917–1920, J. Kyle 191S-1920, D. S. Bedingfield 1919–1922, G. Cook 1919–1926, W. Hay 1919- 1924, M. Ford 1921–1922, R. A. Hartley 1921–1922, W. P. Coles 1923–1924, V. E. Jacobson 1923–1933, H. C. Jay 1923–1926, A. J. Pointon 1923–1924, A. G. Steffenson 1923–1924, E. N. Campbell 1925–1929, 1933–1935, 1938–1939, W. H. Edwards 1925–1929, 1933–1939, D. McCarthy 1925–1929, A. Scholefield 1925–1929, 1931–1935, J. W. Sharpe 1925–1926, J. Ashby 1927–1929, J. Gumming 1927–1929, 1933–1939, J. W. Longman 1927–1933, J. M. Pearson 1927–1929, J. C. Burns 1929–1935, 1936–1939, E. T. E. Hogg 1929–1937, V. A. Noble 1929–1936, H. O. Orsborn 1929–1931, H. A. Ryder 1929–1933, R. W. Toomath 1929–1936, G. London 1933–1938, D. M. Dickson 1934–1938, J. R. Gaynor 1935–1939, J. Huggan 1935–1939, A. M. Macfarlane 1936–1939, H. E. Fleet 1938–1939, H. Green 1938–1939.
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Mr. G. T. Londos.

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Mr. J. W. McEwan.

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Mr. D. McKenzir.

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Mr. A. Scholefield.

Mayors of Petone, see pages 82–86.

Mr. W. J. Kirk.

Mr. W. J. Kirk who was Chairman of the Town Board throughout its whole existence—from 1882 to 1888—was born at Liverpool, in 1850, and came out to Melbourne with his parents in 1853. On completion of his school course he entered the printing trade and was employed by Messrs. Sands and McDougall, in Melbourne. He came to New Zealand about 1870, and joined the staff of the Government Printing Office, where he gave forty years' service, retiring in 1910.
Mr. Kirk and his young family resided at Belmont for some time, and came to Petone in 1881. The following year the Town Board was formed, and at the earnest request of the residents, he became its chairman.
Strictly speaking he was breaking a Government regulation in taking part in local affairs; but those in authority discreetly took no action. When, however, the district became a borough, Mr. Kirk declined to take office.
Mr. Kirk's leadership shewed wise foresight, and there was never any question of opposition. During his period, the first streets were formed and named. In addition to this local body service, Mr. Kirk rendered valued service to the Wesleyan Church, being one of its officers and its first choirmaster. In his early days he was an enthusiastic Rugby player, and later in life a keen chess player, being one of the founders of the Wellington Chess Club.
Mrs. H. Maud, of Bay Street, is a daughter, and there are living in various parts of the Dominion, three other sons and three daughters.
Some reminiscences of Petone in 1881, from the pen of Mr. Harry Kirk, the second son, are published elsewhere.

Mr. S. R. Johnson.

Samuel Raymond Johnson, the first Mayor of Petone, was elected to that office in 1888. He was born in Lambton Quay, in 1844, and was educated at St. Mary's School, Wellington.
On leaving school, he served his apprenticeship as a shipwright, and was employed in that trade, which flourished in the early days of Wellington.
One of his more important works was the supervision of the raising of the Taranaki, which was holed and beached at the entrance to Queen Charlotte Sound. Later, Mr. Johnson went into partnership with Mr. Thirkell, in conjunction with whom he laid down and operated the original patent slip at Evans Bay.
In 1873, he married Miss Elizabeth Riddler, a member of one of Petone's oldest families, and he went to live at Evans Bay. In, or about, 1875, he severed his connection with the Patent Slip Company, and came to Petone, where he assisted in the erection of the railway workshops building.
Retiring from the building trade, for a time, he entered into business, and opened Petone's first store—(i.e., the first since the fleeting existence of several opened before the early settlers transferred to Wellington) in which was established the first post-office. This shop, built in 1876–77, still stands—No. 164 Hutt Road.
From the time of his arrival in Petone, Mr. Johnson took an active interest in local affairs, being a member of the Town Board before the Borough was formed. In response to a petition in 1878, the Education authorities opened a school in a hall owned by Mr. Johnson, and situated in Sydney Street, where the Hutt and Petone Chronicle building now stands. He was one of the prime movers in the establishing of an Anglican Church in Petone, which had its home in St. Augustine's Hall, in Victoria Street. Later on, Mr. Johnson relinquished his interest in the store and commenced business as a builder and contractor, one of his contracts being the erection of a grandstand on the recreation ground. He also supervised the construction of the Nelson Street drain, a concrete culvert which extends from Udy Street to the sea. In his younger days he was an enthusiastic rower and was one of an eight crew which won the Shaw Savill Cup in 1871.

Mr. R. C. Kirk.

Mr. R. C. Kirk was born in North Auckland, being the son of Reverend William Kirk who, upon his retirement from the active ministry, resided off what is now Kirk's Avenue. Before he was 21, Mr. R. C. Kirk passed his final law examination and commenced practice in 1884. In 1886, he married the daughter of Hon. J. W. Barnicoat, of Nelson, and settled permanently in Petone. He acted as legal advisor to the Town Board, and in 1885, at the request of the Board, became Town Clerk and Returning Officer. In 1889 he was elected Mayor, and continued in that office till 1901, except for a break of one year, 1891–92, when he did not stand for election. During these years the foundation of the Borough's present prosperity were laid. He was the prime mover in such enterprises as Petone's stopbank, gasworks, drainage, watersupply, and the purchase of the recreation ground, though many of these works were carried out after his term of office. Mr. Kirk took part, at various periods of his life, with almost every kind of sport, and was in his latter years the originator of the Kirk-Windeyere Golf Cup. For sixteen years Mr. Kirk was a member of the famous Petone Navals, and while in membership, developed into an enthusiastic and excellent rifle shot, and was one of a committee which reported on Trentham for a rifle range. While a member of the Petone Rifle Club he twice refused invitations to visit Bisley. In 1895 he won the Kynoch cup. He had a wide and wise influence on the progress of Petone in its early days.

Mr. Richard Mothes.

Mr. Richard Mothes was born in Saxony, in 1852, was educated at the University of Saxony, and afterwards received a thorough training in commercial and mercantile life. He left his native land and arrived in Australia in 1880, and after spending three years in Sydney, as a merchant and general importer, he came to New Zealand in 1883, settling in Petone. Mr. Mothes established a business for the manufacture of violin strings and sheep casings, which he successfully conducted for seven years, and claimed to have been the first to introduce the business into the Colony.
In 1889 Mr. Mothes purchased the "Marine Retreat "Hotel, which he conducted for three years, and in 1893 established himself in a land, financial, and general agency business, being at the time, the only land agent in business in Petone. Mr. Mothes was popular as a public man, and when the Borough was formed he was one of the eighteen candidates for election to the first Council, being returned at the head of the poll. He became Mayor of Petone in 1891–92, and again in 1901–03. Mr. Mothes served on the Council in 1888–92 and also from 1895 to 1900.
He was a Justice of the Peace, and a trustee of the Wellington Benevolent Institution—of which he was a member for many years. He was also a member of the Petone School Committee, taking a great interest in educational matters. As an Oddfellow he held office as a "Past Provincial Grand Master "; in Masonry he was a "Past Master" of Lodge Ulster N.Z.C., and a "Past Officer" of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand. He was interested in local societies, and held office either as president or vice-president of cricket, football, and tennis clubs, and of the Petone Orchestral Society.

Mr. George Thomas London.

Mr. George Thomas London was born in Wellington, in 1800, being the grandson of one of Wellington's earliest ratepayers, before the borough became a city.
As a boy he was employed by Brogdens, a firm which had the contract for the construction of the railway line from Wellington to the Hutt Valley. At the conclusion of this work, when the line was handed over to the New Zealand Government, Mr. London also transferred his services to the Railway Department, becoming the first, and at the time sole clerk, in the railway workshops' office. Mr. London resigned from the railway service to enter
into business on his own account, and quickly distinguished himself; one of his many interests being the ownership and editorship of the Hutt and Petone Chronicle. Public life occupied much of his time. In 1903 he was appointed a trustee of the Wellington Hospital Board, retaining the position continuously till 1912. (In 1909 the method of hospital control was changed to the board system). Perhaps Mr. London's greatest work was as an educationist. On the subject of education he held advanced views. He served on the Wellington Education Board from 191(5 to 1930, was one of the foundation members of the Board of Governors of the Hutt Valley High School, remaining on the Board till 1930, was for many years and up to his death a member of the Hutt Valley Memorial Technical College. He occupied the Mayoral Chair from 1903 to 1907, and it was during his period of service that the municipal buildings were erected. He is survived by his widow and two sons, the eldest of whom is the present mayor, and the proud possessor of a silver cradle given to his father on the occasion of his birth, by the then councillors of the borough.

Mr. J. W. McEwan.

Mr. J. W. McEwan was born at Kauau Island, in 1858, where his father was a gardener. Later, the family removed to Otago, where Mr. McEwan, Senior, was gold-mining and contracting. Mr. J. W. McEwan was educated at the "Old Stone" School, Dunedin, where Mr. (afterwards Sir Robert) Stout was second master. Mr. Phineas Levi, of Wellington, was a fellow student. After leaving school Mr. McEwan had a varied career, finally obtaining work in the Mosgiel Woollen Company's hosiery department. In the meantime, Mr. McEwan had attended night-classes, and had a session at the Otago University.
Later, Mr. McEwan came to Petone, and commenced business in a small way in Nelson Street as a hosiery manufacturer, and afterwards was, for ten years, manager of the hosiery department of the Wellington Woollen Company. Resigning from this position, he took over the Petone Co-op. Store, mainly on behalf of his sons. One son, William, enlisted and was killed in France, and the other, John, died shortly afterwards.
Mr. McEwan became a Borough Councillor in 1901.
In 1907 he was elected Mayor, continuing in office for the record period of twenty years.
He was a member of the Wellington Harbour Board for many years and Chairman for two, during which time he signed the contract for the dock.
For sixteen years he was a member of the Wellington Hospital Board, and was the first chairman of the Hutt Valley Electric Power Board, and a member for many years.
Mr. McEwan was chairman of the Board which investigated and drew up the proposal for a tramway in Lower Hutt and Petone.
He still resides in Petone.

Mr. David Mckenzie.

Mr. David McKenzie was born in Howick, Scotland, in 1867. and after leaving the Woollen Manufacturing trade came to New Zealand in 1888, finding employment at the Wellington Woollen Company's works at Petone. He lost his employment there by his leadership in a strike, and he joined the engineering staff of the Petone Railway Workshops, in which he was employed for thirty years, until his retirement. He was specially interested in education. He was for many years a member, and afterwards chairman, of the Petone School Committee. Mr. McKenzie was one of the most ardent advocates of the establishment of the Hutt Valley High School. Since the earliest days of its existence he was a member of what was then the Petone Technical School, and afterwards its chairman, continuing after it was a High School, until his death.
His first taste of municipal office was in 1915, when he was elected to the Council, and his first year of office as Mayor was in 1927, a position he held till his death in 1934. Among many other offices held, were membership on the Free Ambulance Board. Boy Employment Committee, City and Suburban Highways Board, the Taita Cemetery Board, and he was chairman of the Petone Fire Board.
One of his last public services was the erection of the public baths in Petone, which are called after him.
His widow and one son reside in Petone, and another son is in New- York.

Mr. A. Scholefield

The recent Mayor of Petone, Mr. Albert Scholefield, commenced his life at Leeds, Yorkshire, and at eight years of age began half-time work as a lorry lad, later serving his apprenticeship to engineering. He was in the employ, at different times, of the firms of Richard Seholefield, Greenwood & Bartley, Vickers, Son and Maxim, Sheffield, and Leeds Forge Co.. entering and remaining in the service of the N.Z. Railways on his arrival at Petone.
He was, and still is, a member of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers (now The Amalgamated Engineering Union) taking part in the great engineering strike lasting eight months. Mr. Scholefield was elected President of the Armley (Leeds) Branch.
Mr. Scholefield represented the Engineers on the local L.R.C., continuing to do so when the British Labour Party was established in 1906. He was also the Engineers' Representative on the Trades Council.
Together with other Labour men, he was elected to a Cemetery Board, to be defeated at the next election by the combination of Liberals and Tories. Mr. Scholefield was also an active member of the Leeds Cooperative Society.
Owing to the continued ill-health of his wife, he sailed for New Zealand, arriving at Petone in June, 1914. He immediately continued his activity in the Trade Union and Political sections of the Labour Movement, and in 1916, became the first chairman of the local Labour Representation Committee at Petone (later to become the Hutt Valley L.R.C.) and was chairman for many years of the Petone Branch of the Labour Party. In 1919 he represented the Engineers' Union at the National Conference.
On the fourth attempt, in 1925, he was elected to the Petone Borough Council, and in 1927 topped the poll, being appointed chairman of the Works Committee, and Deputy Mayor. In 1929 he was defeated, but returned again in 1931, and again in 1933, when he topped the poll for a second time. On the death of Mr. David McKenzie, in 1934, Mr. Scholefield was elected Mayor, and in 1935 was re-elected to that position, suffering defeat at the elections of May, 1938, by 27 votes.
In 1931 and 1933, Mr. Scholefield was elected to the Petone and Lower Hutt Gas Lighting Board, but though not seeking re-election, he was, however, in 1938, appointed as the seventh member, as provided by the Act. In the same year Mr. Scholefield met with a serious motor accident, and was a hospital patient for nine months, during which his left leg was amputated.
Always an enthusiastic advocate of a suitable Early Settlers' Memorial on the beach, it gave him pleasure that the Provincial Centennial Executive Committee agreed to the erection of a memorial, during his membership on that Committee, as the Hutt Valley Representative.
During his term of office on the Council, Mr. Scholefield realized his ideal of a Jackson Street worthy of the Borough, as propounded by him as early as 1923, and he worked indefatigably in this cause until the highly successful achievement was completed, and was principally responsible for the Udy Street widening and through route from Cuba Street to the Hutt Road, and also a strong advocate of the widening of Britannia Street—a work which has yet to be carried out.
Mr. Scholefield was a Justice of the Peace, and included in his many activities are service on the Central School Committee, Petone District Nurse Committee, and as President of the Petone Plunket Society.

Mr. George London.

Mr. George London, the present mayor, was born in the Hutt Valley in 1906, during the period when his father was mayor. He was educated at Hutt Valley schools including the High School then known as the Petone High School. From practically his boyhood days Mr. London has been interested in public affairs, becoming a councillor of the Petone Borough at the age of 27, in 1933, when he was second from the top of the poll, bettering his position when he was again returned in 1935 at the head of the poll. Against two opponents, he was elected Mayor of the borough in 1938, when he was also returned as a Hutt Valley representative of the Wellington Harbour Board, and a Petone representative of the Hutt Valley Electric Power Board.
Mr. London takes a keen interest in various societies in the borough and is connected with every sporting organisation. He has now enlisted for service overseas with the New Zealand military forces.
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Municipal Buildings, Erected 1905.

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Petone Borough Council, inside Staff, 1939:

Back Row: Mrs. S. M. Shortt (Librarian)
Miss n. Gregory (Senior Typiste)
Miss F. Taylor (Typiste)
.R. Hunter (Junior Clerk)
Front: R. Button (Engineer's Clerk)
C. L. Jackson (Engineer)
H. Firth (Town Clerk)
G. A. Booth (Inspector)
H. C. Dalley (Assistant Clerk)

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