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Petone's First 100 Years (1940)


Old Friends Meet.
History Lives Again

The principal event of the Jubilee celebrations was the re-union held on Saturday, November 25th, when fifty and more years of Petone history had again a brief spell of life when residents and ex-residents met again in the Oddfellows' Hall. The response was amazing, and all accommodation was taken long before the day of the function. Even so, many were turned away at the door, and extra seating even had to be provided for others.
The charm of such a gathering, with its associations in the dim past of Petone's early days, can be but poorly indicated by a report of the formal side of the function. It was in the informal conversations following, when the tables were cleared away and old friends and neighbours met for the first time in many years, that the Petone of past years took shadowy form again. Tales were told which brought flashing glimpses of past scenes, and memories of the earliest pioneers, seen in their youth by men and women now grown old.
The function opened with a Grace pronounced by the Ven. Archdeacon Russell, and the loyal toast, after which the chairman, Mr. C. P. Brockelbank, welcomed the visitors, who came from all parts of the Dominion. He expressed pleasure at the response to the invitations, and said that this was another proof that the borough was never lacking in anything that would do it credit.
The toast of "Old Residents, Here and Elsewhere," was proposed by Councillor J. C. Burns, Deputy Mayor of Petone, who said that this was the most important toast of the entire jubilee celebrations. It was an inspiration to see present so many of the old stock from which Petone had been built. Many of those present had been away for some time, and they must be proud that Petone had progressed as it had done.
It had not been dependent on bequests for its civic gains— there were no really wealthy people in Petone—but all that had been accomplished had been carried out with the money the ratepayers had contributed. The keynote of the gathering should be thankfulness for living in that most favoured part of a favoured country. There was not much in the way of worry reflected in the faces before him.

Absent Friends.

He could think of many qualified to be there who had passed over the Great Divide, and some of these he referred to as they came into his mind: In the field of civic services, Udy, Kirk, Johnson, Mothes, London, McKenzie, R. W. Short, A. Fraser, Wilkie, Kelly, Upton, and J. Collett; in education, Joplin and J. Home; in the churches, the Rev. Father Maples, the Rev. Alexander Thomson, and others; in medicine, Dr. Ross; in the Gear Company, S. Burridge, Mason, Marsden, and Wood; in the police, Constables Lister and Michael Cox; in sport, Bill
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Jubilee Celebrations.

>United religious service, Petone Recreation Ground, Nov. 26, 1939.
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Jubilee Sports.

TopLaykold Cup Race, November 25, 1939.
BottomTechnical College Pupils' Display, November 28, 1939.
(College workshop in background)
Hardham, V.C., W. Ballinger, and A. Gate; in the Maori population, Warren and Kuru Love; among the farmers, Coulter, Sharpe, Riddler, D. G. McEwen, and J. Hyde; Miss Fraser and T. List.
" The thought has just struck me that Petone residents are more clannish than any Scots," said Mr. R. Johnston (Auckland), the first to reply. "Wherever we meet, the hand of hospitality is extended." He said that he came to Petone in 1875, when the number of houses could be counted on the fingers of both hands.
Mr. Hapi Love spoke of the remarkable growth of the district. The developing of factories would make Petone one of the finest manufacturing centres in New Zealand. "Every one of us knows this hall well," he concluded. "It has been a part of our lives for so long. Even the creaking of the boards beneath our tread says 'I know you well.' There is no place like home."
The Ven. Archdeacon Russell, first vicar of Petone, took the gathering back 42 years to the time of his arrival, when there was a population of 2,700 and no church. When the section was first acquired as a site for the church, people said that it was too far from the settlement, but they looked ahead in those days. "After having been away 28 years in Timaru, I come back to find you as conceited as ever," he went on. "Petone is just the same, as goodhearted as ever—and as conceited."
The oldest lady present to be born in Petone, Mrs. J. H. Englert, was then presented with a basket of flowers. Her son thanked the committee on her behalf.

Council's Work.

In toasting the Petone Borough Council, Mr. J. W. McEwan, ex-Mayor of Petone, expressed the hope that the borough would develop in the future as it had in the past. There was no time to refer to the individual councillors, but he could say that no council had ever failed in its duty towards the electors.
In reply, Mr. G. London, Mayor of Petone, expressed regret that there was not a hall large enough to accommodate all who wished to attend the gathering. He admitted that much of the reminiscing would be over his head, as Mr. McEwan, at 81 years of age, was just 48 years older than he was. After hearing about the floods of the old days, perhaps people would realise just what had been clone by councils since then. That day a grandstand had been opened which in the old days would have been good enough for a city.
He paid a special tribute to the work of Mr. and Mrs. Brockelbank in bringing the people together for the jubilee. Councillors Fleet, Edwards, Macfarlane, and Burns were also present, as were the Town Clerk and Engineer who had also done much to make the function a success. He concluded by toasting Mr. and Mrs. Brockelbank and the committee.
Other speakers were ex-councillors T. Webb (Manawatu) and E. Corner, Mr. Mudgway, and Mrs. N. Morris. At the official table were Mr. and Mrs. W. G. Lodder, Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Burns, Mr. J. W. McEwan, Mr. G. London and his mother, Mrs. M. Evans, Archdeacon Russell, and Mr. and Mrs. W. B. Gough.
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The Petone Jubilee Choir, 1939.

Front Row: Mr. T. Hughes N. Rowse J. Kingdon R. Parkin J. H. Jepson H.J. Thompson J. Bucknall W. R. Simpkiss A. Med hurst J. Pallister
2nd Row: Mrs. H. C. Dalley C. L. Jackson M. Allister M. Marker G. Glover G. R. Millward (Hon. Organiser) Mr. F. Bryant (Conductor) Mrs. H. Maud ( Accompanist) Mrs. A. Parker L. Gould Miss Thompson Mrs. C. Bold
3rd Row: Mrs. V. Curtis S. Hewson F. Bryant Miss C. Silbery R. Dick F. Evans Mrs. E. Caley J. Wilson M. Henry A. Amies F. Morgan M. Jones
4th Row: Mrs. W P. Watkinson W. C. Jowctt T.E. Clarke L. Savers Miss L. Wright Mrs. Pernell Hale and Rowe
5th Row: Mrs. E. Pawson Miss R. Burd Mrs. C Johnson C. Porter Miss D. Morgan Mrs. V. King Miss M. Bucknall Mrs. L. Aisher Miss V. Jacobson N. Harber M. Wilson
6th Row: Miss P. Patrick Mrs. E. Green G. T. Butler L McAdam Miss M. Williamson Mrs. W. Yates Miss Z. Wittam J. Ainsley Miss A. K. Allan Mrs. H. Green
7th Row: Miss F. Hobbs, G. Andrews L. Heyward M. Harrison Mrs. J. Pallister Miss C. Cashmere Miss G. Cox Mrs. R. Davies Miss M. Robinson G. Harmer Mrs A. Miller
Back Row: J. H. Holmes T. H. Galbraith W. Miller W. W. Wainwright W. Yates J. A. Hepworth J. H. Barr M. R. Allister R. R. Davies A. W. Heyward

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