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Petone's First 100 Years (1940)



The true wealth of any community lies, not in its material prosperity, but in the character of its people.
A wise man said of old:—
"Where there is no vision the people perish,"
and a wiser than he said:—
"Man shall not live by bread alone."
The Church of Jesus Christ exists that these truths may not be forgotten.

Church of England.
[St. Augustine's, Petone.]

Petoneoriginally was included in, and formed part of, the Parish of St. James, Lower Hutt. As a part of that parish its first Vicar was the Rev. Thomas Fancourt, and later the Rev. Joshua Jones.
Services in Petone were held in private houses until, in 1880, a move was made to erect a church room in Victoria Street. The following record in an old minute book gives an account of the steps that were taken:—
" A meeting was held on the 24th August, 1880, in Mr. W. Riddler's workshop at Petone—after Divine Service conducted therein by the Rev. Thomas Fancourt—to consider the question of raising funds for the erection at Petone of a Church of England building to be used for Divine worship, Sunday school, and other church purposes. The following were elected to the Committee: Messrs. J. S. Manning, George Ashcroft, Stephen Curtis, W. Riddler, C. Haines, P. Smith, H. Clapcott, H. and C. Collett, W. Buick, W. F. Cheeseman with power to add to their number."
In a very short time the necessary funds were forthcoming. A section of land in Victoria Street, upon which to build the church room, was given by Mr. G. Elliott Barton, Solicitor. The successful tenderer for the erection of the new building was Mr. J. Bowater and the church room was opened for Divine worship by the Rev. Thomas Fancourt on the first Sunday after Easter, 1881.
On the 4th November, 1897, the Petone Parochial District was constituted, and the Rev. John Delacourt Russell was appointed its first vicar. There being no vicarage, a cottage in Richmond Street was provided for the vicar, but later the residence of the late Mr. J. McGowan, in Britannia Street, was purchased as a vicarage, and an adjoining section of land was bought from Mr. G. London, as a site for a permanent church.
In March, 1898, at a public meeting of parishioners, it was decided to take steps to raise funds for the erection of a church to be called St. Augustine's Church, and arrangements were made for subscriptions to be collected both in the city of Wellington and in Petone. By 1902 sufficient money was in hand to warrant a start being made with the erection of the building, and on Saturday, July 12th, 1902, the foundation stone was laid by the Earl of Ranfurly who was the Governor of the Colony at that time. The first service in the new church was held on April 2nd, 1903, the then Bishop of Wellington, the late Bishop Wallis, officiated.
It may be mentioned here that the original cost of the church and site was £2,530 and of this amount £700 was donated by Mr. Thomas Price.
On Tuesday, February 22nd, 1921, at a memorable service, the church was solemnly consecrated by the Right Reverend Dr. Sprott, the successor of Bishop Wallis in the See of Wellington, supported by Archdeacon Russell,
the first vicar of Petone. It is recorded that a feature of the Consecration Service was the singing of the combined choirs under the baton of Mr. J. H. Sherwin, with Mr. W. Rennie presiding at the organ.
Mention should be made of the fact that while the Rev. F. S. Ramson was vicar of the parish strong forward movements were made in developing the work among the young people. It was during this period that a scout hall was obtained, and strong scout troops and girl guide companies came into being. St. Augustine's Tenn is Club was also founded about this time.
In 1936, during the vicariate of the Rev. G. V. Gerard, a memorial chapel was erected and furnished in the church and was dedicated by the Archdeacon of Wellington, the Ven. A. L. Hansell.
A number of faithful and earnest clergymen have ministered to the spiritual needs of the Church of England residents of Petone. As already stated the first vicar was the Rev. J. D. Russell, who came to the parish in 1897, and did not leave until 1911. He built up a great reputation as a faithful parish priest, and is still a well known figure in Church of England circles and is vicar of St. Luke's Church, Oamaru. The Rev. G. B. Stephenson, B. Sc., succeeded Mr. Russell and was Vicar of Petone from 1911 to 1916. He is now Canon G. B. Stephenson, Vicar of Dannevirke. The Rev. H. T. Stealey, M.A., was the next vicar, resigning in 1919 and returning to England. On the 21st of December, 1919, the Rev. H. A. Walke was inducted to the parish of Petone and he was succeeded, in 1922, by the Rev. F. S. Ransom, who remained Vicar of St. Augustine's until 1932. Mr. Walke is at present Vicar of Eltham, and Mr. Ramson, Vicar of St. Peter's, Palmerston North. The Rev. G. V. Gerard, M.A., M.C., was the next vicar and did splendid work from 1932–1936. It was no surprise to his many Petone friends when he was selected a couple of years later for one of the highest offices of the Church in New Zealand—that of Bishop of Waiapu. The present vicar is the Rev. H. S. I. Kenny, B.A., L.Th.
Church of England people have always formed a large portion of the population of Petone, and it is impossible to mention by name all those
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St. Augustine's Anglican Church, Britannia Street

sterling men and women who have been faithful members of the Church and good citizens of the Borough. It is sufficient to mention such names as Manning, Collett, Riddler, Cheeseman, Price, Castle, Kirk, Sladden, Sherwin, Hill, Matthews. Many stalwarts of a past generation have left a splendid heritage to those who have come after them. We believe that the present Church of England congregation in Petone is not unworthy of that heritage.
Vicar's Wardens since establishment:
E. J. Jenkins J. G. A. Castle W. G. A. Savage
Dr. W. D. Perry E. J. Andrews W. Hill
T. Price J. Lee L. G. Armstrong
W. H. Gifford W. Hill D. H. Le Souef
Dr. W. D. Perry C. Rogers T. Hughes
T. Price D. Keir R. G. D. Feasey
H. G. Brooks J. G. A. Castle C. W. Johnson
W. F. Cheesman F. L. Matthews
Parishioners' Wardens since establishment:
J. G. A. Castle E. J. Andrews W. R. Pawson
E. J. Jenkins F. A. Mason R. G. D. Feasey
W. G. D. Evans H. R. Johnson J. C. Burns
W. H. Gifford G. Heathcote D. H. Le Souef
J. G. A. Castle G. A. Clark

Wesley Church.

Methodism officially began in Petone in 1883, when its first church was erected. Prior to this its people worshipped with the Hutt Methodists at Lower Hutt, to which Petone remained attached. The generosity of Mr. Edwin Jackson, who gave the ground, allowed the congregation to have its own place of worship in December of that year. A site was chosen in Nelson Street, close to Jackson Street, and remains the address of Petone Methodism to-day.
The first trustees were Messrs. J. Knight, Hart Udy, E. Jackson, R. Orr, C. S. Gamble, and W. J. Kirk. These names were much associated with early Petone. Mr. E. Jackson gave the name to Petone's main street, and was the proprietor of the public baths of those days. Mr. W. J. Kirk was Chairman of Petone's Town Board prior to the Borough being formed. Mr. C. S. Gamble was in business as a draper. Hart Udy and his brother had large timber interests in the district. The Udy brothers actually landed on the Petone beach from the Duke of Roxburgh, one of the first four ships to arrive with early settlers.
Those who arrived by the Aurora, on 22nd January, 1840, were met by Rev. James Buller, a Methodist Missionary, who had walked overland from Kaipara in North Auckland, in order to welcome them, and complete arrangements for a Mission site. He reached Port Nicholson on 21st January, greeted the immigrants on their arrival the next day. On the following Sunday (January 26) he conducted Divine worship on the Aurora, about 180 being present. Several Methodist families from Cornwall were among those first settlers. Their houses were built side by side, and were known as "Cornish. Row." They conducted prayer meetings and public services on Sunday afternoons, until the settlement was moved across the harbour to Pipitea Point.
The first resident Wesleyan Missionary in the district was Rev. John Aldred, who arrived at Port Nicholson in December, 1840, to superintend
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Wesley Church, Petone.

the work amongst the Native and European population of the entire district extending throughout the Hutt Valley and the Wairarapa. A succession of ministers followed; but it was not until the ministry of the Rev. S. J. Garlick, who resided at Lower Hutt, that the Petone Church was built. This was a small building, and has been added to on four occasions since, until it has little resemblance to the original, although the congregation may still claim to worship in the old building. In 1900 the first resident minister was appointed. The names of those giving the people pastoral attention since that time are as follows: Rev. E. P. Blamires, 1900; Rev. W. R. Tuck, M.A., 1902; Rev. A. B. Chappell, M.A., 1904; Rev. R. Wilson, 1905; Rev. A. J. Seamer, 1909; Rev. J. J. Lewie, 1912; Rev. A. McBean, 1916; Rev. C. Blair, 1919; Rev. J. A. Lochore, 1924; Rev. B. J. James, 1929; Rev. L. C. Horwood, 1933; Rev. E. E. Sage, 1935.
The woollen industry in Petone brought to the borough many English people and others who were attached to Methodism. These were Mr. and Mrs. W. Heppleston, Mr. and Mrs. Lockwood, Mr. and Mrs. E. Ackroyd, Mr. and Mrs. W. Armitage, Mr. and Mrs. Jowett, Mr. and Mrs. W. Blakeley— and other families. These were all musical people, and from the beginning Petone Methodism sustained a good choir, and in the course of time added a pipe organ. Choirmasters with long service have been Messrs. W. J. Kirk, C. S. Gamble, and E. Ackroyd. Messrs. D. Sutherland, R. Ainslie, and A. S. Black served for short periods—the latter holding the dual position of organist and choirmaster. At present Mr. F. Bryant is choirmaster, and Mrs. H. Maud is organist, both having been installed for several years.
In 1921 the choir, under Mr. Lather, entered for the choir test in the Wellington Competitions, and were successful in securing first place, and in holding the shield. The following year second place was secured, a distinction which has been twice repeated in recent years.
The denomination changed its name from Wesleyan to Methodist in 1913, consequent upon the union with the Primitive Methodist body.
In Petone this congregation with its church in Sydney Street, a hundred yards or so away, eventually became absorbed in the Nelson Street organisation. The Primitive Methodist Church was therefore removed bodily, and drawn by motor-power through Jackson Street to a new site—a spectacular occurrence of much interest to the residents.
The church in Nelson Street was the first non-Anglican place of worship in Petone, and in the early days adherents of other denominations made it their church home, until a place of their own was secured.
Among early supporters not mentioned were the family of Mr. and Mrs. David Webley, who conducted a large grocery and drapery business in Jackson Street, Mr. C. Hollard, who was a draper, Mr. J. Miller and family, Messrs. E. A. Dillon, F. Lockwood, J. Wakeham (one time Chairman of Hutt County Council), J. Stonehouse, T. Rowse, and others.
Hundreds of children have passed through the Sunday School. The Superintendents have been Mr. W. J. Kirk with 18 years of service, Mr. E. Godber, 9 years, and Mr. W. H. Melhuish, 37 years.
In 1909 Petone obtained independence of management. Where, previously, the work was under the Hutt Circuit, now Petone, along with Wainui-o-mata, could control its own destinies. This year a parsonage was built, and a branch of the Methodist Society formed under the rules and discipline of John Wesley. The first roll contains the names of Messrs. J. McDougall, W. Sussex, T. W. Hemer, J. Turner, G. Pickering, and W. Hitchings; while among others associated with the work are Messrs. R. Potter, R. Kibblewhite, J. Chamberlain, J. Jacobson, H. Maud, J. Holmes, and W. Wood.
Activities entered into during the course of 7 years were Bible Classes, Christian Endeavour Societies, Debating and Mutual Improvement Societies, and a variety of Clubs for young people. Distinguished service has been rendered by the women of the church. A noble company have been associated with the manifold activities of the Women's Welfare League, Ladies' Guild, and Women's Missionary Auxiliary.
Secretaries to the Society have been Messrs. F. Lockwood, M. L. Jackson, T. Goodwin, H. Thornalley, L. Jenness, W. J. Wakelin, D. Simpson, O. Silbery, G. Floyd, and others.
The Circuit Stewards in office at present are Messrs. W. H. Melhuish and T. W. Treen; Mr. H. J. Thompson is Secretary of the Leaders' Meeting; while Messrs. O. Silbery, and A. Heyward are Secretary and Treasurer of the Trust respectively.
On Sunday, January 28th, 1940, a Methodist service was held on the Petone water-front, at the foot of Bay Street, in commemoration of the service held on the "Aurora," by Rev. James Butler, on January 26th, 1840.

St. Davids Presbyterian Church.

The early history of the Presbyterian Church in Petone, is, to some extent, not clearly indicated in the records that are available. There is, however, some pardonable pride in the knowledge that the Scottish pioneers who arrived in 1840, held their first service upon the shores of our town. A description of that occasion states that "early in 1840 a village of tents might have been seen on the low-lying plain where Petone now stands. On the beach a band of Scottish immigrants gathered together to sanctify their first Sabbath in a new and strange land. Very appropriately they sang—
"O God of Bethel, by Whose hand
Thy people still are fed"
That service was conducted by the Rev. John Macfarlane, of Paisley, who had been appointed by the Church of Scotland, with a stipend of £300 for
three years. Thus the Presbyterian Church was the first denomination, to send a minister to New Zealand to care exclusively for the needs of the settlers.
Some considerable time elapsed before regular services were inaugurated and a church established at Petone. The first reference to definite work is not recorded until 1886, when the Rev. James Johnston was appointed by the Assembly to this sphere. Mr. Johnston left in 1887, and for a time no regular services were held. In January, 1888, Mr. Thomas McDonald, a student of Glasgow University, commenced work in Petone, and his work met with good success, so that in 1889 Messrs. McGowan and Lodder appeared before the Presbytery of Wellington and stated that the congregation desired to become a fully-sanctioned charge, and was prepared to raise £200 towards the salary of a Minister.
A provisional Session was appointed consisting of the Rev. Charles Ogg, M.A., and Messrs. Jack and McGowan, elders. During the same year a church was built, the land for both church and future manse being generously given by Mr. Buick, and on August 1st, 1889, the Rev. Alex. Thomson was inducted as minister of the congregation.
The first record of a Session meeting appears in 1891, and includes the names of Messrs. Graham and Atkinson as elders. Before the turn of the century the names of J. Allender, G. Duncan and C. Haines are also recorded as elders. Other elders appointed during the ministry of Rev. Thomson were Messrs. McWhirter, J. Sharpe, W. H. Cook, J. O. Duff, J. Stewart, J. Gorrie and J. B. Smith.
The manse was erected in 1893, and in 1905 additions and alterations were made to the church. The conduct of public worship was greatly assisted by the installation of a pipe organ, and since that time, Mr. W. H. Rennie has very ably carried out the duties of organist.
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Rev. A. Thomson.

The establishment and growth of the town presented a great opportunity for the development of the spirit of helpfulness, and the Rev. Thomson gave himself to the task of helping forward the moral and spiritual well-being of the people. He gave himself unsparingly to the cause of education and was closely associated with the establishment of the Petone West School and the Technical College. A memorial bursary was inaugurated to commemorate his work. This has been awarded on several occasions to pupils of the Central School. He ministered faithfully for twenty-five years, and after his death on March 7th, 1914, a call was extended to the Rev. Alexander Bruce Todd, B.A., of Geraldine. The induction took place on the 3rd September of the same year. His ministry carried out during the stress and strain of the war period, was marked by faithfulness and earnestness in a town which had now become a large industrial centre. His resignation, to accept the position of Secretary to the Home Mission Committee, was regretfully accepted in May, 1919. During this period, Messrs. Nesbit, Haggett, H. A. Morris and Maxwell were ordained as elders.
The Rev. J. A. MacKenzie was inducted in December, 1919, and he remained until August, 1924, when he was obliged to resign on account of his health. Facing the difficult years of the post-war period, Mr. MacKenzie gave of his best and won a place of lasting affection in the hearts of his congregation.
A call was extended to the Rev. J. C. Loan, who was minister of St. David's from 1925 until February, 1938. These years were marked by steady growth and development, and the number of communicants on the roll increased to more than 230. The church property was improved by the erection of a brick fence with buttressed pillars and iron gates, the gift of an elder—Mr. John Nesbit. St. David's also became the first Church in Petone to instal electric lighting. Later the church hall was enlarged to meet the needs of an increasing youth work. Messrs. J. J. Quested, Y. G. Carver, and A. Wood were elected elders in 1927, and in 1933, Messrs. J. Kerr, H. Green, D. J. Thomson, and J. Biscoe were also added to the Session. The Jubilee celebrations of St. David's were held in 1936, and during that year, a beautiful stained-glass window was presented by Miss J. M. Cook, in memory of her father, Mr. Thomas Cook.
In 1938, with the translation of Rev. Loan to Edendale, the charge became vacant, and for a year the late Rev. Andrew Stevenson ably acted as locum-tenens. During that time the congregation suffered great loss through the death of several senior members, notably Mr. and Mrs. James Kerr, who had contributed much towards the progress of the Church. A Baptismal font has been presented in memory of their work.
The present minister, the Rev. Colin MacKenzie, B.A., was inducted on February 9th, 1939. The members of the Session at present are: Messrs. H. A. Morris, J. Nesbit, J. Stewart, Y. G. Carver, H. Green. E. Marsh, C. C. Aitken and C. A. Williamson. Mr. Y. G. Carver has been appointed Session Clerk in succession to Mr. H. A. Morris, who resigned after thirteen years' faithful service in that office.
Space does not permit a detailed account of the loyal services rendered by the women of the congregation in the various organisations; nor of the splendid band of leaders who have carried on the Youth work in Bible Classes and Sunday Schools. Some of their names appear on the Honours Board in the Church; others whose names are not recorded, are yet remembered for their devotion to the service of the Church.
The St. David's Roll of Honour also bears the names of the noble sons of the Church who answered the Country's call during the Great War, many of whom made the supreme sacrifice.
Because the Presbyterian system demands that the convictions and the conscience of the Church should be constantly applied to civic affairs, many members of St. David's have taken an active part in the growth and progress of the town of Petone. In the spirit of the first pioneers they have shown courage and enterprise, not only in the service of their Church, but in the wider interests of the community by developing and fostering the
cause of righteousness, which is the foundation of all true progress and civic welfare.
On the afternoon of February 23rd, 1940, on the centennial date of the first European religious service held on land, in the Wellington Province, a cross of Iona, to commemorate the occasion, was unveiled on the Petone foreshore.
The site of the cross is to the east of the Provincial Memorial—about a mile from the actual site of the service which, as already stated in this publication, was in the neighbourhood of the Maori cemetery, where Te Puni lies. The actual site is not now ascertainable.
The Evening Post, reporting the service, states:
"To mark the passing of one hundred years since the first Presbyterian service was held in the Dominion, a handsome cross of Iona was unveiled yesterday afternoon, on the Petone foreshore, by the Rt. Rev. J. Lawson Robinson, B.A., Moderator of the General Assembly.
"The service, which followed closely the lines of that conducted by Rev. John Macfarlane, in 1840, was quite short, lasting about 40 minutes, but most impressive.
"Rev. Brian Kilroy read the lesson and offered up a prayer of thankfulness. The congregation then sang 'All People that on Earth do Dwell,' and 'O God of Bethel.'
"After depicting the scene of one hundred years ago, the preacher spoke of the supreme value of religion in personal and national life.
"The service was attended by a large number of delegates attending the Centennial Assembly."
(See pages 34 to 36).

The Story of the Catholic Church in Petone, 1843–1940.
The Catholic Faith Comes to the Hutt Valley.

In1843 Honourable Henry Petre brought with him in the ship "Thomas Sparks" a few Catholic settlers and his chaplain, Father J. J. P. O'Reilly, a Capuchin Father, who was the first priest to settle in Wellington. For nearly ten years, in addition to his duties in Wellington, Father O'Reilly attended to the spiritual welfare of the Hutt pioneers. In 1850 a mission was opened at the Hutt by Father Forest. Assisted by funds from the Association for the Propagation of the Faith, he erected a pretty little Church (St. Peter and Paul's), a presbytery and a school. This first church in the valley was opened by Bishop Viard who walked from Wellington for the ceremony. Later, Father Forest was joined by Father Seon, who subsequently assumed charge of the mission. The parish priest of Lower Hutt ministered to the Catholic settlers of a large section of territory. His parish extended from Upper Hutt to Petone beach, its eastern boundary being beyond Eastbourne and its western one being the sea coast past Ngaio. Johnsonville and Plimmerton.
Among his parishoners were a few Catholic families residing in the district now known as Petone. As this handful of Catholics gathered at intervals for Mass in the home of the late Mr. J. P. Gaynor, they little realized that they were the seed whence the present flourishing parish would develop. Their parish priest, Reverend J. J. Lane could visit them only when opportunity offered. Before setting out on his journey round his extensive parish, he would notify the people of the times for Mass at the different stations by an announcement in the Petone "Chronicle." Then, driving in his buggy over the rough deep ruts of the Hutt roads, he visited even the remotest districts of his extensive parish.
When in Petone, he used the old drill hall in Nelson Street for Mass. It was here, in July, 1894, that two Vincentian priests from Australia,
Fathers O'Reilly, C.M. and McCarthy, C.M., preached a most successful mission to Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
The late Mr. Gaynor purchased a hall in Sydney Street on the site where the "Chronicle" office now stands and Father Lane then used this hall, which was more suitable for a Church than the old drill hall.

The First Sacred Heart Church and the Parish of Petone.

From the first, it was apparent that Petone was a town of great possibilities, and in 1895, a 5-roomed house, standing in an acre of land in Britannia Street, was purchased for the church.
By 1898, the Catholic population had increased to such numbers that Father Lane decided to build a church on this site for his Petone parishoners. The following year it was completed and amid great rejoicings, the late Archbishop Redwood blessed and officially opened it in May, 1899. This solidly constructed Church, dedicated to the Sacred Heart, was then an up-to-date wooden building. It was further enhanced by the addition of a brick campanile constructed beside it in 1903.
As the growing body of Catholics now had their own church, the appointment of a priest to minister to them was warranted. Accordingly, in 1903, the Boroughs of Petone and Eastbourne were severed from the extensive Lower Hutt parish and constituted a separate parish.
Reverend Frederick G. Maples who had been assistant priest to Father Lane since 1897, became the first resident Rector of the Petone parish. He arrived early in February and resided in the 5-roomed house beside the church. The success of the parish has been, under God, largely due to the solid foundation of Catholic life which Father Maples laid during his nine and a half years as Rector.
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Catholic Church, Britannia Street.


To the Memory of A Hero Priest.

The years of Father Maples's ministery were fruitful ones indeed, and his departure for Stratford in September, 1912, would have been a great loss had not a priest such as Father McMenamin succeeded him. Reverend James J. McMenamin, an old boy of Petone, became Rector in 1912 and ruled the parish until 1914. During that time, he won the love of his parishoners and the respect and esteem of all sections of the community. On the outbreak of war in 1914, Father McMenamin volunteered for service as chaplain to the New Zealand forces, and was one of the first appointed for active service. He left New Zealand with the main body of the Expeditionary Force. Late in June, 1917, news came through that, on 9th of that month he had been shot down while burying the dead after the battle of Messines. All citizens of Petone felt the loss as a personal one.
In memory of their beloved pastor, a "Father McMenamin Memorial Fund" was inaugurated with a view to erecting a finer and a larger church in his memory. After years of persevering effort, the goal came in sight on 29th October, 1933, when parishoners and friends gathered on the site to watch Archbishop Redwood lay the foundation-stone of the memorial church. The feast of Christ, the King, October, 1934, brought the crowning triumph when the fine brick Church was solemnly opened for public worship, the first Holy Mass being offered within its walls by the Parish Priest, Father Quealy. This structure in Romansque architecture, forms a fitting memorial to one who died a hero priest in the service of God, his country and his fellow-men.

Later Developments.

In 1919, Father Quealy vacated the old house which had served so long as a presbytery and acquired a more comfortable one on the corner of Britannia Street and Kirk's Avenue. Here he resided with his assistant priests until he was transferred to Opunake in 1935.
For a short time during Father Quealy's absence abroad in 1932, the parish was administered by Reverend James Murphy. The present Rector, Reverend W. E. O'Donnell, who succeeded Father Quealy, was appointed parish priest on 4th May, 1935. For many years the Rector has been aided by an assistant priest; the present one being Father Tottman.
In 1936, San Antonio's Church, Eastbourne, was built, and that district has been administered by the priests of St. Patrick's College, Wellington.

Social Activities.

Parallel with these developments, has been the growth of social life in the parish. Encouraged by Father Murphy, a Tennis Club was formed in 1930 and two asphalt courts laid down in the school ground, a third being added in 1935. Enthusiastic support from the young people has enabled the club to be successful in all grades of the competitions of Catholic Lawn Tennis Association.
The Petone Hibernian Cricket Club, a promising young club founded in 1935, has also met with success in all grades. A flourishing Table Tennis Club occupies the young people during the winter months. Prominent among youth activities are St. Aloysius' Boy Scout troup and Cub pack and St. Zita's Guide Company, teaching the ideals of usefulness and service.
These organizations obt ined a valuable asset when the former Church was converted into a parochial hall. It was fitted with all the facilities for social gatherings and on 28th March, 1935, was opened by Archbishop O'Shea.

Baptist Church.

The beginnings of Baptist witness in the Petone district date from 21st August, 1900, when the first Baptist prayer meeting was held. One year later, it was found that sufficient support was forthcoming to institute regular meetings for prayer in the homes of local residents, the majority being in the home of Mr. W. H. Cook, in Nelson Street. The first public service was held in the Temperance Hall, Sydney Street, on May 11th, 1902. At first services were held only in the morning; but on September 14th of the same year, an evening service was started. Up to this time, the nearest Baptist service had been at the Vivian Street Church in Wellington, and several Hutt Valley Baptists used to walk into the city (there being no suitable transport available) in order to attend public worship in a church of their own denomination. A Sunday School was started in October of that year, with Mr. D. W. Alexander as Superintendent, an office which he held for an unbroken period of 12 years. Owing to the sale of the Temperance Hall, the services were transferred to a room in the State School on 16th November, 1902.
The next step forward was on 1st of February, when Mr. John Mackenzie was appointed by the Central Auxiliary of the Baptist Union to the oversight of the work for a period of three months, later extended to a year, by the church. The church was formally constituted at a meeting held in the school, on 7th April, 1903. The Rev. W. Lamb (Brooklyn) conducted the service, Rev. W. L. Slater (Berhampore) delivered the address, and at the Communion Service which followed, Rev. C. Dallaston (Vivian Street) welcomed the following foundation members: Miss F. Flanagan, Miss E. A. Stanton, Miss B. Edmeades, Mrs. P. Godber, Mrs. J. W. Reade, Mrs. D. W. Alexander, Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Lewthwaite; Messrs. R. and R. W. Edmeades, Burn, G. Alexander and J. Mackenzie. At the first business meeting of the church, Mr. R. Edmeades was elected secretary-treasurer, and Messrs. Burn and D. W. Alexander were appointed deacons.
Meanwhile, the need of a more suitable place of worship was keenly felt, and arrangements were made to erect the present building in Buick Street, on a section donated by Mr. L. Gear. The foundation stone was laid on 2nd May, 1903, by Mr. A. Hoby. The building was first used for public worship on 2nd August of the same year, when the services were conducted by Rev. W. Lamb in the morning, Mr. J. Mackenzie in the afternoon, and Rev. C. Dallaston in the evening. After a year's faithful service, during which the infant church had progressed considerably, Mr. Mackenzie resigned the pastorate, and Rev. Stanley Jenkin began his ministry early in 1904. During the year, the property at the back of the church facing Bolton Street, on which the manse now stands, was acquired.
Towards the close of 1905, Rev. S. Jenkin accepted a call to the Nelson Church, and Rev. James Spottiswood took over the pastorate. In 1908, Rev. T. A. Williams succeeded him. Up till this time, all meetings were held in the church building, and the need of further accommodation for the growing work became more apparent. In the same year, it was decided to build a separate room to house the infant Sunday School, and the building still used for the same purpose was erected. Mr. Williams resigned the charge in 1911, to be succeeded, temporarily, by Rev. G. Wainwright, and later by Rev. P. J. Wainwright. During the ministry of the latter, the expansion of the work among the young people made the accommodation problem again serious, and additions were made to the Infant Classroom in 1912.
In 1914, Rev. M. W. P. Lascelles became minister of the church for a period of 18 months, to be followed, in 1915, by Rev. Eric Evans, who continued his ministry till 1918, when he resigned in order to serve as a Chaplain to the Forces. The pastorate remained vacant for nearly a year, until, in 1919, Rev. F. A. Parry took charge. During the year, a house in
Cuba Street was acquired as a manse. Mr. Parry was succeeded in 1921 by Rev. F. H. Radford, who continued as minister till 1925, when he was forced to resign on account of ill-health. Rev. H. E. Edridge became minister in 1926, and continued till 1928.
In 1926, the manse in Cuba Street was disposed of, and a new building was erected on the section in Bolton Street, at the rear of the church. Meanwhile, accommodation for the young people's work had again become a problem, and the present Sunday School Hall was added to the church in 1927. The period of Mr. Edridge's ministry also saw the beginnings of Baptist work in Lower Hutt where, in 1928, a branch Sunday School was formed, meeting in the Waiwhetu School, under the leadership of Mr. H. Pargetter. The formation of a church at Lower Hutt followed shortly afterwards, which resulted in the Petone membership being severely depleted by the transfer of its members residing in the Lower Hutt area to the new church. After the departure of Rev. H. E. Edridge, the pastorate was filled, temporarily, by Rev. T. Keith Ewen, until the arrival of Rev. J. T. Crozier, at the close of 1929. During the ministry of Mr. Crozier a further addition was made to the church buildings, when a further Bible Class-room was erected. After Mr. Crozier's departure, in 1933, the church remained without a minister for a year—till the close of 1934—when Rev. N. R. Wood took charge of the work, to be succeeded, in 1936, by Rev. D. C. McKee, the present minister of the church.

Church of Christ.

The work of the Churches of Christ in New Zealand commenced in Nelson in 1844, but it was not till 1869 that there was a Church meeting in Wellington. The year 1888 marks the commencement of the church in Petone.
A small group of residents holding membership with the Wellington church found difficulty in maintaining regular attendance, so they decided to meet in the home of one of their members. In February, 1888, nine members met in the cottage of Mr. and Mrs. F. Mason, Bay Street. Preaching services were not commenced until four years later, when Sydney Black, of London, visited Petone, and gave two addresses in the Oddfellows' Hall. He was so impressed that he urged the church to commence evangelistic work.
Robert Wright (later the Hon. R. A. Wright, M.P.), agreed to take the platform, and apart from help at times from the Wellington brethren, continued the preaching services for about 16 years, till the arrival of a full- time evangelist, in 1908. Much help was also received from Evangelist A. F. Turner (Wellington church), who addressed the mid-week meetings for about eleven years. The Wellington Church generously lent half of their choir, who travelled on Sunday afternoons by horse express, singing in the streets of Petone, and at the meetings.
During this time the church met in the Oddfellows' Hall, but in 1903, the members purchased the Temperance Hall in Sydney Street, and have met there for the past 36 years. The church was strengthened by the Stephens' Mission, in 1907, and extended a call to D. McCrackett, Evangelist who ministered from 1908–09. However, the financial burden was too heavy for the small church and they were reluctantly compelled to release the preacher. The Wellington churches continued to supply speakers, until in 1914 a circuit was arranged between Petone and Lower Hutt; Herbert Grinstead being stationed as Evangelist for two years.
F. J. Marshall was then placed in the field, and this ministry proved to be the longest in the church's history, lasting from 1916 to 1922. During this time the membership increased, the building debt of £350 was wiped off (entirely through the efforts of the ladies' guild, under the leadership of Mrs. Ashby), new seats and a new organ were installed, and much progressive work was done, the good results of which are still in evidence to-day.
The next Evangelist was W. J. Lowe, who served from 1922–25, leaving the ministry at that time to take up other work. He later gave much valuable help in an honorary capacity. In 1929, W. M. Garner was called to the work. This time the Lower Hutt and Petone churches shouldered full responsibility and received no assistance from the Home Mission funds. However, in 1932, Mr. Garner was released and H. Greenwood took up the work. He proved a very energetic worker, but the period of depression, made it impossible to carry on, and the engagement terminated in 1933.
In 1934 the Home Mission Committee again assisted the cause, and helped to support Mr. E. R. Vickery, who laboured till 1937, when he decided to transfer to the Nelson district. Since that time, the church has been quietly working without an evangelist, the local members supplying the platform with the help of the Hutt and town churches. Many of the older members have now "passed on," but some are still active in the work. Mrs. Mason, in whose house the church first met, is now in Hastings; Mrs. Murgatroyd is still found occupying her usual place; Mr. and Mrs. J. Battersby and Mrs. Angus are isolated; Mr. W. A. Taylor, secretary for many years, is still in active membership; Messrs. R. A. and A. Wright, and Mesdames Doneghue and Carter are holding membership in other towns.
The Sunday School has an unbroken record from at least 1898, and most of the present adult members have passed through its ranks. A branch school in the Wilford district has been successfully conducted for the past nine years. Four young people from the Petone church trained for the ministry, and are now serving with distinction—namely: Mr. and Mrs. W. S. Lowe, Tasmania, and Mr. and Mrs. L. R. Usmar, of Gisborne. The present Officers are Messrs. D. Walsh, Elder, F. Cook, Secretary, A. Liebezeit, Treasurer; Mesdames Pettett, Trethewey, and Liebezeit, and Messrs. Taylor, Trethewey, and Deverill.

The Salvation Army
Petone Corps.

The first meetings held in Petone by the Salvation Army were conducted by officers who visited Petone from Wellington, about the year 1886.
These meetings revealed that Petone presented a splendid opportunity for the service that the Salvation Army can render the people. In the year 1888, Captain McMeekan and Lieutenant Tremain were appointed as officers in charge of the work in the district, and upon them fell the responsibility of establishing a corps in Petone. These officers conducted meetings in what was known as Ranfurly Hall, in Sydney Street. A little later on, the centre of activities was transferred to a hall in Jackson Street, near the present Evening Post buildings.
In 1899 the hall now in use in Sydney Street, was built and opened amidst much enthusiasm.
Sunday School work was inaugerated, and a Young People's corps was established. In 1898, the first organised band was established. Mr. Walter Hewson being appointed the first bandmaster. This group of musicians greatly helped the outdoor activities of the corps. The present bandmaster, Mr. H. Dutton has had charge of the band during the past eight years, and under his direction the band has been built up to its present high standard.
Many stiring stories can be told of the difficulties encountered by the early officers and soldiers, and on their labour and sacrifice there has been developed a progressive and active corps.
Mr. Packwood, senior, of Cuba Street, is amongst the few active workers of those days who are now living. Last year the corps celebrated its golden jubilee, by a series of special meetings, conducted by Commissioner Adams, the territorial leader of the Salvation Army. The present corps officers, Major and Mrs. Ransom, took charge of the corps in January last, they have associated with them, as senior local officers: Corps Sergeant-Major Douglas, Treasurer Wallis, Secretary Mason, Bandmaster Dutton, Young People's Sergeant-Major Lamond, and Recruiting-Sergeant Mrs. Jones.

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