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Petone's First 100 Years (1940)



From earliest days Petone citizens have been characterised by a spirit of independence, and have sought to help themselves by co-operating for the common good. This is why the Lodge spirit finds, in Petone, a congenial soil.

Ulster Lodge No. 62.

In a little schoolroom in Petone in November, 1886, a number of Free- masons held a meeting for the purpose of discussing the advisability of starting a masonic lodge, and after careful consideration, it was agreed that such a lodge should be formed under the Irish constitution, and be called Ulster Lodge. The Grand Lodge of New Zealand was not formed until a year or two later. The meetings for some time were held in the Oddfellows Hall, Petone, the first one being held on January 19th, 1887. This hall, not being considered entirely suitable, a committee was set up for the purpose of obtaining a hall of its own. In April, 1888, a site having been secured in Fitzherbert Street, Petone, plans were drawn up and accepted, and a start was made on the new building.
The new hall was ready in June, 1888, and on July 2nd, 1888, the dedication of the new masonic hall took place. The ceremony was performed by Worshipful Brother R. C. Hammerton, acting Pro. Grand Master. This same gentleman was also Ulster Lodge's first Master. The first secretary was James Curtis, a very well known name in Petone, F. W. Dawes, first treasurer, and the Rev. Joshua Jones, chaplain. The hall has been considerably enlarged, and to-day stands as a monument to the progress of Free Masonry in the district.
For many years, the lodge was the only one in the Hutt Valley, but it kept in close contact with sister Lodges in Wellington city and suburbs. There are now four lodges in the Valley, and one in Eastbourne. The lodge held its fiftieth jubilee in 1937. Ulster Lodge also assisted at the forming of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand, which will be celebrating its fiftieth jubilee this year. The members feel satisfied and proud of the history and progress the lodge has made during the last fifty years, and trust its continued activity will assist to establishing in the mind of men, a more ample recognition and a nobler conception of the brotherhood of man. "He, too, has served who now and then has helped along his fellow man."
The present officers are, P. McBride, W. M.; Harold Morgan, S.W.; Chas. Neilsen, J.W.; W. Bro. F. L. Matthews, P.G. B.B., chaplain; J. T. Collin, treasurer; and W. Bro. W. H. Melhuish, P.G.S., secretary.

Manchester Unity I.O.O.F.
Loyal Petone, Lodge No. 6542.

In the year 1876 a small staff of workmen arrived to form the nucleus of the Railway Workshops, and, the numbers rapidly increasing, it became the matter of only a short time when the idea of founding a lodge was formed and the Loyal Petone Lodge, the first benefit society of the town,
came into existence. The basic fact in the Friendly Society movement must be solvency, and it seems clear from the day this lodge was established, the strenuous years, trying to all movements in their initiation, were faced with the steady resolve to make up the way the older lodges had attained to, so successfully. It is to be particularly noted that progress had always been steady, and that a consistently capable and earnest control has assured the lodge a very high financial standing, which it must be admitted, is the gauge of true development on right lines. How far these results have been reached, the following brief history of the lodge should afford information:
The Loyal Petone Lodge was sponsored by the Loyal Antipodean Lodge of Wellington, as it appears from the district minutes of July 22, 1882, that the application of that lodge to open a new lodge at Petone was, after due deliberation, agreed to on the motion of P.P.G.M. J. Martin, seconded by P.P.G.M. E. Lewis, "That leave be granted to open a new lodge at Petone to be called the Loyal Petone Lodge, and that the names of P.P.G.M.'s E. Lewis, C. W. Brown and John Smith, be placed on the dispensation board of the new lodge."
The first lodge was tyled on August 19, 1882, at the Marine Retreat Hotel. The ceremony of opening this first of all Friendly Societies at Petone, was attended and impressively performed by P.G.M.W. Buick, D.P.G.M, G. Dixon, P.C.S. E. Bannister, and officers and members of the Loyal Britannia, Antipodean and Rose of the Valley lodges. The following candidates for admission to membership were received and subsequently elected—Messrs. W. Wakelin, B. Coubourne, J. Ryan, J. Copping, F. Herdman, G. London, H. Adams, and A. Clark. The first lodge was then impanelled, the following officers being installed: I.P.N.G. P.P.G.M. E. H. Collett, G.M. N. Valentine, N.G. E. C. Collett, V.G. J. Wright, Secretary B. Coubourne, Warden W. Blake, Tyler J. May, Supporters, G. London, A. Clark, S. Curtis, and H. Adams. In the initiation of the lodge, it is to be noted the first medical officer to be appointed was Dr. Wilford, the first trustees, C. W. Haines, R. Flint, and G. T. London, the first auditors, J. Wood.and G. T. London, and the first lodge delegate, P.G.M. Bro. Valentine.
A steady increase of members followed the establishment of the lodge, and on October 12, 1882, the first degree was taken by Bros. London, Copping, and Clarke, and the entertainment committee reported as the result of its efforts that the amount of the regalia fund was £12 18s. 3d. That these original members were very much imbued with the spirit of Oddfellowship was evidenced by their enthusiastic efforts to provide a home for themselves and posterity. Concerts and dances became a regular feature, and indeed, for a number of years were considered the leading social functions of the district. A section in Petone Avenue was purchased and ultimately the project materialised in a very fine hall, which from that time until quite recently, has been the venue of the chief social and political functions of the town.
It should be recorded that whilst the hall scheme was under consideration, the late Mr. Edward Jackson, one of the most generous of men, came to the assistance of the Lodge with the gift of a valuable section in Nelson Street.
The presentation of the Dispensation Board took place on August 10, 1883, and was performed by P.P.G.M. Loasby and D.P.G.M. J. Pearce, and it was agreed that the first name to be placed thereon should be P.G.M. N. Valentine.
Loyal Petone Lodge, No. 6542, commencing with eight members with negligible funds, two years later in 1884, had 42 members good on the books and a total fund of £53 1s. 10d. Fifty years on, at the beginning of 1932, we find a membership of 203, with an estimated accumulation of funds amounting to £7,777 0s. 2d. It would appear on the whole a very worthy record, and in attainment it is satisfactory to note that members of the Loyal Petone Lodge have shared in fair proportion the honours of higher administrative responsibility. In this connection it is to be noted the following officers have served as District Grand Masters—S. R. Johnson,
1893; R. Mothes, 1894; C. W. Johnston, 1897; C. P. Brockelbank. 1907; A. G. Steffensen, 1921.
Mention must also be made of the members of the Loyal Petone Lodge who have shared in shaping the destiny of Petone in occupying the highest municipal offices in the town. P.P.G.M. S. R. Johnson was the Chairman of the original Town Board. The Mayoral Chair has at various times been occupied by P.P.G.M. S. R. Johnson, P.P.G.M. R. Mothes, P.G. G. T. London, P.P.G.M. C. P. Brockelbank (acting Mayor). Bros. H. E. Fleet P.G., and A. M. Macfarlane are members of the present council.

Ancient Order Of Foresters.
Court Epuni, 7314.

Court Epuni was formed on May 28, 1886. Proceedings commenced with a torchlight procession to Valentine's Hotel. D.C.R. Bro. Harris and all the district officers were present, also about seventy members of the order. Eleven new members were proposed for initiation, H. G. Brooks., W. Williams, W. Parrant, F. Coleman, E. Rushton, J. Phelan, C. Edmonds, W. Blake, H. Gough, W. Exton.and M. Small. Mr. N. Valentine.was elected an honorary member. The following officers were elected: C.R. Bro. J. Davidson, S.C.R. Bro. F. Upton, secretary, P.C.R. Bro. Leadbeater of Court Sir George Grey. These three officers deposited their clearance from their court and their applications for membership were accepted. The remaining offices were filled by S.W. Bro. W. Parrant, J. W. Bro. C. Edmonds, S.B. Bro. M. Small, J. B. Bro. H. G. Brooks, treasurer, Bro. E. Rushton, trustees, N. Valentine, J. Davidson. and F. Upton, court doctor, Dr. Wilford.
Brother H. G. Brooks, of 51 Queen's Road, Lower Hutt, is the only remaining member of those who met on that historic occasion. Brother Leadbeater held the office of Secretary for forty-seven years and retired in June, 1933, owing to ill health. He passed away on December 5, 1938. He had the pleasure of seeing the court grow from such small beginnings to 400 members, and after paying for all sickness, funeral, and medical benefits through the years that he held office the invested funds increased to more than £20,000. This was largely due to the trustees who have taken such a keen interest in placing surplus funds to the best advantage. Mention may be made of W. Heppleston, Caleb Lusty, W. F. Armitage., W. Clarke, F. Clark, F. Greenfield, and L. C. Wray., who have held that office since 1923.
Brother T. A. Armstrong succeeded Bro. W. S. Smith as treasurer in 1917 and has held that office ever since. Brother Smith returned to Petone and has held the office of secretary since the retirement of Bro. Leadbeater. Brother Leadbeater in October, 1886, opened a juvenile branch of our order. It is prosperous to-day and many of its members passed into Court Epuni and their children and grandchildren have followed them from the juvenile to the adult court. To mention some, there are seven Parrants taking an active part. Brother F. Priest. was one of the first juveniles, also W. A. and G. H. Gate., L. Parrant. and James and John Hamilton. All these and other members still take an active interest in the juveniles.
William Austin joined in September, 1889, and was for many years treasurer. He is now living in retirement at Otahuhu, Auckland. Brother W. F. Armitage., one of the early trustees, lives in Otaki. A. Burnley, who joined in May, 1887, resides with a daughter at Lower Hutt. J. Hosie. joined in October, 1887, and resides in Petone.
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Municipal Buildings

August, 1960, immediately after erection On right, first Council Chambers and on left, corner of second Chambers.
Modernised, 1936, as shown on page 86.
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Jackson Street in the days of Horse Transport-Aug., 1906.


Independent Order Of Rechabites.
Star Of Petone Tent.

A Branch of the friendly society known as the Independent Order of Rechabites was opened in Petone on October 24, 1904. Its founders were Messrs. W. L. Jenness and F. Jenness, both watchmakers in business in Petone, Mr. E. C. Gamble who was in business with his father, Mr. C. S. Gamble., a draper, Mr. Owen Baigent, a builder, Mr. W. J. Wakelin., who was a partner in Richards and Wakelin, grocers, and Messrs. Horace and Arthur Wheatley, with their father, as bakers and pastry cooks. Other foundation members were Messrs. F. Blackburn, W. Denby, C. Bell, and H. Collett. The first secretary was Mr. W. L. Jenness., and the first presiding officer, Mr. O. Baigent.
The branch met successively in the Wesleyan school-room, the Central hall and the Orange hall. The name given to the branch was the "Star of Petone Tent," and it became attached to the N.Z. Central District and belonged to the order founded in Salford, England, in 1835. The high officers of the order, in visiting New Zealand in 1911 and again in 1922, were in Petone on both occasions, big rallies of members being the result. The first visit was honoured with a church parade, headed by the Petone Band, through the main street.
The branch engaged in friendly society activities. Medical practitioners attending its members were Drs. Perry, Hamilton, Ross, Wilkins, Harding, Duggle, Kerr-Hislop, and Bakewell. The lodge also associated with United Friendly Society movements such as Hospital Sunday, the U.F.S. Dispensary, the Petone Ambulance Van, and on one occasion a friendly society carnival. Latterly, indoor bowls has occupied attention, and competitions are entered into with spirit between lodges of the same order and with lodges of other orders. Members who served abroad with the N.Z.E.F. had their contributions paid by the lodge. Among members who paid the supreme sacrifice were Messrs. L. W. P. Reeve. and H. C. De Ridder, both of whom were popular officers of the local branch of the Bank of N.Z. before their enlistment.
Mr. C. Bell. held the secretaryship for fourteen years and Mr. D. Simpson. for thirteen years. Mr. D. J. Wilson now holds the position. Prominent in other executive offices have been Messrs. W. Sussex, J. Thompson, H. L. Heyward., J. Slack, R. Ainslie, L. W. Heyward., E. Ackroyd, and Len Jenness. Side by side with the adult lodge has been conducted a juvenile branch to which members have given their time for training youth in friendly society principles, brotherhood and unity.

Hibernian Australasian Society.
Sacred Heart Branch No. 533.

The Petone Branch of the Hibernian Society was opened on Sunday, September 18, 1910, under the name of "Sacred Heart Branch No. 533." Twelve members were initiated, and the first president was Bro. Florence McCarthy, who still takes an active part in the management of the Branch. Brother John Linehan assumed the office of secretary, and held this position with a short intermission, until 1925. Brother Linehan now resides in Auckland, where he is still active in the affairs of the Society.
The history of the Branch is not marked by any highlights, but it can be said that, during an eventful period in history, it carried out its functions faithfully and well. Many of its members proceeded on active service during the Great War, and those left at home kept the Branch going successfully during a difficult period when many Lodges were forced to close their doors.
The present membership is 100, including an active group of the younger generation, who work well in the social sphere. The frequent interchange of visits, with indoor bowls as the main attraction, has built up a fine spirit of friendship with all other Lodges in Petone, and this spirit has been of great benefit to the movement generally.
On the business side, the branch has been well to the fore. Apart from the provision of benefits for its own members, it took an active part in the establishment of the Petone dispensary, and has ever since assisted in the management of this institution, of which Bro. G. C. Pearce is vice-president and a trustee. Brother Pearce is also a grand trustee of the society, while the branch secretary, Bro. J. T. Carr., is grand secretary of the society in New Zealand, and a vice-president of the Dominion Council of Friendly Societies.
The first chaplain of the branch was Father McMenamin, whose memory is still revered in Petone, as a devoted priest who gave his life while ministering to the dying on the field of battle at Messines. Father McMenamin was succeeded as chaplain by Father Quealy, who continued in this office for over twenty years, until his departure from Petone some four years ago. The present chaplain is Father O'Donnell.
The present officers of the Branch are: Chaplain, Rev. Father W. E. O'Donnell; president, H. L. J. May. vice-president, T. A. Douglas; past president, N. McArtney. secretary, J. T. Carr; treasurer and sick visitor, Sister M. O. Leary; warden, A. G. McLauchlan; guardian, R. H. O'Neill; sick visitors, G. Hepburn. and B. G. Bevans; trustees, F. McCarthy, G. C. Pearce and F. R. Foreman; Auditors, H. H. Butler and A. G. McLauchlan.
The following have filled the office of President during the history of the Branch: F. McCarthy, 1910–11-31–35; J. Linehan, 1912–26; L. Stewart, 1912–21; R. Moore, 1913; C. O.Shea, 1913–14; L. Okeby, 1914; J. Roper, 1915; F. J. O'Leary, 1915–16; F. Grehan, 1916–17; J. Corbishley, 1918; W. Fitzgerald, 1919; H. D. Young., 1919; T. Duignan, 1920; W. Ryan, 1920; H. W. Barry., 1921; D. J. P. Hickey., 1922–32-33; R. A. Delany., 1922–23; G. C. Pearce., 1923–24-35; J. Keane, 1924; D. McCarthy, 1925; R. J. McKee., 1927; K. W. France., 1928; W. J. Laracy., 1928; Sister M. Higgins, 1929; F. R. Foreman., 1930–32; Sister A. Young, 1930; J. T. Carr., 1933; H. H. Butler., 1934; B. G. Bevans., 1936; G. Hepburn, 1937; N. McArtney, 1938; H. L. J. May., 1939.
Six members have filled the office of Secretary, namely: J. Linehan.(1910–11 and 1912–25), R. Moore.(1912), J. T. Carr (1925–30 and 1934–39), Sister M. Higgins.(1931), R. M. Moss (1931–33), W. P. Coles (1933–34).

Grand United Order Of Oddfellows.
Petone Pioneer Branch No. 3.

This branch was formed on November 7, 1922, when twelve members were initiated, and the following officers were installed: Bro. C. H. Davis., P.N.G., Bro. W. N. W. Bain., N.G., Bro. F. H. Edwards., V.G., Bro. C. H. Martin., F. Sec., Bro. A. L. Kerse., Treasurer, Bro. G. Thompson, E. Secretary, Bro. A. S. Watson., Warden, Bro. P. N. Manning., I. Guard, Bro. C. C. Haseman., R.S.N.G., Bro. N. A. Johnson., L.S.N.G., Bro. H. J. Sutherland., R.S.V.G., Bro. E. J. Fuller., L.S.V.G. Brothers Davis, Bain, and Edwards were elected as Trustees. Brother Keegan, organising secretary of New South Wales, carried out the duties of dedication of the opening of the branch, and installation of officers.
The following members have held office on the Grand Lodge: Bro. W. N. W. Bain.(Grand Master, 1923, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30); Bro. A. L. Kerse (Grand Director, 1923, Junior Grand Trustee, 1924, 25, 26, Senior Grand Trustee, 1929, 30, 31); Bro. C. H. Martin (Grand Secretary, 1923); Sister Yeitch (Grand Director, 1926); Bro. L. L. Martin (Grand Director, 1926,
27, 28). District Council officers have been as follows: Bro Bain (District Master, 1923), Bro. S. H. Palmer (District Master, 1938); Bro. C. H. Martin (District Secretary, 1923). The register shows that there have been 308 initiations since the inception of the branch. We have paid out £2,121 10s. 5d. in sick pay and death benefits during the 17 years that the lodge has been in existence.
The present officers of the Lodge are: Bro. A. L. Kerse., N.G., Bro. H. Nankvill, P.N.G., Bro. W. Tito, V.G., Bro. C. E. Brown., F. Secty., Bro. A. C. Butler., R. Secty., Bro. A. J. Chorley., O. Guardian, Bro. S. H. Palmer., I. Guardian, Bro. F. J. Apperley., Warden, Bro. Kneebone, R.S.N.G., Bro. Coupe. L.S.N.G., Bro. S. Smith, R.S.V.G., Bro. N. Dickens, L.S.V.G., Bro. L. J. P. Mills., Treasurer. The Branch is still going ahead and membership is increasing. Social activities have been well catered for, including two sets of indoor bowls, which are very popular.
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United Friendly Society's Building, Jackson Street.


United Ancient Order Of Druids.

Poneke Lodge No. 21, United Ancient Order of Druids, North Island, New Zealand, was opened under charter from the Grand Lodge of Australia on May 19, 1886.
The following were the foundation members of the Lodge: Chas. I. Brugere, Geo. Wooland, Geo. D. Mulford, Walter Cudby, John T. King, Wm. Riddler, Tom Colpman, Frederick Comwella, Stephen McCarthy, Frank Drespin, Robert Scrimshaw, Arthur Vincent, George Lomas, Henry Thompson, Michael Carroll, Edward Battersby, Chas. C. Lomas, and John Brown.
Since its inception the office of Trustee has been filled by J. Gaynor, J. W. List., A. Marsden, J. W. Greenwood., J. Gilmour, W. H. Edwards., W. B. Gough., and L. Price. The present trustees are Bros. Gough, Edwards, and Price. The office of secretary has been filled successively by the following brethren: F. Wallace, E. A. King., H. J. Wynyard., L. Price, T. Townsend, and A. L. Williams. The last-named has held the office for sixteen years.
Distinguished service has been rendered by Past District President Bro. Price (present trustee) who was Grand President of the order in 1924; Past District President Bro. Gough (present trustee) who has held the position of President of the U.F.S. Dispensary Board for the past seventeen years (still in office); the present secretary—A. L. Williams, who is a Past Grand President and still in office as a member of the Grand Lodge Executive.
Present officers are as follows: A.D. Bro. F. M. Butler; J.P.A., Bro. W. H. Bacon; V.A., Bro. W. Poole. Secretary, Bro. A. L. Williams; Treasurers, Bro. A. L. Parker; Inside Guardian, Bro. MacDonald; Outside Guardian, Bro. W. T. Brown; Arch Druids Bards, Bros. S. King. and L. G. Chambers; Vice Arch Bards, Bros. H. Hope. and I. L. Gough; Minute Secretary, Bro. L. Price. Musician, Bro. F. Reed. Master of Ceremonies, Bro. N. H. Lawrence; Auditor, Mr. S. Hogg.
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Petone United Friendly Society Dispensary Board, 1940.

Front Row: C. W. Johnson (Trustee), G. C. Pearce (Vice-President and Trustee), W. B. Gough (President), W. H. Wilson (Trustee), a. L. Williams (Member; J. Slack (Treasurer)
Back Row: F. L. Anderson., m.p.s. (Manager), G. L. Earney., F. R. Foreman C. P. Brockelbank., S. J. Dwight (Members), J. F. Goodland (Secretary)

Independent Order Of Oddfellows.
Heretaunga Lodge No. 115.
Star Of Petone Lodge No.

The Independent Order of Oddfellows established a subordinate lodge in New Zealand in the year 1862, and since that time has spread from the North Cape to the Bluff, until to-day there are 255 male (subordinate lodges) and 82 Rebekah lodges, with 20,000 members.
The order, through sound policies, has accumulated large reserves, and each valuation discloses large actuarial surpluses. All funds (sick and funeral) of each lodge are controlled by the Grand Lodge, and thus all lodges (male and female) are insured against any extraordinarily large expenditure on these accounts. This ensures that no lodges of this order will be weak financially.
The Heretaunga Lodge No. 115 was established on August 7, 1924, through the efforts of several members resident in Petone, with the assistance of the Wellington Centre. It was recognized then that, Petone being a growing district, there was a necessity for the order to open here, to assist its own members resident here, and their friends. From that date, when the lodge opened with 25 members, it has steadily grown and has taken its place in the community alongside other orders for the relief of sickness, etc., until to-day, it is recognized as fulfilling all the obligations of the order—Friendship, Love and Truth.
The society being non-political and non-sectarian, all can combine for the good of the community and without prejudice to their beliefs, political or otherwise. Following its ideals, and to give the same ideals to the gentler sex, the Star of Petone Lodge No. 45 was established on July 25, 1925. Both lodges meet regularly for mutual relief, after which meetings social gatherings complete the evenings, so that all may broaden their outlook.

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