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Petone's First 100 Years (1940)

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Social Activities

Petone is not a wealthy community, and therefore the existence of so many activities for social welfare speaks eloquently of the self-sacrifice of her citizens.

Petone Plunket Society.

The Petone Plunket Society was inaugurated, by Mrs. McVicar. Honorary Secretary of the Wellington Branch, during November, 1913, It was arranged that the Plunket Nurse should be present in the mayor's room to interview mothers, and if necessary, should pay special visits at other times.
In March, 1915, it was decided that Mrs. Kirk, president, and Miss Peach, secretary, should wait upon Mr. Baldwin, mayor of Lower Hutt, with a view to his calling a meeting to ascertain if the people of that town would be willing to co-operate with Petone in supporting a Plunket Nurse for their joint benefit.
In June, 1915, Nurse Baker was engaged as Plunket Nurse for the combined area.
The committee added to their duties in November, 1915, by forming a patriotic sewing guild in conjunction with Red Cross work. Those responsible for this effort were Mesdames Kirk, Harman, Burd, Ewen and Todd.
The first Plunket Baby Week was inaugurated in July, 1917, Nurse Baker arousing interest by delivering lectures on Plunket work.
By 1922, the work had increased to such an extent that it was impossible for one nurse to carry on, and it was decided to separate from the Lower Hutt.
A Petone Branch was established with Nurse McHaffie in charge. In 1925 the first grant from the McCarthy Trust Fund was received, and since then the annual grant has been invaluable.
The branch was in charge of Nurse Compton and the visits steadily increased.
In 1926 the Ante-Natal Clinic was opened.
One of the most important functions of the 1926–27 year was the opening of the Wellington Karitane Hospital, towards which the Petone branch contributed the sum of £142 10s. 4d.
In October, 1930, the ideal of every member of the committee was realised when the Mayor, Mr. David McKenzie, laid the foundation- stone of the branch's future home in Kensington Avenue, the ground having been donated by the Borough Council, who also made the scheme possible with a loan of £500 to add to the £500 already saved towards this object from numerous small efforts.
The Building was opened in March, 1931.
Miss Peach, who was the first secretary and later became a Karitane Nurse, made a donation of £25 to the fund, thereby entitling her to hold the distinction of Life Membership. Mrs. G. Cook.is also a Life Member and one-time Secretary to whom the branch owes a deep debt of gratitude for her work and interest. After 20 years' service, Mrs. R. C. Kirk resigned the
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office of president in 1934, after loyally giving her time and energy and seeing the Plunket movement grow in this district from a very small acorn into the flourishing tree it is to-day. Mrs. Kirk was made an associate member and in 1938 was made a Life Member. The two vice-presidents, Mrs. Falder and Mrs. Brockelbank, both of whom had rendered much valuable service over a period of many years, were also obliged to resign owing to ill health.
The depression years found the financial position of the branch such that the mayor, Mr. A. Scholefield, in 1935 convened a public meeting for the purpose of discussing ways and means whereby the difficulties might be met. At that meeting a men's committee was inaugurated which carried on until January, 1939. By that time, the finances had improved and a ladies' committee was formed. This ladies' committee has proved very successful, so that the affairs of the branch would appear again to be in good hands.
Mrs. J. C. Burns is at present presiding over the ladies' committee, and the work of Mr. C. N. Astbury as secretary to the men's committee is worthy of mention.
Since the arrival of Nurse Keetly, there has been a very marked improvement in the attendances at the rooms and in the use of the nurse's services.
The total visits for the last year amounted to:—
Visits to homes 1,444
Visits to rooms 6,740
8,184
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Petone's Plunket Rooms.

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Petone Free Kindergarten.

On March 24th, 1927, a meeting was held in Mrs. George Cook's residence, Hutt Road, Petone, to make known the aim of the Wellington Free Kindergarten Association in starting a new branch at Petone. Among those present were Mrs. Peacock (president W.F.K.A.), Miss Riley (principal), Miss E. Scaife.(director Petone Branch), Hon. T. M. and Mrs. Wilford, Mesdames R. C. Kirk., McGavin, Gower, Greening, Toomath and Miss B. Hunter.
A general meeting on 8th April elected the following officers:— President, Mrs. G. Cook. Secretary, Mrs. McGavin; Treasurer, Mrs. Greening; Committee:—Mesdames Gower, Kirk, Toomath, Kerr-Hislop, Lodder.
The Branch was opened early in April, 1927, in the Y.W.C.A. Hall, Fitzherbert Street, with an attendance of about 20. By 1929, the roll number was 40.
The year 1929 saw the formation of the Mothers' Club, which has since done very valuable work for the institution, especially in raising funds.
The foundation-stone of the present building at the corner of Campbell Terrace and Victoria Street, was laid by the Hon. Harry Atmore, Minister of Education, on July 16th, 1930, and was formally opened two months later by Lady Bledisloe. The cost of the building, exclusive of site, was £1,380, to which the Education Department contributed £900.
Miss Scaife has been followed as director by Miss Holland, Miss Thompson and Miss Price.
The Mothers' Club Committee consists of Mesdames T. Milburn.(President); W. B. Reesby (Secretary), R. Parrant, G. Laird, F. Battcock, R. Martin, V. Bennett, H. Winnie, R. Leslie, R. Maiming, R. H. Smith., F. Lindop.
The present Executive Committee consists of Mesdames J. C. Burns (President); Wood (Secretary), L. Stewart, A. J. Pascoe., Lippett, Stickells, V. Vinsen, C. A. Goldsmith., Aldred, Anderson and Parata-Olsen.
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Petone's Free Kindergarten School.

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Dental Clinic.
Petone Schools.

The decision of the Director of Dental Hygiene to erect a dental clinic at Petone was received by the Petone Centred School Committee on November 1st, 1928, resulting in the calling of a public meeting by His Worship the Mayor (Mr. D. McKenzie. on December 11th, 1928, in the Borough Chambers, to consider ways and means of carrying out the project.
The following committee was elected: Mr. D. McKenzie.(Mayor), chairman; Mr. J. C. Burns., deputy chairman; Mr. C. A. Kaye., secretary; Mr. G. Fairbairn, treasurer; Messrs. E. Symrke, Daniels, J. S. Tunnicliffe., H. Preston, J. C. Loan., J. Hanna, Martin, O. Silbery, and Mesdames Anderson, McKay, and Gilmour.
It was considered that a type "A" clinic would suit the needs of the district, the estimated cost of which was £378 7s. 4d., subject to a £2 to £1 subsidy from the Government.
This left £126 2s. 4d. to be raised in Petone, and with the aid of a donation of £20 from the Petone Borough Council this was raised by the local schools.
The Clinic, situated in the Central School grounds, was officially opened by the Mayor (Mr. D. McKenzie. on October 5th, 1929. Among others present were the Hon. A. J. Stallworthy (Minister of Health), Col. T. A. Hunter (Director of Dental Hygiene), and members of local bodies.
Nurse K. McCormick. was the first nurse-in-charge; the children accepted for treatment being pupils of Petone Central, Petone West, Wilford, and Koro Koro Schools, the Petone Convent School pupils being admitted later.
The first annual meeting was held on February 20, 1930, at which the following committee was elected: Mr. J. C. Burns (chairman), G. Fairbairn.(secretary), and Messrs. J. Hanna, J. C. Loan., V. A. Noble., W. Taplin, and O. Silbery.
In 1931, Nurse M. H. E. Ayson.was appointed as second nurse, and in June, Nurse M. M. Grocott was appointed nurse-in-charge.
In June, 1931, the Government decided to levy £30 per nurse per annum and to make a charge for treatment; such charge not to exceed 5/- per child per annum. The committee decided on a charge of 4/-, and this seriously retarded the activities of the Clinic, and necessitated the withdrawal of one nurse, in June, 1932.
Due to increased attendance, and the realisation by parents of the benefits to be derived, the fee was reduced, in April, 1935, to 3/- for one child, and 2/6 each for two or more children.
A second nurse was appointed to the Clinic in July, 1936.
Nurse M. M. Grocott was transferred to Wellington in June, 1938, after being in charge of Petone Clinic for seven years.
The Clinic is now in charge of Nurse E. J. G. Hanlon., assisted by Nurse N. M. Kellow.
The activities of the Clinic have increased tremendously during the last few years, the roll number now being approximately 850.
Present Committee: Messrs. J. C. Burns (chairman), G. Fairbairn.Secretary), J. Ash, T. G. Caldwell., F. Foreman, L. G. Jarvis., W. J. Jarvis., H. Morrison, D. S. Packwood., and J. Richards.
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Hutt Valley Young Men's Christian Association (Inc.)

This Association's activities are carried out in modern premises situated at the corner of Cuba and Manchester Streets. The objects are to develop the Christian character and citizenship usefulness of its members, and to improve the spiritual, mental, social and physical condition of young men and boys, as well as young women and girls.
The history of the inauguration of this unit of such a universally spread organisation is rather unique. As is well known, the Y.M.C.A. played, with other organisations of a similar character, a large part in alleviating the hardships of the troops during the Great War by providing comforts, hot meals, and social programmes right up to the front lines, and while the New Zealand troops were in occupied areas following the Armistice in 1918, a movement was made to provide some tangible recognition of the New Zealand Y.M.C.A.'s war services. As a result, a substantial sum of money was contributed by the soldiers themselves for this purpose, and held in trust by the National headquarters.
After many suggestions were considered for the useful employment of this fund, it was eventually decided to invest it in an extension of the Y.M.C.A. activities and, the Hutt Valley having shown a great growth in population, the present well-equipped gymnasium and amenities was the outcome in 1935.
Although not yet five years of age, this self-contained association has already contributed its wide programme to the youth of the valley. Its total membership is now approximately 500, and it will not be long before extensions will be made by establishing sub-branches in suitable points in the Lower Hutt Borough.
The programme provides facilities for a wide variety of interests, which include physical training in all its branches, remedial exercise, indoor basketball, badminton, hobbies clubs, organised holiday programmes of visits to industrial establishments in the city and valley, camping, hiking, etc.
The officer-bearers for 1939–40 are:—
President Mr. C. G. Hedge
Vice-Presidents Mr. H. W. Kersley., Rev. J. E. Lopdell
Board Secretary Mr. H. Stevenson
Treasurer Mr. R. D. Smith
General Secretary and Physical Director Mr. C. L. Cato
Board of Directors Messrs. E. C. Batten., R. M. Blasted., P. E. Church., W. Carey, J. B. Grey., W. J. Kennedy., J. Kerr, O. V. Kibblewhite., N. N. Liebezeit., A. E. Lambourn., A. Miller, Rev. D. C. McKee., T. Raine, Rev. J. Thompson. Macky, J. Wilson, Mrs. C. G. Hedge., Mrs. A. Miller.
Ladies' Auxiliary President—Mrs. C. G. Hedge
Secretary—Mrs. A. Miller.
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Petone Working Men's Club And Literary Institute.
(Founded 1886).

The progress of Petone and the Hutt Valley since 1839 has been phenomenal, and on looking at a photograph taken from Koro Koro some years ago, one can see little evidence of the large and costly factories and shops that now show the stability of Petone as a commercial and manufacturing centre. In this picture on the right centre, the site of the present Working Men's Club and Literary Institute can be recognized, on which a modern building in brick and reinforced concrete has since been built.
The present building has not always been the home or site of the club, for on the formation in 1886, the foundation members leased a building in Jackson Street, a little east of the present Empire Hotel. This building served a useful purpose until 1890 when, through increasing membership, a larger home had to be found.
The first President of the club was Mr.H. S. Fitzherbert, followed by Mr. R. C. Kirk. These gentlemen with the assistance of their executives conducted the rooms till the two-storey building at the corner of Jackson and Fitzherbert Streets was taken over.
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Mr. C. H. Smith succeeded Mr. Kirk as president and in turn, was followed by Mr. W. H. Bennett. In 1896, during Mr. Bennett's term as president, the present site was purchased together with the residence on the property which was altered to supply the need for larger club rooms. This building with additions, alterations, and reconstruction, did service until 1927 when the present premises were built.
Prior to 1914, Petone required extra meeting halls and a theatre, and the members of the club decided to meet the requirements by erecting the Empire Theatre at a cost of approximately £4,000. These premises adjoin the club rooms and were used as temporary rooms during the period of erection of the present home.
During the years 1896 to 1914, the following gentlemen were presidents' Messrs. W. Inglis, C. H. Fanning, W. Symes, W. H. Kelly, J. Edwards, J. Wood, J. Leadbeater, H. J. Wynyard, D. Wadsworth, T. J. E. Harrap, S. J. New land, and R. S. Cunliffe.
When the Boer war was in progress—1899–1902—a number of the club members answered the call to the colours, and again so during the Great War—1914–1918. The club has always been, and will continue to be, proud of the response of members to the colours and in connection with this, a large Honours Board occupies a prominent position in the rooms.
From 1914 to the present year, four further names have been added to the presidents' list—namely, Messrs. R. H. Jones, W. J. Burk, A. G. Bowden, and W. B. Reesby. It was during Mr. Bowden's term of office that it was decided to build the present rooms and, in keeping with the progress
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of the district, the members have resolved to install complete new bars with all the latest accessories as a centennial effort.
When the club was granted a charter in 1887 the membership was 119, and Petone with a population of 1,500 was governed by a town board. To-day the club membership is 1,260 and Petone is a flourishing borough with a population of over 11,000. During the whole of its existence, the club has been interested in the advancement of the district as a whole, and it is pleasing to note that among its members have been distinguished gentlemen in the Hutt Valley, such as Mr. H. S. Fitzherbert who was the first president of the club and represented Hutt in the House of Representatives; Sir Thomas Wilford, member of Parliament for Hutt and High Commissioner for New Zealand; Mr. S. R. Johnson, first Mayor of Petone; Mr. R. C. Kirk, second Mayor of Petone; Mr. R. Mothes, third Mayor of Petone; Mr. W. H. Haggar, Conciliation Commissioner; Mr. E. P. Bunny, Mayor of Lower Hutt; Dr. W. M. Ross; Mr. S. Nicholls, for many years chief steward, was a prominent footballer and cricketer; and Mr. T. Peterkin, manager railway workshops.
The social activities of the club are specially catered for and in this connection members have provided for their entertainment an up-to-date library and reading room, a large billiard room, social hall, orchestra, cricket club, debating club and ladies' and men's rifle clubs. Annual inter-club competitions are held with the Wellington and Richmond (Christchurch) Working Men's Clubs.
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The club in the future, as in the past, may be depended upon to carry out a progressive policy. The officers of the club are elected annually on a democratic basis and, therefore, members are assured that the decisions made by members will be loyally carried out. The democratic constitution gives to members a confidence in the continued progress and prosperity of the club.
The officers this year are, president, Mr. W. B. Reesby; vice-president, Mr. D. R. Mclntyre; Committee, Messrs. J. Cumming, J. C. Burns, A. Conway, A. J. Barlow, and J. McGurk; distress fund committee, Messrs. E. T. Christie, A. Clark, and F. Hall; auditors, Messrs. J. T. Carr and C. E. Harman; treasurer, Mr. J. Childs; and secretary-manager, Mr. J. Mills.
The club desires to wish Petone and the Hutt Valley continued progress and prosperity.

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