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DECEASEDLEGISLATOR

LATE HON. W. MONTGOMERY A REMARKABLE CAREER. (8Y TELEGRAPH.— PRESS ASSOCIATION.) CHRISTCHURCH, 21st Dec. The Hon. William Montgomery died at his residence, Little River, this afternoon at the age of ninety-four. The late Mr. Montgomery, who was born in London in 1821, was descended from 4 the Ayrshire branch of the Montgomery family, who left Scotland in the middle of the seventeenth century and settled 'in the north of .Ireland, near Belfast. He was educated at his uncle's school in Belfast, and at fourteen years of age went . to, sea as a cabin boy, rising in four years to the position . of third mate. Then chance came his way. in 1839 on a voyage from the Mediterranean to England, the captain ) from drunkenness, being unable to manage the ship, and the second mate not understanding navigation, the boy who , had looked ahead came to the front and navigated the ship to England. He wa s at that time eighteen years of agp. The owners rose to the occasion. He was appointed cap. tain, and 6oon became part owner. The next thirteen years of liis life he spent as captain of his • own ship, trading chiefly in the Mediterranear and in the Baltic. He then decided to go to Australia, rumours of gold discoveries in New South Wales having excited adventurous 1 spirits in the Old Country. He landed in King William Town in 1850. Gold then had not yet been discovered, in Victoria, but only in New , South Wales. Tho Government appointed a Commission, of which Mr Montgomery was one, to report on alleged discoveries of gold in Victoria. In 1851 the Commissioners made a hasoy visit to a valley in tho Ballarat district, where it was reported that gold had been discovered. There was some debate among them when they arrived as to> who should dig the first gold. They agreed to decide the question by a race on the plain. Montgomery won, and dug the first gold jn Victoria in 1851 He was in his youth a noted athlete, and the best * long jumper in the north of Ireland, his record being over twenty-one feet. He only spent a week in digging himself, and then started a la.rge store on the diggings,' which proved \eij profitable.

Mr. Montgomery puisued fortune on the diggings for some yeaTS with varying success, and then took up land on the Darling Downs, but bad seasons made this venture unsuccessful, and in 1860 he came to New Zealand settling in Christchurch. He bought the Heathcote wharf, which was a busy place before the tunnel was built, and imported cargoes of timber from the bays. Subsequently he started business in ChristI church as a timber merchant. This business was subsequently formed into a company, and after seven years of a business life he retired in order to devote himself to public affairs. In 1864 he was elected chairman of the Heathcote Road Board (the first in Canterbury), and in 1866 became a member of the Canterbury Board of Education. In 1867 he was chairman | of the Canterbury Chamber of Com- j merce, and in the same *year became a. member of the Provincial Council. In 1868 he was appointed a member of the Executive Council and Provincial Trea- j surer In 1870 he was appointed chair- j man of the Board of Education. During his term of office school fees were abolished, school districts were established and committees elected by the householders. 'In the same year he be- i came President of the Executive Coun- ; ■cil. In 1873 he entered the House of Representatives as member for Akaroa, and in the same year he became a member of the Board of Governors of Can- ! terbury College. Two _ years later he became chairman, a position which he held for ten years. During that period ', the college buildings were erected, as ! well as the buildings of the following] institutions which were under the control of the board — the Museum, the | School of' Agriculture, the Boys' High School, the Girls' High School, the i School of Art and the, Public Library. In 1884 he was appointed Colonial Sec- j retary and Minister for Education in the Stout-Vogel Ministry. In. 1892 he was appointed a member of the Legislative Council, and in the following year was made a member of the Executive Council during the Seddon Ministry. He resigned from the Legislative Council in 1907. In 1865 Mr. Montgomery married Jane Todhujiter, of Shenley, Hertfordshire, and he had two sons, William and 'John. He bought an estate at Little River in 1891, and had resided there ever since.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/EP19141222.2.22

Bibliographic details

DECEASEDLEGISLATOR, Evening Post, Volume LXXXVIII, Issue 150, 22 December 1914

Word Count
771

DECEASEDLEGISLATOR Evening Post, Volume LXXXVIII, Issue 150, 22 December 1914

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