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EARLY PIONEERING

MR. THOMAS WATERS, WELLINGTON AND WANGANUI (By H.Fildes.) Any matters connected with the life history of our genuine, original settler, are in these days read with much interest, therefore, the recent announcement of the death of Mr. Alfred Henry' Waters, youngest son of the late Mr. Thomas Waters, at Chelydra House, Boulcott-street, Wellington, "■ brought to mind some incidents concerning the career of a gentleman who was not only one of Wellington's pioneer settlers, but likewise one of the founders of the commercial prosperity of the Dominion. Mr. Thomas Waters, who was descended from an old Huguenot family,, was born in England about the year 1810. In his youth he had been a clerk in amerchant's office in London, where he obtained much experience in accountancy and actuarial work, and later his attention was directed to the colonies in the South Seas as offering an opportunity whereby a career of a different kind would be open to him, and with possibilities that were not apparent in the over populated and trade depressed homeland. In 1840, ■being then a young married man, he embarked for Sydney in the ship Lord William Money, and shortly after arrival was joined there by his wife and two' infant children. New Zealand, however, was evidently his destination, " for at Sydney he found the fine fast sailing armed ship Chelydra was about to proceed to Port Nicholson with passengers and merchandise, and he decided to proceed there in her. This vessel; commanded by Captain David Smale, had already made one or two voyages to New Zealand. She .had left Bristol-in 1839 for the Swan River settlement, Launceston.and Port Jackson; and early in 1840 left Sydney for the Bay of Islands and Auckland conveying a number of people whose names are now closely associated with our early history, one of whom was, Mr. James Coates, afterwards clerk of the Executive Council in Captain Hobsons' Government, and father to Sir James Coates, the banker. Captain Smale also became well known at Auckland, where he purchased land knownas Smale'. Point, a now, forgotten name, and is now the foot of Albert-Street in that city. ON LAMBTON BEACH., A In this later voyage the Chelydra arrived at Port Nicholson early in January 1841, and Mr. Waters, with his family, from then on was closely identified with the development of Great Britain's latest1 colony. He was not long here before he entered into business, and for this pur^pose had brought over with him from Sydney a frame store building in sections, which was . erected on Lambtonbeaeh where are now the premises of the Wairarapa Farmers' Co-operative Asso-. ciation. Here he was associated with Mr. James Smith, who had been a fellow clerk of his in London^ and they, commenced business as general traders under the name of Messrs." Waters, and Smith, and from all accounts did very well. Storekeeping was then a remunerative trade, and many gentlemen who came out from England for the purpose of developing their land and founding a family home,-finding they could not obtain possession of the land they had bought, in the .meantime devoted themselves to this occupation, while others, lacking colonising attributes, took them- ' selves off and derided the fine if L somewhat incomplete efforts of the New Zealand company which had induced them to leave their native land. ■■* ■•',■■ It is known that-the differences between .Captain Hobson's Government at Auckland and the New Zealand Company at. Wellington and 'elsewhere occasioned a lot of high feeling, and so far as Wellington l was' concerned the conviction was that the authorities in the North were doing all the harm they': oould to the Cook's Strait settlements by proclamations of a discountenancing and discouraging nature, and by not extending colonising encouragement to '- those ■who had invested their all in land which had been apportioned them by the New Zealand Company, Naturally Mr. Waters espoused .'the local ;causei and a few days after his arrival here we find his name appearing in a notice published in the New Zealand Gazette and v Wellingr ton Spectator calling a public meeting to he held in Barrett's Hotel for the purpose of petitioning the Queen1 to remove the Governor from his high office: A PETITION TO THE QUEEN. \ In due course the petition was prepared and signed by most of the inhabitants, when it was despatched to the Home Government "in the following June, but was not transmitted through His Excellency. That the inhabitants were far removed from charges' of disloyalty levelled against them was apparent from another petition forwarded to Her Majesty in November of that year, congratulating her upon "the event of the birth of the Princess Royal, and among the one hundred and twensy signatories we find the name of Thomas Waters. Another historical' document to which he appended his name was the address of the Mayor, aldermen, town councillors, elc-j of the Borough of Wellington, dated 11th July, 1843,, and for-, warded to the inhabitants of Nelson, New Munster, sympathising with them in the horrible massacre at the Wairau. The partnership . existing .between Messrs. Waters and Smith was continued for a few years and was then disolved. By 1845 Mr..' Waters had his general store in Dixon-street, removing four years later to the Custom's Building on Te Aro Beach, and at this time he was residing on his extensive property in Hill-street. In that year, 1849, his late partner, Mr. James Smith, founded the firm of James Smith and Co., .the management of which was controlled by Mr; John Howard Wallace, author of the History of New Zealand from 1840" to 1845. The business was conducted in that well-known erection owned by Mr. , John Plimmer and known as Noah's. Ark. This. was, as is known to many, the hull of the American barque Inconstant, the wreck having been purchased by Mr. ( Plimmer, who placed the vessel on the' beach opposite Barrett's Hotel, now the site of the Bank of New Zealand. However, the history of this vessel is another story and has been partly told by others. ■':.-,..'' ECHOES OP 'FORTY-NINE. For the next eleven years Mr. Waters was connected in business with that well-known colonist, the late Mr. J. J. Tame. Their first association resulted in 1850, and came about through the remarkable discovery of gold in California, which,quite upset the quiet lives, of hundreds of people in New Zealand, and who were anxious to proceed there to get the gold which was reportejl to be in such quantity that it lay on the surface of the ground. The ship Artemisia, 600 tons, of London, had arrived at Port Nicholson in that year -with a ballast cargo of coal from Newcastle. This was purchased by Messrß. Tamo and Waters, who then, in conjunction with the vessel's agents, Messrs. Bethune and Hunter, conceived the idea of chartering ani despatching her to San Fran :

Cisco with colonial produce and passengers. It was arranged that Mr. Waters should proceed to California and superintend all the commerical concerns of the voyage. The Artemisia sailed from Wellington on the 19th May, 1850, with a full cargo and passenger list. So far as the commercial part of the undertaking was concerned it resulted disastrously, for no sooner had, Mr. Waters arrived and landed his goods than the third San Francisco fire occurred, enveloping in flames the building in which they were stored, and the goods, not being insured against destruction by fire, were an irrecoverable loss. Mr. Waters returned .to Wellington by the first opportunity with news of the disaster, and it disposed of the idea that had been entertained of opening up regular communication with the Californian coast. Another important undertaking of Messrs^ Tame and Waters was to extend their business to the Canterbury Settlement, where in November, 1850, they .opened a branch business at Port Cooper, or Lyttelton, and where for two years it was managed by Mr. Waters under his own name, and after a period of five years it was closed down as the progress of the Canterbury Settlement had not been so rapid as had been anticipated. IN TARANAKI. In 1852 these two gentlemen purchased, the lease of M'Gregor's store at Wanganui, Mr. Waters having come up from Port Cooper to manage it. John M'Gregor was the well-known Captain M'Gregor, also known as "Scotch Jock." Readers of Wakefield's adventures iin New Zealand learn that, he was the owner of that 30-ton Dutch dogger underrigged craft, the Surprise, so renamed through its owners' astonishment, when driven into Wanganui for shelter, at beholding an active European settlement of one thousand people, where he' only expected to find a Maori pa. During the Native disturbances 0f~1847 Captain M'Gregor experienced many thrilling adventures and escapes from death. He later resided on his Wanganui property, Cherry Bank, until his death in 1882. The intrusion of Messrs. Tame and Waters to Wanganui must have been a shock to the established firm of Messrs. Taylor and Watt, who held almost a monopoly of the trade. It was apparent to the Wellington invaders there: was every prospect of making a success of the business, for they would be. in a good position to obtain some of the many military contracts that were offering there ' and at Taranaki. To facilitate the shipping of goods and produce between •Wellington and Wanganui they purchased the' schooner Wave, sailed by; Captain Thomas Underwood, whose descendants it is believed are still in Wellington. Depots were abo opened at New Plymouth ; and, the Chatham Islands, and periodic visits were made there to ship whatever the agents had purchased. '' The Wanganui business was carried on with unusual success for ia number of,years at the corner of what is now The Avenue and Taup'o,quay, or Thain's,Corner. .■' As was usual in those days the.retail was in the,front of the store with a considerable, wholesale trade done "in; the back premises, and the success: which attended largely contributed to,that state of affluence which was ultimately acquired by the two partners. .On more than one occasion, when Mr. Taine's presence was urgently required at Wanganui, and there was no craft available, he would journey' there oh foot, and in one circumstance walked , from Wellington jo New Plymouth. A RARE DISTINCTION. About the year 1857, Mr. Waters was made a Justice of the Peace, in those days, an uncommon distinction, and the clear business head'and known integrity caused him to be highly respected, not only .by his brother magistrates,• but by the public in general. The business in which he was engaged was;, carried oh under his own name, and in;which he was associated'with his partner for a period of eleven years. The partnership was dissolved in 1863, consequent upon Mr.. Tame removing, from Wellington to.Dunedin in the early part of that year, and, from there on to 1873, it was conducted; by Mr. Watere) in which year he elected to Tetire. The premises were then leased to Mr. John Duthie and Co., of New Plymouth, who inaugurated the business of John Duthie and Co., now of Wellington, who, in■'■• course of time, sold out to James Thain and Co., of Thain's, Cor. ner, Wanganui. Mr. Thomas Waters acquired a very considerable amount of property in the course of his enterprising, industrious, and abstemious life, the, most important of which lay at the comer of Ridgway and , Wilson streets, and is now known as the Water's ' Estate,' and it was there he lived for many years after first taking up' his residence at Wanganui. '■ Though he did not take a prominent part in public affairs, and was a man of few words, he,took sufficient interest in politics and many local matters, as to impress his fellow townsmen with the belief that his ideas carried the weight of careful thought, even by' those who did not agree with them. Following his retirement from active business:, he proceeded to England on a lengthy visit in 1877, so that he might renew acquaintance with his relations. While there, he met with an accident, being thrown from the carriage he was driving, and the effects of a violent collision with the ground so impaired his health that he did not recover, and passed away in London in his sistyseventh year. '•■.'• Some family survivors were-the late Mr. Alfred Waters, whose decease has just bee'h chronicled, Mrs. Helen Lyon, of Marton, who died' in October, 1916, and Mrs. A. Danby, of Wellington. It will have been noticed that Mr. Alfred Waters perpetuated the name of the vessel which brought his, parent* to these shores in 1841, by naming his residence Chelydra, and one may hope the name will long be preserved and not disappear by act of the present generation, as has been exemplified in the [ abolition of two of our oldest street | names, Woolcombe-street and Revansj street.

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EARLY PIONEERING, Evening Post, Volume CIV, Issue 7, 8 July 1922

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EARLY PIONEERING Evening Post, Volume CIV, Issue 7, 8 July 1922

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