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THE LATE MR MASTERS.

The follow ing account of the early career of the late Mr Edward Masters of Q-rey month, is given in the Melbourne Berald of the 29;h November The latter portion of the story is somewhat overdrawn : —"I he obituary column of tbe Argus this morning contains the following ; — "Mabtebs.— Oa the 27th inst, afc 114 George street, East Melbourne, Edward Masters, of Greymouth, New Zealand, aged 43 years." The brief Jife of Mr Masters ia cer" tainly one of the most remarkable, per" haps the most remarkable, of the ro mantic lives which have br en chronicled in this land of gold. He was the eldest j son of the iate Mr Masters, builder, Bridge road, .Richmond. Edward started in the world without eiipence of capital, beyond bis brain, which might fairly be called one of the most daring ever given to a human creature. Be began life cs a messenger boy and so on, at Mitchell and Bonneau's ironmongers, in Elizabeth slreet. From thence he removed to Briscoe's, Ccllias street, where be steadily worked up, and saved money. By a lucky speculation in Ballarat Mines be realised £4000, when little more than twenty years of age. Half of this money he lost in other speculation?, and determined to forswear mining for ever. The foundation of his capital waa made by an odd transaction in nails. When the goldflelds broke out in 1850-1, there was a rush in the building trade. S-oung Masters, then only a boy, observed that a lot of condemned nails, about a drayload, in sacks, were stored at the rear of Briscoe's. He went to the manager and aske.?, "Please sir, what are you going to do with those nails ?" " Well," replied the manager, 'we were thinking of ending them to the auction market." "How much do you think you'll get for them." " About £40." « Well, sir, I'll give you that for the lot.". Tbe manager stared and exclaimed, " Have you so much money f " " Yes," quietly replied the lad. He bought the nails and sent them to bis father's, where they were placed in the shed. Masters employed hia spare time sorting out the nails. Having picked ont all | the gcod ones, he hawked them to the j Bichmond and other storekeepers, by j which stroke he realised over £150. This was the capital he invested in miniDg, He resolved to expend his £2000 in Betting np a bnsiness, and i asked the manager at Briscoe's what I credit he could obtain there. The \ manager had no idea of tbe money which Masters possessed, and said he might have credit for £250. "Oh." said the youog fellow, that won't suit me. I want £2000 credit. Tbe manager thought Masters was crazy and turned on his heel, but changed his tone when the young man said he would back the credit with £2000 cash. After due consideration the firm let him have £0000 worth of atoek. Masters thereupon carried out a Napoleonic scheme on which be bad set his heart. He chartered three schooners, and filled them up with ironmongery of every description. With this little fleet he started right away to Hokitika, N.Z., where the diggings had just broken out. The schooners arrived safely with tbeir cargoep, and theirjbold young admiral, who immediately put np his store, realised a large fortune at a blow. The goods exactly met the market : tbey were sold for fabulous prices. Knives Wbich cost 6d each were cold by the •bushel at half-a-crown each, while spades were at a terrific premium, and every thing else in proportion. Masters opened branch stores at the goldflelds, bis right hand man being his brother Henry, now managing the New Zealand bneiaess. The upshot was thafc after less than twenty years' trade Mr Masters was worth £100,000. He was the best known man along the whole West Coaßt of New Zealand, where the news of bis death will be a great shock. For some years past he has suffered greatly from asthma ; and • a complication ot disorders, the groundwork of which was a weak constitution, has brought him to an early grave. Mr Masters was three times, if not oftener, Mayor of Greymouth, and was also a member of the New Zealand Legislature. His life is a conspicuous instance of thafc pluck which we believe to be the prime characteristic of yonng Victoria. Mr Masters leaves a wife and young family wbo will receive general sympathy in their grievous affliction, but we may say that like President Garfield in another sphere, he * being dead, yet i Bpeafeeth,' with tbe voice of a grand example.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NEM18811230.2.14

Bibliographic details

THE LATE MR MASTERS., Nelson Evening Mail, Volume XVI, Issue 310, 30 December 1881

Word Count
774

THE LATE MR MASTERS. Nelson Evening Mail, Volume XVI, Issue 310, 30 December 1881

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