The former Fairlie Carnegie Public Library, South Canterbury, N.Z.

Oamaru Mail, 7 April 1913, Page 6
Timaru, April 6. The Mackenzie County Council will accept £1000 from the Carnegie Corporation to erect a library at Fairlie, the conditions being that the Council furnish £1000 a year for maintenance and give a site.

A great library for its day. Photo taken Anzac Day 2014

A red letter day for Fairlie. 7 August 1914, Friday afternoon.  

The Carnegie Fairlie Public Library opened 7 August 1914, a Friday afternoon. The old library was constructed of red brick with a tiled roof. Architect: Hall & Marchant, Timaru. Builders: P Foster & son, Timaru in 1914. The Library was supplied with gas from the councils acetylene plant, as was the Fairlie Hotel. It included living accommodation for the librarian, Mrs West, on an upper floor. She was always known as Mrs. West. The library was among numerous Carnegie Libraries built in New Zealand thanks to the generosity of Andrew Carnegie, a Scotsman who made a fortune in steel after immigrating to the US in 1848. Mr Carnegie channelled his philanthropic energies and money into creating more than 2500 free public libraries around the world before his death in 1919. It functioned as a library until the mid-1990s when the town combined the town library with the high school library at the high school up Kirke St. The old library building was severely damaged by fire in October 2011 and in her centennial month August 2014 the rebuild and earthquake strengthening was under way with L & L Construction and Hardware of Fairlie and Richard Herlund as the managing director, the builder. December 2014 the old library cafe was again open for a viewing, reconstruction and earthquake-strengthening completed now with carbon strips in its brick walls.

Postcard F.G.R. 5482.  Photographed circa 1916 by Frederick George Radcliffe. "F G Radcliffe Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library" No smoking. A man's bicycle is outside and a windmill in the back. Neat brickwork. Note the window.

The War. The town would have been busy on Friday afternoon.  Even the County Council meeting was held on Fridays. The topic of the weather was among other things completely over-shadowed by the war cloud. Fifty men from the Mackenzie volunteered for the 'Main Body' of the NZEF and took the train from Fairlie to Timaru starting on 7th August 1914. Sixteen did not come home, i.e. 32% made the supreme sacrifice. Everywhere, on the farm, at the saleyard and down town, it would have been the chief topic of conversation and the extreme gravity of the situation was very fully realised. For the dwellers in the country the news of a general resort to arms came with almost appalling suddenness. Those in town may have learned that something very unusual was afoot. It had been recongised for a long time that European powers have been under a big strain. We were a long way from the seat of war but experienced the wave of patriotism that was sweeping over the Empire. The Mackenzie Highland Pipe Band would have been there out in front at patriotic meetings. Still today farmer's with their wife come into town on Friday afternoon to do their grocery shopping, business, chat and to pick the kids up who have walked down town from the school.

The centennial of their embarkation was commemorated at the site of the former Fairlie railway station on Thursday Oct. 16th 2014. A contingent of Queen Alexandra's Mounted Rifles from Linton Army Camp, as well as local regular force and Territorial soldiers were present. The theme of the day was "1914" - various modes of transport from that era were present, including a traction engine, veteran cars and horse-drawn vehicles. The occasion featured songs, Keep the Home Fires Burning and It's a Long Way to Tipperary, and anthems of that time. The ceremony concluded with the unveiling of "Trooper Mackenzie", who stands on a recreated railway platform "awaiting his train to Timaru". Depicting a life like trooper of the 8th (South Canterbury) Mounted Rifles, "Trooper Mackenzie", was unveiled at the site of the old railway station. Of the 50 men who left the Mackenzie County in the Main Body, 21 were South Canterbury Mounted Riflemen; the majority of the remainder were to join the 2nd South Canterbury Infantry Regiment. The speaker was Jeremy Sutherland. The sculptor was Donald Paterson from Oamaru. See Cain.

The Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry in November of 1864. In 1881 the regiment was formed into two troops, 'A' Troop - North Canterbury, and 'B' Troop - South Canterbury. B Troop in turn became the 1st South Canterbury Mounted Rifle Volunteers in 1901, consisting of five squadrons. C Squadron was better known as the Mackenzie Mounted Rifles (MMR), and were based at Fairlie's Strathconan Park. The MMR was disbanded in October 1907 after Capt. Gillies left the area. An Act of Parliament in 1910 transformed the volunteers into territorial units, and this took effect in March of 1911 with the formation of the 2nd (South Canterbury) Infantry Regiment (2 SCIR). Most of South Canterbury's men who served in World War I were members of the 2 SCIR. The Mounted Rifles were reorganised into a territorial force, becoming the 8th (South Canterbury) Mounted Rifles (8 SCMR) in March of 1911, and were based at Timaru's Agricultural & Pastoral Showgrounds.

Timaru Herald July 4th 1945 Long Service with a photo of Mrs West wearing the same brooch as on this page.
After 31 years Mackenzie County librarian, Mrs M.L. West has resigned and is leaving Fairlie to take up residence in the North Island. She was appointed librarian when the new building was erected out of Carnegie funds in 1914, and has seen the library grow from a membership of 100 until to-day when there are 750 members at Fairlie and 400 at district depots. [Mrs West seems to have remained in Timaru until she moved to, a retirement community, Howardville at Burnham Camp, then went to Christchurch, she never got to the North Island. Howardville was pensioners' villas set up for older people by Mabel Howard MP in 1949 and failed after seven years. Maybe Burnham was too far from Christchurch and patient's doctors. Maybe the homes did not meet the need of the aging population. Peoples needs change with time - homes need to be single -floor living with a bedroom and bathroom on the same level, have no step entries, extra wide hallways, lever style door and faucet handles, easily reachable electrical switches and outlets. Mabel was also from South Australia]

The Mackenzie County free library is the only one of its kind in New Zealand and provides facilities for its scattered and isolated residents. As well as the main library at Fairlie there are distributing depots at Albury, Mona Vale, Cave, Kimbell, Skipton, Cricklewood, Tekapo, Pukaki and Irishman Creek, all served by a packet service from Fairlie. At Albury, for example, where there are 120 readers, 20 to 30 packets are exchanged each week. The library there is open one afternoon a week, and arrangements are made for books to be delivered to members at Mt. Nessing, Rocky Gully and Ma Waro. Twenty readers from eight families at Cricklewood receive books from Fairlie; there is a monthly service to Lake Pukaki, and during the winter there are 24 members at Irishman Creek.

Up-country Service
By the butcher, the baker, service car and haulage trucks, Mrs. West has been sending parcels of books to stations 'up country' to Dusky, Maryhill, Godley Peaks, The Grampains, Mt Dalgety, Rollesby, as well as to Burke's Pass, Sherwood Downs and Middle Valley. She has to know what her outlying subscribers have read; it is not surprising that she has been called "the cultural dictator of the Mackenzie."  At present the library is receiving 700 books, which may be changed half-yearly, from the Country Service. These include 525 non-fiction and educational and 175 fiction.
    In her last annual report Mrs West told the County Council that 47,696 books had been issued during the year. General works accounted for 405, philosophy 222, religion 166. philology 69, social science 248, pure science 276, useful arts 246, travel 3218, literature 183, biography 2142, history 3127, - fiction 37,094 and non-fiction 10,602. Most of the special books obtained for readers from the Country Library Service, books which are not in the ordinary stock, are related to the interests of the county dweller- books on trapping of animals, and the setting and making traps, on the problems of beekeepers, poisonous weeds and stock troubles, brickmaking, suitable for Mackenzie Country soil, knitting raw wool into blankets, but other requests have been for books on public speaking, rock gardens, ancient art and wireless.

At a representative gathering in the de Luxe Theatre on Wednesday afternoon tributes were paid to the work of Mrs West. On her arrival the guest was piped into the theatre by Piper R. Cowan. Mrs A.H. Gillingham who presided welcomed the visitors from outlying districts. She said that Mrs. West's retirement and departure from Fairlie would be a loss to the whole county - she had been a friend to every organisation in the Mackenzie. Mrs. J.C. Isitt thanked the Fairlie Woman's Institute for allowing the general public to contribute. Mrs. West had been the first president of the Fairlie W.W.S.A. in which capacity she had undertaken the initial organisation of the Auxillary. Mrs. West had been one of the first to see the value of a Women's Institute in Fairlie township, and in 1928 she had been the first secretary, later serving as president for eight years. Mrs. A.D. Mackenzie, president of the Sherwood Downs Institute, acknowledged the interest shown by Mrs West in the formation of Woman's Institutes throughout the country.

Mr C.V. Kirke, chairman of the Mackenzie County Council, spoke of Mrs West's service to the county during her period as librarian. Mrs J. Trotter spoke on behalf of the sports bodies in the district and presented Mrs West with a cheque from the residents of the Mackenzie County. Other speaker's referred to the guest's qualities as librarian - she had been most helpful in the selection of books and also to the way in which she had shown her interest in the welfare and progress of the whole district. Apologies were received from Mesdames A.C. Barton (Fairlie Plunket Society), J.F.D. Jeune (W.W.S.A.), J.J. Page (Albury red Cross), O'Neill (Albury Women's Institute), and S. Bradick (Fairlie). During the afternoon vocalisms were given by Mrs D. O'Sullivan and humor's readings by Mr D. Askin. Yesterday afternoon Mrs West was entertained by the Anglican Ladies' Guild.  

"Mrs West would issue the books from a small room with a slide window, and when I went to have my choices stamped she would often say "Oh that looks like a good story John, but I also have another one here, reaching under her counter, that you might like," and so one by one I was introduced to Dickens and other English and American authors such as Jack London, they are both still firm favorites of mine. I remember it as being a place that I really enjoyed visiting and no not dark or pokey with shelves too close. Of course knowing Mrs West as a family friend and frequent visitor would have made a considerable difference. Mrs West was a keen golfer and flower arranger at least in her younger days.
    The Library was well used. The reading room was also well used and one patron I recall was a Jack McKay
[d. 1950, age 77], quite an elderly man but well educated who after being to the reading room would sit on a triangular bench around a tree opposite the Allen's house on the corner of Grey St. and recite Shakespeare and other English Poets. He was a bit down on his luck with old but tidy clothes and I think lived across the bridge in the Council plantation, on the right, in a hut on wheels." wrote J.S., August. 2014

Used the library from form 1 and began reading Zane Grey and other western writers.


Mary Letita Bagg married Charles Edward West 7th April 1906 in Dunedin by Registrar. The flat upstairs above the library in Fairlie would have suited the couple, it was a bit small but sunny. They didn't have any children. Mrs West stayed there until she retired in 1945. She lived there for 31 years. The stairs must have been getting harder to climb. Charles was a builder and returned to Fairlie in 1917 after being medically discharged. He was wounded at Gallipoli in 1915.  Mrs West listed as NOK. He built the changing rooms at the public swimming pool up School Rd. Mrs West got divorced in 1922 continued to be known as Mrs West. In 1928 Charles Edward West married Ethel Maud Smith d/o Thomas James Smith and Harriet Ann Smith. He is buried in Timaru and the second Mrs West (1888- 11 April 1974) died at Talbot Hospital at age 85 is buried in Timaru with her parents, she was the eldest daughter.

Mary Letitia WEST
Date of death: Monday, 19 November 1951
Cemetery: Ruru Lawn, Christchurch
Block number: 35 Plot number: 97
Date of burial: Wednesday, 21 November 1951
Age: 71 years
Occupation: Widow [sic]
Place of birth: [South Australia]
Years in New Zealand: 50

Mary Letitia BAGG b. 31 March 1879
Father: John BAGG
Mother: Elizabeth DELAMERE
Birth Place/Residence: Spring Bank nr Kooringa, South Australian Births  

Charles E. WEST

Charles Edward WEST, - WW1 7/767 - Army -Trooper
Digitised record available online
Address was the Public Library, Fairlie
After the war: Box 4, Fairlie
He was born 27 Nov. 1875 in Timaru. Builder, self-employed.
He served in the Boer War, 2nd S.A. Cont. and the Canterbury Mounted Rifles NZEF. Received the Gallipoli Medallion.
Sergeant West received a welcome back from the citizens of Fairlie along with Corporal McDonald in 1917.

South Africa Service No. 413 GNR 2nd NZ Cont.
The 2nd Contingent left 20 Jan. 1900 and he was a gunner in a Hotchkiss platoon (type of machine gun). They needed to be good shots. Discharged 1902.
Occupation: Carpenter. Worked for P. Foster, Timaru. Foster had the contract on the library.
Had a Sister. Daniel, father, Crammer Rd, Auckland
Born Timaru 27.11.1875   5' 11"  C of E
Lived at 23 Barnard St. Timaru. Was in the Timaru City Rifles.

Attested Timaru 2nd October 1914. Commenced duty 20 Oct. 1914 C.M.R., trooper, G.S. Hardy authority for entry. Unit: NZFA.
2nd Reinforcements, Canterbury Mounted Rifles, embarked 14 December 1914. He was in the Egyptian Theatre in 1915- 1916 including Gallipoli where he was wounded in action, wounded left arm 16 Aug. 1915 and transferred to Mudros and admitted to Malta and discharged to Saints Camp. To France 1916-17. Embarked for France 8 April 1916. Attached 2 ANZAC Hdqts. Haemorrhoids. Admitted and operated on at Etaples in August 1916 and states that since operation he has lost control of the sphincter. Classified C Class by the Med Board. Returned to NZ per Tofua embarked Devonport 15 Aug. 1917. Discharged 11-11-1917 no longer physically fit for war service. Spent 2 years and 304 days overseas.

Probate TU49/1962
WEST Charles Edward - Fairlie - Builder
He gave 100 pounds to Richard West (son of his nephew Stanley West)
He gave 100 pounds to his friend John Wallace, Vinnell St, Timaru
Rest to his wife Ethel Maud West. Ethel Maude West died April 1974, buried Timaru. Age 85.
NoK: Mrs E.M. West, c/- Talbot Hospital, Timaru (30 Jan. 1962)
C.E. West died 30 Jan. 1962, age 86, buried at Timaru. His headstone tablet is for his Boer War Service.


The former Carnegie Library, 6 Allandale Road, Fairlie and last operated as the Old Library Cafe and Bar until the fire April 2011. The building still has a Category 2 status with Heritage NZ. Rebuilt and reopened as a cafe in early 2015 under the new name of Carnegies Resturant.
The library at the local high school acts as a shared community library

Timaru Herald 04/10/2011
Fairlie's historic Old Library Cafe was severely damaged in a fire last night.
Fairlie Volunteer Fire Brigade chief Jim Irving said the fire started at the Allandale Rd building, originally the Carnegie Library, about 10.50pm. "The fire started in the downstairs area and got up into the roof. We had a terrible job getting through the roof to get the fire out,'' he said. ''We went back this morning to dampen down some hot spots.'' The fire was not suspicious, Irving said, but an investigation into the cause was under way.

Timaru Herald 14/06/2013
To rebuild or replace - that is the question for the Fairlie community.
Plans are being drawn up for both options for the town's iconic Old Library Cafe. The council-owned cafe was badly damaged in a fire in October 2011, wrecking much of the interior and most of the exterior. A public meeting on Tuesday night to discuss its future, which attracted about 40 people, was "honest and open", Fairlie Community Board chairman Owen Hunter said. The insurer has offered two options: the demolition of the building and claiming its indemnity value of $272,000, or replacing it with a new one. "‘We definitely want to retain it, but we'd quite like to improve it. "It's just getting the mix right," Mr Hunter said. "We have the insurance money and I believe it may be cheaper to rebuild than repair ... but we need to cost it out more accurately." Costings for the two options should be available this month, which will then be put to the insurer. The insurer has previously said it would be too expensive to repair. The time taken getting the cafe back up and running was "frustrating", Mr Hunter said. "We would like to have had it happen a lot quicker. The cafe was significant to the town - the fact that it is 99 years old and it's probably one of the older buildings." The community board will hold another public meeting with costings.  

Carnegie Corporation of New York est. 1911 "to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding among the people of the United States and the British Dominions and Colonies."

There were eighteen Carnegie libraries in New Zealand 
Slide show

Town 		Date Granted Grant amount 
Dunedin 	Sep 19 1902 $48,700
Westport 	Sep 10 1903  $9,720 
Thames 		Jan  7 1904  $9,760 
Greymouth 	Oct  5 1904 $10,967
Hastings 	May 29 1905 $12,175 
Hokitika 	Jun 20 1905 $12,175
New Plymouth 	Feb 13 1906 $12,150
Dannevirke 	Apr 10 1906  $9,690 
Hamilton 	Apr 23 1906  $9,720 
Timaru 	pc	Jun 14 1906 $21,010 
Gore		Jul 10 1907  $9,750 
Onehunga cafe	Jul 15 1909  $9,720 
Levin 		Sep 28 1909  $7,290
Cambridge 	Dec 14 1908  $4,870 
Alexandra 	Dec  2 1909  $3,880 
Fairlie 	Jan 31 1913  $4,875 
Balclutha 	Apr  2 1913  $4,870 
Marton 		Jul 23 1914  $6,075 
Total  			   $207,397  

Reference: Anderson, Florence (1963)
Carnegie Corporation Library Program, 1911–1961

Carnegie expressed the view that the rich should distribute their wealth during their lifetime. “Knowledge is power” was Carnegie's dictum and that is the motto of Timaru Boys' High School but in Latin 'Scientia Potestas Est'

It was raining when this photo was taken.

 One important feature of Carnegie libraries was the “self-serve stacks.” Library users were allowed to browse, instead of requesting that certain books be retrieved.

P. Foster, builder

Timaru Herald, 18 April 1914, Page 7 Fairlie News.
A good number of buildings are now in course of and among them are a few public buildings. The Carnegie Library, the Fire Station, and the Parish Hall. The Carnegie Library is rather an imposing two-storied building in brick, standing on Bridge street. It contains a large reading room, a conveniently-sized lending room, together with rooms for the librarian and caretaker. The reading room is extremely well lighted, and contains a couple of fireplaces so that it should be a cosy place in winter time. The building is a very substantial one, well planned and fitted out, and will supply a felt want in the township. The fire brigade station is situated in a central position near the centre of the and contains an engine room, and a social room. It is a picturesque little edifice built partly in wood and partly in uralite, non-inflammable substance. Its red tiled roof, and overhanging eaves give it a quaint appearance, and it is so situated that it can be seen for a long distance down each of the main roads. The Parish Hall is situated on the corner of Manse and Frayne streets, and is a worthy addition to the public buildings of Fairlie. It is built in wood, panelled both inside and outside, and contains several architectural features out of the common. It is a pretty building, comprising a large hall, supper annexe, cloak rooms and offices. It is well built and substantial, and like the other two buildings mentioned, is a credit to the place. All three erections were designed by Messrs Hall and Marchant Timaru, and the work in each case is being carried out by Messrs P. Foster and Son, who have established a branch of their business in Fairlie.   

Timaru Herald 12/12/2013
Fairlie's iconic Old Library building could be set to rise from the ashes, providing a satisfactory tender price is received. Mackenzie District Councillors have voted to support the rebuilding of the council-owned building, which was badly damaged by fire in October 2011. Fairlie residents had earlier supported repairing the existing building, rather than rebuilding. Both options were canvassed in a survey through local newsletter Fairlie Accessible, and at public meetings in June and November. The survey resulted in 64 people supporting the repair option and 13 in favour of a new build. An indicative vote at a public meeting on June 11 most also supported repair. The third vote was taken at a public meeting on November 14, with eight people supporting the repair option and one wanting a new construction. Councillors were told a realistic/conservative price estimate to rebuild the Old Library would be $585,000, and a new building would have a price tag of $676,000. Mackenzie mayor Claire Barlow said the building had been an eyesore for two years. "From the survey and public meetings, community preferences are for the rebuild. Anecdotal evidence is in favour of keeping the iconic building, providing tenders come in at an affordable price. "If the fire hadn't happened, we wouldn't be having this discussion." Cr Graham Smith said he would like to see the tenders called quickly. Council chief executive Wayne Barnett said the cost of the building, apart from the insurance excess of $5000, would be met by insurance funding. "Once tenders are called and one is accepted, an ideal timeline to start work would be late summer 2014, with completion around winter time, 2014."

Timaru Herald 03/06/2014
The much-delayed repair of the Fairlie Library cafe might be getting closer.
Mackenzie District Council chief executive Wayne Barnett said two local building companies have tendered for the work, while the council's architect was negotiating with them regarding the details. "The council's architect has estimated the cost to repair the Old Library Café to be about $585,000. Both tenders are close to that amount. We are confident that a suitable contract will be negotiated and signed soon. Once this happens we will be in a position to announce the construction timeframe," he said. The council-owned building was badly damaged by fire in October 2011, wrecking much of the interior and most of the exterior. The council decided to repair the building, registered as category 2 with the Historic Places Trust, after consultation with the Fairlie community. However, Barnett said the project had been delayed for several months, after a specialist heritage engineer was needed to complete the detailed design to repair the building. "There was a shortage of engineers with these skills, due to high demand following the Christchurch earthquakes," he said. Fairlie Community Board chairman Owen Hunter hoped the council would pick a preferred company within the next week. "Really, it's taken so long that I just want to see something done," he said. "The community wanted to repair the building, but if we had replaced it with something new, we wouldn't be waiting now." The building is insured to the value of $686,000.

Press Release: Mackenzie District Council  May 30, 2014 Update on Old Library Café
Two tenders have been received for the repair of the Old Library Café building in Fairlie. Mackenzie District Council chief executive Wayne Barnett says two Mackenzie building companies have tendered for the work. The council’s architect is negotiating with them regarding the details and a preferred tender will be decided soon. “The council’s architect has estimated the cost to repair the Old Library Café to be about $585,000. Both tenders are close to that amount. We are confident that a suitable contract will be negotiated and signed soon. Once this happens we will be in a position to announce the construction timeframe,” he says. The Old Library Café building was damaged by fire in October 2011. The insurers gave several options regarding settlement. One of those was to use the insured value to either repair the existing building or to construct a replacement. Following public meetings and feedback from the community, the council decided to call for tenders to repair the existing building. A specialist heritage engineer was needed to complete the detailed design to repair the building. A shortage of engineers with these skills, due to high demand following the Christchurch earthquakes, resulted in a two month delay to the project.

Hall & Marchant

Timaru Herald, 18 April 1914, Page 7
A good number of buildings are now in course of and among them are a few public buildings. The Carnegie Library, the Fire Station, and the Parish Hall. The Carnegie Library is rather an imposing two-storied building in brick, standing on Bridge street. It contains a large reading room, a conveniently-sized lending room, together with rooms for the librarian and caretaker. The reading room is extensively well lighted, and contains a couple of fireplaces so that it. should be a cosy place in winter time. The building is a very substantial one, well planned and fitted out, and will supply a felt want in the township. The fire brigade station is situated in a central position near the centre of the and contains an engine room, and a social room. It is a picturesque little edifice built partly in wood and partly in uralite, non-inflammable substance. Its red tiled roof, and overhanging eaves give it a quaint appearance, and it is so situated that it can be seen for a long distance down each of the main roads. The Parish Hall is situated on the corner of Manse and Frayne streets, and is a worthy addition to the public buildings of Fairlie. It is built in wood, panelled both inside and outside, and contains several architectural features out of the common. It is a pretty building, comprising a large hall, supper annexe, cloak rooms and offices. It is well built and substantial, and like the other two buildings mentioned, is a credit to the place. All three erections were designed by Messrs Hall and Marchant Timaru, and the work in each case is being carried out by Messrs P. Foster and Son, who have established a branch of their business in Fairlie.

Hall and Marchant, architects, had tenders out
1911 for a two storey residence Beverley Hill, Wai-iti Road.
1911 Two story offices (Brick and Stone), in Strathallan St., for Walter Shaw, Esq.

The Hydro Grand, which opened in 1913 in Timaru was designed by architect Herbert Hall in partnership with Frederick N. Marchant. For Hall, the Hydro Grand was a career break, being the largest building he had built to date. Trained in Timaru by Daniel West, Hall had learned on houses during the pre-war period.

Timaru Herald, 10 January 1917, Page 9
THE LATE CAPTAIN MARCHANT. The chairman made sympathetic reference to the death, in action in Egypt, of Captain Norman Marchant, son of Mr F. W. Marchant, who was the first engineer for Mackenzie County. Captain. Marchant had been associated with Fairlie in various ways. He and his partner (Mr Hall) had designed the Council's new chambers, and also the Carnegie Library. Then on his own account, and as a labour of love, he had planned the Anglican Parish Hall and the Fairlie Fire Brigade station. The death of such a fine young man was much to be regretted. Mr Gillingham proposed that a vote of sympathy be passed to Captain Marchant's relatives. The vote was carried in silence all members standing.

Timaru Herald, 7 March 1917, Page 3  Mr. F. W. MARCHANT.
News has been received in Timaru of the death, in England on February 11, of Mr F.W. Marchant, civil engineer, who for many years practised his profession in Timaru and was well known throughout South Canterbury, where he had many friends to whom the news of his death will come as a painful surprise. Mr Marchant relinquished his business in Timaru a few years ago and since then has been residing alternately in England and New Zealand, having left New Zealand the last time in April last. Deceased arrived in New Zealand over forty years ago, his first public appointment in this district being that of Clerk and Overseer to the Mount Cook Road Board, now the Mackenzie County Council. Prior to this he had been for several years an engineer in the employ of the Public Works Department. One of his works when in the employ of the Mt. Cook Road Board was the erection of the big suspension bridge at Lake Tekapo, which at the time of its erection seemed to be a very ambitious undertaking for such a back blocks district. On leaving the Mackenzie County in 1885 Mr Marchant came to Timaru and entered into partnership with Mr G. Laing-Meason, under the style of Meason and Marchant, civil engineers and surveyors partnership which subsisted for a considerable time during which the firm carried out many of the public works in this district Mr Marchant was for some, years engineer, to Timaru Harbour Board, in succession to Mr John Goodall, the designer of the concrete breakwater, and it was he who designed and carried out the North Mole, (now the Marine Parade), enclosing the harbour, making a quieter mooring ground for shipping, and shutting out the sand which was threatening to make the harbour valueless. There was much discussion at the time concerning the area of water to he enclosed, and for financial reasons the area was reduced below, that which Mr Marchant had first proposed. For some years he had an anxious time over the travelling shingle question now happily forgotten. Messrs Meason and Marchant were also engineers to the Geraldine and Levels County Councils, for which bodies Mr Marchant carried out many important works. He it was who first suggested, the open water races which have since proved such a boon to these counties, as well as in Waimate County, where he was also water-race engineer. Most of the bridges in the Geraldine County and the boundary bridges between Geraldine and Levels counties were built under his supervision; but his chief work in South Canterbury was that which, he did in confining the Opihi and Pareora and other rivers at their approaches to the bridges. He introduced a new method by-building protective banks and planting them with willows. This he did in the face of considerate opposition from those who were of opinion that these banks would never withstand the force of the rivers; but Mr Marchant maintained that they would and time proved him right, with the result that his method of confining rivers has since been extensively, and many thousands of pounds thereby saved to the country. He made close study of rivers and how best to deal with them. Mr Marchant also erected the ferro-concrete bridge over at Opihi at Arowhenua. Many people looked upon the proposal with misgivings and there was much opposition to the proposal, but Mr Marchant ultimately got the consent of the Levels and Geraldine Councils to erect the bridge, which has given entire satisfaction and promises (as he said it would) to solve the problem of how to erect a bridge which will cost next to nothing for subsequent maintenance or renewal. This was the first ferroconcrete bridge to be built in New Zealand, and following its erection Mr Marchant erected the second in North Canterbury over the Ashley. A number of bridges have since been built of ferro-concrete, in different parts of the Dominion. Mr Marchant acted as engineer to the Timaru Borough Council for the underground drainage scheme, and he also carried out the Temuka drainage and water supply systems. After Mr Lang-Meason left Timaru for Wellington, Mr Marchant carried on the business alone: and in addition to his work here he did a good deal in the North Island, where he was engineer to the New Plymouth and Gisborne Harbour Boards, and he carried out the drainage work at Gisborne. He did general consulting work in various parts of both islands; and of him it may be truly said that he was a very useful man, whose good work will long survive him. A man of marked ability, he had a kindly disposition which won him many friends. With this he also had a strong personality and a masterful way which invariably enabled him to carry his point, no matter how strong the opposition against his proposals. He leaves a widow and two daughters — Mrs Wilfred Howell, of Cave, and Mrs C. D. Thomas, of Riwaka, Nelson, and one son, Dr. Eric Marchant, at present attached to the New Zealand Army Medical Corps in France. Another son, Captain Norman Marchant, of the 8th (South Canterbury) Mounted Rifles, was recently killed in Egypt.

Timaru Herald 15 March 1917 OBITUARY. THE LATE F.W. MACHANT
Mr John McGregor, who was chairman of the Mount Cook Road Board and of the Mackenzie County Council during the time that the late Mr F. W. Marchant was employed those successive local authorities, writes as follows:
By the death of Mr F.W. Marchant the Mackenzie Country has lost, one of its best pioneer men. When the late Mr Marchant came to the district as clerk and engineer to the Mount Cook Road Board, there were no roads; only bullock-dray tracks, and things generally were "only very middling." Laying off roads and inspecting contracts did not give the young engineer enough scope for his engineering capabilities, and he soon engaged in drawing plans for a bridge over the Tekapo River, at the month of the lake. The present fine suspension bridge was the result of those plans, a lasting memorial to his skilful engineering. The trouble in carrying out the work in those early days was very great, neither contractor nor men having had any experience of such a work— the first suspension bridge built in the colony.
    Our Road Board was then under the Geraldine County Council, who doled out small grants to us very sparingly. This did not suit, and I, as chairman of the Road Board, called a public meeting at Burke's Pass which passed a resolution to have the road district formed into a county. That petition was not granted, and left us where we started. Next session the Act was amended to read "if a petition is signed by a majority of the ratepayers the prayer of the petitioners shall be granted." I lost no time in calling on our late engineer, and we decided on sending another petition to Wellington without waiting for a meeting of the Road Board, at the risk of having to pay the expenses out of our own pockets. Time meant money then, for County Councils were receiving 23 per cent, of, the land fund in South Canterbury. The-petition was granted, and our troubles over from that time. The grabbing of the land fund was perhaps the biggest thing that will ever be done for the county. Had we missed the chance of getting a county formed at that particular time the land fund would have been gone, and the back country would have had to be opened up with rates. It was always a pleasure to see the late F. W. Marchant coming along on "Warwick," full tilt, in the evening, all his work being done on: horseback in those days, and there was no one made more welcome than he.

Hawera & Normanby Star, 7 March 1917, Page 4 MR F. W. MARCHANT C.E.
Timaru, Mar. 6. News has been received by cable of the death, in England, on February 11 of Frederick William Marchant, well known in New Zealand as a civil engineer. He had much to do with the earlier harbor works at Timaru, and laid out the New Plymouth breakwater. He was consulting engineer at Gisborne and elsewhere. At Gisborne he laid out the water supply and drainage system. As engineer to local bodies here he laid out many systems of water races. He built the first ferro-concrete bridge in New Zealand for Opihi, and designed and carried out in many places a system confining vagrant shingle rivers at bridges, by means of artificial banks, which has been the means of saving thousands to the local authorities here and elsewhere. He leaves a widow, two married daughters, and one son Dr Eric Marchant of the New Zealand Army Medical Corps, now in France. Another son, captain in the 8th Mounted Rifles, was killed in Egypt. [Mr Marchant, who was about 63 years of age, was born in England, and was a brother of Mr G. A. Marchant, of Cardiff, formerly chairman of the Stratford County Council. His widow, Sarah, is a sister Mr Newton King. The late Mr Marchant was consulting engineer to the New Plymouth Harbor Board until his retirement from practice a short time a ago. He went to England last year for health reasons.] (married Sarah King in 1878 sister of Truby King)
1879 Kate Winnifred Marchant b. 26th April at Burkes Pass m. Wilfrid Hinds HOWELL in 1908
1881 Eric Lachlan Marchant  NZEF 3/601
1883______ Marchant b. 29 Dec. at New Plymouth, died 31st Jan. 1884
1885 Ruth Marchant born June 11th, daughter
1887 Frederic Norman Marchant d. 1916 WW1 age 29

Colonist, 18 January 1917, Page 4
Captain F. N. Marchant, who is reported to have died of wounds, was the second son of Mr F. W. Marchant, who for a number of years was engineer to the Mackenzie County Council, and later on followed his profession in Timaru. The late Captain Marchant, who as 30 years of age, was born in South Canterbury. He was at the time of his enlistment a partner in the firm of Messrs Hall and Marchant, architects, Timaru. When living in Christchurch he was a member of the College Rifles, and on arriving in Timaru he received a commission as lieutenant in the 8th South Canterbury Mounted Rifles. Captain Marchant joined the main body as a trooper, but before leaving New Zealand he obtained a commission as second-lieutenant. He served all through the Gallipoli campaign.

Serial No. 7/89 Captain Frederic Norman Marchant
NoK: Frederic William Marchant, Torquay, Devonshire, England
Marital Status Single
Enlistment Address Wai-iti Road, Timaru, NZ
Body on Embarkation Main Body
Embarkation Unit Canterbury Mounted Rifles
Embarkation Date 16 October 1914
Date of Death: 31 December 1916
Cause of Death: Died of injuries
Kantara War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt

Timaru Herald 3 May 1913 Page 9
A large number of prominent town folk, farmers and visitors gathered at Fairlie yesterday at noon for the formal opening by the Hon. W. H. Herries of the new offices of the County Council. Mr Gillingham. chairman of the Council gave the visitors some information about the new offices, which had cost £1560 and handed the Minister a golden key— a gift from the contractor. Mr Herries unlocked the door with the golden key and declared the new Chambers open. The site of the new Chambers is next to Mr Wigley's motor garage, in the Main Street, and the building is founded 5ft from the street margin, and flanked by wing walls and motor entrance at one end. The design is carried out in Georgian style, with a handsome Oamaru stone entrance and four-light semi-circular windows on each side, with steel casements in Oamaru stone jambs, mullion and transom. The roof is of slate, mastered by a heavy chimney at each end of the ridge. Internally the building is divided into an entrance hall 22 x 9, board room 26 x 11, engineer's office 18 x 15, and public office 18 x 15, a ferro-concrete strong room, and a waiting room, lavatory, and stationery departments. The whole of the ceilings are of Wunderlich steel, of massive and handsome appearance. The walls are dadoed to 4ft. and the offices are well lit by acetylene gas. The architects were Messrs Hall and Marchant, of Timaru: the builder Mr C. Calvert, of Christchurch: the stonemason Mr Diehl of Christchurch; plumbers, Messrs Philip and Roy, Timaru; painters and glaziers Messrs Surridge and Bolter, Fairlie.


R.L. Banks, (1860-1949) was Clerk and County Engineer for the Mackenzie County Council for forty years.

Banks St., Fairlie named after R.L. Banks who was the county engineer from1889 to 1929. Martin St. named after G.C. Martin the first stock agent for PGG in Fairlie. Martin and Banks had bought a block of land as a speculation. In June 1889 Mr. R.L. Banks appointed returning officer and treasurer for the county and also clerk to the Mackenzie Licensing Committee. Robert Lindsay BANKS, appointed JP in 1901 in Fairlie. He was the brother of Mrs Alex. Grant, Aigantighe, Timaru. R. L. Banks was duly appointed as Registrar of Dogs for the Mackenzie County, being for the year 1919.  He designed many of the bridges around the county. R.L. Banks still a J.P. in Fairlie in 1917, played golf in 1907 at the Fairlie Golf Club and the Geraldine links. In 1894 was secretary of the Fairlie Racing Club. In 1898 was treasurer of the Mackenzie County Caledonian Society.

Robert Lindsay Banks (jun.) had the same name as his father. In 1861 Robert Banks took part of the Cheetwood Estate. Part of the Cheetwood Estate, held by Estate of William Banks in 1912. Charles Banks b. 2 Aug. 1851. Saint Cuthberts, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland. Parents:  Jessie Christie and husband Robert Lindsay Banks.

His brother Charles Banks born in 1851 at Edinburgh, Scotland lived in Oamaru, and was also a civil engineer. He died on 12 Sep. 1923 at Oamaru. He was the civil engineer for the Waitaki County Council for 31 years, he retired in May 1915. Charles was appointed to the position 23rd April 1884 when the roads boards were still in existence, when the district was still held by large estates and few roads. Bridging of roads and creeks were not neglected. For any one man to keep in touch with all parts of the county he could not let grass grow under his feet. He drew up many contracts and carried out his duty with firmness and at the same time consideration to all the Council's contractors and employees and giving sound advice on many difficult problems. He was a man of naturally shy disposition, and had never tried to push his opinions or works into the limelight, being content to work in his own quiet way. It could without fear of contradiction be said that Mr Banks had done his share in the development of this district. The only fault that he had ever been able to find in him was that he was too conscientious. His work would live long after him, including some bridges. An Engineer's position was at time very difficult and not always in accord with the opinions of Councillors. That must be so as an Engineer had to look forward to the future. There were always questions forced upon him which placed him in an unpopular position, and without the support of the Council the Engineer's position would be uncomfortable. He therefore urged the Council to support their Engineer. If the ratepayers knew the Council was behind him his position would be strong.

Robert Lindsay Banks and his descendants.
Date: 1991. By: McLean, Anne, b. 1929; McLean, Ivan.
Publisher: Christchurch, A. McLean, 1991. 160 p.
Year of first arrival in New Zealand: 1861
From: University of Waikato

Otago Daily Times 14 May 1919, Page 8 EARLY SETTLERS' ASSOCIATION.
The following gifts were received for the Museum:— C. Banks, Oamaru, framed portrait of her late father and mother, Mr and Mrs R. Banks, Dunedin (Melbourne, 1861).

Arrived in Dunedin Mr and Mrs R.L. Banks and five children on the ship "Melbourne" in March 1861 from Glasgow. The ship Melbourne, 661 tons, from Leith, 24th Nov. 1860 for Port Chalmers arrived 17 March 1861 via Portsmouth where it left on 12 Dec. 1860 under command of Captain John Robertson with 199 passengers including the Mr. R.L. Banks, wife, two sons and five daughters in the cabin and general cargo.

BANKS, Robert Lindsay
Age 85 Years [b. 15 May 1860 at Leith, SCT]
DoD 8 Apr 1946
Last Address 56 Tees Street, Oamaru
Funeral Director J McLean Ltd
Northern Cemetery Block 41. Plot 8
Date of Burial 10 Apr 1946
Native of SCOTLAND
Years in NZ: 84
Place died: Oamaru
The following burials are also in this Plot
BANKS, Jessie Christie 61 Years, Burial, Died 10 Aug 1880
BANKS, Jessie Christie 97 Years, Burial, Died 25 Sep 1952
BARRON, Mary 82 Years, Burial, Died 7 Nov 1932, died in Timaru

Otago Witness 14 August 1880, Page 17 Death.
On the 10th August, at Rockyside, Dunedin, Jessie Christie, wife of Robert Lindsay Banks, and eldest daughter of the late John Christie, merchant, Edinburgh.

BANKS, Jane Christie
Age 85 Years  b. 3 April 1859 at Leith, Midlothian, SCT.
Date of Death 26 Sep 1944
Last Address 56 Tees St., Oamaru
Funeral Director J McLean Ltd
Northern Cemetery Block 41. Plot 7
Date of Burial 27 Sep 1944
Occupation: Spinister
Years in NZ: 83
Place died: Oamaru
The following burials are also in this Plot
BANKS ROBERT LINDSAY 69 Years, Burial, Died 19 May 1895 died Greta St., Oamaru
BARRON ARTHUR ROBERT 37 Years, Burial, Died 9 Nov 1920
BARRON WILLIAM 78 Years, Burial, Died 16 Jun 1916

J.F.D. JEUNE - clerk and engineer for the Mackenzie County Council
James Frederick Dudley Jeune 1897-1949.

Press, 31 May 1929, Page 1 Marriage
Jeune - Somerset. On April 1st, 1929 at St. Paul's Church, Papanui, by the Rev. W.H. Orbell, Merva Sheldon, younger daughter of Mr and Mrs G.C. B. Somerset, Papanui, to James Frederick Dudley Jeune, of Fairlie, eldest son of Mr and Mrs J. F. Jeune, of Gisborne.

Mrs Jeune the wife of the Engineer /Clerk  ) was a prime mover of the Mackenzie Drama Society in the late 1930s.
1st Jan 1946 British Empire Medal (Civil Division) Merva Sheldon, Mrs. JEUNE, Secretary, Fairlie Branch of the Women's War Service Auxiliary.
Both are buried at the Karori Cemetery in Wellington. Dub was 52 when he died in the accident to the aircraft Kereru and his wife Melba born 12 April 1905 died 2 March 2008 in her 103rd year..

Dominion 21 March 1949 Wellington
F.B. (Frank) Stephens and J.F.D. (Dud) Jeune. Frank was the Local Government Commission’s first secretary in 1947, equivalent to the CEO, and Dud was his replacement. Both men were killed in a plane crash near Waikanae on Friday 18th March 1949 while returning from representation hearings in Auckland. Killed 13 passengers and 2 crew, Captain R W Bartley, a former Air Force Commander and his First Officer was R. A. Boys. The crash of the NAC Lockheed 18 C-60 LodeStar ZK-AKX, the Kereru, on a ridge near Waikanae, in the Tararua Ranges, on the Kapiti Coast while on approach in low overcast at 0940 the result of a navigation mistake was New Zealand’s worst civil aviation disaster till a crash on Mt Ruapehu in 1963. Dud was the clerk and engineer at Mackenzie County Council, based at Fairlie. Dud served in France during WWI and helped with post-war reconstruction in Germany after WWII, as part of a United Nations mission. Mr June was for many years well known in local government circles as a keen student of wider problems of local administration.

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19180718-39-5
Taken from the supplement to the Weekly News, Auckland, 18 July 1918 p039

(to HAMLET) What are you reading, your highness?
HAMLET Words, words, words. A lot of words.

July 2015. The brickwork sure looks like the same brick work that is on the library, a few hundred feet up the road.

South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project

Libraries in South Canterbury