GW Lines


Mr G.W. Lines – Hastings Centenarian

From a Special Correspondent

One hundred years of life, much of it full of hard pioneering work spiced with not a little adventure, is the achievement of Mr. George William Lines of Hastings, whose 100th anniversary of his birth in Salford, Bedfordshire, falls next Monday, March 29.  When interviewed at his home, Mr. Lines showed a WEEKLY NEWS representative that he is truly a remarkable centenarian.  Today he is a wonderfully active man, with all his faculties unimpaired by a century of life.

Mr. Lines prides himself upon the little sickness that he had experienced during the course of his life.  His only illness was at the age of nine or ten when he was working in his uncle’s druggist’s shop in England.  “I could make pills but I could never take them,” he said,  with a merry twinkle in his eye.  It was while lying in bed in the upper storey of his uncle’s shop that he learned a poem, which he recalled and recited with great gusto as a further demonstration that time has not played any tricks with his mental capabilities.  His voice was strong and clear and he emphasised the points of the poem with gestures of head and body.

Mr. Lines, after spending a few years learning the chemistry trade, came with his father, mother, a brother and three sisters to Australia, the lure being gold, which had attracted so many others to those shores at that time. They made the voyage in 1853, when Mr. Lines was 16 years of age, the ship being the […] Smit, a Dutch vessel.  It is interesting to record from the “passenger contract ticket” used by the family, and still in Mr. Lines possession that the seven members of the Lines family, were transported at a total cost of £137 10.  Australia however, did not treat the Lines very kindly, but Mr. Lines remained with his parents in Ballarat until he was about […] years of age, when he was induced to try his luck in New Zealand.  He landed in Auckland, with the object of going to the Thames gold fields, but once there he again found that there was not a fortune to be made out of the yellow metal.

Soon afterwards there was a call for men to go to Hawke’s Bay, and Mr. Lines, in 1870, found himself in this district.  At that time there was no such place as Hastings, and even Napier was just a tiny hamlet.  The first job Mr. Lines undertook was a contract to float a raft down the Tutaekuri River, and for this work he was paid 10s.  Shortly afterwards he secured farming work with the late Mr. Phillip Dolbell [Philip Dolbel], at Taradale, and it was while working there he meet his late wife, who died eight years ago.  The marriage, according to Mr. Lines, was the turning point in his life, for, as he remarked: “I got on very well since then.”

It was about this time that Hastings was being cut up into sections.  Mr. Lines and his wife wished to buy one of these, but Mr. Dolbell [Dolbel] tried hard to dissuade them, “as Hastings was a very poor place and the water was bad.”  However the late Mr. James Ebbett, father of Mr. George Ebbett now a Hastings solicitor, advised Mr. Lines to purchase one of the sections, which he did for £5.  It was at about this time that a wide area of Hawke’s Bay country, which now includes most of the important stations in the district, was sold for a total of £1,650,000 to numerous buyers.  On the section Mr. Lines bought he erected one of the town’s first dwellings, and to-day this building is still doing duty as a home.  Later Mr. Lines bought an adjoining half-acre section from Mr. Frank Hicks.  It cost him a horse.

Mr. Lines, in 1881, took up land at Maharahara, some eight miles past Dannevirke on the Woodville side.  In a ballot he secured 90 acres, which he farmed successfully, and by 1908, when he disposed of his property, he had increased his holding to 200 acres.  His present property of 10 acres in St. George’s Road, just outside the Hastings borough boundary, he secured for £10 an acre 28 years ago.  He has lived there ever since.

It is here that Mr. Lines spends his time in the extensive garden attached to the house.  “I am still good enough for anything within reason,” he said. “I can eat anything.  I have not smoked for about 40 years and I can still read without glasses.”

On the occasion of Mr. Lines 100th birthday a family reunion is planned, with the birthday cake adorned with 100 candles occupying a prominent place in the proceedings.  Mr. Lines has family of six living – Mrs. Bould of Takapau, Mrs. R. Greenfield, Napier, Mrs. D. Harper, Otane, Mr. E. Lines, Matamau, Mr. P. Lines, Hastings, and Mrs. E. Hawthorn who lives with him at his home at St. George’s Road.  There are 15 grandchildren.

A cheery good night and a firm handshake from Mr. Lines concluded an interesting interview.

[NZ Biographies 1957, volume 3, page 101]

Original digital file


Non-commercial use

Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand (CC BY-NC 3.0 NZ)

This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand (CC BY-NC 3.0 NZ).


Commercial Use

Please contact us for information about using this material commercially.

Format of the original

Newspaper article

Date published

24 March 1937


The Weekly News


Accession number


Do you know something about this record?

Please note we cannot verify the accuracy of any information posted by the community.

Supporters and sponsors

We sincerely thank the following businesses and organisations for their support.