Newspaper Excerpt 1937 – Anniversary of Borough

The Examiner






The Borough Banquet held in the Drill Hall on Saturday evening proved a most fitting conclusion to the district’s jubilee celebrations. The hall was crowded with over 400 people and the caterers had an arduous task to provide for all, but with the assistance of a band of the Legion of Frontiersmen, arrangements proceeded satisfactorily.

His Worship the Mayor presided and briefly extended a cordial welcome to the large gathering.

He apologised for the crowding of the hall but the number was far more than was anticipated. He trusted that as the function was the last of the celebrations it would be free and easy. A welcome was extended to Sir Alfred and Lady Ransom, an apology being received from the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Hon. W.E. Parry), Sir Alfred being present as representative of the Government. Also present were the Mayor of Dannevirke (Mr. E. Gibbard) and Mrs Gibbard, the Mayor of Pahiatua (Mr. J.D. Wilson) and Mrs. Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. H. Burnett, Mr. M.O. Grainger (chairman of the Woodville County Council) and Mr. J. Motley (the sole surviving member of the first council).

Among the ex-councillors welcomed were the following – W.G. Simpson (Hawera), S.V. Brightwell (Otorohanga), A.W Rapley (Tauranga), H.E. Connop (Hastings) and T.F. Watson (Masterton).

Numerous apologies for absence were received, including a telegram from the Minister of Internal Affairs. In a letter the Minister expressed his wishes for a successful celebration. He acknowledged receipt of the souvenir booklet which portrayed so well the story of other days in Woodville and the splendid progress enjoyed by the people of the district.

Messages were received from a wide area, including congratulations from Invercargill, Wanganui, Carterton, Napier and Dannevirke Borough Councils.


Following the toast of “The King” Mr. M.O. Grainger (chairman of the Woodville County Council) proposed the toast of the Woodville Borough. He could recall the early days from which had been brought forth the present form of local government. The early councillors must have had courage  and faith in order to erect such amenities as were possessed at the present day. As the result of the energy and ability of successive councils, the borough had an excellent water supply, equal to if not better than any in the Dominion, and up-to-date swimming baths, gasworks and treatment works. All the early councillors deserved credit for their accomplishments and no better names could be associated with the toast than Mr Horne, Mr. H. Burnett and Mr. J. Motley, who had put in a great deal of time for the benefit of the district.

Cheers were then given for Mr. and Mrs. Horne and councillors.

The first gentleman to reply was Mr. J. Motley who stated that 50 years was a long span in one’s life and it was that time ago since he with his family had settled in Woodville. The pioneers were a band of men and women who left the old land to found a home in the midst of bush in a new country. Possessing patience, endurance, hope and courage, they were able to win through. He understood that one who came to the district in a bullock waggon in those early days and who was still living, was Mrs. H. Cox. When the speaker first came to Woodville, there were two stores, one owned by Monteith and Fountaine, the latter gentleman donating Fountaine Square to the borough. Another energetic settler was Mr. G. Moore, and as a result of his efforts, the Drill Hall was erected for the sum of about  £300. In those days all religious bodies met at the school and the first children’s party was held at the Police Station.

The first public telephone office in New Zealand was established at Woodville in his time and he had the pleasure of being in charge. The difficulties in connection with the despatch of telegrams were related.

When the settlers first reached Woodville, continued Mr. Motley, they were employed mostly at bush clearing but later an interest was commenced in co-operative dairying and eventually a cheese factory was started. However, owing to various drawbacks, it fell through. About that time, the late Mr. Charles Hall came to Woodville and it was through his proposal that the settlement became a borough. This gentleman took an active interest in many local activities including the opening of a courthouse, of which Mr. Motley was the first clerk.

Although the town had not progressed as had been anticipated, it was not due to the settlers, who had worked hard. The district possessed good dairying areas, and had an abundant rainfall. During the speakers residence of 30 years in Woodville he had always found that the people rallied around him and accorded him their support. He paid a glowing tribute to the pioneer women and he contended that they should be honoured for their loyalty in standing by the men. In conclusion, Mr. Motley hoped the Dominion would long remain “God’s own country.”

“Within the last three days I have passed through the most moving times and the most extraordinary cordiality has been manifest throughout the celebrations,” stated Mr. H. Burnett, who also responded to the toast. It was appreciated as was the feeling always shown him during his residence of 40 years in Woodville. He referred to the late Mr. J. Sowry as the father of the settlement; he had been responsible for the formation of the Woodville Special Settlement and was secretary of that body until it was wound up. Mr. Sowry then took his place in Borough Council affairs. Mr Burnett remarked that he was the third Mayor of the town being in that position for 12 years. In those days it was far from easy work but everyone was for the good of the borough and district. He was certain that everyone should be very grateful for the foundation work done by all councils and a great debt  of gratitude was due to them. He included the County Council in his references as they were always willing to give of their assistance in many matters.

In conclusion, Mr. Burnett desired to convey his wife’s and his own thanks for the very kind reception during the last few days. He was also gratified to know that the Mayor’s services were so suitably recognised by the presentation of the mayoral chain and he took the opportunity of congratulating him on receiving the Coronation medal in recognition of the honourable services he had given in the interests of the borough. (Applause).

His Worship expressed thanks to Mr. Burnett and Mr. Grainger for their remarks. He declared that there was a distinct difference in the interest in public work nowadays, perhaps due to more interesting things being carried out in the early days. He recollected, when land values were high in the town, one ¼ acre section selling for  £18,000. One of the main reasons for the town’s slow progress was its geographical position although the district possessed good land and all the necessary amenities. Another thing which had retarded the town were the large levies on public works in the vicinity such as the allocation on the Manawatu Gorge road and the Ngawapurua bridge.

It was no use denying, continued his worship, that present-day young people had an apathy in local body affairs and he exhorted them to take more interest in such matters.

One main asset the town had was Mount Whariti with its bush-clad slopes, which was the town’s source of water supply. He commended the attitude of Mr. H. Beagley in preserving bush on his large tract of land and it was to be hoped that the day was not far distant when the slopes and bare hills would be re-afforested.

The speaker thanked everyone for their kindly references and trusted that the jubilee would be the turning point in the history of Woodville.


Mr A. H. Hustwick proposed this toast and took the opportunity of congratulating the Mayor on the honour accorded him. The people of the electorate were fortunate in their choice of representatives of parliament and their present member Sir Alfred Ransom had done so much for the advancement of the electorate and the country.

In reply Sir Alfred stated that he hoped that any political meetings he should hold would be as largely attended and enthusiastic as the jubilee gatherings. One had to consider New Zealand one of the most favoured parts of the Empire, if not, the finest part and he was sure that the Woodville district was one of the finest in the Dominion.

It was pleasing to heard [hear] of the records of the old settlers and it was amply demonstrated that the harder people worked, the more enjoyment they derive.

Opportunity was taken by the Mayor to congratulate Mrs Rosenberg (nee Maggie Pebbles) and Mr. J. Barrett who were the first girl and boy to be born in Woodville.


From the formation of the Gorge settlement when there were several hundred people resident there, roads were formed and the town sprang into being, said Mr. L. J Whittington, who proposed the toast of the early settlers. All the pioneers were hard working and honourable men and the misfortunes of one were shared by all. Their wives must not be forgotten, with no modern facilities they had laboured so well in the interests of the early town.

Representing a family still on the original [land?] Mr John Murray said it was pleasing to know that the efforts of the early settlers were recognised.

Another gentleman to reply to the toast was Mr. H. Monteith, a brother of Mr John Monteith and aged 90 years. Despite his age, he could recollect, with enthusiasm his early contact with the district and his pluck in attending the celebrations was admired by all. He remarked that it was in January 1871 that he came to the district; all the routes were overgrown and it was extremely difficult to make progress. When the roadway was being formed to the township, he was employed in bringing in supplies. Later when Woodville was bought under the control of the Waipukurau County Council, he was elected as the first representative of the district. He had been a member of the Woodville  Jockey Club now recognised as one of the most successful  and most popular in the Dominion. In concluding his remarks, he said the happiest days of his life were those spent in Woodville. (Applause)

In Mr. James Beagley’s opinion, not sufficient admiration was expressed of the early settlers’ work. He considered that one result of his participation in the celebrations was to add five more years to his life.

Another speaker was Mr. E. Elliott who voiced the pleasure of the old boys and old girls of Woodville at the reception given them.


This toast was in the hands of Mr. H. Galbraith (deputy Mayor) who remarked that most of the old Councillors who had been responsible for the present-day amenities had passed away but he understood that there were nine still alive.

Messrs W. G. Simpson (Hawera), Edgar Harding replied to the toast, the former stating that during his term as a councillor he could not claim to have done great work. He congratulated the Mayor on receiving his chain of office.

Mr Harding made further reference to the achievements of past councillors while the present council was imbued with the one object of the betterment of the borough.

At this stage, the Mayor spoke of the yeoman service given by ex-councillor J. A. Nicholas.


“As this is a time of mutual goodwill, we can extend our appreciation beyond to our neighbours,” was Mr. W. A. Lyon’s remark in proposing  this toast. It was pleasing to receive messages of congratulations from them. He spoke of one “neighbour” in particular, the Woodville County Council, which was regarded as one of the most progressive in the Dominion, was one of the lowest rated, and what was most important, had a fine amount “in the stocking.”

He conveyed kindly references to the Dannevirke and Pahiatua Borough Councils.

The felicitations of the Papatoetoe Town Board were voiced by Mr. W. A. Carins an old resident of Woodville.

The Mayor of Dannevirke (Mr. E. Gibbard) returned thanks, adding that in many municipal matters, the Woodville Council had come forward with offers of help. Mr. J. D. Wilson, Mayor of Pahiatua, supported Mr. Gibbard’s wishes, stating that the Pahiatua and Woodville Councils had been associated in many movements.


An important toast of “The Ladies” was in the hands of Mr. R. R. Johnston, who said that he had heard on numerous occasions how wonderful the ladies had been in the early days. But even today they were a great band and in the celebrations alone, their assistance, enthusiasm and co-operation had been a leading factor in its success. In Mesdames J. McCormack and N. M. Burnett, the town had two fine citizens. They had done a great amount of good, especially the latter through whose generosity the new W. I. Hall had been made possible. (Applause)

Both ladies replied, Mrs. McCormack stating that the ladies deserved of every credit as they had worked very hard. Mrs. Burnett added that the ladies took a pleasure in helping but she asserted the new hall was the result entirely of co-operation and enthusiasm among the members.


Messrs L. J. Whittington and W. E. Fossette were accorded a toast on the proposal of the Mayor, who declared they had spent an immense amount of time in the compilation of the souvenir book. He desired them to be thanked publicly.

Replying to the toast, Mr. Whittington said their efforts had been amply repaid by the success of the celebrations.


During the evening items were given by Messrs W. G. Simpson and J. W. Hood (vocal solos). I. Wood (monologues) and D. Crookes ( vocal solos), Mr. F. A. Watts of Dannevirke, was the accompanist.


Miss Margaret Mules, who has been appointed to the dental clinic at Waitara, spent the weekend with her father, Dr. P. H. Mules, at Woodville, before leaving to take up her new position. Additional visitors to Woodville for the recent celebrations were the following: Mr. C. Hall, Ohakune; Mrs. Croad, Ballance; Mrs. W. Cade, Palmerston North; Mr.  F. Horne, Ballance; Mrs. M. A. Axup (nee Miss Maria Ross), Featherston; Misses M. and G. Moss, Wiri, Auckland; Mr. F. M. Ross, Kaimanuku; Mr .C. Pittams, Taumarunui; Mr. R. H. Moss, Waipawa; Mr. and Mrs. T. Hutchies, Whangarei; Mrs. F. Albrecht, Gisborne; Mr. and Mrs. O. Sommerville, Wellington; Mr. and Mrs. A. H. Cox, Napier; Mr. A Ware, Eltham; Mr. C. Saunders, Waiuku.


Dance patrons need no reminder of the dance to be held in the Papatawa Hall to-morrow evening by the Papatawa School Jubilee committee as a termination to the recent successful jubilee. A professional orchestra has been engaged and novelty dances will be included in the programme of modern and old-time dances. The ladies of the district will provide the usual high standard supper.

FRIDAY AT  8 p.m.
SATURDAY at 2 p.m. and 7.45 p.m.
10,000 Men-Wounded, Blinded, Broken!… The Living Prayed only for her Coming!…. The Dying Kissed Her Shadow as She Passed!
“The White Angel”
(Recommended by Censor for Adults)
Epi, S “Roaring West:” Latest Cinesound News; Cartoon “Shanghaid Shipmates,” etc.



(Correspondence is welcomed on interesting subjects, but we do not necessarily endorse the opinions of correspondents).

(To the Editor).

Sir – May I, through your paper, tender my hearty congratulations to the Mayor and promoters of your wonderfully successful Diamond Jubilee. The bright ideas capably organised and well carried out, interesting programme, pleasing music and items, the inspiring re-union of old friends and the universal happiness prevailing, have thrown a halo of romance around Woodville, which will long remain a pleasant and cherished memory.



“Our good actions should be lived up to and our bad ones lived down.”

The committee of the Woodville Bowling Club met this week when it was decided that the season be opened on Saturday October 10. Mr. F. Howard was appointed greenkeeper.

In the recent Trinity College examination held in Palmerston North, Miss Daisy Kee Sue, a pupil of Miss Jean Stevenson, of Woodville, was successful in passing the senior elocutionary section, with 95 points, honours.

Formerly it was the custom, when a child was born to a Mayor in office as Chief Magistrate, to present him with a miniature silver cradle. Two Mayors of Woodville had achieved this distinction, it was stated at the Borough Council jubilee banquet on Saturday evening, these being the late Mr. E. J. Gothard and Mr. H. Burnett. Mrs Gothard was present at the banquet, as was Mr Burnett now of Nelson, who proudly displayed his  silver cradle.

In our jubilee issue last week it was stated that the first council was as follows: J.H. Monteith, H. Hawken, A. St.G. Ryder, J. Taylor, G.L. Rabone, W. G. Crawford, E. Hall, T. Gilbert and J. J. Murphy.  His Worship the Mayor points out that owing to an irregularity in the conduct of the election, it was declared void and a fresh election was held, those returned being J.H. Monteith, D. M. Horne, W. G. Crawford, J. Motley, G. L. Rabone, A. St.G. Ryder, R. H. Rhodes, H. L. Palmer, H. Hawken and J. Sowry (Mayor)



Last Friday, about a hundred Rugby enthusiasts, both ex-residents and younger players, gathered for an informal re-union in the Oddfellows Hall. The function was arrange by the Woodville Football Club and Mr. R. Bly presided.

Many of the “old-timers” spoke, giving reminiscences of the days when the game was played as it should be, many humorous incidents being related.  Messrs H. Monteith, George Halliday, O. Sommerville, Ernest Hawken, Alex Kirkpatrick and others were the speakers and a happy evening was spent.

Get on or get out is the law
Which urges and governs mankind;
Its action shows sometimes a flaw,
But no better rule can we find
Get on from the “go” with a cold,
Or else you’ll have worse to endure;
And nobody needs to he told
About Woods’ Great Peppermint Cure.



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Surnames in this newspaper article –
Albrecht, Axup, Barrrett, Beagley, Bly, Brightwell, Burnett, Cade, Carins, Connop, Cox, Crawford, Croad, Crookes, Elliott, Fossette, Fountaine, Galbraith, Gibbard, Gilbert, Gothard, Grainger, Hall, Halliday, Harding, Hawken, Hood, Horne, Horne, Howard, Hustwick, Hutchies, Johnston, Kirkpatrick, Lyon, McCormack, Monteith, Moore, Moss, Motley, Mules, Murphy, Murray, Nicholas, Palmer, Parry, Peebles, Pittams, Prior, Rabone, Ransom, Rapley, Reos, Rhodes, Rosenberg, Ross, Ryder, Saunders, Simpson, Sommerville, Sowry, Stevenson, Sue, Taylor, Ware, Watson, Watts, Whittington, Wilson, Wood

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Newspaper articles

Date published

23 September 1937


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