Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]


page break

Wellington, as the Capital of the Colony, is the Headquarters of the Defence Office, which controls the Militia and Volunteer Forces of New Zealand. His Excellency the Governor is Commander-in-Chief, the Hon, R. J. Seddon, Premier, is Minister of Defence, Major Sir A. P. Douglas, Bart., is Under-Secretary for Defence, and Colonel F. J. Fox is Military Adviser and Inspector of New Zealand Forces. The officer in command of the district is Lieut.-Colonel S Newall. The Garrison Artillery branch of the Permanent Militia is controlled by Major W. B. Messenger and Captain J. Coleman, while Captain J. Falconer is in charge of the Torpedo Corps. There are five corps of volunteers in the Empire City, viz:—One company of the New Zealand Regiment of Artillery Volunteers, known as the D Battery, which was founded on the 22nd of July, 1867; two Rifle Corps—the Wellington City Rifles, established on the 23rd of July, 1867, and the Wellington Guards, formed on the 14th of July, 1879—one body of Naval Artillery, the Wellington Navals, which dates from the 24th of March, 1879, and one cavalry rifle company, the Heretaunga Mounted Rifles, established on the 1st of January, 1885. Besides the officers attached to the Permanent Forces and the various volunteer companies, there are a number of gentleman on the active and unattached lists of New Zealand Militia, and on the unattached active list of New Zealand Volunteers, who will be mentioned in the order of seniority.

Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart Newall, New Zealand Militia, officer commanding Wellington District, who has been in the service for thirty-two years, was born in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, in 1843. At the age of twenty he came to the colonies per ship “Kent,” to Melbourne, and thence by the barque “Rialto,” to Dunedin. Mr. Newall had a short experience at the Otago Diggings, then known as the Woolshed, near Tokomairo, and at West Taieri. On the outbreak of hostilities with the Maoris he joined the company of militia then being formed for service in the Waikato. For five years the subject of this notice served in the campaign, and at its close he joined the Armed Constabulary, and was with Colonel Whitmore's field force in the expedition against Titokowaru on the West Coast, and afterwards passed through Chute's track to Waitara, thence to Auckland. In May, 1869, Mr. Newall went with his Company to Tauranga, and was with the expedition to the Urewera Country. In June of the same year, on his return from Urewera, he received his first commission as sub-inspector. This was at Galatea, so-called after the Duke of Edinburgh's ship, which had just arrived in Auckland. Sub-Inspector Newall then returned to the Waikato in August, 1869, joining Colonel Moule at Te Awamutu. In the following January he proceeded with the expeditionary force against Te Kooti to Tapapa, at the south end of the Patetere Range, and joined Colonel McDonnell's field force. The rebel Te Kooti having effected his escape via Rotorua and Ateamuri to the King Country, Sub-Inspector Newall was stationed at Cambridge as officer in charge. He was afterwards appointed to Alexandra and other places, and was principally engaged during the years 1870–74 in roadmaking and bridge-building with a party of constabulary. In the Waikato in 1871 he was employed to prepare a military report and sketch-map of the district, for which he received a handsome gold watch from the New Zealand Government. In 1875 Sub-Inspector Newall was sent to the Thames and thence to Ohinemuri, where he was present at the opening of that goldfield by the late Sir Donald McLean. After eighteen months residence there, he was presented with a very flattering validictory address from miners and settlers, testifying to the appreciation of the efforts made by Mr. Newall and his men in exploring the bush and cutting tracks to Waitekauri, Owharoa, and other places during the period. The construction of the road for some miles across the Waihi plains, towards Kati Kati, was commenced under his directions. From 1876 to 1879, Sub-Inspector Newall was supervising the formation of the main road from Cambridge towards Taupo. In July of the latter year he was ordered to Taranaki with a party of armed constabulary to reinforce the district, in consequence of Te Whiti having commenced ploughing operations on land sold to Europeans. He was stationed at Oakurn and Okato, and was long engaged in road construction towards Opunaki. Sub-Inspector Newall was present at Parihaka on the 5th of November, 1881, when Te Whiti was arrested. Afterwards he was employed in road-making towards Egmont, up the left branch of the Kapoaiaia stream. On the 1st of January, 1883, he was transferred to the permanent staff of the New Zealand Militia, and became district adjutant of the Canterbury Volunteers. He served in this position until February, 1891, when he was transferred to the command of the Wanganui and Taranaki District, with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. Shortly afterwards page 326 Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart Newall he was placed in charge of the Wellington District, with which his former district was combined. Lieutenant-Colonel Newall was married on the 12th of March, 1872, to Miss Roberts, sister of Lieutenant-Colonel Roberts, N.Z.C., now Stipendary Magistrate at Tauranga. His family numbers five—four daughters and one son.

The Permanent Militia, which consists of a branch of the Permanent Artillery and a branch of the Torpedo Corps, has its office at the Artillery Barracks Depôt, Buckle Street Wellington. The full strength of the corps of permanent artillery is seventy-three, Major Messenger being in charge, while the torpedo corps numbers thirty, and is in the charge of Captain Falconer. The permanent militia takes charge of all the batteries at the forts, including the guns and all materials. The Wellington depôt is used for the purpose of instructing recruits, who are drilled and prepared for the force for all parts of the Colony. The police force is taken exclusively from this branch of the public service, in order that a reserve may be formed in readiness for any military emergency. Each member of the police force of the Colony is put through a ten days' drill at the artillery barracks annually.

Major William Bazire Messenger, the officer-in-charge of the Permanent Militia, was born in Essex, England, and received his education at the Woodford House Academy. He came to the Colony per ship “Joseph Fletcher,” arriving in New Zealand in 1853, after a smart passage of eighty-nine days. His parents came out with a view of taking up land, and this they did, though at the time there were great troubles with the natives. Major Messenger formed one of the first volunteer corps in New Zealand, in the month of March, 1860, taking the rank of sergeant. He was subsequently transferred to the militia in the Taranaki district, with the rank of ensign, and on the 4th December, 1862, was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. On the 27th July, 1863, he was made a captain, and on the 10th December, 1885, took his present position as major in the militia. Major Messenger was appointed to the command of a company of military settlers who came from Melbourne on the 13th February, 1864. This company was stationed at Pukearuhe, on the borders of the King Country, for about three years, but in 1867 the troop was paid off. Major Messenger continued to live in the district, as a military settler, on land which he had taken up, until February, 1869, when native unrest culminated in the murder of the Rey. Mr Whitely at the White Cliffs. The gallant gentleman was then placed on pay and put in command at Urenui and Te Arei to superintend the erection of a block house. Subsequently he was placed in command of the corps of Taranaki Forest Rangers, known as “bushrangers.” On the disbandment of this military body he was placed in command of a detachment of the armed constabulary force, which was employed in building bridges and making roads on various parts of the coast, being placed under his orders and direction for that special work. On the 1st December, 1877, Major Messenger was made first-class sub-inspector of the armed constabulary, and from that year served with that force till 1885, when the outpost at Pukearuhe was abandoned. It was in the last-named year that Major Messenger was transferred from the armed constabulary force to that of the permanent artillery, with which he has been connected up to the present time. He holds the New Zealand war medal, and also the long service medal. He took a prominent part in many active engagements with the Maoris, among which may be mentioned the Waireka fight, on the 28th March, 1860. On this occasion the major's father had his elbow badly injured, and in another, his brother was killed, but, strange to say, Major Messenger went through all his war experience unhurt. At the battle of Allen's Hill, the major served under Colonel Warre, and in 1863 at Mahoetahi, under General Pratt. In 1864 he was at Stony River under Major William Bazire Messenger page 327 Major Butler, besides taking part in the disturbance at Bell Block, and in several smaller skirmishes. He was in command at Kaitake, Poutoko, Manutahi, Bell Block, and Pukearuhe.

Captain John Coleman, of the New Zealand Militia, who is instructor of mounted volunteers for the Colony, was born in Dublin in 1837. At the age of sixteen he joined the 12th Lancers and went to the Cape, and shortly afterwards to India, from whence the regiment was ordered to the Crimea. Captain Coleman served throughout the campaign, and on the termination of the war returned to England in June, 1856. In August of the same year he again embarked for India, and served during the Mutiny with Brigadier Hill's column in Central India. In 1860 he was appointed drill instructor to the Honourable East India Company's provisional cavalry regiment at Barrackpore. Two years later Captain Coleman joined the 1st Bengal-European Light Cavalry, stationed at Cawnpore, and was the same day appointed drill instructor to the regiment. In 1864 he was promoted to troop sergeant-major, and six years later became regimental sergeant-major. Captain Coleman returned to England in 1872 with the 19th Hussars, and after two years at Home was engaged by the Agent-General in October, 1874, as drill instructor for the New Zealand Government. He came to the Colony per ship “Michael Angelo,” landing in Nelson, and has continued to serve to the present. He was promoted to the rank of captain in 1880, and has the following medals and clasps, viz.—The Crimean and Turkish Medals with Clasp for Sebastopol, the Medal and Clasp for the Indian Mutiny, the Imperial Long Service Medal, and that granted by the New Zealand Government.

Captain John Falconer, whose career is given on page 178 as Inspector of Sub-marine Mining, is in charge of the Torpedo Corps in Wellington.

Captain Sam Cosgrave Anderson, Head of the Stores Department (Defence), was born in Belfast, Ireland, where also he received his education. Captain Anderson came to the Colony in 1863, and immediately on his arrival joined the Defence Department, and was in active service in the field till the end of hostilities in 1869, when he was transferred to Wellington to his present appointment. He has held the appointment which he so ably fills for over twenty-five years. His office is situated at the Mount Cook Barracks in Buckle Street.

Surgeon John Teare, M.D., who is referred to under the heading “Medical,” was appointed to the position on the 17th of July, 1894.

The Rev. William Campbell Waters, M A., Honorary Chaplain of the Wellington Detachment of Permanent Militia, was appointed on the 30th of June, 1893. The reverend gentleman is referred to as Vicar of St. Peter's Church under the heading “Ecclesiastical.”