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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

Borough Of Karori

Borough Of Karori.

Karori is a suburban borough about three miles west from Wellington. Access to Karori is by road either from Molesworth Street by Hill Street, or by Aro Street through Mitchelltown. The former route is that used by the coaches, of which three lines are running. The Postal and Telephone Bureau is at Mr. W. F. Newcomb's store: Mails arrive and close twice every day. There is also a letter box at the cemetery gate, about half way to Wellington. Karori is certainly one of the most attractive residental localities around Wellington. The road leading to it from the northern end of the City is wide and well kept, and passes through pleasing scenery. Winding its way with an easy up-grade, it passes the Botanical Gardens on the north side, and after many turns through natural bush and around rocky faces, it leads into open agricultural country about two miles out. On the northern side of this hill, and on the right of the road, is the cemetery, which is now largely used, and is under the control of the Corporation of Wellington. Karori is best known by its pleasure gardens—the property of Mr. W. H. Young—which attract hundreds of visitors on holidays. Since the creation of the borough, a great deal of money has been spent on improving the roads and giving better access to the various sections, with the result that building has gone on briskly and the population has about doubled in five years. There are two churches—St. Mary's (Anglican) and the new Wesleyan Church—Which are referred to herein. Cricket and football clubs exist in the borough, a capital cricket ground having been secured. A useful public library is open on Monday nights under the care of Mr. W. H. Young, as librarian.

The Borough of Karori was created in 1891. Previously it was a part of the Hutt County, being a portion of the Karori-Makara Road Board. The borough is not sub-divided into wards. Of the six councillors one-third retire from office every year. The first mayor of the borough was Mr. Stephen Lancaster. The mayor (1896) is Mr. R. C. Bulkley, the well-known surgeon dentist of Wellington; and the present councillors are: Messrs. S. Lancaster, H. Dryden, C. Dasent, F. W. Lewer, J. F. Spiers and E. Platt. Mr. W. F. England occupies the position of borough clerk, and Mr. H. Bradnock is ranger and poundkeeper. The annual revenue of the Borough is about £500, raised by a rate of fifteen-sixteenths of a penny in the pound on the capital value. The Council meets on the third Tuesday in each month in the town schoolroom.

Karori Public School is centrally situated in the borough. The building, which contains three rooms, is of the usual design, and built in wood. There are 150 children on the roll, ranging from the infant's classes to Standard VII, the average attendance being about 120. Pupils from the school have gained scholarships at different times, and in 1894 the school had the credit of claiming the pupil who was first on the list for thè Wanganui College Scholarship. A side school at South Karori, opened in 1886, page 797 relieves the pressure at the main school, and is a great convenience to the settlers there. The attendance at the side school numbers about thirty scholars, from the fifth standard downwards, who are examined at the main school. The teaching staff at Karori consists of Mr. H. H. Dyer, headmaster; Miss Locket, first assistant; Miss Donald, second assistant in charge at South Karori; and Miss Young, third assistant.

Mr. Henry Hardwicke Dyer, Headmaster of the Karori Public School, was born in India and educated in England. He holds a C1 certificate under the Board, and has been continuously engaged in teaching for twenty-one years, during which time many of his pupils have done credit to his careful training. For seven years he occupied the position of headmaster at the Patea High School, and for the last fourteen years he has been headmaster of the Karori School, enjoying the esteem of both parents and children for his kindly ways and devoted attention to his important duties.

St. Mary's Anglican Church, Karori, is a wooden structure with a small churchyard surrounding it, the parsonage being almost adjoining. There is seating accommodation for 140 worshippers, regular services being conducted morning and evening on Sundays. The Rev. Alexander Dasent is the curate, and Messrs. W. H. Young and R. Caldwell churchwardens.

Rev. Alexander Dasent, the Curate of St. Mary's, Karori, is one of the oldest Episcopalian clergymen in New Zealand. He is the son of the late Attorney-General of the Isle of St. Vincent, and was born in the West Indies in 1819, having been ordained priest in 1813. During his thirty-three year's service in the Colony, he has been stationed in different parts of New Zealand, and has founded many churches. The rev. gentleman has also charge of St. Mathias', Makara.

Wesley Church, Karori, a neat wooden building lately erected, occupies a prominent position in the centre of the borough, services being conducted by supplies from Wellington twice each Sunday and on Tuesday evenings every week.

The Karori Pleasure Grounds are situated about a quarter of a mile to the south of the State School. Nestling among the hills, the gardens are protected alike from the cold of the prevailing winter winds and the heat of the summer sun. Although it is within the last two or three years only that they have been brought prominently before the notice of the public, these gardens are by no means a new institution. Their age may be inferred by the fact that a tree is pointed out to the visitor as having been planted by Sir George Grey in 1868. About three years ago the present proprietor, Mr. W. H. Young, acquired the property from Mr. Donald, who had owned it for many years. Under the new regime the gardens have been greatly improved, and now form one of the most pleasant spots near Wellington. The property consists of thirty acres, of which fifteen compose the pleasure grounds, while the remainder are open fields. A pleasant surprise awaits the visitor as he enters at the eastern gate and makes his way towards the house. On one side the path is planted with a holly hedge, and on the other flowers abound in endless profusion. Entering the house to rest after his walk or drive from town, the visitor may refresh himself with the good things of the season. Having satisfied the claims of the inner man, the traveller may now explore the other parts of the garden. From the house, which occupies a central position, the ground towards the western gate suddenly declines for about fifty yards, and thence stretches a flat for some distance. On this flat, fish ponds, the lake, and the croquet and tennis courts meet the eye of the visitor. The tennis courts, which are always well patronised in summer, form one of the most pleasing features of the garden. Many residents in town look forward with delight to Saturday afternoon, when they may take a trip to the gardens and enjoy a game of tennis. It is no uncommon sight to see several parties waiting their turn for the use of the courts. A short distance from these the lake is situated, on which a boat is always ready for those who wish to use it. The northern portion of the gardens is intersected with beautifully shaded walks, on the sides of which are seats for the convenience of the public. In these cool places may be obtained such rest from the summer sun as would have satisfied the heart of the poet when he sighed for the valleys of the fabled Hæmus. On the south side there are also many pleasant walks and summer houses. Here, too, are the swings and other means of amusement for children. Having seen the many sights of the gardens, the visitor may, before returning home, obtain an excellent tea at the house; and, as flowors are always in abundance, may if he wishes, take a bouquet to town with him. It must not be supposed, however, that the proprietor's functions are exhausted with the entertainment of day visitors. On the contrary, provision is made for honeymoon parties and others who wish to take a longer holiday at the gardens For anyone in need of a complete rest, no better place could be found. Here the invalid may enjoy the fresh bracing air of the country, and at the same time be within easy access of the town. Coaches run between Wellington and Karori, and the gardens are some three or four hundred yards from the coach line. Mrs. Young and her family do all in their power to make the Karori Pleasure Grounds a thoroughly agreeable resort for all classes.

Dryden, Henry, Restaurant Keeper, Karori Refreshment Rooms, Karori. Established 1891.

Mansfield, J., Monumental Mason, Karori.

Page, Henry, Storckeeper, Karori. Established 1857.

Spiers, J. F., Coach Proprietor, Karori.

Walker, George, Shoeing and General Smith, Karori. Established 1890.

Wilson, Joseph, Butcher, Karori. Established 1895.