The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts]
Building, etc — Smith, George Alexander,
Smith, George Alexander, Builder, Contractor and Sash and Door Manufacturer, Picton. Mr. Smith is one of the foremost tradesmen in the province, and a very old resident in the township. He was born on the 18th of November, 1843, at Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, where his father was a builder, was educated at Southwick, near Sunderland, and afterwards learned the building trade. For a time Mr. Smith was in the service of Messrs Picksgill and Miller, and, later, in that of Messrs Atwood and Maddison, two large shipbuilding and contracting firms on the Weir. In 1862, he left the Old Country for New Zealand, landed at Nelson, and a few days after went to Picton, where his father had for two or three years been conducting a successful building trade. During the first few years Mr. Smith worked as a journeyman, and in 1872, he set up as a builder in conjunction with Mr. Philpotts. In 1888 the firm dissolved partnership, and Mr. Smith has since conducted business on his own account. His workshops, factory, and timber yards occupy a freehold section of two acres, at the corner of Buller Street and Devon Street, where there is an efficient plant of machinery, etc. The sash and door factory is an iron building, measuring 110 feet by seventy feet, and turns out the very best material. The whole of the timber used by the firm is cut by a sawmill owned by Mr. Smith and Mr. Charles Reeves, at the head of the Kenepuru Sound. This mill is capable of putting through about 7000 feet a day, and also supplies about 1000 sleepers per month to the Government Railway Department. Mr. Smith has built the Picton Hospital, the Presbyterian church and manse, the local Borough School, the first Havelock wharf, the old Club Hotel, in Blenheim, Oxley's Hotel, in Picton, and other noteworthy buildings. He is a director of the Picton Building Society, a member of the local Court of Foresters, and one of the oldest Freemasons in Picton. Mr. Smith is married, and has eight sons and six daughters.