Life in Early Poverty Bay
Ccusin of the Three Graces of Cricket
Ccusin of the Three Graces of Cricket.
As this sketch is concerned chiefly with Gisborne and only subordinately with Mr Rees, the facts of his life elsewhere must be touched on as briefly as possible. These stand recorded in many books of reference. His birth in Bristol in 1836; his mother widowed two years later; Dr. Rees's practice taken over by his brother-in-law, Dr. Grace, father of “W.G.”, “G.F.”, and “E.M.”, the Three Graces of the cricketing page 137 world; the indelible impression made on the young lad's sympathetic heart by the terrible scenes witnessed in Ireland during the potato famine of 1847–8; his voyage to Victoria two years later to join two older brothers, one by that time a fully qualified medical practitioner; with them building a slab hut for mother and sister, getting any work that offered on goldfield or sheep-run; supporting himself and helping others;, tramping immense distances, swimming flooded rivers; at one time earning £4 a day carting logs on a Government contract; attending Melbourne University, reading, writing, debating; articled to solicitors; reading for the Bar; playing for Victoria against New South Wales in the first intercolonial cricket match, while two cousins, W. G. Rees (later to give his name to river and valley in Central Otago) and G. Gilbert played for New South Wales; under the influence of some earnest kindly Congregationalists deciding that his gift of public speaking ought to be dedicated to evangelisation, throwing up his articles and becoming a Congregational minister, publishing essays, pamphlets and his first novel: his days were not monotonous.
In 1863 he married the daughter of Mr Opie Staite. Mr and Mrs Rees met for the first time in Melbourne, though born in the same Square in Bristol. Shortly after his marriage, Mr Rees resumed his law studies and was called to the Victorian Bar in 1865. Briefed for a New Zealand case, he came to the South Island in 1866, and, after passing a more or less formal exam necessary before he could appear in this Court, he was admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of New Zealand by Mr Justice Chapman, father of Sir Frederick Chapman.