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The Gladstone Building, Timaru

The Timaru and Gladstone Board of Works was created in an effort to pacify South Canterbury and allow the South Cantabrians to control their own major public works development. Over the earlier years there had been a little neglect from the Canterbury Provincial Council in Christchurch which had dealt sparingly with funds for bridging, roads, landing service, harbour, etc. An Act of General Assembly pushed through by Alfred Cox created the Timaru and Gladstone Board of Works on 25 September 1867.  Two members representing each of the four road boards of South Canterbury and the Municipal Council of Timaru were elected on 2 December 1867. The Board functioned for nine years and controlled the expenditure of local revenues and ended when the provincial system of government ended in 1876 and the General Government took over all public works. The Timaru and Gladstone Board of Works last meeting was on 30 November 1876 in its offices in The Great South Road now Stafford Street there it passed a resolution disposing of its freehold property and was taken over by the Lands and Survey Department and later the Ministry of Works.

Historic Place Category 1 A beautiful solid looking bluestone building barely noticeable 95 Stafford St. south. The Timaru & Gladstone Board of Works building was registered in 1883 under the Historic Places Act 1980.  It is a two-storey and rectangular in plan with a shallow hipped roof. The original portion of the building is presently used for storage by government departments. Unobtrusive additions have been made to the rear of the building in the 1970s. Comparing the 1983 photo the flagpole is missing above the doorway and the chimney next door.

and the late Timaru & Gladstone Board of Works (1867- 1876)


Timaru Herald, 2 October 1867, Page 5
A Bill to establish a General Board of Works for the Electoral Districts of Timaru and Gladstone.
Whereas by an Ordinance of the Provincial Council of the Province of Canterbury intituled "The Municipal Council Ordinance Session 14 No 2" a Municipal Council was established for the township of Timaru in the said province and whereas by another Ordinance of the said province intituled "The Board Districts Ordinance 1864" certain Road Districts were created within the electoral districts of Timaru and Gladstone in the said province for the construction and management of roads therein and respectively called
The Geraldine District
The Levels District
The Waimate District
The Mount Cook District
and whereas it is expedient to establish a General Board of Works within the said electoral districts.

Timaru Herald. Wednesday December 4, 1867. pg2
The elections under the Timaru and Gladstone Board of Works Act took place in the various districts on Monday. The following are the names of the members returned, with their respective districts
Timaru, Messrs Perry and Healey
Levels, Messrs H. J. LeCren and Luxmoore
Geraldine, Messrs A. Cox, M.H.R. and Hayhurst
Waimate, Messrs G. Parker and M. Studholme
Mount Cook, Messrs Matson and R. Parkerson.


Timaru Herald, 14 December 1867, Page 2
 The first meeting of the newly-constituted Board of Works for the Timaru and Gladstone districts was held in the Royal Assembly Booms, Timaru, on Thursday last. All the members were present. Mr Cox said that their first duty would be to elect a chairman, and he had much pleasure in proposing Mr Luxmoore, a gentleman who, from his position and his experience as chairman of a Road Board, would be quite au fait at the work. Mr Parker seconded the the nomination. No other gentleman being proposed, Mr Luxmoore then took the chair and returned thanks for the honor conferred upon him. The Board of Works Act was then read by the Chairman for the information of members.

APPOINTMENT OF OFFICERS. Mr Studholme said that he presumed the next step would be to appoint a Treasurer, and he begged, therefore, to propose Mr H. J. LeCren for the office. Mr LeCren was unanimously elected, am stated that he would perform the duties of the office to the best of his ability. Mr Perry said that at the commencement of this work there would be a good deal of correspondence and work to be attended to Under the 10th clause the Board had power to appoint a Secretary and Treasurer the motion just made by Mr Studholme was to appoint a Treasurer alone, and he did not think that they could have had a better man but as the two offices were not combined in one, they should, he thought, elect a Secretary as well as a Treasurer.

Mr Cox moved that the Chairman be instructed to report to the General and Provincial Governments the proceedings that had taken place, as to the appointment and constitution of the Board, and that it had held its first meeting; also, that a Treasurer had been elected who was prepared to receive any moneys that might be due. The motion was carried.

DEBENTURES. Mr LeCren proposed, in reference to Clause 21, that the Chairman be instructed to write to the Colonial Treasurer, requesting that debentures to the amount of £30,000 be handed over to the Board. Mr Matson seconded the motion. Mr Cox thought that the General Government could issue short dated colonial debentures for a portion of the money, so that no delay might take place in carrying out the purposes of the Act. It was desirable that in corresponding the Chairman should enter into the question, and suggest that some means be found by which the money could be handed over at once, so that some of the works might be undertaken without delay. The motion was then carried unanimously.

The Chairman thought that application should be made to the Land Office, to ascertain in what district each separate section of land was sold. The fairest way to divide the 25 per cent realised by the Board would be to allot 75 per cent, to the Road district in which the land was sold, and give five per cent, of the remaining 25 per cent, to each of the four other Road districts, the remainder being retained in the hands of the Board for expenses. He thought that Timaru should receive something, although it did not contribute any funds itself, as there was no doubt it would have but very little consideration from the Provincial Government....Mr Studholme thought that it was desirable that a general principle should be established at once as to the distribution of the money, so that there might be no squabbling hereafter. He would move that on the receipt of any amounts, the Treasurer be authorised to hand over 80 per cent to the Municipal Council or Road Board, as the case may be, in the district in which the land shall have been sold." Mr LeCren seconded the motion. The motion was carried.

RETURNS OF LAND SALES. Mr Cox moved "That the Chairman be instructed to write to the Commissioner of Crown Lands to furnish an account of the land sales in the various districts, distinguishing in what districts." Mr Perry seconded the proposal. The motion was carried,

BYE-LAWS. Mr Cox moved That a committee be appointed to draw up bye-laws and to report at the next meeting of the Board, such committee to consist of Messrs Luxmore, Perry, LeCren, Parker, and the mover." Mr Healey seconded, The motion was carried.

DAYS OF MEETING. Mr Cox moved that the meetings of the Board be held on the first Thursday in every month. Carried.
The Board then adjourned to the first Thursday in January.

July 2012 


Timaru Herald 13 March 1874, Page 4
Tenders were opened from the following for building stone offices for the Board Jones and Peters, £1349 10s F. J. Wilson, £1341 5s Thomas Machin, £1215. (Accepted). The consideration of the recommendation of the Engineer to fence in the site of the Board offices was postponed till next meeting. A letter was read from, the Engineer to the Board, stating that it would be impossible for him to work in his present offices during the winter, and requesting to be allowed to procure fresh ones. As the Board had already been to an expense in fitting up the present offices, and as others could not be procured cheaply they were disinclined to grant the request, taking into consideration also that the new offices would soon be built. The consideration of the matter was there fore postponed.

Timaru Herald, 21 August 1874, Page 2
The Board of Works office is getting on famously, and is developing itself into a much handsomer and more commodious building than might have been expected for the money.

Timaru Herald, 26 August 1874, Page 1
Meetings of the above Board were held on August 12, 13, and 14. Present Messrs Luxmoore, (chairman) McLean, Gray, Tancred, White, Hall, Teschemaker, and Dr Rayner. board's offices. A letter was read from Mr Machin, contractor for the erection of offices for the Board, asking for an extension of time for the completion of the work, his reason for having to ask being his inability to gut a sufficient number of carters and skilled labor.
    Mr Teschemaker spoke strongly against granting the extension. Ho said that with scarcely an exception, the contracts under the Board had not been performed within the specified time, and that the matter was really a very serious one. The practice of obtaining extensions had become so common that it should be put a stop to at once. He would propose That the request of T. Machin for on extension of time in connection with the building of offices for the Board be refused."
    Mr Gray seconded the motion.
    Mr White proposed, and Dr Rayner seconded "That the contractor for offices be allowed an extension of six weeks on his contract time."
    On the suggestion of Mr Hall, the words, ." he paying the inspector's salary during that time were added to the amendment, which was then put and carried.

Timaru Herald, 11 September 1874, Page 3 TIMARU AND GLADSTONE BOARD OF WORKS.
The ordinary monthly meeting of this Board was held on Wednesday. Present Messrs Luxmoore, (chairman) Hall, Manchester, and Dr Rayner.
UNPUNCTALITY OF MEMBERS. Previous to commencing business, the hour then being 11.45, the Chairman said that he was sorry he could not congratulate the members of the Board upon their punctuality. Last monthly meeting occupied three days, and he thought that if the members assembled at the proper hour, 11.15, they would probably get through the business of the Board much more satisfactorily. His observations were intended to apply equally, indeed more, to those who were absent than those who were then present. The minutes were then read, Messrs Gray and McLean taking their seats before the confirmation of the same.

Timaru Herald, 16 October 1874, Page 3
BOARD OFFICES. A letter was read from the architect for the new offices for the Board, Mr Roberts, stating that the contractor for the work would be in a position to hand over the building in a fortnight from date (the 14th October), if the Board would consent to the withdrawal for a time of two items, the distempering of walls, and paving of lobby. These works could not be completed satisfactorily before four or five months, and as the non-completion of these works would not prevent the Board's occupation of the building, he thought it would be advisable if the Board agreed to the proposal made by the contractor. On the motion of Messrs Hall and McLean, it was resolved—"That the suggestion of Mr Roberts, re tiling of lobby and distempering of walls of offices be adopted.

Timaru Herald, 20 November 1874, Page 5
The monthly meeting of the Timaru and Gladstone Board of Works was held Nov. 11. Present Messrs Luxmoore (chairman), McLean, Manchester, and Dr Rayner. The minutes of last, meeting were read and confirmed. Engineer's report. A portion of the Engineer's report was read as follows Timaru and Gladstone Board of Works office, Nov. 10. To the Chairman "Timaru & Gladstone Board of Works. Sir, I have much pleasure in laying my report for the month before you in the new buildings, which were very much needed and have now to ask for authority to finish the offices, to fence the section, and to build a coalhouse, etc. 'With regard to the general work, I am very glad to say that, the Waihi bridge is progressing satisfactorily. The Pareora bridge is unsatisfactory the contractor has not done his work well. I have objected to the use of white pine in this bridge, which will cause some extra expense. The Orari bridge is also progressing well. The south bridge is being decked, and the north bridge is in a forward state.
The ballasting of the Point railway has been pushed on a little faster during the latter part of the month....

FURNITURE FOR OFFICES. Dr Rayner proposed, Mr McLean seconded, and it was resolved "That the Engineer be requested to furnish, by next Board day, an estimated cost of the necessary furniture, etc., for the new offices, and the fencing of the section."

BOARD OFFICES. A letter was read from Mr Roberts, the architect for the new offices for the Board, stating that the offices were now completed, and enclosing certificate for final payment. The letter also recommended that the Board should not enforce the payment by the contractor, Mr Machin, of the Clerk of Works for the extra time granted him in which to complete his contract also; that the Board should put an ornamental railing in front of the building. A letter was read from Mr Machin, praying the Board not to require him to pay the Clerk of Works' salary during the extra time allowed him in which to complete his contract. Mr Hall proposed, Mr White seconded, and it was resolved 'That, in reply to Mr Machin's application, the Board agrees thereto, considering the very favorable report of Mr Roberts, and that the Chairman be authorised to sign vouchers for £302 Is 10d, and £64 14s in favor of Mr Machin."

Timaru Herald, 20 November 1874, Page 3 Timaru and Gladstone Board of Works
Tenders for the following works in connection with the now offices for the Board were accepted by Messrs Luxmoore (chairman) and Hall on Wednesday last: —Construction of a 3000 gallon cement cistern, building coal shed, latrines and fencing, £103 10s, Thos. Machin; furnishing offices, £110 9s 4d, Willis and Wood; supplying three iron gates, £38 15s, J. Collins.

Timaru Herald, 11 December 1874, Page 3
Timaru wants a tower or spire here and there to break the dull monotony of small houses and gum trees, and to disturb the windmill's ancient solitary reign. The Board of Works office is at present the highest building in the town, and the clock tower, which it was suggested should be added to it, would have been a very prominent and sightly object. Small jealousies, however, joined with, indifference to prevent that improvement being made, and Timaru remains without a land-mark. It would have been a great advantage had the architect of the new police barracks taken the opportunity of supplying this defect. The highest part of the building, as at present designed, is not as high as the eaves of the Board of Works office and the whole structure will soon be lost to the view among private houses and plantations.

They built bridges. 

The final meeting 

Timaru Herald, 1 December 1876, Page 3 Timaru and Gladstone Board of Works
The final meeting of the above Board was held yesterday. There were present; Messrs Hall(chairman) Cliff, Ostler, Mendlelson, and Cain. The following letter, was read
Timaru, Nov. 30, 1876.
The Chairman of the Timaru and Gladstone Board of Works
Sir,— We have the honor to forward you our opinion as to the powers of the Board to dispose of its freehold property. It was impossible from the shortness of the notice for us to have prepared, the deed mentioned in the resolution by the meeting of the Board this morning. We should advise such a deed as mentioned not being prepared, as it may hamper the sale of the property... it seems the Board has the power to carry out the scheme of disposition embodied in its resolution of yesterday (except in respect of the Timaru Landing Service, which is expressly dealt with by The Timaru Harbor Board Act, 1876)... Perry and Perry
    Mr.Ostler proposed, Mr Cliff seconded, and it was resolved, That the Secretary be instructed to cause an inventory to be made out of all the property of the Board, and that copy of the same be forwarded to each Chairman of the Road Boards in the South Canterbury district also to the Mayor of the Borough Council. Mr Mendelson proposed, Mr Ostler seconded, and it was resolved, That should the Government agree to take over allotment No 17 of rural section No. 7555 Timaru district and all the real and personal property of the Timaru and Gladstone Board of Works comprising their offices, at a valuation to be arrived at by arbitration in the usual manner this Board hereby agrees to such sale on the understanding that the proceeds of the said valuation be immediately thereafter divided amongst the various Road Boards of South Canterbury, and the Borough of Timaru pro rata in accordance with their..
    The Board here adjourned, and reassembled, at 3 p.m. Resolved That this Board desire to record their appreciation of the services of Mr Tate as secretary and treasurer to the Board during the last five years."
    Resolved—" That the Board desire to express their thanks to and appreciation of the services of We have the honor to forward you our opinion as to the powers of the Board to dispose of its freehold property engineer." .. The officers alluded to returned thanks. After the minutes had been read and confirmed the meeting terminated.

Tate tooting the Board's horn

Timaru Herald, 1 December 1876, Page 3 THE LATE BOARD OF WORKS.
To the Editor of the Timaru Herald. Sir,— Now that the last meeting of the Timaru and Gladstone Board of Works has been held, and it is about to give place to the more perfect scheme of local Government, which has been matured, it may be of interest to mark what this Board has been enabled to accomplish in its existence of nearly nine years. The Timaru and Gladstone Board of Works was constituted by Act of General Assembly in 1867, and held its first meeting on 12th December, 1867. It was endowed with £3o,ooo from the General Government, and with one-fourth of the land sales in its district commencing from March 1868. Since that time till now the Board's receipts have been:

From General Government proceeds of Loan 	 £28,656 
One-fourth of Land Sales received 		 244,860 
Provincial Government 				 165,338 
Interest received from other sources 		  12,605 

This has been expended as follows:

Distributed to the Road Boards and Municipality £238,466
Expended on Works throughout the District 	 205,029 
Received for Harbor Works 			   6,020
Cost of management by the Board 		   1,450

The Board has constructed 26 miles of railway at a cost of about £3500 the mile;
It has built bridges across the Rangitata, Orari, Waihi, Kakahu, Tengawai, Opihi, Temuka, Pareora, Otaio, Hook, and Waihou rivers, and the Saltwater Creek.
It built the first part of the Hospital
Surveyed the projected Pareora, Waterrace
Constructed roads in the Temuka District
and essayed the commencement of the Breakwater
It has carried on the Government Landing Service
It has made ferries in the Mount Cook district.
All these, works have been carried out successfully except the Breakwater beton and that might have been now standing but for the unfortunate death of its projector - Mr Balfour - almost as soon as it was begun. The expense which the Board has incurred in its management of these works has been insignificant.
Mr P. B. Luxmoore was the first Chairman, and be continued in office until a few months-back, when he was succeeded by Mr T. W. Hall.
No doubt there are many imperfections to be noted in the working of the Board but it has represented can make this boast, that its business was always conducted impartially, that it kept its hands clean, and that it never committed or sanctioned a job knowingly, that it always considered the trust committed to its charge as sacred; and that no matter what pressure might be out upon it, it always devoted its funds to public purposes for the benefit of the district as a whole. This part of the colony may have a brilliant future; but the history of the Timaru and Gladstone Board of Works will not shame it, for it has proved that local institutions can be worked by local men with honesty, with judgement, and with success.

I am, &c.,
Edward H. Tate,
Timaru, Nov. 30. 1876 

The reply

Timaru Herald, 5 December 1876, Page 3 To the Editor of the Timaru Herald
It was quite refreshing to read the gushingly pathetic letter of the late Secretary of the defunct Timaru and Gladstone Board of Works, beautiful too to peruse the encomiums lavished by the said Board upon the "left out in the cold" officers, printed on same day in your report of the Board's last meeting, Now, could it not have occurred to the urbane and modest Secretary that the aforesaid Board might be credited with sundry other great actions besides what he ascribes to them. ...It is only justice to observe that some rational beings have very grave doubts if the Board have not at various times chucked a fearful quantity of the money they were entrusted with into the Rangitata river, in the shape of now protective works. That building a bridge over the Orari was a sheer downright waste of public money, ... it never was required. Again, that the "Waihi bridge was a monstrous" work of supererogation as the Creek, (for it is not deserving the name river has been (with the exception of once or twice) since the district has been occupied by White fellows — never impassable. Always a splendid ford, and a Godsend to thirsty jaded teams; where they could cool their burning limbs and mouths. That the Minor Opihi bridge was a delusion having vanished like a tin toy, as soon as it was required to stand the tug of war; That the Temuka bridge was a gigantic mistake, a lasting monument of incompetence or neglect, the piles having been nearly all driven ere the Board imagined (for it was a fearful flight of hallucination) that the flood waters would pass over the then determined on floor. Oh! it was glorious to see how well the oracle was worked then Some people fancied that if the piles as driven by the contractors' had been cut level at this extreme height, the said piles Would have allowed a second edition of Noah's deluge, to hide its diminished head, ere it reached the floor. But here I must pause. ... ASMODEUS        

A distributing body.    

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