8 months ago

Fitzgerald's Town

elonging to Henry

elonging to Henry Meyenberg on the corner of Gerald Street and Robert Street where Ethelbert and his family lived. The house was a well known landmark and was only demolished about 1962 to make way for the present business premises extending from Hammer Hardware to Felix the Cafe. In 1877 Ethelbert married Elizabeth Dale Waghorn who arrived on the Randolph in 1850 as an infant born on board ship shortly after sailing for Lyttelton. She died in November 1937, aged 87, eleven years after her husband; both are buried at St Mary’s at Springston. Ethelbert and Herbert both contributed to the life of the community. Ethelbert’s role was acknowledged by the vicar who wrote in The Church Magazine, January 1927 as follows: Looking back over the old records I find that for many years Mr Howell was a Vestryman in Lincoln and took an active part in Lincoln church life as well as in the business and social life of the township and district. At times, during the absence of the vicar, he discharged the duties of a Lay Reader by reading the Office at burials. The registers give evidence of this in his own handwriting. Henry Meyenberg, born Heinrich Carl Meyenberg in Bottsmeersdorf, a village about 160 km north east of Leipzig in Germany, came to New Zealand with his older brother Wilhelm on the Captain Cook in 1863 at the age of 23. He was a well respected resident who although a wheelwright by training, worked in various capacities from repairman and builder to coach builder. It is not known when he came to Lincoln, but he married Martha Longman at St. Michael’s in Christchurch in 1870. Mary Tod of Lincoln was one of the witnesses at the wedding suggesting a local connection and the year for which we have the first record of his working in the township. The following year he became a New Zealand citizen and in 1881 he and his family moved to farm near Stratford in Taranaki where he died in 1929 at the ripe old age of 91. Henry and Martha had three children, two daughters and a son, all born in Lincoln. Besides working as a jobbing carpenter in the district, Henry’s major works included building a refreshment room for the Lincoln Township Fair Company, constructing and installing sluice gates for the Springs Road Board to control flooding in the Halswell River, and building a wagon, capable of carrying a six ton load, for Henry Moffat, the Lincoln miller. It carried grain and flour to Mr. Moffat’s Christchurch store and on occasion, children to school picnics! However, his most enduring work was the construction, in 1873, of the Lincoln library in James Street on land opposite the primary school. The library committee and residents were well pleased with Mr. Meyenberg's 26

work, not without reason, for the well preserved building still stands as the Pioneer Hall, in the centre of the township beside the L1 River facing Market Square. In 1873 Meyenberg bought the two quarter acre sections (now including Hammer Hardware to Felix the Café on Gerald Street) later owned by the Howell brothers, from his friend Henry Moffat for 50 pounds. At about the same time he also bought a section (now No’s 17a and 17b) in William Street, for 12 pounds.10 shillings. He built his seven roomed home and workshop on the Gerald Street property and a four roomed cottage on the other. When he left Lincoln in 1881 his properties and his stock in trade were sold by auction 20 . His premises on Gerald Street were apparently destroyed by fire at some time, but it is not known exactly when this happened. Henry was active in local affairs. He was a long serving member of the Lincoln school committee, active in St Stephen's parish affairs, an officer of the Druids Lodge and was involved with the New Year’s sports day. He was interested in improving the river reserve (Liffey Reserve) and in 1879 was elected one of five trustees responsible to the Selwyn County Council for maintaining its fences, paths and trees until he left the district for Taranaki. George Lipscomb was a builder living in Lincoln in 1878 when he bought three quarter acre sections (Lots 14, 16, 18) on the western side of Robert Street. He advertised 21 that as a “builder, general carpenter and cabinetmaker” he made “all sorts of gates and hurdles to order”, stocked picture frames, doors and window sashes as well as “coal, timber, firewood, and every description of building material” and “a large assortment of London Photographic Views”. He must have been a skilled tradesman for although he did not complete a contract on time the school committee did not demand a penalty payment because of the quality of his work. 22 Mark Finch, saddler, owned a section on Maurice Street (now No.5) from 1880 until his death thirteen years later. He probably lived there, but since he apparently leased the corner section next door this is uncertain. There is a record that his premises were destroyed by fire although the date is not known. Charles Thomas Restall arrived in Lincoln in about 1883 about two years after the Meyenbergs left for Taranaki. He bought two sections fronting Gerald Street (Lots 3 and 4 Block III) on which he built his workshop and house. The house still stands as Hillyers Café, and the workshop, now long gone, stood on the section between the café and the chemist’s shop, the empty space a mute 27

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