Section 10: November-December 1889

Section 10: November-December 1889

Harris, Emily Cumming collection. Collection of Puke Ariki (ARC2002-190).

November 2nd [Saturday]. The Sale of Work for the Church is over thank goodness. Ellen had charge of the Flower Stall, with Totsy Levien, Minnie Pitt, Milly Boor & Nina Jones to help her. Ellen made a lot of baskets for flowers & some wire baskets for ferns, she went out ferning two days – but she was given a great deal of unnecessary trouble & vexation about where the Stall was to be, she even wrote & resigned the Stall altogether but was not allowed to do that. It ended in Ellen making the Stall very pretty and attractive and they did very well.

I only went to the Bazaar the second evening to see the Tableaux Vivants. Mrs Locking was most anxious for us to get them up but we declined as we had had quite enough of them for this year, so she got Miss Morgan to help.

The Tableaux were done by children – Nursery Rhymes; F. & I got very good places for seeing but when the curtain drew up the scene was so misty we could not make out all the figures, otherwise the scenes would have been very pretty. The light was very bad & Miss Morgan had used a black gauze, making the picture altogether too dark, but all that we could see was very pretty indeed, especially Little Red Riding Hood & the Wolf.

Nov 10th [Sunday]. I am only now getting over the dreadful attack of indigestion from which I have been suffering for the last six weeks, making life a misery. Only last week was I able to set to work painting.

I began Mr Moir’s two drawings, somehow I never can get on with copies. I am trying also to finish up some things of my own but it is hard work doing anything of the sort for my back aches dreadfully. I get up often at six in order to get my share of the sweeping, dusting, washing, ironing & various other things done, so that after school I may have some time for painting.

I have added up all our accounts & find we cannot pay all we owe, so I have really decided to have my Exhibition of pictures this month. I made my plans long ago but have never had the courage to carry them out. I did think of raising money that way to publish my book; that now is settled another way. But it is imperative for me to raise money for the household expenses this or some other way – that first & if very successful a visit to New Plymouth during the holidays.

So I went on Friday the [8th] to ask Mr Kempthorne if I could have the Shelbourne St Schoolroom for a week from the 18th, when to my dismay I found that this room which is only used on Sundays & Wednesdays & occasional concerts all the year round, was engaged from the 18th for eight days for the BA University examination; here was a crusher. I wanted to get mine over before the third of Dec. when the All Saints’ Parish intend having a Sale of Work & Art Exhibition to be held open for five days. There is always something in the way, I thought I had waited until everything was over. The All Saints’ affair would quite spoil mine if I cannot get it over first.

[17th, Sunday]. Yesterday afternoon Ellen & I went out to Bishopdale — the Bishop & Mrs Suter had an At Home, or rather a large Garden Party. We took a cab out with Mrs & Miss Levien & we walked back, it was a lovely day for walking, the heavy rain on Friday had laid the dust & made all the gardens & country look so fresh.

I never saw Bishopdale grounds look more lovely — I was especially delighted to point out the beauties to those who had never been there before. There were a great number of people there, we only intended to stay an hour but there were so many friends to speak to that two hours passed very quickly. People looked so nice in their new spring dresses: delicate silks, beautiful prints and lovely white dresses of all sorts mingled with darker & richer costumes of the elder ladies – Ellen & I had new dresses, which gave us trouble enough to get made in time. Making a dress is such a dreadful bother to me, for if I can make a mistake I do & have to unpick any amount, it is always a success in the end, but it is a long time before the end is arrived at.

My dress was partly plain dark blue print & partly dark blue & white stripes. In my black net bonnet I put a couple of lovely real blush roses & some more for my dress.

Mrs Levien gave Ellen her dress, a lovely sky blue with white stripes. She said Ellen had done so many little things for them lately that she felt she would like to give her something & as she knew she was going to get a new dress she wanted to give this in time to prevent her buying one, & also hoped she would be able to get it ready for the At Home. Ellen had to work as hard as I did to get it made, but it was done, and I never saw her look better than in this pale blue with lovely Marshal Niel roses.

Considering how hard at work we all are painting for our Ex., we should not have troubled about new dresses only we wanted them for all sorts of occasions between this and Christmas.

Just before coming away the Bishop said, ‘Can I speak to you a moment or two?’ & I walked with him a little way from the crowd. I supposed it to be something about my Exhibition, but he began by asking after my father’s health, & then that he thought that at his age it must be rather trying for him to go on teaching drawing, did I wish it? ‘No,’ I replied, ‘I do not.’

‘Because,’ he continued, ‘Mr Harkness wishes to make some change. Many of the parents wish for a more modern system of teaching drawing, if your father would resign it might come about so much better.’

I saw in an instant that a change would be made, only it was wished to come from him. Ever since Father’s illness I have not liked to see him go to the school, so I replied that I would try to get him to resign.

‘Of course,’ said the Bishop, ‘we should not let him go without some recognition of his services.’

Then I briefly told him of my project, so many came to take their leave that he had only time to say, ‘I will help you all I can.’

When I came home I had a talk with Father about the drawing class, told him what the Bishop said about its being too hard for him now, & told him I wished him to send in his resignation, but he did not see it at all.

Monday 18th. Had another talk with Father about resigning the drawing, but he won’t do it so I shall have to let Mr Harkness know that he will have to request him to resign. Think of an old man nearly eighty four being so unwilling to give up.

I thought it was time to tell him about my intended exhibition when to my surprise he got quite angry & said I should not have the big picture. In fact I think he meant that I should not have any, it quite upsets my plans.

Harris, Emily Cumming collection. Collection of Puke Ariki (ARC2002-190).

Tuesday. Our hopes & spirits have sunk down to zero to think that Father would not let us have his best picture. Ellen said he asked her this morning what she paid for the draw pipes she was painting & seemed much surprised that it was so little. After dinner I was in the drawing room when he came in for his book.

‘When does this affair of yours come off?’ he asked.

‘About the 12th of next month,’ I said.

‘Then I will let you have the picture.’

‘Oh! thank you,’ I said & our spirits went up with a bound once more.

This evening I went to play bezique with Lillie & Mrs Rodgerson. Lillie is so much better.

Harris, Edwin. Untitled. Collection of Puke Ariki (A64.650).

Friday, Nov 22nd. Mrs Moore came in to ask if we knew that the Shelbourne St Schoolroom was taken from the 9th to the 18th for the College examinations, she found it out from Harold’s papers? No, we had not the least idea, it quite spoilt our plans. There was no use in having our affair later than the 18th. The Colleges, schools & Christmas took up everyone’s attention. ‘Why not have it next week?’ said Mrs Moore, ‘Just before the bazaar.’ But then the Payne Family were coming & they would attract all the people.

However we at last decided to have it on the 29th, the 30th & the second of December, unless we could open on the 28th. I went to see Mr Kempthorne & find out if the room would be used on the 28th. Mr Kempthorne was very kind & said if I wanted the room on the Monday he would give the children a Church service in the Cathedral.

The next morning I went to call upon the Rev. S. Poole, the examiner for the BA degree, to ask when I could have the room. He had just gone out but came back while I was talking to Mrs P., he was in a great hurry to get to the Schoolroom, so I went with him there explaining what I wanted as we went on. He is generally so full of compliments & jokes that it was rather a shock to me when he said, ‘Miss Harris, you have allowed yourself to get so grey that I hardly knew you – when I first met you your hair was as black as the raven’s wing.’

‘One cannot keep young forever,’ I said – & then we talked of other things. Yes my hair was dark enough then, but that was some eighteen summers ago, and Mr Poole never forgets that time – my visit to Motueka, where I met poor James – to my sorrow.  That was so long ago, is it any wonder I am grey now? However those pleasant days linger in Mr Poole’s memory, I would rather forget them.

I had to go to the Schoolroom for him to look at his papers to see when I could have the room. He found to his regret that I could not have the room until half past five on the 28th. We had some talk about the exam papers. I said how much I should have liked to have gone in for that sort of thing.

‘Then why not now?’ he said.

‘Too late,’ I replied, ‘& I have other irons in the fire.’

‘I always maintain,’ he remarked, ‘that the best educated children I have had to examine have come from your school.’

‘I do not get many pupils for all that,’ I said.

Nevertheless I was glad to hear him say it, especially as Mrs Lewis Gully told me a short time ago that Mabel who left our school for the Girls’ High School last February had passed the Sixth Standard with great credit, the Inspector Mr W. Hodgson, said that she must have been exceedingly well taught. ‘And so,’ said Mrs Gully, ‘I thought I would tell you because it is a feather in your cap, as she never went to any other school before but yours.’

Just before I saw Mr Poole I met Mr Harkness & we had a long talk, he thinks it quite time that father gave up the drawing, but did not like to tell him, ‘because,’ he remarked, ‘Mr Harris was there a long time before I became head master.’ I told him he had better write or tell him after my Exhibition was over.

Then I went to the Bishop’s cottage to ask when the Bishop would be likely to be there, I was sorry to hear from Mr Kingsley that his Lordship was very unwell & not likely to be in for a day or two. I showed Mr Kingsley my advertisement & explained why I was obliged to have it so soon. He rewrote the advertisement making it shorter, viz.:

Exhibition of Pictures
New Zealand Wild Flowers and other Paintings will be held at the Shelbourne St. Schoolroom
Nov 29th, 30th, & Dec 2nd.
Admission 1/ Season Tickets 2/

I then went to the Mail Office. I saw Mr Lucas & explained that I wanted to put in an advertisement & so on. I wished to see the Editor for as the time was so short I wanted a preliminary local to call attention to the advertisement.

‘Certainly,’ said Mr Lucas, ‘but Mr Blundell has not come in yet, Mr Burdekin the Sub Editor perhaps will do, I will find him & introduce you.’

So he went off to fetch him, in the meantime a gentleman came out of the Editor’s room & looked as much as to say, ‘Can I do anything?’

‘Are you Mr Burdekin?’ I asked.

‘Yes,’ he replied.

‘Oh! then –’ & I began to explain what I wanted, & Mr Lucas came back. I had got as far as, ‘Would you come to our house to have a private view of the pictures?’ when he interrupted me by saying, ‘Excuse me but I have not the least idea to whom I am speaking.’ Mr Lucas laughed; I had forgotten.

‘I am Miss Harris,’ I answered.

‘Yes I know the name,’ and he looked as if he did know the name. ‘Very well, I will come with pleasure. Will Monday morning suit, at half past ten?’

I then paid Mr Lucas 10/6 for the advertisement.

‘I fear you are having this at a very bad time. The Ogden Company are coming & they are very good.’

I had not heard of them before, another blow, but I could not draw back now.

Then I went to the Colonist Office. I have forgotten to mention that just as I was leaving the Mail Office, Mr Blundell came in so I explained to him why I was there & that I hoped he would do the best he could for me.

At the Colonist Office there was [no one] I wanted to see, they had all gone home to sleep. So I thought I would go to the Editor’s home & see Mrs Bannehr. I had a long talk with her, she took the advertisement & promised to explain it all to her husband. I asked her to come with him to look at the exhibits.

I was pretty tired when I got home. I had however set everything going. In the afternoon I began to arrange the pictures, screens, table-tops etc. in our Schoolroom and we all worked hard at those pictures that were still unfinished.

Monday morning. Ellen had the children in the dining room. At eleven Mr Burdekin had not arrived. I was in despair. I went to the cottage to enquire for the Bishop, I told Mr Kingsley. He said, ‘Wait a minute I’ll telephone to the Mail Office, they must have forgotten,’ which he did & the answer was that Mr Blundell had just left to come.

I got back in time to receive him, I showed him and explained the principal things while he took notes. He appeared very much pleased & surprised. What he thought was put in the long & complimentary local which appeared in the next issue of the Mail.

Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday we worked as hard as we could. Our children were wild to sell some tickets for us, also Chummy Levien who is now no longer a pupil wanted to sell some, so together they sold about fifty, we were sure of some people coming.

I went to Mrs Scott & offered to let the teachers & children of her School come at a reduced price. Ellen wrote to Miss Gascoigne of the High School making the same offer. Then I went to the convent to make a similar arrangement. The Rev. Mother was so pleased that I came as she, when she read the account in the paper, thought how much she would like to see the Ex. so I arranged for her to come privately.

Thursday at half past five Mr Poole finished with the room & we began to take the things over. Bertie Moore & the Levien boys began first, then came Mr White, Mr S. Smith & Mr Kingsley, it took us all a number of journeys to carry the things over. Then came the hanging of the pictures. The first put up took so long that it seemed as if it would be an endless affair, however we had so carefully planned & arranged the different groups of pictures that after a while the work went on swiftly. It was so far done by ten o’clock that we felt we could finish it ourselves the next morning. In the meantime the Payne Family & the Ogden Company were drawing crowds of people & our chance was very small.

The next day was fine, Frances & Ellen worked hard & after school I did the same. I gave the children a half holiday & told them to come & go with us, & then they could help to show the pictures to the visitors, which they did.

We had so many things to arrange that we could scarcely get ready in time. It just struck three just before I got to the door, the Bishop & Mrs Suter & Miss Branfill had got out of their carriage & were knocking at the door. I hurried up apologising & hoped his Lordship had quite recovered, he replied that he was not quite well yet & had only come at my request to open the Exhibition.

I was so vexed that there was no one there to receive them, even the man who was to take the tickets had not arrived. However we went in & I began to show them round.

They appeared to be much pleased & surprised, his Lordship was much struck with Frances’ basket of Kowhai flowers. After he had been round the room two or three times, he asked me to come & look at the ticket on this picture. I wondered what could be amiss, but he only laughed as I read, ‘sold, Bishop of Nelson.’

‘Frances will be pleased,’ I said. Frances & Ellen came in just then & they were told to look at that picture. Mrs Suter bought a little drawing of a lace bark flower. Mr and Mrs Bannehr and Mrs Finney came in soon after. I had to show Mr Bannehr round & point out all I wanted especially noticed. He was quite amazed as well as very much pleased which he showed by his long description in the Colonist the next morning.

Mrs Finney bought a picture of English clematis, not many people came but those who did expressed great admiration, even those who have been coming in & out our house for years never thought we could make such a display. We were greatly pleased as the want of attendance was made up by what we sold.

The next day it was much the same, not many people came but we sold several things, so we were satisfied. So many people who wished to come were unable to do so on account of All Saints’ Bazaar that I put in a fresh advertisement & reopened it the next Friday & Saturday, but we did not get many people, but on the whole we did not do badly considering the other attractions.

Frances was very much pleased as she sold her best pictures. I should have been better pleased if I had sold what I could spare instead of what I particularly wanted to keep, so I have had to work so hard to get some of the pictures copied as I did not want to lose them, as I could not get them again.

After paying our pressing debt & all expenses except the gas, which I have not got the account of yet, I shall be able to go to New Plymouth for my holiday. I mean to have my Exhibition there, else I should not like to take a holiday.

This Exhibition came just in time to raise our spirits as our prospects are very dull & gloomy at present. We think we see our way to make money in the future. Frances & Ellen will finish off & paint pictures especially for sale & I must do the same instead of having a lot of unfinished things. Then in the winter we can have another Exhibition, meantime I am trying to get ready to go away.

I have had a hard task to persuade Father to send in his resignation, Mr Harkness did not write. Even when Father said he would do it, he exclaimed, ‘It is all nonsense. You know I am quite well able to go on.’ But we know better, he is so slow and failing in little things.

I cannot go before Christmas & so I have been persuaded to take, with the assistance of Mr Heaps and Mr Wright, the entire management of the decorations for the Church.

Wednesday the 18th. We broke up School, no recitations or decorations this year, only giving the prizes. The children brought us some bouquets of flowers, Arthur Gannaway brought me a bouquet in a pretty little glass vase which he bought with his own money.

Thursday 19th. Frances, Father and I went to the breaking up of the Bishop’s School. Ellen got too nervous to go, Frances would have backed out also only [I] would not go alone. The School was beautifully decorated with flags, Nikau palm leaves, Lycopodium & flowers.

The speeches & prize giving took a very long time. Then came the subject we were most interested in, Mr Harris’s resignation. The Bishop (Primate now) spoke of Mr Harris’s long service, his kindness, attention & devotion to his work winning the respect & liking of both masters & boys. (In every other department of the School occasional troubles & differences had arisen but with the drawing class not one word of dispute or complaint had ever arisen during nearly twenty years.) Mr Harkness spoke in much the same strain. Then the boys presented Father with a handsome easy chair. Father had not heard the speeches & perhaps it was as well. We sat by him, I had been so afraid that I should have to rise & thank them for Father never could speak in public, however he said, ‘What am I to do?’

‘Get up & say thank you,’ I replied.

So he rose at once & made in a firm distinct voice a short speech thanking them most heartily for their kindness in thinking of him.

The Bishop put an envelope on the chair & said when Mr Harris had worn out the cushion he would be happy to renew it. So this was satisfactorily settled at last. The boys were delighted with Father’s speech. They brought over the chair, a little while after Chummy Levien managed to be sent into the drawing room with a message, he wanted to see Mr Harris sitting in the chair, the other boys were waiting outside to hear how Mr Harris liked it. The Bishop’s envelope contained a quarter’s salary.

Harris, Emily Cumming collection. Collection of Puke Ariki (ARC2002-190).

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So I went on Friday the [8th] to ask Mr Kempthorne if I could have the Shelbourne St Schoolroom 
Emily finds her plan to book exhibition space 18-25 November thwarted by BA examinations scheduled in the schoolroom 18-26 Nov. When she moves the exhibition to 12 December, she finds the room is booked for school examinations 9-18 December. Eventually she settles for a three-day booking 29-30 November and 2 December. She reopens the exhibition 6-7 December.

Our hopes & spirits have sunk down to zero to think that Father would not let us have his best picture
Edwin Harris painted a large oil for the 1866 Melbourne Intercolonial Exhibition of Australasia. The painting depicts a forest scene in Taranaki with the mountain and ranges in view and four Māori figures on the banks of a stream identified as the Waiwhakaiho by a contemporary notice:

Pictures for the Victorian Exhibition.—-It appears that Nelson will be very fairly represented in the fine arts department of the Melbourne Exhibition, in the quality of the productions of our local artists, although the quantity may not be considerable. Mr. E. Harris has contributed an oil painting of much merit, the subject being a view on the Waiwakaio stream, Taranaki, with Mount Egmont in the distance. The picture is of large size, allowing considerable scope for representing the pleasing and varied scenery of this locality. The sunny banks, with the contrasting shady’ nooks ; the varying light and shade ; the natural glint of the stream, have all been managed most effectively by Mr. Harris ; the water painting being transparently and very artistically treated. Mount Egmont occupies the extreme distance of the picture, and gives force to the work, being well defined yet not unduly prominent; and the thick forest land in front, gently tipped with the morning sunlight, gives warmth and softness, and contrasts pleasingly with the depth of tone in portions of the foreground. The picture is altogether the best we have seen from Mr. Harris’s painstaking pencil. (Colonist 25 Sept 1866: 3)

The notice makes no mention of the painting’s Māori protagonists. Edwin may have felt disappointed when Australian reviews passed over his magnum opus, praising the work of John Gully among New Zealand exhibitors.

He showed the work at the 1873 Nelson Horticultural and Industrial Exhibition and made it available for all four family exhibitions 1889-90. The painting was shown again at the Nelson Jubilee Fine Arts Exhibition in 1892. In September 1925, immediately after Emily’s death, Mary Weyergang presented several Harris works to the Taranaki Museum. They are described in the accession register as follows:

E25.24: September. Painting of Mt. Egmont from Waiwakaho by late Edwin Harris. New P. Presented by Mrs Wyergang.

E25.25: September. Panels by miss [?]. New P. Presented by Mrs Wyergang.

E25.26: September. Panels by miss E.C. Harris. New P. Presented by Mrs Wyergang.

(Taranaki Museum Accession Register 1921-1932)

The two large oil panels by Emily Harris are unproblematic. (Puke Ariki. A66.051 and A66.052) However the view of mountain and river has been assigned by later curators to a small watercolour by Edwin depicting the Waiwhakaiho suspension bridge that was washed away in 1847. (A66.768) Given the size and importance of Edwin’s 1866 oil, and the fact that two of Mary’s other presentations of 1925 were large panels, it would seem reasonable to assume that ‘E25.24: September.’ denotes ‘the big picture’ so prized by the family. (A64.650) The register records no other work by Edwin Harris that could be the oil painting, which is signed and dated and has an elaborate gold frame.

Ellen said he asked her this morning what she paid for the draw pipes she was painting
Ellen’s decorative work was remarked on by one of the exhibition reviewers: ‘Amongst the work of Miss Ellen Harris, the portrait of a nun, several small paintings of scenery, and the earthenware pipes in Egyptian and Arabesque designs call for notice.’ (Colonist 24 Dec 1889: 5 [sup])

Mrs Moore came in to ask if we knew that the Shelbourne St Schoolroom was taken
Neighbours Sarah Rebecca Moore and her son Joseph Harold Moore (1872-1940), eldest grandchild of John and Jane Gully.

The next morning I went to call upon the Rev. S. Poole, the examiner for the BA degree
The Rev Samuel Poole (c.1825-1897) was the resident minister of St Thomas’ Church, Motueka, from 1864 until 1893. He refers to Emily’s meeting with James Upfill Wilson of Motueka, an event Emily would prefer to forget in light of James’ subsequent incarceration and death in the Nelson Lunatic Asylum in 1878. See section 5, ‘James Upfill Wilson’ (9 Apr 2020) and ‘James Upfill Wilson Redux’ (23 Apr 2020). Samuel Poole married Mary Cutriss (c.1832-1924) in Wellington in 1854; the couple had five daughters and one son. Poole’s obituary profiled his lifelong educational interests:

It is our painful duty to record the death of the Rev Samuel Poole, M.A., which occurred at 4 p.m. on Saturday, after a prolonged illness. For several days past his death had been expected, and at last the summons came. The deceased was greatly esteemed as a faithful servant of the Master, as a distinguished scholar, and as a man. He was educated at Pembroke College, Oxford, taking his B.A. degree in 1848, and that of M.A two years later, then the M.A. degree of the N.Z. University in 1880. He was ordained a deacon in 1849 and priest in 1850 by then Bishop of London. Having acted as Curate of St. Mary’s at Paddington and of Clapham, he came out to New Zealand in 1853. Since then the late Mr Poole has acted as incumbent of St. Peter’s, Wellington, Holy Trinity, Richmond, and of the Waimea and Motueka, filling these positions in turn until 1893. In November of 1892 Mr Poole suffered from a severe illness, which led to him relinquishing active work as a clergyman. Soon after his arrival in New Zealand he officiated as chaplain to the troops and as a missionary in various unsettled parts of the colony. For several years past he had resided quietly in Nelson, his high educational abilities gaining him the position of examiner and supervisor of examinations in connection with the University, Nelson College, and other educational institutions. The funeral will leave the late residence of the deceased, Trafalgar-street South, at 10 a.m. on Wednesday for the Stoke Cemetery. (Nelson Evening Mail 21 June 1897: 3)

the Inspector Mr W. Hodgson, said that she must have been exceedingly well taught
William Charles Hodgson (1826-1894), father of Rebecca Sinclair and uncle of Bessie Gully, née Hodgson, whose daughter Mabel has done well after leaving the Harris sisters’ school. Rebecca is the Mrs Sinclair of the property near Cable Bay where Emily and Frances camped out at Christmas New Year 1888-89. See Section 7. Her 1932 memoir introduces her father, who was appointed inspector of schools. in 1863: ‘My father was William Charles Hodgson, for many years Inspector of Schools both in the Nelson and Marlborough districts. An account of his life’s work is to be found in a volume of poems he wrote when he had the leisure. The short sketch of his personality written by a great friend Alfred Grace and published with his poems after his death has always been treasured by his family and many friends.’


Just before I saw Mr Poole I met Mr Harkness
James Hamilton Harkness (1858-1946) was headmaster of the Bishop’s School 1879-1895. He subsequently became a long-serving headmaster in Westport:

The death has occurred of Mr James Hamilton Harkness, who for the past 37 years had been a very prominent citizen of Westport. He was born at Richmond, Nelson, in 1858, and was educated at Nelson College, graduating in 1878. He became headmaster of Bishop’s School in 1879, the Reefton District High School in 1895, and the Westport District High School in 1909. (Otago Daily Times 22 June 1946: 8)

I showed Mr Kingsley my advertisement
Robert Ingpen Kingsley (1846-1912) was secretary of the Anglican Diocese of Nelson. In the preface to Emily’s unpublished ‘New Zealand Mountain Flora,’ she acknowledges Kingsley among those who have supported her botanical work: ‘My sincere thanks are due to many kind friends who have sent me specimens of Alpine and Sub-Alpine species – the late Professor Kirk, Messrs R.I. Kingsley, D.W. Bryant, W. Townson, F.G. Gibbs, and others.’ (ATL. E-001-q). Robert Kingsley’s obituary outlines the scope of his scientific and cultural interests:

It is with sincere regret that we have to record the death of Mr. Robert Ingpen Kingsley, which occurred at his residence, Collingwood street, at one o’clock yesterday morning. For some time past deceased had been in failing health, but he was able to attend to his various duties as secretary to the Nelson Diocese up till Saturday last. The immediate cause of death was heart failure. The late Mr. Kingsley was born in Hertfordshire, England, in 1846, and arrived in New Zealand in 1881. He was appointed secretary of the Nelson Diocese in 1884, and held the position until the time of his death. He was also secretary of the Nelson Aid Society, and at one time was treasurer to the Nelson Harmonic Society. Deceased was an enthusiastic entomologist and a deep student of natural history in all its branches. Possessing a wonderful memory, Mr. Kingsley could at all times impart a vast amount of information upon almost any subject that was referred to him. He took considerable interest in the past in the Nelson Museum, and as a member of the local Philosophical Society contributed papers from time to time for discussion. A number of those papers afterwards were printed in the “New Zealand Transactions.” The collection of historical facts relating to the British colonies was one of his hobbies. He was also a keen philatelist, and possessed a very fine collection of, stamps, perhaps one of the best in the Dominion. Of a kindly disposition he will not only be missed in his official capacity in connection with the Nelson Synod, but by a wide circle of friends and acquaintances, who have on many occasions had to appeal to him for information on the many subjects that were dear to his heart. (Colonist 7 May 1912: 4)

I then went to the Mail Office
The Nelson Evening Mail was established in 1866 by Robert Lucas, whose eldest son Robert Stepney Lucas continued his father’s business until the mid-1880s when the role was taken over by his younger brothers Arthur Pritchard and Albert Augustus Lucas (Nelson Evening Mail 11 Dec 1926: 24 [sup]). Emily presumably places her advertisement with one of the younger brothers.

Francis James Blundell (c.1834-1891) was a longstanding editor of the Nelson Evening Mail:

It was with deep sorrow we learnt yesterday morning that Mr. Francis Jas. Blundell had passed away, after a short illness. The deceased gentleman had for over twenty years occupied the position of editor of the “Evening Mail,”  and he was well known and respected throughout the whole district. He was, too, one of the earlier settlers, and had experienced many of the hardships of early Colonial life, although he arrived in Nelson whilst still a youth. Born in Somersetshire, he was educated at Bath, and in 1851 he left the Old Country, with his parents, and arrived in Nelson on Christmas Day of the year mentioned. Shortly after his arrival here, the late Captain F. H. Blundell, of the 11th Light Dragoons, purchased land at Waimea West, and that gentleman’s eldest son, whose death we now deplore, soon became initiated into the art of driving bullocks, for horses and carriages were then unknown on the rough track, which was the forerunner of the present good road. After a time, Mr Francis James Blundell took up a sheep run in the Wairau, where he experienced further hardships, and his recollections of this period in his career were not unpleasant. Subsequently he accepted the position of Clerk of Committee of the House of Representatives, and it was there he acquired the art of reporting. It was about the year 1868 that he became editor of our evening contemporary, a position he continued to hold with credit till the time of his death. (Colonist 20 June 1891: 3)

Edward Blake Burdekin (1866-1934), journalist, was remembered as a prominent Nelson personality. (Nelson Evening Mail 9 Mar 1934: 4)

Then I went to the Colonist Office
Thomas Henry Bannehr (1849-1947) married Jessie Maria Meech (c.1852-1930) in Nelson in 1875.

A veteran journalist and an old resident of Geraldine, Mr T H Bannehr, celebrated his ninety-sixth birthday today, when he attended a small party arranged by Mrs G R Knibb. Reminiscences of early experiences in England were given by Mr Bannehr. A telegram from his Excellency the Governor-General (Sir Cyril Newall) said: “Her Excellency and I send you our warm congratulations and good wishes on the celebration today of your ninety-sixth birthday.” Telegrams of congratulation were also received from the Prime Minister (the Rt Hon P Fraser), from the Mayor and councillors of the Geraldine Borough Council, and from Geraldine Toc H. In addition telegrams and cables were received from Sydney, Melbourne, Christchurch, and other parts of New Zealand.

A Justice of the Peace for more than 56 years, Mr Bannehr is one of the oldest men holding this office in New Zealand. Mr Bannehr holds the honour of being one of the foundation members of the Press Association in New Zealand. He was born in Surrey, England, in 1849, and came to New Zealand in 1869 to work as an accountant for an importing firm in Nelson. In the same year Mr Bannehr joined the staff of the “Nelson Colonist” as an accountant and reporter, eventually becoming editor, which position he held until his retirement in 1907.

Thirty-five years ago Mr Bannehr came to Geraldine and took the position of editor of the “Geraldine Mail,” which was published in Geraldine. (Press 23 Nov 1945: 6)

What he thought was put in the long & complimentary local
Emily’s entry identifies Blundell as the writer of the pre-exhibition review that was included in the price of 10 shillings and sixpence she paid for advertising in the Nelson Evening Mail:

We had, to-day, the opportunity of inspecting the collection of pictures, the work of Miss Harris’ brush, which are to be exhibited in the Shelbourne-street School-room on Wednesday next and the two following days, a small charge being made for admission. The paintings, most of them water colours, consist principally of very faithful representations of New Zealand shrubs and flowers, and for this reason they possess a peculiar interest, not only for residents in the colony, but for those in other parts who may be desirous of being acquainted with the beautiful flora of this country. We will name a few of them in order to show that Miss Harris’ search for subjects has not been confined to any one particular locality. One of the most striking is a specimen of the mountain cabbage tree in blossom, which was brought to her from Collingwood. It is a beautiful picture, and moreover represents a rarity, as the plant is very seldom found in flower, miners who have resided in the district for twenty years never having seen it before. The ‘Voice of the Morning,’ representing the pretty little bell bird feeding on a magnificent sprig of clematis, is a very attractive picture, as is also a ‘silver eye’ visiting its nest in a manuka bush. Two groups of brightly coloured native flowers form a couple of very attractive companion pictures. Then there is a mountain lily from Mount Cook; a very faithful picture of the spear grass, which is very much better in a painting than as a travelling companion on a mountain expedition; the mountain moss, which has many a time been taken for sheep on a hill side, and caused an inexperienced shepherd a long and useless walk; and a peep at a pretty little fantail and her nest. Alpine flowers and ferns in great variety are most carefully represented, and it should be mentioned that every flower and sprig and shrub has, so to speak, sat for its portrait, none of the pictures being copied, but all taken from the original. A table top wreathed with lycopodium and flowers in oils, and panels, and screens similarly treated add variety to the exhibition, which should be visited by all lovers of art, who will see much to admire, and probably will not be satisfied until they have become the owners of one or more of the faithfully executed pictures. (Nelson Evening Mail 25 Nov 1889: 2)

Bertie Moore & the Levien boys began first
Bertrand Ambrose Moore (1877-1938), younger brother of Harold and son of Ambrose Eyles and Sarah Rebecca Moore of 30 Nile St East. The Levien boys, who live at 36 Nile St, are likely to be Saul Lindo (1876-1971) and Solomon Cecil (Chummy) (1878-1955).

In the meantime the Payne Family & the Ogden Company were drawing crowds of people
The Payne family of musicians from Ballarat, Victoria, were making an extensive tour of New Zealand. Their Nelson season opened 26 Nov 1889 at the Provincial Hall with a programme of popular vocal and instrumental pieces that was varied each night and then taken to several nearby country locations:

The great attraction in Nelson next week will be the first appearances in this town, at the Provincial Hall, on Tuesday and Wednesday (26th and 27th) of the celebrated Payne Family of vocalists and instrumentalists, who have drawn crowded audiences all over the Colony. As there is certain to be a crush at the doors here, intending patrons are advised to secure their tickets beforehand, at Mr Hounsell’s, bookseller. (Nelson Evening Mail 20 Nov 1889: 3)

The Baby Ogden theatre company played a Nelson season in the Theatre Royal 27-30 Nov 1889, featuring dramatisations of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House and Oliver Twist. The child star of the company, Baby Ogden, took central roles in each production:

The Baby Ogden Company will open their season at the Theatre Royal this evening when Dickens’ “Bleak House” will be played, Baby Ogden taking the title role of “Jo.” The NZ Herald says, “Nothing could be more faultlessly artistic, and at the same time truly natural than Baby Ogden as Jo. The child is a perfect wonder, and the pathos with which she invested her part was a theme of wonder and admiration.” With such high praises from one of the leading papers of the colony we may fully expect that this company will play to crowded houses during their stay here. (Nelson Evening Mail 27 Nov 1889: 2)

I had to show Mr Bannehr round & point out all I wanted especially noticed
Bannehr’s review was published in the Colonist 30 Nov 1889. No copy of the issue is available for digital reproduction so it is fortunate that the piece was reprinted in a supplement during Christmas week:

November 30.

A very excellent little exhibition of works of art was opened in the Shelbourne street Schoolroom yesterday afternoon, and was attended by many then and also in the evening. The collection embraces a large number of paintings of New Zealand flowers by Miss Harris, some pictures in oil by Miss Ellen Harris, and a few landscapes by Mr Harris. To enumerate half the works of interest would occupy more space than is at our disposal on this occasion, but amongst those which will most attract visitors reference must be made to a group of very effective paintings about half way down on the right hand side of the room. ‘Voice of the morning’ is the title of an exceedingly pretty picture, and the beautiful native clematis, no less than the bell bird, appear to be greeting the morn. Below it is a silver-eye’s nest in a manuka bush, a glimpse of the blue eggs being obtained between the sprays of blossom. On either side are some very handsome groups of native flowers, most of which will be new to the ordinary observer. A painted table top, with branches and apple blossom, is admirable, and the painted panels also claim attention. On the opposite wall will be found a no less interesting group. The place of honor here is given to a painting of New Zealand mistle-toe and a bell bird. To the left of this is a picture of two tuis and native fuchsia, and on the other side an admirable painting of the rata in blossom. Then there are a great many others of native flowers and berries in this part of the room. Amongst the paintings in oil mention must be made of the kakas; ‘ The Inquest,’ with a number of small birds sitting round a dead owl, and near these is ‘The Fantail’s Nest,’ a fine painting of the Mount Cook lily and others of mountain plants, including the vegetable sheep. At the end of the room is a large painting by Mr Harris—Mount Egmont in the background, with Natives crossing a stream, the banks of which are covered with a profusion of native growth, above which are some fine tree ferns and forest trees. This, as well as a smaller painting by the same gentleman, but which is not in a good light, will claim much attention, —the other to which we refer a picture of New Plymouth, ‘Landing the troops in 1860.’ The sketch was taken by Mr Harris from the ss Airedale, and whilst a faithful representation of the shore is given, the whole picture with the steamers which have conveyed the troops to the scene of operations and the boats rowing for the land, is of much historic interest. Another picture by this gentleman ‘a Forest scene’ New Plymouth, will be admired. Amongst the work of Miss Ellen Harris, the portrait of a nun, several small paintings of scenery, and the earthenware pipes in Egyptian and Arabesque designs call for notice. There are too, some very handsome screens which were greatly admired at the Indian and Colonial Exhibition London. On one of these are sprays of the lace bark tree with its exquisite blooms, clematis, lycopodium, and ferns; on another, bulrushes, grasses, &c, and a painted fan on the wall will call forth admiration. We are a very long way from having exhausted the list, but enough has been written to show that the exhibition is one of very considerable interest. Many of the paintings are on sale, and several found purchasers yesterday, but they will not be removed till the close of the exhibition, which will be open this afternoon and evening, and again on Monday. It should be largely attended. (Colonist 24 Dec 1889: 5 [sup])

Frances, father and I went to the breaking up of the Bishop’s School
Emily’s account of Edwin’s farewell is corroborated by an account in the evening newspaper:

The Bishop said there was about to be a change in the staff, Mr Harris, by whom several generations of boys had been taught, having resigned the position of drawing master, and he (the Bishop) wished to express his sense of the devotion he had shown to his work, and the interest he had invariably taken in the boys. (Cheers.) He had just been informed that the boys, desirous of showing their goodwill to Mr Harris, had subscribed for the purpose of purchasing an arm chair, which he now had great pleasure in presenting to him as a mark of their kindly feeling towards him, Mr Harris briefly thanked the boys for their kindness in thinking of him. (Nelson Evening Mail 19 Dec 1889: 2)

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Section 10: November-December 1889: You Are Here
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