the UPOKONGARO Ferry :: Genealogy
<< Previous - Next >>


Journal by ngairedith

* the Upokongaro birth, death, marriages
* the Upokongaro School
* the Upokongaro Hotel
... NOTES ...
* There is a lot of Council debate in this journal about the problems with the wire rope etc used on the ferry. If you go to the photo at bottom of page and use the zoom option it can be seen how the ferry was operated
* Due to the size of this journal some postings may have been edited to just contain items of real interest, eg names. Take it as a given that tenders were called every year (later 2) for leasing the ferry. They are posted when names are given or circumstances of the leasing changed. Some links are provided to save space and make good reading

ALSO SEE The Legend of the Whanganui River
A HIGHLY RECOMMENDED watch of a 1952, 15 minute, documentary-film from archivesNZ which tells the story of the Whanganui River. It recounts a Māori myth believing the river is the path carved by a god (Pukeonaki aka Mt Taranaki) in its journey from the volcanic plateau to the west coast. There is beautifully shot footage of Māori paddling a waka under tui-laden matai and tourists cruising on steamers. In 1950 the NFU had become part of the Department of Tourism and Publicity (after accusations of political bias) and this film reflects the change, with a triumphant narrative of progress underpinning an often-bloody river history.

Wanganui Chronicle, 31 March 1877
The usual fortnightly meeting of the above body was held at the Albany Chambers on Thursday afternoon. Present - The Chairman, Crs Heslop, Higgie, Moore, Handley, Sommerville, Walker and Baker.
A committee consisting of Messrs Higgie, Sommerville and Heslop be appointed to inquire into and report upon the Upokongaro Ferry

Wanganui Herald, 17 May 1877
Sealed Tenders for the Leasing of the Upokongaro Ferry for the term one year, will be received till 10 a.m. on Wednesday, the 23rd inst., at their office, Albany Chambers, Ridgway-street, where the conditions of lease may be seen. £15 to be deposited with tender. By order, A. J. KETLEY, Clerk to Council

Wanganui Chronicle, 29 Aug 1877

... The present area of the County is somewhere about 1,814,000 acres, of which the approx area of the Wangaehu Highway District is 1,179,000 acres. This is the district which it is proposed to erect into a separate County, being only about 300,000 acres less than the County of Rangitikei and considerably larger than the County of Manawatu (more at above link) ... The Upokongaro Ferry brings in £21 per annum, which, equally divided, will give to our side of the river £10 10s

Wanganui Herald, 8 Nov 1877
The County Council received a letter from Mr Joseph Hughes, calling attention to the bad condition of the ferry boat and punt gear, at the Upokongaro ferry and stating that he, as ferryman, was suffering from loss of trade in consequence. The Foreman of Works was instructed to report on the matter at the next meeting

Wanganui Chronicle, 29 Nov 1877
While the County Council and the lessee of the Upokongaro ferry are discussing the point as to who is liable for repairs, a suffering public are compelled to cross the river at the risk of their lives.

Wanganui Herald, 29 Nov 1877
With reference to the condition of the ferry boat and fear at Upokongaro, the Chairman read a clause in the lease which provided that the boat and gear should be kept in good order by the lessee. To supply therefore the material which was required in a letter read at last meeting from the person at present employed at the Ferry would be substantially to cancel the lease; it was therefore resolved that a copy of the letter received from the person in charge of the Upokongaro Ferry be forwarded to the lessee and that he be requested to put the wire and the punt in repair, in accordance with the conditions of the lease.

Wanganui Herald, 30 Nov 1877
The loss which might be sustained by the lessee of the Upokongaro Ferry in consequence of the unguarded remarks made by our contemporary in yesterday's issue, render it only just that the real condition of the ferry boat and fear should be made public, in order that the intending passenger may not be frightened by what in reality partakes of the nature of a misrepresentation. The County Council having been communicated with by the person at present in charge of the ferry with regard to certain repairs that were required, instructed the Foreman of Works to visit Upokongaro and report on the condition of the boat and gear. This he did and reported at the last meeting of the Council that certain repairs would be found necessary, but that the punt, aas at present, is perfectly safe for some months to come. The lease of the present lessee will shortly expire and before re-letting it the Council will have the whole affair seen to. In the meantime the assurance of the Foreman of Works should prove a sufficient guarantee of safety in crossing the river at Upokongaro.

Wanganui Herald, 30 April 1878
Sealed Tenders for the leasing of the Upokongaro Ferry for the term of one year, commencing on the 1st day of June 1878 and expiring on the 31st day of May 1879, will be received until 1p.m. on Thursday the 9th of May next at the office, Albany Chambers, Ridgway-street, where the conditions of lease may be seen. A. J. KETLEY, Clerk of Council

Wanganui Chronicle, 10 May 1878
The only tender received by the Council for the lease of the Upokongaro Ferry was that of Mr J. Hughes, who was in attendance. The amount tendered by him was £15 or £20 if a residence was supplied (2015 equivalent $2,212 or $2,950), but Mr Hughes stipulated for certain purchases and repairs which were not considered necessary by the Council, or at any rate, not to be furnished at the price offered. After some discussion it was resolved on the motion of Cr Higgie, that fresh tenders for the Upokongaro Ferry be called, for consideration on the 30th May and that the Foreman of Works in the meantime be instructed to prepare plans for building a new punt and procuring other plant, viz., iron winch, wire and repairs to boat, The committee to open tenders to be Crs Heslop, Higgie and the chairman

Wanganui Herald, 31 May 1878
A special meeting of the County Council was held at the Albany Chambers last afternoon, at which the whole Council, with the exception of Mr Gabb, were present. The Chairman explained that the meeting had been convened to consider the matter of the appointment of a person to take charge of the Upokongaro Ferry and the reception of the annual balance sheet. After some discussion relative to the first matter it was resolved on the motion of Councillor Higgie "That Mr Joseph Hughes be appointed ferryman at Upokongaro at a salary of £3 10s (2015 equivalent of $442) and that he be instructed to charge the full fees."
... note Assuming Joseph turned it down, see 21 June (G. H. Blair)

Wanganui Chronicle, 4 June 1878
The incoming receipts for the half-year ended March 31st 1878 for the Upokongaro ferry was £18 15s

Wanganui Herald, 21 June 1878
A special meeting of the County Council was held in the Albany Chambers. Three tenders for the leasing of the Upokongaro Ferry were received and considered, that of Mr G. H. Blair (Gavin Hamilton Blair 1830-1900) for £30 being accepted. In connection with the same matter it was resolved on the motion of Cr Higgie that tenders be called for the building of a new punt according to specifications to be seen at the County Council office.
NOTE Gavin was born in Ardrossan, Scotland in 1830. In 1851 he was living with his parents in Inverkip, Gourock, Renfrewshire. Gavin was a Mariner. He married Agnes Houston (1831-1866) in 1856 in Scotland & had 2 daughters. They went to Australia in the early 1860's. Agnes died in Greenock, SA in 1866. In 1870 he married Mary Maria Davidson (1826-1876 nee Watson, a widow, born in India, arrived from Adelaide in 1854 as Mrs John Davidson), in St Johns, Willis St, Wellington. Owned the Steam packet Hotel in Wanganui and with his brother Robert operated the ferry across the Wanganui River. In 1870 Gavin applied for a transfer & renewal of the license of the Steam Packet Hotel, nearly opposite the bridge, Taupo Quay (later named Fosters Hotel. His wife Mary died in the Steam Packet Hotel in 1876. In 1877 he bought the 'Robina Dunlop' wreck. His lease of the Upokongaro Ferry was accepted in 1878. Sometime after this he returned to Australia and again worked with his brother Robert (1828-1900) as ferry operators across the Manning River in Taree, NSW, in which he drowned in 1900.

Wanganui Chronicle, 5 July 1878
Three tenders for the building of a punt for Upokongaro were opened and after consideration that of Mr Robt. Law, for £91 10s (2015 $13,423) was accepted on the motion of Cr Handley, seconded by Cr Higgie

Wanganui Chronicle, 2 Aug 1878
The Chairman said that he had, with Cr Heslop, interviewed the Council's solicitor as to the advisability of legalising the Upokongaro Ferry and that gentleman had expressed it as his opinion that there was no necessity for doing so

Wanganui Chronicle, 24 Sep 1878
The new punt for the Upokongaro Ferry was launched yesterday by Mr Robert Law, the builder, who has put the work through in his well-known workmanlike manner. The ironwork was entrusted to Mr D. Murray, which is a sufficient guarantee of its quality. The punt was much needed, as the one in present use at the above ferry has done it work and is no longer serviceable.

Wanganui Herald, 6 Nov 1878
Mr A. Simpson referred at some length to the Kaiwhangaroa Ferry, urging the necessity for granting free passages to the children attending school. It was resolved that the Secretary write to Mr C. R. S. McDonnell asking him to work the Ferry for three months, the Upokongaro Ferry scale to be adopted and children to pass over to the school free of charge.

Wanganui Herald, 28 Nov 1878
A Committee, consisting of Crs Robertson (George Sinclair Robertson, see 2 Nov 1880), Smith and Kennedy, was appointed to meet the Foreman of Works at Upokongaro on Monday, to confer with him relative to the best steps to be taken to repair the step at the approach at the Upokongaro Ferry

Wanganui Herald, 20 March 1879
The necessity of taking some precautions to prevent accidents in future was discussed and it was proposed by Cr Smith, seconded by Cr Robertson - that the steamers and other craft requiring a lowering of the ferry wire should no pass by after dark until a red light is exhibited in some conspicuous place and that the appearance of such light shall be sufficient evidence that the wire has been lowered and that this be advertised. Carried.

Wanganui Herald, 6 June 1879
Tenders will be received at the Office of the Council until June 14th at 12 noon, for the leasing of the Upokongaro Ferry for a period of 12 months, commencing the 1st day of July next. Conditions of lease may be seen at the County Office, Rutland Chambers. ED. N. LIFFITON (Edward Nolloth Liffiton 1844-1923), Clerk Wanganui County

Wanganui Herald, 19 June 1879
Some conversation then took place concerning the safety of the wire rope at the Upokongaro ferry and road maintenance. Notice is hereby given that,on and after the 20th inst., a Red Light will be exhibited at the Upokongaro Ferry, between Sunset and Sunrise, to indicate when the Wire Rope is lowered and navigation clear. Steamers intending passing must sound the whistle a mile on either side of the wire and any person in charge of any steamer or craft attempting to pass when the Red Light is not exhibited, will do so at their own risk.

Wanganui Herald, 31 July 1879
Mr Denby put forward again his claim of £7 10s 7d for loss sustained through damage to his steamer by the Upokongaro ferry wire. He complained that recently, at the Upokongaro ferry, when there was a fresh in the river, the wire rope was not lowered sufficiently and that it caught the steamer's bottom as she was coming down stream with three loaded punts after her. Cr Lowes moved that Mr Denby be informed that the Council cannot admit his claim re steamer. This was seconded by the Chairman and carried.
A letter from the Harbour Board was read, requesting the Council to raise the wire at the Upokongaro Ferry, as the arrangement which had been advertised did not suit the requirements of the case. Cr Robertson said that he had been down to the Ferry in a boat and he found the light brilliant enough, though it was perhaps badly placed, being in a line with a light in Mr Kennedy's house.
Cr Sommerville said that the harbour Board seemed to think that they were master of the situation. They would find that this was a mistake. The County Council had not originated the ferry wire, but took it over from the Provincial Government and he read a clause of the Act giving the Council power to do as they pleased with regard to the wire.
A conversation then ensued, of which the chief points were that the ferry was absolutely necessary to the district and the rope was not dangerous if proper care was used. The Chairman then moved - That as the raising of the wire at the Upokongaro Ferry would prevent the working of the punt across the river, this Council cannot see their way to stranding the wire and further, that at the meeting of delegates appointed to consider the matter, the decision arrived at was that the wire should remain as it now is and that a light be put up, which arrangement has been carried out by the Council. This was seconded by Cr Smith and carried.
... An opinion was read from Mr Fitzherbert respecting the control of the ferry wire. He thought that by the wording of the Act the Board had full control, but suggested that the limits of the port should be better defined.

Wanganui Herald, 31 Dec 1879
Thomas Christopher was charged with demanding and receiving from Thomas Wallace, a member of the Armed Constabulary while on actual duty, the sum of 4d, as toll for crossing the Upokongaro Ferry. Fined 1s and cost 13s.

Wanganui Herald, 12 Feb 1880
Letter from R. Shearer asking for reduction of rent of the Ferry on account of the Doctor's Bridge being closed. Moved by Cr Lowes that Mr Shearer be recommended to refer the matter of compensation for stoppage of traffic to the Wanganui-Waitotara Highway Board.

Wanganui Chronicle, 11 June 1880
Tenders of the leasing of the Upokongaro Ferry, for a period of 12 months commencing the 1st day of July next, will be received at the Office of the County, Rutland Chambers, until 4p.m. on the 15th instant. Each tender must contain a sum equal of 10 per cent of the offer as a guarantee of good faith. (This receiving date was later extended to 24th June)

Wanganui Herald, 2 Nov 1880

An inquiry into the death of Jane Campbell Robertson, daughter of Mr G. S. Robertson, of Waireka, was held on Monday afternoon before Dr Tripe, J.P., Coroner and a jury composed of the following:- Messrs James Maxwell (foreman), J. Fleetwood, P. G. Smith, E. Smith, C. Smith, H. Montgomery, W. Montgomery, A. Montgomery, H. A. Owen, J. Piercy, J. Kennedy, J. Nelson, S. W. Peel and A. Filmer. The following is a digest of the evidence:-
Thomas Christopher, the ferryman working the punt at the time of the accident, deposed that when the punt was about 45 yards from the right bank he heard Mrs Robertson scream out something about the child. He did not see the girl fall off the punt nor see her in the water. There is not any life buoy or grappling irons kept on the punt. No effort was made from the punt to save the child as neither himself not Mr Keith, who was the only other male on board, could swim.
William Hardie Keith said that he was on the Upokongaro punt on Sunday. Mrs Robertson and four children were also on the punt. When about 40 yards from the right bank he heard Mr Robinson cry out that Jenny had fallen into the river. He ran to the end of the punt and saw the child's clothes rise to the surface once about ten yards from the punt. He asked the ferryman if he could swim and received an answer in the negative. He could not swim himself, He could not see any chance of saving the child, as the current took her away from the punt. Mrs Robertson and the children were standing at the opposite end of the punt to himself and Christopher.
By the Foreman: There was a slight jerk of the punt just at the time the child fell off. The ferryman was working the guy at the time in order to bring the punt close up to the hauling line. The deceased and the other children were standing on the apron of the punt. Mrs Robertson was standing close to the little boys and watching them. The deceased was on the other side of her.
Gilbert Robertson, brother of the deceased, said that he was eleven years of age. He was on the Upokongaro punt on Sunday, in company with his mother and brother and sisters. Just as the punt was approaching the hauling line and the ferryman put out his hand to catch it, his (witnesses') sister fell off. A ripple seemed to catch the punt just as the ferryman reached out and a jerk was given to the punt. His sister was standing on one foot with the other crossed over and leaning her arm on the end of the rail. He noticed his sister rise to the surface once, but it was some yards away from the punt ... more at link above. The Coroner in summing up dwelt very forcibly on the necessity for life-buoys and grappling irons being kept in the punt ...
to see who this was & her family see Upokongaro BDM 1880

Wanganui Chronicle, 15 March 1881
Tenders to be called for earthwork, scrubbing and metalling the approaches to the Upokongaro Ferry on both sides of the river and that an estimate be obtained for the construction of a convenient boat-landing on both side. Moved by Cr Robertson and seconded by Cr Smith - carried.

Wanganui Herald, 14 June 1881
At a special meeting of the Wanganui County Council held yesterday, it was resolved to withdraw the announcement as to the Upokongaro Ferry lease. It is the intention of the Council to let the ferry for a longer period (to be decided upon at a future meeting) by virtue of the powers contained in the Counties Act Amendment Act 1880

Wanganui Chronicle, 13 July 1881
Tenders will be received at the office of the Council, Rutland Chambers Wanganui for the lease of the Upokongaro Ferry for a term of Three Years, commencing on the 1st day of October, 1881. The highest or any tender not necessarily accepted

Wanganui Herald, 5 Sep 1881
It was determined to call for tenders for 200 chains (4km) of metalling on the River Bank from the Aramoho bridge to Upokongaro Ferry, with a view chiefly of ascertaining the cost so as to see whether it could be met by a special rate within No 5 Ward - Mr Robertson gave notice of motion in favor of raising a special rate of 1s in the £

Wanganui Herald, 8 Feb 1882
The Chairman said that the lease of this ferry, although in existence several months, had not been signed, owing to delay on the part of Mr Betts, the Council's solicitor, upon whom the Clerk had called, besides writing letters, several times. The Chairman was instructed to write to Mr Betts on the subject and point out the unsatisfactory state of the matter
* A report was received from the Sub-Committee, consisting of Crs Dymock and Thatcher, stating that they found the bulk of the timber obtained for landing stage, &c., at the Upokongaro ferry had been washed away by the recent flood, between L3 and L4 worth only remaining. They understood that three of the piles could be recovered and recommend that Cr Kennedy be instructed to use his exertions and knowledge in doing so. They find that the Council will have to put the punt landing in order and suggest a breakwater about 10ft long would be the most economical and permanent way to repair the damage.

Wanganui Herald, 14 Sep 1882
Cr Abbott said Mr Robertson had complained of the state of the ferry - Cr Kennedy applied for a return, for next meeting, of the income and expenditure of ferry since it have been taken over by the Council. Cr Abbott moved that £4 10s be expended on steps on Cr Kennedy's side of the river and £30, if necessary, to make a landing of Mr Robertson's side of the river. Cr Craig seconded. Cr Sommerville moved, as an amendment, the £5 be voted for a boat landing on the side of the river - Cr Parsons seconded - The amendment was lost. Cr Polson moved, as a further amendment, the £5 be expended towards making landing steps at the ferry as a final expenditure and that it be left to the Chairman and Cr Kennedy to expend - seconded Cr Dymock. The amendment was again lost. Cr Sommerville moved as a further amendment that, as the expenditure on the ferry has already been very great, nothing further be expended. Cr Kennedy said steps were absolutely necessary on the other side and someone would be drowned ere long - Cr Polson seconded the amendment. Cr Sommerville thought the settlers themselves should do something in the matter - Cr Kennedy said they already paid for what they had done by the Council. On the suggestion of Cr Abbott it was decided that Cr Craig's offer to see the work done be accepted, the motion having been carried.
REMUNERATION - Mr H. J. Reid's application for remuneration for drawing plans and supervision of the Upokongaro breakwater was granted and it was decided to pay him the sum of £2 10s - Cr Abbot said he was the paid servant of another body and payment ought to be made to the Board

Wanganui Herald, 4 Oct 1882
The returns concerning the Upokongaro Ferry were laid on the table - Cr Polson said he had all along said the expenditure exceeded the income and he was glad in a way to see his remarks borne out. The returns showed the expenditure to be £280 as against an income of £227 for the time since the Council had taken it over - Cr Kennedy thought the income was not stated as they should be

Wanganui Herald, 7 March 1883
From what transpired at the County Council meeting yesterday it appears that conditions were to have been drawn up in the lease of the Upokongaro Ferry by which the lessee was to be held responsible to make good any damage. Now it appears these conditions have never been prepared, although the solicitor has been repeatedly referred to in the matter and it is now stated that supposing the conditions were prepared the contract has so far expired that the lessee will not sign them. The clerk said the Council had been made a laughing stock of by their laxity in this matter and the Chairman was asked to interview the Council's Solicitor and have an explanation as to the cause of delay

Wanganui Herald, 28 May 1883
Tenders will be received at the office of the County Council until Tuesday June 5 1883 at 10a.m., for the Leasing of the Upokongaro Ferry for a term of one year. Highest or any tender not necessarily accepted.

Wanganui Herald, 6 Aug 1883
The usual monthly meeting was held in the Secretary's office. There were present - Messrs Dymock (in the chair), Moore, Robertson and Peake
... the most disgraceful road in the ward and district was on the river bank. There are 129 chains to complete it to the Upokongaro Ferry and there is plenty of good metal convenient.

Wanganui Herald, 3 June 1884
A letter from the Waitotara County Council was read, offering to take over the Upokongaro Ferry - Resolved that a reply be forwarded, stating that the Council were not disposed to dispose of the ferry at present. Resolved that tenders be called for 11th of June for the lease of the ferry for on year and that a sub-committee, consisting of Crs Kennedy, Noake, Lees, Sommerville and Fleetwood, be appointed to open tenders.
-- it was also decided at this meeting that there being no poundkeeper at Kennedy's Michael Cocoran was appointed

Wanganui Herald, 11 June 1884
At a special meeting of the Wanganui County Council held this morning, tenders for the lease of the Upokongaro Ferry were opened. Two tenders were received each being for £42. W. Brooks was chosen by the Council and he takes charge from today

Wanganui Herald, 8 July 1884
In dealing with the question of the transfer of the Upokongaro Ferry, Mr Moore, at the Waitotara County Council, said that there had appeared an article in the Chronicle which certainly was calculated to damage the value of the ferry. In his opinion the article was clearly libelous. Whatever could have prompted the editor to write such an article, he did not know. He had gone out of his way altogether and had taken into account something about a toll. Anything that he had heard outside in that way should not have been used in an article. It had, fortunately, not prejudiced the letting of the ferry, as the article appeared the morning the tenders closed, but had it been in earlier the tenders would have been lower.

Wanganui Chronicle, 8 Oct 1884
A letter was read from ratepayers requesting that the approaches to the Upokongaro ferry be improved and metaled - Resolved that the work be done, the cost not to exceed £7

Wanganui Herald, 20 May 1885
Tenders are invited for the lease of the Upokongaro Ferry for one year. Tenders have to be sent in to Mr Filmer before the 27th

Wanganui Herald, 27 May 1885
Tenders for the Upokongaro Ferry were opened, that of J, Taylor £45 was accepted. The other tenderers were - J. Christopher £42 4s and Brooks £40

Wanganui Herald, 3 Aug 1885
Cr Ritchie moved that in consideration of the expense incurred on the River Bank Road through the traffic coming from the Wanganui County over the Upokongaro Ferry, that the Wanganui County be asked to contribute a sum of £50 to assist in keeping the said road in repair. Seconded by Cr Perry and carried.

Wanganui Herald, 30 June 1886
The Upokongaro Ferry has been re-let by the Wanganui County Council to Mr J. Taylor at the same figure as last year.

Wanganui Chronicle, 4 May 1887
The ordinary monthly meeting of the Wanganui County Council was held yesterday. Present - Messrs Polson (chairman). Blyth, McDonald, Porteous and Parker. The matter of the Upokongaro ferry boat was left to the foreman to inquire as to the cost at which a boat can be built and to report at next meeting.

Wanganui Herald, 7 June 1887
Alternate tenders are invited for the Lease of the Upokongaro Ferry for one or three years, from the 1st July next. Specifications can be seen at the County Office. Tenders will be opened at noon on Saturday the 25th June next. The highest or any tender not necessarily accepted. By order. ARTHUR FILMER, Clerk
* the tender of Mr Taylor at £40 a year was accepted. The only other tender was Mr Christopher.

Wanganui Chronicle, 8 Nov 1887
The Chairman drew the attention of the council to the fact that the Wanganui County Council had not repaired their bridge on the River Bank Road and consequently all the traffic was thrown on to the Waitotara County's road, without other bodies contributing anything at all towards the keeping of the road in repair. The council received nothing from the ferry and it would be only right that other bodies should contribute towards the road. He moved that in view of the large amount of traffic thrown on the River Bank Road by the inability of the Wanganui County Council and several Road Boards to repair their bridges and keep their River Bank Road open, this Council instruct the secretary to take the necessary steps to empower this council to put a toll gate on the River Bank Road, at the Upokongaro Ferry - Seconded by Cr Ritchie and carried.
AN OUTRAGEOUS PROPOSAL - The motion carried at the meeting of the Waitotara County Council yesterday, which was moved by Cr Robertson and seconded by Cr Ritchie, to place a toll gate on the River Bank Road near the Upokongaro Ferry, is a startling and outrageous attempt to levy a crushing tax on a few settlers, who are obliged to come that way into town, pending the repairs of the bridges on the other side of the river. There is no necessity for such an extreme course being adopted and we do not think the ratepayers of the Waitotara County Council district will countenance such harsh and uncalled for measures against their unfortunate fellow-settlers on the other side of the river, who are incommoded quite enough as it is and should not be treated in the cavalier fashion advocated by the members of the council. The action of the Wanganui County Council is not attending at once to the damaged bridges on the left bank of the river road, is most reprehensible, but it does not warrant the Waitotara County Council in putting up a toll gate near the ferry, which would injuriously affect the whole of the settlers living above Upokongaro and in the Makirikiri district. For a moribund Council to pass such a resolution was most improper, as the matter is one on which the decision of the whole of the ratepayers should be taken in the elections now approaching, during the progress of which candidates will, no doubt, be asked by the electors to give a pledge to rescind the obnoxious and mischievous resolution. Country settlers are taxed quite heavily enough as it is. The days of toll gate have, or out to have, passed away, as they are great bars to progress and have been abolished nearly everywhere in the civilised world

Wanganui Chronicle, 9 Nov 1877
Present - The Chairman, Councillors Higgie, Polson, Gabb, Handley and Kennedy
Letter read from James Hughes, lessee of the Upokongaro ferry, calling the attention of the Council to the fact that the punt is unsafe and requires immediate repairs and that the wire is bad and not safe; also stating that he has already spent 12 on it himself. He complains that he is losing money in consequence of person objecting to cross the river through the dangerous state of the punt. Resolved - That the Foreman of Works inspect the punt and report on it at the next meeting

Wanganui Herald, 5 June 1890
Tenders are invited for the Lease of the Upokongaro Ferry for two years from the 21st July 1890.

Wanganui Chronicle, 20 Feb 1891
The Upokongaro ferry, which has been blocked since the flood, is so far repaired as to permit of horse traffic from to-day and it is hoped that vehicles will be able to cross on Monday next.

Wanganui Herald, 5 Oct 1892
It was resolved that tenders be called for renting the Upokongaro ferry for two years from November 1st, 1892

Wanganui Chronicle, 6 Dec 1892
The Clerk of the Wanganui County Council wrote that a resolution had been passed to the effect that all steamers going up and down the river should whistle as they approach the Upokongaro Ferry and remaining steady until the wire was lowered. Mr Hatrick pointed out that it was impossible for a steamer to remain steady when going with the stream with two or three punts behind her. However, it was pointed out that if the speed were slacked off slightly the idea in view when the resolution was passed by the County Council would be met.

Wanganui Herald 1 August, 1893
The ferryman of the Upokongaro ferry waited on the Council, asking who was to replace the wire carried away by the punts towed by the Wairere, when the semaphores had the danger signal up. Cr Ross was appointed to attend to getting the wire raised at once.

Wanganui Chronicle, 7 April 1894
It was resolved that the necessary oil and paint be sent to the ferryman for the painting of the Upokongaro ferry house.

Wanganui Herald, 9 Oct 1894
Tenders will be received for the lease of the Upokongaro Ferry and house for a term of two years.

Wanganui Herald, 5 Jan 1895
It was resolved that the clerk write the Mangawhero Road Board that if the Council be willing to hand over the Upokongaro ferry punt and ferry house to the Board, will the Board be prepared to take over the ferry.

Wanganui Herald, 2 March 1895
The Mangawhero Road Board wrote signifying their willingness to take over the Upokongaro Ferry and the main roads in its district in compliance with the Council's letter.

Wanganui Herald, 18 Oct 1895
(10s reward) - Between the Swimming Baths(?) and Upokongaro Ferry, dark green Hand-bag, containing card case, chegue, etc. Anyone finding same will oblige by returning it to the Freezing Company's office.

Wanganui Herald, 31 Oct 1896
Will be received to Wednesday 4th November for the lease of the Upokongaro Ferry for two years from 1st December
* the tender of John Taylor was accepted at £36 per annum

Wanganui Chronicle, 5 Nov 1898
It was moved by Cr Ross and seconded by Cr Georgetti, that tenders be called for the lease for two years of the Upokongaro Ferry and House from 1st December 1898

Wanganui Chronicle, 3 Dec 1898
Mr Allcock notifies that the Upokongaro Ferry will be opened on and after today and that in future the Kennedy's coach will run the Aramoho side of the river

Wanganui Chronicle, 7 Jan 1899
Crs Ross and Georgetti were deputed to arrange about the approaches to the Upokongaro Ferry being repaired

Wanganui Herald, 9 Dec 1899

It was decided, on the motion of Mr Mason, to get Mr Law to repair the Upokongaro punt

Wanganui Chronicle, 11 Jan 1900
Notice is hereby given that the Upokongaro Ferry will be closed during repairs as from the evening of Sunday 14th till further notice. ERNEST BARNS, Clerk Wanganui County Council. (It was reopened on the 24th)

Wanganui Herald, 23 Oct 1900
Are invited for the Lease of the Upokongaro Ferry and Ferry house for a term of two years

Wanganui Herald, 15 Dec 1900
Cr Mason was authorised to have the life-buoy at Upokongaro Ferry repaired

Wanganui Herald, 9 April 1902

The heavy rains of yesterday and last evening caused a considerable freshet in the river and the Upokongaro punt, at Kennedy's, a few miles up the Wanganui river, has been washed away, consequently traffic by the ferry has been temporarily suspended

Wanganui Herald, 9 May 1902

The Committee, appointed to attend to the Upokongaro Ferry, have decided to have the punt thoroughly overhauled and Mr Law, who has done the work considers the punt good for another nine or ten years. They decided to call for fresh tenders.

Wanganui Chronicle, 1 Aug 1902
At the magistrate's Court on Monday, before Mr C. S. Kettle, S.M., a case Wanganui County Council (Mr Watt) v A. Hatrick (Mr Barnicoat) was heard. The plaintiffs claimed to recoer from the defendant the sum of £7000, being amount of damage to the ferry wire rope at Upokongaro by the defendant's steamer Ohura in December last when crossing the ferry on its passage from Pipiriki to Wanganui. The plaintiffs claimed that the breaking of the wire rope was caused by the negligence of the captain of the Ohura when crossing it ... more at above link

Wanganui Herald, 12 Dec 1902
In answer to questions, the chairman estimated that the cost of erecting the overhead wire at Upokongaro Ferry was about £150. On the motion of Cr Fletcher, the clerk was instructed to prepare a table showing the cost of the wire

Wanganui Herald, 11 June 1903
Mrs Allcock, the lessee of the Upokongaro Ferry, waited on the Council and stated that the underwater wire had been of no use to her in working the ferry during the late freshes and that she had been unable to work the ferry from May 27 to June 7. It was resolved that Mrs Allcock be allowed £3 from her next quarter's rent
- The Chairman's action in having the approaches to the ferry metalled was confirmed.
- It was resolved that the opinion of the County solicitor be taken upon the question as to whether the Council has power to carry on a ferry at Upokongaro in view of the fact that the traffic on the Wanganui River may be temporarily obstructed thereby and the solicitor be asked to confer with Mr H. D. Bell, solicitor of Wellington thereon

Wanganui Chronicle, 16 June 1903
The Secretary for Education in reply to a letter re fees charged school children on the Upokongaro Ferry, pointed out that under the Public Works Act children attending school were exempt from such charges

Wanganui Chronicle, 14 Oct 1903
It was resolved that a committee consisting of Crs Mason, Speed and the chairman be authorised to call a meeting of ratepayers in the Mangawhero Riding to consider the question of closing the Upokongaro ferry and to report to the Council at its meeting
* the committee of Neilson, Mason, J. E. Wilson, F. Furth & H. M. Speed called a meeting of the ratepayer who asked the Council to give the ferry another trial with the recommendation to the Council to give Messrs Hodder, Missen, Heyda and Brooks permission to work the wire providing the lessee agreed

Wanganui Herald, 10 May 1904
The Council's solicitor (Mr J. Watt) wrote giving his opinion, as requested, as to whether the Council could legally maintain the Upokongaro Ferry as at present constructed, that is with an overhead rope, as a legal ferry? Mr Watt, in the course of his letter, pointed out that general cases which bear upon the question all tend to show that the wire-rope across the river such as that in use at this ferry must be admitted to be an obstruction to navigation and as such is illegal. A ferry worked by an overhead wire-rope is a primitive idea and no cases bearing directly thereon are recorded. Mr Watt face it as his opinion that if a ferry is to be maintained it will have to be a different class to the present. Probably a steam ferry is the only form of ferry that could be usefully established. Mr Watt went on to point out that he was of opinion that no legal ferry had ever been established at Upokongaro, that the Wanganui County Council have no power to establish one on the same principle as the present one and moreover, that it is very questionable if the County Council would not be liable for any damage caused by the present wire rope

Wanganui Chronicle, 26 May 1904
Shortly after dark the Upokongaro Ferry was carried away and almost immediately afterwards the punt broke adrift and darted off in the darkness. At about a quarter past six the punt was seen passing the Town Wharf and it doubtless went out to sea. The latest information from Upokongaro was to the effect that rain was still falling and the river rising

Wanganui Herald, 27 Dec 1904
The Upokongaro ferry, which has been closed during the recent flood was opened to-day. Visitors to Wanganui can now do the round trip

Wanganui Herald, 11 March 1905
A letter from the Board's solicitor was read with reference to the Upokongaro ferry and advising the passing of a bye-law for the regulation of steamer traffic. He suggested that all steamers approaching the ferry be ordered to blow their whistles and that they do not attempt to cross the wire when the punt is crossing the river

Wanganui Herald, 10 July 1905
occurred at the Upokongaro ferry last week, when the mail coach and horses were precipitated into the river and two passengers had an experience they will not be anxious to repeat. The horses jibbed when drawing the coach on to the punt, two wheels of the vehicle being on the ferry and two on the shore approach. The ferryman proceeded to push on the hind wheels with the object of forcing the horses forward and in doing so pushed the punt away from the bank. The consequence was the coach and horses were pulled off and fell into the river. There were two passengers, a young lady and a Maori woman, sitting on the box seat of the coach at the time of the accident and realising the danger they promptly jumped into shallow water, the coach and horses being forced out into the stream. The heads of the animals were held up by the ferryman until assistance arrived and a block and tackle were obtained to haul the horses and coach to terra firma. In the meantime the passengers were taken over to the hotel, where a change of clothing was provided and their boxes and portmanteau were subsequently found floating down stream

Wanganui Chronicle, 13 Sep 1905
The question of the charge which should be made for the carriage of bicycles across the Upokongaro Ferry was mentioned at the Wanganui County Council meeting yesterday. It was pointed out that at the present time there was no regulation charge and in consequence all kinds of charges were made. Some ferrymen had made the fee so high that many cyclists had been prevented from making the round trip from Wanganui and back. Notice was given that the charge be fixed at 2d per bicycle

Wanganui Herald, 27 Nov 1905
We hear that Mr Alf Gray had a rather narrow escape from drowning on Sunday evening. He was rowing to town when his boat collided with the Upokongaro ferry wire. The result was that the boat was capsized in midstream. Mr Gray was fully clad and was wearing a pair of Wellington boots, but he was able to swim to the upturned boat, on which he drifted about a mile down the river until picked up by a native named Simon, who had witnessed the accident and put off in a canoe. Mr Gray lost a new rifle, some ammunition, etc. and a fine collection of paua shells which he was bringing down for presentation to the Museum

Wanganui Chronicle, 4 Dec 1905
Tenders are invited up to 4p.m. on Monday the 4th December, for clearing noxious weeds along the Wanganui River Bank between Aramoho and the Upokongaro Ferry. ARTHUR K. BLUNDELL, Inspector in Charge

Wanganui Herald, 13 Dec 1905
It was decided that Mr G. Watson be appointed to work the Upokongaro ferry service and put the approaches in repair, to the satisfaction of Cr Caines, at a salary of 35s per week and the use of the Council's cottage

Wanganui Herald, 6 Jan 1906
Mr Neilson stated that another accident had occurred at the Upokongaro Ferry and moved that the matter of drawing up regulations to control traffic be left in the hands of the chairman to report upon - Mr Hatrick said it was not the traffic that wanted regulation but the ferry itself

Wanganui Chronicle, 15 Feb 1906
Mr J. T. Hodder, the late lessee of the Upokongaro ferry, wrote stating that as he had opened up the ferry after the big flood and had been put in consideration expense in repairing the approaches, he desired compensation of £50. This matter, as also a request for free carriage of the mail coach across the ferry, was referred to the chairman and Cr Wray to report at next meeting

Wanganui Herald, 5 Sep 1906
The Chairman reported that Mr R. law had offered to build a boat for the Upokongaro Ferry at the rate of 1 per foot - It was decided that Mr Law be instructed to build a 16ft boat to be ready by the 1st November

Wanganui Herald, 3 Jan 1908
Some discussion took place on the much-vexed question of the Upokongaro ferry. Eventually Cr Fletcher moved that the question be referred again to the Chairman and Cr Caines to make satisfactory arrangements, if possible, with the ferryman for the continuance of the service, Failing that they be empowered to call for tenders which are to be opened at next meeting and if not satisfactory the ferry to be closed

Wanganui Herald, 19 Feb 1908
The residents on both sides of the river near Upokongaro have very naturally been greatly concerned at the recent decision of the Wanganui County Council to close the ferry there. The ferry has been in use for over 30 years and has been so much used during that period that it has grown to be something more than a mere public convenience. It has become, in fact, a public necessity and will become more so than ever as population increases. To townspeople, also, the closing of the ferry would be a matter of some concern, inasmuch as the drive or ride to Upokongaro, thence across the ferry and back to town by the other side, is one of our most pleasant and favorite outings. The County Council has had a difficulty in arranging for the carrying on of the ferry in future, following upon the present lessee's throwing up of his lease and not caring about taking it on itself, decided, as stated, to close it. It would be a great pity if this were done and if it came to the worst, it would be a wise proceeding on the part of the Council to pay a small subsidy to a lessee to insure him against loss, which subsidy it might be possible to have supplemented by other local bodies whose ratepayers are affected. We are glad to hear, however, that there is a reasonable prospect of the ferry being carried on as heretofore. We are informed that negotiations are in progress for the continuance of traffic and that it is probable that matters will be definitely fixed up in two or three days. We sincerely hope the result will justify the expectation, for the ferry takes the place of a bridge at that point and to close it would be practically the same as closing an important bridge which acted as an essential link between two different districts

Wanganui Herald, 14 March 1908
PUBLIC NOTICE is hereby given that the Upokongaro Ferry is Closed for Traffic. D. BELL, County Clerk

Wanganui Chronicle, 31 March 1908
A meeting of all those interested in the keeping open of the ferry across the Wanganui River, at Upokongaro, will be held at Upokongaro on Wednesday, April 1st at 7p.m.

Wanganui Herald, 3 April 1908
When the Upokongaro ferry was under discussion at the County Council meeting to-day, the Councillors were unanimous in expressing their regrets that it had been found necessary to close the service and intimated that they would be only too glad if some satisfactory arrangement could be made for the working of the ferry in the future. It was pointed out by the chairman that the statement that the service had proved a profitable one in the past was unfortunately incorrect. There had been at one time, he understood, a profit of £200 on the service, but during the last 20 years this sum, together with £80 additional, had been eaten up. In the discussion on the subject, it was made clear that the Council would be quite willing to make up any small deficiency should one be incurred by the Mangawhero Road Board if that body took over the service

Wanganui Herald, 14 April 1908
Many will note with pleasure that something definite has at last been done in connection with the Upokongaro Ferry, in that the Mangawhero Road Board has taken it over form the Wanganui County Council ... more at above link

Wanganui Herald, 22 May 1908
The Upokongaro ferry is now in charge of a Maori whose working of same is giving every satisfaction, while he himself appears well satisfied with his job

Wanganui Herald, 28 May 1908
of the Upokongaro Ferry will be received up to 10.30a.m. on Saturday, 6th June 1908 at the Office of the Mangawhero Road Board, Ridgway Street, Wanganui. J. FAIRBURN, Clerk
* only one tender was received, that of Rupuha Himona and it was resolved to accept it
* On 11 May 1909 it was resolved to call for fresh tenders for lease of the ferry. One tender was received from Reuben at £10 per annum and it was resolved to accept it provided the back rent was paid

Wanganui Herald, 2 March 1910
After the Mexican Laurent attempted to blow up the Hotel the finding of his coat and vest on the Ferry containing correspondence it appeared to point to his suicide ... read above link at this date

Wanganui Herald, 6 Feb 1911

Mr H. M. Speed waited on the Council, as a deputation from the Wanganui County Council and mentioned the matter of the disrepair of the Upokongaro punt and suggested that the Council contribute towards the maintenance of same. The Council decided to contribute £10 per year, but declined to pay anything towards a new punt
* however it was decided to build a new punt and tenders were invited in April 1911. Applications were also invited for the position of Ferryman, wages of 8s per day including Sundays and the cottage rent free

Wanganui Herald, 6 June 1911
The settlers on both sides of the Wanganui River who use the Upokongaro Ferry have a real grievance in respect to the frequent interruptions which take place in the service. At present, owing to the neglect of the Wanganui County Council to keep the punt in repair, the communication across the river is by the ferry boat and settlers, especially those who have to take mike or cream to the creamery ... we doubt whether the settlers in any other part of the Dominion would have put up with such a medieval service for so long ...

Wanganui Chronicle, 12 June 1911
Wanted to sell, Upokongaro Ferry Punt. Good timber in it, no reasonable offer refused. Apply County Council, Wanganui
IN WITH THE NEW ... Up-river settlers will be pleased to hear that the new punt for the Upokongaro ferry work was towed up to its new position yesterday

Wanganui Herald, 11 Jan 1912
The matter of the control of the Upokongaro Ferry has been engaging the attention of the local bodies interested in its management, the Wanganui and Waitotara County Councils and the Mangawhero Road Board, for some time, but at last there appears some possibility of finality being reached. At the meeting of the later body yesterday the following resolution was passed: "That a letter se sent to the Wanganui County Council informing them that this board is willing to take over control of the ferry, but declines to accept any responsibility for accidents happening to either passengers or plant and the Messrs Glenn and Speed be appointed a deputation to wait on the Waitotara County Council, together with two representatives from the Wanganui County Council, with a view to obtaining a subsidy towards the upkeep of the ferry

Wanganui Chronicle, 15 April 1912
The following scale of Tolls will be collected at the Upokongaro Ferry:
between 7am and 8pm - 2d
at other times - 4d
* 2 wheels & 1 horse - 1s
* 4 wheels & 1 horse - 1s 6d
* each additional horse - 6d
* each passenger over 2 with a vehicle - 2d
* horses per head, including rider - 6d
* cattle per head - 3d
* sheep per head - ½d
* motor cars, including passengers 2s 6d
* motor bicycles, including rider - 6d
* bicycles, including rider - 3d
* engines, N.O.E. - 5s
A. E. MANNINGTON, County clerk

Wanganui Herald, 23 Dec 1912
Steady, reliable man as Ferryman for Upokongaro Ferry. Permanent job. £2 10s per week and cottage

Wanganui Herald, 2 May 1913
It was decided to install a hand winch on the punt of the Upokongaro Ferry to mitigate the present practice of hand haulage by the ferrymen

Wanganui Chronicle, 8 Oct 1913
The Wanganui County's decision to close the ferry is likely to be further postponed ... Mr Allen pointed out the urgent necessity of keeping the ferry open ... that 13 children passed over the ferry every morning to attend the Upokongaro school. The nearest other school was at Aramoho, four miles away ...

Wanganui Herald, 21 Nov 1913
PUBLIC NOTICE is hereby given that on and after the 5th day of December 1913, the ferry now under the Control of the Wanganui County Council at Upokongaro will be closed

Wanganui Chronicle, 6 Dec 1913
It was resolved to adhere to the Council's previous resolution and declare the ferry closed as from December 5th. It was further resolved to inform the Waitotara County Council that the Council was not prepared to give away its plant but would entertain any reasonable offer for it

Wanganui Herald, 12 Jan 1914
On Cr Ross' suggestion the Waitotara County Council decided this morning to obtain their solicitor's opinion on the legality of the Wanganui County's action closing the Upokongaro Ferry. Cr Ross contended that the ferry was a "highway" and as such, could not be closed to public use

Wanganui Herald, 6 March 1914
The Wanganui Education Board wrote urging on the county the necessity for re-opening the Upokongaro ferry as its closure was a great inconvenience to a number of children. If the ferry is opened the Board will pay to the County controlling the ferry 6d for each child over the age of five years of age (return fare) on condition that the children are conveyed by the punt and no by the ferry boat ... more at link

Dominion. 8 April 1914
After being closed for several months and causing great inconvenience to settlers, the Upokongaro ferry, about seven miles above Wanganui, is to be reopened almost immediately. After a good deal of negotiation between the Wanganui and Waitotara County Councils, the former put forward a proposal that the ferry should be managed by a joint committee of three members from each councils. Both bodies will share profits and losses. Whether the ferry will be run for long is now a matter of speculation

Wanganui Herald, 3 July 1914
Cr Fletcher reported that the Upokongaro ferry had been let to a man named A. Cooper at wages of 25s a week and all taking at the ferry. These takings do not include the Education Boards subsidy. Cr Fletcher said that he still thought that it was a great mistake to have ever re-opened the ferry. The council recommended the Ferry Committee to go into the matter of taking out an accident risk over the working of the Ferry

Wanganui Herald, 6 Feb 1915
Two or three snags in the river near the Upokongaro ferry have been the cause of a lot of trouble to the ferryman who has frequently been delayed owing to the wire getting entangled in the trees. The matter was brought under the notice of the Wanganui County Council yesterday and the ferry committee will take action to remove the obstructions

Wanganui Herald, 23 July 1915
... as the river continued to rise, owners of motor launches and other river craft began to express some anxiety for the safety of their boats. A launch moored near the town bridge was pulled over bu it moorings and sank. Another launch was washed out to sea. A n oil store near the town bridge was washed away. The Upokongaro ferry boat got adrift this morning, but was taken in tow and secured about half way between the Aramoho and Dublin Street bridges ...

Wanganui Herald, 1 July 1916
for a Lease of the Upokongaro Ferry for a period of two years
* the tender of B. Palmer was accepted as ferry-keeper and he was to receive £2 10s per week plus takings

Wanganui Chronicle, 8 June 1918
The concreting of the approach on the left bank of the Upokongaro Ferry has been completed and the opposite side will be similarly treated when the flood waters have subsided. The floods have left large deposits of silt on both approaches to the Upokongaro ferry and men have been employed to assist the ferryman to remove the same

Wanganui Chronicle, 18 July 1919
NOTICE is hereby given that the above Ferry will be Closed to traffic on Saturday Next, the 29th inst., Peace Day. GEO. DARBYSHIRE, Clerk, Wanganui County Council

Evening Post, 25 Feb 1936
Mr A. Ross and Mrs J. Wickham asked the Minister for the restoration of the Upokongaro ferry service, saying it was difficult for a Minister to interfere with local politics between the Wanganui and Waitotara Counties. Mr Semple offered to confer with the chairmen of the respective counties and endeavour to act as a conciliation officer

the FERRY/PUNT at Upokongaro


by ngairedith Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2015-04-11 05:29:03

ngairedith has been a Family Tree Circles member since Feb 2008.

Do you know someone who can help? Share this:


by Shikyna on 2016-10-07 05:00:15

You are on fire Ngaire Edith!

Register or Sign in to comment on this journal.