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TIM Bickertons BAKER



25th November 1912 page 1

Christchurch Press
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Professor Bickertons
Written, researched and
published by
Timothy David Baker
19 Lenton Street, Aranui,

ISBN 0-476-00423-3


Being the local Real Estate salesperson, I thought spend six months producing a book of the
history Aranui and Wainoni. I soon discovered the amazing events that took place at
Wainoni, and realised I would have to write a separate book entirely devoted to Wainoni.
The second book The history of Aranui and Wainoni should be published in 2006-7.
Alexander William Bickerton came out from England in 1876 to help set up Canterbury
College ( University ) and became the colleges first Professor.
In 1882, Professor Bickerton and his family moved to a 20-30 acre block of land and built
their beautiful home that he named Wainoni.
Wainoni was the home of New Zealand's second commune and one of New Zealands early
sanatoriums. Most extraordinary were the famous pleasure gardens named Wainoni Park.
Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world came to Wainoni Park.
The Bickerton family made and latter imported fireworks with huge public displays from
1899 until 1958. After the Professors death on 22 January 1929, his friend T.J Edmond
donated a parcel of land for the City Council to plant as a memorial to this great man and in
the 1870s a play was performed at the Theatre on his life. ( Chapter Nine)
As the author I have come to respect and admire the Professors beliefs and morals and try to
picture myself living at this time, and visiting Wainoni Park. I trust you, the reader, will
come to the same conclusion, and join me in the crowd watching a Punch and Judy show.
My thanks to our Christchurch City Council for the excellent Central Public Library,
in particular the Aotearoa (New Zealand) section, with the extensive catalogues of early
local newspapers that are on microfilm and are available to the public. My thanks to Richard
Greenaway and the other library staff for their time and help with using the newspaper cat-
alogues which make up a large part of this book. My thanks to the Museum Archives for
their extensive collection of photographs available; Bevan Bickerton for the photographs,
books and other information provided; Hugh Brown, Christine Baker and Liz Woodward for
their proof reading of this book; and all the many people who supplied photographs, post-
cards, written information and books making the story of Wainoni possible. .


Chapter One: Professor Alexander William Page 4


Chapter Two: A Federative Home Page 8

Chapter Three: The Open Air Cure Page 19

Chapter Four: Wainoni Park Page 23

Chapter Five: Partial Impact Page 49

Chapter Six: Old Grinds Christmas Eve Page 60

Chapter Seven: Newspaper Articles Page 65

Chapter Eight: Fireworks Page 72

Chapter Nine: The Final Chapter? Page 78

Readers, please note the original spelling and writing styles of newspaper
articles and references from books that have been copied in some of these
chapters have been unchanged from the originals.
This outline of the Bickerton Street properties, in 2004 covers rough-
ly Professor Bickertons Wainoni Park in the 1880s.
Wainoni, (curve in the water), which Professor Bickerton named his
property gave rise to the present suburbs name.


Bickerton Reserve

Site of Fireworks
factory until 1936

Map of

This area is approximately 20 Acres. As well as this land, the

Bickertons owned a majority of the east side of Ottawa Road
which was subdivided and sold off at different times. In 1914, after
the park was sold, the only land owned by any of the Bickerton
family was the last section on Ottawa Road shown on this map. This
was owned by one of Professor Bickertons sons, Ron, and was
where the Wainoni Fireworks L.T.D. fireworks factory stood until
1936. (See Chapter Eight, Fireworks)
Artists view of Wainoni Park, 1912.
Wainoni Road
North West
River entrance
Chalet (fireworks factory)

Rockery Garden

The boys
Carbo house

Bickertons house

Hot air balloon

Artist's studio

Mock battles

Punch and Judy

Scouts camp


Sealed pathway



Garden walks

Sketched by Octavia
Mackenzie and Rob-
in Wilson-Davey
Aranui High School
Students 2004
Tram entrancePages Road Year 11
11 DG
South East
Chapter One: Professor Alexander William Bickerton
Alexander William Bickerton was born on the 7th January 1842 at Alton in the county of
Hampshire to Richard and Sophia Matilda Bickerton. Alexander had two brothers and two
sisters. At an early age Alexander was sent to Eggars Grammar School in Chawton where he
did not appear to show much promise. Indeed he was so backward in subjects that bored him,
such as English grammar or dead languages, that one of his teachers used to admit grudging-
ly that he was not a complete idiot but that beyond this no further praise could be given him.
Both his parents died before he left school and he became a ward in Chancery and was
placed under the care of his uncle who decided his nephew should be a civil engineer, and,
with that end in view, found him employment in the carriage works of the Bristol and Exeter
Railway at Bridgewater. After working there for a time he then worked in an engineers
office in London, but the occupation did not suit his health. He suffered from some kind of
severe breakdown during which he became temporarily blind. On coming of age he inherited
a few hundred pounds and with health regained he decided to go into business on his own
He had invented some wood-working machinery, (the first in a series of inventions produced
at intervals throughout a long life) and secured a dismantled water mill in the Cotswold
Country. He turned it into a factory, installed his new machinery and started production,
probably sometime in 1863. That venture was not successful financially and in April 1864, a
writ was issued against Brown and Bickerton, Cabinet makers, for a debt of 31 pounds and
15 shillings. At this time Alexander Bickerton had been attending science classes arranged
by the Science and Art Department. The teacher Mr Moses Pullen and Bickerton had a
mutual admiration for one another and Bickerton was learning fast.
In 1865 Bickerton married Anne Phoebe Edwards, and the following year they moved to
Birmingham where Bickerton began his long career in teaching science classes. He was paid
by the results of his students achievements. In 1867 he entered an Exhibition of examina-
tions in which participants compete in the writing of papers for different Science and Arts
topics. Bickerton won the exhibition with honour with a first-class prize and silver medal in
Applied Mechanics; first-class prizes and two bronze medals, one in Geometrical Drawing
and the other in Machine Drawing; four other first-class prizes, viz., in Building Construc-
tion, Acoustics, Light and Heat, and Inorganic Chemistry; seven second-class prizes vis.,
in Elementary Mathematics, in Theoretical Mechanics, in Magnetism, in Electricity, in
Organic Chemistry, in Geology, in Animal Physiology, and in Physical Geography; and
three third class prizes, viz., in Zoology, in Vegetable Physiology, and in Steam.
It was clear Bickerton had found his calling in life and after receiving his honours he moved
to London to attend lectures on chemistry and physics. Bickerton loved teaching and was in
need of income, so he began his own lectures in a Chelsea schoolroom. The students came in
reply to advertising in the newspaper. On his first day just one person turned up. Bickerton
was discouraged but was determined. Seeing that Puncheon and Spurgeon, two Preachers
of the time had obviously mastered the art of attracting enormous congregations, he attended
their series with the object of learning their techniques, and discovered that, to instruct the
Londoner you must make your class as entertaining as a music-hall and as sensational as a
circus. This he did and before long his classroom was overflowing.
In 1870 Bickerton was offered professorships in Japan and Canada, also at the Cirencester
Agricultural College, and later a post as mineral sorter in the Cordilleras at 1000 pounds per
The founders of the Canterbury Settlement in New Zealand had before them the vision of a
colonial settlement in which, from the first, all the elements, including the very highest, of a
good and right state of society, shall find their proper place, and their active operation. They
intended to provide their colonists not only with a school modelled on the great Grammar
Schools of England but also with an upper department (or university) as nearly similar as
possible to Colleges in Oxford and Cambridge. It was hoped that this University might
serve the whole of New Zealand and even that it might attract students from Australia and
India. In conformity with ruling prejudice admission was to be confined to the members of
the Church of England but in all other respects the institution was conceived on progressive
lines, and its syllabus, designed to meet the needs of a new world community, including civil
Engineering, chemistry and scientific as well as more time-honoured subjects. The Grammar
School was founded without delay but the University remained a mere project for many
years though the idea of its creation was never entirely lost sight of. At length when
prosperous times coincided with an Empire-wide growth of zeal for higher education the
Provincial Government of Canterbury decreed in 1873 the establishment of a university, and
at the same time set up a Board of Governors to execute and regulate its design. This body
elected Joshua Strange Williams as their chairman, and, having made preparation for the
purchase of a site and the erection of buildings, they declared the establishment of the
Universitys first Chair. Because they believed that Canterburys future prosperity depended
on the application of science to agriculture, it was a Chair of Chemistry.

The next thing was to find a professor, and, under instructions from the Board, Williams
wrote to Lord Lyttelton, patron of the Canterbury Association, asking him to select a suitable
person and suggesting that he be guided in his choice by Professor Archer and MacAdam of
Edinburgh University and Professor Ramsay of the School of Mines. The man should be
young and one who gives promise of future excellence, competent to teach not only
chemistry as applied to agriculture, arts and manufacturers, but also mineralogy and
electricity. He would be required to do analyses at fees laid down by the Board who would
also prescribe the course of instruction to be given. He would not be allowed either to take
private pupils or to be engaged in private practice. The salary offered was 600 pounds a year
in addition to students lectures fees. 150 pounds was being allowed for travelling expenses
and 300 pounds provided for the purchase in England of laboratory apparatus, chosen at the
discretion of the successful applicant. The engagement might be terminated at twelve
months notice by the Board, but should this be given within ten years from the time of
appointment the professor was to receive 300 pounds over and beyond his salary.

On hearing from Lord Lyttelton, Professor Ramsay replied that he knew of a person who
fulfilled the requirements stated, and, having obtained permission to do so, wrote to
Bickerton offering him the position. Knowing little about New Zealand or its people
Bickerton sought advice from Dr Ridding of Winchester who told him that Canterbury was
the most advanced and best educated colony in the world, and added I thought we could
offer you something better than the other posts, but not as equal to this.

Bickerton accepted the appointment and sailing for New Zealand on the steamship Atrato,
arrived in Christchurch in June 1874. At this time Christchurch was in its 24th year of
existence with a population of 10,000, about one sixth of Canterburys total population.

Bickerton was now 34 years of age and with his wife, their three boys and one girl settled in
a house in St Asaph Street near Hagley Park.
While the University was being built the lectures were given in the Oddfellows Hall, a
place with ample accommodation and free to the public.
In 1882, Messrs Joubert and Twopenny brought their so-called International Exhibition to
Christchurch. Professor Bickerton spent a lot of time at the showgrounds in Hagley Park and
soon became friendly with the promoters, who were not long in realising the value of his
advice and services. A big fernery was among the exhibits; by arranging for its illumination
with limelight Bickerton made it as great an attraction by night as by day. When Joubert and
Twopenny decamped he bought some of their properties and a large quantity of material
used for their temporary buildings. In doing so he had a purpose in view.
Between Christchurch and the small coastal town of New Brighton the flat land humped up
into a series of low shifting sandhills, barren except for a few hardy native plants, and
generally regarded as little better than a desert. A block of this country known as Sandilands
had been bought in the early eighteen seventies by Cornelius Cuff, a Christchurch surveyor.
In May 1880, he offered about thirty acres of the property for sale, and found a buyer in
Bickerton, who believed that the land was not so poor as imagined and that it would respond
to proper treatment.
The story is told of how an old broken down pony belonging to the Bickertons was turned
out on the section at Sandilands, their recently purchased land, to end his days in peace. A
year later, when the family returned there for a picnic party expecting to find the pony dead,
they found him not only alive but spry and fit almost beyond recognition. Having witnessed
his rejuvenation they concluded that the environment would probably have the same effect
on human beings, and at once made the decision to go and live there themselves.
It seems more likely, however, that Bickerton had already made up his mind to settle
amongst the dunes and that the ponys new life had merely confirmed a preconceived
intention. After buying the land he had at once engaged local men with horses and drays to
level off the highest sandhills, after which he had planted a large proportion of the area in
pine trees. As these grew their roots bound the shifting sand; their falling needles covered the
ground with decaying vegetation and began to regenerate the soil. The section was a narrow
strip, less than half a mile long and something more than two hundred yards wide, running in
a north-westerly direction from Pages Road, the main highway between Christchurch and
New Brighton, to where the River Avon, made a horse-shoe curve towards the east. It was at
this end of the property on a rise overlooking the river, that Bickerton decided to build. The
Maori word for curving water suggested sounds conducive to profound peace, the sighing of
gentle breezes, the rippling of placid streams. It fell pleasantly on Bickertons ear and he
chose it for the name of his new home - Wainoni.
Building began as soon as the material from Joubert and Twopenny could be conveyed to the
site, and by 1884 the family had moved from their home in Antigua Street to the new house
on the sand dunes. Additions and improvements continued to be made for many years until
the place assumed the unique aspect which thousands of visitors would visit.
At first the property became the focal point for the social life of the students from the
University. Parties of students used to drive, ride, travel by tram or row down the Avon River
to the Wainoni landing stage. A garden, laid out on a grand scale, was beginning to take
shape; sometimes there were fireworks in the evening, sometimes impromptu dances, and
occasionally a play would be performed in a small theatre that adjoined the house; produced
and stage-managed by Professor Bickerton. Through visiting the homes of his working class
pupils in London he had been confronted with the horrors of poverty to which ostentatious
displays of great wealth, daily before his eyes, provided a shocking contrast. Much of this
wealth derived from land and by way of protest he became a land nationaliser. From that
point the transition to socialism was easy. For many ears he remained a state socialist but
soon after moving to Wainoni he began to consider whether the ethics of Christ did not after
all provide a better solution for all human problems than socialism, and to believe that the
Kingdom of Heaven (was) easier, far easier, to attain to than any of the supposed steps
towards it. The story is told of how an Anglican Clergyman, annoyed by Bickertons refusal
to accept the authority of the Bible without reserve, asked him whether he had read the
Gospel according to Matthew. Yes, some time ago was the reply. Then read it again and
tell me what you think of it when next we meet said the Clergyman. In due course the
meeting took place, and Bickerton described the pleasure he had experienced in revising his
knowledge of the first Gospel. It is full of a beautiful morality; I never read anything
which so delighted me he said. Indeed, so impressed was I, that when the census is next
taken I shall enter myself as a Christian. But good heavens! the scandalised Clergyman
exploded, whatever did you call yourself at the last census? The answer was given with a
smile. A member of the Church of England.
Although Professor Bickerton was initially engaged to teach only Chemistry and Electricity,
he believed that all the sciences could be taught together and not necessarily as individual
subjects. Subjects such as Sound, Light, Heat and Magnetism, were regarded as Physics by
the University Committee and Bickerton should not be teaching them. This argument and the
way Bickerton taught as entertaining as a music-hall and as sensational as a circus, and the
extra-college activities and the constant teaching of his theory of partial impact was now
causing constant friction between himself and the University's Committee. In 1895 the
University set out to get rid of him, but had no real reason to as the students marks were
excellent and he had done the job he was employed to do. However in 1902 the committee
got their way and Bickerton was dismissed.
A well known scientist, Sir Ernest Rutherford was also his good friend. In a telegram to
Professor Bickerton on his eightieth birthday, Rutherford wrote, as one of his old students
and friends, I am very glad to see that this occasion is to be properly celebrated as a mark not
only of our esteem and affection, but of our general belief in the value of his work to which
he has devoted himself so indefatigably.

The source for this chapter; is the book, SCHOLAR ERRANT by R.M. Burdon.
For a in-depth read of Professor Alexander William Bickertons life out side of Wainoni,
R.M. Burtons book covers the Canterbury College, Partial impact and other aspects of the
Professors life that this book just gives a small insight into. A recommended good read.
Notes from the author:
Professor Bickerton held a Cyclists Church at Wainoni, where people cycled to Wainoni
for a sort of Church service that involved all sorts of different issues of the day and opinions
involving Christianity, Science, Health and Morality.
Throughout the years in Christchurch and more so while living at Wainoni, the Prof (as
Professor Bickerton was well known as), wrote many newspaper articles in the Christchurch
Press and Canterbury Times about Socialism, Christianity and Science.
Sir Ernest Rutherford was the first in the world to split the atom. He and the Prof were more
than just teacher and student. The Prof was Rutherfords friend, colleague and mentor. As
the author, I believe we have Professor Bickerton, as Rutherfords teacher and confidant, to
partly thank for this.

Chapter Two:

A Federative Home.
Canterbury Times April 5th 1899

In early 1899, two newspaper reporters cycled to

Professor Bickertons property at Wainoni to
report on the Federative Home. About thirty
people, mostly his own extended family as well
as others lived in a way the Professor hoped all
the world might live one day.

This chapter covers the photographs and report

told in the issue. It is word for word including
the spelling differences. The report included
two whole pages of photographs, twenty-nine in
all, and a half page of this comprehensive report.

After the publication this story was printed in a

booklet form and published by the Lyttelton
Times. The Christchurch Central Library has a
copy of this as well as the 1899 Newspaper.

The photographs have been slotted into the

appropriate places in the reporters publication.

A Federative home. Canterbury Times April 5th 1899

We hear much of Australia, of the Ruskin settlement and other social experiments, but
we imagine that few of our readers are aware of the fact that co-operative living is being
attempted in our very midst.
The Wainoni Federation, the home of which is illustrated in this issue, has been in
existence for some years; it consists of a number of persons who believe that by
combined life some of the difficulties, anxieties and worries of the present detached
system may be avoided, that a true privacy may be obtained impossible in the detached
household, and when the dread demon of loneliness will be banished , whilst a life of
greater social unity, richer in beauty, and in the enjoyment of all forms of art may be
lived with less expenditure than in the extreme duplication of the isolated home. They
say the manifest folly of a row of a hundred tenement houses, in each of which an over-
worked, weary wife, assisted by restless babies, are cooking on a hundred separate
stoves, can hardly be beaten. Where a hundred little pokey parlours have to be dusted
and kept in order because of the possible intrusion of the casual visitor; where to each
home is the separate favorite dustheap and aesthetic rubbish box awaitin the dust cart;
where the hundred little gutters or drains have to be flushed and swept, and kept fit for
the eyes of the vigilant inspector; where a united waste of material, of energy, of time
and of good human life is so appalling, that it is only by not thinking about it that it is
possible it continues.
The members do not look upon the experiment as an easy one, but are anxious to learn
by the experience of past efforts. They look upon the present attempt chiefly as a school
in which to learn what is needed for success. It is generally felt that several homes of at
least a hundred each, are required to be in existence before the scheme has passed from
the school stage to the experimental one. Using the experience of the past, they see that
costly buildings have submerged many attempts, whilst the sordid ugliness of the
barnlike buildings of other united homes has caused the members to be somewhat
ashamed of them.

Anyway, the members of the new federal home have no reason to be ashamed of their
lovely residence. The site, an elevation on the New Brighton Road, overlooks the Avon,
and the snow-clad Southern Alps are seen in the distance, with farms in the intervening
space. (Note: New Brighton Road is now Wainoni Road.)

Professor Bickerton visited and no doubt had an input to the

1882 Exhibition in Christchurch. This was a massive under-
taking with huge buildings and shows. When it finished, the
professor bought a lot of building materials including glass
houses in these photographs and perhaps the castle.

As we wheeled into the entrance gate we obtained a good view of the establishment.
The entrance hall, reception room, etc, are in the centre, with the large vinery to the
right, and the fernery, conservatories, etc, to the left.

We were met by Professor Bickerton, who took us into the conservatory, which acts
as a hall, joining the dining room, drawing room, fernery and kitchen. We passed
into the fernery (some fifty feet long), where the ferns, amid artificial rock, seem as
much at home as in their native bush, thence into the hothouse, where a singularly
fine cycas strikes the eye.

"This must cost a great deal to keep up," we remark. "Not so much per annum as a
single dinner party I have been to in a comparatively small house in Christchurch,"
the Professor answered.

From the hothouse we pass on to the stage of the dinning hall, for it is also the the-
atre, with gallery at the far end. The dining hall is lofty, with a coved ceiling and
long lantern light, and is very tastefully decorated. The roof is a promenade,
commanding on all sides a magnificent view, as well as enabling us to get a good idea
of Wainoni itself. The river Avon here curves into a complete horseshoe, thus
showing the origin of the name "Wainoni" (the bend in the water).
From the roof we look down upon the orchard, garden and terraces. Peaches,
apricots and nectarines are under our feet, clothing the roof of the fernery.
Descending to the dining hall, we then traverse the long verandah and enter the
vinery, the circular gable windows of which were formerly in the octagon of the 1882
Exhibition, and the house was designed to use up as many as possible of these
windows, with the happiest effect. Some forty-five feet long and over twenty feet
high, it provides a pleasant winter garden, and at present the roof is clothed with
immense bunches of grapes. " 'Maddesfield Court ', no trouble, no thinning
required; they grow to length, " the Professor remarked. The average length of
bunches is over a foot; some are two feet, and I was told that on occasions, when the
number of bunches is small, some have measured over three feet.

Passing into the grounds, we cross the back lawn to the boys carbo, as it is called, a
paper cottage of eight rooms, now two and a half years old, and promising to outlast
many a wooden building. Similar paper structures are built in all directions,
buildings that in any other material would have cost over a thousand pounds.
The very graceful two - storey summer-house called the chalet is now used as a
temporary fitting-shop for fireworks, (a new industry), and here the fireworks of the
Sumner and other displays were fitted up. The paint shop is also used as a loading
shop. In all directions little buildings dot the factory ground; these are the detached
firework sheds, and here the ships signal rockets, Roman candles and coloured
lights are made, everything being detached to avoid extended mischief in case of an
explosion. The complex frames for displays are also stored in suitable paper sheds,
and the chemical anoractory and photographic studio are also of paper.
Photography in all its branches is also an industry of the federation, particularly
artistic enlargements.

The art studio is a very quaint building, with niggerhead walls and thatched roof, very cool,
and singularly suitable as an artist's studio. Here are the wonderful stuffed penguins
brought by the Bickerton brothers from the Macquarie Islands, and here also is the
astonishing six foot photo of the great rookery, the account of which was published in the
"Pall Mall Magazine." (See chapter Seven, pages 67 and 68)

One penguin was eventually given to the Canterbury Museum where it is today. (See chapter Four, page 40)

But our time has expired, so, mounting

cycles, we sped along the asphalt track
through the grounds, and as it was new to
us, it was very interesting, a kind of cycle
switchback up and down sandhills,
bringing us to views as varied as an Alpine
journey. The track is over half a mile long,
and there are many miles of other shady
walks amongst the pine plantations.
Altogether we found Wainoni a most
interesting place to visit.
Perhaps the most striking feature of the
place is the new carbo-celluloid buildings,
costing for materials less than one-fifth the
cheapest wooden house, thus rendering the
experiment possible, for, though ugly at
present, they solve the difficulty of expense,
and when the technical troubles of the new
structures are overcome, the buildings may
readily be given the quaint appearance of
early English domestic architecture, but for
the present they are hidden in greenery.

In everything there is as little departure as possible from the ordinary home life;
families may have their separate residence, and often do so, there being a common
kitchen, laundry, dining and reception rooms, and a common social life. Members or
associates may join bands, glee clubs, carving and drawing classes, and attend the
social evenings. In the ideal home, towards which the Federation is tending, there
will be a nursery for the babies, and a kindergarten school for the little ones, the
children's department will have gymnasia and separate dining-room and
dormitories; all in charge of those especially fitted to undertake the care of children.

It seems absurd that people, especially reformers, should throw away half their
substance in the present wasteful mode of life, but the fact is there are real
difficulties in the establishment of such federations; they are chiefly those character-
istics that are evolved in our present isolated life. The "wolfish maternity," petty
jealousies, the family and caste exclusiveness, and the general greed. That "wolfish
maternity" that is not happy unless little Johnnie has his full and over fair share of
all the good things going; a dread that the little fellow may be made useful, although
it is obviously for his good that he should be so; the sense that he is ever the victim of
other children's spite and is such an angel himself. The jealousy that one's special
friend shall find some quality in others than one's self that gives joy to them. The
caste feeling that is always striving to creep a rung up to social ladder, and the fear
that someone within the home may tend to pull one down to the levels of the
common brotherhood of mankind. The family solidarity that takes no interest in the
prosperity of any but the members of the family itself. The greed that one may not
get the full share of the benefit of the work that one is putting into the federation.

It is marvellous how all amusements go to

games and useless play, whilst in a true social
life, as much joy would be got out of a mutual
garden bee, a sewing bee, or other useful
work, as out of tennis, football or cricket, and
the skill with which a tree is felled will be as
highly thought of as that with which leather is
kicked or batted. Now that the almighty dollar
is god, useless skill is the only road to popular
But though the members of the federation
hope to simplify life, their real aim is to show
that a life of motive is the true incentive to
action, that social unity is a higher aim than
individual success. As a rule, they have little
faith in the value of edicts to be enforced by
the lash, of punishment as an incentive to

They believe that whilst legislation may possibly effect something towards
ameliorating the lot of mankind, the life of each for all, foreshadowed by Christ in
His parables of the kingdom of heaven, is the true mode for the regeneration of the
race. The best mode of bringing in such a life is a system of federal living, with var-
ious industries within the home, that may occupy any member that for the time be-
ing is without outside employment. In such a home a true coherent family life will
replace the present disintegrating one, there being no reason for parents parting
from their children; thus families may remain together to the third and fourth
generation, amicably fusing in all directions with the other families of the group.

Persons interested join either as paying guests, associates or resident members.

Some of the members are engaged in the factories of the federation, but the majority
have outside occupations. The present members do not look with favour upon
agriculture as an occupation for such communities, nor do they consider that they
should be in their initiation, largely dependent upon industries within the federation.

Chapter Three: The Open-Air Cure

Canterbury Times 27th April 1904 relieve the afflicted portion of the com-
page 34 munity as far as possible, and it was most
gratifying to find people on such humani-
tarian lines. It had been held by some
THE OPEN - AIR CURE. that the treatment of consumptives should
<> be a charge on the consolidated fund, but
New Brighton Consumption Hospital while the Government was taking measures
to provide sanatoria, there was ample room
Sir Joseph Ward on Friday afternoon for private institutions. In spite of the
formally opened the Avon Pine Sanitorium excellent climate, many people in the
at Wainoni, where for some time cases of land suffered from tuberculosis, and sad
consumption have been treated by the open - havoc was wrought by the dire disease.
air methods. There was a considerable During the war in South Africa some thir-
gathering of those interested in the work, ty thousand men had fallen or died of
and, besides the Ministers party, which disease. But in one year alone in Eng-
included Lady Ward, Mrs W. Bean, Dr land and Wales 70,000 poor sufferers
Mason (Chief Health Officer) and Dr Finch had passed away, victims to consumption.
(District Health Officer), there were This show- ed how necessary it was in
present the Mayor (Mr C. M. Gray) and New Zealand to cope with the disease, as
Councillors W. H. Cooper, G. Payling if the disease was taken in its early stages,
and B. P. Manhire. Sir Joseph was wel- and the open-air system was applied,
comed at the sanitorium, which had been many sufferers could be restored to com-
gaily de- plete health. New Zealanders were much
corated, by Dr Greenwood, the director, indebted to Dr Greenwood, and Dr
and Professor Bickerton, in whose grounds Stephens, of Dunedin, and others, for
the huts had been placed. The Mayor then such sanatoria, and he looked upon such
asked the Minister to open the sanitorium. places, not only as places where people might
Sir Joseph Ward said that he had come be cured, but as centres from which the
out to the Avon Pine Sanitorium with a gospel of fresh air and clean lives might
great deal of pleasure. It was a duty to be sent forth. Such institutions as these
could work well side by
side with those of the Government, and he
was firmly convinced that Hercules advice
to the waggoner was good council in this
case, and the people should put their shoul-
ders to the wheel and not rely too much
on the State. There was frequently not
that enthusiasm round a State institution
that there was round a private one. An
amendment had been made in the previous
session to the Public Health Act, having
for its object the erecting of annexes for
the treatment of consumption. These were
gradually being put up, and already very
good results had been obtained at Otaki. Prime Minister, Sir Joseph Ward making his speech
He hoped to see such additions put up all at the opening day of the Avon Pine Sanatorium on
over the colony, but nothing that the Go-
vernment or the Hospital Boards might 26th April 1904. It was located at the Bickertons
arrange for would, he was convinced, in property at Wainoni in the shelter of mature pine
any way militate against the usefulness or trees. Professor Bickertons daughter Annie Lottie
well-being of institutions such as that he McIntyre married her second husband Dr Cecil
was to open. There therefore need be no Danford Greenwood 29th June 1898. Dr Greenwood
fear on the part of owners of private hos- ran the Avon Pine Sanatorium and when Nurse
pitals that the Government would interfere Maudes hospital moved to Breezes Road in the
with them. With an institution so magni-
ficently situated, and with the energy that same year, he also took over the position as doctor
Dr Greenwood was displaying in its man- of her hospital from Dr Crooke.
agement, good results must follow, and it
might do much to remove the awful jugger-
naut from the midst of the people. Dr
Mason, the Chief Health Officer, would
soon go right through the colony, and
deliver addresses on the treatment of
sumption. What was required was that the
people should be educated on the question.
Often a member of a family was kept at
home and cared for till it was too late, and
the institutions provided for the proper
openair treatment of the disease were not
given a proper chance. Work of the char-
acter now being undertaken in Christchurch
was necessary in the most remote places
in New Zealand, and the colony as a whole
would not grudge large contributions to
such work as Dr Greenwoods, whose efforts
he wished every possible success. (Ap- Accommodation was mainly tents, single tents for
plause.) sleeping and a big marquee for dining and sitting.
Dr Mason said that he had taken very Both hospitals had carbo houses as well. These
great interest in what he believed to be the were timber framed with wire netting over then
greatest menace to the human race. Sir covered in paper and then a tar like substance
Joseph Ward had said that in the previous
year 70,000 persons had died from consump- painted over the exterior. Although not too pretty to
tion in the old country. That number look at, they were warmer than tents and a lower
had been for England and Wales alone, and cost to build than conventional houses.
it was three times the number of lives lost
during the three years of the South African
war. Yet no one appeared to think very
much about the matter. The time was not
far past when consumption had been look-
ed upon as an expression of the Almightys
wrath, when it had not occurred to people
that the disease was absolutely preventable.
Yet if the precautions that could be sug-
gested were properly carried out, within
three generations there would be no con-
sumption in the colony, except that
imported. The means of prevention were
so simple that it was wonderful they had
never been adopted. Statistics showed that
no less than 97 per cent of the cases
amongst adult people were directly due to
infection from some other person or from
some animal. Yet the infection lay
wholly in the expectoration, and thus could
be destroyed very simply. If every suf- grateful. If the hospital were once fairly
ferer recognised his duty to his fellow- started, it would be kept going.
beings and took ordinary precautions to Mr J. Baldwin said that Charitable Aid
destroy the expectoration, consumption rations were all very well, but consumptive
would be entirely wiped out. Unfortunate- patients should be living on the fat of the
ly, many cases came into proper institu- land. A sick member of the family of any
tions only when they were past cure, of those present would be given the best
but others received vast benefit. Perhaps that could be procured, and people should
the greatest benefit of all was the lesson remember that after all they belonged to
taught in the sanatoria, that consump- one great family.
tion, like many other diseases, could be Sir Joseph Ward said that he recognised
best fought by going back to nature. that fine womanly instincts such as were
(Applause.) possessed by Nurse Maude were the founda-
Cheers were then given for Sir Joseph tion of much of the greatness of the coun-
and Lady Ward, for Dr and Mrs Green- try. The work that she was doing deserv-
wood and for the Mayor. ed every encouragement, and, though
Refreshments had been provided, and the price of the land was not
while a band played selections, a pleasant large, the amount was, of course,
half-hour was spent. formidable under the special circumstances.
Sir Joseph and his party then went to Money could not be devoted to a better
Nurse Maudes open-air hospital, a short purpose than the support of such an
distance nearer to New Brighton. institution as a hospital for poor pa-
Mr T. H. Davey, M. H. R, introduced tients, and if he could not obtain a pound for a
Nurse Maude. He said she had estab- pound subsidy for the hospital, he would try
lished the home for working men, who to do something in the direction of mak-
could not afford to go to the expensive ing it a success. It behoved every person
sanatoria, and if the Minister could do any- to assist in the fight against consumption,
thing to aid her he would be assisting in and he thought that public men of all
a very valuable work. shades of opinion would be willing to help.
Nurse Maude said that in her district Sir Joseph inspected the hospital, and
work she had seen so many poor men then returned to town.
suffering from consumption that she had
felt impelled to do something to assist
them. She had therefore established the
hospital, which had been wholly sup-
ported by friends. The Sydenham Work-
ing Mens Club had taken up the matter
and had rendered valuable assistance, and
she thought that the hospital should re-
main independent of the local bodies, as
there was ample work before it. The
Charitable Aid Board had assisted very
materially with rations, and she thought
that the hospital could be kept going if it
could obtain the land on which it had been
placed. The eight acres, with a small house,
could be obtained at the low price of 255
pounds, and if the Government could assist
she would be very
Six photographs of tents and people are from The
Weekly Press, 4th May 1904, pages 41 and 42.
Most of the people who suffered from T.B were men. The common practice advised by
doctors was for the patient staying at home in front of the fire with the windows closed and
with his family around him. He would breathe in bad air and contaminate his family with
germs from the air and his utensils. Most of the time he would die, perhaps spreading the
disease to his wife or child resulting in a second death. This disease was a huge killer in
New Zealand and throughout the wider world.
As Professor Bickertons sick horse, left to graze in the wild at Wainoni in 1882, recovered
its health due to the fresh air of the countryside, Nurse Maude too believed the same result
would be for sufferers of consumption.
With financial help from the public, Nurse Maude opened the first sanatorium or hospital for
the treatment of consumption (T.B) in 1903 on a small piece of land offered by Mrs A.J.
White, half way between the Bower Hotel and the New Brighton bridge, adjacent to the Avon
During the middle of one night that winter there was a dreadful storm. Lack of shelter
resulted in the wind tearing down tents and soaking everybodies bedding and possessions.
Mr and Mrs Amos Goring (Mabel Howards grandparents), lived on land between Breezes
Road and Shortland Street, near Wainoni Road and they offered some of their land where
the hospital then relocated to. Here the pine trees were mature offering better shelter.
In April 1904, Avon Pine Sanatorium opened just two minutes walk from Nurse Maudes
sanatorium. They both continued treating patients, saving many lives until 1907 when the
government had a proper brick hospital built in Cashmere, The Cashmere Sanatorium.

REFERENCES: 1) Nurse Maude, A friend in need by E.M. Somes Cocks

2) Nurse Maude, The First 100 Years by Vivienne Allan
3) Aranui Centennial Souvenir Programme March 1st 1952

Nurse Maudes Sanatorium, Breezes Road, 1904 Weekly Press 18

May 1904, P37
Chapter Four:


1903- 1914
By 1903 Professor William Bickerton was no longer working at Canterbury
University and because many groups of people including Church groups,
schools, businesses, etc. were using the Pleasure Gardens for picnics and
social events, the Bickerton family decided to open the Park to the public
as a commercial enterprise.
Among the many activities to see and do at Wainoni Park were:
Merry go rounds, side shows, shooting galleries, rowing, skating rink,
social hall for dances, walk ways, Aunt Sallies, gala days, baby shows,
refreshment stores, three penny and six penny tea rooms, an amphitheatre
that held 7000 people, open air concerts, sand weaving, Punch and Judy,
magic shows, Indian club swinging, boxing, brass bands, gymnastics
displays, ocean waves, glass blowing, art gallery, planetarium, begonia
house, fernery, conservatory, aquariums;
In the zoo there were lions, bears, kangaroos, wallabies, leopard, cranes,
lemurs, tiger, emus, 40 monkeys (that one day made a great escape and
were all over the neighbourhood), and a puma died on its way to Wainoni
(See page 38).
There was also: A cinema, possibly the first in Christchurch;
A publishing company and press used to produce a number of books
written by The Professor, named Wainoni Postal Publishing Co.;
Medicine factory making medicines from the Professor's own secret rec-
ipes and sold at the park;
Fireworks factory that made fireworks for displays and the mock battles.
Photography and art studios.
The Park was also known as The Wainoni Pleasure Gardens and Tahuna Park.

Canterbury Times
4 Feb 1914 p45
New Brighton Road (Wainoni Road) entrance.

Also known as the riv-

er entrance as many
people would travel by
boats down the Avon
River to visit the park.
Today it would be on
the corner of Wainoni
Road and Bickerton


Below and right: The Tram Road

(Pages Road) entrance.
The tram would stop here on its way from
the city to New Brighton.
In weekends special trams were hired to
meet the demand of hundreds, sometimes
thousands of visitors.
Today the tram stop would be on the
corner of Pages Road and Bickerton


The three Rowse brothers, Fred, Edie and Dolf working at the
Tram Road entrance gate.
Below: Bickerton family home in the 1890s. Notice the castle on the left.

Canterbury Museum
Ref: 4591

By 1903 the plants

had grown and the
gardens had been
I assume the castle had
gone by this time. It
cannot be seen in this
photograph nor is it
mentioned in any news-
paper articles about
Wainoni Park after




These four photographs are all postcards.

Sheltered by the pine trees many native ferns,
Punga, scrubs, bushes and trees flourished.


Below: The Professor was one of

the earliest people in N.Z to use
electricity. You can see the power
lines through the trees, along the
walk ways. Lights were put on at
night to allow evening walks, and
to find your way back to the tram
stop in the dark.


The actual size of the post-

cards are 138mm x 85 mm


The penguins are thought to

have been part of the 1906
1907 Christchurch International
Exhibition. Over two million
people from all over the world
came to Christchurch during
these two years. It was natural
these people would visit
Wainoni, so the penguins were
displayed there. When the
exhibition was over they were
released into Pegasus Bay.
The penguins were brought to
Wainoni soon after the zoo left
for Auckland in 1912. See the
last paragraph of the newspaper
article 15 April 1912 on page 35.

It was common practice to

make postcards out of
photographs like this one on
the left. here have been
dozens of photographs of
Wainoni made into postcards.
However it is believed that
overseas collectors have
bought most of them. The
commercially sold Wainoni
postcards are very common
and can be bought for $2.00 -
$10.00, depending on the
quality, postmarks, etc.
LEFT: Kruger the monkey. He
was part of the zoo, most likely
in 1912.
It is thought that the zoo keeper,
J.J Boyd lived in a house owned
by Professor Bickerton on
Onslow Street, now known as 83
Ottawa Road.

Entrance ticket,

BELOW: A rare postcard of the

Tram Road (Pages Road)
entrance. It is different to the
other Tram Road entrance
postcards in this chapter. It is
probable that the fences, ex-
it gates and castle- looking ticket
box were bought from the 1906-7
Christchurch exhibition after it


Left: Canterbury
Times Photograph
16 February
1910 p45

An estimated Twen-
ty-seven tons of
ferns at Wainoni.

Leading up to the back of
the Bickerton family home.
All the rocks would have
come from outside the area
as only sand, swamp and
plants existed in the wider
east side of Christchurch,
not rocks.
Bevan Bickerton

Bevan Bickerton

Canterbury Museum
Weekly Press
Ref: 13167

Above: A natural hollow in the

ground made for a perfect
amphitheatre. It was large
enough for 7000 people to enjoy
bands, plays, etc.

Right: This photo of the viewing

tower was thought to have been
taken in the 1880s.

Below: Professor Barnes and his

hot air balloon. He would
ascend into the air, perform
acrobatics and then parachute
back down to the park. This
particular day the north westerly
wind was too strong and the
ascent was cancelled.
Captain Jonassen also made hot
air balloon ascents at the park.
A.E Preece photograph
Canterbury Museum
Ref 8635

Christchurch City Library

Canterbury Times
4 December 1907 page 41

Christchurch City Library

Weekly Press
17 January 1906 page 45
Neg: 2038
And a postcard

Above: Crowds watching the Punch and Judy show.

Below: The Boat Landing.


Mock Naval Battles

Bevan Bickerton

8th November 1895 page 4 The fireworks displays were the highlight for
Christchurch Press
most visitors. The mock Naval battles were
Tahuna Fete The attendance at
Tahuna last night was not as large as one
part of the fireworks presentation.
would have expected considering the perfect
night for such an entertainment. Still This photograph was a surprise to find as
there was a good number of people present,
and the fete was a brilliant success. The
the only mention I have found of this sea
evening began with the shadow panto- port is in this article in the Christchurch
mime which occupied a large alfresco stage,
the shadows being thrown in different Press 1895 at a Tahuna Fete day. Described
colours on to the cloth about 20ft square. The
effect was most peculiar, especially with the
as the bombardment by the Japanese of Port
chromatic club swinging. The scene of Arthur. With electric lights to display the
the fireworks was some six acres in extent,
and close by Mr Bickertons residence, harbour, crowds would stand behind the
there had been arranged a most effective
display. The bombardment of Port
security fence and watch the night battle.
Arthur by the Japanese gunboats was
worked out in an admirable manner. If the outside of the port is constructed of
Of fire serpents, Roman candles, and
Catherine wheels there were numbers, and
concrete block as it appears to be, then
the epicycloidal meteors were a special perhaps Wainoni Park was the first place in
attraction. The band rotunda was bril-
liantly illuminated, and the City Brass Christchurch that concrete block was used
Band played selections throughout the
in 1895.
Below: This lake was made by sinking a
well in a natural hollow in the ground.
The battleships were made of cardboard
and painted the correct shade of grey like
a real battleship. They were four to five
feet long (between one and two metres).
Crackers were placed in the boats and
they were sent to sea. By clever
mechanical control, the boats would open
fire on one another with their guns
blazing. During the battle, boats would
catch on fire and some would be sunk.

There was an island in the middle of the

lake. Some of the parks staff would hide
in the water out of sight before the battle
started. During the battle they would
swim out shouting Help!. Help!. Oth-
er staff on the land would then throw a
rope to them and save them, adding to Postcard
the excitement.
A great way to end a full day at Wainoni Above: Wainoni Geyser- Professor
Bickerton invented this explosive
before catching the tram back to town! he named splittite. It was dropped
into the lake resulting in the water
shooting 200 feet into the air.

2nd April 1904 page 7 he added a little flesh to it by way of
Christchurch Press savoury, and each time a half - loaf was
pushed to him he missed the hand that
held it by only a very little. His com
panion was much more ladylike. She
WAINONI PARK. was still struggling with her first por
Very complete arrangements have tion when he had finished the whole of
been made by the management of his. But the illusion of femininity
Wainoni Park for the Labour Day went when they explained that she fed
picnic, which will be held at the pop- gently merely because her teeth were
ular resort on Monday, and it is antici- sore.
pated that a record crowd will be pre- Next they fed the monkeys. A weird
sent. The new Wainoni zoo contain- thing was their box. From each knot
ing a most interesting collection of hole peered a tiny eye, and at one
lions, tigers, leopards, bears and other larger crack appeared a small shrivelled
animals, besides a number of birds, face holding all the misery of all the
will be opened at 10am., and under world - a drawn sad face pitifully,
the direction of Mr J. J. Boyd the
visitors will have an opportunity of horribly human. The keeper cut bread
studying the wild animals closely in into thick satisfying schoolboy slices,
their commodious quarters. The Public and dropped it into the box. Perhaps
Works engineer has pronounced the nine monkeys scrambled for the frag
cages all safe, and there is ample pro- ments, but the tenth was wiser. He
tection for those of nervous disposi- waited near a ventilation hole, knowing
tion in viewing the animals. The pro- that sooner or latter his chance would
gramme arranged for the Labour Day come. A piece was set down within
sports by the Trades and Labour Coun-
cil is of an attractive nature, and in reach and at once his little fist grabbed
addition to the ordinary races and tests it. For him there was no struggle for
of skill, there will be hakas and poi food, he represented the thinker of all
dances by the Rapaki Maoris, flights of the world, though he was only one of
model-aeroplanes and hot-air balloons ten monkeys caged in a little box.
and a naval battle. The Linwood Brass The lion had been turning this way
Band will supply appropriate music. and that for a solid hour, there was
In the evening there will be an open no room for him to walk as though
air concert, and the days events will
conclude with a huge fireworks display. he would walk off his entre. But as
they nailed the battens across his box,
shutting him in the dark he became
as quiet as the lioness had been all
the while. Teddy the bear took
his departure less philosophically.
Playfully he had snatched at his bread,
equally playfully he swept away the
25th November 1912 page 1 inch board nailed in front. As they
set it back in place again he thumped the
Christchurch Press floor with a sound like the galloping
Admission 6d, Children 3d of horses. He waited until they were
finished, and engaged in telling each
WA I N O N I PARK other how secure it was, then he
knocked it off again. His rattling had
OPEN EVERY DAY. set the horses in the lorry to blinking
and stamping. The driver took them
FREE ZOO. Direct from Sydney Zoo. out. And the board was replaced. This
Electric Merry-go-round. time it stayed in place, and with much
Return Tram Fares (including admission) grunting the men lifted the box
1s, Children 6d No. 5 Car aboard. By this time all the bigger
1039 boxes were in place, and all that re
mained were a few trifles and one
larger box from which a startled emu
at intervals pushed out a foot or so
of neck, ending in a weird reptilian
head. When all its body is visible an
emu is nothing beautiful, but when
all that it shows is a head and half
15th April 1912 page 3 a yard of neck it suggest nothing ex-
Christchurch Press cept a prehistoric peep.
While these things had been going
forward Mr J. J Boyd had been ex-
A DEPARTURE plaining his queer hobby of zoological
gardens: it is his pastime, and noth-
0 ing more, though now and then he
BOYDS ZOO LEAVES WAINONI finds it profitable. This Christchurch
venture, he said, had been less so than
In the chill of an autumn morning some of the others. Moving the
the beasts left Wainoni on Saturday to beasts, feeding and attending to them
return to the North. It was a very costs a good deal and it was only the
simple affair, and about it there was no country people who came to see them.
ceremony of farewell. In fact, there These beasts, now on the way would
were only two strangers to see them winter in Auckland, where they would
go, and their feet were too cold to form part of a collection of 2000
allow them to take any great interest beasts and birds.
in the matter. Also there was not Mr Bickerton explained later that
much interesting about it except the Christchurch would not be long with-
proprietor, and his tales dealt with the out a zoo, as they proposed refill-
manners of men rather than the ways ing the cages with a number of small
of beasts. beasts. In particular they had made
Two days before the beasts had been arrangements for a supply of pen-
caged, and all that remained to be guins and these would arrive very
done was to board up the fronts of soon.
their travelling cages. Ere that was
done they were fed, some of them. Two
loaves of bread to each bear, and a loaf
amongst ten little monkeys. The he
bear waited patiently, his long-clawed
front paw stretched out ready and eager
to grab his portionhe didnt mind if

The Weekly Press 25 October 1911 P34


The Weekly Press 25 October 1911 P35

Canterbury Times 25th October 1911 Page 41


On Monday of last week, the consignment of wild animals and birds intended for the Zoo at Wainoni Park
arrived at Lyttelton, and was transferred to Wainoni on lorries. The tiger and leopards were fierce, and
attempted to claw anyone who came near their cages. A puma intended for the Zoo died from fright at
the travelling, and its carcase has been presented to the Christchurch Museum. Mr J.J. Boyd, who
introduced the animals to the dominion, intends to establish three Zoos in New Zealand, and he will
shortly add some elephants, cheetahs and Australian bears to the collection of wild animals. A second
consignment of animals for the Zoo at Wainoni arrived at Auckland on October 15. The illustrations
show (1) the arrival of the first batch of wild animals at Wainoni, (2) the unloading, (3) a tiger, (4)
removing the tiger to its permanent home, (5) Himalayan bear, and (6) a lion and lioness.
Canterbury Times photos.

The Weekly Press 24 December 1912 P40


Canterbury Museum: Animals from Wainoni Zoo.

Photographer: Neville Wilkins

The puma which died of fright while being transported
to Wainoni from Africa in 1911.
See page 38.

Three lion cubs which died at Wainoni.

One of the king penguins which was brought back from
the Macquarie Island by Mr W.H. Bickerton, (a son of
the Professor) in 1895.
See pages 67 and 68 for the full story.
2nd February 1912 page 8 Baby Show Mrs H Withell 1, Mrs N.J
Ridder 2, Mrs A.E Downing and Mrs Mc
Christchurch Press Dougall (equal) 3, Mrs F.G Barrett 4, Mrs
Kohn and Mrs Chapman (equal) 5.
Quoits H Whyte 1, P R Smith 2
WAINONI GALA Shooting S. Fort 1, G. Hawkins 2
Ladies Shooting Mrs Wright 1, Mrs R
0 Kershaw 2.

The Wainoni Gala postponed from a
fortnight ago, on account of wet
weather, took place yesterday and at
tracted large crowds both during the
day and in the evening. The weather
was perfect for a function of this sort
and everything passed off well. The 29th October 1912 page 5
only hitch was in the evening when
a temporary failure of light, due to Christchurch Press
a short circuit, caused an interruption
in the programme. The days attrac
tions included lolly scrambles, races
for children and adults, a baby show, WAINONI PARK
shooting and quoit competitions, a
miniature naval engagement on the YESTERDAYS SUCCESSFUL GALA.
lake, hot-air balloon ascents, and a big
calendar of side shows. The zoo was
a popular department, the feeding of The crowd at Wainoni Park during
the animals at 4 oclock being witnessed yesterday morning and afternoon was
by a large gathering of spectators. largely composed of family parties who
An entertaining and very skilful per- had made all the necessary preparations
formance was given by Signor Carl for a picnic and who, as far as the on-
Robeni, a ventriloquist, who manipu- looker could judge, thoroughly enjoyed
lated quite a large company of lay the pleasant surroundings and the
figures to the intense amusement of thousand and one forms of amusement
the audience. A very elaborate pro- provided. The principle new attraction
gramme was put on in the evening, yesterday was the balloon ascent by
the features being another entertain Captain Jonassen, who reached a height
ment by Signor Robeni, a Pierrot con- of 2000 feet. The weather conditions
cert, and a club-swinging exhibition by were not favourable and prevented his
a living statue. The moving pic- original intention of ascending to 6000
ture section, for the reason above feet being carried out. The ascent and
mentioned, had to be cut out, descent were accomplished without
but to fill the gap some artist mishap, and provided a sensational
produced a cornet and sounded forth spectacle to all . Captain Jonassen
the melodies of Rocked in the Cradle landed about 500 or 600 yards from the
of the Deep, Annie Laurie, and river entrance to the park. The zoo and
other classics, all in the dark. A dis aquarium, to which no extra charge
play of fireworks closed the days was made, were the centre of consider-
festivities, and this was on an un able interest. The aquarium is not, ap
usually lavish scale. There were the parently, quite finished and the water
usual rockets, whirligigs, and showers, was not as clear as it might have
but speciality pieces were very fine, been. Nevertheless the fish on view
one depicted Niagara Falls by moon were admired by all that saw them and
light, another a butterfly fluttering the aquarium will probably become a
up a tree, and another a swan glid- very popular and valuable adjunct to
ing on the lake, and another a tomcat the park. The zoo was most satisfying,
fight on a fence, the last-named being especially to the bevies of happy young-
quite a novelty in pyrotechnics. An- sters who never seemed to weary of
other sea battle was fought with great watching the antics of the kangaroos,
er effect than in the day. The illumi the wallabies, the cranes, the bears, the
nated ships peppered each other with lemurs, and the monkeys. There were,
a will, miniature forts blazed away as is customary, a wealth of side at-
with their heavy guns, and sunken tractions such as merry-go-rounds, ocean
mines at intervals lifted the water. waves, swings, shooting galleries, and
It was a great engagement, full of Aunt Sallies, and these were all well
noise and smoke. The rush of people patronised. A baby show attracted a
to the city when the fireworks finished large number of entries. Races for
was dealt with promptly and adequate- a single womens race provided much
ly by the tramway authorities. The sport whilst free open air concerts, a
extra traffic causing no dislocation in Punch and Judy performance, and the
the service. music provided by a brass band assisted
The various events resulted Follows: to make the time go pleasantly.
In the evening another crowd visited
Boys RacesJ. Messervey 1, Claude the park and had plenty of amuse
Palmer 2, Reg Burrows 1, Alfred Clist 2, ment. A free fireworks display, man
Vincent Fowler 1, Harold Rhodes 1, aged in the thoroughly satisfactory
Three legged race Boys: T Fitses and
C Palmer 1. Mens C Dixey and H manner for which Wainoni Park has be
Soanes 1, J Smithers and Gates 2 come so favourably known around the
Married ladies Race First heat : Mrs admiration of all. Many striking de
Willoughby 1, Mrs Moore 2. Second heat: signs were delineated and beautiful
Mrs Robertson 1, Mrs Mckay 2. Third heat: effects produced. A free concert was
Mrs Brown 1, Mrs Borrows 2. Final: Mrs also given and the performers were
Robertson 1, Mrs Willoughby 2.
Girls Races Bertha Reidle 1, Ada Mer successful in pleasing the large audi-
ton 2, Rene Harper 1, Muriel Waghorn 2, ence. The days programme was one
Phyllis Hindle 1, Irene Neville 2, Irene that befitted the opening of the season
Chapman 1. at Wainoni Park and an augury of
Continue top right
many similar happy gatherings before
the season ends.
The tram stop at the gate, the pine trees and other ground cover planted
years earlier, the Avon river at the door step, twenty acres of land, mountain
views, accommodation, picnic areas and, the pleasure park activities, made
Wainoni an ideal location for all types of groups to meet.

Church groups, reunions, camp overs etc. were common place:

Canterbury Times 13 April 1904 page 45.

Christchurch City Library

13 April 1904 page 45


The annual camp and conference was held during Easter Week, at Professor Bickertons grounds,
Wainoni, on the New Brighton Road. The Union comprises about forty classes, with a membership of
nearly 1500. About a fourth of the number were in camp, branches from all parts of the colony being

2nd April 1904 page 7

Christchurch Press motion was passed that the movement
Should extend its sympathy to healthy re-
0 creations and amusements, including ath
letics. Fifty delegates, representing thirty-
Over three hundred members of the three classes, attended the annual confer-
Presbyterian Bible Class Union, repre- ence yesterday, over which the President
senting classes from all parts of the colony, (Mr T. W. Reese) presided. The annual
are in camp at Professor Bickertons report showed that new classes had been
grounds, Wainoni. The encampment open- formed in nineteen different places. It
ed on Thursday evening, but most of the was decided that the executive for next
members arrived yesterday morning. At year be stationed in Wellington, and Mr
a combined class meeting yesterday after- C. S. Falconer (Kent terrace, Wellington)
noon papers were read on The Essential was unanimously elected President. The
Characteristics of Our Movement, by G. R. conference will be continued this morning.
Hutchison (St. Johns, Wellington), and The annual camp concert was held last
The difficulties and defects of our Move- evening, and to-day athletic contests for
ments, and their Remedy, by G. Mc the championship banner, and a rugby
Cracken (Knox Church, Dunedin). Both football match, North v. South Island, will
papers caused a long discussion, and a take place.
THE WEEKLY PRESS 18th MARCH 1908 page 48.

Gathering of old colonists.

GATHERING OF OLD COL- are no fewer than 170 in the family,

all told, including 35 great-grandchil-
ONISTS. dren and 70 grandchildren. The
parents were passengers to Canterbury
The gathering on Thursday at by the Randolph, one of the first four
Wainoni, near Christchurch of the ships, and on Thursday were as lively as
old colonists - a replica on a small a girl and boy of twenty, though their
scale of the jubilee gathering ages are respectively 83 and 82.
of 1900was a most successful and Shortly after two oclock the party
enjoyable affair. There were some- assembled in the amphitheatre, where
thing like 400 persons congregated photographs were taken. The shrink-
together on the pine-clad slopes of age in the ranks of the pioneer
Wainoni Park, interchanging greet- settlers was very noticeable in the
ings with shipmates of forty and fifty small number who were eligible to
years ago, and fighting the struggles form part of the groups of the first
of the early colonisation of the Can- four ships. The committee then as-
terbury Plains over again. The ar- sembled on the stage, when Mr G. R.
rangements made by the committee Hart, chairman of the committee,
were excellent, and, under the able occupied the chair. He explained
supervision of Mr Wood, aided by the that one object of the meeting was
officials, the whole party were safely to form an Old Colonists Association
seated in two special trams. The for Canterbury. This was agreed to,
weather was beautifully fine and the membership to apply to all either born
ample space afforded by Wainoni in the settlement or arriving in Can-
enabled quite a number of family terbury prior to 1870.
picnics to be arranged on arrival. One The election of the first officers re
of the important portions of the sulted as follows: - President, Mr G.
days programme, the luncheon, was R. Hart, vice- president, Mr J. Har-
soon in full swing and the picnic per: treasurer and secretary position,
ground dotted over with parties Mr A. R. Kirk. The election of four
each seated round their family bas- members to form with the officers. The
Executive, was postponed till the first
ket presented quite a gay appearance. general meeting of the association.
A short interval having elapsed for
greetings and conversation, the party
gathered round the sports ground.
Here a very good programme of sports
was carried out, some of the sprightly
young ladies of fifty summers or so,
and the young men of sixty or
upwards, made excellent time in the
races amidst the encouraging cheers of
their friends. The descendants of
the Pilgrim Fathers and Mothers
were not forgotten, several races being
arrang-ed for their special benefit.
Here it may be noted, that what is a
record in the matter of families, was
much in evidence. This was that of
Mr and Mrs J. Harper, of the
Ferry road, four generations of their
family being
represented on the occasion. There
Canterbury Times 30th April 1902 page 38.

Easter 1902 was the first gathering of The Young Mens Bible Classes in
New Zealand.

30th April 1902 page 39

Canterbury Times

(See illustrations)

The third annual encampment of the St

Johns (Wellington) and St Pauls Christ-
church) Young Mens Bible Classes was held
this year in Professor Bickertons splendid
domain during the Easter holidays. About
120 members of these classes, including
delegates from Dunedin, Wanganui and
Masterton, were in camp, plainly showing
the growth of Young Mens Bible Clas-
ses in New Zealand, which have for their
objects the development of the whole man,
spirituality, mentally, physically and so-
cially. On Good Friday a conference of
delegates was held at which it was de-
cided to form a Young Mens Bible Class
Union for New Zealand, the object of the
union being to foster the growth of
Young Mens Bible Classes wherever
possible. The question of engaging a
Young Mans man to tour New Zealand
and work amongst young men was left out
for future consideration. During the en-
campment essays were given on such
subjects as Athletic Fixtures, Syl- labus
Compilation and Our Mottoes, and
an able discourse was given by Mr Alex
Reece on Young Men for Christ. The
physical and social aspects were well
catered for in an interesting football
match, in which St Pauls were victors, and
an evenly contested game of hockey, result- It is likely this was the third car to enter New Zealand after McLeans
ing in a draw. Socially the camp
was favoured by a visit from the ladies on two Benzs and quite probable the first in the South Island . The car
Good Friday evening, the occasion being
the annual camp concert, and again on had a number of owners during its life. At some stage while Wainoni
Easter Monday for a day in camp, when Park was operating, (the exact year is not known), Professor
ping pong was very much in evidence, and
a good exhibition of high jumping was Bickerton bought the car and it is thought that the engine was used to
given, together with other athletic events. drive either the merry-go-round or the shooting gallery. (See page
The camp was closed the same evening with
a fireworks display, after which the north- 35, 25th Nov 1912 newspaper advertisement.)
ern contingent took their departure. The
camp was pronounced to be the most suc- This photograph and information is from the book: The Veteran
cessful yet held.
Years of New Zealand Motoring, by Pam MacLean and Brian Joyce.
This book is about the history of motoring in New Zealand and is
available at the libraries. A recommended good read.
40 January

Canterbury Times Photos.
(1) Scouts On parade. The officer on the left is Dr Fenwick, in the centre Dominion Chief-Scout Cosgrove, and on the right Dr Inglis. (2) A B.P. rally. The Scouts are hidden
in cover and on a signal they emerge from it and crowd around their leader, as depicted in the picture. On another signal they disappear as quickly as they first came into view. (3) a
Scouts demonstration, somewhat on the lines of a haka. (4) and (7) Bridge building. (5) Bishop Julius conducting Divine service at the Scouts camp on Sunday, January 8. (6)
Practicing ambulance work. (8) Making huts.


Canterbury Times Photos.
(1) The Cambridge Terrace Team, under Chief-Scout Hoppy, winners of the Cup given for competition amongst Scouts of the South Island. (2) Dominion Chief Scout Cossgrove. (3)
Scout buglers. (4) Signalling. (5) The camp at Wainoni. (6) Scouts bathing in the Avon near the camp at Wainoni. (7) Hut building. (8) Instruction in first aid to the injured. (9)
Scouts receiving lessons in cooking. (10) J. Lindsay (on left), winner of the 100 yds and 200yds championships at the Scout sports, and A. B. Cook, first in 100yrs, under fifteen, and in
open high jump. (11) Four Officers; From the leftDr Fenwick, Dr Inglis, Dominion Chief-Scout Cossgrove and District-commander Goodman.
5th January 1911 page 9 Continue
Christchurch Press

WAINONI PARK. The principal feature of the boy
Scouts camp at Wainoni yesterday
The Scout camp at Wainoni Park was the church parade in the after-
promises to be a great success. Yes- noon. The Scouts were massed on the
terday a large number of Scouts camp parade ground, and marched to
arrived in camp, and their numbers a model amphitheatre, on the natural
slopes of which the Scouts and some
are expected to be considerably in- hundreds of spectators found sitting
creased to-day. Visitors will be per- room.
mitted to inspect the camp every af- The service was conducted by his
ternoon. This afternoon there will be Lordship Bishop Julius. The Garrison
a practice in hut and bridge building, Band assisted instrumentally in the
and to-night there will be a concert hymns, and the Scouts sang them heart-
in the arena, the whole programme ily and devotionally. The Bishops ad-
being provided by the Scouts. To- dress was entirely appropriate, and was
listened to with evident attention and
morrow afternoon the boys will have appreciation by his youthful audience.
Scout games, and at night there will It was, he said, a day of movements,
be a combined concert and fireworks and almost every movement started in
display. the Old Country was brought out to
the overseas dominions. He did not
know of any movement which had given
him greater pleasure to follow and
observe than the Boy Scout move-
ment. It did him good to see the Boy
9th January 1911 page 9 Scouts going along the streets
Christchurch Press with their heads up, looking as
though they had something to
do, and were intent on doing it. He
BOY SCOUTS CAMP. believed that the Scout movement was
doing a world of good to the boys of
<> New Zealand, and he would like to see
SATURDAYS PROGRAMME every boy in Christchurch join it. The
Bishop then invited the boys to look
at his word sketch of an ideal Boy
VARIOUS COMPETITIONS. Scout, and observe his chief charac-
teristics. The ideal lad would be
Further useful work was carried out handy, helpful and holy. One of the
characteristics of the Scout movement
by the Boy Scouts at their encampment was that it trained its boys to be
at Wainoni Park on Saturday. Rou- hardy. This assisted them to be help-
tine work was attended to before break- ful, and the desire to be helpful
fast, and after breakfast the lads gave the value to every power they
journeyed into town, and the local possessed. The word holy was not an
Scouts took charge of the country boys attractive one to boys, but its mean-
and showed them the sights of the city. ing should be attractive. It meant
The party returned to camp by the 12.5 that they should endeavour to be
p.m. tram. whole men, healthy, strong and
After dinner the march past was pure, physically and mentally. They
carried out under the charge of should love truth and right, and
Dominion Chief Scout Cosgrove, and endeavour always to say and do
the rest of the afternoon was occupied that which would increase that love.
in giving a public demonstration of The camp was inspected during the
Boy Scout work. A very creditable afternoon by Surgeon - Major Fenwick,
exhibition of bridge building was given Commissioner for the South Island,
by an expert troop of Scouts under and Surgeon - Captain Inglis, Commis-
Sergeant-Major Rennie and Scoutmas- sioner for Canterbury. The Scouts were
paraded by Major Cossgrove, Chief
ter Orbell, the structure, which was Dominion Scout, and were inspected by
constructed with great expedition, being the inspecting officers.
very substantial and well calculated to The health of the boys in camp has
serve the purpose for which it was been excellent, and Surgeon - Major
built. A hut building competition, for Fenwick states that the sanitary
which there were four entries, arrangements made could not have
resulted: - Cambridge terrace 1, Milton been improved upon.
2, East Belt 3. The dominion Chief The chief Dominion Scout expressed
Scout was the judge. Other com- his satisfaction with the camp and the
petitions resulted: Signalling work done. The only disappointment
competition (judge, Lieut. Temple, was that more Scouts were not present,
District Inspector), Linwood troop 1, but as this was the first big camp, and
Cambridge terrace 2, East Belt 3. Five therefore something in the nature of
entries; Ambulance competition an experiment, one could not expect
(judges, North Canterbury Commis- the large attendance which might
sioner, Dr McLelland Inglis and distinguish an established gathering.
Commissioner for South Island, Dr Divine service was conducted in the
Fenwick), East belt 1, Cambridge camp last evening by the Rev. Mr
terrace 2, Oxford terrace Baptist 3. This morning at 5.30, the boys com-
A bugle competition was also held, menced breaking camp, and it is
Dominion Quartermaster Douglass being expected that the old camping
the judge. ground will be deserted before 9 am.
Before turning-in time a camp fire
yarn was given by the Dominion Chief
Chapter Five: The Professors Theory of Partial Impact
In the late 1800s, physics and astronomy began to overlap. The time came when no longer
were they completely separate subjects, and the region of astrophysics had emerged.

In the second half of the 19th century spectroscopic (telescopes and microscopes) and stellar
photography (photographing outer-space) had begun to reveal phenomena previously
invisible. With these revelations came fresh problems and mysteries yet to be solved. One of
these mysteries was the sudden appearance of new stars which blazed out in the sky for a
brief interval and then rapidly diminished in a bright flash.

Professor Bickerton was not an astronomer but his connection to physics had led him to
dabble in astrophysics. In any case he was so eager to understand the workings of nature in
all its departments that he could not avoid being profoundly interested in a phenomenon for
which all existing explanations seemed absurdly inadequate. Never inhibited by modesty and
believing himself peculiarly well fitted to solve the problem, he set out to do just that.

Following up his researches in heat, electricity and atomic structures he began to evolve a
new theory of the universe. The essential points of his theory were outlined in a paper read
before the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury in the winter of 1878. He began by
explaining, and then rejecting, all the most recent theories adducted to account for the
appearance of temporary and visible stars, after which he expounded what he claimed to be
more feasible hypothesis.
If two of the numberless large dark bodies moving through space should come within the
influence of each others gravitation they would be attracted out of their courses with a
constantly increasing velocity. One of three things would happen. They would pass each oth-
er by, collide centre to centre, or, what was far more likely, strike each other a glancing
blow. In this last event a piece would be struck off each colliding mass, and these two pieces,
having developed a high degree of heat, would coalesce and form a new star of remarkable
brilliance, while the remaining two bodies, or wounded stars, might be expected to travel
on through space unless the coalesced or third body were sufficiently large to attract them
back to collide again.
In a second paper read a month later before the same society Bickerton claimed that Partial
Impact as he christened his theory, could account not only for the sudden appearance of new
stars but also for various other hitherto phenomena. Naturally enough these ideas gave rise to
animated controversy. Plenty of people were ready enough to dismiss the whole theory as
nonsense, but from the first a number of enthusiastic disciples adopted Bickerton as their
prophet. Notable among them was John Grey who at that time was Premier.
By the end of 1880 Bickerton had elaborated his theory into an explanation of the whole
cosmic system. All the mysteries that had puzzled astronomers were now made clear. Novae
resulted from a third body being formed by the coalescence of portions struck off from
colliding dead suns. Various stars were the rotating sections that had passed on into space,
alternately dim or bright according to whether their hot or cold sides turned towards the
earth. Double stars would result when, as must sometimes be the case, these two bodies were
impelled by mutual attraction to revolve round one another. Having ascertained that a
number of double stars were variable, Bickerton thought it probable that variability would be
shown by further investigation to be a characteristic of double stars, which, if so, would
increase the likelihood of his supposition. Planetary nebulae were produced by out rushing
gases from the position of impact. As he worked on, new complications crowded into his
vision. As each of them was solved his theory grew ever more comprehensive until at length
he reached the point of suggesting that almost the whole of the visible universe may have
been formed by two stupendous bodies travelling independently in free space, being brought
together by mutual attraction, and coming into partial collision. Finally he contested Lord
Kelvins belief in the eventual burning out of the universe, his speculations having
convinced him that the cosmos was eternal. It was surely a major triumph to have revoked
the doom of all creation, and this was the aspect of his theory in which he took the greatest
pride and satisfaction.

In 1878 and 1879 Bickerton sent a series of fifteen letters to the Periodical Nature (a mag-
azine that was published by Macmillan & Co that was devoted entirely to scientific matters
and their bearing upon public affairs with articles contributed by experts on the subject in
question, hoping that they might be published week by week consecutively, and thus give
rise to controversy and criticism which would expose any weakness in the hypothesis
before it should be stated more fully in book form. The letters were returned with the intima-
tion that lack of space prevented their acceptance. Rejection by a periodical of Natures
standing and repute was a scarcely mistakable sign that British scientists were not interested.
The theory of Partial Impact involved so many branches of science dynamics, heat, chem-
istry and astronomy that it did not appeal to specialists. Moreover comprehensive
generations were apt to be regarded with suspicion, especially when emanating from a
remote and little known corner of the earth. The indifference shown by scientists in circles
in Britain soon bred scepticism in New Zealand, where all but the most enthusiastic adher-
ents of Partial Impact began to wonder whether the theory must not contain some funda-
mental flaw overlooked by its originator. Disbelief soon turned to derision. Those who
had come to pray remained to scoff. After the end of 1880 many years would pass by before
Bickerton again read papers at the Philosophical Institute. His own confidence however re-
mained unshaken. Relinquishing all attempts to spread his doctrine by any form of publicity,
he patiently awaited its universal acceptance, gathering meanwhile, further proofs of its va-
lidity and occasionally making individual converts. From this time until 1888 Bickerton
stayed quiet about partial impact until he just could no longer be refrained. He gave a
lecture on The New Cosmic Philosophy, which was not well attended. In a series of lec-
tures delivered soon afterwards, he coupled the subject with sound and the Physical Theory
of Music, but again only drew audiences composed mainly of the faithful few.

What seemed to be a chance of a life time presented itself in January 1891, when he
Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science met in Christchurch. Bickerton at
once claimed his right to explain his theory; the right was not denied but his intention was
foiled for as long as possible by listing his name so low on the agenda that at the end of each
days proceedings there was no time left for him to be heard. When at length his chance did
come, attendance at the meeting had thinned out; only seven people remained, and only 25
minutes were left to address them.

It may be here remarked that Bickerton was not an accomplished mathematician. His
mistakes in the simplest problems of addition and subtraction were the standing joke of the
back row of his classes. The Professor, however, had an extraordinary faculty for a mental
graphic arithmetic of his own. After looking at a long collection of complicated figures on
the board, Bickerton would close his eyes for a few seconds and then dreamily announce that
the final answer was around 430,000. No one in the class could tell off hand whether the
answer would be closer to 0 or 400,000, but excited calculators would soon whisper some
figure as 437,618 round the amazed audience.

Before coming to New Zealand Bickerton had devised a method, involving graphs and
squared paper, for arriving at mathematical results without the use of symbols. Though long
since generally adopted, this method was regarded as a dangerous innovation when first used
in Bickertons London technical classes. When presenting papers of his theory Bickerton
would always include long mathematical equations to support his theories.

In February 1892, a new star was discovered by Dr Anderson of Edinburgh. It at once

attracted the attention of astronomers, who were able for the first time in history to combine
photographic and spectroscopic methods for throwing light on the unsolved problem
presented by the sudden appearance of novae. In its earlier stages observations suggested
that the apparition had been caused by two stars having approached so close as to almost
graze each others surfaces, but while scientists pursued the path of investigation cautiously,
hesitating to form conclusions which might subsequently be disproved, journalists suffered
from no such restraint. In both hemispheres they pounced upon the evidence of a stellar
collision and rated astronomers for their tardiness in recognising an accomplished fact. The
Bradford Daily Argus newspaper recalled Bickertons fourteen year old theory and hailed
him as a great savant who after years of neglect had at last come into his own. Several New
Zealand papers also acclaimed his genius, but scientific journals continued to ignore him for
the simple reason that further examination of Nova Aurigae, as the star was called, tended to
cast doubts on the earlier assumption that its appearance was the result of a near collision or
Partial Impact.

Bickerton, however, brushed aside all uncertainties, electing to welcome the verdict of a
popular press rather than to plod cautiously along with the astronomers. With self-imposed
restraint thrown aside he became more an ardent propagandist. The first of a long series of
pamphlets stating his theory in the simplest possible form, A New Story of the Stars
appeared in 1894. At the same time he revived the practice, long continued, of reading
papers dealing with the same subject before the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury.

The proofs of one of them, subsequently printed under the heading A Synoptic Statement of
the Principles and Phenomena of Cosmic Impact: Prepared for the criticism of Scientific
Men and Societies were revised by Bickerton's most famous pupil. When acknowledging
the congratulations of the Canterbury College Governors on his award of the Nobel Prize in
1908, Professor Ernest Rutherford said, If there were any credit to be apportioned for
winning a Nobel Prize, I think that Canterbury College may take a fair share; for it was there
that I was well trained in mathematics by Professor Cook and in Physics by Professor
Bickerton. Both were excellent teachers, and Professor Bickertons genuine enthusiasm for
science gave a stimulus to me to start investigations of my own, and of my first researches in
the basement of one of the lecture rooms. I learnt more of research methods in these first
investigations, under somewhat difficult conditions, than in any work I have done since.

As a young man Rutherford combined a deep affection for his teacher with a belief in his
teachers theories. The affection endured, and, although his views on Partial Impact were
subsequently modified, he remained convinced that the theory had much to recommend it,
that was unduly neglected by astronomers, and would one day receive the attention it
In 1899 Bickerton requested that he take a years absence of leave as he was suffering from
stress and also wished to travel to England to preach Partial Impact. There were three
members on the Board of Governors of Canterbury College who did not approve of
Bickertons methods of teaching and the teaching of subjects that he was not supposed to
and were anxious to get rid of him and thought this a good time to do so. After 25 years of
service at the College, in a letter to Bickerton, twelve months notice of dismissal was given.
However there was no specific reason given to Bickerton for doing so. Bickerton quickly
replied to the Board asking for such reason and this resulted in the Board explaining that
they just wanted him to take leave for a year and nothing else. They had realised they had no
legal right in doing so. The twelve months leave was granted.

In January 1900, leaving his wife and grown children in charge of Wainoni, Professor
Bickerton sailed for England to preach Partial Impact. Recent letters had been written to
the secretaries of the Royal Institute, the Royal, Astronomical, Chemical and Physical
Societies in London, introducing himself and enclosing papers which he begged to be
allowed to read at one or other of their meetings. On his arrival, Bickerton lost no time in
visiting the various secretaries to whom he had written, but was disappointed at being told in
every case that mere speculative work, how ever well-demonstrated, did not attract as much
attention as did papers recording observations and experiment. The only way to obtaining a
hearing in the right quarter, so he was advised, would be to make the theory popular, and so
force it upon the attention of science. Although not sufficiently recovered in health to
undertake a publicity campaign, he visited several eminent scientists, hoping to make
converts in high places. Bickerton published an article in the Philosophical Magazine, but
nobody showed any interest. British scientists were no more interested in the Partial Impact
theory than they were in 1879.

In April 1899, London publishers Swan Sonnenscein & Co published Bickertons book
entitled The Romance of the Earth. While in London Bickerton wrote a second book, The
Romance of the Heavens. About 90,000 words, this was the most comprehensive exposition
of his theory so far attempted and was ready for the publishers just in time before sailing
back to New Zealand.

February 22 1901, the very day that he arrived back in New Zealand, Nova Persei, as it was
named, suddenly blazed out into a splendour unsurpassed by any other star in the firmament
and then almost at once began to diminish rapidly in brilliance. Bickerton was firstly excited
as he believed his theory explained this and would vindicate Partial Impact. His book
detailing exactly what the Nova had demonstrated had just been released. Secondly he felt
very disappointed that it did not happen just a few months earlier when he was in England.
Sadly for the Professor a mass conversion of scientists did not occur and Bickerton turned
his attention to other things. He was back at Canterbury College and Wainoni.

At this time Wainoni was the second commune in New Zealand with about 30 people
living on the property, (see chapter 3 of this book), although this was common practice for
Maori, the Pakeha of the day believed it was not a decent way of life and unsubstantiated
rumours were circulating around Christchurch of sexual indecencies going on there. Nothing
could be further from the truth. Bickerton did not believe in marriage because when a wom-
an married in those days she started a life as a slave to a man as well as having no rights.
Living in your own house, but sharing the day to day chores with other people made life a lot
easier and enjoyable. Again some members of the College Board wanted Bickertons
January 1902, Bickerton published another book entitled The Perils of a Pioneer. About
35,000 words, the book expressed his heart- felt grievances against the unbelieving scientists
and also about the actions of the Board of the College toward him at different times. The
board of Governors wrote to Bickerton and asked for the offending passages be taken from
the book and to apologise. Bickerton replied back to the Governors saying he was quite
unable to tell which passages the Board objected to and gave a long winded explanation for
all in the book. One of the Board called for his dismissal and an enquiry was undertaken into
Bickertons actions and teaching. Along with the comments in Bickertons book, the
committees report also stated that there were serious defects in the management of the
chemistry department which Bickerton was in charge of.
On March 24th 1902 Professor Bickerton was given notice of dismissal from Canterbury
College. Bickerton wrote a letter of acknowledgement of dismissal to the Board. On calmly
considering the subject, I do not regret your decision he wrote. Although it came to me as
a shock that you could have acted in the investigation in a manner so unlike an Englishmans
ideas of fair play, I now realise I have attained my freedom, and am no longer trammelled
by traditions that have hampered me for over a quarter of a century.
Partial Impact had been a division between the Board of Governors of Canterbury College
and Professor Bickerton.
1903 the Bickerton Family opened Wainoni to the public as a commercial enterprise. There
was much to do as thousands of people were exploring the wonders of the park.
Before the end of 1903 Bickerton petitioned parliament for the appointment of a commission
of scientists to examine and report upon the theory of Partial Impact, at the same time
suggesting the names of four eminent persons with the necessary qualifications. The
petitions committee was in favour of granting Bickertons request, but the government,
declining complicity in his plan for stalking the Royal Society, insisted that before that was
done the Australasian Association of Science should be given an opinion on the question.
The Association to whom the matter was referred, expressed the view that since there was
nothing new about Partial Impact it was not a subject that required examination by a
commission. Bickerton had many influential friends, of whom some believed in his Partial
Impact theory. In 1904 a local M.P asked the premier if he would appoint a commission of
investigation provided that its costs should be paid by public subscription. Richard Seddon
(then Prime Minister) merely replied that it would be time enough to consider the question
when the necessary subscriptions had been raised. From this time Bickerton would leave his
family to run Wainoni Park during his periodical visits across the Tasman Sea to spread his
doctrine by word of mouth, being aware no doubt that he was far more convincing in the
lecture hall than on paper. In 1905 he visited Sydney and gave a series of public lectures,
drawing large audiences and converting numbers of the uninitiated, but failing as usual to
attract the interest or attention of scientists. For the following few years Bickerton continued
to write letters to the press and scientific people, as well as giving lectures, but without
much success.
Although at this time Wainoni Park was very popular with 1000s of visitors every week, a
fortune was not being made. The mortgage interest rate was around 20 percent per annum,
and being generous as their nature was the Bickerton family under-charged the Park goers.
Professor Bickerton had to do teaching work in schools and other jobs outside the Park to
raise money each time he travelled. Bickerton reported later in life, In 1909 in Sydney I put
up at the Grand Central Hotelthat was my addressslept there a week and had breakfast.
Made the rest of my meals of peanuts and biscuits and took lodgings in a cottage at 5 / - a
week and suggested to the Hotel people that I was visiting friends. . . I made my dinner from
the fruit barrows in the park and had tea with His Excellency the Earl of Dudley in
Government House, and was giving books to the Countess to send to her friends.
Wainoni Park
April , 1909

My Dear Rutherford,
I wish to thank you very heartily for your testimony to the Board of my teaching ability. They refused my
application to teach in the college. One of the members told me they did not believe in my theories. The new
professor of mathematics at Wellington was told I was mad. Sir R. Stout, the Chancellor of the University,
speaks of my wild ideas. A lady said to my daughter (Mrs Greenwood) it was a pity that a man so clever as I
seemed to be, should waste my time on a silly fad.
I advertised a course of lectures and so few came I lost 6 pounds by the venture. Your letter was published in
both papers and immediately one of them sent a reporter to interview me about finding coal near the South Pole.
I recently went to Australia and gave 6 fine lectures to the R.S. and British A.S. No single professor of either
university came to one of my lectures. The word has gone forth to the world that I am mad, a faddist and a fool.
Of the tens of thousands of papers I have sent out not one has been read with sufficient care by a single
astronomer or other scientist to cause them even to mention the third body, upon which the whole thing
depends, yet Gifford says that the third body is not merely demonstrated but proved in the minutest detail, with
a wealth of evidence to spare. If you could see your way to publish an appreciation or send a letter to the Pres-
ident of the Philosophical Institute, who believes in my theory, although the council does not, I believe astron-
omers would read it. They must accept the theory if they study it even if their training does not allow them to
fully follow it. The evidence in its favour is so sensationally conclusive.
Yours with many thanks
A.W. Bickerton

But long before receiving this call for help Rutherford had already, without being prompted,
come to the rescue of his old professor. Hearing of Bickertons application to be re
-employed at Canterbury College, he wrote the following letter of recommendation to the
chairman of the Board of Governors.

Physical Laboratories,
The University,
March 27 1909

Dear Mr Russell,
I understand that there is some discussion among the Public and Board of Governors of Canterbury College
as to the propriety of giving some official recognition to the services of Professor Bickerton by appointing him
Honorary Professor in Astro-Physics or some such title. I take the liberty of writing to you personally to say
that I warmly support such a step, and trust that something of the kind will be done for my old Professor. In a
previous letter, I mentioned to you that I found Professor Bickerton a very stimulating and good lecturer on
general physics. I was very sorry when the Board took the extreme step of dispensing with his services. The
Theory of Cosmical Impact of Professor Bickerton is in my opinion the only satisfactory theory of accounting
for the remarkable phenomena observed at the time of the appearance of a new star. It is not his fault that the
theory has not made more headway in astronomical circles but is rather due to the fact that no astronomer of
reputation has had sufficient leisure time to examine the consequences of the theory in detail.
The theory is a genuine contribution to Science and no doubt will be ultimately taken up and carefully
examined by astronomers. I feel that Canterbury College would not be the loser by affording Professor
Bickerton an opportunity to lecture on Astro-Physics and allied subjects. I think that his enthusiasm for the
subjects in which he is interested is a very valuable quality in a lecturer, and would increase the interest of
students in scientific matters generally. I know that this was so in my own case for I still have a vivid
remembrance of some of Professor Bickertons lectures.
I am sure that a suitable recognition of Professor Bickertons services would meet with the approval of his
many old students. I shall be delighted to hear that this can be done by the Board and trust that no difficulties
of precedent will stand in the way.
Yours very sincerely,
E. Rutherford.
Lord Dudley (in Sydney) was a convert to Partial Impact and was also an influence on the
Board of Governors at Canterbury College, and after six years after being dismissed from
there the board took Lord Dudley's recommendation and invited Bickerton to take three
lectures at the College on Partial Impact. Bickertons last visit to Sydney seemed to have
converted many influential people both in Australia and New Zealand. The world was ready
to listen, or so Bickerton thought. Bickerton had written a comprehensive book on his the-
ories called The Romance of the Heavens. It was now suggested that he write an even more
detailed book, three of four times as long explaining everything that might be chal-
lenged. Bickerton would have to travel to England to do so and to produce such a book
would be very costly. As Bickertons theory was now popular, a citizens committee was
formed and fund raising was begun to assist Bickerton to place his theories to the world.
This committee didnt last long as a report was presented stating that as Bickerton had
already once travelled to England to preach Partial Impact and had failed, there was no
reason for him not to fail a second time and they would be wasting money and time.
However Bickerton had many friends and converts in the New Zealand Labour Party, and
largely at the instigation of Edwin John Howard, President of the Canterbury Trades Council
as well as Bickertons close friend and immediate neighbour and the father of Mabel
Howard, a Bickerton Committee was formed at the trades hall. The Prime Minister, Sir
Joseph Ward was also a convert and active member of the committee. Opening the proceed-
ings of the first meeting he explained, that as the academic people had not, apparently, had
time to study the subject (Partial Impact) the workers had done so. On March 24th 1910, Sir
Joseph Ward informed the committee that the government would subsidise the Bickerton
Fund pound for pound up to 300 pounds. The committee immediately published an appeal
for workers of New Zealand and others to raise 20,000 shillings to send Bickerton to
Ironically Halleys Comet was soon to orbit between the Sun and Earth. With Bickertons
theory the public were very worried about the possibility of their own Partial Impact. The
Press asked Bickerton about what would happen if it Partially Impacted, and Bickerton
replied, the earth weighs about six thousand trillion tons. So if the comet was but a
millionth of the weight of the earth it would weigh six millions of millions of tons. And the
force of which it would strike the earth would be something like a hundred times the
intensity of dynamite. Bickertons theory dismissed an opposing theory of the universe
expanding and eventually blowing up resulting in the loss of all life. This was partly why
people may have been persuaded by his theory. But now was confusion about the earths
future being ended by an Impact not by two stars but the earth and a comet. The Bickerton
fund slowed a little till the comet passed by at the distance of fifteen million miles. Then the
funds poured in and the 300 pounds was slightly exceeded. Lord Dudley also gave 100
pounds. July 1910 Bickerton sailed for England.
As Bickerton thought he would not be long and his task a straight forward and relatively
easy one, Mrs Bickerton stayed at Wainoni which was left under the management of her sons
William, Charles and Herbert.
Writing to Rutherford who lived in London and had some influence in the scientific
community, Bickerton asked for him to submit a paper containing the statement of his theory
to the Royal Society or the Physic Society for publication in their transactions or to be read
at one of their meetings. However the scientific world in England still held a grudge over
Bickerton from his last visit and refused to accept the paper. They wrote back explaining five
faults in the theory and therefore were not interested in perusing it any further. The influence
of Lord Dudley and the New Zealand Government carried some weight and Bickerton
addressed the Royal Colonial Institute and was commended by the President of the British
Astronomical Association. His theory was discussed in The Times, London Illustrated
News, Daily Mirror, English Mechanic, Scientific America and New York Times
newspapers. Although Bickerton gained some allies, he unfortunately didnt have enough
and was at a stalemate. He had been taking some lectures and writing articles which earned
him a little income along with a little money that was sent from Wainoni. But in 1913 at the
age of 72 Years, Bickerton found himself financially in trouble. Wainoni Park was losing
money as cinemas had been built in the city and were popular as was sport and other
activities taking up time and money. Times were also generally tough in New Zealand at this
To try and make Wainoni profitable again a travelling zoo (see chapter 3) was housed at the
park for a year or so. A balloon was imported to make regular ascents, as this had been pop-
ular in the previous years at Wainoni. Bickerton didnt realise that some of the last money
sent to him from the family was raised by having a third mortgage at Wainoni. Sadly the
improvements didnt help; a progressing city wanted something different. In 1914 Wainoni
was sold. A quick mission to England had now become years and Bickerton was worse off
than when he arrived.
The idea that he might be wrong after all never entered Bickertons head. The thought of
going home probably was a temptation, except that Alice Bickerton his youngest child of
seven came to live with him. They moved to cheaper premises and decided that his mission
was too important to give in and began writing requests for financial help. He wrote to
Rutherford, Lord Rayleigh and other well known scientists as well as Mr A.Balfour, Winston
Churchill and Lord Dudley to name a few. Most didnt reply and others excused themselves.
Thomas Edmond of Edmonds baking powder was a good friend of Bickerton's and did send
some money at different times. Other small amounts arrived but not enough to pay the bills.
He sold some inventions he had patents to, the polyscope, and an improved kaleidoscope
but they didnt achieve a very high price. For the next few years Bickerton battled on, not
seeing his wife for nine years, as he didnt want her living in the poverty that he and Alice
were. In early 1919 Mrs Bickerton died. Soon after Bickerton wrote to Mary Wilkinson who
had been a long time friend of the family to invite her to come and live with them and take
up a position as his secretary and helper. She accepted and arrived in early July 1920. After a
short time they married. Bickerton was in his 79th year. Alice then returned to New
Zealand. That Christmas he wrote to Alice, Mollie and I are in seventh heaven, and there it
seems they remained. For the first time in years, possibly his life, Bickerton was in love with
a women who understood him and his theories and believed and had passion for them too.
Bickerton had a new release of life and was ready to launch a big campaign. On June the
eighth 1918 the brightest of all stars for more than three centuries suddenly appeared. Em-
inent astronomers declined to offer an explanation, but of course Bickerton did, two collid-
ing stars created a third body and thats what we can see. The success of his big campaign
was purely local and didnt extend much further than the membership of two associations,
neither of which was competent enough to pronounce judgement where astronomical
judgements were concerned.
In 1928 just when Partial Impact seemed to have faded away, an astronomer of the La Plata
Observatory, Argentina, noticed some strange development with a star in the constellation
Pictor, as his telescope was small he wired Johannesburg and they looked at it through their
much larger telescope. NOVA PICTORIS HAD SPLIT IN TWO. Astronomers everywhere
were amazed, excited and puzzled, for such a phenomenon was without precedent. The New
Zealand Government sent a telegram of congratulations.
A number of journals hailed this a vindication of Bickertons theory as well as did the Daily
Chronicle. Many scientists were reconsidering their views. As the Canterbury College had
new Board Members they too were congratulating him. Bickertons good friend, now a
member of parliament and on the College Board, Ted Howard put the motion forward that
Bickerton be appointed a Professor Emeritus of Canterbury College. Seconded by Dr John
Guthrie, he was appointed to this honorary possession

Soon after other new theories began to explain this strange phenomenon and with Bickerton
now in his 87th year and frail sometimes barely able to hold a pen could not preach any
longer. The announcement of his death on January 22nd 1929, appeared in newspapers
throughout the English speaking world along with obituaries through which ran an invariable
theme the life story of a man of genius, long ignored but triumphantly acclaimed in
extreme old age.

The case was somewhat overstated. Partial Impact was never accepted by scientists as prov-
en and demonstrated in the manner claimed by its adherents. If Bickerton had never come to
New Zealand and had instead entered the astronomical side of teaching and researching
perhaps Partial Impact would have been accepted by the English scientists?

Bickerton died thinking the world finally came to realise that his theory was correct and that
over 50 years of persistence was not for nothing. Today the big bang theory is thought
correct by some scientists, but nobody really knows much at all. We are a small planet in an
enormous universe that is one universe of perhaps billions. For all we know Bickerton may-
be at least partly right. For a man who was told at school that he did not show much promise,
to become the first Professor at Canterbury College, to write a comprehensive book on Par-
tial Impact including huge mathematical problems, to open the second commune in New
Zealand, to open the first Amusement Park in New Zealand, to teach and be close friends
with Sir Ernest Rutherford (the first man to split the atom and more), has proved to be kind-
hearted, passionate, caring, committed and a genius.

As the author of this book, Professor Alexander William Bickerton is somebody I have come
to admire and respect immensely. I wonder if Richard Pearse went to Wainoni after flying
his plane in 1903. If he did I would bet he had a long chat with the Professor.

Sources of this chapter:

Scholar Errant, a biography of Professor A.W. Bickerton by R.M. Burdon 1956

Cosmophysics. A journal of international astrophysics ( The Organ of the Wainoni Park International
Correspondence Astrophysical Society, Christchurch, New Zealand .) Published around 1908. By A. W. Bickerton.
10th June 1903 page 8 23rd May 1904 page 2
Christchurch Press Christchurch Press
0 0

Professor A. W. Bickerton gave his
second and concluding experimental lecture To Advise or Assist in the matter of,
on The Wonderland of Science in the Launching the Theory of Constructive
Trinity Church Hall last night. After impact, a number of people in the
some preliminary references to his previous city were invited by Professor Bick-
lecture, Professor Bickerton spoke of the erton to attend a meeting at Wai-
indestructibility of the cosmos, and ex noni on Saturday. There was not a large
plained Lord Kelvins theory with regard attendance, despite the fact that about
to the expansion of the universe. He seventy friends and old students of Pro-
also dealt with the theory of the dissipa- fessor Bickerton had been invited.
tion of energy, the indestructibility of The Professor was in the chair. A
matter and energy, and expressed the lengthy and somewhat de sultory dis-
view that energy was a constant quality cussion took place as to the best method
as well as matter. Experiments to show to adopt to ensure the discussion of the
the physical and chemical changes in theory and its investigation by scien-
iron were given, and in an interesting tific men. Professor Bickerton ex-
style the lecturer showed how, while plained the efforts he had made whilst in
atoms re-arranged themselves and formed England in the direction of bringing it
new combinations, they did not change under the notice of scientific men and as-
their material construction. No one, he sociates. He had received many
said, could follow out scientific thought sympathetic criticisms of the theory, but
and understand Darwinism, for instance, some of those he had spoken to had said
without being led to Christ, and no one they had not the time to go fully
could understand the whole of science into it, whilst others contended that it
without such understanding leading him was not new. If the law of gravitation
to an implied faith in the perfection of was discovered in these days, the
the cosmos. There was deep philosophic Professor said, no notice of it would
thought in connection with the immor- be taken by the public. Mr G. T.
tality of the cosmos; the universe arising Booth said that unless a proposal
from nothing and passing on to eternity. could be floated into a public company,
Further experiments were given to illus- and the public asked to sub-
trate the transformation of energy, show- scribe money with a view to
ing how all energy ultimately resolved it- future profit, no wide- spread
self into uniform heat. Rejuvenating interest could be aroused. Mr G.
forces were constantly at work in the W. Russell said that if Professor Bick-
cosmos, the lecturer averred, a fact which erton had invented a patent clothes peg
had been neglected by scientific men. He or an improved pneumatic tyre, his
had in his previous lecture explained how fame would have been world-wide.
two bodies flying past each other at high Professor Bickerton detailed the result of
velocity formed a third by partial the petition, asking for the investiga-
impact, and he now desired to pass tion of his theory sent to Parliament
to another conception, known as last session and dealt with
critical philosophy. If two equal bodies by the Public Petitions (M to Z)
came to- gether at equal speed the tem- committee. Mr Seddon had told him
perature of each was the same, and (Professor Bickerton) to tell the committee
heat was simply flying molecules. In
matter aggregating forces were at work, that he (Mr Seddon) would offer no
and the light matter was attracted in objection to the investi- gation of the
matter particles, which collected in the theory, and Mr Seddon had told Mr
rare portions of space, and formed new Donald Reid, M.H.R., that the matter
universes, all of a gaseous na ture, and was one of which the Government, should
primarily without order. When he had take up in the name of science. The
explained his theories in this direction to committee had recommended that one
Lord Kelvin in London, the scientist had theory should be investigated by four
said: - Dont call them universes and he scientific gentlemen, but no effort had been
(the lecturer) suggested that he given to this. He (Professor Bickerton)
would call these collections cosmic sys had seen Sir Joseph Ward when he was
tems, Lord Kelvin heartily acquiesced in last in the city, and Sir Joseph had
the idea. Assuming the immortality of the promised to look into the matter.
cosmos, what a difference it made in philo- Ultimately, after further talk, it was
sophic thought. Eternity became a living decided that Mr G. T. Booth, on be-
thing, and in the eternal cosmos there was half of the meeting, should communi-
no imperfection. With the spectroscope cate with those Members of Parliament
they learnt the beautiful complexity of the known to be in favour of the investiga-
atom, and the vast whole was as complex tion of the theory, and ask them to
as the minutest structure, leaving no room assist in getting the
for pessimism : nature was found to be so Committee recommended by the Public
absolutely perfect. Professor Bickerton Petitions Committee, set up. In his
then devoted some time to the question of circular of invitation. Professor Bicker-
wasted energy, particularly wasted life, and ton stated that, although published a
said it was possible to cure it all, and to quarter of a century ago, his theory is
obtain out of existence the maximum of joy. still only superficially known; and
The lecturer concluded with an earnest de save the
sire that those who had heard it would go theory of selective escape, lately re-dis
further into the questions dealt with. covered by Dr. Johnstone Stoney, no one
of its four score basic principles is
contained in any scientific treatise. In
addition to establishing the scientific
position of its originators, he added, its
popular acceptance would have great
credit to its birth-place, the city of

Chapter Six: Old Grinds Christmas Eves.
BY Professor A.W. Bickerton The Canterbury Times, 21 December 1898
Snow everywhere. Snow in the air, driving into ones eyes, filling ones ears and melting down ones back.
Snow in the streets and on the footpaths; not pure white country snow, but the smoke-grimed London snow,
piled in smutty ridges all along the kerbs and standing in dirty piles at street corners. Sloppy, miry masses,
obliterating the gutters and getting into every chink of little Norman Manders worn boots, besides laying the
seeds of countless colds and chilblains, life-long rheumatic aches and misery amongst the hundreds of
thousands of the submerged tenth. Such endless snow, looking pure white on the house tops, but occasionally
slipping off like avalanches, startling and sometimes burying the hurrying men and women who are passing
Norman has reached the office where he works, he is fumbling at the latch-key with his nearly frozen fingers,
when suddenly he is driven against the door by a mass of snow that has slipped from the roof on to the
pavement, the fallen forward, and has hidden the shivering little fellow from sight.
There is a loud shriek of terror, a heavy thud against the door, then shrill cries for help. Presently the door
opens and Simon Grindwells grizzled head might be seen above the snow; for although Simon was just thirty-
five, he looked a lot older, and his hair was quite grey.
What an infernal row you are making; shut up, cant you ? he said, and pulled the startled boy into the
passage. What a horrible mess, he said, as he tried ineffectually to shut the door. Well, are you killed ? You
made noise enough ! No sir, he answered, whimpering. Then what did you make such an unearthly row
for ? It was so sudden and so awful, sir. Well dont blubber, come upstairs to the office. When there,
Simon opened the window and commenced to bargain with some men who stood outside with shovels,
attracted by the snow slip. Ten shillings! Ten moons you mean. Ill give you half a crown. There was a lot of
haggling, then the contract to clear the pavement was let at five shillings.
Meanwhile the little boy had wiped the snow from his clothes, and was warming his hands. Well, what did
they say ? the man asked. He said he couldnt pay and whats more, he said it was more like a hog of a Turk
than a Christian to ask for rent the day before Christmas. Call me a hog, did he; he shall feel my tusks, I can
tell him. Well go to your work. Please, sir, it is Christmas Eve, and would you let me off, as mothers got
friends coming this evening, and Ill be useful to her. Going to have visitors, is she ? No wonder theres
poverty and want. The poorer people are the more thoughtless they are. Why dont your mother ask them for
Christmas Day; you get a holiday without asking then, although what people want holidays for I dont know. It
would be a lot better if they were at work, instead of wasting both time and money making themselves ill.
Please, sir, mother didnt like to ask them for Christmas Day, as she said theyd expect a dinner, and you
know, sir, we could not afford that. What does she want them at all for, I should like to know ? Mother said
they were very old friends, that knew one another when they all used to be well off; so she asked them to
come. Simon went to the window to look at the men at work, but the boy continued. If you could spare me,
Id make up the time, sir. Oh well I suppose you must go, but dont get into habits of wasting time; itll be
your ruin, boy.
Norman ran off, and Simon Grindwellwho was known in the neighbourhood as Old Grind - was soon
busy at work with his ponderous ledgers. He was a wealthy money-lender, and owned more than one gold-
mining city rookery where, out of the necessities and misery of the people, he coined bright sovereigns and
totted up to five figures in his ledger. And he looked forward eagerly to the near time when the total should run
into six figures. He was not a miser, he never hoarded money. He prudently planted it, and cultivated it with the
usual wealth-making helps of unscrupulousness and callousness.
All being well, Ill manage the six figures before next Christmas, he said, after he closed the book for the
day, and was putting on his coat, preparing to make for his lodgings. As he was taking a short cut across the
square he had to pass a crowd of people who were listening to a little man. He was talking of the lessons of
Christmas. His was one of those true hearts who are beginning to teach religion of the real; showing the beauty
of the Christian life when swept clear of cruelty and superstition. He was tracing the effect of a life of love, of
the true joy of a generous spirit. Old Grind heard him with a sneer, but some remark on the emptiness of a
selfish life contrasted with the joy of love made him think of little Normans voice and cherub-like face often
reminded him of Nelly, a pretty girl who had, by her treatment, turned him from a light-hearted, generous youth
into a worldly money-grubber. When Nelly deceived him he had commenced life by marrying a wealthy widow
now long since dead. She had one daughter when he married, who ran away with her music-master when
grown up, and was then cast off by the stern man. Pursuing this reflection he was accosted by a ragged girl;
Fuses, sir; will you buy a box of fuses, sir ? Dont smoke, he answered, so gruffly that the little creature did
not pause to repeat the offer, but ran across the road to overtake some people on the other side. The suddenness
of her flight attracted him, and in the softened state he was in he called her back with, Ill take a box.
As she turned, a cab that had been noiselessly approached in the dusk along the snowy street passed. She was
knocked down by the horse; the animal jumped aside so that the wheels escaped her, but the cab did not stop.
The child, who did not seem injured, began to cry bitterly, and turned to pick up her scattered fuses boxes. Oh,
dear, I shall be whipped, I shall be whipped. What shall I do ? Old Grind stopped and watched her; presently
she fell down, and tried to rise, but she only stumbled again. He lifted her up and said, Are you hurt ? I think
the horse kicked my legs, sir, she answered. He set her on her feet, but she could not walk. He lifted her again
and was going to carry her to the pavement, but the little one pleaded bitterly to be allowed to collect her fuses.
Never mind about them, Ill get you some more, he said, and jumped the snow pile at the kerb. As he did so
the girl gave a piercing shriek Please, sir, I couldnt help it; I think my leg is broken.
Here was a dilemma; there was no one near, and the little girl was weeping so bitterly that he did not know
what to do. He was not more than a minutes walk from his lodgings. Id better take her to Mrs Jebb, he said
to himself, and at once started for home.
Dont think of it sir, leastways not till after Christmas, sir. The little angel is in a raging fever, and theyll be
sure to kill her at the hospital, sir. Hospitals is jest built to kill little ones without a crowners quest; thats what
theyre for, sir. Is she worse, Mrs Jebb , Shes asleep, sir, now. Will you come and see her? There, sir; aint
she a beauty ? Never a hangel did I see as was pertier. You aint a-going to let her be killed and cut up in a
hospital, are you, sir ? She certainly was a beautiful little creature now that Mrs Jebb had made her clean and
tidy. Besides, Old Grind wasnt naturally heartless, only when it paid him to be so; therefore he answered with
a smile, Have your own way, Mrs Jebb; and thus it was that Jessy became an inmate of Old Grinds home.
He made inquiries about her, and found she had been left some years before in charge of the people who had
kept her. Two years ago her maintenance had ceased; then they sent her out to beg, and her pretty face had
enabled her to bring home a good deal sometimes. Little Jessys leg was not broken, only badly bruised, but it
was many weeks before it recovered. The patient, grateful little girl had quite won the heart of the old house-
keeper, who had never asked for more money to keep the house, and had made up some of her old clothes as
dresses. So that apart from the question now and then asked, How much longer is she to stay ? Old Grind did
not grumble much. Gradually he had become interested in the little waif, who seemed to regard him as her good
angel, and loved him with all the richness of a very full nature. The emotion soon infected the hard business
man, and the little thing knew it, and she would order him about like a queen. Mister Grind, lay me on the
sofa Yes Jessy. No Mrs Jebb shall; you will hurt me. I will be very careful, Jessy. Well, if you promise
to be really nice, you shall.
The quiet, impervious airs, alternating with the most genuine love, amused him, and he began to dread losing
his little pet. When she had quite recovered, he sent to the people who had her, and told them they had no legal
right to her, sent them a sum of money and kept her.
Christmas Eve again. Exactly a year since I found little Jessy. She is now just the age of my wilful little
stepdaughter when I married her mother. How I did love that child. Perhaps it was not all her fault she went
wrong; she was humoured and spoilt. What a brute I was, never even to open her letters.
He went to his safe, and there, carefully wrapped up, were a few unopened letters. Stubborn temper had made
him leave them unopened, but love would not allow him to destroy them; now, with trembling fingers he
opened them. What a story they unfolded. The high-spirited girl pleading for help in her husbands illness; then
the story of his death, and request for assistance for her little one, and this one she had put out to board and in
her letter she had given full particulars as to its whereabouts. She had taken a situation, but was too weak and
so she had lost her place, and nothing remained but death. The letter continued: Dear Father, - I was full of
ingratitude, and treated you cruelly. I know that you have pledged your word never to help me, but my child
little Jessy, the only one left, she has never offended you. Before you get this letter I shall have left this earth. I
can do no good. I have never done any good. Once I hoped I should be useful and do so much, but that hope
passed long ago. George, oh, so much, as we were very happy once, only I was so sorry I had offended you.
But I was always allowed my own way. Do not let Jessy know I drowned myself; never let her know how
miserable I have been, good-bye, forgive me, dear father.
As he read the letters he felt like a murderer. He had laughed at her wilfulness, had petted her, and made a toy
of her, and then when she had acted as he had trained her to act, he had neglected her and killed her. But his
duty was clear. Three years had passed since the letters came, yet he must find the child if alive.
He had a curiously jealous feeling that if he found her she would supplant little fairy-like Jessy. It was his
duty to attend to his grandchild, and it should be done. He took the address and went out. As he neared the
place ,there was a strange familiarity about it; then he ran the number over and came to the right one. It was the
very house where Jessy had lived. He found the man at home, and quickly obtained such evidence as proved
that it was Jessy herself whom he had come to look for, he told Mrs Jebb that she was indeed his child, and
went and saw her asleep.
A merry Christmas and a happy New Year, cried little Jessy. Oh papa, Santa Claus sent me such a lovely
little girl that opens and shuts its eyes, and cries oh so loud ! He smiled, and she looked at him keenly. Are
you Santa Claus, papa ? We must not tell secrets, Jessy. Perhaps Santa Claus would be cross if I told.
Please then, dont tell. Only I shall have such a merry Christmas. We will have a merry Christmas, indeed,
little darling. Only I must tell you of a present Santa Claus sent mesuch a lovely present. It was a lovely baby
girl, too, and, like yours, it opens and shuts its eyes, it talks, and laughs, and dances. But does it cry ?
Yes, it cries, oh ! So loud, sometimes; its really dreadful to hear it cry, and I never mean to make it cry if I
can help it. Oh, papa, how nice ! Is it as big as I am ? Just as big . Do show it to me ! Come along,
then, little one, you must stand on my shoulder to see. Must I ? How funny !
He took her to the large glass over the mantelpiece, and showed her her reflection. Theres my present; isnt
it a beauty ?: Oh papa, how funny you are ! But Santa Claus did not give me to you this Christmas; it was last
year. No last year I took a little bruised girl home named Jessy Wright, and I called her my little daughter.
Now Santa Claus has given me a little girl called Jessie Holmes, who is really my grandchild. Jessy Holmes
used to be my name. It is your name again. Last night I went to find a little girl that was lost. She was my
granddaughter, and I searched and found out it was you. So you are really mine. Isnt Santa Claus kind to send
you on Christmas Eve ?
In the fullness of his heart he wanted to do something to give his newly-found treasure all the joy possible. So
he said to her, My own little girl, what can I do to make you happy ? But she only danced and skipped about,
and said, I dont want anything, only my own papa. But you must think of something. Dont you want
anything in all the world ? No, nothing at all. Please send something to Normans mother. Mrs Jebb took
me there, and she is so poor. That I will, he answered; you shall help Mrs Jebb pack a hamper and take it
What delight it was to the little thing to look on and help; even Old Grind came to peep himself, and, much to
Mrs Jebbs surprise, suggested many things. Put a ham at the bottom; its solid; splendid to pack on, he said.
It was decided Jessy should go with Mrs Jebb in the cab. Wont you come too, papa ? No not this time. Be
off. Oh papa, how good you are ! I know you are Santa Claus or else old Father Christmas; only youre not
old enough for Father Christmasyou must be Santa Claus, said Jessy, when they returned. I know you are,
because Santa Claus makes everybody happy, and thats what you are always at, doing somebody good. You
dont know how happy you made Norman and his mother.
Oh darling, how little you know me ! he said, and lifted her up and kissed her. Then he left the room. Old
Grind, he soliloquised; always making people happy. What satire ! He always doing good he who in
business had never considered anything but money, had crushed alike the weak and the sick, the widow and the
fatherless, so long as gold could be made legally, even by starvation. Business is business has been his motto.
He good ! who has slain his beautiful stepchild. He saw how he had allowed self to rule him, to crush noble
instinct. Then he pictured the trust and kindness of little Jessy. For the first time he realised what Christ meant
by being like a little child; and he thought of the beautiful mother of little Jessy dying unknown, in the cold
water, tears trickled down his hard face. He wiped them away, and laughed a little mocking laugh, but soon the
tears were flowing again.
Papa, little Jessy cried, bursting into the room, dolly can walk. Mrs Jebb found it out; did you know ? Oh
papa, you are crying ! Is it because you have found me ? No, little one; never mind what I am crying about
now. What about this wonderful doll ? It can walk. It walked across the room, and it looks so solemn and so
funny, it makes us laugh so. Did you know it could walk ? No I did not; the man did not say so when I
bought it. Did you buy it ? Yes. Then you are Santa Claus ! I spected so; I always spected so. Oh, my
dear Santa Claus ! she said, and wiped his face and kissed him. If Norman is so very ill, Ill go and see him
myself; I can then see if it will be necessary to get another boy.
It was Old Grind that was speaking, in reply to Mrs Jebb, who had told him of the office boys illness. He was
soon at the house, and in the miserable room that served as a home for Norman and his mother. He was met by
a delicate woman, whose young face was deeply lined by care. She started back with the words, Simon ! You
will forgive me ! it was not my fault ! Nelly, is it you ? That is the reason why Norman sometimes reminded
me of you. I thought you married for money and were rich. How came you in this poverty ? Where is your
husband now ? I have not lived with him for four years. I do not know where he is now, although I saw him
last week. There was a crowd and two drunken men were fighting; my husband was one of them; the sight of
him made me ill, and Norman has nursed me, and outdone his strength, and now he, too, is ill
She had shown her old lover inside, and had given him a chair. He sat down, and silently looked about the
room, at the wretched furniture and then at the woman. Nelly, why did you marry ? he asked. It was to save
my father; he was in Anthonys power, and he promised father to let him off if I married him. But I never loved
him, and he soon after took to drink and gambling, and lost his money. He was so cruel to me and the boy that I
ran away and hid from him. I have only seen him twice since. Once I was on the pier, and he was on a steamer
leaving. We saw one another, and he glared at me like a fiend. I ran away; of course he could not follow, but it
was a fearful shock to my nerves. Then Nelly, you were not treacherous did not encourage me out of vani-
ty, as I thought. No, Simon; I have always loved you. Did you know I was Normans master ? he asked.
Not until you sent the hamper; then, afterwards, Mrs Jebbs brought me a photograph, and I knew it was you.
Why, Jessy, what a woman you have grown. How lovely you look in evening dress. Mrs Manders has such
taste. But how early you are dressed. Yes papa. I wanted to have a nice, quiet time with you before the
others came. That was kind of you. You see, papa, we have always spent Christmas Eves together, and
tonight, with the grand party, I shall not see much of you, so I thought we would have a chat before the guests
came. Jessy, it is fourteen years tonight since you came like a beam of sunlight into my sordid home. It does
not seem so long, does it, little one ? I must not call you little one any more; you will be out of your teens next
week, and are quite a large young lady.
It is true. Jessy had grown into a very stately lady, above the average height, and with a magnificent figure.
There were still the soft golden curls and the wondrous blue eyes; the complexion had still its exquisite purity,
and the curve of the mouth was very beautiful. But there was an air of power in the clear cut features that was
enhanced by the slightly aquiline nose.
The conversation had taken place in the dining-hall of the glorious country mansion that Simon Grindwell had
purchased some five years before. A photograph had been sent him of the property over which he had a
mortgage, and the estate had to be wound up. Jessy had seen the picture, and had fallen in love with the
rambling, castle-like home, enclosed in trees and approached by flights of steps from the garden. When the
place came under the hammer it did not realise the mortgage, so he took the property, bought the furniture as it
stood, and brought little Jessy there to live with him.
The room we find them in has a vast fireplace, at the back of which the Yule log is blazing brightly. The hall
itself is to be the supper room and is laid out with good things with a bountiful munificence. During our
description the pair have sat down in the inglenook. He has been bantering her over her many admirers, and
looks upon this as the last Christmas they will spend together. He favours the suit of Sir Andrew Long, who
owns the adjacent property; but he does not wish to force her inclinations.
Hitherto I have chosen my darlings present; this Christmas she must choose her own. May I choose
anything, papa ? Yes anything I can give. I am afraid I shall ask what you do not wish, and you will be
angry. I think not Jessy. Papa, you wish me to marry Sir Geoffry Long, but I do not love him. I love some-
one else, will you be angry ? Not if he is worthy of you; and many of your admirers are worthy fellows. It
is not one of them you are thinking of, papa. I do not like to hurt you, but we do love one another dearly.
There was a pleading look, mingled with great fear, and his face had become dark as a thunder-cloud. A sudden
thought had flashed upon him. It is not Norman ? he said; he would not dare to be so ungrateful such a
mean cur as to make love to you without my consent, but he saw that the look of fear intensified to one of
terror, and he knew that he was right. Sooner than that should happen, I would dismiss him from the charge of
my affairs, and cut him off without a penny.
It shall not happen, father dear; I will never do anything that will pain you. Only let me live with you always;
do not ask me to marry anyone else. When did he make love to you ? He has never done so. When I
slipped down the rocks last year and lay apparently senseless, he jumped down after me, and then, in his
anguish when he thought I was dead, he raved of his love. I heard all he said, and when I came to myself, I
kissed him; then we knew we loved each other. But he has never spoken a word to me. He would sooner die
than offend you. And he knows you wish me to make a grand marriage.
She sat silent, and the firelight played on her sad face. He looked at her; his wrath was soon over. It is a bitter
wrench, he said at length but, my little girl, it shall be as you wish; you shall live with me always. The old
man went out into the hall, and as he walked up and down he thought of the misery of his own marriage, of the
bitter life of his old love. My ambition to give grandeur to my darlings life is not, perhaps, best for her; after
all loves the thing. He thought of Jessys childhood; how Norman had been her only playmate, and he had
been pleased to see them so happy together; then, as the boy grew up, he remembered his differences and
constrained manner in Jessys presence; then after the death of Normans father, how he had reposed
increasing confidence in the boy; then of the annual visits of Norman and his mother to the castle. He had
treated him as his own son, and gradually entrusted all his affairs to his keepingand what a reliable,
trustworthy fellow he had proved. As he mused, Norman came into the hall. What a splendid physique, what a
frank, noble face he had. He did not wonder at Jessys preference. There was no thought of deception in the
happy look of pleasure in the young fellows face.
Norman, I have been talking to Jessy about her approaching marriage. You know I would prefer Sir Geoffry
Long. A shudder passed through Normans frame; then he said, Yes, sir; I have seen that you preferred him.
You see, the properties join, and it would be a splendid match. But Jessy wants me to let her stay with me. But
that must not be thought of. I am sure, sir, she would be far happier with you than she does not love.
Perhaps so, but I fancy there is a prior attachment; do you think it likely ? She is there, moping by the fire. I
wish you would try and find out if there is a prior attachment. Oh, sir, it would be no use, she would not tell
me. You must try, anyway; and tell her whoever it is her father will not stand in the way. Go in, my boy,
and make her confess, the man said, with a sly chuckle. Then he went to Normans mother, and told her what
he had done, and asked her if she knew of their love.
It has been a great sorrow of my later life. I have seen that Norman has loved her, and has always avoided
seeing her in the years past. Shall we go in and congratulate the young people before the company come ?
Do you mean to give her to him ? she asked. Come along, was the only answer. Well Norman, have you
discovered if there was a prior attachment, and has she made her confession ? There was no need to answer;
nor does the reader need to be told of the Merry Christmas and the Happy New Year that our friends spent in
their glorious home. But after that, although it can be imagined that Jessy loved her father none the less, yet
Norman occupied much of her time. Then in his solitude, Grind asked Mrs Manders to become a permanent
inmate of the home, and a few months saw the long parted pair united for life.
Many New Years have come and old years passed since that happy Christmas Eve, yet never has Simon
Grindwell had cause to regret the result of his terrible struggle on that night, when he sacrificed his own
aggrandisement to his childs happiness.

Chapter Seven: Newspaper Articles

Here are a selection of articles from the News papers to do with the Professor, his family and Wainoni Park.
Wainoni was known as Tahuna Park before it was named Wainoni. People and different groups frequently
used Wainoni as a meeting place from the mid 1880s until it closed in 1914.

1st November 1895 page 4 11th November 1895 page 3

Christchurch Press Christchurch Press
Tahuna Fete The first of a series of 0
Four fetes, promoted by the Bros. Bicker- Although the entertainment at Tahuna on
ton, was held last night at Tahuna. The Saturday afternoon was not largely
change in the weather affected the attend attended it was a decided success. Songs
ance, which did not number over 200 were sung by Misses Hawson and Thomp
persons, and also interfered with the son, and Messrs A. Millar, E. Lovell, and
successful carrying out of the pro- Chas. Edger. Mr D. Ryan contributed
gramme, from which a number of two humorous recitations. Miss Hewson
items were and Mr Lovell and Mrs Edgar and Miss
eliminated. The pyrotechnic display was Thompson sang duets, and the two little
creditable, the exhibition of club swinging Miss Edgers, Miss Thompson, and Mr
deserves commendation, and the music Edger sang a much appreciated medley.
supplied by the Engineers Band helped to A pianoforte solo was played by Miss
amuse the visitors, all of whom were glad Triggs. The items were not hurried, and
of the shelter from the rain afforded by the during the interval Mr H. Bickerton gave a
trees and the rustic house. The promoters splendid exhibition of Indian club swinging.
spared no pains to make the programme of The exercises were of his own invention,
last night attractive, and it was unfortunate and were exceedingly complicated and most
that circumstances beyond their control effective. Some harmonograghs were ex-
militated considerably against the initial hibited and explained by Mr F. Bickerton.
attempt being fully satisfactory. One object of great interest was the quaintly
designed and picturesque studio of Mr C.
Bickerton, who is a very promising student
of art. It is a kind of chalet, thatched
with rushes and very rustic in design.
This applies to the interior as well
8th November 1895 page 4 as the exterior. The jambs and
Christchurch Press mantelpieces of the fireplaces, for example,
are formed with trunks of tree ferns, and
all the appointments are in keeping with
Tahuna Fete The attendance at the general idea of quaintness and artistic
Tahuna last night was not as large as one freedom. Several of Mr Bickertons pictures
would have expected considering the perfect were on view, those representing the
penguins on the Macquarie Islands being
night for such an entertainment. Still inspected with especial interest. Some
there was a good number of people present, very good studies of heads were also shown.
and the fete was a brilliant success. The The glass blowing, too, under the charge of
Mr A. Bickerton, caused much interest.
evening began with the shadow panto- Messrs Vigolas band played selections
mime which occupied a large alfresco stage, throughout the afternoon.
the shadows being thrown in different
colours on to the cloth about 20ft square. The
effect was most peculiar, especially with the
chromatic club swinging. The scene of
the fireworks was some six acres in extent,
and close by Mr Bickertons residence, 16th December 1895 page 5
there had been arranged a most effective
Christchurch Press
display. The bombardment of Port
Arthur by the Japanese gunboats was
worked out in an admirable manner. Tahuna Fete Although the weather
was most suitable the attendance at Tahuna
Of fire serpents, Roman candles, and Park on Saturday afternoon was not very
Catherine wheels there were numbers, and gratifying. The concert, which was really
the epicycloidal meteors were a special a good one, was provided by Miss Freda
Maraden and Mr Maitland Gardner, the
attraction. The band rotunda was bril- vocal and instrumental items being contri-
liantly illuminated, and the City Brass buted by their pupils and others. The pro-
Band played selections throughout the gramme included songs by Miss Meadows
and cello solo by Miss Edger, and selections
evening. by a childrens orchestra, under Miss Mars
den. The Maypole dances of the pupils of
the Excelsior Kindergarten were very pret-
tily executed. The free merry-go-round
and swing boats were made great use of by
the children, and the exhibition of glass
blowing and other scientific novelties under
charge of Messrs Bickerton Bros, attracted
a great deal of attention. To-day
Messrs Bickerton Bros, will hold an open-air
concert at Tahuna, for which a special
holiday programme has been arranged, in
which Miss Moseley, a Dunedin violinist,
will take part. In the Oddfellows Hall,
to-mor-row and Wednesday evening,
Messrs Bickerton Brothers will give
two enter tainments, introducing a num-
ber of novel ties in the shape of shadow
pantomime, &c.
24th November 1892 page 20 The Canterbury Times.


I am simply delighted with the special Star

Ladies Safety made to my order, and congratulates
you on being able to turn out each a magnificent
specimen of local industry. Not merely am I
pleased on my own account, but more partioniarly
so, because in my opinion Safeties will certainly
come in to general use in the colony, and will be of
special value to the fair sex. Further, the price
and perfection of such colonial machines renders
it an act of simple folly to use imported cycles.
Wishing you the success your enterprise and skill







A PROFESSOR ON CYCLE traffic laws had to be associated with

danger to the general public, and Professor
REGULATIONS. Bickerton would request that the Bench
should take steps to get the present ridicu-
Professor A. W. Bickerton, of Canter- lous New Zealand Act amended to a
bury Collage, was charged at the Magis- person riding on the footpath to the
trates Court, Christchurch, on Friday inconvenience of the general public.
morning, with having ridden a bicycle on 3rd July 1901 page 26 Every person who rode upon the footpath
the footpath, in Mile Road, on June 5. The Canterbury Times helped to keep it in good condition,
He admitted the offence, but pleaded and the convenience of the travelling pub-
extenuating circumstances. The road for lic should be studied. Either no notice
some hundred yards was absolutely should be taken of the present law, or it
impassable for bicycles owing to mud, should be amended.
while the footpath was in very excellent The Bench pointed out that they had
condition. As a rule he travelled on the no control over the law, and that the de-
tram now, but on Thursday, think- fendant might have wheeled his bicycle
ing the weather had mended, he took his along the footpath, but Professor Bicker-
bicycle, with the result that he came into ton said he had heard that that also was
full impact with the road and reached an offence.
home in a deplorable condition. As he The Bench inflicted a fine of 10s, with
could not ride upon the road, there was costs, which was promptly paid.
nothing for it but to take the footpath or
wade through the mud. In England a
breach of the
21st December 1897 page 2 beside the others. Then gradually the
Christchurch Press feathers fall off, and the bird itself hastens
matters with its beak. In the awkward
places the mates help each other, and the
THE HOME OF THE confidence with which each bird turns to
the other when it cannot help itself is very
PENGUINS interesting.
If two royal penguins are separated, and
0 carried a little way out of sight, they walk
In the Pall Mall Magazine for October disconsolately about until they see each
Mr W. H. Bickerton gives an account of a other again. As soon as they find their
visit paid to the Macquarie Island in mate they rush together, and the intense
February 1895. It lies considerably to the joy expressed by every movement, as they
south of New Zealand, in lat. 55 S., lon. are hurrying forward, is impossible to de-
155 E. It is a vast Penguin rookery. scribe. There is humming and flapping of
Landing is dangerous in almost all weathers. wings as they meet, and a soft cawing
The penguins were there in countless noise, until at last they sink upon one
numbers (writes Mr Bickerton); an immense anothers necks and talk love in their
flat, between one and two miles across, was peculiar penguin language. These birds
crammed full of them. And then the row seem to be an intensely loving race, although
they made ! - before arriving at the rookery their emotions are somewhat narrownever
the noise reminded us of sheep, but when extending beyond the family circle.
we turned the corner and saw them ahead it The rookeries are on the slopes of the
was deafening, and we soon found ourselves hills, and the top penguins have a very try
of necessity shouting at the top of our voices. ing time after they have finished moulting ;
Royal penguins (Eudyptes Schlegeli) com they have to pass right through the rookery
mence coming to the Macquarie group in to get to the sea, and every bird pecks at
January to moult their breeding season them as they pass. Their method of going
being from September to the beginning of through is to hold up their heads as high as
December. they can and make a dash for it, resting
When the penguins first arrive they are wherever there is room to stand out of reach
so fat that they can hardly walk, and are of the unfriendly beaks of the other pen-
just able to waddle up to the rookeries. guins. Sometimes one of a pair arrives at
Owing to the birds arriving at different the bottom first; but, instead of rushing off
dates the moulting lasts for three months, to the water (and they do love the sea) it
but the actual time a penguin takes to moult waits patiently until its mate arrives also ;
is only three weeks. During the whole of then they waddle off together, both very
this period the birds do not eat, but weak from their long fast, but full of eager-
gradually absorb all their fat to prevent ness to get into the water. As they get
themselves from starving. The circum down near the edge their steps quicken, and
ference of a penguin before moulting is they both run in, and stay swimming and
about three times that of one which has diving out among the breakers for some
moulted ; so striking is the difference that little time. Then they come to land again,
at first we were fully convinced that they and prune their feathers with scrupulous
were the old and young respectively. care, shaking and stretching their wings, as
Having got rid of his old coat, a penguin if to test whether they are at all stiff, after
looks very handsome in his new plumage their long rest.
everything he has on seems to fit so well, The first swim is only a preliminary
and is of such an excellent cut. But he is canter, but now they are really off, and
so thin that it seems as if his breastbone soon two little white dots appearing now
must cut through the skin. and again on the tops of the far-off rollers
The cunning with which penguins land are all that can be seen of this small couple,
amid the awful surf is wonderful. They so lately nestling at ones feet.
face the wave just before it breaks, and dive The laying season of the royal penguins
underneath, coming up again behind, ready begins in September. They have only one
for the next one; by and - by one comes egg, and both male and female take turns
which seems smaller to them than the in hatching and feeding the young one until
previous one, and then they roll themselves it can go to sea and fish for itself ; this
up in a ball, and are swept on to the shore happens when it is about three months old.
with terrible force. The speed with which In hatching, the egg is simply laid on the
they are carried on does not matter in the ground, the parents in turns lying forward
least to them ; and we see them being rolled upon it ; it takes a month for the egg to
over and over on the beach, until the wave break.
begins to go back, when they uncurl and The climbing power of the royal penguins is
waddle up to the dry shingle, shaking them extraordinary, and with the aid of their
selves to get the water off their feathers. sharp curved nails they are able to scale
Sometime the back-wash is too strong for steep clay cliffs 100ft and 200ft high.
the birds, and they are carried again into March is perhaps, the most interesting
the sea ; however, the operation is repeated time of the year to study the habits and
until finally one sees them safe upon the customs of the King penguins, for at this
beach, waiting for their mates to land before date we found them in all stages of growth.
starting off to the rookeries. There were eggs still being hatched, little
All the penguins go about in pairs, and ones just out of the shell, with nothing on
the in-coming birds form a long white line but a coat of black leather-like skin,
round the beach, marching two by two, and a few hairs sprinkled about which
until the creek leading to the rookeries is couldnt be called down yet. Then there
reached. Here, in spite of the millions of were young ones nearly the size of their
little feet which have passed along, the parents, looking more like quadrupeds
ground becomes to rough and narrow for than birds, with a thick coating of brown
double marching, and the birds separate, fluffy stuff similar to opossum fur, which
one going a little way ahead, stopping when wet causes the youngsters to look like
constantly and looking anxiously around to brown retriever pupa, with masses of curly
se if the other one is following close enough. locks clinging to them. Whenever I saw
Wherever the path permits it the pairs these young ones I felt a desire to take
rejoin, and walk again side by side. them up and stroke them-they look so soft
In the rookery the birds stand upright and warm.
with their mates, their white chests often King penguins, like the royals, have only
touching, thus helping each other to stand one egg. They have no nest whatever, and
more comfortably. Day by day their manage the hatching in a most wonderful
feathers become more untidy, and the birds manner. The egg is placed on the two feet,
seem to grow bigger and bigger, until those and then the bird, taking up a stooping
who have moulted look like little children position, loosens the skin on the breast.

next page
This looseness is utilised to form a sort of manner ; then, collecting his faculties to
pouch, completely covering the egg. By gether, he would scuttle away as quickly as
this means the egg never touches the cold he could, never stopping until a safe distance
stones, and is warmly covered up all round. had been placed between himself and his foe.
The grip which the parents have of the The birds always seemed to be more scared
egg is surprising, and although a party of us by this simple trick than by anything else
walked through the rookery and scattered we could do to them.
the birds on all sides, they never let their All day the beach is thronged with pen-
egg go, and none were seen lying on the guins walking or standing about in groups,
ground behind. It was truly astonishing to apparently talking. Sometimes two pen
see the ease with which the brooding birds guins talking together are joined by a third,
hopped about, always retaining their egg, who gives them the benefit of his experi
and in some cases the newly - hatched chick. ences ; and then, when the talk is over, the
In the rookery the birds stand a little new-comer walks off again to hear and
apart from one another, and there is just spread news with other penguins.
room for the continual going and coming of Parent penguins can always be distin-
the parents with food. If one of the hatch- guished from the others by the fearfully
solemn and business-like manner with which
ing birds moves too much and comes near they walk along the beach, never stopping
another parent the two fight fiercely until or looking around, but going straight ahead.
one moves away out of reach. King pen- I saw one with his head bent forward and
guins use their flippers almost entirely for his wings spread out, planting his feet down
fighting, the beaks playing a very small part in such a determined manner that it struck
in encounters. me he must really be sorry to have to take
There seems to be a natural system for them up again to walk. His mind was
preventing the little ones getting lost in the so full of his duty that the only effect of my
rookery. As every parent pecks a wander- standing in his way was to turn him slightly
ing one directly it comes within range the aside, his wing brushing against me as he
chicken soon realises that there is only one passed.
spot on earth safe for him, and that is with Penguins swim like porpoises, diving a
his own mother-so he promptly turns back little below the water, and then leaping up
and is gathered up again into the loving into the air to take another dive, and so
folds of her pouch. they progress. As they passed the ship for
The young bachelor and maiden kings the first time I thought they were a school
(the one and two year old birds) have a of young porpoises, but the captain laughed
splendid time of it, enjoying life to the full. and pointed to some penguins resting on the
They form a type of wandering rookery on waves not till then did I discover my
the beach, and spend their single lives in mistake. Soon the ship was surrounded by
what we term a glorious loaf. When the birds, who in their anxiety to fathom
they are hungry they go out to sea to fish, the mystery of the strange creature who
and owing to the never-ending appetites of had invaded their territories, lifted them-
countless penguins they have to go a long selves almost out of the water.
distance away. Never, while I was on the island with
All penguins have the same ingenious these birds around me, did the time drag
method of tackling the heavy seas which are heavily away, and I cannot but feel that
always to be found on these coasts. They this was mainly due to the interest (one
keep looking around, and as the wave is almost says companionship) of the penguins.
about to break over them they face it and
dive under in time avoid being knocked
dizzy by the falling water.
These birds look their best when mating,
and put on airs and styles which nothing
but a king penguin could carry without
looking ridiculous. They swell out their
breasts, and wobble about from side to side
as they wander around with their in- 19 February 1891 page 28
tendeds; every now and then stopping and
looking slyly round to see if their blandish- The Canterbury Times
ments are having the proper effect.
If a female is especially attractive, and
her charms prove sufficient to please
another beau in addition to her established OUR OWN
lover, fight is started by the outsider calmly
walking up to claim possession, entirely
ignoring the other male, until he enforces
the fact of his presence by his powerful AKAROA.
wing strokes. Then the two males set to Akaroa, Feb. 18
and fight it out, she remaining an interested
and critical spectator until one or the other A VISITOR.
of the combatants seems to be winning.
Then, unable to contain herself any longer, Professor Bickerton is at present camped
she rushes into the fray, and, siding with out in Akaroa, with his two sons and other
the victor, completely outmatches the other.
It matters not to her if the loser is her companions. They have walked from town
former suitor, as she is only too glad to be in the guise of swaggers, and intend to
consoled by the winning stranger, feeling return in the same manner. They are
that she has a better protector in case of
need. enjoying their outing immensely, and the
The young ones do not seem to be so firm Professor finds the change is proving very
on their feet as the older birds, for when we
chased them suddenly they nearly always beneficial to his health.
fell down upon their breasts and used their
wings as a sort of oar, with which to propel
themselves ; in this position they slid along
the ground quite quickly, making us run to
overtake them.
With the older birds it is comparatively 25th November 1912 page 1
rare to see them in any other position than Christchurch Press
upright, and even when sleeping they do not Admission 6d, Children 3d
lie down.
It was great fun to come up quietly to a
sleeping king and touch him lightly with
one foot; he was sure to full flat on his back,
and stare up at his tormentor in a dazed OPEN EVERY DAY.
FREE ZOO. Direct from Sydney Zoo.
Electric Merry-go-round.
Return Tram Fares (including admission)
1s, Children 6d No. 5 Car
20th November 1902 page 10 esteem for Professor Bickertons character,
and their honest appreciation of his worth.
Christchurch Press (Applause)
0 Mr Alpers handed Professor Bickerton
a purse of sovereigns in addition to the
BICKERTON. A member of the audience add-
ed a few words of special tri
0 bute to the good done by
Professor Bickertons popular lectures,
There was a large gathering of past and after which the latter, who was loudly
present students, and personal friends of applaud-ed replied. He thanked eve-
Professor A. W. Bickerton, in the lec ryone very heartly, and said in referring
ture theatre at Canterbury College yester to his long connections with the College,
day afternoon, when a presentation was that it seem ed as though only the
made to the Professor on his severing his pleasant things of life fixed themselves
connection with the College. Dr Chas on ones memory.
Chilton president, and amongst those present As the conclusion of his speech Professor
was Mr T. S. Weston, Chairman of the Bickerton was heartily cheered.
Board of Governors of Canterbury College.
The Chairman read a large number of
apologies from friends and ex-students who
were unable to be present. Dr Chilton
then went on to say that he claimed to be
the oldest student under Professor Bickerton
present, and he had known the Pro-
fessor before the present College building 13 November 1902 page 6
was erected. Speaking as the representa-
tive of the past students Dr Chilton re Christchurch Press
ferred to a number of incidents of College 0
days, and the recollection all bore of Pro-
fessor Bickertons kindness of heart and the The fire fete and open air gymnastic Car-
part played by Mrs Bickerton in social life. nival, which was held in Tahuna Park (Pro
(Applause) fessor Bickertons grounds) last night, at-
Mr W. L. Scott, on behalf of the present tracted a large number of visitors from
day undergraduates, made a happy speech, town, and proved a successful evenings en-
and was followed by Mr O. T. J. Alpers, tertainment. The members of the dif-
who represented, as he said, the inter- ferent classes of the New Brighton Gym
mediate, or time between the early stu- nastics Club gave a number of exhibitions of
dents and the students of today, and pre gymnastics work, including parallel bar,
sented the following address, handsomely wand, and horizontal bar exercises. Mr H.
bound in album form: F. Bickerton, director of the club, gave a
To Professor A. W. Bickerton, F.C.8. graceful club solo, including many new
Dear Sir, - On the occasion of your severing movements and combinations. A good
your connection with Canterbury College, display of fireworks was carried out success-
at which you have held for eight and twenty
years, the important post of Professor fully, and the new set pieces were loudly
of Chemistry and Physics, we de- applauded. The entertainment concluded
sire to express to you our sincere regard with a torchlight procession and a grand
and our earnest good wishes for your future tableau. The next fete will take place in
happiness and well-being. Your connec- a few weeks.
tion with the college dates from its founda-
tion; its success and the high place it took
at once in the estimation of the public of Can-
terbury owe much to your enthusiasm
in the cause of popular education. Many
of us who have been your students retain
grateful recollections of proofs of kind-
ness and friendship received from you;
those of us in especial whose association 27 November 1903 page 9
with the College began in the strenuous
days of its beginning can never forget the Christchurch Press
generous hospitality of yourself and Mrs
Bickerton, which added so much brightness LECTURES.
and pleasure to student life. But all of us,
even those least intimately brought into WAINONI, PROFESSOR BICKERTONS
association with you, hold in the highest RESIDENCE Experimental Lec-
esteem your kindness of heart, your dis- turette, etc., The Ice Age, seasons music, etc.
interested sincerity, your buoyant enthusi- Thursdays and Saturdays, between 3 and 4
asm. As to your future, we venture to pm. Admission 6d. Wainoni Cyclists
express the hope that you may continue to Church, 8 pm, Saturdays. Visitors tickets
devote yourself to scientific investigations 6d, 6 for 2s 6d. Addresses on Religion and
with the same energy and enthusiasm as Science. Wainoni Gardens open daily. Ad-
you have displayed in the past, and that mission 6d, afternoon tea 6d, flowers and
your contributions to speculative scienti- ferns for sale. Wainoni an ideal holiday
fic thought may at no distant time receive home, is approached by river, road or tram.
their due meed of authoritative recognition,
but be assured that, in whatever form
success awaits you, your students will fol-
low your career with affectionate interest
and wish you now and always health, hap
piness, and prosperity.
The address was signed by the represen
tatives of the committee, and one hundred
and sixty-two others, and Mr Alpers, went
on to say, represented students of Professor 25 January 1904 page 6
Bickertons of all times, the heads of the Christchurch Press
teaching staff, and many personal friends.
Mr Alpers spoke in the highest terms
of Professor Bickertons hospitality, which
thenas nowknew no stint. In his long At Wainoni on Thursday and Saturday,
career the Professor had made a host of Professor Bickerton gave a lecture on
friends, but enemies be (the speaker) be- The Sympathy of Vibration. He gave
lieved there were none. What they had experimental illustrations of visible vibra
done that day was to try to show their tion, and the vibration of the air, show
ing the principle of the ear, and the vibra-
tion of light, explaining, also, the princi-
pal of spectrum analysis. Next week
Professor Bickerton will give lectures
on the teaching of physical geography,
illustrated by means of the new earth
18th June 1903 page 6 The religion of science he took to be;
God is in his heaven, alls well with
Christchurch Press the world. He had thought this preli
minary explanation necessary, owing to
the misunderstanding of the position he
PROFESSOR BICKERTONS. had taken up. Proceeding with the real
matter of his lecture, professor Bickerton
LECTURES. said it was almost certain that mankind
0 was descended from the lower creatures.
THE ROMANCE OF MANKIND There were three great lines of reason
ing upon which this was deductedem
Although each of the romances dealt bryology, the records of the rocks, and
with in the three lectures completed last characteristics of man which appeared as
night, when Professor A. W. Bickerton rudiments in other animals. Two great
gave his Romance of Mankind to a points in evolution were heredity and
large audience in Trinity Hall, stands environments. In families some traits ap
apart the series is so connected that it is peared in each individual member, but no
only in the last lecture that the full per two individuals were alike, and variation
fection of the cosmos and its Creators (a marvel not yet understood) made crea
plan is revealed. The lecturer took his tures more or less fitted for their peculiar
audience to such heights and depths of environment. Lamarcks researches re
thought and fancy that so brief summary garding evolution were overshadowed by
could do more than indicate the leading Darwins great work, and while he had
threads of the theories built up by years little belief in the formers doctrine of
of study and research, and so well set out acquired qualities by heredity, he recog-
in a discourse of absorbing interest, last- nised the value and beauty of much of his
ing nearly two hours. The question of work. Great change of environment
human origin, the lecturer stated was dif tended to make more rapid variation, but,
ficult to attack. It was hedged about as Wallace thought, he felt that
with so many prejudices, and he had been there had been no special ne-
astonished at the opposition he had ex cessity for any creation of man.
cited, and at the remarkable letters he The creators methods were so perfect they
had received. Glorious truths were re required no tinkering. The lecturer then
vealed, he was convinced, by observation, dealt with the evolution of characteristics
imagination and experiments, as surely as and reminded his hearers that they had
by other sources of so-called revelation. to deal with the persistence of the fitness
The cosmos was immortal; there could of the individual and the persistence of the
be no doubt of that, and it was a higher fittest group. Pre-natal selection and the
thought to believe that nature was in a working of altruistic forces and qualities
constant state of rejuvenescence, instead of were dealt with, and how man differed
that the universe was hurrying on to from the anthropoid by the possession of
eternal death. Speaking of the reconcilia- developed human characteristics. The im-
tion of science with religion, Professor pulses were, in a perfect environment, the
Bickerton went on to point out that re true guides, but if a creature were out of
ligion was an instinct of the human race, its true environment then they were not
and that it had played a most important so. The extreme of poverty and wealth,
part in the revolution of mankind. An each producing its own miseries and such
inspired cause in warfare was always more a mode of life as to show mankind to be
victorious, and this instinct had had much out of its true environment (because each
to do with carrying forward the race. It did not work for all but each for self) were
had been his fixed conviction for the past causes of the present improper and un
fifteen years that no great movement had happy lives men led. The only true poli-
ever been successful unless backed up by tical economy was the Sermon on the
this religious instinct, but at the same time Mount, but the great teachers words had
he was of those who be to be taken without complexity. The
lieved that creed, or sacerdotalism, whole gist of the Christian religion was:
or a basis of superstition was necessary That ye love one another, and mankind
to religion. The philosophy he had come had to gradually realise the truth to this.
to was that the scheme of existence was a Misery was sent to teach that we were
perfect one, and that if there was an living a wrong life and that the greatest
object in it, it was to obtain the maximum and only joy was that giving joy to
of joy; if there was a rule in life it was others-the true Christ way. If it were
not justice but love. Hence there was asked why the plan had so far apparently
left no possible place for despair, and only failed if the cosmos were perfect, he would
a religion of absolute and implicit trust. say that mankind was but in its infancy,
learning its lessons for the probable ten
Continue next column million years of existence that mankind
would yet have on this earth.

17 March 1904 page 5 25 June 1904 page 7

Christchurch Press Christchurch Press

At Wainoni last night Professor Bicker- Professor Bickerton lectured on How

ton lectured on Explosives to the volunteer Plants Grow at the Art Gallery last night.
offices of Christchurch. In discussing high There was a small attendance. The lec
explosives, he stated that the ideal ex ture was under the auspices of the United
plosive would be petrol mixed with liquid Horticulture Society, and Mr A. R. Ragg
oxygen, but scientists had not discovered presided. In introducing the lecture, the
a method of handling liquid oxygen neces- Chairman said that the society had ar
sary to manufacture the explosive. Ex- ranged for the reading of a number of
periments were performed showing the papers of interest to horticulturists. These
action of different kinds of explosives under would be only for members of the society,
different conditions. The Garrison Band but several lectures arranged would be
played several selections on the lawn before open to the public. Professor Bickerton
the guests left. then delivered his lecture, which dealt in a
descriptive manner with the subject of
plant growth and propagation. At the
conclusion the lecturer was accorded a
vote of thanks.
25th February 1922 page 2 our rugs are in such demand in New
Zealand that we have none to spare for
Christchurch Press sale.
Professor Bickerton, Sir James said,
was for a long time on the staff of Can-
PROFESSOR A. W. terbury Collage. He himself was not
there as a student, but he happened to be
BICKERTON . connected with Otago University and
thus he knew of the very valuable work
0 done in Canterbury by Professor Bicker-
ton, and he knew that those who were
HIS 80th BIRTHDAY. his pupils profited not by his teaching
alone, but by his personality and in
fluence. Some of the pupils had be-
(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.) come very celebrated men. When the
time came for Professor Bickerton to
On January the 7th Professor A. W. leave Canterbury there was a great
Bickerton joined the ranks of vigorous deal of regret, not only from the au
octogenarians, and medical opinion thorities of the University but from
gives him the comforting assurance that the many students who passed through
he has the heart of a man of 45, with his hands. It was a great compliment
arteries still soft, and a pulse strong. to his life, to his capacity and to the
But he is advised, steadily to bear in hard work he had done to see that it
mind the fact that he is 80, and so had not done him any harm, and Sir
curb any impulse to over-exertion. On James hoped that if he himself reached
this interesting anniversary he was the age of 80, he would look as vigorous
pleasantly entertained by Mr and Mrs as Professor Bickerton did to-day. Mrs
F. A. Hornibrook, and he was present Hornibrook had referred to the scienti-
ed by Sir James Allen with a purse fic work and how it had impressed the
containing 43p and 10s, subscribed to by students. But, said the High Com-
old New Zealand admirers, now in Eng- missioner, it was not only the scienti-
land. fic work that impressed the students.
A former student of the Professors at I know that that was a very great as-
Canterbury College, Sir Ernest Ruther- set to Canterbury and to the whole
ford, sending a contribution and regret- University, but I am bound to say
ting his inability to be present, wrote : that however valuable teaching in itself
As one of his old students and friends, may be; it is the influence of the
I am very glad to see that this occasion teacher that is of even more value,
is to be properly celebrated as a mark and the mark of Professor Bickertons
not only of our esteem and affection, personality has been left on Canter-
but of our general belief in the value bury, and I say on behalf of Can-
of his scientific work to which he has terbury that New Zealand is very
devoted himself so indefatigably. A grateful in acknowledging the great
letter of appreciation and a telegram dept due to him. His work as a scien-
of regret came from his Highness tist is work which; I think, the
Prince Jhalawar, Vice President of the highest authorities re- cognised. I
Astronomical Society of India, who is think he has had to battle to get the
now at Oxford. scientific world to appreciate his theo-
Mrs Hornibrook was one of Profes- ries, and leading men are now coming
sor Bickertons students in New to recognise that they are sound.
Zealand for many years, so from her Handing him the purse, Sir James
own experiences she could tell of the hoped that Professor Bickerton would
special qualifications that so greatly be spared for many years to come,
assisted his pupils, for he did give and to see the result of the scientific
generally an understanding of the investigations which he had made for
living principles of science. He had the world generally, and that he
applied science to the needs of daily would be blessed with sound health.
life, and he had mingled art with
science. The grounding she had re-
ceived from the chemical classes and his
lectures were invaluable during her
war work in Egypt. Having thor-
oughly learned the properties of
dried fruits it was possible to make
the men in the desert fruit-salads that
were nourishing; they were made in en-
ormous quantities in 75 gallon horse-
troughs, and one result of the very
adequate feeding was the gratifying
report of the medical authorities that
the men in the desert were among the
most healthy they had met. Mrs
Hornibrook, speaking of the products
of New Zealand and its unsurpassed
woollen manufacturers, regretted that
New Zealand rugs were unattainable
in England, Yet you go to the High
Commissioners office and you see the
most beautiful rugs in the world
dangling round like bait, but you can
not buy any to give away as presents.
They are there simply to annoy you?
The High Commissioners Tribute.
Sir James Allen regarded it as a
very great privilege to be asked to pre
sent the purse to Professor Bickerton,
but he felt constrained first to say a
word about the High Commissioner
and his rugs. As a matter of fact,
Chapter Eight: Fireworks

Professor Bickerton was one of New Zealand's best Fireworks pyrotechnics. Fireworks were
first made at Wainoni in 1899. People would flock to Wainoni for gala days, Labour Day,
etc, to be entertained prior to the opening of Wainoni Park as a full time commercial
enterprise. Often the main attraction was the fireworks displays. As well as the usual letting
off of rockets, whirly gigs, etc, like we see at Brighton Pier each year, there were mock
naval battles. (See chapter 4).

Some of the gun powder was bought from the New Zealand Army at 2d a pound. It was old
stock, some dating back to the Russian scare of the mid 1880s. This was stored at Magazine
Bay at Lyttelton Harbour. The Bickertons used to bring it over the hill in lots of 100 pounds
on the back of their Model T Ford.

After Wainoni Park was sold in 1914, a piece of land was kept on what is now Ottawa Road.
A fireworks factory was built and was open until it closed in 1936. The largest undertaking
of all was to make fireworks to celebrate the end of World War One. Every town and city in
New Zealand wanted them and the Wainoni factory supplied them. The grandson of the
Professor, Ron Bickerton, aged 16 years at the time was fresh out of school and was such an
expert so he took charge of the Christchurch display. Herbert Bickerton (the Professors
son), did well enough from these sales that he bought a farm in Nelson and moved there
with his family. The factory was not sold off but was locked up and kept in reserve. This
was just as well as within five years farming had not paid off and Herbert and his family re-
turned to Christchurch and made fireworks. The Dunedin exhibition put them back on their
feet, however there was little demand in the following years except for Guy Fawkes and
New Year period. Ron Bickerton (Herberts son), married in 1927 and was working at the
factory, and from 1932-36 was in sole charge of the factory. He also began making torch
battery castings. The economics of firework making was not worth while and in 1936 there
was a fire at the factory where a first shed of gun powder caught fire but then a second with a
huge amount of powder in it exploded. One of the women working there went back into the
shed to retrieve her handbag and was killed from the explosion. The bang was so loud that it
was heard as far away as Kaiapoi. Ron had taken time off in earlier years to train as a motor
mechanic and soon after he decided to close the factory and joined Blackwell Motors.

Ron Bickerton later moved to Horotane Valley where during World War One he was
employed by the government to make a signal rocket to be used throughout New Zealand to
alert everybody if the Japanese invaded. About 200 were made. These were merely big
Chinese bangers, and were issued three at a time to E.P.S wardens who were to set them off
around the city as a warning that civilians had better start getting out of the way to avoid a
massacre from the Japanese. Sirens would follow. Some of the bombs were used to good
effect when the Heathcote Home Guard made a surprise attack on the Phillipstown unit one
night. A few were let off in the Christchurch Square on V.E Day. Thankfully there was no
need to use them seriously. The army cleared the huts and sheds and what was left of the gun
powder was dug into Bickertons glasshouse making great fertiliser.

Made from 1914 until 1936, commercial and retail fireworks

were made in the Wainoni Fireworks Factory on Ottawa Road.
These are the last of the
Flamos fireworks to survive.
EXPLOSION AT blew up. The driver, Mr J.C. Ander-
son, said the explosions were as bad
FACTORY as anything he experienced in the war.
0 Parts of the sheds and burning fire-
works were flying 100 feet into the air.
TWO PERSONS Iron and beams from the gunpowder
INJURED shed were afterwards found in a sec-
tion 100 yards from the fire. Fortun-
ately, the buildings were very lightly
BUILDING RAZED TO constructed. Of the gunpowder shed,
GROUND nothing but a few embers were left
where it had stood.
The force of the explosion blew in
Fire followed by a series of ex- one window of Mrs Smiths residence
plosions completely destroyed the and a hanging lamp in the front of
major portion of Bickertons Flamos the house exploded, bits of it being
Fireworks factory in Ottawa scattered over the room. A peculiar
road, Wainoni 2.45 yes- feature was that though there were
terday afternoon. One employee, other windows in the front of the
Miss Rose Roberts, aged 20, house, only one of them was shattered.
of 32 Vincent Place, Opawa, was badly Burning rockets were showered over
burned and is in a very serious con- the house and on the land around it.
dition, and another, Mr Norman Reid, Houses as far away as a half a mile
of Keppel street, New Brighton, who were shaken by the concussion, and a
rescued Miss Roberts from one of the trainer at the New Brighton race-
burning buildings, was burned about course nearly two miles distance said
the face and arms and had one arm he heard the explosion and saw a
severely cut. The other nine women great mushroom of black smoke rise
employed at the factory are suffering into the air.
from shock and some have minor The fire burned with great rapidity
burns. and scarcely an hour after the first
Of the 12 buildings which com- outbreak the buildings were razed to
prised the factory seven, in which the ground. The staff made strenuous
all the explosive materials were used efforts to fight it with hoses there for
or stored, were either blown to pieces the purpose, but the tanks ran dry. As
or burned to the ground. Five of them they went to start the electric pump
were arranged to form sort of a square to fill them the sheds blew up carrying
and it was in one of these, standing with them the power lines, and they
alongside the entrance, that the fire had to stand by and watch the fac-
started. It appears that seven of the tory burn. The fire spread to scrub
women were working in the shed and trees nearby but City Council
where the labelling of fireworks is car- workmen and the factory workers
ried out and one of them, who was succeeded in preventing this from be-
wearing shoes with steel heel plates, coming serious.
stepped on a star firework which was The manager of the factory, Mr R.
in course of manufacture. M. Bickerton was away in Dunedin
yesterday and there were only the em-
Dash From Blazing Shed ployees there at the time. There were
The firework exploded and the no insurances on the buildings or
rockets that were being wrapped by stocks, but the monetary loss will not
the others and some which had been be very heavy. Large consignments
finished, started to go off, the em- of goods had recently been dispatched
ployees, all except Miss Roberts who from the factory and the value of the
was second furthest from the door, stocks was not high. The factory had
ran screaming from the shed which been busy preparing for Guy Fawkes
was very soon blazing furiously. Burn Day (which occurs to-day), and had
ing rockets shot from it in all direc- recently taken on extra hands.
tions and ignited a shed where gun-
powder was stored. The gunpowder DESERVES A
shed exploded and three other sheds MEDAL
where finished materials and saltpetre
were stored blew up, almost simul-
The women employees, bewildered BRAVERY.
by the explosions, were trapped in the
court formed by the buildings, and it The rescue of Miss Roberts carried
appears to have been some time be- out by Mr Reid met with the highest
fore they thought of escaping through commendation from the nurses and
the rear of the yard. Three women and driver of the St. John ambulance
five men employed in other parts of which was called to the fire. One of
the factory ran into the open on hear- the nurses said that when they ar-
ing the rockets go off, and one of rived the employees were running
them, Mr Reid, went to the shed where about evidently dazed by what had
the girls had been working. occurred. Someone told them there was
So far as could be ascertained, he saw a girl in one of the sheds and it was
Miss Roberts attempt to come through while they were looking for her that the
the door, which was about eight feet sheds blew up.
wide, stumble and fall back. He ran The shed where Miss Roberts had
to a window and forced his way in- been was burning furiously and they
side and found Miss Roberts with her learned later that Mr Reid had taken
clothes ablaze. He took her to R.M. Miss Roberts who, it is understood, was
Bickertons residence nearby where a close friend of his, from the build-
she was attended by the St. John ing shortly before their arrival. The
Ambulance and taken to hospital. other employees were evidently not
The prompt arrival of the ambulance aware that a rescue had been effected.
was due to the presence of mind of That young man certainly deserves
Mrs C. Smith, who lives opposite the a medal for the rescue of Miss Rob-
factory. Hearing the screams of the erts, was the final comment of one
girls, she rang the ambulance, which nurse.
arrived on the scene before the sheds

ABOVE: Christchurch Press

5th November 1936, page 16.
LEFT, PAGE 74 : Christchurch
Press 5th November 1936, page 12
Unfortunately Miss Rose Roberts Christchurch Star-Sun,
was severely burned and died three Thursday November 5th, 1936,
days later. page 15.

Mr Norman Reid of Keppel

In March 2004, I spoke to Mrs Street, New Brighton, who
Marion Reed, who worked in the rescued Miss Rose Roberts during
shed where the fire started. She the fire which followed the
remembers the fire all too well. explosion at Wainoni yesterday.
Mrs Reed said that she was the He rushed into a building which
only worker who went back to was burning furiously and carried
work at the factory after the fire. the injured girl to safety. This
For a short time she was cutting photograph was taken as he left
the fireworks into lengths. the outpatients department of the
However she does not recall any hospital this morning.
gun powders at the factory after
the fire and thinks that they were
filled at a different location until
the factory closed shortly after.
During the late 1950s Ron Bickerton and his enthusiastic son Bevan decided to import fire-
works and make a million putting on displays for councils and other big organisations through-
out New Zealand. They soon became the New Zealand representatives for the Australian
fireworks manufacturer, The Phoenix Fireworks Company. Letters were sent to town and city
councils throughout the land. There was a very positive response with future work assured.
In Picton on the 2nd January 1958, they provided a brilliant nights entertainment.

With the publicity of this most successful night business was 2nd January 1958
about to excel. Marlborough Express
Big Crowds At
With a change in government came a change in government
policies. Along with other things, restrictions on imports were New Years Eve
introduced. In 1958, quotes were being organised for a Entertainments
number of different events including Nelsons Centennial. The Cars travelled almost
governments import restrictions meant that as of right Ron bumper-to-bumper in a mass
exodus from Blenheim on
and his son Bevan could not import any fireworks. Over the New Years Eve to give Picton
next four years they battled the government and the Customs one of its biggest - ever holiday
Minister but to no avail. Different provinces in New Zealand crowds . The attraction at the
Port was the fireworks dis-
celebrated many occasions without the excitement of fire- play arranged by the Picton
works for many years. Ron and Bevan gave up the battle and Sound Shell Entertainment
carried on with life. In 1958, the Bickerton family had Committee. Many of the visi-
tors remained in Picton after
lit their last public fireworks. 59 years had passed the display to join with resi-
since the Professor and his family first made and dence and holiday - makers
in welcoming in the New Year
displayed the first fireworks at Wainoni in 1899. in traditional style.

The fireworks display lasted

for nearly an hour and the
various presentations of set pieces
drew warm applause from the
crowd. Two of the most popular
displays were the illuminated
words Picton 1958 and the
outline of a yacht. The firing
of the 13 set pieces was inter-
spersed with rockets fired from
the Naval Jetty. These gained
considerable height and, bursting
at the top of the flight, show-
ered the sky with clusters of
coloured stars.

Although many in the crowd

returned home after the display,
others stayed on and gathered
in front of the Post Office to see
the New Year in at midnight. A
tableau was staged by the Enter-
tainment Committee at midnight.
The crowd in front of the Post
Office was quieter than usual.

In Blenheim, people thronged

Market Place, where the proceed-
ings were enlivened by the
presence of the Pipe Band. At
midnight the Band led the crowd
in the singing of Auld Lang

Source: Bevan Bickertons collection of newspaper

articles and documents kept from the time.
This is one of the last communications with the Australian fireworks company that Ron and
his son Bevan Bickerton had with The Phoenix Fireworks Company whom they were the
New Zealand representatives for during the late 1950s and early 1960s.

It was time to put their dream behind them and carry on with life and a New Zealand without
fireworks celebrations.
During the mid 1960s, the Bickertons home was demolished and the land developed. The
neighbouring land to the east was also developed. Two of the streets developed were named
Te Rama Place and Tahuna Street.
Te Rama - the lamp or light.
Tahuna - lighting of fire.
These two names refer to the fireworks at Wainoni.
Chapter Nine: The Final Chapter ?

One of the Professors close friends was T.J. Edmond

who owned Edmonds Baking Powder. He had donated
the Band Rotunda to the people of Christchurch and
then in 1930 he made a second gift for the Christchurch
people to enjoy, a large piece of land on the corner of
Avonside Drive and Wainoni Road just across the road
from the Bickerton home and Park. He hoped that the
Christchurch City Council would create a memorial garden
in remembrance of Alexander William Bickerton
for all the pleasure Wainoni Park had brought to hun-
dreds of thousands of people. Bickerton Reserve has
been mentioned a few times in newspaper articles
over the past decades, but sadly until now not many
people knew the full story of what took place there.
Apart from some trees, a little garden and this sign, the
memorial reserve has been forgotten.

One thing I like about this map below is that the suburb
name Wainoni is exactly where it should be, on the BEND
IN THE WATER. Professor Bickerton named his prop-
erty Wainoni, back in the 1880s. The house looked onto
the Avon River and the view of the Southern Alps.

BICKERTON RESERVE 2004 74 years later


Christchurch Star 1977

Christchurch Star 1994

The good news is, after Tim Baker made a proposal to the Christchurch City Council explaining
some of what this book contains, the people concerned not only realise that the development of
such a memorial garden is not just long overdue but in 2003 the Christchurch City Council land-
scape architect viewed the reserve and is to make suggestions including plants, paths, sculp-
tures, seating, etc, for the council to decide upon and carry out in the coming two to three years.
So go to Bickertons Reserve and see what has been done and sit back, look toward Bickerton
Street and contemplate what amazing events took place across the road.
In the mid 1960s, the Bickerton home was demolished and a new street was developed with just
over 100 sections. Bevan Bickerton saw the development and by writing to the council asking that
the street be named after his Great Grandfather, it was agreed to. Electricity was first used to light
up the paths at Wainoni in the early 1900s. Bickerton Street is thought to be the first street in
Christchurch to have underground wiring.


After his death in 1929, Canterburys first Professor, Alexander Bickerton, was cremated
and his ashes were returned Christchurch, as he had arranged. They were put into a wall of
The Great Hall, at Canterbury College, now the Arts Centre near the Canterbury Museum.
The brass plaque is still on the wall in the hall for the public to view.

Neville Wilkins

The Great Hall, Canterbury College. Now the Arts Centre.

As well as visiting Bickertons ashes, you can also visit his ghost. In recent years there has
been the opportunity to sit at the students desks in the very lecture room in which Bicker-

The author Tim Baker, in the lecture room in front of the heater listening
to a recorded lecture imitating Professor Bickerton teaching his students.

The following is an extract from the book - A History of the UNIVERSITY OF CANTERBURY 1873-
1973, by W.J. Gardner, E.T. Beardsley and T.E. Carter, page 216: Ted Howard writing to Mr
Smith at the Canterbury College in 1929:
By a recent mail, a parcel arrived in the Dominion containing the ashes of the late Profes-
sor Bickerton with a letter asking that these ashes should be deposited in the Canterbury
College Hall and that a brass plaque, suitably inscribed, should be provided by the college.
The Board was reluctant to meet this request. Not only was there no precedent, but
cremation was then unknown in Christchurch and the parcel was more than a mere
embarrassment. Indeed Howard is said to have hidden it in a sand-hill in Sumner. Then,
worried that it might be discovered or destroyed by a inquisitive dog, he dug it up and
deposited it in the left luggage office at the Christchurch railway station at a cost of two-
pence a day until the Board decided its fate. The Bishop of Christchurch, the Rev. Campbell
West-Watson, opposed Howard's resolution in the College Committeethe proposal was
carried by only eight votes to sevenand Howard claimed he changed the Bishops Mind
by threatening to send the parcel to him. The recommendation was approved by the board
(the voting was not recorded) and the amende honorable to Bickerton was a ceremony in
the hall on 23 June 1929, at which Macmillian Brown unveiled a tablet in the western wall
behind which the ashes were inurned.

The following is an extract from the book OUR MABEL, by David Gee, page 40:
Bickertons ashes were mailed to Ted and the day he went to the Sydenham Post Office to
collect them he told the girl behind the counter: Youve got a professor here for me; hes
in a small box. Mabel received the same line of jest when he took the ashes home and
placed them under her bed. The ashes were left in a shed at the bottom of the Howard


In 1985, Christchurch musician
and play writer, John Densem was
awarded $7000.00 by the
Queen Elizabeth II Arts Coun-
cil to become Writer in Resi-
dence at the Court Theatre. Us-
ing the grant he set out to write
a play about a local subject.
With his own knowledge of Pro-
fessor Bickerton and as you have
read yourself in this book, it is
understandable why John
Densem chose The Prof.
In a newspaper interview with The Prof teaching his most famous pupil, Ernest Rutherford
David Wilson, Christchurch Press,
24 December 1985, Mr Densem
said, because hes one of
those people we should treasure,
he was a charismatic, colourful
character who greatly enriched
the Christchurch scene at the
turn of the century. I came
across the Bickerton story when I
was working for the Christ-
church City Council doing
graphs and publications. The more
I read about him the more fas-
cinated I became. My main
motivation in writing is to get
The college (university) students visited Wainoni often.
people to take a pride in New
Zealand and its characters and
not to look overseas. Bickerton
was an obvious choice. The
working title will be Prof as he
was known as that, or sometimes
Within six months the play was
written and the following year,
1986, the play was delivered.
The play included Professor
Bickertons travel to New Zealand,
his time at the Canterbury
College, his theory of Partial
The professors theory of Partial Impact

The Federative

Wainoni Park,
a commercial

Bickertons ashes
arrive at the
college and are
placed behind the

These photographs are from

the Theatre Royal archives.