Saturday, 25 March 2023

Henry John Gill, 1853-4/2/1932.

H. J. Gill, photographer, late of Hyde street, notifies his numerous friends and customers be is now occupying his new and commodious premises in Frederick street, near Knox Church. Special attention given to all country orders. Having more extensive accommodation, he is now prepared to execute all orders entrusted to him with less delay, and thanks his patrons for their kind support in the past. Note new address r Frederick street, near Knox Church. — Advt.  -Otago Witness, 13/1/1898.

We, Mrs H. J. Gill, of Hyde street, W. V. Mrs R Guthrie, of Maitland street will not be RESPONSIBLE for any Debts contracted by Ester Adams.  -Otago Daily Times, 14/11/1899.




Mr H. J. Gill, of Grove street, Musselburgh, has, after a long period of experimenting, perfected a model of a flying machine. The model weighs only 19oz, but it can lift a weight of 30oz. To this extraordinary buoyancy may be added the further and more remarkable merit of being able to rise at once. the design owes nothing to anything that Mr Gill has seen of either aeroplane or airship. His ideas are from the flight of a bird. The front of the machine is like the breast of an albatross, and its great advantage over an aeroplane is that it needs no long run to gather momentum. It is so constructed that with a slight push the air strikes the front, and carries it off in its own length. today a member of our staff saw this principle tested in Mr Gill's house. With a run of a couple of feet, the model soared to the top of the overmantel. For military purposes this prompt levitation must be of incalculable value. On a battlefield or on a stretch of coast from which a flying machine may need to he projected one cannot have a prepared track for the beginning of a flight. Mr Gill has already made sixteen models, and rejected them all in favor of the seventeenth — the one that he thinks will do. To say "he thinks" is Mr Gill's own modest way of telling it. There is, of course, always the possibility of mistake about a model. Many a mechanical model that seemed to he perfect has resulted in disappointment in the perfected machine. Therefore Mr Gill does well to wait for his complete triumph. But the probabilities are apparently all in favor of success. To begin with, he has secured patent rights throughout the British possession, and such rights are not lightly or thoughtlessly granted. Then, again, he has submitted his invention to mechanics and engineers, and pressed them to answer him frankly and say it they see any fault, and they have found none.

All agree that the machine has wonderful notation and singular rising power, and the patent examiners are particularly pleased with the method of control. The steering apparatus consists of two tails, one in from and one astern. They enable the person in charge to rise or sink at will, also to turn at any angle.  -Evening Star, 15/11/1909.


DUNEDIN, May 14. 

Mr H. J. Gill, of South Dunedin, has completed an aeroplane 35 feet long, with a 32 feet span, for competition for the Commonwealth Prize of £10,000.

The final flight will be held here next week.

An expert from Cody's yards superintended the building.  -Ashburton Guardian, 14/5/1910.


(Daily Times.) Some little time -ago a good deal was heard about local inventions of aeroplanes of which great things were expected, but apparently the fever has passed away, and very few seem to have got any further than the model stage. One inventor, however — Mr H. J. Gill, of Musselburgh —has kept steadily but quietly at work, and the result of his efforts, in the shape of an aeroplane that is completed save for a few finishing touches, was seen by a representative of this journal yesterday. The length of the machine from tip to tip is 35ft, and the span of the wings 31ft. The motor engine is of 25h.p., J.A.P. Aerial engine, is beautifully constructed, and weighs only 130lb. The weight of the whole machine, fully constructed, is 450lb. 

The inventor claims that the machine will be considerably more buoyant than the general run of aeroplanes, and that it will rise without long runs, it is estimated that it will attain a speed of 30 miles an hour. The most important feature of the machine is the patent automatic safety devices, which it is claimed render the machine absolutely safe. If the engine should fail (which constitutes the danger of all aeroplanes) the occupant can instantly release a lever, which throws out 120 square feet of extra sustaining surface, this really forming a parachute all around the machine. Another feature claimed for the machine is its safety in descending. The front is so arranged that, the machine cannot fall more than 10ft at a time, so in descending 1000ft it would recover itself about 50 times before coming to earth. In the event of the machine descending in water, an air chamber, which is filled automatically from the exhaust of the engine, will, it is claimed, cause it to float on the surface, making the life of the occupants perfectly safe. 

Mr Gill's machine presents every appearance of stability, and it is evident that the inventor, who seems to have made provision for all reasonable contingencies, has gone to a great deal of trouble to achieve the successful accomplishment of his task. The aeroplane, which has been constructed at Messrs Schlaadt Bros. foundry under expert supervision, will probably be finished to-day. It will be exhibited at the winter show next week, and the trials will take place at an early date.  -Oamaru Mail, 17/5/1910.



[From Our Correspondant] DUNEDIN, May 31. An exhibit that created great interest at the Winter Show is a monoplane constructed by Mr H. J. Gill, of Musselburgh, after seven years’ planning, contriving and experiment, and on which a trial flight is to be made near Dunedin next week. As I have previously stated, Mr Gill intends to compete for the £10,000 prize offered by the Commonwealth Government. His machine bears a general resemblance to the Bleriot type, but it carries four devices which are not in use on any other flying machine in the world. The first of these is an air-sac under the body of the machine, which is filled from the exhaust of the engine. One purpose of this is to form a float should the machine drop suddenly to earth, though this latter contingency is rendered practically impossible by two other devices, of which more later. But the inflated sac is not only a precautionary measure, it is also a help to buoyancy, since it will lift 701b of the total weight of the machine. That weight, by the way, is but 4601b. though the machine is 36ft long and 31ft from wing to wing. The second patent has an object similar to the first, and is one for which long and unsuccessful search has been made by aviators. The problem was to be able instantly to check the dip of a monoplane should the engine fail suddenly. Tightly rolled on the margins of the wing frames of Mr Gill’s monoplane are cloth blinds, and in case of a sudden failure of the engine, the pilot has only to touch a lever, and in the same instant 190 square feet of cloth cover the frame of the wings, and not only prevent a sudden drop, but also prevent a capsize, acting, in fact, as lateral supports like those on the Samoan canoes. In the bows is another device, a curved frame, also fitted with cloth blinds, which when stretched across the frame (as they can be in a second when the aviator presses a pedal with his foot) prevent the monoplane from taking a header. This patent is termed a curvative elevator, and is the only thing of its kind on any aerial machine. The aviator steers by means of a triangular rudder in the bows, but in case a right angle turn is desired he can accomplish this by means of two appliances known as arenoids, which are fitted on the extreme end of the wings. By means of these Mr Gill claims that he can run broadside on to the wind, and not only head to the wind or with the wind, as is compulsory with other monoplanes. The engine is a model of bulkless power. It is only 14m long and 18in high, and generates 24-30 h.p. A marine engine of one-sixth the power would occupy twice the space and weigh twice as heavy. In theory, to sum up, Mr Gill has apparently overcome many difficulties that have not previously been successfully met by aviators.   -Lyttelton Times, 1/6/1910.

Mr H. J. Gill, the local inventor of an aeroplane, intends holding a public trial of his machine at Wingatui on Saturday, July 9. Mr Gill informed a Daily Times reporter yesterday that he held a private trial of his machine at Anderson's Bay about a fortnight ago. Up to a certain stage the experiment was most convincing. The aeroplane covered a distance of 900 yards, and in its flight rose to a height of 160ft, but when the steersman (Mr Pearson) endeavoured to turn a portion of the structure proved too frail, and the flight came to an abrupt termination. The weakness, which was an obvious one, has been repaired, and Mr Gill is confident of achieving a big measure of success at the trial which he is to give at Wingatui next Saturday week.  -Otago Daily Times, 28/6/1910.

Image from "Aeropedia."



Mr H. J. Gill (of Musselburgh) attempted to-day to fly the monoplane which he had invented and constructed, and which was on exhibition at the Winter Show, when it was described in these columns. The site chosen was the reclaimed ground near the cement works. A large number of people had gathered by one o'clock, at about which time Mr Gill took his seat behind the steering wheel. For an hour, however, every effort to start the motor failed. Up to 3.30 nothing had been accomplished but short runs on the ground.  -Evening Star, 6/8/1910.

A LOCAL AVIATOR: READY FOR THE TRIAL OF MR H J GILL'S MONOPLANE. (Photos by Guy.)  -Otago Witness, 17/8/1910.


Abortive Aeroplane Trial.

Mr H. J. Gill, of Musselburgh, has built himself an aeroplane, and on Saturday last he made a trial of it on the reclaimed land near the cement works. The machine was carted down about ten o'clock and almost at once a crowd began to gather to see the fun. From then until two o'clock was spent in putting the aero together, and then a fierce struggle with the motive engine was commenced, but something was wrong with the sparking plugs, and all that could be got out of the machine were some short runs on the ground. Some of those who had been watching a couple of hours or so in the hope of seeing the first aero flight in New Zealand got a bit cold and grumpy at the state of affairs, but the maker of the machine is confident, and promised to have another try.  -NZ Truth, 13/8/1910.


Mr H. J. Gill made another trial with his monoplane at Dunedin yesterday. The trial was not successful, because just as a start was about to be made it was observed that the engine was tearing its bed from the machine. The engine is to be firmly imbedded, and another attempt will be probably made this week.   -Evening Star, 22/8/1910.

Mr H. J. Gill had intended to fly his monoplane at St. Kilda this morning, getting his start from a stretch of very hard sand on the beach beyond Onslow House. The machine was conveyed to the proposed point of departure before daylight. Unfortunately, when dawn broke it was found that the heavy seas of the past few days had swept clean to the lupins, and the proposed point of departure was a huge lagoon. Since the machine was rigged ready for flight, Mr Gill determined to make essayal from a lower point on the beach, but the wheels sank so deep into the soft sand that it was found impossible to attain the speed necessary to give an airward impetus. Mr Gill will probably attempt a flight from Forbury to-morrow morning.  -Evening Star, 30/8/1910.

We understand that a meeting of the Gill Aerial Syndicate will be held next week for the purpose of considering the advisability of winding up the company. It is stated that the outlay on this aeroplane has amounted to about £700, including the £280 taken while the monoplane was on show during winter show week. The aeroplane is at present located at Forbury Park.  -Otago Daily Times, 9/9/1910.

WANTED to Sell, 25h.p. Aerial Engine, J.A.P., guaranteed good order. Apply H. J. Gill, Duke of Edinburgh Hotel.  -Evening Post, 9/9/1910.

PHOTOGRAPHIC Plates and Papers, all makers, best varieties, always in stock. TRY our One Solution Developer and Intensifier; once used always used. — H. J GILL, 11 and 13 Frederick street ('phone 1144). -Otago Daily Times, 7/9/1914.


GILL. — On February 4, 1932 (suddenly), at his residence, 2 Warrender street. Henry John, beloved husband of the late Mary Ann Gill; aged 79 years. Deeply mourned. Private interment. — R. McLean and Son, undertakers.  -Evening Star, 5/2/1932.

Tuesday, 21 March 2023

61509 Private Henry Bowie, 1/5/1897-29/9/1918.

Before returning to camp last Private Henry Bowie was presented by the Lawrence Patriotic Committee with a pocket diary as a slight token of appreciation from the citizens of Lawrence.  -Tuapeka Times, 8/9/1917.



On Monday morning Mrs Bowie, Hill street, received the sad tidings that her oldest son Private Henry Bowie, who left with the 30th Reinforcements, had been killed in action in France on the 29th September. The deceased who was 21 years of age, was born in Cromwell, and with his parents came to Lawrence some years ago when his father took over the business previously conducted by Mr A. S. Askin. He attended the Lawrence District High School where he finished by passing the Public Service Entrance examination, subsequently accepting a position in the Education Department, Wellington. He was a fine manly youth with a pleasant and likeable disposition, and during his residence in Lawrence popular with all who knew him. In their sad bereavement Mr and Mrs Bowie and family have the sincere sympathy of this community and of Otago Central where the family have been so long resident and are so highly esteemed.  -Tuapeka Times, 16/10/1918.


The ordinary meeting of the Lawrence Borough Council was held on Monday night. Present — The Mayor (Mr Winn), Crs. Loary, Christie, Thompson Munro, Arthur, and Edie. Apologia were received for the absence of Crs Simpson, Finlayson and McKinlay. 


On the motion of the Mayor, it was resolved to record on the minutes the Council's sympathy with Mr and Mrs Bowie on the loss they had sustained through the loss of their son Private Henry Bowie, news of whose death on the battlefield had just been received.  -Tuapeka Times, 16/10/1918.

Cromwell New Cemetery.

Tuesday, 7 March 2023

Albert Toms, 1909-11/1/1920.

We regret having to record the deaths locally last week of three young children. Eugene Murphy, l;j.\ years of age, son of Constable and Mrs Murphy, Alexandra, died in the Cromwell Hospital on Friday. David Atkins, aged fourteen years, son of Mr and Mrs R. Atkins, Luggate, died the same evening, The third was Albert Toms, 10 years of age, the son of Mr and Mrs E. Toms, Bannockburn, death being due to the after-effects of an attack of diphtheria.  -Cromwell Argus, 12/1/1920.


TOMS. — At Kawarau Station, Bannockburn, on 11th January, Robert Edward Milburn (Bertie), dearly beloved and only son of Helen and Albert Toms, aged 10 years and 7 months. — Deeply mourned.  -Cromwell Argus, 26/1/1920.

Cromwell New Cemetery.

William James Fleming, 1870-3/11/1892.


On November 3rd, at his parents' residence, Kawarau Gorge, after being confined to his bed for two and a half years, William James, the eldest and dearly beloved son of John and Nano Fleming; aged 22 years. R.I.P.  -Cromwell Argus, 15/11/1892.

Cromwell New cemetery.

Friday, 3 March 2023

Thomas M Y McWhirter, 1877-22/12/1901

In our obituary column to-day appears a notification of the death, of Mr Thomas McWhirter. jun., son of Mr Thomas McWhirter, long and favorably known in this district. The deceased was also well known in North Otago, and news of his death under painful circumstances will be received with regret. The Cromwell Argus reports that the deceased, who lived on the Tarras Station, of which his father is manager, had the misfortune to break his wrist, about a fortnight ago. He came to Cromwell and had the injury attended to, after which he went home, apparently sound and well last week, being troubled with pains in the head and having a swelling in the face, came down to Cromwell again. At midday on Saturday he visited Dr Macknight, who redressed his arm and attended to the swelling of his face, but neither the doctor nor his patient, thought that anything else was the matter. About nightfall the deceased, who was staying at the Commercial Hotel, and had gone to bed, being attended by his mother, became delirious. He became worse, and early on Sunday Drs. Macknight and Morris were called in, and did all they could, but medical skill proved in vain, and at 6.30 deceased passed away, before his father and brother, who had been summoned by telephone, could arrive. The cause of the death was blood poisoning, and the only explanation feasible is that advanced by the deceased, who said that he thought he had been, stung on his face by an insect. This is probably the real cause of the blood poisoning, the insect having previously been feeding on some deleterious matter, and inoculating deceased with the poison. Great sympathy is felt on all sides for the bereaved family. The deceased was a young man universally esteemed and respected his many sterling qualities, and the upright manliness of his character.   -Ooamaru Mail,28/12/1901.

Obituary. — A couple of deaths in the district created a feeling of pained surprise recently. At Cardrona, Mary Eileen Miller, the eldest daughter of the late Mr Henry Miller, and step-daughter of Mr John Loft, both very old residents, was lately carried away, ulceration of the stomach being the ailment, at the early age of 24 years. When she was barely out of her teens she looked so strong and fresh that one would have thought that a good old age was before her. Mr Thomas McWhirter jun., Tarras, eldest son of the station manager, was loading fencing wire on to a dray, and gave his arm a twist and broke it. He went to Cromwell Hospital at once, but blood-poisoning set in, and he died on Sunday night last. When we read of pathetic cases such as these, of people being taken off in the first bloom of youth, we are apt to think that our advanced nineteenth century civilisation and medical science are not yet perfect, but leave room for plenty of advancement.   -Otago Witness, 1/1/1902.

Cromwell New Cemetery.

Thursday, 2 March 2023

Daniel Bell, 1855-7/5/1893.

It is our melancholy duty from time to time to chronicle the death of one or other of the residents of the district. This is the saddest part of a journalist’s many varied duties, because the natural regret experienced at the death of an acquaintance or well known resident, is intensified considerably, by the fact that he has to write his obituary notice. At no time since our connection with this journal, have we experienced a deeper sense of regret at having to perform this sad task, than we now do in announcing in these columns the death of Mr Daniel Bell, Wardsman of the Cromwell Hospital, and that because of the circumstances which led to his untimely end. While attending one of the typhoid patients who was being treated in the institution, he contracted the disease, and after a severe illness, he succumbed on Sunday morning. Were it on this account alone, public sympathy would go out freely to his widow, who has nursed him during his illness with indefatigable care and attention; but in addition to this, he earned in conjunction with her the undying gratitude of many a patient, the confidence of the Board in the management of the Hospital, and the social esteem of the residents of the district. He has died in harness, has died young, and may be said to have yielded his life in ministering to the wants of his fellow man. The regret at his death is as widespread as the sympathy which is expressed for his relict. The funeral takes place to-day, leaving the Hospital at 2.30 p,m.  -Cromwell Argus, 9/5/1893.

Cromwell New Cemetery.

23/963 Private John Macaulay Wrightson, 1877-21/11/1918.

Fatal Dredge Accident.

Death at all times is surrounded with sadness and sorrow, but never is grief more widespread than when a young life is unexpectedly cut short. Thus it was when news rapidly spread early on Thursday morning that a fatal accident had occurred on the Shine No II dredge, by which a highly esteemed young resident, Mr John Wrightson, had met his death. Exactly how this happened is a question that cannot be conclusively solved. Reading through the evidence at the inquest, which is herewith detailed in full, the position appears to be that deceased, with his mate, went on the twelve to eight shift on Thursday morning. Everything went well until after 6.30. As usual his mate, the fireman, was carrying out the work of cleaning up prior to being relieved, and was working astern. Going forward to attend to the boiler he failed to find any trace of his mate, and received a great shock on finding his body inside the winch, his clothes and side being entangled in two gear wheels and life extinct. How this came about can only lead to surmise. 

The news came as a great shock to the whole town and district, wherein deceased was held in the highest esteem, and it seemed hard that the unfortunate young man, a returned soldier, after having daily faced death on the battlefields of France, was wounded, and returned to his native land to enjoy his due reward in peaceful surroundings, should meet an unexpected death in such a distressing manner. Deceased was a native of the town, a son of Isabella and the late John Wrightson. He was educated at the Cromwell School, and thereafter followed several occupations and for years was employed by a local stonemason, and eventually turned his attention to dredging. Of manly characteristics, and a sterling workman, his services were sought in many walks of life, and he was one who could be depended on to do his duty, and always had the full confidence of his employer. Wherever he engaged in the lighter side of life, he was always looked up to by those associated with him. Of fine physique, he was a sterling forward in Rugby ranks, was also a keen member of the old volunteer forces, and a leading rifle shot. For several years he was a member of the borough council, wherein he did good work. He enlisted with the First Battalion, Rifle Brigade, in 1915, seven other young men going forward the same day. The deceased, in the rank of corporal, was always looked upon as the guiding star of the party, and quickly assumed the appropriate title of "father." He took part in the engagement against the Senussi tribe in December, 1915, and afterwards went with the forces to France. There he was wounded, and from the effects of this and an attack of illness, he was finally invalided home. While in the Homeland he was married, his wife joining him in New Zealand early this year. His death is mourned by a circle of friends far and wide, and to his bereaved wife, in a sense a stranger in a strange land, and the many relations, the deepest sympathy goes out in their sudden and distressing bereavement. To these we join also in extending our sympathy. Among the many messages of condolence was one from the Minister of Mines. 

The remains were interred in the New Cemetery on Sunday with military, honors. The cortege was headed by the band, then came the Freemasons, of which deceased was a member, the Territorials and a large body of returned soldiers. The latter acted as pall-bearers and supplied the firing party and the bugler (C. Betts), who sounded the Last Post. The service was conducted by Rev. Rankin, and the Freemasons also performed their last rites.  -Cromwell Argus, 25/11/1918.


A distressing accident occurred on the Rise and Shine No. 2 dredge early on Thursday morning by which Mr John Wrightson, about 44 years of age, met his death. He was caught in the wheels of the winch, death being practically instantaneous. He was a native of Cromwell, and a highly-respected resident. He served with the first battalion of the Rifle Brigade in Egypt and France, and returned early in 1917, after being wounded. He was married while in England, and is survived by his wife, who came to Cromwell this year. At the inquest, held at Cromwell on Saturday, before Mr E. Murrell, acting coroner, and a jury of six, the following verdict was returned. — "That the deceased came by his death through being caught in the cog wheels of the winch on the Rise and Shine No. II dredge, there being no conclusive evidence to show how he got there."  -Lake County Press, 25/11/1918.


WRIGHTSON. — In loving memory of John Macaulay Wrightson, dearly beloved husband of Isabella Wrightson, accidentally killed at Cromwell on November 21, 1918. Inserted by his loving wife and, child.  -Otago Witness, 23/11/1920.

Cromwell New Cemetery.