Sunday, February 8, 2009

Manners Street, Wellington - Ward Reception Parade, 1895

Joseph Ward, New Zealand's Colonial Treasurer in Seddon's Liberal Government of the 1890s, was dispatched to London to raise loan funds to finance land reform involving the closer settlement of farm land. The first loan of 1.5 million pounds floated in early 1895 at three percent interest was oversubscribed to the tune of 5.9 million pounds.

Upon his return to Wellington, Ward was honoured for raising so much money so cheaply by what was called the "Ward Reception" on 10 July 1895.

The idea of a reception generated public controversy for its alleged political partisanship in the months preceding Ward's return.

The Evening Post, no friend of the Seddon government, rather snippily reported the Ward Reception in Wellington and its correspondents to the letters to the editor pointed out that the funds expended on the reception and procession would be better spent providing aid to the poor and unemployed.

After noting that government offices were closed for the day and most warehouse and retail stores were closed at noon, the Evening Post reported in its edition that evening the SS Hinemoa carrying the Wards berthed at noon alongside Jervois Quay.

Sir Walter Buller for the Ward Reception Committee welcomed Ward who in turn replied expressing his gratitude. The Evening Post allowed that "a few cheers were then given".

"Ward Reception" car, Wellington, Ca 1890s. Tyree Bros., photo. Alexander Turnbull Library.

Photo is probably of what the Evening Post reports as a "floral display on a lorry, with a motto in white letters on a red ground - "A Hearty Welcome Home" ", a banner to that effect showing in the photo. It is likely taken on Jervois Quay as a tank locomotive can be seen in front of the shed on right near the bandstand or gazebo.

View of Manners Street, south from Perrett's Corner, Ca 1890s.
Tyree Bros., photo. Alexander Turnbull Library

Following Ward's reply, a procession of carriages was formed accompanied by the Garrison and Jupp bands, a floral float, fire engines, and members of the Tailors and Bakers Unions bearing their banners. The Evening Post observed that "in the streets were many spectators, but little enthusiasm was shown."

The procession, "not so long as had been expected," according to the Post, proceeded up Cuba Street to Manners Street, turned right, proceeded to Willis Street thence Lambton and Thorndon Quays to the Thorndon Esplanade where Seddon and the Wards each planted a pohutukawa tree as part of the reception and Arbor day.

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