William Tonks (1837 - 1916) MP

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Birthplace: Birmingham, UK
Death: Died in Wellington, New Zealand
Managed by: Ken Tregear
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About William Tonks

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William Tonks's Timeline

March 11, 1837
Birmingham, UK
March 1, 1842
Age 4
Wellington, New Zealand

Birman - 544 tons
Sailed: Gravesend 13 October 1841
Arrived: Port Nicholson 1 March 1842
Captain: John Cleland
Surgeon: James Motherwell

Passengers included:-

William Tonks 35 Brickmaker and Miner
Jane 36 Wife
Sarah Ann 13
George 11
Rose Hannah 8
William 5
Enoch 2
Janet 3m Died at sea (8 January 1842) Infection of lungs

Age 21
Wellington, New Zealand

New Zealand BDM Registration 1859/2738

July 12, 1863
Age 26
August 27, 1916
Age 79
Wellington, New Zealand

Death yesterday removed an oE} settler and an untiring fighter- fo^ the people's rights—Mr. William Tonksj He was seventy-nine years of age having been born in Birmingham on 11th March, 1837. He came to Wellington with his parents in the ship Burman, landing at Pipitea Point on lsfj March, 1842. He lived' here all his years, and grew old with the town.. While taking his full share in the work of development, he was especially prominent in the task of conservation, striving to preserve for future generations the best of the privileges which had been enjoyed by the early settlers, and especially those ipriviliges which concerned the right to free recreation. By occupation he was at times brickmaker, shipowner, and contractor. In 1869 he undertook one of the largest reclamation' contracts that have been dealt with, even in Wellington. The work involved was the cutting away of the side of the hill from Stewart 'Dawson's corner (Clay Point) to Boulcott-street, and the reclaiming of what is now Customhouse-quay from the Pier Hotel to Levin and Co.'s warehouse. After that he became interested in shipping, and was the owner of several of the sailing vessels which maintained a service with Australia. These were the ship Wellington, which was wrecked at Happy Valley, the barque Malay, and the schooner Young Dick, to name only a few.. For the past thirty years Mr. Tonks had been, engaged in the flour-milling and baking business, and with this he maintained his active connection up to the time of his death.
He lived for many years at the head of Sutherland-road. One matter in. which he took a great interest in late years was the opening ,and improvement of that road to give a belter means of access to Lyall Bay. But his great agitations were on questions touching the public parks and the Town Belt. He knew the Belt when it was one great Sylvan expanse, delightful to the eye. He lived to see the bush cleared away, and the Belt given over to' gorse and graziers., It was his main desire that there should be no further descration, and he was strongly opposed to the encroachment of private persons or corporations. To suggestions' that • the best parts of the Belt should be handed'over to private sports clubs, to be improved, he offered the greatest opposition. He would petition the City Council, write to it, and waib upon it, and he did not hesitate to carry his opposition to Parliament if the council persisted in the course which he judged to be wrong. He insisted that the Belt,and the parks were not solely for co-operate sports bodies, but for the community 'as a whole, and that the women and children should not be denied free access to them own property. He led the opposition to the proposals to charge for admission to the Basin Reserve, and later the proposal to enclose portions of Newtown Park for the Zoo. In his fights he was not always wholly successful, but ha managed to secure the limitation of the charging rights, and his. watchfulness had good effect. His success, and the respect with which his representations were met were due largely to his sincerity, and the. disinterested nature .of his advocacy of the people's rights. Mr. Tonks married Miss Lovelock, a member of another family of early settlers, and ho is survived by a widow and five sons and five daughters.

(Evening Post, 28 August 1916)

August 29, 1916
Age 79
Wellington, New Zealand

Last name TONKS
First name WILLIAM
Age 79 Years
Occupation MILLER
Service date 29/08/1916
Service provided Burial
Cemetery Karori
Section PUBLIC2
Plot number 12 N
Record number 69178

(Wellington City Council database)

May 23, 1917
Age 79
Wellington, New Zealand

The properties in Tonks's Estate are being sold by public auction by Messrs. Bruce and Lush, on. Wednesday next, at the Chamber of Commerce. The properties include frontages of 70ft and 68ft on the corner of Dixon-street and Herbert-street and Dixon-street and HoweV lane respectively; vacant building site in Wallace-street., with a frontage of 45ft; building site at Lyall Bay, with a frontago of 45ft to Queen's Drive, by a depth of 270 ft; 7i acres, with frontages ot 515 ft to Duncan-terrace, 628£t to Eoclrigo-rottd, 66ft to Antico-street, with two modern houses' thereon; the old homestead of the late William Tonks, subdivided into ton sections, all over 50ft wide, by a varying depth of 275 ft. Full particulars are advertised.

(Evening Post, 23 May 1917)