Alfred Ludlam, Hon

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Alfred Ludlam, Hon

Also Known As: "Old Bricks"
Birthplace: Down, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Death: November 08, 1877 (67)
Hobart Street, Wellington, New Zealand (Brights Disease (nephritis) and acute peritonitis)
Place of Burial: Wellington, New Zealand
Immediate Family:

Husband of Frances Minto Ludlam

Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About Alfred Ludlam, Hon

Alfred Ludlam was a leading New Zealand politician, horticulturist and farmer who owned land at Wellington and in the Hutt Valley. A member of three of New Zealand's four earliest parliaments, he was also a philanthropist and a founder of Wellington's Botanic Garden. An extensive biography and description of his contributions to the Botanic Garden can be found at

Born in Ireland, Alfred Ludlam settled in Newry, New Zealand. In 1853 voters chose Ludlam to represent the electorate of Hutt (with Edward Gibbon Wakefield) in New Zealand's 1st Parliament, which opened in Wellington on 24 May the following year. Ludlam would also be elected as a member of the 2nd Parliament and the 4th Parliament, representing Hutt in 1853–55 (resigned 9 July), 1855–56 (resigned 16 August) and 1866–70 (retired). He resigned his seat before the conclusion of both the 1st and 2nd Parliaments. In addition, Ludlam represented the Hutt area on the Wellington Provincial Council in 1853–56 and again in 1866–70.

"On 1 October 1850, Fanny and "Old Bricks" were married at St Thomas' Anglican Church, North Sydney (where, coincidentally, Conrad Martens was a parishioner). Fanny went to live across the Tasman with Ludlam on his sheep property, Newry, in Lower Hutt. Not long after their arrival at Newry they hosted, in 1851, an official dinner for the Governor of New Zealand, Sir George Grey. Ludlam proceeded to embark on an active career in public life, supporting a variety of cultural and civic institutions in Wellington and entering the political arena in 1854. He represented Hutt in New Zealand's First, Second and Fourth Parliaments and represented the same area on the Wellington Provincial Council in 1853-56 and again in 1866-70. " Fanny and her husband narrowly escaped death one night in February 1855 when a massive earthquake struck the Wellington region, destroying Newry homestead and sending a brick chimney crashing down around them. They rebuilt Newry and Fanny, who was keen on horticulture, helped Ludlam to establish a showpiece garden on the property which was later opened to the public. Ludlam was one of the founders, too, of the Wellington Botanic Gardens in 1868. Fanny's father and mother died at Yarralumla homestead in 1873 and 1874 respectively. (They had been living in retirement at Yarralumla since 1859 - the year in which Terence Aubrey Murray sold the property to Fanny's youngest brother, Augustus Gibbes.) In a codicil to his will, Colonel Gibbes left Fanny 'the piece of worsted work framed and glazed, the four coloured drawings by Mr. Fred Garling [Frederick Garling] viz Point Piper House, the Ship in which my dear son Edmund sailed for England and died [in 1850], Mt Keera and a scene in the Domain; also her mother's gold watch and chain'. The Ludlams travelled to England for an extended holiday following the death of Mrs Gibbes. In London, Fanny was reunited with her eldest brother, George, a retired War Office official, whom she had not seen since her departure for Australia in 1833. Fanny, however, had been complaining of abdominal discomfort for some time. She took ill and died of a "stoppage in the bowel" on 5 March 1877, at 2 Clifton Terrace, Kensington. Ludlam returned to New Zealand where he died 10 months after his beloved wife, having devoted his final days to acts of charity. There were no children of the marriage."




Alfred Ludlam (1810 – 8 November 1877) was a New Zealand politician and farmer from Wellington and the Hutt Valley. He was born in County Down, Ireland, and spent some time in the West Indies before coming to New Zealand. Little is known about Ludlam's activities in Ireland or the West Indies but a preserved specimen of the common iguana, collected by him on Tobago, is listed in an 1845 British Museum catalogue of lizards. Ludlam arrived at Wellington on 12 December 1840 from Gravesend in England. He was a cabin passenger aboard the 700-ton emigrant vessel, London, which sailed under the auspices of the New Zealand Company. Ludlam proved to be an energetic, intelligent and erudite settler who played an active role in Wellington's civic and cultural life. He would, for example, represent the electorate of Hutt in New Zealand's 1st Parliament, formed in 1854. He would also be a member of the 2nd Parliament and 4th Parliament. (Ludlam resigned his seat before the conclusion of both the 1st and 2nd Parliaments.) He also represented the Hutt on the Wellington Provincial Council in 1853–1856 and again in 1866–1870. During his parliamentary career, Ludlam gained a reputation for candour and honesty. These qualities restricted Ludlam's ability to be a successful political tactician but earned him the respect of colleagues and constituents. Indeed, he was nicknamed "Old Bricks" because of his solid, reliable character. Ludlam's political activities brought him into contact with his wife's kinsman - the baronet, Freemason and former Barbados sugar planter, Sir Samuel Osborne Gibbes, of Whangarei, on New Zealand's North Island. Sir Samuel (1803–1874) was a prominent figure in the community. Like Ludlam, he subscribed to high ethical standards in public life. Ludlam had a town section in Ghuznee St, Wellington, and owned a riverside farm at the Waiwhetu, Lower Hutt, where he ran sheep and developed a reputation as an expert horticulturist. He purchased the farm from fellow pioneer Francis Molesworth in the mid-1840s, calling it "Newry" after his home town in Ireland. Ludlam built a house at "Newry" in 1848, replacing the original homestead. The farm also boasted an orchard, an extensive barn often used for public events (such as an official dinner for Governor Sir George Grey in 1851) and a windmill, erected by Molesworth in 1845. At "Newry" in 1868, Ludlam opened an impressive garden, "The Gums" (which was taken over as "McNabb's Gardens" after his death). Ludlam was also one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Wellington Botanic Garden in 1869, having introduced into parliament legislation to "establish and regulate" the garden. He also introduced the act of parliament which entrusted management of the Botanic Garden to the New Zealand Institute. His contribution to the garden's establishment is commemorated on the site by Ludlam Way. A year after the garden was established via a Crown Grant, Ludlam served as a pallbearer at the funeral in Wellington of the greatly respected Maori chief Honiana Te Puni. Ludlam had married on 1 October 1850 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. His wedding had been held in St Thomas' Anglican Church, in what is now the North Sydney local government area. His bride was Fanny Minto Gibbes (circa 1822/23–1877), the third daughter of Colonel John George Nathaniel Gibbes. London-born Colonel Gibbes (1787-1873) was the Collector of Customs for the Colony of New South Wales from 1834 to 1859 and served as a Crown nominee member on the maritime colony's Legislative Council. Fanny was living with her parents at "Wotonga" - now Admiralty House - on Sydney's Kirribilli Point at the time of her marriage; but she left Sydney after her wedding and went to live with Ludlam at "Newry". This move to Lower Hutt almost had fatal consequences for the couple, however, when an earthquake destroyed their house in February 1855 and they were almost crushed by a falling chimney. (A vivid description of the impact of the earthquake, written by Ludlam, is extant.) Fanny was a widely-read and cultivated woman who could speak several languages and was an amateur artist and musician of above-average competence. She also provided her husband with vital levels of inspiration and practical assistance in his horticultural projects. She was devoted to Ludlam. Although she was a dozen or so years his junior, she nonetheless predeceased him, succumbing to a "stoppage of the bowel" on 5 March 1877. She and Ludlam were staying in London when she fell fatally ill. Ludlam returned to New Zealand following Fanny's death, which had occurred at 2 Clifton Terrace in Kensington, according to her death certificate. He was badly shaken by the loss of his beloved spouse and died back home in New Zealand on 8 November 1877, aged 67. Ludlam was buried in Wellington's public cemetery. The final phase of his life had been devoted to charitable endeavours and his passing was sincerely mourned by a wide circle of friends and acquaintances from many walks of life. He was not survived by any children and, regrettably, his grave was destroyed by roadworks in the 20th Century. A photograph of Ludlam exists, however, in the library archives New Zealand Parliament, Wellington.

In Exotic Intruders by Joan Druett it is noted .......... "some early settlers, appreciating a need and more enterprising than most, set themselves up in the occupation of importing and cultivating seed and plants for sale. One of those dealing in plants was Alfred Ludlam. He, with his friend and neighbour Francis Molesworth, set up an exchange system of sending plants back to England and receiving others by return ship. The gardens they established on Francis Molesworth's Lower Hutt farm eventually became the Bellevue Gardens, nearly 20 hectares of native and exotic shrubs, including magnificent trees and massed beds of English flowers. At the same time, wealthy Quaker Thomas Mason was establishing orchards and gardens at Taita. He went to Tasmania in 1847, and brought back in 1851 a variety of apple trees he had admired. Later he had other fruit trees sent over to him from Tasmania, and by 1851 was growing apples, apricots, almonds, cherries, peaches, pears, plums, chestnuts, walnuts and currants. He imported grape vines from Sydney. He continued to import plant species from all over the world until, at the time of his death, his garden contained 1,500 varieties of plants, including 250 named rhododendrons and 60 named camellias. All this made up a massed display covering five hectares."

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Alfred Ludlam, Hon's Timeline

Down, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
November 8, 1877
Age 67
Wellington, New Zealand
November 12, 1877
Age 67
Wellington, New Zealand