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William Rundle

Birthdate: (91)
Birthplace: Clawton, Devon, England, United Kingdom
Death: November 10, 1921 (91)
Taranaki, New Zealand
Place of Burial: New Plymouth, New Plymouth District, Taranaki, New Zealand
Immediate Family:

Son of Richard Rundle and Ann Rundle
Brother of John Rundle; Richard Rundle; Hannah (Ann) Bayly; Hannah Pennington; Sally-Ann Bayly and 6 others

Occupation: Builder (source: cemetery records)
Managed by: Lorraine Elizabeth Watchorn
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About William Rundle

1841: William was amongst the passengers arriving in New Plymouth on board the ship "Amelia Thompson". 'Amelia Thompson' arrived New Plymouth, New Zealand 3rd September, 1841 with 187 Devonshire emigrants. She sailed from London 25 March 1841 and arrived 5½ months later with a call at Salvador, Bahia, Brazil for four days then onward to Wellington, for a fortnight stop. The 447 ton vessel was named after the owner's wife.

New Zealand House, 5 Octagon, Plymouth March 15 1841. A list of persons whom the Plymouth Company of New Zealand have arranged to embark for the New-Plymouth Settlement in New-Zealand, as Steerage Passengers, per Ship Amelia Thompson, William Dawson, Commander, James Evans. Surgeon - Superintendent. William Brydges, Secretary. This list includes William's family as:

  • Richard, 34, a Carpenter, Ann aged 33, John 12, William 11, Richard 9, Ann 7, Hannah 5, Sally 4 and Jane aged 8 months

1859: Involved in building the first bridge over the Waiwakaiho River. "A British army sapper and miner named Jones received £200 for his successful design, which involved a 35-metre span. Rundle, Brooking and Clare's successful tender of £2200 was duly signed in June 1857, with the puriri timber construction to be completed by the end of 1858. Clare and Rundle, who were living at Bell Block, oversaw the felling of large puriri trees growing on land mainly around the Smart and Egmont road areas. Once felled, the trees were pit sawn. Then William Rundle, son of Richard Rundle, and R Street hand-adzed the 8m by 1m by 1m logs into shape. Rundle's men included Joseph Street, James Harvey, Richard Rundle and Samuel Rogers, while Clare's crew comprised Thomas Wheeler, John Lander, E Shaw, Bill Jones and a man called Smythe. Brooking undertook the laying of the foundation walls, while Street did the blacksmithing. It was finished on time and officially opened in early February 1859, but lasted only four years, before a heavy flood washed it away to a downstream island.

Rundle then secured the contract to replace it with a design change using cylinder supports. During construction, contractors had to send to Australia for the ironwork, because foundries in Auckland and Wellington could not make what was required.

1860: The bridge was opened just before the outbreak of the land wars on March 3, 1860, but the army lost control of it for a week, when Maori had control of Fitzroy. The commanding officer in New Plymouth, worried that the bridge had been burnt down, signalled volunteers from the Bell Block stockade to check the rumours. A small party of men rode into Fitzroy from Bell Block as far as the Mangaone hill and returned with the news the bridge was safe.

In 1867, however, a heavy flood washed the entire structure away. It was carried down as it stood, close to the cliffs some distance away. It was dismantled and transferred back, but the flood had made the river 10m wider, so additional foundations were needed to fill the gap. That structure served until it was replaced in 1907 by a ferro-concrete bridge, which was opened by Mr Brown, chairman of the county council. Many of the old settlers who had helped erect the old bridge were present.

The new bridge was designed by county engineer J Skinner. Clerk of works was H Clare and J Goller was foreman for the contractor, L G Spencer. The structure comprised four arches, two of 10m span and two of 20m, with a 7m iron carriageway and two footways. The iron weighed 20kg a metre. More than 32 tonnes of steel were used in the construction. A display by cabinet-makers Riddle and Johnston included a beautiful large sideboard made of puriri taken from the old bridge. Some decorative, inscribed walking sticks were fashioned from the timber and given as souvenirs to those still living, who had been involved in the building of the old bridge. These included J Lander, J Harvey, R Street, William Rundle, S Rundle, H Faull, T Inch and William Brooking.

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William Rundle's Timeline

April 17, 1830
Clawton, Devon, England, United Kingdom
May 23, 1830
November 10, 1921
Age 91
Taranaki, New Zealand
New Plymouth, New Plymouth District, Taranaki, New Zealand