Art. LXXVIII.—Origin and Early History of the Canterbury Museum: being the Annual Address.
[Read before the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury, 16th June, 1881.]
Having by your goodwill been called to preside at your meetings, I was unfortunately prevented from delivering the customary address at the appointed time, being then in Melbourne on official business, and since my return I have been so much occupied in despatching the accumulated arrears that I am only to-day enabled to address you and to congratulate you on the advance our Society has made, and on its healthy condition and prospects. We have, it is true, passed through trying times since its foundation in 1862, and such times may come again; however, I am sure that the devotion of those members who have the advancement of science and the triumph of truth at heart, will steer our barque with steady hand over the troubled waters, and gain and retain for our institution such a position that those of us who stood at its cradle have all cause to be proud of its achievements. Instead of offering you a review of the results of research in the various branches of science, I have, in my few last addresses, taken the liberty to devote the time at my command to one or two subjects, then uppermost in my mind, and which I thought might be of interest to you.
In this year's address, with your permission, I wish to speak to you of another institution, at the cradle of which I stood also, like a number of our older members, whose hearty co-operation I enjoyed, and by whose powerful help that institution has grown from a small beginning to considerable dimensions. My subject this evening will therefore be “The Origin and Early Progress of the Canterbury Museum,” in the course of which I wish to bring before you some facts concerning its infant days, and to preserve some recollections, which now, still fresh in our memory, will, in after years, when that institution has become still more fully a depository of all that is valuable and instructive in science, art, and industry, be of great interest to our successors. And as the Philosophical Institute, as soon as the Canterbury Museum wanted assistance, both intellectual and material, has never refused to afford it that aid which, especially at the commencement, was of the highest importance, when we had hard struggles for its very existence, it is a very grateful task for me to recognize this publicly, and to thank most warmly once more the members for their interest and help. Moreover, I believe that under these circumstances no better opportunity than to lay these notes before you to-night could be
selected. It is scarcely necessary for me to point out to you of what great importance, principally in a newly-inhabited country, a public museum is; how many invisible influences it exercises in almost every direction; how thought, observation and research are incited by its existence; how, in a pleasant way, youth and age alike gain knowledge; and how, in one word, the intellectual and material welfare of the province have been promoted in many ways by its help. Similar thoughts were doubtless passing through the mind of Mr. William Sefton Moorhouse, Superintendent of the Province, when in December, 1860, at the request of that able statesman, I came to Christchurch to fill the post of Provincial Geologist, the first appointment of that kind made in the Colony of New Zealand. Having before my arrival in Christchurch been travelling over and examining several parts of the colony, I brought with me seven cases of specimens, mostly geological, rocks, minerals, ores and fossils, together with a herbarium. These formed the first nucleus of the Canterbury Museum, many of them being still exhibited in their proper places.
The office of the Geological Survey was then situated in the northeastern side of the Government Buildings, on the first floor, consisting of the high tower room, my office, and inner low room, in which, on long tables, the collections as they gradually increased were placed.
The specimens brought by me from my former journeys to Canterbury consisted of:—
220 rocks, minerals, ores and fossils from the Province of Auckland.
15 rocks from the Province of Taranaki.
235 rocks, minerals, ores and fossils from the Province of Nelson.
470 specimens in all.
From my first journeys in Canterbury to the head-waters of the Rangi-tata, the Malvern Hills, and the head-waters of the Waitaki, such large collections were brought, that already in 1863, 742 specimens of rocks, ores, and minerals, and 520 fossils, had been added to the collections belonging to the Province.
Amongst other collections, 182 specimens of New Zealand shells had already been added. In 1862, at my suggestion, the Provincial Council voted £100 for the purchase of type collections in mineralogy, lithology, palæontology, and conchology, which were obtained from the Mineralien Comptoir, in Heidelberg, Germany, under very favourable conditions. It contained 2,613 well-selected specimens, many of them of permanent value. About the same time Professor Ferdinand von Hochstetter, who throughout the whole existence of the Museum from its very beginning has been its warm friend and supporter, sent a collection of German fossils, ores and
minerals, of which some were of great rarity and beauty. On 12th August of the same year (1862) the cast of the skeleton of Palapteryx ingens arrived from Europe, which I also presented to the Museum. It was constructed and purchased from Dr. Jaeger, of Vienna, an eminent German palæontologist, from bones dug out in a cave in Nelson.
Although we possessed at that time already a small number of moa bones, mostly collected in Nelson, we were then greatly rejoiced at obtaining this cast, and we little dreamt that a few years later the Canterbury Museum would be able to boast of possessing a collection of moa skeletons unrivalled by any other museum. I also remember, when I visited about that time Mr. E. F. Gray, at Avon-head, and after much persuasion, in which I was assisted by the Rev. Canon Wilson, he gave me some leg bones of Dinornis maximus, that I felt very proud of their possession, and thought that we had obtained a real treasure.
Besides the geological specimens obtained during my journeys, a large herbarium and a number of bird-skins and invertebrates were collected, so that a fair beginning was made.
I find in looking over my notes that the first presentation to the Museum was made by Mr. C. J. Tripp, of a Nestor notabilis, in August, 1861. The next two of which I can find a record are a bird-skin (a shining cuckoo) by Mr. C. Dunnage, and a polished stone implement found under the root of a large tree in Wellington, presented by our member Mr. George Hart, then living in Wellington.
The first exchange was made with Mr. W. L. Buller, on 28th July, 1862, of a kea (Nestor notabilis), of which I had obtained a series during my journey to the Mount Cook region, for the skin of a Mantell's kiwi (Apteryx mantelli). In the session of the Provincial Council in 1863, the attempt was made to obtain a vote for the building of a museum, but without success. I then made an arrangement with the Provincial Government to give up the two rooms hitherto occupied, if the funds necessary for the fittings of a museum could be obtained. The Provincial Council voting £300 for the purpose, I vacated my offices for those formerly occupied by the Commissioner of Police.
Mr. R. L. Holmes, the Meteorological Registrar of the Province, was at that time appointed clerk to the Museum, and all my spare time was devoted to the arrangement and classification of the collections. Catalogues were prepared, and all seemed to promise a speedy opening of the Museum for daily public inspection, when the Provincial Government, being in immediate want of accommodation, requested me to give up my new offices and return to the former, and thus the opening of the Museum was unavoidably postponed. The show-cases obtained for the £300 consisted of a number of
high wall-cases for the rocks, which now stand in the gallery of the moa room on the eastern side, and four desk-cases for the minerals, in which now the coins in the statuary gallery are exhibited.
In August, 1864, I reported to the Provincial Government as to the state of the collections, which had considerably augmented. Of the additions the following were the principal:—A collection of 60 specimens of rocks and fossils from the Chatham Islands, obtained by Mr. H. Travers, and presented by his father (Mr. W. T. L. Travers). Forty-five specimens of rocks, ores, and minerals from the Dun Mountain, all well selected; presented by Mr. T. Hacket, of Nelson. Fifty specimens of rocks and minerals received from Mr. J. C. Crawford, at the time occupied with a geological survey of Wellington, for examination and classification. Forty specimens of rocks and minerals collected by myself in the province of Otago; and 225 specimens of rocks and minerals from this province, collected during my journeys of 1863–64. This series contained 33 specimens of building stones, either from quarries already opened, or to which I wished to draw the attention of the public, as well as 180 Canterbury fossils, so that the whole geological series of New Zealand rocks consisted already of nearly 1700 specimens. Some 40 specimens of New Zealand shells had also been added to the collection.
The donations to the Museum began now to come in more freely, and I may be allowed to give here a list of those ladies and gentlemen to whom the Museum at its commencement became much indebted. Mr. F. T. Adams presented a collection of foreign shells. The late J. Cookson and Dr. Earl gave moa bones. Bird-skins were presented by the late Dr. Barker, who from the very beginning of the Museum showed himself a warm co-operator, and when afterwards officially connected with the institution, continued to the end of his life to take an active interest in its progress. Messrs. W. S. Raine, W. T. Travers, J. D. Enys, Hammett, and Master Barker, presented also bird-skins and eggs. We also received donations from Mrs. A. Louis, a collection of Australian Coleoptera from Mrs. T. Cass, and Mr. D. T. Triphook tertiary fossils, and from Mr. T. Kent native timber in polished pieces, whilst Mr. R. Fereday deposited his magnificent collection of British Lepidoptera, which lately he has generously presented to the Museum. In the year 1864 we received in exchange for a New Zealand herbarium 1086 specimens of European and North American plants from the Rev. J. Butler, of Langar, near Nottingham, and 460 specimens of Australian plants from Dr. Ferd. Müller, in Melbourne.
At the end of 1863 I wrote to the late Professor Louis Agassiz, whom I had known in Europe before he finally settled in the United States of North America, offering him to make exchanges with his museum at Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in May, 1864, he announced to me that a large collec-
tion of Echinodermata, both recent and fossil, had been forwarded, and it arrived in the latter part of that year. We also received a little later, for a small collection of New Zealand bird-skins, a fine series of European skins from the late George von Frauenfeld, the Director of the Imperial Zoological Museum, Vienna.
Thus, whilst accumulating material from New Zealand and abroad, I continued with the work of the geological survey in my old office, where the walls were lined with cases, receiving here many visitors, who took an interest in the collection hitherto brought together, or who wanted information of various kinds. In August, 1864, when the first account of the contents of the Museum was rendered to the Provincial Government, 5,860 specimens had already been catalogued.
In the Intercolonial Exhibition of Otago, in the beginning of 1865, the Canterbury Museum exhibited a large number of specimens both geological and botanical, together with the geological section of the railway tunnel between Lyttelton and Christchurch, as far as the work of construction had advanced at that time. This section was illustrated by a number of rock specimens; this being the first instance that a tunnel was made through the wall of an ancient crater, great interest was manifested by the scientific visitors of that first New Zealand Exhibition. During my stay in Dunedin, I made some excursions to the Otago goldfields, and brought a series of specimens back with me, which still illustrate the rich localities where the first rushes took place. During a journey, lasting about six months, in the newly discovered goldfields in Westland, which was then a part of Canterbury, I also collected in every direction, and besides a large series of geological specimens, brought back with me a number of bird-skins and plants. At my suggestion, the Provincial Government at the same time gave instructions to Mr. George Sale, their Commissioner at Hokitika, to purchase samples of gold from the several principal claims, and to obtain with them the wash-dirts from which the gold was derived, so as to have a record of the rich ground then worked by a large number of miners, who had flocked there from all parts of New Zealand and Australia. Having now obtained a considerable quantity of New Zealand bird-skins, I looked out for a taxidermist, whom I might entrust with setting them up. The late Mr. F. Fuller having offered his services, I procured, not without some trouble, a grant of £25 from the Provincial Government on 3rd August, 1865, to make a beginning. Fuller went to work with true enthusiasm, so that by December 25th he had already set up 130 specimens, and as a further sum was granted to me, and the Philosophical Institute gave some help, I could also send him out collecting, so that, at the same date, already 80 duplicates were available for exchange.
In the beginning of January, 1866, I went to the north-eastern portion of the province, when Fuller came with me, and from which we brought a further number of skins and skeletons of New Zealand birds with us on our return, and those new to our collection were now mounted. From the rest 78 specimens were selected and sent about the middle of April to Professor L. Agassiz, in Cambridge, Mass., as a return. I note this as being the first large collection sent out by the Canterbury Museum.
About this time a further sum of £100 was granted for show-cases, which enabled me to have all three sides of the large room lined with them, so that the mounted birds could be placed to advantage, and, moreover, be protected from dust and insects. I find in the notes of the presentations in 1865 the following ladies and gentlemen:—Mr. George Sale, then Government Commissioner in Hokitika; Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Cox, Orari; Mr. John Rochfort, Major Scott, Messrs Luxmore, C. J. Tripp, and J. D. Enys, as having presented New Zealand bird-skins and eggs. In 1866 the number of donors reached already 30, so that the space of time at my command precludes me from giving a complete list.
Leaving Mr. R. L. Holmes, the meteorological officer, in charge of the collections, I started in the beginning of March for the sources of the Rakaia in company with the taxidermist, Fuller, who now received a salary from the Provincial Government. After an absence of nearly seven weeks we returned to Christchurch, bringing with us, besides large collections of rocks, minerals, and fossils, an extensive herbarium and about 160 bird-skins, many of which were new to our Museum collection.
After my return, and with the assistance of several friends, of whom many still at the present time take great interest in the progress of that public institution, new efforts were made that a Museum should be built. The result of our endeavours consisted in the promise of some members of the Provincial Executive, that a sum of money would be placed upon the estimates of the coming session; however, before the same took place it was evident that such a step would not lead to any success, and the matter was again postponed for another year.
In the winter of 1866, two collections of bird-skins and some other specimens of natural history were sent to the Australian Museum in Sydney, of which the late Gerhard Krefft was at that time curator, and another was forwarded to the Zoological Museum at Vienna. A return collection of the former arrived at the end of September of the same year, and gave additional work to the taxidermist, who, with great zeal and energy, devoted his whole time to the work, accumulating day by day. Of other large presentations worth mentioning here, the Museum received about the same time a fine and extensive collection of rocks of the central part of Otago
from Mr. T. Hacket, a series of bird-skins from the Northern Island from Mr. W. L. Buller, and a collection of fossils from Mr. J. D. Enys. About the same time a large collection of botanical specimens, consisting of fibres, barks, fruits, cones, seeds and timber arrived. They were sent by Dr. (now Sir) Jos. D. Hooker, the Director of the Royal Gardens at Kew. Dr. J. Hector, the Director of the Colonial Museum in Wellington, presented also a number of valuable specimens, amongst them the first pair of huias (Heteralocha gouldi).
Hitherto, the principal material for exchanges upon which we could rely were New Zealand bird-skins; however, in the beginning of December (1866) a new era for the Museum began, and to which, after that time, its rapid growth has principally to be attributed. At the invitation of Mr. G. H. Moore, then the New Zealand partner of Messrs. Kermode and Co., Ipror ceeded to their fine property, Glenmark, where, during the drainage of some swampy ground, large quantities of moa bones had been discovered. That gentleman, on my arrival, not only presented most generously the large and unique collection on hand to the Museum, but, in order that I might judge for myself of the mode of occurrence, he placed several workmen at my disposal, with whom, for a number of days, I made some very successful excavations, the results of which surpassed my highest expectations. The generous gift of Mr. Moore, and the bones excavated under my direction, filled a large American four-horse waggon. From this material the first seven moa skeletons in the Museum were articulated. About the same time a large collection of skins of North American mammals arrived from Pror fessor L. Agassiz, so that we now had also some representative specimens from the American Continent.
The collections at the end of 1866 had become so extensive, that it was utterly impossible to find space for them in the rooms occupied by me as offices. The Provincial Government, therefore, at my earnest request, put at my disposal the small cottage on the eastern side of Kilmore Street, close to the Government Buildings, afterwards occupied by the Emigration and Charitable Aid offices. Here in one room I had my office, the rest of the building being used as a storeroom. I succeeded, also, in having the fine room above Bellamy's-the so-called coffee-room, afterwards used as the Superintendent's office-set apart for Museum purposes. It was here that the first seven moa skeletons were articulated. The small room with the fine bow window, adjoining the coffee-room, was made the work-room of the taxidermist.
We had now fairly invaded the Government buildings, and could expect that this further step in enlarging the opportunity of examining the public collections would lead to the final success of having a separate Museum
building erected. The Provincial Government of the day, of which Mr. F. Stewart was Provincial Secretary and President of the Executive, proposed in the session of that year a vote of £2,500 for the erection of a Museum building. A plan was provisionally prepared by Mr. W. B. Mountfort, and, as many of the opposition members had now seen that there was ample material for exhibition, the seven moa skeletons already articulated being the principal objects, their antagonism seemed to have at last been overcome. But alas ! our hopes were again dashed to the ground, the proposed vote having been negatived on July 4, 1867. However, during the same session, on July 16, £200 were voted for further show-cases, and our hopes were again renewed that in another year, when the rooms now at our disposal might be full to overflowing, the members of the opposition who did not wish to divert any public money from roads and bridges and other purely utilitarian objects would relent at last.
So we went on working with renewed hope, the more so as further excavations in Glenmark under my directions, in August of the same year, were again very successful, so that our stock of moa bones became larger still. Some more skeletons were now articulated, and a series of others, more or less complete, were prepared for exchange with foreign countries. In September two large collections were shipped to the Australian Museum in Sydney, and to the Museum of Comparative Zoology in Cambridge, United States of North America, and a month afterwards the former Museum sent fine and valuable return collections, consisting of skins, and some mounted specimens of Australian mammals, birds, and reptiles, together with others in spirits of wine, so that we became then possessed of a fair representation of the Australian fauna.
At last, on December 3rd of the same year, the Museum could be opened to the public. The principal room as before stated was situated above Bellamy's. At its southern end the seven moa skeletons were placed, whilst in three high cases along the western and northern walls, the collection of stuffed birds and mammals, the former mostly belonging to New Zealand, were exhibited. On the eastern side of the room in desk-cases, unmounted skins and other smaller objects were shown. The tower-room in the north-eastern corner of the building contained the geological collections, both from New Zealand and foreign countries. In the bow-window stood the large desk-case containing the interesting and valuable specimens from the New Zealand goldfields. The more westerly room was filled with table cases, in which the collection of fossils, minerals, ores, recent shells, and Echinodermata, both New Zealand and foreign, had been placed. The number of specimens all properly labelled amounted to 7,886, of which 4,312 were collected by me during the progress of the geological survey, 3,575 specimens having been obtained from foreign countries.
Thus one great object, the opening of the collections for inspection, was gained, and the eager interest the public took in the Museum, although a guide was almost necessary to lead the visitors from one part to the other, gave us new encouragement to proceed with our endeavours to have a separate building erected, worthy of the position Canterbury gradually assumed amongst the provinces of New Zealand.
During the first four months of the year 1868 I was again in the field, of which six weeks were devoted to the southern portion of Westland, whence I returned with considerable collections, both geological and zoological.
Another journey to Glenmark was made in the end of April, 1868, and large quantities of moa bones exhumed, of which a number, formed a welcome addition to our own collections, the rest proving of great value for further exchanges. About this time we received a fine collection of recent molluscs, mostly from the tropics, an articulated human skeleton, and a number of bird-skins, principally African, from the Vienna Zoological Museum, as well as an extensive series of European pre-historie remains, from the late John W. Flower, of Croydon, Surrey, to whom we had sent some Dinornithic remains previously. It was this fine collection by which our pre-historic series was fairly begun. I cannot help noticing here that four of our first correspondents or friends with whom I initiated exchanges, have already departed from this earth, although only a comparatively short period of time has elapsed. Whilst Agassiz, as a great naturalist, stood in an exceptionally prominent position amongst his fellow-labourers, Frauenfeld, Krefft, and Flower were all three remarkable and distinguished men in their own sphere of research.
On 30th June, 1868, my contract as Provincial Geologist having terminated, I handed the whole collections over to the Provincial Government. Mr. R. L. Holmes, who since 1862 had first been my companion on several of my journeys, and afterwards had acted as Meteorological Observer to the province, and as Clerk to the Geological Survey, left also on the same day. His departure was much regretted by me, as this gentleman, possessing great zeal and energy, had been of considerable assistance to me in arranging the collections, and although now settled a number of years in the Fijis as a planter, he still continues to take a lively interest in the welfare of the Museum, and sends, as opportunities offer, valuable contributions from those interesting islands.
No provision having been made for the proper custody of the Museum, and being anxious that the collection, which I had had so much trouble in bringing together, should be cared for, I offered my gratuitous services as Honorary Director until the meeting of the Provincial Council, when final
arrangements might be made for the purpose-an offer which was accepted by the Provincial Government. A new Executive had in the meantime taken the reins of the Government, of which Mr. W. Montgomery was the head of the Executive, and Mr. E. Jollie, Provincial Secretary, who consented to try again if they could not obtain a vote for the erection of a proper museum. The Provincial Council having the year previous refused a vote of £2,500 for a substantial building in stone, only the sum of £800 was placed on the estimates for a wooden building.
That portion of the Provincial Council which looked upon museums, libraries, and similar institutions as luxuries, in which the Province could only indulge after more than ample provision had been made for roads and bridges, demurred again, this time on the ground that the collections belonging to the Province were now too valuable to be placed in a building of such dangerous character, so the Executive seeing its way to carry the object in view, at once raised the proposed vote to £1,200, promising at the same time to erect a stone building, and carried the vote rather unexpectedly in that form. And thus the accomplishment of such a desirable object, towards which a great deal of energy had been expended, was at last brought to a favourable termination. A further sum of £150 was voted for show-cases, and during the same session I was appointed Director of the Museum.
If there had been a proper bridge leading into the park near Christ's College, a piece of ground in the park would have been set aside for museum purposes, but as it did not exist the only other desirable position available was in the Public Domain. One or two members of the Domain Board, of whom Mr. C. C. Bowen was principal spokesman, thought that the Museum should not only be erected in the centre of the grass-plot near the chief entrance of the garden, but that a plan for a more extensive museum building should at once be adopted, of which a small portion could be built with the amount voted, and as new grants of money were obtained, further buildings would be added. Mr. E. Jollie, however, whose opinion was shared by other members of the Domain Board, knowing, from his own experience, with what trouble the vote for the building had been carried, firmly believed that, at least for a considerable time to come, no more money for further additions could be obtained. He therefore decided that the building should be erected on a small triangular piece of grass-land in the north-eastern corner of the domain, and that the small path leading to the nurseries should not be disturbed. Of course this path had afterwards to be removed, and, consequently, such a small matter decided, as it were, the position of the present pile of buildings. Having been instructed that, as there would be very little chance to obtain further grants, I should make the building as
large as possible, I appealed, by circular and through the newspapers-the proprietors of which have always lent me a willing hand-to the inhabitants of the Province, and in a few months I raised the sum of £483 11s. The list of subscriptions was headed by our fellow-citizen, Mr. George Gould, with £30, and was the first of the naany valuable gifts with which this largehearted man, always willing and ready to render assistance at every opportunity when help is required, enriched the Canterbury Museum. We had therefore a sum of £683 11s. at our disposal, and as the Provincial Government gave also the stone wanted for the building, we were enabled to erect a room 70 feet long and 35 feet broad, with a gallery running round the walls, thus giving additional space, and a lean-to 35 feet long and 12 feet broad for an office and a work-room. The building-was begun in March of 1869, and handed over by the contractor at the end of the same year.
Like a number of observing men, I had long ago come to the conclusion that the days of Provincialism would soon be numbered, and that Centralization would supersede the former system. The Superintendents, Members of Executives, and Provincial Councils in the General Assembly, formed such a powerful party that any Ministry, even with the most Provincial tendencies, found it impossible to steer the General Government barque without suffering constantly from the influence of Provincial cross seas. At the same time it became evident that at the rate the waste lands were being sold, such an easy source of revenue would some day come to an end, and-that then those institutions which were more or less regarded as a luxury would suffer most seriously, the more so if central institutions of the same character had to be maintained at the public cost.
Consequently, at the end of February, 1869, I handed another memorandum to the Provincial Secretary, in which the cause of the Museum in connection with technical science and education was pleaded, urging upon the Government to make reserves for the purpose in good time. However, the proposal of the Provincial Government in that direction, made to the Council in May of the same year, did not lead to any result, although only an endowment of 5,000 acres of agricultural land was asked for. Nevertheless we did not lose all hope, and the Philosophical Institute, together with other friends of science, continued to move in that, direction, tillat last-thanks to the enlightened policy of the Executive, of which Mr. Walter Kennaway was the head, and Mr. W.P. Cowlishaw the Provincial Solicitor-the necessary reserves of waste lands were made for that purpose in the session of 1872.
The first step towards this desirable object was, however, made on the 24th November, during the meeting of the Provincial Council in 1870, during which Mr. W. Kennaway succeeded Mr. E. Jollie as Provincial
Secretary, when the Canterbury Museum was placed under trustees, of whom the following six gentlemen were appointed life-members:—Messrs. Thomas Henry Potts, Alfred Charles Barker, Julius Haast, Charles Fraser, Henry Richard Webb, and John Davies Enys. Previously Mr. J. D. Enys had proposed, as member of the Provincial Council, that reserves of 10,000 acres should be made for Museum purposes, but his motion was thrown out by 18 against 4.
During the year 1869, and before the Museum was opened to the public, large and valuable additions arrived from various sources, of which those from Dr. Otto Finsch, Director of the Bremen Museum, and the late Professor A. Kaup, Director of the Darmstadt Museum, were the most extensive and interesting. We lost, however, a number of valuable exchanges sent in the Matoaka, in February of the same year, by the foundering of that illfated ship.
The discovery of a moa-hunter encampment at the mouth of the Rakaia, visited twice during the same year, on the property of Mr. T. Cannon, to whose generosity we are greatly indebted, and renewed excavations in Glen-mark, furnished again valuable additions and material for exchanges. The new Museum building being ready for use in the beginning of 1870, it was thought desirable before it was occupied by the public collections that an Art Exhibition should be held in it. This first exhibition was opened on 8th February, and was a great success, proving full of attraction to the public. It was kept open to 7th April. On 15th April the first new show cases were delivered, and the work of arranging the collection went on now without interruption.
During the year 1870, before the opening of the Museum building, a number of valuable additions arrived from Vienna, Darmstadt, Munich, Stockholm, Calcutta, Cambridge (United States), and London, the system of exchange, consisting principally of moa bones, having now been well established by me. The visitors showed great appreciation of our endeavours to possess collections worthy of the Province. In the year 1867, 32 persons made donations; in 1868 the number reached 59, which diminished in 1869 to 47, rising again in 1870 up to 6th October, to 72. It would be invidious to particularize, but I might be allowed to mention here a few gentlemen, who from the very beginning took great interest in the welfare of the Museum, to whom I have not yet alluded, and who have by repeated valuable gifts enriched our collections,—Messrs. T. H. Potts, E. P. Sealy, J. D. Enys, B. W. Mountfort, Hon. John Hall, Hon. William Rolleston, and H. Meinertzhagen.
On 1st October, 1870, the Museum was at last opened to the public by Mr. W. Rolleston, the Superintendent of the Province. At the time of the
opening it contained 25,353 specimens, of which 16,055 were exhibited, thus leaving 9,298 specimens in the store-room. Amongst them were 85 skins of quadrupeds and 733 skins of birds. These 25,353 specimens consisted of 7,134 specimens of geology and palæontology, 11,218 specimens of zoology, the rest being botanical and ethnological.
With the opening of the first building, now hidden by the first addition in 1872, I wish to bring my address to a close. That part contains now, on the ground floor, moa skeletons and other zoological collections, and the gallery is devoted to the geological and mineralogical series. This building ought always to be looked upon by our successors with a feeling akin to reverence, and as a proof of the enlightened policy of their forefathers, who fought many a battle before its erection could be accomplished.
Having offered you a short history of the origin and early progress of the Canterbury Museum, you will perhaps allow me to allude, I must confess rather diffidently, to an accusation frequently brought against me, that I was, when there was an opportunity, too greedy to obtain specimens for the Museum. In self-defence, I may appeal to the members present, who, I am sure, will acquit me of the charge, that I bored them inopportunely to obtain what they wished to keep. On the contrary, I have lived long enough to know that there is a great charm in giving, and that this pleasurable feeling is enhanced when one is a little pressed to do so, thus making the enjoyment of the donor still greater, as it shows him that the presentation is valued. However, there may be a few exceptions to the rule, and wishing to unburden at once my conscience in this repect, you will perhaps allow me to close my address with the narration of one incident in the pursuit of my vocation bearing upon, this point.
Having been informed that a large whale had been stranded a few miles south of the mouth of the Rakaia, I proceeded with an assistant to secure, if possible, the skeleton, and to gain other information. Taking a vehicle at the South Rakaia township, we reached the locality after some mishaps, the principal one of which was that the horses broke the pole, got clear of the harness, and ran away. However, a farmer in the neighbourhood was kind enough to drive us to the spot, where I found the carcass of a large sperm whale had been stranded. In examining it we observed that seven of the large front teeth in the lower jaw had been knocked out and carried away by previous visitors; and as I had not time to stay till the skeleton could be cut out, I returned to the Rakaia township the same evening, after having ascertained where the despoilers of the whale's mouth lived. So on my way back I visited these settlers, and with little trouble got four of the teeth back before reaching the Rakaia township. Here two more were returned to me, but the seventh was in the hands of a tradesman whom I
only found out when people generally go to bed. However, I ventured to pay him a visit, but he lent a deaf ear to my wish, and my persuasive powers seemed to fail, although I had tried in various ways to convince him that the tooth was of no value to him, when at last a female voice from the inner room was heard to say- “Give the beggar that unfortunate tooth and let me go to sleep.” And so I got my tooth and the good housewife got her sleep.