Boulders mark King George VI coronation

Hutt River boulders inscribed with the names of former Lower Hutt Mayors have been unveiled at the Hutt Recreation Ground.

The boulders replace plaques located at the foot of an avenue of oak trees planted to mark the Coronation of King George VI in 1937.

Many of the plaques were overrun with tree roots and vegetation and some were stolen. Hutt City Rotary and the Hutt council worked together and were granted a permit to select 13 boulders from the Hutt River to replace the damaged plaques.

Inscriptions from the old plaques have been engraved onto the boulders by local firm Glover Memorials.

Mayor Ray Wallace said the avenue of oaks and the inscribed boulders provide a reference to the former history of Lower Hutt when it was growing borough.

“The Hutt Rec is now a repository of our history with the stones telling the stories of the mayors since 1891 when William Alfred Fitzherbert presided over a small borough of some 1300 citizens.

“In all there are 13 stones with the final that of John William Andrews who was mayor from 1933 to 1947 when the population of lower hutt had grown to 36,500 citizens” he said.

Descendants of the former Mayors were also present at the unveiling, among them Margaret McKay, eldest granddaughter of John Andrews, Mayor of Lower Hutt from 1933 to 1947.

“He was a very energetic man who had a strong commitment to helping his community,” she said.

During his period as Mayor John Andrews donated two fishing boats to the Mayoral Fund to catch fish for the undernourished during the recession of the 1930s.

The first Mayor of Lower Hutt, William Fitzherbert from 1891 to 1898 when the town had a population of just 1300 people, was represented by two grand nieces, Susan Beresford whose father was Hentry Fitzherbert, and her daughter Sarah Carran.

Descendents of Edward Rishworth, Mayor of Lower Hutt from 1918 to 1921, were also present at the ceremony.

Mayor Wallace said the representation by the families served as acknowledgement of the community role played by the former Mayors.

President of the Hutt City Rotary Simon Manning said the project to replace the plaques with the river boulders was initiated when the Andrews plaque was noted to be in poor repair.

Andrews was the founder of Hutt City Rotary and the project was expanded to include all the Mayors along the oak avenue.

He said the Hutt River boulders were chosen because of their symbolic significance to the region.

The boulders supported the Rotary theme of respecting the past while embracing the future and celebrated the people who have served the community unselfishly over many years, Simon Manning said.

“We are very pleased with the outcome,” he said.

Published: November 14 2011

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