Topic: County's Origins

Topic type:

Merger Of Road Boards. Why is the Malvern County Council only 50 years old?


When the Canterbury Plains began to be subdivided from the great grazing runs there were roads and local bodies known as road boards were set up to provide and maintain roads and tracks, finance for  which was obtained from the sale of land.

First the East Rakaia Road Board and the North Rakaia Road Board were set up to administer the area but the names were changed to Courtenay and Malvern roads boards and the latter split into the East and  South Malvern road districts. These three board functioned in a similar manner to county councils today. They needed labour so they had to build cottages; later trees were planted on reserves of land.

Throughout Canterbury the shingle pits seen in odd triangular shaped paddocks  where roads meet oblique are often the remnant of road board's shingle reserve. Some of these were planted with trees.

The three road districts merged in 1911 and the first meeting of the newly formed Malvern County Council was held on April 6.

The first council consisted of Messrs H. A, Knight (chairman), George Bedford, Robert Johnston, J. W. Warren, D. McMillan, George Watson, G. H. Judd, G. F. Wright, and James Deans.

Mr Knight held the position of chairman until 1926 and since then the County chairmen have been Mess G. F. Wright (1926-32), C. H. Adams (1932-38), H. C. Townshend (1938-44), L. T. Wright (1944-48), James Deans (1948-55), and M. E. Jenkins (1955-).

Source The Press, 09 March, 1961.

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