Topic: Pownall Gates

Topic type:

A history of the main gates into Queen Elizabeth Park

Pownall gates 

A public meeting was called in April 1902, to discuss a fitting method of marking the retirement of the mayor, C A Pownall. 

 Pownall had been mayor for over eight years, his terms (he alternated with George Heron) being marked by progress in developing the town.  He had successfully overseen the introduction of the drainage scheme and the high pressure water supply, as well as guiding the borough to accept responsibility for the park. Some of those attending the meeting wished to present Pownall with a suitably inscribed plate, but the ex-mayor made it clear he would prefer his memorial should be of a public nature.  Those at the meeting came to the view decorative gates at the south-western entrance to the park would be a suitable memorial.

As usual a committee was formed - the Pownall Memorial Committee - and they decided on ornate iron gates.  They wrote to Wellington foundry Luke and Sons for a pattern,  selected a design and, aside from a slight disagreement about the size of the gateposts, the work proceeded smoothly, being completed about the same time as the band rotunda. A combined official opening for the rotunda and the gates was held on June 3 1903.   A large party of dignitaries gathered to dedicate the gates.  Mayor James Coradine said the citizens had gathered on many previous occasions but this was undoubtedly one of the most auspicious because the gates were dedicated to a gentleman who had done tremendous good for the town.  He commented on Pownall's absence from the ceremony, saying it was no doubt a reflection of his modesty.  The mayoress unlocked the gates which were declared officially open amid enthusiastic cheering.  AW Hogg spoke next, also paying tribute to Pownall, and mentioning two other previous mayors - Caselberg and Renall - both also progressive.  He said the people of Masterton should be proud of their park, and the council deserved every credit for the excellent condition it now displayed.


The visit of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in 1953-54 was a never-to-be-forgotten moment for a generation of New Zealanders.  The first time a ruling monarch had visited the country, the visit coincided with a time when members of the British Commonwealth were looking towards a bright post-war future, another golden Elizabethan Age. Huge crowds flocked to see the new monarch wherever she appeared.  Masterton was no different.  A large crowd gathered at the railway station on January 15 1954, where the Queen inspected a guard of RSA members before travelling to Wairarapa College where more than 2,000 schoolchildren had gathered.  The Times-Age reported she seemed thoroughly at ease with the children, "reserving a special wave for a party of crippled children at the lower end of the grounds". From the college the royal party drove through town to the park, where special floral displays in red, white and blue had been planted.  The huge crowd roared its approval as the Queen was greeted at the band rotunda by the official party led by Mayor Ted Coddington.   "Flags were waved and there were unprecedented scenes of enthusiasm." The crowd watched as various local body representatives were introduced to the Queen and Prince Philip, then responded with enthusiasm when called upon to give three cheers for the royal couple.  "They were given right royally by the huge assemblage." The party left the park, travelling to the hospital, then to the Empire Hotel for a private luncheon. When councillor Len Frances wanted to mark the occasion by renaming Masterton Park in the Queen's honour, suggesting it be called Queen Elizabeth Park, some thought the name too cumbersome and 'Queen's Park' was chosen instead.  However, the subject was raised again, this time the name 'Queen Elizabeth II Park' was put forward.  Again, this name was considered to be too unwieldy and Queen Elizabeth Park was finally settled on.

Pownall Gates


City:Masterton