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BATHGATE, JOHN

John Bathgate (1809 - 1886)

John was born on the 10 August 1809 in Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of Frances Hamilton Macdowall and her husband, Alexander Bathgate. John's mother died when he was aged five, and John was raised by his father and his second wife, Janet Campbell. After he was educated at the Royal High School and the University of Edinburgh, in 1826 John became the assistant teacher at Peebles where his father was headmaster. He then became a solicitor in 1835. Amongst other projects for the improvement of the district, he was involved in setting up the railway between Peebles and Edinburgh, one of the earliest railway lines in Scotland.

On 6 April 1842, he married Anne Cairns Anderson at Edinburgh, they had two daughters and two sons before Anne died in 1851, shortly after the premature birth of a son, who survived only briefly.

He was appointed to a position as colonial manager for the Bank of Otago in 1863, and emigrated to New Zealand, arriving in Dunedin on the Star of Tasmania on 23 November 1863 with his four eldest children, his second wife, Mary McLaren (whom he married on 14 July 1853 in Edinburgh), and their six daughters. Another daughter and a son were born in New Zealand.

In 1865, Bathgate was installed as chief commissioner, after the provincial government had dismissed the Dunedin Town Board, until elections could be held. In 1867 he resigned from the Bank of Otago, and in early 1868 became the managing director and for some months, editor of the Otago Daily Times. He was admitted as a barrister and solicitor in 1870, joining his eldest son, Alexander Bathgate, in business.

From 1870 to 1873, he served various roles in government, including minister of justice and commissioner of stamps, having been elected Member of Parliament for Dunedin in January 1871. In 1874, Julius Vogel offered him the post of resident magistrate in Dunedin and district judge for Otago. He continued this role for the next five years. In 1875 he established the Dunedin Saturday Advertiser, with Thomas Bracken as editor. In 1879 Bathgate applied for leave to visit Britain. While there he toured England and Scotland, addressing public meetings campaigning for emigration to New Zealand. He also formed the New Zealand Mortgage and Investment Association at this time. He was managing director from 1881 to 1885.

When back in New Zealand Bathgate resigned from the bench due to his increasing deafness,, and served in local government. From 1876 until his death, Bathgate served as a member of the University of Otago council. He always had a great interest in education.

John Bathgate was a staunch Presbyterian, and abstained totally from drinking alcohol, but was a good natured man with a sense of humour, and very highly regarded by people. He died on 21 September 1886, at Mornington, Dunedin, survived by his wife and all but one of his children. He is buried here in the cemetery with his wife Mary, their son John and his half-sister Katherine Bathgate.

In early April 2009, John Bathgate's grave was the subject of some publicity when the headstone was restored to its standing position. There were two references to this, and the Bathgate family history, in the Talk of the Times column in the Otago Daily Times on consecutive Saturdays (4 April 2009 and 11 April 2009).

References:
-- Vine, Geoffrey F. 'Bathgate, John 1809 - 1886'. Dictionary of New Zealand Biography http://www.dnzb.govt.nz/
-- Southern People: A Dictionary of Otago Southland Biography
-- 'BATHGATE, John', from An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A.H. McLintock, originally published in 1966 http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/1966/B/BathgateJohn/en
-- Otago Witness, Issue 1818, 24 September 1886, Page 13 http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast

Susan Thomson


Judge John Bathgate
Image courtesy of:
Alexander Turnbull Library Reference: PA2-2404 Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library New Zealand, Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of image

Monumental Inscription


IN
LOVING REMEMBRANCE OF
JOHN BATHGATE
WHO HAVING "SERVED HIS OWN
GENERATION BY THE COUNSEL OF GOD
FELL ASLEEP LOOKING UNTO
JESUS" ACTS _______________
AT HIS RESIDENCE, THE GLEN, DUNEDIN
21st SEPT. 1886 AGED 77 YEARS
ALSO OF MARY
DAUGHTER OF JAMES MCLAREN
EDINBURGH, HIS LOVING WIFE
FOR 33 YEARS WHO REJOINED
HIM 20th AUGUST 1888
AGED 68 YEARS
JOHN BATHGATE
OF CALCUTTA
DIED 29th DECEMBER 1907
AGED 57 YEARS
KATHERINE CAMPBELL BATHGATE
DIED 21st AUGUST 1908
AGED 88 YEARS



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