Queen's Park NZ Wars memorial, Whanganui

Queen's Park NZ Wars memorial, Whanganui

Queen’s Park is situated at the heart of Whanganui, a large town on the west coast of the North Island. This lion memorial stands on the Watt Street side of the park at the foot of the Veterans’ Steps which lead up to the Sarjeant Gallery.

The Queen’s Park memorial commemorates 138 imperial and colonial troops who died in and around Whanganui during the New Zealand Wars, and another 18 veterans who died long after the wars ended. The memorial’s sleeping lion symbolises the British Empire. It represents both the soldiers’ nationality and ‘the repose of the departed heroes’.

A memorial to the soldiers who fell ‘in the long harassing wars with the Maoris’ was first proposed in 1889, following a suggestion that the soldiers’ graves in Whanganui be cleared and their inscriptions preserved. A committee formed for the purpose comprised Majors Purnell, Neill and Lomax, and Messrs J.T. Stewart, W. Bruce, J.G. Sharpe, W.F. Russell and W. Pinches; the honorary secretary was C. Burnett.

Public subscriptions raised almost half the memorial’s total cost of between £300 and £400. The government and the Wanganui Borough Council contributed £100 and £25 respectively. Burnett was eventually ‘out of pocket to the extent of £25’. His involuntary contribution equates to nearly $4500 in 2010.

A small team of artisans and engineers helped to craft the memorial. George Sherriff sculpted the lion from two blocks of Mt Somers stone, each weighing about 2000 kg. Monumental mason W. McGill carved and erected the tomb-shaped block of Waikawa bluestone on which the lion rests. On 19 November 1892, Robert Law manoeuvred the lion into position on its block.

A flag-draped Queen’s Park memorial was unveiled a year later. The ceremony was performed on 19 December 1893 by Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart Newall, a New Zealand Wars veteran who now commanded the Wellington, Wairarapa, Taranaki and Wanganui military districts. Newall was deputising for the Governor, the Earl of Glasgow, whom the committee had hoped would do the honours.

The Queen’s Park memorial originally stood at the top of the hill on the site now occupied by the Sarjeant Gallery. It was relocated to the foot of the Veterans’ Steps between 1915 and 1919.

According to its inscription, the memorial stands near the former site of the Rutland Blockhouse. This defensive building is said to have been erected in 1847 and removed in 1883. However an article published in the Wanganui Herald on 20 July 1887 indicates that it was actually removed four years later. The blockhouse was on top of Pukenamu (Sandfly Hill), near the memorial’s original position. 

The Queen’s Park memorial is also a grave marker. On 19 March 1892, the remains of troops killed in action at Nukumaru (24–25 January 1865) were reinterred on the site where the memorial was to be erected. They had been exhumed from the battlefield the previous week, 27 years after the engagement. The remains were relocated with the memorial.

Although Burnett was not directly involved in the exhumation, its supervision was one of many ‘heavy and most trying duties’ that fell to him as committee secretary. He wrote an account of the sombre, week-long task in March 1892 in his diary, extracts from which were published in the Wanganui Chronicle on 5 April.

Burnett also had the difficult task of gathering a complete list of the men who fell in each of the many battles fought in the district. He obtained names from the Registrar-General, military and church sources.

The scattered nature of these sources meant that discrepancies were inevitable. The names of many of the men listed on the Queen’s Park memorial are spelled differently in the official casualty lists. Others have different regiments, places of death, or dates of death.

One such discrepancy appears to be that of G. Sparks of the 18th Regiment. Sparks is listed as the 18th British casualty of Nukumaru, one more than is generally accepted. His name is not found on official casualty lists, in newspaper accounts of the engagement, or in other sources. Further research is required to determine the accuracy of this listing.

At least one of the veterans listed on the ‘post-1908’ plaque does not appear to have fought in the Whanganui region. Colour-Sergeant Edward McKenna of the 65th Regiment won his Victoria Cross at Camerontown on the Waikato River in September 1863. He subsequently settled in New Zealand and was stationmaster at Whanganui and then Palmerston North, where he died in 1908.

Additional images

Images from 2007

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Images from 2010

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Images from about 1986

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North-west panel

In / Grateful Memory / of / The gallant officers and men of Her / Majesty’s Imperial Army and Navy / and Colonial Forces who died in the / service of their country during the / long wars with the natives of these islands / and who lie buried in and near this town. / This Monument / was erected by the inhabitants of / Wanganui MDCCCXCII / Near this spot stood the Rutland Blockhouse / erected 1847 removed 1883.

South-west panel 1

Priv. Jn. McMoran  58 Regt
[Priv.] Wm. Webster  [58 Regt]
[Priv.] Denis Neville  [58 Regt]
[Priv.] Wm. Weller  [58 Regt]
[Priv.] Jn. Mooney  [58 Regt]
[Priv.] Dl. Treatdowner  [58 Regt]
[Priv.] Jo. Spratt. 65th  [Regt]
[Priv.] Wm. Connolly  R.A.
[Priv.] Jn. Clatworthy  Seamen H.M.S Calliope
[Priv.] Sl. Sculthorpe  [Seamen H.M.S Calliope]

Sergt. Geo. Booth  65 Regt.
Priv. Thos. Bartholomew  [65 Regt.]
[Priv.] Geo. McAllister  [65 Regt.]

[Priv.] Hry. John  [65 Regt.]
[Priv.] Jn. Glynn  [65 Regt.]
[Priv.] Ptk. Moore  [65 Regt.]
[Priv.] Thos. Williams  [65 Regt.]
[Priv.] Jn. W. Star  [65 Regt.]

[Priv.] Wm. Lordon  [65 Regt.]


Priv. Mtw. Lofthouse  65 Regt.

[Priv.] Jn. Ward  [65 Regt.]

[Priv.] Wm. Clayton  [65 Regt.]
[Priv.] Jn. Snook  [65 Regt.]
[Priv.] Dnl. Curtis  [65 Regt.]

[Priv.] Thos. Mansfield  [65 Regt.]
[Priv.] Jn. Wood  R.E.

Capt. D. Bazelgette  65th


Lieut. Fredk. Wemyss  [65th]

Ensign Wm. Alexander  [65th]
Sergt. Fredk. Smith  [65th]
Priv. Wm. Bowlder  [65th]
[Priv.] Ptk. Cooney  [65th]

[Priv.] Robt. Walter  [65th]
[Priv.] Ptk. Muskell  [65th]
[Priv.] Ml. Connor  [65th]


South-west panel 2

Drumr. Rbt. Robertson  57 Regt.
Priv. Jn. Anderson  [57 Regt.]

Sergt Thos. Traynor  [57 Regt.]
Priv. Keefe   [57 Regt.]
[Priv.] Ml. Mulcahy  [57 Regt.]
[Priv.] Mthw. Fleming  [57 Regt.]
[Priv.] Ptk. Sheehan  [57 Regt.]

Lieut. – Maloy  R.E.
[Lieut.] Wm. Masterson
[Lieut.] Oct. R. Lawson  18 Regt
Lieut. J.O. Johnstone  40th
Ensn. Geo. C. Jenkins  18th
Inter[prete]r. Cs. Broughton  Staff
L. Cor. P. Conlin  18th
Priv. P. Connolly  [18th]
[Priv.] S. Heathwood  [18th]
[Priv.] J. Brian  [18th]
[Priv.] F. Travers  [18th]
[Priv.] G. Sparks  [18th]
[Priv.] Jnthn. Fisher  [18th]

Priv J. Gould  50 Regt.
[Priv] C.E. Poole  [50 Regt.]
[Priv] S. Hargreaves  [50 Regt.]
[Priv] Wm. Erwin  [50 Regt.]
[Priv] Wm. Vine  [50 Regt.]
[Priv] Wm. Land  [50 Regt.]
[Priv] Ml. Murphy  [50 Regt.]
[Priv] Jn. Renny  [50 Regt.]
[Priv] Hry. Paris  [50 Regt.]
[Priv] Rt. Ridyard  [50 Regt.]
(The last 17 killed at
Nukumaru and buried there)
[Priv] Jo. Hassard  [50 Regt.]
[Priv] Jn Longhlin  18 R[oya]l. I[ri]sh.
[Priv] E. Christopher  [18 Royal Irish]
[Priv] Thos. Dobell  [18 Royal Irish]
[Priv] Hgh. Kilroy  [18 Royal Irish]
[Priv] Ptk. Shea  [18 Royal Irish]
[Priv] Thos. Crossan  [18 Royal Irish]
[Priv] Chas. Robinson  68 Regt
Cor Ml. Fee  57 [Regt]

North-west panel 1

Priv. Sl. Peake  57 Regt
[Priv.] Thos. Bradley  40th
[Priv.] Thos. Moon  14th
[Priv.] Ed. Delaney  [14th]
[Priv.] Jmr. Toomey  68th
[Priv.] Ed. Condon  [68th]
[Priv] Jas. O’Brian  Col. Forces
[Priv] Jn. Hobson  [Col. Forces] 
Ensn. Rt. Whitfield  [Col. Forces]

Lt. Col Jsn. Hassard  57 Regt
Priv. Jfy. Costelloe  [57 Regt]
[Priv] Js. Harrity  18th
[Priv] Jn. Bryan  68th
[Priv] Sl. Wellesley  28th
[Priv] Jn. Brennan  14th
[Priv] Jas. Saddler  5th Fus[iliers]
[Priv] Jn. Laycock  R.A.
[Priv] Jo. Barnet  [R.A.]  
[Priv] S. Adams  [R.A.]
[Priv] Wm. Stone  [R.A.]
Sergt. F. De. C. Duff  Col. Forces


Priv. Rt. Malcolm  Col. Frs
[Priv.] M. Hegerty  [Col. Frs]
[Priv.] C. Henley  [Col. Frs]
[Priv.] H. Econemdes  [Col. Frs]
[Priv] C. Green  [Col. Frs]

[Priv.] Jn. Corrigan  18 Regt.
[Priv.] Ptk. Sheridan  [18 Regt.]  
[Priv.] Thos. Prenderville

[Priv.] Rt. Brown  [18 Regt.]

The following killed
at Moturoa
Mjr Wm. M. Hunter  Col. Frs
Sergt. E. Kerwin  [Col. Frs]
Cpl C.N. Stockfish  [Col. Frs]
Priv. F.S. Rogers  [Col. Frs]
[Priv.] S. Brown  [Col. Frs]
[Priv.] J. Path  [Col. Frs]
[Priv.] W. Lees  [Col. Frs]
[Priv.] G. Satler  [Col. Frs]
[Priv.] Js. Kelley  died 1870

North-east panel 2

Moturoa continued
Priv. C. Eastwood  Col. Frs
[Priv.] P. Norman  [Col. Frs]
[Priv.] — Nogus  [Col. Frs]
[Priv.] W. Nicholls  [Col. Frs]
[Priv.] D. Urquhart  [Col. Frs]
[Priv.] R. Thompson  [Col. Frs]
[Priv.] J. Devon  [Col. Frs]
[Priv.] W. Keneally  [Col. Frs]
[Priv.] S. Brewer  [Col. Frs]

At Nguto o te Manu
Lieut. H.B. Hunter  [Col. Frs]
Priv. Rd. Wallace  [Col. Frs]

Place unknown
[Priv.] T. Squirs  [Col. Frs]
[Priv.] T. Cole  [Col. Frs]

At Nukumaru
Sergt. G. Maxwell  [Col. Frs]

At Wairoa
Cpl T. Collins  [Col. Frs]

At Okotuku
Priv. M. Glennon  [Col. Frs]

At Kai Iwi
Priv. T. McKenzie  Col. Frs
[Priv.] T. Cummins  [Col. Frs]

At Karaka
Sergt. G. Menzies  [Col. Frs]
Cpl G. Horspool  [Col. Frs]
Priv. C. Boyle  [Col. Frs]
[Priv.] J. Banks  [Col. Frs]
[Priv.] A. Barris  [Col. Frs]
[Priv.] M. Clowen  [Col. Frs]
[Priv.] J. Howe  [Col. Frs]

The Nukumaru remains
were removed to this
spot 19th March 1892

South-east panel

To the memory / of / His Majesty’s veterans / died since 1908

Priv. R. Bright190978 Yrs57thCrim[ea]. N.Z.
” J. Donovan191073  """
Cor. H.J. Reid191175  "65thN.Z.
Priv. A. O’Connor"85  """
Far[rier]. Sergt W.J. Park"79  "6th Dra[goon]. G[uar]ds.Crim[ea]. Ind[ian]. Mut[iny].
Con. S. Clancy191269  "A[rmed]. C[onstabulary]. F[orce].N.Z.
Q[uarter]. M[aster]. Sergt J. Chadwick191388  "Wan. Cavy."
Priv. C.H. Swan"80  "N.Z. Mil."
Priv. J. O’Neil"73  "18th Regt."
Sergt. W. Handley"77  "Wan. Mil."
Scout T. Adamson"68  "Wan. Rangrs.N.Z.C[ross] and Medal
Troopr. S. Wall191467  "Wan. Cavy.N.Z.
Priv. J. Wright"82  "57th Regt.Crim[ea]. Turk[e]y. N.Z.
Priv. W. McNiven191682  "57th ""  "  "
Ensign E. McKenna190879  "65th "V[ictoria].C[ross]. N.Z.
Col. T. McDonnell189967  "N.Z. Mil.N.Z.C[ross]. and Medal
Major Kemp (Kepa)189874  "Native Cont."  "  "
Sergt S. Austin190376  """  "  "


Further information

  • Wanganui Herald. (Published Daily) Wednesday, July 20, 1887’, Wanganui Herald, 20 July 1887
  • Old Soldiers’ Remains’, Wanganui Chronicle, 5 April 1892
  • The Soldiers’ Monument’, Wanganui Chronicle, 22 November 1892
  • The Soldiers’ Monument’, Wanganui Herald, 16 December 1893
  • J.A.B. Crawford, ‘Newall, Stuart (1843–1919)’, Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, updated 22 June 2007
  • Chris Maclean and Jock Phillips, The sorrow and the pride: New Zealand war memorials, GP Books, Wellington, 1990, pp. 26, 28
  • Nigel Prickett, ‘Wanganui and South Taranaki, 1864–66’, in Landscapes of conflict: a field guide to the New Zealand Wars, Random House, Auckland, 2002, pp. 105–14

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