The New Zealand Electronic Text Centre has made a digital version of New Zealand's first encyclopaedia - complete a glimpse of prison life in 1897, talk of teenage boys' smoking rooms at church and a state-of-the-art electric belt which guaranteed its wearer a steady galvanic current of life-giving force.
The Cyclopedia of New Zealand, Volume One: Wellington Provincial District—which weighs 5.1 kilograms in hard copy—was produced in 1897. Also available now is Volume Six: Taranaki,
This has been a big project for the NZETC and we hope that the volumes will be a great digital resource for researchers and genealogists. The Cyclopedias contain a wealth of information on
The other four volumes, covering
The first volume reminds readers that
· a curate whose efforts to keep teenage boys out of mischief included providing them with smoking rooms: The Rev. Charles Archibald Tisdall, curate of
· a state-of-the-art electric belt which guaranteed its wearer a steady galvanic current of life-giving force: The Pononga Electric Company, Manufacturers of Pononga Patent Electric Belts: “The subtle forces of nature which can be communicated through the electric current are beneficially applied by means of the Pononga Electric Belt. As the blood is the life of the body, so electricity is the life of the blood. … This marvellous belt can be worn as required, and may be put on at bedtime and removed in the morning, or can be worn as any special time when needed, and removed when the object has been attained. The writer had the opportunity of testing a belt that had been in use for some months, and can testify that there was a sensible current of electricity being generated continuously. The belt is worn round the hips, the positive pole being placed immediately over the spine, while the negative touches the abdomen in front, or vice versa as may be needed according to the complaint. A gentle current at once passes through the vital organs of the body, whereby organic action is stimulated, the vital energy is renewed, digestion is assisted, and the blood, nerves, and tissues are beneficially influenced.”
· a poultry, pigeon and canary association which refused to tolerate foul play: “The New Zealand Poultry Association will serve the same good service as many more pretentious societies. It will bring together from various parts of the Colony, men engaged in a common pursuit that will enable them to compare notes and to compete in friendly rivalry, substituting a spirit of healthy emulation for narrow minded jealousy, and overweening self-conceit born of ignorance of the merits of others.”
· the Welch Football Club, a team made up entirely of members of the Welch family of the Wairarapa: “The late Mr. Henry Welch and his three brothers settled in the
· a vision of Friday night in Eketahuna at Carter’s Temperance Hotel…
· a glimpse into prison life at The Terrace Gaol,
The NZETC would like to thank both Wellington City Libraries and Colonial CD Books for making the project possible.