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He was active in the Eight Hour Movement, a member of the Royal Rifle Company of Volunteers, Auckland Choral Society, the Microscopic Society, the Photographic Society, The Museum Institute, the Auckland Institute of Architects, and a founding member of the New Zealand Institute of Architects (1906).
He worked mainly in Auckland. Notable buildings include
- Auckland Savings Bank Building, Queen Street, 1881
- St John's Church, Ponsonby Road, 1882
- Jewish Synagogue, Princes Street, 1884
- Costley Home for the Aged Poor, Greenlane, 1889.
- Jubilee Building, Royal Institute for the Blind, Parnell, 1892
- Kings Theatre (now Mercury Theatre), Upper Pitt Street (now Mercury Lane), Newton, 1910
- Mt Eden Public Library, 1912.
He trained Keith Draffin in his office, along with his sons Alfred, Arthur and Frederick. The firm of Bartley & Son continued under Alfred Bartley following the retirement of Edward Bartley in 1914.