Henry Blundell (publisher)

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Henry Blundell (1813[1] – 15 June 1878), New Zealand newspaper founder, proprietor and publisher, "a man with two or three crafts at his fingers' ends",[2] was born in Dublin, Ireland. He brought his six children to Australia in 1860 and, moving permanently to New Zealand in 1863, began publishing the Wellington evening daily newspaper The Evening Post on 8 February 1865.[2]

Henry Blundell had worked 27 years for the Dublin Evening Mail when as manager of the business he resigned following a disagreement over the treatment of staff. From Dublin he went first to Melbourne in Victoria, Australia, then deciding to try the then better-established South Island of New Zealand, left his family in Melbourne and spent 1861-2 with the established Lyttelton Times as assistant-manager and then, having fetched his children from Melbourne, Otago Daily Times in 1863 before joining in the following year a new newspaper venture among "the glittering prospects of a well-paying goldfield" but Havelock's promising Wakamarina goldfield began to run out.[2]

Henry's final move was to New Zealand's new national capital city, Wellington. An Australian panel of three commissioners each an appointee of the governors of New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, designated Wellington the seat of government for its central location and sheltered harbour and their decision took effect in February 1865. With his partner from Havelock, David Curle, who left the partnership that July, Henry and his three sons printed with a hand-operated press and distributed Wellington's first daily newspaper, The Evening Post, on 8 February, parliament officially sat in Wellington for the first time on 26 July 1865.

With the benefit of long experience in a capital city Henry Blundell pursued a judiciously independent yet politically liberal policy and ensured moderation in the published views of his staff. He was at first both manager and editor while still assisting in all functions and, to begin with, providing the newspaper's editorials.[2] He was a genial and kindly man.[3]

Nine years later Henry retired, beginning by paying a visit to his native Ireland,[1] leaving his newspaper in the very capable hands of the three Blundell brothers;[4] John (1841-1922),[5] Henry (1844-1894),[6] and Louis (1849-1934).[7] Thereafter he travelled regularly between Wellington, Melbourne and Sydney though he remained based in Wellington.[1]

Henry died aged 65, 15 June 1878,[8] while on holiday in Sydney NSW Australia, and was interred at Wellington's Bolton Street Cemetery, and his grave is part of the memorial trail.[9][10]

His great-grandson Sir Denis Blundell served as New Zealand's Governor-General from 1972 to 1977.[11]

Posterity[edit]

The six children of Henry Blundell and his wife née Margaret McGowan were born between 1841 and 1852.

  • John
  • Ellen, Mrs John Stevenson
  • Thomas Henry
  • Margaret McGowan, Mrs Nicholas Marchant
  • Louis Proctor
  • Caroline Amelia, Mrs John Marshall

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c The Late Mr Henry Blundell, The Evening Post, Volume XVI, Issue 144, 17 June 1878, Page 2
  2. ^ a b c d The Evening Post, Volume LXXXIX, Issue 32, 8 February 1915, Page 13
  3. ^ Blundell, Henry (1814/1815? - 1878), Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage, 1960 available online
  4. ^ Louis E Ward, Early Wellington Newspapers, Early Wellington, Whitcombe and Tombes, 1928, Auckland available online
  5. ^ Deaths. The Evening Post, Volume CIII, Issue 8, 11 January 1922, Page 1
  6. ^ Obituary. The Evening Post, Volume XLVII, Issue 124, 28 May 1894, Page 2
  7. ^ Mr. Louis Blundell The Evening Post, Volume CXVIII, Issue 109, 5 November 1934, Page 8
  8. ^ Death, The Evening Post, Volume XVI, Issue 144, 17 June 1878, Page 2
  9. ^ "Details". Wellington City Council. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  10. ^ "Memorial Trail" (PDF). Bolton Street Memorial Park. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  11. ^ Gavin McLean (November 2006). The Governors: New Zealand's Governors and Governors-General. Dunedin: Otago University Press. ISBN 1-877372-25-0.