John Logan Campbell

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Sir John Logan Campbell
portrait of a sitting man
John Logan Campbell as an elderly man
3rd Superintendent of Auckland Province
In office
15 November 1855 – 17 September 1856
Preceded byWilliam Brown
Succeeded byJohn Williamson
17th Mayor of Auckland City
In office
8 May 1901 – 25 July 1901
Preceded byDavid Goldie
Succeeded byAlfred Kidd
Personal details
Born(1817-11-03)3 November 1817
Edinburgh Scotland
Died22 June 1912(1912-06-22) (aged 94)
Nationality New Zealand
RelationsJohn Cracroft Wilson (father-in-law)
Michael Campbell (great-great-great-grandson)
Known forMayor of Auckland City

Sir John Logan Campbell (3 November 1817 – 22 June 1912) was a prominent New Zealand public figure. He was described by his contemporaries as "the father of Auckland".

Early life[edit]

John Logan Campbell in the club dress of the Edinburgh Alleion Archers (Mungo Burton, 1838)

John Logan Campbell was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on 3 November 1817, a son of the Edinburgh surgeon John Campbell and his wife Catherine and grandson of the 3rd baronet of Aberuchil and Kilbryde Castle, near Dunblane, Perthshire. He had four sisters but his two elder brothers had died by the time he reached the age of two, and he became the only surviving son.[1] Campbell graduated in medicine from the University of Edinburgh in 1839[2] and later that year sailed for the antipodes, New South Wales, as a surgeon on the emigrant ship Palmyra.[3]

Migration to New Zealand[edit]

In 1840, Campbell came to New Zealand, arriving at Waiou (now called Whanganui Island)[4] and thence to the capital of New Zealand, Auckland, which had been founded by Governor William Hobson. Campbell and William Brown (a Scottish lawyer) who arrived at the same time, were the first Europeans to settle in the area.

Campbell and Brown built the first house in Auckland (Acacia Cottage,[5] which still survives), and opened the first shop. Campbell quickly became prominent in Auckland, both in business circles and in public life. He was a director of the Bank of New Zealand, the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company, and the New Zealand Insurance Company.[3]

Auckland Province[edit]

Statue of Sir John Logan Campbell at 308–312 Manukau Road, Epsom, placed at the twin formal entrances to his gift, Cornwall Park, Auckland

Campbell was elected to the Auckland Provincial Council on 20 March 1855, and he served until 15 September of that year.[6] He was then Superintendent of Auckland Province from 25 November 1855 to 17 September 1856.[7]

Member of Parliament[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1855–1856 2nd City of Auckland Independent
1860 2nd Suburbs of Auckland Independent

Campbell entered the 2nd New Zealand Parliament, representing the electorates of the City of Auckland 1855–1856 (resigned). He was elected unopposed on 4 August 1860 in the Suburbs of Auckland electorate,[8] replacing Joseph Hargreaves.[9] Campbell retired at the end of the 2nd Parliament in late 1860. He was a minister without portfolio in the government of Edward Stafford between June and November 1856.

Middle years[edit]

Campbell was a successful businessman and had entered into a partnership with William Brown in 1840, beginning operations as Auckland's first merchant firm, Brown and Campbell. By 1856 Campbell and Brown decided that their enterprises and properties, now worth £110,000, could be entrusted to a salaried manager, while they lived on the dividends as expatriates.

Brown and his family left early in the year, but Campbell's departure was delayed. On 20 November 1856 he left the colony, he hoped for good.

While travelling abroad, he married Emma Wilson on 25 February 1858 at Meerut, NWP India. She was a daughter of Sir John Cracroft Wilson, who later settled in Canterbury. They had three children: Ida, born at Naples on 22 December 1859 and died in London 1880; and twins John Logan and Winifred born at Florence on 26 May 1864. John Logan died in infancy and Winifred married Herbert Cyril Orde Murray a lieutenant in the 1st Gloucestershire Regiment on 10 December 1889.[10]

Apart from an interlude during 1860 and 1861, when he was obliged to go to Auckland to reinvigorate the firm – now called Brown Campbell and Company – and to install a resident partner, the Campbells lived in various parts of Europe until 1871. On his return early in 1871, Campbell took over full control. Two years later he bought out Brown's partnership share for over £40,000. Becoming a part of the business community again, he became involved with the Bank of New Zealand, the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company, the New Zealand Insurance Company, and related companies. He founded Auckland's first school of art in 1878 and supported it for 11 years.

When depression overwhelmed Auckland in 1885 and the Stock Market collapsed in 1886, there began a desperate struggle for financial survival. Campbell sold several businesses and properties, concentrating his energies on Brown Campbell and Company, a brewery and liquor importer. Campbell retained his properties at One Tree Hill partly because he wanted to create a suitable residence for his family. He envisaged an Italianate mansion similar to James Williamson's at Hillsborough, surrounded by an elegant estate. He set about planting trees to create a suitable landscape garden.

His wife Emma, however, had other ideas and the house, Killbryde, was eventually built in Parnell, a location much more handy to town. This property is now part of the Parnell Rose Gardens and Dove Myer Robinson Park. The house was demolished in 1924. In his later years, Campbell was concerned about the increasing suburban development of Auckland and decided to donate his remaining farmland at One Tree Hill to the city as a public amenity to be called Corinth Park – named after a part of Greece which Campbell had admired on his travels.

The presentation of the park would probably have taken place after Campbell's death in the form of a bequest had not providence intervened in the form of the Royal Tour of 1901.

Cornwall Park[edit]

His Worship the Mayor of Auckland, Dr J Logan Campbell; painted in 1901 by Mabel Hill

In early 1901, Campbell was approached to be Mayor of Auckland for the royal visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall in June that year. Aged 83 and long been in retirement, Campbell agreed on the proviso that he would fulfill representative functions only and step down after the visit, with a deputy undertaken most of the mayoral tasks. In the April 1901 mayoral election, he received nearly 80% of the votes.[11] During the royal visit, Logan Campbell donated Cornwall Park to the people of New Zealand and named it after the Duke and Duchess.[3] Campbell resigned in July[12] and the city councillors voted Alfred Kidd into the role; Kidd had acted in support of Campbell and taken on many of the mayoral tasks.[13]

Later life[edit]

Campbell was made a knight bachelor on 14 August 1902,[14] after the honour had been announced in the 1902 Coronation Honours list published on 26 June 1902.[15] He lived long enough to witness the erection of the bronze statue of him in Mayoral Robes at the Manukau Road entrance to Cornwall Park. He died on 22 June 1912, and is buried on the summit of Auckland's One Tree Hill, which he had named, in the middle of Cornwall Park. He had always intended that the summit would be the location of a monument to the Maori people and left instructions and funds for its erection in his will and Trust Deeds. The Trustees felt that development of the park as a public facility took immediate priority and so construction of the obelisk did not commence until the late 1930s. This meant the official dedication was delayed as the Maori elders did not wish to formally dedicate it during a time of war. His grave is located in the middle of the flat platform which serves as the forecourt to the monument.


  1. ^ R C J Stone, Poenamo Revisited, Godwit 2012 ISBN 978 1 86979 798 0
  2. ^ List of the graduates in medicine in the University of Edinburgh from MDCCV to MDCCCLXVI, Edinburgh 1867
  3. ^ a b c Stone, R. C. J. "Campbell, John Logan – Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  4. ^ "The New Zealand Railways Magazine". 8 (7). 1 November 1933: 18. Retrieved 5 May 2021. In April he landed at Herekino Bay, in Waiau or Coromandel Harbour ... Campbell's description in his book “Poenamo” of Coromandel and Beeson's Island and Herekino when he arrived there in 1840 Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ "Acacia Cottage, Cornwall Park. Auckland. New Zealand. - Homesteads on". Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  6. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 181.
  7. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 179.
  8. ^ "Election for the Suburbs". Daily Southern Cross. XVII (1319). 7 August 1860. p. 2. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
  9. ^ Cyclopedia Company Limited (1902). "Mr. Joseph Hargreaves". The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Auckland Provincial District. Christchurch. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
  10. ^ Burke, Bernard (1970) [1891]. Burke's Colonial Gentry (2 ed.). Baltimore, Ohio: Genealogical Publishing Company. pp. 219-221. ISBN 0-8063-0415-4.
  11. ^ "The city mayoralty". The New Zealand Herald. XXXVIII (11636). 25 April 1901. p. 6. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  12. ^ "Auckland mayoralty". The New Zealand Herald. XXXVIII (11716). 26 July 1901. p. 6. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  13. ^ "The mayoralty". Auckland Star. XXXII (169). 30 July 1901. p. 5. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  14. ^ "No. 27465". The London Gazette. 15 August 1902. p. 5327.
  15. ^ "The Coronation Honours". The Times (36804). London. 26 June 1902. p. 5.


  • Scholefield, Guy (1950) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1949 (3rd ed.). Wellington: Govt. Printer.
  • Stone, R.C.J. (2007) – Logan Campbell's Auckland: tales from the early years. Auckland University Press. Auckland. ISBN 978-1-86940-393-5

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
William Brown
Superintendent of Auckland Province
Succeeded by
John Williamson
Preceded by
David Goldie
Mayor of Auckland City
Succeeded by
Alfred Kidd
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Joseph Hargreaves
Member of Parliament for Suburbs of Auckland
Served alongside: Theophilus Heale
Constituency abolished