Thomas Cawthron 1833 – 1915

Thomas Cawthron 1833 – 1915

Today’s the anniversary of the birth of Thomas Cawthron, famous in Nelson for his business skills and philanthropy.

Thomas CawthronYou can read about him in Margareta Gee’s brief biography in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography.  Incidently, Margareta did much of the research for her husband Maurice Gee’s novel “Prowlers”, loosely based on the Cawthron Institute which arose from Thomas Cawthron’s bequest.

You can also read about him in Deidre Mackay’s new history of Cawthron Institute, “An Appetite for Wonder“.

Thomas is buried at the Wakapuaka Cemetary, on the northern edge of the town.  A beautiful spot with a great view (but all the good sites are taken, sadly).

Here are some other relevant links:

‘CAWTHRON, Thomas’, from An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock, originally published in 1966 (written by Sir Theodore Rigg)

Another biography by Karen Stade on “The Prow” website, with lots of good links

An essay on Thomas Cawthron by Karamea Fossett, Nelson College for Girls, 2010

Cawthron Institute website (with rather a nice photo of the old man)

Maurice Gee in Wikipedia and The NZ Book Council website




I ran up to his grave today at lunchtime, the grave states born 26th May. There’s a mystery to solve!

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