Canon Staples Hamilton

He was born in Yorkshire, England in 1859. Educated at Christ’s Hospital, London, and came to New Zealand on the ship “Langston” in 1875. He finished his studies at Canterbury College, Christchurch, where he gained his degree and was ordained by Bishop Harper. He was the Curate at Sumner, then spent eleven years at Leeston and five years at Hokitika before arriving in Geraldine on 10 February 1899 and taking up residence at the old Vicarage on the Pleasant Valley Road.

He travelled everywhere by foot or bicycle for the first five months until he got a horse and dogcart. In 1912 he bought a Triumph motor-cycle and in 1916 some parishioners subscribed to purchase a parish motor car – a second hand Model T Ford to assist with the huge amount of travel. 

The vicar took services at Geraldine, Orari, Rangitata, Arundel, Peel Forest, Mt Peel, Tripp Settlement, Woodbury, and Pleasant Valley. There were meetings to attend, confirmation classes, weddings and funerals and none of the roads were sealed until after he left Geraldine. During a weekend of wet weather in 1905 he took a service at Pleasant Valley at 11am, lunched at Captain Harris’s, then took a 3pm service at Woodbury. On reaching “The Crossing” he found the Waihi River in flood so he detoured on his horse over The Downs so he could take a 6.30pm service at Orari before getting home at 8.30pm

Soon after arriving in Geraldine he successfully proposed that a new Vicarage be built next to the Church to reduce his travel and the following year this Vicarage was built to a design by Mr J.S. Turnbull, a Timaru architect, for £850. He also proposed that the old Church (A new Church had been built right next to the old Church) be shifted to Orari but this didn’t happen until 1906, when it was towed across the Waihi river and down the Raukapuka Rd on bluegum skids behind three traction engines.  In 1920, a month after he left, electric light was installed in both the Church and the Vicarage.

Mr Hamilton was appointed a Canon of Christchurch Cathedral in 1913, the first Canon to be appointed from a parish outside Christchurch. He was also a member of the Standing Committee of the Diocesan Synod. Worn out by the travel he moved to Christchurch in 1920 to the parish of St Mathews, St Albans. He had been Vicar of Geraldine for 21 years and resident in this Vicarage for 20 years, the first and longest inhabitant.

Canon Staples Hamilton