Open main menu

Edward Cargill

Edward Bowes Cargill (1823 – 9 August 1903) was a 19th-century businessman and Member of Parliament in Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand. He was the Mayor of Dunedin from 1897 to 1898.

Edward Cargill
Edward Bowes Cargill.jpg
Portrait of Edward Cargill
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Bruce
In office
31 July 1862 – 21 June 1865
Preceded byCharles Kettle
Succeeded byJames Macandrew
23rd Mayor of Dunedin
In office
Preceded byHugh Gourley
Succeeded byWilliam Swan
Personal details
Edinburgh, Scotland
Died9 August 1903
Dunedin, New Zealand
RelationsJohn Cargill (brother)
Francis Petre (son-in-law)
ParentsWilliam Cargill
Professionbusinessman, politician


Early lifeEdit

Cargill was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1823; he was the seventh son of William Cargill, one of Otago's most prominent settlers.[1] John Cargill was an elder brother.[2] Edward Cargill was educated in Edinburgh and, after the family moved to England, at Norwich Grammar School and at Perone's School. He went to sea from age 14 and visited Australia and the Far East. In 1844, he settled in Ceylon and worked for the Bank of Western India. He was then a merchant in Ceylon and was in various partnerships.[1] Cargill then went to Melbourne in Australia, where he stayed from 1855 to 1857 an importer of Eastern goods.

Life in New ZealandEdit

Cargill moved to Dunedin in New Zealand, where he was initially in a partnership with Johnny Jones as a merchant and ship owner. They dissolved their partnership in 1861 and he partnered with his brother John. Their business prospered due to the Otago Gold Rush, but their premises burned down twice (in late 1861 and in early 1864). The business expanded and many ships were bought, but Cargill made significant losses during the recession in the 1880s, which caused him to retire from business in 1889.[1]

Political careerEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1862–1865 3rd Bruce Independent

Cargill represented the Bruce electorate from 1862 to 1865, when he resigned.[3] He represented the Western electorate on the Otago Provincial Council (24 February 1862 – 7 February 1862), and represented the Town of Dunedin electorate for two terms (22 May 1863 – 10 January 1867; 13 March 1871 – 13 March 1873).[4] He was twice on the Executive Council of Otago Province and served as Provincial Secretary (19 August 1863 – 15 September 1863; 13 April 1871 – 2 June 1871).[5][6] He was on the University of Otago board. He contested the 1887 election in the Dunedin Central electorate,[7] but was beaten by Frederick Fitchett.[8]

He was the Mayor of Dunedin from 1897 to 1898, when the 50th anniversary of the founding of the province of Otago was celebrated.[9]

Home and familyEdit

Cargill had built as his home the distinctive Cargill's Castle in Dunedin, known originally as "The Cliffs". Several kilometres south of the castle is Tunnel Beach, so named because this quiet beach is only accessible through a steeply sloping tunnel cut into the 60 metres (200 ft) high cliffs by the Cargill family. The house was designed by Francis Petre, at the time a young architect; it is also very likely that Petre was the supervisor of the construction of the tunnel. While designing the house, Petre fell in love with Cargill's daughter Margaret. After a difficult courtship (due to Petre's staunch Catholicism and the Cargill family's equally staunch Presbyterianism) the couple were eventually permitted to marry, the wedding taking place in the villa's principal salon on 1 March 1881.[10][11][12]

Cargill died on 9 August 1903.[13]


  1. ^ a b c Scholefield 1940, p. 137.
  2. ^ "Death of Mr John Cargill". Otago Witness (2294). 17 February 1898. p. 23. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
  3. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 188.
  4. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 220.
  5. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 217.
  6. ^ Cyclopedia Company Limited (1905). "Mr. Edward Bowes Cargill, J. P.". The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Otago & Southland Provincial Districts. Christchurch: The Cyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  7. ^ "The General Elections: City Nominations". Otago Daily Times (7982). 21 September 1887. p. 2. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  8. ^ "The General Election, 1887". National Library. 1887. p. 3. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  9. ^ "Mayors of Dunedin". Otago Witness (2298). 17 March 1898. p. 62. Retrieved 6 October 2010.
  10. ^ "Marriage". Evening Star (5610). 2 March 1881. p. 2. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  11. ^ Lochhead, Ian J. "Petre, Francis William". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  12. ^ "Historical Significance of Cargill's Castle". The Cargill's Castle Trust. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  13. ^ Scholefield 1940, p. 138.


New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Charles Kettle
Member of Parliament for Bruce
Served alongside: Thomas Gillies, Arthur John Burns
Succeeded by
James Macandrew
Political offices
Preceded by
Hugh Gourley
Mayor of Dunedin
Succeeded by
William Swan