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John Bathgate, circa 1873

John Bathgate (10 August 1809 – 21 September 1886) was a 19th-century New Zealand politician, and Minister of Justice and Commissioner of Stamps from 1872 to 1874.[1]


New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1871–1874 5th City of Dunedin Independent
1881–1884 8th Roslyn Independent

Bathgate was born in Edinburgh in 1809. While a boy, the family moved to Peebles where his father had a teaching position. After school, he went to West Scotland to act as a private secretary and then to Edinburgh for an apprenticeship. At age 33, he married Miss Anderson. After her death, he married Miss McLaren. He had three sons, nine daughters, and (at the time of his death) 27 grandchildren.[2]

In his early 30s, Bathgate became town clerk in Peebles. Bathgate was the principal promoter of the Peebles Railway.[2]

He was chosen by English backers as manager for the new Bank of Otago and emigrated to New Zealand within months.[1] There was a great depression during the mid-1860s and Bathgate had lost money to the Commercial Banking Co., and had allowed the Southland Provincial Council to overdraw well beyond the agreed limit. These events put an end to Bathgate's banking career.[3]

From June 1871 to November 1872, he served on the Executive Council of the Otago Province.[4]

He represented two Dunedin electorates in the House of Representatives, first the City of Dunedin electorate from 1871 to 1874, when he resigned to take up the offer by Premier Julius Vogel of resident magistrate in Dunedin and district judge for Otago,[1] and the Roslyn electorate from 1881 to 1884, when he was defeated.[5] He was a member of the New Zealand Legislative Council from 15 May 1885 to 21 September 1886, when he died.[6] He was buried at Dunedin Northern Cemetery.[7]

He was the father of Alexander Bathgate. John Denniston was his son-in-law.[8]


  1. ^ a b c Vine, Geoffrey F. "Bathgate, John". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Obituary". Evening Star (7014). 22 September 1886. p. 2. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  3. ^ Cooke, Robin (1969). Portrait of a Profession: The Centennial Book of the New Zealand Law Society. Wellington: Reed Publishing. p. 353.
  4. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 217.
  5. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 95.
  6. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. 73.
  7. ^ "Cemeteries search". Dunedin City Council. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  8. ^ Scholefield 1940, p. 201.


External linksEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Thomas Birch
Member of Parliament for City of Dunedin
Served alongside: William Hunter Reynolds
Succeeded by
Nathaniel Wales
Preceded by
Henry Driver
Member of Parliament for Roslyn
Succeeded by
Archibald Hilson Ross
Political offices
Preceded by
Henry Sewell
Minister of Justice
Succeeded by
Maurice O'Rorke