Open main menu

Robert Trimble (politician)

Colonel Robert Trimble (1824 – 5 September 1899) was a 19th-century Member of Parliament in Taranaki, New Zealand. He was briefly a judge at the Native Land Court.


Robert Trimble
Died5 September 1899
Children4 sons; 3 daughters
W. H. Trimble - Son

Early lifeEdit

Trimble was born near Belfast, Ireland, in 1824. He did his apprenticeship as a spinner at Sion Mills. He emigrated to America at age 21, where he remained for two or three years. While there, he was exposed to William Henry Channing's unitarianism, which he adopted instead of his presbyterian upbringing.[1] He then moved to Manchester and then to Liverpool, where he worked for the American linen commission merchants Watson and Co.[1]

In 1856, he married Jane Heywood of Manchester. She was the eldest daughter of Abel Heywood, who at the time was alderman and later became Mayor of Manchester.[1] Their son W. H. Trimble became the first librarian at the Hocken Collections.[2]

While in Manchester, he became interested in the volunteer movement and he joined the Liverpool Irish. He then joined the 15th Lancashire Artillery Volunteers, where he financed an additional battery. He was appointed lieutenant-colonel and upon leaving Manchester, was promoted to honorary colonel. The leading personalities of Manchester attended his leaving dinner in 1875.[1]

Trimble settled with his family near Inglewood on 2,000 acres (810 ha) of land purchased from the provincial government, on which he established a sawmill.[1][2]

Political careerEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1879–1881 7th Grey and Bell Independent
1881–1884 8th Taranaki Independent
1884–1887 9th Taranaki Independent

After the abolition of provincial government, he became the first chairman of the Inglewood Town Board.[1] He represented the Grey and Bell electorate from 1879 to 1881, and then the Taranaki electorate from 1881 to 1887 when he was defeated.[3] He contested the New Plymouth electorate in the 1893 election and was beaten by the incumbent, Edward Metcalf Smith.[4]

Later, he was a judge at the Native Land Court.[1]


Trimble died on 5 September 1899[5] at New Plymouth after having been unwell for a long time. He was survived by his wife, four sons and three daughters.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Death of Colonel Trimble". Hawera & Normanby Star. XXXVII (5019). 5 September 1899. p. 2. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b "W. H. Trimble – Walt Whitman Collection". Dunedin Public Libraries. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  3. ^ Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. p. 241. OCLC 154283103.
  4. ^ The General Election, 1893. Government Printer. 1894. p. 1. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  5. ^ "Obituary". Auckland Star. XXX (210). 5 September 1899. p. 4. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Frederic Carrington
Member of Parliament for Grey and Bell
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Taranaki
Succeeded by
George Albert Marchant