Tue, Jul 9, 2024 7:00 AM

History: Sensible or ridiculous, making sense of by-laws




By-laws, sensible or ridiculous, have been around since the settlement of Nelson and are laws that all people were to abide by.

Waimea County Council, in October 1904, laid out their No.1 By-law covering a wide range of subjects with a total of 105 points. Selected are the more antiquated, strange, and funny by-laws.

Of the 105 points, a large section covered interpretation and the regulation of council meetings. This is what some of the points stated:

Point 50 - ‘No person shall drive or take over any bridge under the care and management of the council any horse, cattle, beast, or vehicle at any other than a walking pace’.

Point 51 - ‘No person shall drive or take over any bridge under the care and management of the council any engine, agricultural, or other machine at a speed exceeding two miles an hour’.

Point 66 - ‘No person shall blow off steam or water from any engine upon any road for any purpose’.

Point 71 - ‘No person being in charge of any engine shall drive such engine along any road at a speed exceeding five miles per hour, nor through any town or village in the county at a speed exceeding three miles an hour’.

Point 74 - ‘No person shall keep swine on a property owned or occupied by him within the county unless such can be kept at least 10 feet from any public place or road or 100 feet from any dwelling house’.

Point 89 - ‘The name of the owner and the number of the licence shall be painted on the off side of a licenced vehicle in some conspicuous place’.

Richmond Borough Council, set their own No.1 By-law in November 1917. A resolution was passed to rescind any former by-laws and adopt the new ones at a special meeting. The more interesting bylaws which attracted penalties included:

1. Regulating the carriage of offensive matter or depositing of the same on public streets against shavings, and straw being strewn about the street.

2. Leaving standing on the street any vehicle, packing case goods, etc and placing any obstruction on a footpath or street.

3. Places any placard or writes, draws, or disfigures any building or footpath.

4. Permits drippings from any house to fall on the footpath or street.

5. Carrying butcher’s meat or bread without being covered with a clean covering.

6. Allowing animals to wander at large on streets and no person shall tether any animal on any street.

7. Emptying of any earth closet or carries any offensive matter along any street.

8. Execrates or drops any mucus.

9. No stock will be allowed to loiter on borough streets.

10. No person shall ride a bicycle without keeping one hand upon the handlebar.

11. Leaving any horse or animal on a public street without an attendant.

In May 1934 it was realised by the Nelson Harbour Board that a number of their bylaws were out of date. Two interesting ones which affected those living in Richmond, the Waimea’s and wider communities, when visiting the beach and wharf were:

1. No person shall bathe or recline on the foreshore unless clothed from neck to knee.

2. No person shall sing a hymn to cause a crowd on any wharf.

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