Matthew Barnett

Matthew Barnett

Bookmaker + Philanthropist + Cook
Born Jun 6, 1859

Matthew Frank Barnett, also known as Mat Barnett, was a bookmaker and philanthropist from Christchurch, New Zealand. In his retirement, he became well known in lawn bowls. He donated the statue of James Cook in Victoria Square to the city. His family dwelling, Wharetiki House, was a prominent landmark on Colombo Street in the Christchurch Central City until its demolition in July 2011, following a demolition order by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority.… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Matthew Barnett.


1859 Birth Matthew Barnett Barnett was born in Avoca, Victoria, Australia, in 1859. … Read More
1863 4 Years Old …  He returned to Castlemaine and married Margaret Roughan in June 1863. … Read More


1888 29 Years Old From there, Barnett's family returned to Melbourne for another two years. He worked as a swagman in Australia and then had employment as a tram driver in Melbourne for several months. In Melbourne, he married Mary Bridget Barnett (née Whelan) on 18 July 1888.


1892 33 Years Old Barnett and Grant were banned from racecourses, e.g. in Palmerston in 1892 and in Dunedin in 1894. … Read More
1896 37 Years Old …  Luck was with them again, and some time after Grant's wedding in February 1896, they had sufficient capital to add a branch in Christchurch to their existing betting shop in Dunedin. … Read More
1897 38 Years Old Their Dunedin branch was searched by Police and Barnett, Grant and two employees arrested in September 1897. Between 1901 and 1904, they were arrested three times, including in January 1902, their Christchurch office was raided by Police, with the case going to court the following month. … Read More


1901 42 Years Old In 1901, Barnett bought a large section in the Christchurch central city, fronting onto Salisbury and Colombo Streets.
1904 45 Years Old A large family home, which he named Wharetiki, was built by 1904. … Read More
1906 47 Years Old For a 1906 raid of the Christchurch office, the Police had previously sent an undercover agent to the office to place a bet in order to have some evidence for a court case. … Read More


1924 65 Years Old …  In 1924, Barnett commissioned a tiki as a trophy for this tournament and he personally supervised the carving. … Read More
1931 72 Years Old Mary Barnett died on 1 March 1931 at Wharetiki, aged 66. … Read More
1935 76 Years Old 1 More Event
After Matthew Barnett's death, the remaining family members put the house up for auction in May 1935. … Read More
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