Frederick George Hall-Jones OBE, 1891 – 1982

On 4 February 1982 the Invercargill District Court held a special sitting in memory of Frederick George Hall-Jones who died on 28 January, aged 90 years. Tributes were paid by JS Mee, President of the Southland District Law Society, and Judge EB Anderson, who presided.

Mr Hall-Jones was a son of Sir William Hall-Jones, Liberal MP for Timaru and, in 1906, Prime Minister. He was educated at Timaru Boys’ High School and graduated BA and LLB from Victoria University in 1913. He was admitted in 1914 and worked briefly for RP Towle in Auckland before enlisting. As sergeant-major with the Main Body he took part in the Gallipoli landing and was severely wounded at Quinn’s Post in 1915.

After being invalided home Mr Hall-Jones was advised that he should move to a cool climate. This he found in Invercargill where he acquired the practice of RH Rattray in 1917. In earlier years he was engaged actively in common law work, but later confined himself to conveyancing and commercial work. He still held a practising certificate at the date of his death. His firm (Hall-Jones and Sons) is now carried on by two of his sons.

Mr Hall-Jones was deeply involved in local affairs and served on the Invercargill City Council. He was also the National Party candidate for Invercargill in the 1938 election. He became governor of the Southland Technical College, chairman of the cancer campaign, chairman of the Southland Historical Committee, commissioner of the Southland Boy Scout Association, and chairman of the Military Postponement Committee. He also took a leading part in the establishment of the Crippled Children Society, Heritage, and the Southland Art Gallery Trust Board. He also helped revive the YMCA and the Southland Beautifying Society.

Much of his life was spent collecting historical records of Southland, and he is perhaps best known for his seven historical books – King of the Bluff, the life of Tuhawaiki; Kelly of Inverkelly, the Southland settlement from 1824 to 1860; Historical Southland; Invercargill Pioneers; Rotary in New Zealand (two editions); Early Timaru; and Sir William Hall-Jones.

He formed the Southland Centennial Association which conducted the centenary celebrations for Southland in 1956; was responsible for the erection of several historical plaques; and edited Southland’s Pioneer Diary. For his services in recording the history of Southland and his many other activities he was awarded the OBE in 1958.

A former president of the Invercargill Club and also of the Invercargill Rotary Club, Mr Hall-Jones was appointed district governor of Rotary International for New Zealand in 1937-38, and had the unusual distinction of being asked to serve a second term during the war years 1942-43. In 1972 he was made a Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary International’s highest service award.

Mr Hall-Jones was predeceased by his wife Marjorie and also by his eldest son Frederick William (Ted) who, as a flying officer in the RAF, was killed in the Battle of Britain in 1941. He is survived by three other sons, Geoffrey, John and Gerard.

by Geoffrey and Gerard Hall-Jones. 

This obituary was published in LawTalk 145, 19 March 1982, page 3.