The Gardens, Nelson. N.Z.
Maker and role
Undefined: F N Jones (b.1881, d.1962)
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Acknowledged as one of New Zealand's first photojournalists, Jones was nicknamed Pompy as his father had been.
In 1904, he sold 1, 500 prints from the three glass plate negatives he took of the burning of Nelson College. After this, his photography business flourished and he was able to buy land and start a studio.
Jones recorded many Nelson events and made a major contribution to the breadth of the photographic collection, making it unrivalled as a record of a community. He was often seen on a three-legged ladder used to take photographs from above the crowds.
Photography was just one part of Jones's interesting entrepreneurial activities. He was also a saddler, an inventor, mechanical musical box collector, amusement park owner, show organizer and owned several monkeys!
In 1921, Jones opened Coney Park in Haven Road, with music organs, merry-go-rounds, miniature train rides and other attractions.
When Jones retired in 1933, he began to build Pixietown, animated scenes with wooden, handmade pixies. Pixietown was first shown at Trathen's shop in Trafalgar Street and others were later staged in Australia, England and America. Pixietowns are remembered by many as large department store attractions. In the downstairs exhibition in the museum you can see an example of his workmanship.
The museum has approximately 5,000 of his images and a further 5,000-8,000 images are held at the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington.
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