GIBBS, Frederick Giles
A new biography of Gibbs, Frederick Giles appears in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography on this site.
Gibbs was born on 31 October 1866 in Kensington, Middlesex, England, the son of James Gibbs, Registrar of Somerset House, and of Mary Elizabeth, née Waine. He was educated at Nelson College and at Canterbury University College where he was a senior scholar, and in 1890 took his M.A. with first-class honours in English and Latin. Appointed assistant master at Nelson College in 1891 and headmaster of Nelson Central School in 1894, Gibbs served with distinction until his retirement in 1923.
Gibbs possessed wide interest in science, economics, and cultural subjects. He was esteemed for his intimate knowledge of the native flora and geology of the Nelson district. Gibbs served as honorary curator of the Atkinson Observatory for 40 years, was Cawthron lecturer in 1947 and a member of the Nelson Philosophical Society for 50 years. As honorary secretary and adviser to Thomas Cawthron, he worked out the details of many of the latter's benefactions to Nelson. He was a member of the Cawthron Institute Trust Board from 1923 to 1929 and its chairman (1928–29). Gibbs was also an active and influential member of many governing bodies, notably those of the Suter Art Gallery, Nelson School of Music, Nelson Institute, Nelson Provincial Progress League, and the Nelson Chamber of Commerce. He died at Nelson on 16 January 1953.
A man of strong convictions, Gibbs was a wise and learned counsellor who used his talents unstintedly in the service of Nelson and its district.
by Theodore Rigg, K.B.E., M.A.(CANTAB.), M.SC.(N.Z.), F.R.I.C., F.R.S.N.Z., HON.D.SC.(W. AUST. AND N.Z.), formerly Director, Cawthron Institute, Nelson.