A. C. Yarborough

Alfred Cooke Yarborough


Alfred Cooke Yarborough, formerly chairman of Hokianga County Council, was born in 1847 at Campsmount, the country seat of Mr. George Cooke Yarborough, J.P., in the County of York.

Until fourteen years of age he was at Woodcote School, near Reading, where his greatest friend was the late Commander Marks, R. N., an officer well known in the Colonies. Then he went to Eton, where he spent three years, the late Lord Randolph Churchill being one of his intimate friends, while Lord Rosebery was in the upper classes of the school at the same time, besides others whose names are now distinguished.

In 1866 he went to Lincoln College, Oxford, under the rectorship of the late Dr. Paterson. He attained considerable fame on the river. In 1867 he won sixty-three races out of a possible sixty-eight, and was one of the best oars the University ever had. At Henley and the Metropolitan Regatta he gained both his College and the University Sculls three years in succession. In the University Eight he was one of the winning crew against Cambridge each year he rowed, and in 1869 pulled second in the famous four-oared race against the American team from Yale College. Oxford was coached by the Rev. E. Warre (now headmaster of Eton College) and by Mr. Morrison, also a famous coach. The Yale crew were by no means to be despised, but were no match for the splendid team of Oxonians.

In 1871 Mr. Yarborough came out in the ship “Excelsior” to Auckland, and after travelling the Colony for some time, started a flax mill in Hokianga, which like many others of the kind proved an unsuccessful venture.

He went into the kauri timber trade in the same district and founded the township of Kohukohu, which bids fair to become an important centre of population. He was elected a member of the Hokianga County Council in 1876 and was for some time chairman or member, taking a warm interest in local politics for twenty years. Mr. Yarborough lives there in a picturesque cottage commanding a pleasant view of the waters of the Hokianga river. He visited England and France in 1887, and again in 1900.

Alfred married Mary Ferguson in 1876. They had at least 8 children. Mary passed away in 1919.

In 1924 at the age of 76 he travelled to the United States for a holiday on board the R M S Niagara into Seattle, King, Washington.

He returned to New Zealand where he passed away the following year, in 1925 at the age of 77 and is buried in the Kohukohu cemetry.