William Thomas Locke Travers

1819–1903

P C Tomlinson August 2013

William Thomas Locke Travers was an extraordinary man. He'd been a Bengal Lancer and British Auxiliary Legionnaire, a solicitor and Member of Parliament, a runholder, and  a geologist, botanist (the genus Traversia is named after him), ornithologist and ethnologist. He named many of the geographic features he came across after places and people connected with the Crimean War (such as Balaclava and the Raglan Range), and loved the works of English poet Edmund Spenser, which is why we have the Spenser Range with the peaks of the Faerie Queene, Una and Gloriana. Travers farmed Lake Guyon run (now part of St James Station)and Ada and Henry runs from 1860 to 1879, and had more landmarks named after him than any other explorer, including the Travers Range and the Travers Saddle.
He played a significant role in the establishment and development of the Wellington Botanic Garden. He was closely involved in several of the significant developments that took place – its establishment, and especially the more controversial zoo and transfer of the garden to the Wellington City Council.

CONTENTS

Part 1    Introduction
Part 2    Zoo controversy
Part 3    Wellington City  Transfer
Part 4    Other Interests
Part 5    Burial
Part 6    Sources and resources
Part 7     Plants etc named for Travers

Part 1 Introduction

He was born January 1819 in County Limerick, Ireland. His father retired to France, and Travers was brought up there, completing his education in Saint Malo. He joined the British Foreign Legion in 1835 as a 16 year old, serving as a lieutenant in the Spanish Carlist Wars from 1835 to 1838. For a short time he was aide-de-camp to the leader of his division and received a decoration for his services.

Travers with his wife and daughter on the lawn of Englefield Lodge, Christchurch

Part of Spenser Mountains, Ada Valley, Nelson, ca 1865   TOP
Lake Guyon with the Spenser Mountains in the distance. BOTTOM
Photographs taken by Travers circa 1865 and 1870

In 1838 Travers chose to study law in London and was admitted to the Bar about 1844, subsequently practising at Chipping Camden and Evesham. He married Jane Oldham at Cork, Ireland, in 1843 and had a son and a daughter. In 1849 William and Jane Travers and their two children embarked for Nelson, New Zealand, where they arrived on 4 November 1849.

Travers practised law in Nelson, Christchurch and Wellington and served as magistrate in Nelson. While in Christchurch he purchased Englefield Lodge in 1866. Built in early 1852 as a farm house, it is believed to be one of the oldest homes in that city. The image is Travers photographed in the garden with his wife and daughter.

He was a member of the House of Representatives for its first term, and represented Nelson (1853–54), Waimea (1854–59), Christchurch City (1867–70), and Wellington City (1877–78). He stood unsuccessfully for the superintendency of Nelson in 1855 and Canterbury in 1866, and was a member of the Canterbury Provincial Council in 1867. During his time in Parliament he was, from 31 August to 2 September 1854, a member without portfolio of T. S. Forsaith's short-lived executive. He is notable for having attempted to make the general government rather than the provinces responsible for education

It was outside politics that Travers made his mark in New Zealand. He and his son Henry explored the Nelson region. He found the source of the Waiau River in the Spenser Mountains, and named the Ada, Henry, Boyle and Anne rivers in the upper Waiau Valley. Mt Travers and the Travers Range bear his name in this area. In the headwaters of the Waiau, Travers collected grasses and alpine flowers, carefully noting the altitude. Much of this plant material was forwarded to Joseph Hooker for the herbarium at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Hooker regarded him as an 'acute collector'. Herbarium specimens collected by him are also held in Te Papa Museum in Wellington. A skilled photographer, there are images of this area and others taken by him.

Shepherd notes “it has been claimed that W.T.L. Travers was responsible for the introduction of the 1869
Botanic Garden Bill, but from the evidence available it did not appear that he contributed more than other Board members such as Ludlam, Potts, Huntley, Mantell or even Hector. Possibly he drafted the Bill which Ludlam introduced, but certainly, as a Governor of the New Zealand Institute he would have supported the formation of the Botanic Garden from the beginning. It was only natural for legal matters to be referred to him, and his skills were very valuable in the conveyance of the Wesleyan land. As a Governor of the New Zealand Institute he was one of the team of men whose combined talents were responsible for the Garden's successful development”.

Henry Hammersley Travers was his only son who was born in Hythe, Kent, in 1844. Coming to Nelson in 1849 he was educated at Nelson College. After a good deal of experience in natural history, and some insight into the law, he chose a country life, eventually settling near Paraparaumu. He made two trips to the Chatham Islands to collect botanical specimens, the first in 1864, at the request of Sir F. Von Mueller on behalf of the Victorian Government, his father meeting all expenses. The second six years later was on his own behalf when he supplemented his former researches, and paid considerable attention to ornithology, discovering a new genus, now extinct, and three new species, possibly for the Colonial Museum. Lyall's wren (Traversia lyalli) and the famous black robin (Petroica traversi) were named after Henry Travers. He seems to have failed as a lawyer and lost his practise by 1900. He was appointed Curator of the Newtown Museum in 1913 but was dismissed some time in 1915. He died in 1928, and his wife Ida died in 1937. His large remaining collection of birds was bequeathed to the Dominion Museum (later Te Papa), accessioned in 1944. He thus joines the ranks of others like George Vernon Hudson also associted with the garden in providing collections to Te Papa, as the Colonial Museum/Dominion Museum eventually became known.

CONTENTS

Part 1    Introduction
Part 2    Zoo controversy
Part 3    Wellington City  Transfer
Part 4    Other Interests
Part 5    Burial
Part 6    Sources and resources
Part 7     Plants etc named for Travers

Part 2  Zoo controversy

The 1869 Botanic Garden Act provided for use of the Garden for purposes of acclimatisation. Acclimatisation societies were established quite early in both Australia and New Zealand, their main function at that time being to introduce plants and animals which might be of value to settlers. The Wellington Society was established 1871.

Image from Linda Tyler's Botanic Garden 'John Buchanan' presentation

 The invitation to the inaugural meeting was issued by Travers, and he was elected the first President. The Society erected hatcheries behind the Keeper's Cottage in the Garden for holding importations of pheasant and fowl. Unfortunately these were unsightly, and the Board asked for their removal after completion of hatching.

While Hector was overseas in 1875, Walter Mantell, as acting Manager of the Garden, became concerned at the lack of attention being given to the birds in captivity. He wrote a strong letter to Travers, still a leading member of the Acclimatisation Society, informing him that the Curator, William Bramley, was unable to take time to attend to the birds, that one black cock had died and the others looked sick and that no one from the Acclimatisation Society had visited them. Mantell continued

"The emus, which with your consent have been put in confinement to prevent the wholesale destruction of young plants, are looking ill.....The location of your importations in the garden has never yet been properly defined. If that had been done you might long since have fenced off the portion allotted to your Society and both the animals and the garden would have been great gainers. No instructions appear to have accompanied your last importation of birds which are therefore still in confinement". We do not know how the Society reacted but Traver's reputation suffered with this letter.

Mantell's letter indicates that there were two emus in the Garden in 1875. By 1882 one had died possibly as a result of an attack by dogs in 1881. In 1903 it was reported: "that before the advent of the Zoo at Ncwtown Park (1906) the Garden had a small flea-bitten collection of animals ….... - a few monkeys, a kiwi or two, and the emu ... I was so impressed with its misbegotten air". It would appear that the birds and emu were housed in the space where today the children's playground is situated.

Items of expense such as bird seed and food foranimals show in the records for the Garden and obviously relate to the upkeep of animals belonging to the Acclimatisation Society. These were legitimate costs expected to be carried by the Board since the Botanic Garden Act expressly stated that food and labour for maintaining animals or birds was to be provided on condition that the amount expended yearly for this purpose did not exceed l/6th of the yearly income for the support of the Garden. There are records of monkeys being held in the Garden. Sometimes they caused trouble as when they escaped in 1882. One monkey was killed by a dog while Bramley's thirteen year old son was so frightened that he took refuge in a tree! The residents of Tinakori Road complained to the Garden's Constable. His report said: "Mrs Pell and Mrs Reardon complain of the monkeys taking their fowls, eggs, and killing their chickens. Mrs Morrell complains about them destroying her fruit trees and Mrs Dixon states that one of them bit her little girl while passing along Tinakori Road". The Board was asked to take steps to prevent this happening again.

The wish for a zoo for the Capital City was gaining public support. In 1889 the Evening Post carried a letter seeking such support for the establishment of a separate Zoological Garden. It read: "The Botanical Garden is a wilderness of pines and macrocarpas and a few old fashioned flowers and plants that no modern botanist would take the trouble to look at. Surely such botanical and zoological enthusiasts as Sir James Hector and W.T.L. Travers could place the whole thing on a firm basis making a menagerie self supporting".

The Newtown Zoo was opened in 1906 and all remaining animals and birds where quickly transferred to their new home.

CONTENTS

Part 1    Introduction
Part 2    Zoo controversy
Part 3    Wellington City  Transfer
Part 4    Other Interests
Part 5    Burial
Part 6    Sources and resources
Part 7     Plants etc named for Travers

Part 3 Wellington City Transfer Controversy 1891

In February 1887 a sub-committee of the Wellington City Council considering the proposed Thorndon Recreation Ground reported on their visit to the Botanic Garden. This had taken place at the instigation of the Minister of Public Works in order to assess whether the Garden contained a suitable site for a recreation ground. After judging that it did not, the report went on to deal with the present plight of the Botanic Garden, and to present recommendations on which the Council could act. The report pointed out "that the Botanic Gardens were intended to form the basis of operations for a system of forestry throughout the Colony, but the meagreness of the revenue with which the Gardens are endowed quite prevents the Botanic Gardens Board from carrying out the objects for which it was created by public statute". The report then recommended that the Council should see the Minister of Lands and Agriculture to lobby for a continued Government grant for the Botanic Garden "and thus prevent the national gardens of the Colony falling into disorder and waste". Council resolved to do this.

It seems clear from the report that a site for a recreation ground was not the main subject discussed following their visit to the Garden. In their emphasis on the Colonial status and national purpose of the Garden it would seem that these discussions had been with Sir James Hector himself. It was Hector's hope that the Botanic Garden would continue to develop as a national centre for the teaching of botany and the cultivation of plants for study, acclimatisation and economic assessment, something it had largely done since its establishment. As Shepherd notes “to this end, in good times, a disinterested unobstructive Council, which had been the case, was better than one whose energy and interest may have led to contributions from City rates. For the possible consequence of this might have been interference in the management of the Garden by persons that the Board would have judged as unprofessional busybodies”.

 

Garden aerial view from north-east
Begonia House and Rangers Cottage clearly visible.

From the point of view of its continued independence it was thought better for the Board to enlist Council's help in attempting to get the Government to reinstate the grant, rather than ask for support through City funding. The report of the Thorndon Recreation Ground sub-committee not only indicates the point at which the Council entered into the question of the financial management of the Garden, but also demonstrates a compliant Council, sympathetic to the plight and aims of the Botanic Garden Board. The Council had in fact been supporting the Garden financially since 1872, when one sixth of the rents from the Town Belt had been granted by legislation to the Botanic Garden Board for the running of the Garden. This was not mentioned at all in the sub-committee's report, and shows that up until 1888 the Council had no interest whatsoever in administering the Garden. Councillor Seed's statement to the Prime Minister on 16 March 1889 showed that all this had changed. There had emerged within Council a strong lobby demanding that the Council control the Botanic Garden as it did the Town Belt. The possibility of this lobby achieving its aims became a serious threat to the Board and its future plans for the Garden because of the Government's refusal to grant operational funds.

This change in the attitude of the Council appears to be both relatively sudden and absolute. During the meeting with the Prime Minister in March 1889, Councillor Brandon, who had led the Reserves Committee to intercede with the Minister of Lands and Agriculture on the plight of the Botanic Garden two years before, was the only one on the deputation to express something of the old supportive stance. He disagreed with the deputation, "holding that these were colonial gardens", and therefore belonged to the nation. The rest of the deputation supported Councillor Seed, who, apart from urging the Government to return the Garden to its rightful owners, also pointed out that with the removal of a Government grant the only revenue going to the garden was that "which the city gave out of the Town Belt rents". This statement not only demonstrated that the Council had changed its position on the Botanic Garden since February 1887, but also that it had developed an assertive stance on the matter supported by a positive belief in its right to the Botanic Garden.

The City Council's idea of its ownership, and therefore ultimate right to control the Botanic Garden, had some moral if not strictly legal foundation. Travers was quite right in stating that "the Council never had any control over (the Garden) at all". In 1844 and again in 1869 at the time of the Botanic Garden Act, the City Corporation did not exist at all. Even when the Municipality was founded in 1870 it was dominated in larger matters until 1876 by the still existing Provincial Council, though concerns relating directly to the city were slowly given over to it. One of these was the vesting of the Town Belt in the Corporation by legislation in 1871 and 1872. The intention of the New Zealand Company in creating the Town Belt was to provide open space between town and country for recreational purposes. Throughout its history the Belt has survived for this purpose in spite of large appropriations of land. One of these was the Botanic Garden until it was returned to the City in 1891.

Admittedly the citizens had access to the Botanic Garden land for recreational purposes, but this was only one side of the question. The other side of appropriation is that control of public land passes into the hands of private individuals and individual interests with legislative approval. Also, once legislative consent has established the change in control and use, it is unlikely that the land will ever return to public ownership. At no time during the formation of the Garden were the citizens of Wellington in a position to participate in the allocation of these lands. From their point of view the Botanic Garden was appropriated public property. Also, with the danger of appropriation in mind, it was of natural concern to the citizens of Wellington and the City Council that, should the Garden change hands because of the Board's financial collapse, it remain in public use rather than fall into the hands of some private or Government interest. Though they may not have been consulted in 1869, by 1889 the citizens of Wellington had the means and the will to call the tune on the future of the Botanic Garden, and this they had set about doing.

Given the generally parochial interests of councillors in the 1880s, the fact that the Council became interested in the Botanic Garden points to a growing public interest combined with the return of councillors with a commitment to the issue, as well as support from standing councillors. That public opinion and the return of councillors interested in the city acquiring the Botanic Garden had been factors in the election of September 1888 is born out by Councillor Brown in March 1889. In supporting the deputation on the move to vest the Garden in the city, he pointed out to the Prime Minister "that it was a new member who carried the proposal in Council, and that the ratepayers were generally in favour of it at the late elections." The new member, Councillor William Seed, at the same meeting, was emphatic that "there was no doubt (that) the public was in favour" of the vesting of the Botanic Garden in the city. Also, by 1889, even before the deputation to the Prime Minister, it must have been obvious to the Council that funding for the Garden was not going to come from the Government. It is interesting that even to this day, funding issues continue to face the Garden.

As an issue affecting all wards, vesting of the Botanic Garden was an eminently achievable goal. The benefits and service of the Garden to the city were enjoyed by everyone, so that pubic support arose out of direct popular experience. As a developed reserve no excessive drain on the rates or expensive loan monies were necessary, so the ratepayers of the time could afford to indulge in an unqualified support for the venture. Even Mr Traver's rhetorical questions on the cost of running the Garden in his letter of March 1889 would have had little effect.

In an attempt to retain control of the Garden and gain the support of a cost-cutting Government, Hector had unfortunately named a sum as low as three hundred pounds as an adequate rate, in conjunction with Town Belt rents, to cover running costs. Even then two hundred pounds of this was an estimate for fence repair and gorse clearance, a maintenance cost that would not occur every year. Basic running and maintenance costs thus set meant that the Botanic Garden would be a very good return on a modest annual investment.

In 1889 a controversy between the Botanic Garden Board and the Wellington City Council surfaced in the letter columns of The New Zealand Mail. A deputation led by the Mayor had met the Prime Minister. Among the matters discussed was the Botanic Garden, the council "urged the Government to introduce legislation restoring the Botanic Garden to the control of the public”.

This remark prompted a long letter to the paper from Travers, which proceeded "to show that the Council never had any control over (the Garden) at all." He was "amused at the new-born enthusiasm of the City Council in relation to the Botanic Garden" although "it never voted a sixpence" towards its maintenance. “Does the public know what the cost of keeping these gardens in proper order will amount to? Is it prepared to add this burden to the rates, whilst drainage and other works affecting the health and well-being of the city are left unheeded? What assurance, moreover, is there that the gardens would, under municipal control, be well managed? Surely the example of horticultural knowledge exhibited in the plantations now under the control of the Council does not offer such an assurance".

In his reply to the Travers letter, the Council contended that the Garden belonged "of right to the citizens of Wellington". Though they agreed with him about the Council's lack of horticultural expertise he added this qualification: "It does not follow, however, that the Council will not be able to do better in the future. The ratepayers, at any rate, will be able to return councillors whom they may have reason to think will be able to look after the gardens; in this way they will be able to exercise a very salutary control over them, and this they cannot do at present. "


In the discussion regarding the transfer of the garden to the Wellington City Council, Mr Travers arguing on behalf of the Board said the Garden was in a satisfactory state “with seven miles of well kept walks and that it had been maintained as a Colonial Garden”, for the benefit of the whole country. He argued the importance of the original 'thirteen acres' and the need to safeguard this area for the purposes of botany for all time. Hector supported Travers view, and spoke of the need for a Research Garden. He also stressed the importance of the summit of the Garden as a site for an observatory for obtaining satisfactory astronomical observations.

The Vesting Act was passed in 1891 with additional provision made for a 2.4 ha approx. (six acre) site for a future Observatory and the requirement that the original 5.3 ha approx. (thirteen acres) be maintained as a Botanic Garden in perpetuity. The management of the Garden by the New Zealand Institute had come to an end. Hector felt the loss very keenly, as undoubtedly did the rest of the Board. The Council maintained the Colonial Botanic Garden was vested in the City of Wellington solely for reasons of economy. What had been overlooked was, that forty years earlier, in l851, the Governor had agreed to consider the issue of a Crown Grant to the trustees named by the Wellington Horticultural Society, to be held by them in trust for any future municipal corporation to be established in Wellington. No corporation was operating in 1869 when the Crown Grant for the Reserve was made to the New Zealand Institute. It could be argued that it had been intended from the beginning that the town of Wellington should administer the Botanic Garden.

As 1891 came to a close, the City and its people received that portion of the original Town Belt which included the appropriation of 5.3 ha approx. (thirteen acres), together with approximately 21.85 ha approx. (fifty-four acres) of the Wesleyan Reserve appropriated in 1852. Fortunately they still, as open park land, fulfilled the original green belt concept of the Directors of the New Zealand Company. It is the New Zealand Company's legacy to the people of Wellington, to enjoy as an area of public recreation and to serve the disciplines of botany and horticulture.

At the City Council meeting, a communication was received from Sir James Hector, in reference to the Botanic Garden, intimating that the garden was now under control of the City Council and giving certain details as to the wages paid to the caretaker and his assistant. The Mayor said that several of the fences required repairing, and the gorse wanted clearing. He thought that now the garden was under control of the Council they should at once take the matter in hand.

The passing of the Botanic Garden Vesting Bill in 1891 came as a bitter blow to Travers and to his colleagues who had worked so hard with such limited funds to create a Garden which had an educational function, as well as a place for public enjoyment. He voiced his criticism of the proposed takeover in the newspaper and argued most forcibly in evidence to the Legislative Council for the continued management by the Board. He did, however, manage to have an extra clause inserted in the Act which provided for the perpetual management of the original 'thirteen acres' as a true botanic garden, thus ensuring that the Garden was not to become just a municipal park. This clause in the Act is Travers' everlasting memorial.

When entering the new period of management in 1891, the Garden was to be funded by the City. It was, however, deprived for the time being of the expertise of men with scientific or horticultural knowledge. It was many years before the Corporation could supply this need. Nothing has ever been done to counter the bitterness engendered by the change, nor to acknowledge the dedication and service of Hector, Mantell, Ludlam, Mason, Travers, Kirk, Archdeacon Stock, and other members of the Botanic Garden Board, as well as John Buchanan of the Colonial Museum.

The day the Council took control has been regarded by some as the establishment date for the Garden, but it was in fact established some 23 years earlier, in 1868, although the NZ Company was directed in 1839 by the British Government to make provision, in its plans for Wellington, for a botanic garden to be established and maintained in perpetuity for its residents.

CONTENTS

Part 1    Introduction
Part 2    Zoo controversy
Part 3    Wellington City  Transfer
Part 4    Other Interests
Part 5    Burial
Part 6    Sources and resources
Part 7     Plants etc named for Travers

Part 4  Other Interests

Besides his political and legal interests, Travers was a skilled observer in many branches of natural history and always kept himself informed on the latest developments. The geographical distribution of plants interested him particularly, and he made a special study of the flora of Nelson, Marlborough, and Canterbury. Hooker considered the contributions of Travers to the Kew Herbarium especially valuable because he always noted at what elevation the specimens were found. Travers, who was a fellow of the Linnean Society, also spent much time trying to discover an easy way to process the NZ flax, Phormium tenax. Baron Mueller dedicated his Vegetation of the Chatham Islands to him, while Hooker named a small shrub of the daisy order, Traversia, in his honour. Very interested in ethnology and Maori-European relationships, Travers made a point of trying to understand the Maori attitude. His Stirring Times of Te Rauparaha (1872) seeks to explain the reasons behind the Maori troubles of the 1840s. In 1877 he contributed the letterpress for C. D. Barraud's portfolio of lithographs, New Zealand – Graphic and Descriptive. He also contributed many papers to the Natural History Review and to the Transactions of the Ethnological Society. In 1888 he published From New Zealand to Lake Michigan, which is an interesting account of a trip he made through the north-western and central United States. For some years he acted as Vice-Consul for France and was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Cambodia.

Travers photo from Linda Tyler's Botanic Garden 'John Buchanan' presentation

Travers's interest in natural history led him to become one of the founders of the New Zealand Institute, drafting the statute under which the institute was established in 1867. He was one of its governors until his death, and from 1888 to 1903 was its treasurer. Travers is claimed to have drafted the 1869 act establishing the Botanic Garden of Wellington which was to be managed by the Institute, although Shepherd has found no firm evidence of this, although as a lawyer and board members he would have been involved. For 22 years he was a member of the Botanic Garden Board.

Travers published some 40 articles on botany, ornithology, geology and ethnology in the Transactions of the New Zealand Institute. He was a skilled amateur photographer, whose work is now sought after by museums and galleries.

He was a keen military volunteer in both Nelson and Canterbury and was gazetted captain (unattached list) on 31 March 1869. In 1874 he was founding president of the Wellington Acclimatisation Society. In the same year, as a member of the board of governors of Wellington College, he supervised a large planting of trees obtained from the botanic garden, on the slopes of the town belt behind Wellington College.

Travers was one of the first shareholders of the Wellington Gas Company, the Wellington City Steam Tramways Company and the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company. For a time he was city solicitor. He was adviser to both the Wellington Woollen Manufacturing Company and the Wellington Patent Slip Company, and urged attention to harnessing the power of the Hutt River.

His first wife Jane Travers died in 1888, and on 9 April 1891 he married Theodosia Leslie Barclay. Travers was injured as the result of an accident at the Hutt railway station where he fell alighting from a moving train, falling between the platform and the cars. He subsequently died on 27 April 1903, aged 84.

CONTENTS

Part 1    Introduction
Part 2    Zoo controversy
Part 3    Wellington City  Transfer
Part 4    Other Interests
Part 5    Burial
Part 6    Sources and resources
Part 7     Plants etc named for Travers

Part 5  Burial  in Bolton Street Memorial Park

Travers unmarked grave – in poor repair
(Observatory Path to the left and Trustees Crescent to the right)
Partially renovated and cleared grave - recent photo

Nick Perrin of the Bolton Street Memorial Park notes that Travers is buried in the Park, and “was so notable that it was surprising not only that his grave has no memorial, but also that it was lost” until Perrin recently identified its location. He claims that his identification is certain, because an old map of Bolton St known to be pre 1889 shows a grave labelled "Travers". Kathleen Coleridge is a descendant of Travers, and said her father once showed her a grave which he said was Travers, and, when discussed with Perrin, his description of it sounded to her that it was what her father had identified. The pre 1889 map is very rough with whole sections drawn in the wrong place, and the Travers grave is one of those wrongly located on the map. However, the placement of nearby graves which are named on the old map can be recognised, and their distribution around the Travers grave is such that he can be absolutely sure that it is the one with a low concrete wall with 5 sides at the junction of lower Observatory Path and the lower end of Trustees Crescent. It remains unmarked and damaged.

CONTENTS

Part 1    Introduction
Part 2    Zoo controversy
Part 3    Wellington City  Transfer
Part 4    Other Interests
Part 5    Burial
Part 6    Sources and resources
Part 7     Plants etc named for Travers

Part 6 Sources and resources

Principal sources:

Winsome Shepherd and Walter Cook; The Botanic Garden, Wellington A New Zealand History 1840 - 1987 Highly recommended for the story of the Garden. This article is significantly sourced from this book.

R. Winsome Shepherd Travers, William Thomas Locke 1819–1903 Lawyer, magistrate, politician, explorer, naturalist, photographer http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/1t105/travers-william-thomas-locke

Other sources:

William Travers (politician)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Travers_%28politician%29
Mr. Williiam [sic] Thomas Locke Travers. Wellington: The Cyclopedia Company Limited. 1897. http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-Cyc01Cycl-t1-body-d4-d26-d6.html .

TRAVERS, William Thomas Locke (1819–1903). Lawyer, politician, and naturalist http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/1966/travers-william-thomas-locke

Christchurch's Oldest House http://canterburyheritage.blogspot.co.nz/2008/10/christchurchs-oldest-house.html

TRAVERS, William Thomas Locke Phtographs http://canterburyphotography.blogspot.co.nz/2009/07/travers.html

William Thomas Locke TRAVERS General notes http://www.thekingscandlesticks.com/webs/pedigrees/12568.html

W.H.L Travers biographical http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/theme.aspx?irn=2683

Travers photographs - some examples
http://mp.natlib.govt.nz/search/?l=en&s=a&q=travers+photographs

Henry Hammersley Travers, The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District] http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-Cyc01Cycl-t1-body-d4-d117-d6.html

Henry Hammersley Travers
http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/theme.aspx?irn=2683

A number of other sites list biographical data, but with little new content.

CONTENTS

Part 1    Introduction
Part 2    Zoo controversy
Part 3    Wellington City  Transfer
Part 4    Other Interests
Part 5    Burial
Part 6    Sources and resources
Part 7     Plants etc named for Travers

Part 7 Plants etc. named for or by WTL Travers and/or his son (*)

The list is primarily from a Google search. It is probably incomplete.
?” indicates a questionable listing, a synonum or similar, or may not be connected with the NZ Travers's
*” indicates most probably relates to son

Hebe traversii from eastern South Island
Dracophyllum traversii In the North Island scattered from Waima Forest south to near Taumarunui, East Cape and the southern Central Volcanic Plateau. In the South Island mostly westerly from North West Nelson to Central Otago and eastern Fiordland
Olearia traversii
Archeria traversii
Aciphylla traversii from eastern Marlborough Chatham Islands
Celmisia traversii Tasman Mountains as far south as the Wangapeka Saddle; along the main divide from St Arnaud Range to about Doubtful Valley; scattered populations in mountains south of Wairau Valley to Hanmer; Shale Peak, Canterbury; eastern Fiordland from Key Summit to the Hump and Cameron mountains; Mararoa Valley; Takitimu Mountains
Brachyglottis traversii Senecio traversii F.Muell. (1861) South Island, Nelson
Lophomyrtus x ralphii (hybrid of: L. bullata and L. Obcordata) Cultivar name: Lophomyrtus x ralphii 'Traversii'
Common name: Lophomyrtus traversii
Myosotis traversii var.cinerascens extinct
Pseudowintera traversii, is a compact shrub up to one metre tall. It grows naturally only in the northwest corner of the South Island, ????
Carex traversii ?​​​
Petroica traversi (Buller, 1872). The Black Robin or Chatham Island Robin (*)
  Xymene traversi a species of predatory sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusc in the family Muricidae, the rock snails or murex snail
Powelliphanta traversi tararuaensis rare, giant predatory land snail,.Horowhenua
Cyttus traversi  Hutton, 1872 KING DORY Southeast Atlantic: to south coast of Australia and New Zealand. ?
Traversia lyalli (Lyall's wren) Chaatham Island now extinct (*)
Mesoplodon traversii (Gray, 1874)  Bahamondi's Beaked Whale, spade-toothed beaked whale collected in 1872 by H. H. Travers *
Euchiton traversii (Hook.f.) Holub aka Gnaphalium traversii Hook.f., var. traversii
Griffithsia traversii Chatham Islands *?




CONTENTS

Part 1    Introduction
Part 2    Zoo controversy
Part 3    Wellington City  Transfer
Part 4    Other Interests
Part 5    Burial
Part 6    Sources and resources
Part 7     Plants etc named for Travers