(1799-1883) Land owner and Philanthropist
Born in Ireland Costley arrived in Auckland in 1841 and purchased tracts of land at a time when it was empty bracken clad countryside.
For forty years the town of Auckland sprang up around him - to some degree on land owned by him.
Although well known as a landlord he never acquired the reputation as a hard person.
A well known Auckland personality, he lived very quietly and unostentiously.
At his death the public was astonished at how wealthy he had been and the scale of the bequests he had stipulated in his will.
Costley bequeathed to each of the following seven institutions the sum of £12,150:
The Auckland Hospital
The Costley Home for the aged poor
The Costley Training Institute
St. Stephen’s Orphan Home
The Sailors’ Home
The Public Library
The Auckland Museum.
Other organisations received smaller bequests;
The Parnell Women’s Home
The Parnell Children’s Home
The Roman Catholic Orphanages at Ponsonby and Takapuna
The Little Sisters of the Poor, Ponsonby
The Helping Hand Mission
The Door of Hope
The Prisoners’ Aid Society
It is quite likely that Costley’s bequest set an example for other Auckland residents. The period immediately following the Costley bequest saw several similar acts.
Bequests of land, money and artworks were subsequently been made to the city by eminent people possibly spured by Costley’s example.
These include; James Tannock MacKelvie, James Williamson, Dr John Elam, Sir George Grey, Sir Maurice O’Rouke, Sir Henry Brett, the Nathans, the Dingwalls, the Campbells, the Dilworths, the Hellabys, Arthur Myers, Willian Elliot John Court and the family of Moss Davis etc.
Edward costley apparently never married and he left no decendents.
His grave was disturbed by the construction of the motorway in the 1960s, his remains were interred in the vault beneath the Anglican memorial.
Unlike the Grave Markers of the other graves which were disturbed his monument was preserved. It was reerected just to the south of the Anglican Memorial.