Isabel Hindmarsh Guinness




Isabel Hindmarsh Guinness & Frederick Kissel

Frederick Templeton Manheim Kissel, 1939

Born in 1890

On 1 December 1909, in Reefton, she married Frederick Templeton Manheim Kissel; they were to have five children. Frederick at this time Selwyn's chief engineer, with river diversion and irrigation responsibilities.

Frederick was born at Templeton, Canterbury, on 27 March 1881, the son of Catherine Sutherland, a Scotswoman, and her husband, George Phillip Kissel, a German storekeeper.  In 1905 he graduated BSc in mechanical engineering from the University of New Zealand. After a year's work on construction of the railway line to Arthur's Pass, he became an assistant engineer and made the first survey at Lake Coleridge, Central Canterbury, between 1905 and 1907.

In 1911, after reporting on the hydroelectric power potential of Lake Coleridge, Kissel was appointed there as first resident assistant engineer by the Public Works Department. That year the department's electrical branch was established to build the government's first power station, and he became involved in tunnelling and civil engineering. After the station had been completed in 1915, Kissel was transferred to Wellington. Mangahao, the government's first North Island power station, became his responsibility from 1920 to 1924. Then, following his investigations overseas into the latest hydroelectric technology, he was appointed chief electrical engineer. He held that position until the State Hydro-electric Department was constituted in 1945. Kissel was general manager until his retirement in 1948.

During his 24-year regime, electricity changed from an uncertain source of energy available only to isolated groups to a standard, reliable power supply available to all through a national system. This system attracted such world interest that in 1934 Kissel was invited to London to describe it. However, he was unable to go because Isabel was ill. She died in 1935.

Frederick went on to marry Thyrza Irene Maria Cornwall on 16 June 1943 at Kilbirnie, Wellington. She died only 5 years later, in 1948. In 1954 Fred received the F. W. MacLean Citation for his 'exceptional and distinguished service'.

On 17 December 1955, he married a widow, Eva Collett (née Kim). Frederick died at Wellington on 15 July 1962, survived by his third wife, and three daughters and two sons from his first marriage.

* Info on Frederick Kissel taken from NZ Archives

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