The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]
Ohariu Valley is ten miles from Wellington, and about three miles west from the Johnsonville Railway Station. The residents of the Valley are chiefly engaged in pastoral and agricultural pursuits. There is no telegraph office, but a telephone connects with the nearest telegraph station. Education for the young is provided by a public school, at which the average attendance is about fifty. Mails for Ohariu Valley close daily at Wellington on Tuesdays and Fridays at 6 a.m., arriving at Ohariu on the same days at 4 p.m. The return mail closes on Tuesdays and Fridays at Ohariu Valley at 2 p.m., arriving in Wellington at 10.5 p.m.
Ohariu Valley Public School occupies a central position in the district, being pleasantly situated on an eminence opposite the Anglican Church. The building is a substantial wooden structure, adjoining which the master's house is situated. Between forty and fifty children attend the school, the headmaster being assisted by a pupil teacher and a sewing mistress.
Mr. Donald Munro, who filled the position of headmaster of the Ohariu School from 1891 to 1896, was born in 1837 near Bonar Bridge, Sutherlandshire, Scotland. After attending the local Free Church school he served five years as a pupil teacher, and went to the Glasgow Free Church Training School for two years, gaining a second-class certificate. Subsequently for three-and-a-half years before leaving the Old Land, Mr. Munro was in Ross-shire. In 1863 he landed in Lyttelton by the “David G. Fleming,” when he was appointed to teach at a private school. For twelve years afterwards he was at the Hampden Public School in Otago, being transferred to Orari in South Canterbury, where he remained for several years. In 1888 Mr. Munro was appointed headmaster of Kaitoke School, where he remained till transferred to Ohariu Valley He was married in 1863 to a daughter of the late Mr. D. Campbell, of Creich, Bonar Bridge, settler, and leaves a son, who is married and settled. Mr. Munro died suddenly on the 21st of September, 1896, his widow surviving him.
The late Mr. D. Munro.
Best, James, Farmer, Ohariu Valley. The son of the late Mr. George Best, the subject of this article was born in the Valley in 1861, and was brought up to a country life. He purchased the farm of 200 acres he now occupies in 1884, and has added 200 acres of leasehold since that time, his flock numbering 700 sheep, besides cattle and horses. In 1885 Mr. Best was married to a daughter of Mr. James Taylor, settler, Tawa Flat, and has two sons and two daughters.
Bryant, James, Settler, Ohariu Valley. One of the oldest settlers of the band of pioneers who arrived in Port Nicholson in 1840, Mr. Bryant still survives hale and hearty, notwithstanding his great age. Born in Sharphan, Devonshire, England, in 1812, he became foreman gardener of Sir William Molesworth's estate at Pencarrow, Cornwall. Coming to New Zealand per ship “Duke of Roxburgh,” on which he acted as doctor's mate, he was for about two years employed as superintendent of Mr. Francis Molesworth's estate at the Hutt. For twenty years Mr. Bryant resided in the Hutt Valley, during which he laid out the gardens on Mr. Molesworth's property—now owned by Mr. Riddiford. He was eleven years in Mr. Ludlam's service, and laid out and planted his gardens—better known as “McNab's.” Afterwards he leased a large garden and orchard, but as he could not obtain the freehold. Mr. Bryant removed to Johnsonville, where he had an hotel for three years. In 1862 he settled in the Ohariu Valley, purchasing fifty-three acres of land, which he still holds. Shortly before embarking for New Zealand in 1839, Mr. Bryant was married to Miss Pollard, a native of Cornwall, who died in 1862, leaving six sons and four daughters—all married—of whom four sons and four daughters still survive. Mr. Bryant has forty-six grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
Fisher, Cornelius, Sheep Farmer, Ohariu Valley, near Johusonville. One of the old Port Nicholson settlers who came out under the auspices of the New Zealand Company per ship “Lord William Bentinck” in 1840, Mr. Fisher has been a resident in the Valley for eight years, and was previously in the Hutt and Porirua districts. Born in 1829 in Berkshire, England, for some years after his arrival he was a master whaler. During the native troubles he served as a volunteer, being present at several skirmishes in 1845. Before the Manawatu district was opened up for settlement Mr. Fisher was one of the first men to carry his swag through that part of the Colony.
Kelly, Thomas, J.P., Farmer, Ohariu Valley. Born in Tipperary, Ireland, Mr. Kelly came out to Melbourne in 1858, and three years later to Otago, where he was at Gabriel's Gully rush, subsequently taking part at Hokitika. He settled in Ohariu Valley in 1866, acquiring twenty-five acres of land. The homestead he now occupies, which is situated on a lovely knoll, is all that could be desired. In 1867 Mr. Kelly was married to a daughter of Mr. Thomas Bassett, of Ohariu Valley.
Majendie, Frank Anson, Farmer, Ohariu Valley. A native of Staffordshire, England, where he was born in 1843, Mr. Majendie came to the Colony, per ship “Rangitoto,” in 1866. In the following year he settled in the Valley, in which he has since lived, with the exception of five years in Sydney and Hawkes Bay. Mr. Majendie has been prominent in local politics: as a member of the Hutt County Council, chairman of the Ohariu Valley School Committee, president of the New Zealand Counties Association—of which he was one of the promoters—and member of the United District Hospital Board, representing Horowhenua County, he has done good service. He has also taken interest in the Wellington Agricultural and Pastoral Association, and as an exhibitor of horses and dogs he has carried off prizes. Mr. Majendie was married in 1890 to the widow of the late Mr. William France, of Ohariu Valley.