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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

Waituna West

Waituna West.

Situate 115 miles from Wellington and fourteen miles from Makino—the nearest telegraph office—on the Foxton-New Plymouth Railway line, this settlement is in the Waituna Biding of the Kiwitea County and in the Electoral District of Rangitikei. It has, however, its local post-office, which is also a telephone bureau, a daily mail being received and despatched by coach. The Waituna School District is connected with the Wanganui Education Board. The district is noted for its lovely farms, smiling homesteads being dotted here and there, surrounded by well-kept gardens and orchards. Feilding and Marton divide honours as market town for the district.

Ranson and Son (James Ranson, senior, and James Rauson, junior), Storekeepers, Waituna. Bankers, Bank of New Zealand, Feilding. Telegraphic address, “Ranson, Waituna.” The store is a large and well-appointed two-story building, with dwelling-house containing eight rooms attached at the back. In addition to the store is the bakery, which turns out a large quantity of loaves per week, and supplies the settlers with their “daily bread” for many miles around. The shop contains all classes of goods, and many a well-appointed business place in a city could not show a more complete or better selected stock. Mr. Ranson, junior, who page 1260
Mr. J. Ranson, Junr.

Mr. J. Ranson, Junr.

manages the business, spares neither trouble nor expense to supply the wants of his numerous customers. A great portion of his stock is imported from Sydney, and the remainder from Wellington. The present business has been established for four years. The firm are agents for the following:—Royal Exchange Assurance Society, the Loan and Mercantile, and Wanganui Sash and Door Factory. Born at Sandhurst, Victoria, in 1871, and educated at Wellington and latterly at the Young Men's Academy, St. Helier's, Jersey, the junior partner came to New Zealand in 1889 and established the present business, in which his father, who is a retired contractor and who is now farming at Bunnythorpe, is associated. Mr. Ranson, junior, married a daughter of Mr. Shewbridge, a well-known Wellington settler, and has one son. He is postmaster, and has a most complete office attached to the store, wherein the ordinary business of post and telegraph office is carried on by his staff. A large number of hands is employed in this thriving business, the firm being well known and popular.

Gemmell, John, Sheepfarmer, Waituna. Mr. Gemmell has a fine property consisting of some 3769 acres of first-class sheep country, and runs a flock of 9500 Lincoln sheep, and a herd of 250 shorthorn cattle. The estate (which was originally part of the well-known Cluny Hills estate) is subdivided into paddocks, and well grassed and watered. The homestead is a handsome two-story building facing the main road. The usual farm buildings are situated at the back of the house, and some distance away is a large woolshed, erected on piles five feet above the ground; shearers' cottages, flower garden, and half-an-acre of orchard comprise the rest of the home portion of this splendid property. Mr. Gemmell was born in Ayrshire in 1847, and was educated in his native shire. In 1865 he resolved to make New Zealand his home, and, coming out by the “Paeroa,” landed in Dunedin. His first start in colonial life was the purchase of a fast little schooner known as the “Janet Ramsay,” in which vessel he for several years carried on an extensive and successful trade on the West Coast. On retiring from the sea, Mr. Gemmell came to the North Island and with a partner (Mr. Shields) purchased a run of 20,000 acres in the Hawkes Bay province. This property he retained some three years. Then, in partnership with Mr. M. R. Miller, he took a property of 25,000 acres at Wairoa, where he remained for nine years. Whilst there he took a prominent part in public matters, being chairman of the County Council, and of the School Board, member of the Wairoa Harbour Board, and a leading member of the Wairoa Jockey Club. In 1866 he was offered and accepted the position of manager (on behalf of the Bank of New Zealand) of the well-known Chesterhope and Prior Park estates in Hawkes Bay, in which position he remained for six years. On the sale of these large properties Mr. Gemmell purchased his present estate. In Masonic circles Mr. Gemmell has for a long time been attached to the Victoria hodge of Hawkes Bay. He is married to a daughter of Mr. T. Webb, well-known in Oamaru, and has four sons and five daughters.

Mr. J. Gemmell.

Mr. J. Gemmell.

Macdougall, William, Farmer, Waituna. Mr. Macdougall is a very old settler in the Rangitikei District, having resided there for some twenty years, during the last eight of which he has lived at Waituna. He was born in Argyllshire in the year 1847 and received his education in the Board schools. He then spent some sixteen years in agricultural pursuits in his native country, and in the early sixties came to New Zealand in the ship “West Australia.” Immediately on his arrival in New Zealand he went up to Rangitikei, and after spending some four years on different stations, acquired a property of some 200 acres, where he remained for the page 1261 next twenty years. Whilst on this farm he took great interest in all local affairs, and for a number of years acted as a member of the Rangitikei School Committee and other local bodies. For many years he was a member of the Turakina Rilles, serving the necessary time to entitle him to a grant of land. As a ploughman Mr. Macdougall has been most successful at every show in which he has taken part; in fact, he has never been beaten, and has won competitions in Rangitikei, Turakina, and Wanganui for ten years running. At present he occupies a position on the Waituna School Board, and is also a member of the Manawatu and West Coast Agricultural and Pastoral Society. He has been usually selected as judge for all ploughing competitions since he retired. Mr. Macdougall's homestead on the Waituna Road is a picturesque spot, being surrounded with trees, among which the house—a two story wooden building containing some ten rooms—stands a little distance from the roadway. Mr. Macdougall has named his farm “Dunolly,” and the property is well known as being a really good one. Mr. Macdougall is married to a daughter of Mr. W. Drummond, of Argyllshire, and has a family of four sons and five daughters, most of whom are also settled in the Waituna district.

Murray, John Hammond, Sheepfarmer, Waituna. Mr. Murray's property is situate in the Waituna Valley, and is an extensive and valuable lease and freehold estate, consisting of 1226 freehold and 1100 leasehold of first-class sheep-grazing country. A flock of 6000 Lincoln sheep and 200 head of mixed cattle constitute the stock now running on the estate. The Waituna River runs through the property. At the time of writing (1896) a large woolshed was in course of erection, besides numerous and extensive alterations in the farm buildings. In front of the homestead, which is a nine-roomed house, is nearly an acre of fine orchard in good condition. The property was originally in the possession of Mr. Murray, senior, who has since retired to Marton, and his son carries on the station. The subject of this sketch was born in Wanganui in 1866, and received John Hammond Murray his education at the Wanganui Academy and Wanganui Collegiate School. He assisted his father in the general storekeeping line, and remained with him for some time. He takes a keen and practical interest in his district, and is always willing and anxious to further its interests in every way he possibly can. He has acted as one of the trustees for the cemetery, and has several times been asked to become warden of the Otamakapua Block, on which he has a good farm. He was for many years secretary of the President Garfield Lodge in Wanganui, and was an enthusiastic member of the Rifle Association. He takes delight in hunting, and follows the hounds with the Rangitikei Club, of which he is a member.

Short, Ernest, Sheepfarmer, Waituna. Mr. Short possesses a fine property situated in Waituna, known as “Parorangi.” The estate consists of about 3100 acres, both free and leasehold, and runs 11,000 sheep, chiefly of the Romney breed, and 250 head of Hereford and shorthorn cattle. The homestead of nine rooms faces the main road, and there are good stables and loose box, a large woolshed, and a sheep dip, the last of which is supplied from a tank capable of containing 19,000 gallons. Mr. Short was born in Wellington in 1872. His parents removed to Feilding, where Mr. Short received his education at the public schools, and after completing his course joined his uncle, Mr. W. Baker, of Makino, in agricultural farming. With this gentleman he remained for several years. Some eight years ago he acquired the greater portion of his present property, to which he has gone on adding from time to time till it has reached its present size. Mr. Short is a member of the Manawatu and West Coast Agricultural and Pastoral Association. He is married to a daughter of Mr. J. Ashworth, who was the discoverer and one of the promoters of the well-known antimony mine at Endeavour Inlet. Mr. Short's family consists of two sons.

Mr. E. Short.

Mr. E. Short.