The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]
In the Purua Riding of the County of Wanganui, Fordell is a station on the New Plymouth-Foxton section of Government Railways, thirteen miles south-east of Wanganui and 138 from Wellington. There are combined postal, telegraphic, and railway offices, money orders and postal notes being issued, and savings bank business transacted; daily mails are received and despatched. The township contains a population of 151, and the outlying districts, where there are many grand farms, 187 additional. The local school is known as the Warrengate Public School.
Fordell Railway Station. The station is on the east side of the read, in close proximity to the settlement. The buildings are of the usual description, and there is a goods-shed. The post-office is situated at the station. Wool, agricultural produce, and stock from the Kauangaroa, Mangamahu, Mangawhero, and Upper Wangaehu districts, find an outlet at this station.
Mr. Arthur Joseph Bellworthy, Station-master, Telegraphist, and Postmaster, at Fordell, was born at Eton, Buckinghamshire, and was educated at the public school, Eton. He learned his profession of telegraphy at Windsor, spending three years-and-a-half in the department there. He came to New Zealand in 1883, and remained for a time at Port Chalmers, page 1343 Invercargill, and Dunedin, receiving an appointment at Dunedin as telegraph operator. He was afterwards stationed at Wellington, and occupied the post of accountant at the railway station, which he retained for five years. Mr. Bellworthy was then transferred to the charge of the Kaitoke railway station, on the Wellington-Wairarapa line, and subsequently was appointed officer-in-chargeat Fordell, where Mr. and Mrs. Bellworthy are very well liked.
Warrengate Public School, Fordell. The Warrengate Public School was established about 1883. It is a fairly large building, and has convenient playgrounds, and a good dwelling-house, which is occupied by the headmastes, Mr. L. J. Watkin. The roll numbers sixty-six, with an average attendance of about fifty. It is conducted by Mr. Watkin and one pupil-teacher, but it is anticipated that a third teacher will shortly he needed.
Mr. L. J. Watkin is the Headmaster of the Warrengate Public School, as the school at Fordell is called. He was born in New Plymouth, and is the son of the well-known and greatly-respected Rev. W. J. Watkin, whose father was one of New Zealand's earliest missionaries sent out by the Wesleyan Methodist connexion. Mr. Watkin was educated in various parts of the Colony, finishing at the Auckland Grammar School. He is the holder of the certificate known as D3, and had the good fortune to come out at the head of all his examinations. His first appointment as pupil-teacher was at Hunterville, and he was subsequently in the public school at Bulls as pupil-teacher. Several members of the Rev. Mr. Watkin's family have made reputations for themselves in educational matters. The rev. gentleman himself, under all the disadvantages of early colonisation, has ever been to the fore in all scholastic attainments. His son, Mr. L. J. Watkin, the subject of this sketch, is a worthy representative of his father's family, and is exceedingly popular as a schoolmaster. He is continuing his studies, but his inclinations have led him into the department of art, in which he has already made considerable progress, having passed with marked success several of the Kensington examinations in connection with the Technical School. He is studying under the tuition of Mr. David Blair, F.L.S., of Wanganui Technical School, whose qualifications and eminence in this department are proverbial.
Fordell Hotel (Isaac: Guthric, proprietor). This hotel is situated some eight miles from Wanganui and close to the Fordell Railway Station, where all wool and other produce raised in the Wangaehu Valley, Maungakaretu, and the Upper Turakina Valley find an outlet. The building contains seventeen rooms eight of which are utilised as bedrooms, the remainder being used as dining-room, sitting-rooms, etc. Good stabling and paddock-accommodation is also provided. Mr. Guthric, the proprietor, hails from the North of Ireland, where, he was born in 1858. At the age of twenty-one he arrived in Otago, and was soon appointed manager of a sheep-run belonging to Mr. F. Ashley. He was subsequently manager for Mr. John Peat, in the North Island, and for the Hon. Mr. Rolleston, in Canterbury. Coming back to the North Island, he managed a run for Messrs. Ellis and Robinson for three years, and prior to taking over the Fordell Hotel was in charge of the Mangamahu Hotel for two years. In 1882 Mr. Guthrie married Miss Dudley, and has two daughters.
Mangamahu Hotel (Arthur Ellis, proprietor). This hotel, which was established in 1893, is a wooden building containing twenty rooms—twelve well-furnished bedrooms, four sitting-rooms, a large dining-room, a billiard-room (with one of Alcock's tables), kitchen, etc. The hotel is twenty miles from Fordell, at the junction of three roads—the Upper Wangachu, the Ridge, and Mangamahu Creek roads. Mr. Ellis was born in Yorkshire, and came out to Australia in 1874, returning to England after four years. He came out again in 1879, and soon settled down at Mangamahu. He has always taken an active part, in local politics, having been a member of the road board and of the school committee. Mr. Ellis married Miss Farley, and has two sons and two daughters.
McLaughlan, Patrick, General Blacksmith, Fordell Farriery, Fordell. Telegraphic address, “McLaughlan, Fordell.” Bankers, National Bank of New Zealand, Wanganui. Mr. McLaughlan is a native of County Tyrone, Ireland, but left the Old World for New Zealand in 1875, per “Dover Castle,” and, during the same year, arrived at the Northern Capital. After spending some three years in Auckland and suburbs, mainly Otahuhu, he came South and established himself as above, in 1879. Mr. McLaughlan's premises are fairly large and most centrally situated, next door to Mr. Ciochetto's store, one of the best in the district. Though so long away from Auckland, Mr. McLaughlan has very pleasant recollections of that beautiful city and surroundings, and is well pleased to have his memory refreshed by any old Aucklanders passing through the district.
Cameron, Charles, Settler, “Fassifern,” Fordell. Mr. Cameron was born in 1821 in Argyllshire, Scotland, and accompanied his parents to the Colony in the ship “Blenheim,” which page 1344 arrived at Wellington on the last day of 1840. He first served with the Polynesian Company at Porirua, and was the means of saving lives, by receiving timely warning from some friendly Maoris of an intended massacre, of which he gave notice. He it was, too, who discovered a plot to murder Colonel Wakefield and his party, when on their way to Taranaki. Mr. Cameron was the first person to take a mob of 800 sheep and 200 head of cattle from Wellington to Wanganui, for the supply of the troops. After some hair-breadth escapes from the Maoris, by whom he was kept prisoner on one occasion for thirty-six hours, he reached Wanganui, and delivered over his stock complete. Mr. Camerou belongs to the clan which turned out so many brilliant soldiers in the latter part of last century and the beginning of this. At one time he was one of the largest landowners in the district. He married Miss McKinnon, and has two sons and three daughters.
Cranston, Edmund Mumford, Farmer, “Summer Vale,” Mangamahu, Fordell. Mr. Cranston is a native of Wanganui, where he was born in 1868. His parents removed to Fordell in 1879, and eight years later the subject of this sketch took up about 1000 acres in the Maungakaretu Block, where he has wince resided. About half the land has been laid down in grass, and it supports a flock of healthy Romney-Lincoln sheep, which Mr. Cranston considers are more robust, come to maturity earlier, and bear closer stocking than pure-bred Lincolns.
Mr. E. M. Cranston.
Harper, Thomas, Farmer, “The Shades,” Mangamahu, Fordell. Mr. Harper was born in 1868 at Wanganui, and received his education in the neighbourhood. In 1889 he took up land in the Turakina Valley, and had to cut seven miles of track to get to the property. He afterwards purchased Mr. Lewis' interest in “The Shades,” Upper Wangaehu, and with his brother George, whom he took into partnership, now has an estate of 2300 acres, nearly all cleared and grassed, carrying a good flock of crossbred sheep and a herd of shorthorn cattle. The homestead is situated on a site overlooking the Wangaehu River and surrounding country. Mr. Harper was married in 1892 to Miss Young, and has two sons and one daughter.
Harper, George C. B., Farmer, “The Shades,” Mangamahu, Fordell. Born in 1870 at Wanganui, and educated at his birthplace and at Turakina, Mr. Harper entered the service of the Bank of Australasia in Palmerston North, and was subsequently employed in the Bank of New Zealand in the same town. After leaving the banking service. Mr. Harper entered into partnership with his brother, Mr. Thomas Harper, and has now settled down as a farmer. Their estate is described in the article on Mr. Thomas Harper. In 1893 Mr. Harper married Miss McKenize, of Wellington.
McDonald, James, Farmer, “Glenalladale,” Mangamahu, Fordell. Born in 1843 in Caithness, Scotland, the late Mr. McDonald came out to Victoria in 1861, and almost immediately crossed over to the Otago goldfields. There he plied with success cattle and sheep-dealing until 1867, when he returned to his native country. He came back to New Zealand in 1869, and was one of the first to take up land on the Waitotara Flat after the Maori war. He was also interested in proportion at Fordell and on the banks of the Turakina River. Mr. McDonald was the pioneer settler of the Mangamahu District, and, in partnership with Mr. Hugh Grant, brought thither the first stock in 1872. He met his death through endeavouring to save a boy, who was surrounded by a bush fire on the property. Mr. McDonald, in his attempt to reach the boy through the fallen bush, was overtaken by the flames and perished. The youth was saved by a man who came in a different direction. page 1345 The late Mr. McDonald was married in 1874 to Miss Grant, of Turakina, who, with her family of six daughters and a son, lives on the property.
The late Mr. J. McDonald.
McKay, Daniel, Former, “Denlair,” Fordell. Mr. McKay, who was born in 1836 in County Antrim, Ireland, came to Melbourne in the latter part of the fifties. After five years in Victoria he landed at Port Chalmers, and spent some time on the goldfields, without much success. He afterwards engaged in horse-dealing taking the first mob of horses—thirty in number—to Hokitika. There being neither buyers nor feed, the whole lot perished. Mr. McKay owned the first team of horses in Charleston, and spent three years travelling between there and the Buller River. In 1879 he visited the North Island, and went in for land speculation, several properties passing through his hands. He was married in 1879 to Miss Lynch, and has one daughter. Mr. McKay re-visited his native land some time ago.
Mr. and Mrs. D. McKay.
McLean, Finlay, Farmer, “Bird Grove,” Puriri, Fordell. Mr. McLean hails from Invernesshire, Scotland, where he was born in 1839. He is a lineal descendant of the famous family of McLeans of Urquhart, known as the “McLeans of the North,” from whom the lands of Urquhart passed into the hands of Grant; and his ancestors on both sides were active supporters of the Stuarts. At the age of twenty-two, Mr. McLean left his native heather for Australia, landing in Melbourne in 1862. The country not suiting him, he crossed over to Otago, where he engaged in sheep and cattle-dealing for six years, subsequently going to the West Coast diggings. After some time he re-visited Melbourne on his way to Scotland, where he arrived just before his father's death. Returning to Port Chalmers in 1869, he eventually came to the North Island, and was the first settler on Waitotara Flat after the Maori war. He took up his present holding in 1872, and now possesses a compact farm. Mr. McLean was married in 1872 to Miss Williamson, of Auckland, and has seven sons and two daughters.page 1346
The Riverley Station, Kauangaroa, Fordell, is managed by Mr. Hugh Middleton, who was born in 1863 in Aberdeenshire. His early days were spent on his father's farm in Kincardineshire, and in 1886 became out, to Port Chalmers. After a short, tour of the South Island, he crossed Cook's Strait, and succeeded to the management of the Riverley Station. Mr. Middleton has made great improvements in the breeding of the stock on the property, and also in the practical working of the station.
Whiteman, Walter, Farmer, “Glengarr,” Mangamahu, Fordell. Born in 1838 at Dunoon, Argyllshire, Scotland, where he passed his carly years, Mr. Whiteman sailed in 1859 from Bristol in the ship “William Miles,” and landed at Lyttelton, the Canterbury Plains being covered with snow at the time. He went to Otago in company with Captain Baldwin, and purchased a sheeprun on the Molyneux. On the breaking-out of the Otago goldfields, he sold the run and went to Gabriel's Gully, and afterwards to Waitahuna, where he found the first gold, saving ten ounces from the first dish, but very little, afterwards. Mr. Whiteman subsequently took up land in Southland, but after a time sold out and went to Victoria for three years, becoming manager of a cattle-run of 200,000 acres. In 1867 he returned to New Zealand, settling in Hawkes Bay as an auctioneer and cattle-breeder. Mr. Whiteman put up the first sawmill at Te Aute. Removing subsequently to Wangunui, he re-visited his native land, going Home in the ship “St. Leonards.” Coming back to the Colony in 1887, he took up his present holding of 2600 acres. Mr. Whiteman was married in 1862 to Miss McClosky, of Riverton, and has had nine children, of whom four sons and two daughters survive.
Euera Whakaahu Tekahu (Edward Sutherland), Farmer, Kauangaroa. Born in 1855 in Matatera, Wangaehu, Mr. Sutherland now resides at Kauangaroa, and comes from the Ngawairiki-Ngatiapa tribe, his father being Nat. Daniel Sutherland, a native of Newcastle. In 1866 he, as a boy, followed the native army of Sir George Grey to the Taranaki District. He relates that on the trip up they upon one occasion ran short of “tucker” and resorted to killing the pack-horses, and during this time they had their first “brush” with the natives, wounding three of their chiefs. At the latter end of Titokowaru's time in 1866, a big fight occurred at Ngataotemanui, where the natives, placing themselves on the tops of trees, picked off the officers of the English one by one and afterwards drove them back to Waihi (Hawera). The Europeans returned to bring away the dead and wounded, but found that they had been eaten. Some time later Mr. Sutherland was as the battle of Okotuku, near Waverley, when a good many whites and many more Maoris word killed and scores wounded. A few days after this skirmish the party moved down to Patea, a small company being sent on ahead with the provisions, etc., but they had not gone further than Whenuakura when the enemy attached them, killing the shafter of the dray. As soon as the little band saw the plight they were in they made the best of it, but three ran straight for Patea, when two mounted troopers at Patea, learning what had happened, immediately galloped up to help those surrounded, and the natives upon seeing the dust that was made imagined it was a large party and at once decamped. The next morning they started in pursuit of the Maoris and met them at Otautu. It was a foggy morning, and the natives, after wounding a few of the attacking party, removed before the fog lifted. The Europeans then found a quantity of meat preserved by the native process in oil (Hinu), and when the Maoris of the party were going to eat it they discovered in it the flesh of Europeans, so of course they threw it away. Mr Sutherland has on several occasions been elected speaker for the tribe, and speaks good English. In 1880 he first made his appearance in the Land Court, acting as clerk without fee, and in the same year was clerk to Major Kemp at Murimotu, in Rangipo Block. In 1881 he went up with Major Kemp and a party of ninety for the sittings of the Land Court at Taupo, and the first night saved Major Kemp's life, when Hoani-Te Mutu-mutu attempted to shoot him. He has also given some attention to the horse, and has a number of his own breeding in training. Mr. Sutherland married a daughter of Puki, and has a family of two boys and three girls. He is a large landholder at Turakina, Maputahi, Omurehore, and Aromango.