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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Otago & Southland Provincial Districts]

Mr. John Burnside

Mr. John Burnside , Of Okorowhare, Vauxhall, Anderson's Bay, was born in 1827 in Lanarkshire, Scotland, and arrived in New Zealand by the ship “Slains Castle,” on the 7th of November, 1852. He had learned farming in Canada, where he went in 1846. Subsequently he removed to New York, where he joined a party who chartered a vessel to proceed to the Californian gold diggings. On the way thither they put into Rio de Janiero, where Mr. Burnside left the party owing to constant scenes of drunkenness on board. He shipped to Valparaiso, where he joined the service of the Pacific Steam Navigation Company, trading between there and Panama. A year later Mr. Burnside shipped to San Francisco, and having purchased a team of mules and a cart he obtained an engagement to water the streets of the new city, which, in summer time, was a dusty place. He subsequently joined a vessel engaged in Island trading, and on arriving at Launceston, Tasmania, at the end of the voyage shipped for London. This proved an eventful trip, as the ship lost her masts, and her decks were swept by heavy seas, all her supply of fresh water was lost, and she had to put in to St. Helena for repairs. Misfortune followed the vessel, for on her arrival in the English Channel, in the foggy month of December, the captain mistook Oris Light for Beachy Head, and ran her on the rocks, which knocked
Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo.Mr. J. Burnside.

Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo.
Mr. J. Burnside.

a large hole in her hull. The ship, then in a sinking condition, was towed into London after an eventful voyage of five months. On his arrival home, Mr Burnside determined to give up all idea of a sea life and remain in the Old Country, but, soon changing his mind, he took a passage on the “Slains Castle” for the young colony of Otago. Amongst his fellow passengers were the Gillies family. On arrival in Dunedin Mr. Burnside and Mr. T. B. Gillies (afterwards Judge Gillies) bought land at Tokomairiro and carried on farming in partnership for a year. Mr. Burnside then removed to a place nearer Dunedin at Chain Hill, but sold out some time later and bought a farm adjoining his old property of Tokomairiro. When the diggings broke out Mr. Burnside and Mr. J. L. Gillies went to Gabriel's Gully, where they were very successful and subsequently opened a general store under the title of Gillies and Burnside. Later on the partners advantageously disposed of this business. Mr. Burnside then returned to Dunedin, and was appointed deputy under his father-in-law, the late Mr. John Gillies, who then held the position of Returning Officer and Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Mr. Burnside now lives in retirement at his residence at Vauxhall, and devotes his leisure to the healthy amusement of gardening. He married Miss Jessie Gillies, who died in August, 1892, and of a family of ten, six now (1904) are alive. The only son is Mr. John Arthur Burnside, the well known architect. Miss Kate Burnside is a missionary at Poonah, India, and two unmarried daughters live at home.