The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Otago & Southland Provincial Districts]
Alma may be described as a working man's settlement. It originally formed part of the Totara estate, the proprietors of which laid out Alma into sections of from two to thirty acres. The main south road passes through the district, as well as the south line of railway. The post office at Alma is three miles and a half from Oamaru, and the flag station, known as Deborah, two miles. The station is 162 feet above sea level. Agriculture and dairy farming are carried on by the settlers. who send milk to the Totara creamery. The nearest church and school are at Totara. The scenery is somewhat romantic, and a remarkable outcrop of stone on one of the hills, not far from the main road, has been well named the Fortifications. Alma is in the Kakanui riding of the county of Waitaki, and its population at the census of 1901 was 123, to which should be added thirty-four for Deborah and thirty-five for Fortifications, which may fairly be included in the district.
Cossens, James , Farmer, Fortifications, Alma. Mr. Cossens was born in May, 1833, in Forfarshire, Scotland, and came to Port Chalmers by the ship “Nelson” in 1863. He settled in the Clutha district, where he worked a mill for twelve years. Later on he took up farming till the flood of 1878. Mr. Cossens then sold out, and removed to the Oamaru district, where he invented a machine to quarry the well-known white stone, and worked the patent for fourteen years, when he disposed of his interests. Two years later, he bought twenty-six acres at Alma, on which he has erected a comfortable stone house, with a good view of land and sea. Mr. Cossens was married, in 1870, to a daughter of the late Mr. Charles Smith, of Forfarshire, Scotland, who came to New Zealand by the ship “E. P. Bouverie.”
Hollow, William , Farmer, Clifton Farm, Alma. Mr. Hollow was born in Cornwall, England, in 1852, and was brought up as a miner. He landed at Port Chalmers by the ship “Jessie Readman” in July, 1874, and settled in the Oamaru district, where he found employment in country life. He was subsequently engaged on the staff of the Oamaru Corporation gasworks for seventeen years, and only left with a view to benefit his health by a change of occupation. In 1898 Mr. Hollow leased Clifton Farm, a property of sixty-four acres. Mr. Hollow has been a member of the Order of Oddfellows since 1892. He is a member of the Totara school committee. Mr. Hollow was married, in 1875, to a daughter of the late Mr. John Dale, of Cornwall. At her death, ten years later, Mrs Hollow left three sons and three daughters. In 1886 Mr. Hollow contracted a second marriage with a daughter of the late Mr. William Row, of Cornwall, and has one daughter by this union.