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


Mosgiel , the largest town in the Taieri Plain, is on the main railway line, and about ten miles southward from Dunedin. It commands the trade of the North and East Taieri. Mr Arthur J. Burns, son of the Rev. Dr. Burns, founded the township, and named it after one of the farms held in Scotland by his grand-uncle, the famous poet, Robert Burns. The town is situated on what was once a swamp, having a basin of shingle and boulders thickly covered with alluvial deposit from the river and the surrounding hills. Mosgiel's climate is good and bracing. The streets are flat, straight and wide. Gordon road (named after General Gordon, of Khartoum), is the principal thoroughfare, and is well filled with shops, hotels, banks, churches, residences, and other buildings, which present an excellent appearance. Mr Burns, the founder of the town, established the local woollen factory, which was bought from him by the company which now owns it. Vehicles, pottery and agricultural implements are also produced in the township. Mosgiel has a telephone bureau, and every year the town is the scene of a horticultural and agricultural show. There is a recreation reserve of about six acres, used principally by cricket and football clubs. Mosgiel has six miles of streets, all formed and gravelled or metalled, and the footpaths are all asphalted or gravelled. It is likely to be connected ere long with Dunedin by a double railway line which should be the means of making it a very popular suburb. The Council has recently succeeded in floating a loan of £14,000, to carry out a scheme of drainage on the septic tank principle with a water supply by gravitation from the Silverstream. The reservoir will be on Gow's Hill, and the supply is based on an estimate of fifty gallons a day per head of the population.

The Mosgiel Borough Council consists of a Mayor, elected annually by the ratepayers, and of nine councillors. There are three wards—North, East, and West. The first meeting of the Council was held on the 11th of April, 1885. The first Mayor was Mr. Peter Dey, and Messrs J. H. Murdoch. page 630 H. H. Inglis. Alexander Barron, and Thomas Aitken have also held office. Members for 1904: Mayor, Mr. Thomas Aitken; Councillors, Messrs John Whyte, J. J. Ramsay. Frederick Seaton, Edward Wilson, W. C. Brown, A. R. Drakley, John Dicker, F. Marshall, and John Rowan, junior; Town Clerk, Mr. Donald Kennedy. The borough has an area of 967 acres; population, 1500; dwellings, 323; ratepayers, 330; rateable properties, 539; annual rateable value. £3430 10s; rate, 1s 3d in the pound; assets, at the 31st of March, 1904, £152 1s 5d; liabilities. £653 3s 2d.

The Taieri County Council holds its meetings on the first Friday of each month. at its offices in Mosgiel. The county comprises the districts of Kaikorai, Otokaia. North Taieri. East Taieri, Ontram, Deep Stream, Strath Taieri, and Maungatua. It has an area of 930 square miles, and a population of 7,197, of whom 3,446 are ratepayers. The capital value is £1,443,859, on which the Council levies a rate of one penny in the pound. Members of the Council for 1904: Mr. Robert Gibson (chairman) and Messrs Charles Samson, Walter Blackie, Thomas Christie, John Dow, Duncan McDonald, John Miller, and James Harrison. Clerk and Treasurer, Mr. John Logan; Engineer, Mr. B. B. Couston.

Allan, William , M.B.C.M. (Edinburgh), Mosgiel. Dr. Allan was born in Otago and educated at the Dunedin Boys' High School. He studied at the Otago University, and also at the Edinburgh University, where he obtained his M.B. degree in 1887. Shortly afterwards Dr. Allan returned to New Zealand, and in 1888 he purchased Dr. McCaw's practice at Mosgiel. Dr. Allan has always taken a prominent part in local affairs, has been president of the Taieri Agricultural and Pastoral Association, and chairman of the East Taieri school committee.

Mccaw, Hugh , M.B.C.M., Univ. Glasgow; Mosgiel. Dr. McCaw, who was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, studied at Glasgow and Edinburgh, and graduated at Glasgow University in 1877. The same year, accompanied by his father. Mr. Alexander McCaw, of Oamaru, his mother and one sister, he sailed for New Zealand in the “Timaru” arriving at Port Chalmers on the 6th of September, 1877. The East Taieri district at that time requiring the services of a medical practitioner, to succeed Dr. Inglis who had died a short time previously, Dr. McCaw settled at Mosgiel, and for ten years was engaged in the active practice of his profession, when, owing to impaired health, he retired, and has since carried on a consulting practice in the same locality. Dr. McCaw was for many years District Coroner, and since 1878 has been a Justice of the Peace for the colony. He has occupied the following positions in local bodies: vice-president of the Otago Medical Society, first president


Dr. H. McCaw.

Dr. H. McCaw.

of the Taieri Bowling Club, president of the Tateri Cricket Club, surgeon to the East Taieri Rifles, chairman of the Mosgiel Athenaeum Committee, president of the Taieri Tennis Club, and president of the Taieri Football Club. He married a daughter of Mr. Alexander Todd, of Islington, who arrived in the “Mooltan,” in 1849, and there is a family of five children.

Mccormick, William Milligan , M.B.C.M. (Glasgow), Mosgiel. Dr. McCormick was born in Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire, Scotland, and entered Glasgow University in 1890. graduating five years later. He first started to practise his profession at Creetown, Kircudbrightshire, Scotland, where, for two years and a half, he was parochial medical officer for the parish of Kirkmabreck, and medical officer for the societies of Oddfellows and Foresters. For the next three years he was assistant to Dr. Irving, Honorary Surgeon, Huddersfield Infirmary, and Police Surgeon, Huddersfield. During the South African war Dr. McCormick was medical officer on the No. 1 Hospital Ship. In 1904 he came to New Zealand and commenced practice at Mosgiel.

Cheyne, A. F., and Co. , Drapers and Outfitters, Gordon road, Mosgiel. This business, which was established in 1874 by Mr. William Cameron on a site opposite the present premises, has since increased to large proportions, and is the oldest firm of its kind in the Taieri. The present shop was erected in 1832, and is a lefty one storey brick building, with a frontage of over forty feet. There are two entrances from the street, and three large show windows, and a verandah. The goods displayed are of the highest quality, being imported by Mr. Cheyne from the leading houses in London, Paris and the Continent. General drapery, millinery, readymade clothing, and all articles pertaining to a first-class business, are stocked in great variety; and the proprietors employ a competent dressmaker, who has had experience in Melbourne and other large towns, Tailoring, in all its branches, is also satisfactorily carried on, and colonial and English tweeds, vicunas, serges, etc., are stocked. The goods are displayed most artistically both in the windows and the shop, and there is a large showroom in the rear. Fitting-rooms and workrooms adjoin the showroom, and a courteous, competent staff is employed. Since the business came into the hands of the present proprietor in 1899, it has grown considerably, and travellers, representing the firm, traverse the greater part of Otago. A large country business is carried on, and as everything is bought for cash, at the lowest prices, customers reap substantial benefits by trading with this well known firm.

Mr. Alexander F. Cheyne , the Proprietor was born in Dunedin, in 1869, and educated at the Union and George Street schools. After gaining experience in the firm of Herbert, Haynes and Co., and with Hallenstein Brothers, Dunedin, he entered the employment of Mr. William Cameron, at Mosgiel, and in 1899 acquired the business. Mr. Cheyne is a member of the Loyal Mosgiel page 631 Lodge Manchester Unity Independent Order of Oddfellows, and as a Freemason, belongs to Lodge St. John. No. 84, New Zealand Constitution. He has been a member of the East Taieri school committee. Mr. Cheyne was married, in 1896, to Miss Jeannie Ross, of Dunedin, and has one son and two daughters.

Christie, D., and Co. (David Christie and Robert Dixon), Drapers and Outfitters, Gordon road, Mosgiel. This business was established in June, 1903, and has increased to large dimensions. The building is of brick, one storey in height, with two entrances from the street. Three large show windows, dressed with skill, serve to display the attractive goods offered for sale. The office and fitting rooms are in the rear of the shop, while the work rooms are in an adjoining building outside. The commodious showroom contains a varied assortment of articles, which are displayed to their best advantage, and panel mirrors are placed in positions for the convenience of buyers. Besidos the show windows, the shop is well lighted by rear windows, the whole premises being airy, scrupulously clean, and up-to-date in every particular. The stock includes all kinds of drapery, millinery, clothing and haberdashery, most of the goods being imported from England and Europe. Dressmaking and tailoring in all their branches are carried out in a most satisfactory manner.

Messrs D. Christie And Co.'s Premises.

Messrs D. Christie And Co.'s Premises.

West Taieri Bridge.

West Taieri Bridge.

Mr. David Christie , the Senior Partner, was born at Saddle Hill in 1869, and is the son of a very old colonist. He received his education at the East Taieri school, and at the Normal School in Dunedin. After learning his business with the late Mr. G. G. Harper, draper. Mosgiel, with whom he remained for fifteen years, Mr. Christie opened his present establishment. Mr. Christie was married, in 1898, to a daughter of the late Captain Christopher, of Singleton, New South Wales, Australia, and has two sons and one daughter.

Mr. Robert Dixon , the Junior Partner, was born in Dunedin in 1876, and received his education at the Albany Street school. His first business engagement was with the D.I.C., Dunedin, where he remained for eight years. Afterwards he was with Messrs Brown, Ewing and Co., for six years, and left that firm to join Mr. Christie in opening their present business.

Wingfield, J. E, and Co. , Drapers and Outfitters, Gordon Road, Mosgiel. This well known business, which was established by Mr. G. G. Harper, in 1885. was acquired by the present proprietor in August, 1893. It is conducted in a two storey wooden building with a frontage of forty-five feet, and verandah running the whole length. There are two entrances to the building, which has two large show windows. The shop itself is divided into two rooms—the men's department and the general drapery department; and the show room, which is well lighted by means of skylights, is stocked with the most up-to-date models. The firm carries on a large and successful dressmaking business, and the fitting-rooms and workrooms page 632 are upstairs. In 1900. owing to the great increase in business, Mr. Hooper found it necessary to enlarge the building, and at the same time to increase his stock to much larger proportions, and this has greatly added to the popularity of the business.

Mr. John E. Wingfield , the Proprietor, was born in London, and educated at Hastings, on the southern coast of England. He served his apprenticeship as a draper with Messrs Hosmer and Co., of Kent. After coming to New Zealand he was for several years engaged with Messrs A. and T. Inglis, drapers, Dunedin, was subsequently head salesman with Messrs Carter and Co., of the same city, and in 1893 bought the business he now carries on at Mosgiel. Mr. Wingfield was married, in 1894, to a daughter of Mr. James Wills, of Dunedin, and has one son and one daughter.

Wright, Gilbert , Bootmaker, Mosgiel. Mr. Wright was born in Stepney, London, in 1853, and was educated at the Red Coat School, Stepney. After serving an apprenticeship with his father, he left for New
Mr. G. Wright.

Mr. G. Wright.

Zealand in the ship “Buckinghamshire,” and landed at Port Chalmers in 1874. For ten years he remained in Dunedin, where he was engaged in various occupations, and he afterwards went to Mosgiel to prospect for clay on the Taieri. In this he was so successful that Mr. Gore started a brickyard at Wingatui, and Mr. Wright worked with him for two years. In 1885 Mr. Wright started as a boot and shoe manufacturer in Mosgiel, and the business has largely increased under his enterprise and management. Mr. Wright was for some time a member of the Mosgiel Borough Council, and has been a member and chairman of the Mosgiel school committee. As a Freemason he is a member of Lodge St. John, No. 84, New Zealand Constitution, and is a Past District President of the United Ancient Order of Druids. Mr. Wright was one of the founders of the present Anglican church at Mosgiel, and has been connected with it ever since it was erected. Mr. Wright takes a great interest in musical affairs, and has been choirmaster of his church since 1898. He is also connected with the Mosgiel Tonic-Sol-Fa Association, and is an enthusiastic cyclist. In 1873 Mr. Wright married Miss Walsh, of Stepney, and they have a family of two sons and three daughters. The eldest son was a member of the Invercargill Brass Band when it won the Championship in Christchurch, and the youngest son is in business in Gore, as a cycle manufacturer.

The Mosgiel Woollen Company's Factory at Mosgiel, which is one of the industrial sights of Otago, is replete and up-to-date in every respect. The boiler-house has three large Cornish boilers, besides a fine multitubular boiler made by Messrs Kincaid and McQueen—the fuel being lignite-coal from the local colliery. A large horizontal steam engine—supplied by the same firm—which indicates up to 180 horse power, drives the shafting by cable ropes from two patent fly wheels, and there is a dynamo for supplying electric light to the works generally. The wool is received in the sorting department, where all bales are opened and the various qualities sorted into separate bins; from these the wool is taken to the scouring-room, and there it passes through a double machine over forty feet long, which has two sets of grapes, harrows, and rollers. One of McNaughton's wool drying machines is used before the raw material is subjected to the manufacturing process proper, some being dyed before, and some after passing the spinning machines. A large stock of dyes is regularly kept in the works, there being seven vats, two of which are set apart for indigo dyes, in use. After this process the dyed wool passes through a teaser, where the fibres are opened up, dust being then taken out by means of two “willys” and a “cockspur” teaser, specially prepared for the carding process, which follows. There are four fine sets of six carders in the main factory building, and two sets in a new additional building, 200 feet by 90 feet, and also a complete new combing plant for making worsteds: there the fibres are drawn into order, and the wool is then turned out in large soft bales of unspun thread. The spinning process now begins, the wool passing through the doublers, which have each 280 spindles, the whole machine stopping automatically whenever a thread breaks. There are seven sets of mules, containing 360 spindles in each, the wool being turned out in cops ready for the weaver. Four winding machines prepare the yarn for the looms, large stocks of spun yarn being maintained in suitably constructed racks and bins in various parts of the factory. The main building, which measures 200 by 120 feet, and is splendidly lighted from above and equally well ventilated, also contains the hosiery department. There are twenty latch needle machines, and seven on Cotton's principle, several new and improved ones having recently been imported. All kinds of hosiery for both men and women are produced in considerable quantities; one of the machines making fifteen feet at one operation. The weaving department, which contains about 6000 feet of floor space, has thirty-six fast and sixteen slow box looms, an equal space adjoining being occupied by the warpers, purlers, and darners, where various processes are conducted. The shrinking or milling of the woollen cloths is effected in the milling-house, where the width is reduced from thirty-six inches to twenty-eight inches, four washing machines being employed in the work, besides a hydro extractor. After this the tweed passes through various machines for finishing purposes, before being folded and measured ready for the tailor's shop; blankets, rugs, and shawls being likewise carefully treated. In the hosiery finishing department, thirteen sewing, and a button hole and button machines are in use; and a number of persons are likewise engaged in hand work. The Mosgiel Woollen Factory stands on part of a section of fifteen acres in extent, situated about a mile from the railway station. The buildings, which are mostly of brick and iron, were designed by the late Mr. H. F. Hardy, architect, of Dunedin, who was one of the directors of the company. They arc admirably adapted to the purposes of the company, which is referred to under Dunedin as the premier woollen company of New Zealand.

Mr. John Dryden , Mill Manager of the Mosgiel Woollen Mills, was born in 1840 at Selkirk, Scotland, where he was educated. He served a considerable time as a hand loom weaver in his native place, having been put to work at the trade as a lad. Subsequently he was a power loom tuner for ten years, and came to New Zealand in 1873 under engagement to Messrs A. J. Burns and Co., as power loom tuner, designer, aad warper, with charge of the weaving department. Four years later, on the death of Mr. Small, he became mill manager. In 1862 Mr. Dryden was married to a daughter of Mr. James Hope, of Selkirk; but she died in March, 1897, leaving two sons and four daughters.

Charters, Robert , Ury Park, Mosgiel. Mr. Charters was born in Kircudbrightshire, Scotland. At the age of twenty he first went to America, and carried on farming at Franklin river, in the State of New York, for five years. On returning Home he got married, and again went back to America, where for seven years he was engaged in farming in the State of Wisconsin. On the advice of his brother-in-law, Mr. Alexander Shennan, who had then been for some time in New Zealand, he sold his farm in America, returned to Scotland, and shipped for New Zealand, by the ship “Bombay,” which landed at Port Chalmers in 1882. Mr. Charters, who was accompanied by Mrs Charters and their three children, started farming at Waipori, now known as Berwick, where he remained seven years. In 1869 he bought Ury Park estate, where he still continues to reside. This fine property originally consisted page 633 of 250 acres, but Mr. Charters has largely increased his holding by buying 115 acres of the Spring Bank estate, fifty acres of the Aitken estate, and 115 acres named “Granton,” close to the town of Mosgiel; all these, together, make one of the finest properties in the district. During his long residence in the Taeiri, Mr. Charters has identified himself with all movements for the advancement of the district. He was one of the first members of the Taieri County Council, and only retired on account of not having sufficient time to devote to the duties of the office. He took an active part in the initiation of the Taieri and Peninsula Dairy Association, of which he was one of the first shareholders, and he was a moving spirit in the formation of the Otago Agricultural and Pastoral Association, of which he has from the first
Mr. And Mrs R. Charters.

Mr. And Mrs R. Charters.

been a director. Mr. Charters acted with the same enthusiasm in connection with the Otago Farmers' Association and has done a great deal to ensure its success. As a breeder of Clydesdale horses his name is well known throughout the colonies, and he has bred such well known champion sires as the “Governor,” “Glen,” and “Cantie Mattie;” the last named is now (1904) the champion Clydesdale sire of Victoria. The prizes won by Mr. Charters with horses are innumerable, and he succeeded in winning against all comers in New Zealand, a trophy valued at £25 for the best group of Clydesdale mares and fillies. Mr. Charters was a member of the Otago Harbour Board for some years; and one of the committee of the East Taieri Presbyterian church. He married Miss Shennan, and there is a family of two sons and one daughter.

Elmgrove (William Kirkland, proprietor), near Mosgiel. Elm Grove, which is about five miles from the Mosgiel railway station, is reached by a level macadamised road. It is a remarkably fine, very intelligently worked property, with a handsome two storey dwelling house in tastefully laid out and well-kept grounds. It consists of about 520 acres, and Mr. Kirkland successfully combines model with scientific farming. He has other properties, and in every department of each he keeps the latest and most up-to-date machinery and appliances. Dairying is the chief industry at Elm Grove, though turnips, grain and hay are grown for winter feed. Over one hundred cows are milked during the season. The byre is about 180 feet long and thirty-six in width. A large brick-floored passage runs through the centre of the building, with a row of fifty stalls on each side. Two asphalt passages, each six feet wide, run along in front of the stalls, and along these passages the food for the cows is conveyed by means of trollies. Over one portion of the byre there is a loft which serves as a storeroom, where the dry food, consisting of chaff, bran, and crushed wheat, is steamed and mixed, and sent through a shoot to the trollies underneath. Mr. Kirkland employs machinery in milking, and considers that the machines he now (1904) has in use the nearest approach to the action of the human hand, as the cows are milked thoroughly and cleanly. There is a complete installation of acetylene gas at the byre, which is thus brilliantly lighted up during the dark mornings and evenings in the winter season. The piggeries are constructed with the same attention to details and methods of labour. They are one hundred feet in length, and sixteen in width, and are divided into eighteen pens; each pen, which is seven feet wide, has a concrete floor, and is covered with wood. The whey and skim milk are forced through a pipe to a receiver at the piggeries, where, in a large bailer, boiled turnips and crushed grain are mixed with whey and milk and carried on a tram line along the front of the piggeries and delivered into concrete troughs. About 800 weaners are sold each year. Mr. Kirkland also owns the Poplar Grove estate at Strath Taieri. This property consists of 1800 acres, and is described in another portion of this volume under Middlemarch. Mr. Kirkland's methods of farming are well worth studying and copying as they have been most successful, and are carried on in the spirit of science tempered by cultivated common sense.

Mr. William Kirkland arrived with his father in the early fifties and settled in the Taieri, first on a fifty-acre farm. The land was swamp in its natural state, covered with raupo, popularly known as Maori heads. Both father and son worked hard in reclaiming and draining the ground, and their efforts were crowned with success. The Elm Grove and Poplar Grove properties were subsequently purchased, and are now recognised as leading model farms in Otago. Mr. Kirkland has always taken a leading part is all matters in connection with the advancement of his district. He is a prominent member of the Otago Agricultural and Pastoral Association, and a member of the Licensing Committee for the Taieri electorate. In 1904, accompanied by his daughters, he visited Great Britain, and well nigh all the places of interest in Europe.

Mr. John Kirkland , eldest son of Mr. William Kirkland, was born at Elm Grove and educated at the Otago High School. He has since then been engaged almost entirely in farming. During the absence of his father he successfully managed the Elm Grove estate. He is a well known footballer, and has taken part in many keenly contested matches; and he is also a member of the Otago Hussars, and one of the Committee page 634 of the Taieri Agricultural and Pastoral Association.

Mr. John Kirkland , one of the earliest settlers of Otago, was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland, in the year 1814. At the age of eighteen, he emigrated to America, the voyage occupying six weeks. He was in America for two years, during which he worked for several months in Chicago, which was then only a small town, and was also engaged as a sailor on Lake Erie for six months; but having been laid up for over six months with fever and ague, he went home to Scotland, intending to return to America at a future date. However, after being in Scotland for several years, he resolved, instead of going to America again, to try New Zealand, and sailed with his wife and two children, in the ship “Mooltan,” in the year 1849. Cholera broke out on board the ship, and Mr. Kirkland lost his wife and one child. After arriving in Dunedin, he worked at Caversham for one year for Mr. McGibbon, who came out in the same ship. He then bought a fifty acre section at East Taieri; but, twelve months later, he resolved to try his luck on the Australian goldfields, and let his section for one year. In Australia he worked at several goldfields, and after being six months there he returned to New Zealand with ubout £350, which was a goodly sum for those days. He landed at Auckland, and after much delay, as sailing vessels were then few and far between, he managed to get a schooner going as far as New Plymouth. After arriving there, not knowing how many weeks he might have to wait until there was a chance of getting further south by sea, he started and walked overland to Wellington with a band of Maoris. Having arrived at Wellington, he managed to get a small weather-board schooner, manned by three Maoris, and in it he took passage for Lyttelton, the voyage occupying six days. Having arrived at Dunedin again, he invested his money in more land at East Taieri, and also in cattle. In the course of a few months he again sailed for Australia, but had not such good luck, and on returning to New Zealand he settled down on his farm. From time to time he added to his property at East Taieri, until his farm extended to 550 acres, and then he invested in property at Strath Taieri. The estate now comprises 2,300 acres, and is the property of his son, Mr. William Kirkland, of Elm Grove. In the year 1876 Mr. John Kirkland took a trip to the Old Country, with his wife, he having married a second time; and when he returned to New Zealand he invested in property in Gisborne. in the North Island, where he retired to spend the evening of an eventful life, the hardships of which few in these days can realise.

Mr. Robert Marshall , Of Mosgiel, one of the pioneers of the Taieri district, was born in Greenock. Renfrewshire, Scotland, in 1825, and came by the ship “Thetis.” in 1854, to join his brother, the late Mr. David Johnston Marshall, who had previously arrived in Otago. The Messrs Marshall started farming on the farm well known as “Granton,” which they carried on successfully for many years. Two years after the death of his brother, who died at the age of seventy-six, in 1900, Mr. Robert Marshall, who had succeeded to the whole estate, disposed of the property, and has since lived in retirement. In 1879 he took a trip Home, and the late Mr. D. J. Marshall did the same in 1880. Mr. Marshall has never taken any part in public matters, but being very musical, he has found amusement and recreation in playing the organ, violin, and flute. Mr. Marshall is unmarried.

Christie Brothers (W. L. Christie and David Christie). Coalmine Owners. Saddle Hill, near Mosgiel. The Messrs Christie have worked their coalmines since 1874. Their mines were the first opened in the district. The coal obtained is of good steam and household quality, and is delivered in small trucks at Walton Park, whence it is loaded into railway trucks for transmission to Dunedin, and distribution along the line. Thirty men are employed in the firm's coalmines.