The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Otago & Southland Provincial Districts]
The land district of Southland includes the counties of Southland, Wallace, Fiord, and Stewart Island. It lies to the south-west of Otago, and covers a considerable area not originally included in the limits of the old provincial district of Southland. The district is comprised between latitude 45 degrees and 47 degrees south, and longitude 166 degrees 15 minutes, and 169 degrees 15 minutes east. For administrative purposes, however, Southland includes the Snares, Auckland, Enderby, Campbell, Bounty, Antipodes, and all other islands within the limits of the colony, south of latitude 47 degrees south.
Though of comparatively small area, Southland contains within its borders some of the most striking and impressive physical features of New Zealand. The highest mountain peaks south of Mount Cook are to be found in the Otago provincial district, but the Stewart, Kepler, Murchison, and Matterhorn Ranges, which lie east of the great Sounds, are at least as imposing as their loftier northern rivals. the Takitimo Ranges (Telford Peak 5280 feet), the Hunter Range and Eyre Peak (6084 feet) are magnificent mountains; but the general characteristics of their scenery must be reserved for later description.
The Southland lakes cannot in any geographical sense be distinguished from those of Otago. But in scenic beauty they present many contrasts to Waka-tipu and Wanaka. The largest of these lakes is Te Anau. It is about thirty-eight miles long, from one to six miles in breadth, and its total area is 132 square miles. Its mean height above sea level is 694 feet, but as its depth is at least 1350 feet, its bottom is 660 feet below ocean level. It has a coast line of 250 miles. Except along a small portion of the east side, it is surrounded by magnificent, thickly wooded mountains. The track to Milford Sound by Sutherland Falls is only thirty-three miles long, but the direct distance to the West Coast from Te Anau is in many places considerably less. Lake Manapouri, though the smallest of all the great lakes (only fifty square miles in area) is generally regarded as the most beautiful. The Cathedral Peaks (5134 feet) to the north, the Matterhcrns (4858 feet) on the west, and the Hunter range on the south, are a fit setting for this picturesque sheet of water. Manapouri is only twelve miles by coach road from Te Anau, and only thirteen miles by track from Deep Cove, at the head of Smith Sound.
About 500,000 acres of Southland, including Stewart Island, are still covered with bush. The fiord country is almost wholly mountainous, and below the snow line the huge broken ranges are covered with bush and scrub. The bush land suitable for timber lies mostly inland, and in comparatively easy country- around Forest Hill and Hokonui, and at the back of Waikawa, as well as Stewart Island. Totara, rimu, rata, and matai are still found in large quantities; while the various forms of birch or beech grow luxuriantly round Lake Te Anau and about Preservation Inlet and the south-west fiords. Stewart Island is mostly covered with a dense growth of rata, rimu, and kamahi. In the accessible parts of the country, timber milling has long been an important and valuable industry.
In Southland and Wallace counties there is a large quantity of compara tively level or undulating land, carrying in its natural state tussock, fern, flax, and manuka. In the low lying valleys there is a considerable area of marshy land interspersed with peat bogs. The low hills bounding the valleys of the great rivers of Southland, being thickly covered with tussock and native grasses, afford excellent grazing even in their native state. But the most valuable agricultural land consists of the alluvial soil forming the river valleys. The Mataura, Oreti (New River), and Aparima (Jacob's River) and Waiau, with their many tributaries, run through valleys which, narrow near the sources of the stream, widen towards the sea, and, in some cases, form extensive plains. The alluvial origin of this country renders it extremely fertile; in fact, equal to any agricultural land in the colony. These plains and valleys generally rise from the level of the rivers in a gradual slope by means of low terraces and undulating tussocky hills, intersected by gullies that afford natural drainage and a regular supply of water.
Within the Lake district, the country is extremely broken and rugged, often rising to 6000 feet or more above sea level. The lower hills here afford admirable summer pasture; but from April to October most of the fiord country is under snow.
Southland was never so thickly wooded as most of the northern provinces, but page 777 there is still a considerable area of forest, and a large export trade has always been done in timber of various kinds. But most of the land available for agricultural and pastoral purposes is now cleared of bush. The rivers are of little use as means of communication, but roads and railways bring most portions of the district within easy access of the coast. No part of the colony is better provided with means of internal transit; and the harbours at Riverton and the Bluff afford every facility for the establishment of trade by sea.
The history of Southland dates far back towards the foundation of the colony. Murihiku (to give it the native name) was casually examined by Mr. Tuckett, the chief surveyor to the New Zealand Company, as early as 1844, when he was endeavouring to find a suitable location for the Free Church colonists, who subsequently founded Otago. But Mr. Tuckett thought very little of the country, and described it as “a mere bog utterly unfit for human habitation.'' However, this unpromising quarter of the island had long before become tolerably well-known to the only people who then cared much about New Zealand- the Pacific whalers. Far back in the “twenties” and “thirties” these daring pioneers of civilisation had haunted Preservation Inlet and the coast of Foveaux Strait; as early as 1814 a craft of 150 tons was built by the sealers in Dusky Bay, and in 1818, when the first colonists reached Otago, there were small settlements of whalers at Jacob's River, at the Bluff and at Tautuku. Among these first-comer Captain Howell and Captain Stevens, and Mr Theophilus Daniel, were prominent figures. “Squatting” had begun in the fine pastoral country back from the sea long before Otago was a province; and, by 1853, when constitutional government was at last granted, there was already in Southland a considerable white population, energetic and vigorous as men must be who dare the perils of life in strange and unknown lands. The Maoris on the mainland were a scanty remnant of the Ngaitahu, who had exterminated the Ngati-mamoe, and had in turn been hunted down and massacred by the Ngatiawas, who came south with Rauparaha from the North Island. The last battle between Maoris in Murihiku was fought at Tuturau in 1836; and when the dawn of New Zealand history breaks, the chief stronghold of the Southland natives was the island of Ruapuke in Foveaux Strait. Here some two hundred natives lived under their chiefs of whom the most powerful, Tuhawaiki (Bloody Jack) exercised authority over perhaps 400 more along to coast of the Strait. To this island, in 1844, came the Rev. John Wohlers, a Moravian missionary, who made the first attempt at extending Christianity to the Maoris of the far south. This devoted man laboured among the natives for thirty-eight years, dying in 1885. But even when unconverted, the Maoris of the coast in the olden days were not as a rule dangerous neighbours, and were generally on amicable terms with the white strangers.
The Murihiku block was purchased from the natives by Mr. W. Mantell, the Crown Lands Commissioner, for £2000, in August, 1853; but no organised attempt to administer this country was made till after 1856. Meantime, while the whalers decreased, the “squatting” population grew, and the increasing prosperity of this southern extremity of the island attracted the attention of the infant settlement at Dunedin. In 1856 Governor Gore Brown, on the occasion of a visit to Otago, took advantage of the new born interest in Southland to suggest that the Bluff harbour, hitherto famous chiefly as a whaling station, should be known in future as Invercargill, in compliment to the patriarch of the Otago “Pilgrim Fathers.” Finally, it was decided that the rapid development of the southern district should be recognised by the foundation of a new town, to be called Invercargill, while the Bluff was to be officially described as Campbelltown, in honour of Lady Gore Brown, who was a Campbell. Surveyors were promptly sent down to map out the country and townships, and arrange for the settlement of waste lands by squatters, who, much to the indignation of Dunedin officials, had hitherto ignored the land office traditions as to order of rotation in taking up their allotments. The chief surveyor, Mr. J. T. Thomson, executed a survey of the whole block; and a local land office, under the control of Mr. W. H. Pearson, was opened at Invercargill to encourage settlement.
At this time the country round Invercargill was extremely rough and uninviting. Mr. W. H. S. Roberts, in his “Southland in 1856–57,” describes in great detail the mud flats, the dangerous creeks, the bush growing down to the water's edge, the lagoons, the peat mosses, and the long stretches of land to be viewed from the Bluff hill.
As Southland grew in population, and its property increased, it became more and more clearly evident that it could not be satisfactorily administered from so distant a centre as Dunedin. But the Otago settlers were anxious, for obvious reasons, that their province should not lose so valuable an asset. In June, 1858, a public meeting was held in Dunedin to draw up a memorial against the separation of Southland from the parent province. This move was counteracted by a public meeting held at Invercargill in March, 1859, at which the case for separation was fully set forth and steps taken to urge its necessity upon the General Government. A later meeting at Invercargill, in April, 1860, showed that the enthusiasm of the Southlanders had somewhat cooled, or that the advantages of close connection with Dunedin were more manifest than before. The growth and activity of public opinion in the far south, are well illustrated at this stage of Southland's history in the early numbers of the “Southern News and Foveaux Straits Herald,” which first saw the light in Invercargill on the 14th of February, 1861. At last, on the 28th of March, of that year, the “New Zealand Gazette” informed the colony that Murihiku had been constituted “The province of Southland,” with Invercargill as its capital. On the 5th of June following, it was proclaimed that the Provincial Council was to consist of eleven members, to be chosen by the 269 electors scattered over six electoral districts. Mr. W. H. Pearson was appointed Commissioner of Crown Lands, and Messrs J. A. R. Menzies, John Blacklock, and Captain Elles were commissioners of the Waste Lands Board of Southland.
The first Provincial Council was elected as follows : Robert Stuart (Speaker), Nathaniel Chalmers, W. F. Tarlton, for Invercargill; W. H. Pearson, John Mackay, J. Wilson, for Wa:-hopai; James A. R. Menzies, for Mataura; Alexander McNab (Chairman of Committees), for Campbell town; Freeman R. Jackson and Matthew Scott, for New River; Henry McCulloch, for Riverton. The first Superintendent of the province was Dr James A. R. Menzies, with whose career the whole provincial history of Southland is intimately connected.
The members of the first Provincial Council were thoroughly representative of the country that they were to govern, and were for the most part men of unusual ability and singular breadth of view. It hardly needs demonstration that the men who had the courage and strength of will to face the trials and surmount the obstacles of colonial life in the early days were of a type that would have left their mark on any civilised community. Dr. Menzies was a runholder, who had settled on the banks of the Wyndham, and a man of wide culture and stainless reputation. “His misfortune” writes one of his coadjutors, “was that he didn't understand business; his fault, that he thought he did; while his over-confidence, which induced him rather to contemn advice, was the superstructure on the basis of a too sensitive and nervous temperament.” His virtues and his defects alike made it difficult for him to work with his Council; but his subsequent rejection was due to this failing alone. No one has ever successfully impugned the integrity and unselfishness of his enthusiasm for Southland; and it was due rather to the nsuperable difficulties that surrounded the infant province from birth, than to any lack of ability in his administration, that Dr. Menzies did not realise the high hopes with which his term of office was inaugurated.
The first members of the Executive Council were Messrs W. H. Pearson, Chalmers, McCulloch, and Mackay. Mr. Chalmers was Provincial Treasurer, Mr. Thomas Morell Macdonald was Provincial Solicitor and Crown Prosecutor, and Mr. Theophilus Heale, a singularly unassuming but well-informed and capable man, was Chief Surveyor. The new Council soon found that the financial aspects of its position constituted the chief danger to the youthful province. From April to August inclusive in 1861, the total revenue from land and all other sources, amounted to only £1431; and the people began to entertain serious doubts as to whether the realisation of their ambitions was after all a blessing.
In the meantime Invercargill was growing in size and population. The original survey of the town included only the seven central blocks, along Tay Street and Dee Street, which were considered sufficient for current requirements. Tay Street, two chains broad, and the main East Road, one chain wide, had been pegged off for about two miles, and the sections on either side surveyed. On paper the town was mapped out in rectangular blocks about eighty in number, with a garden reserve or belt on the land side, facing the New River Estuary on the west. The Streets were at right angles to one another, with the exception of the Crescent; Annan Street, including the railway reserve, being three chains wide, while Tay, Dee, Clyde and Tweed Streets were two chains, and the rest narrower. More than half of the town site was covered with fine timber, portions of Tay and Dee Streets running through the bush. The town sections were offered for sale on the 20th of March, 1857; but already several persons had built on the sections with the intention of purchasing. The township was still called “The Point” and many of the local residents thought that the name of Otarewa (creek) should be attached to it, or that the first settler on the spot, Kelly, should have been commemorated in naming the town, rather than Captain Cargill. At this date, settlement was already progressing in the town limits; several huts had been built; the surveyor's office and Macandrew's store were finished, and Lind's accommodation house boasted the first glass windows seen in the township.
The first sale of town sections in Invercargill realised very satisfactory figures. The upset price was £8 per quarter acre. A good many sections were bought on account of Mr. J. T. Thomson, the chief surveyor. The section on which Macandrew's store stood at the corner of Tay and Dee Streets realised £46 The next section was bought by Mr. John Jones, of whaling fame, for £45; the next by Mr. John Kelly, the first settler, at £36. Mr. Mackay bought another section for £42, so that on the whole the earliest inhabitants seem to have had considerable faith in the future of the town.
On the 31st of December, 1856, the census of “the district south of Tokomairiro” totalled 671–419 males, 252 females; but the settlers of Southland were not enumerated separately. For the same date the agricultural returns for the “southern portion of Otago” were: horses, 288; cattle, 4554; sheep, 31,528; wheat, 234 acres; oats, twenty acres; potatoes, 114 acres; total area of land sold, 8184 acres. At the end of 1857 the census was taken for Murihiku separately for the first time. The population was-259 males, 147 females, total 406; of whom 113 had been born in New Zealand. Land had been purchased to the extent of 1232 acres, of which about 200 acres were fenced and 130 acres in crop. The average yield was about thirty-five bushels per acre; and as oats sold at 5s, wheat at 8s, and barley at 9s per bushel in Dunedin, the returns to agriculture were satisfactory. In 1861 when Murihiku was first gazetted as the province of Southland, the population of Invercargill was 400, and that of the whole new province 1500. The population of Otago at that time was about 15,000.
The Superintendent speedily floated his Public Works policy which included the following items: the Oreti Railway Ordinance, authorising the construction of a railway between Invercargill and Winton; with an Ordinance authorising the issue of debentures to the amount of £110,000 for the construction of this railway; and the Appropriation Ordinances to the amount of £140,000. But when the Council opened its sixth session in 1864, the Superintendent informed the members that the Governor had disallowed the Appropriation Ordinance. Nine out of eleven Councillors then signed a pledge that they would not take any part in Executive business unless the Superintendent would undertake to act by the advice and consent of his Council. The business of the session included the passing of Loan Bills—£40,000 to complete the Bluff-Invercargill railway, £120,000 to cover liabilities on general expenditure, £25,000 to cover advances to the Town Board; while the estimate for the year totalled nearly £100,000. But Dr Menzies resented the action of the Council in endeavouring to coerce him into accepting its views, and accordingly withheld his assent from two bills on which members had expended much time and trouble; the Provincial Government Ordinance which would have defined more clearly the relative duties of Superintendent, Council, and Executive, and the Representation Ordinance, which, while securing a juster distribution of political power on a population basis, would have rendered a dissolution necessary.
In 1864 there was further friction with the Central Government, and the Colonial Secretary (Mr. William Fox) informed the Superintendent that only the Bluff-Invercargill Railway Loan Bill would be accepted. The whole of the Executive, with the exception of the Treasurer, Mr. Tarlton, now resigned, and Dr Menzies, still refusing to make any concession to his Council, was left absolute ruler of the Province till the election at the end of the year.
In 1867 the third Provincial Council was elected; Mr. Wilson was re-elected Speaker, and Mr. J. P. Taylor was again chosen as Superintendent. The Council agreed to complete the Oreti line to Winton, and to build the Invercargill-Mataura line, with land grants of 60,000 and 150,000 acres respectively. The Bluff Harbour and Invercargill railway was leased for a short period, and the interest on the Provincial debt was capitalised to the end of 1868—this last on the suggestion of the General Government. But with the seventh session of the Council (1869) the temporary harmony was suddenly disturbed. The Superintendent had, during the recess, taken upon himself to dismiss his Executive Council—Messrs Calder, Pearson, Ross, and Pratt. The Provincial Council then passed an almost unanimous resolution to the effect that the Superintendent's action was “unwarrantable.” The Superintendent, therefore, resigned, but as the Council was at once prorogued, he immediately withdrew his resignation. Meantime the Superintendent of Otago (Mr. Macandrew) had forwarded to the Southland Council a resolution in favour of the reunion of the Provinces. It was suggested that each province should appoint three commissioners to discuss the terms of such an arrangement. Southland was by this time pretty well persuaded that independent existence was no longer possible; and the Council therefore chose as delegates Messrs. Johnston, Ross, and W. H. Pearson to confer with the commissioners appointed by Otago—Messrs J. L. Gillies, W. H. Reynolds and James Shand. The session was closed by a dissolution; but before the next Council met, the commissioners had conferred, and the southern representatives had decided in favour of re-union.page 783
In December, 1869, the fourth Council met and elected Mr. W. Johnston Speaker. There was a contest for the post of Superintendent between Mr. W. Wood and Mr Cathbert Cowan, in which Mr. Wood was successful. The new Superintendent had been for sometime a landholder in Invercargill and had sat as member for Campbelltown in the Provincial Council. He also represented Invercargill in the General Assembly, and was subsequently a member of the Upper—House. Mr. Wood was a shrewd capable man of business, and he took a thoroughly practical view of the situation. He explained in his opening address that the province had to face heavy liabilities, that its credit was seriously impaired, and that settlers were leaving for more prosperous parts of the colony. “The provincial estate,” said the Superintendent, “cannot be utilised, the public creditor is unpaid, the salaries of the public servants are many months in arrears, and the ordinary revenue is wholly insufficient to provide for the necessary machinery of Government.” In this state of affairs the Council had to face two alternatives—increased taxation or union with Otago. As the first course was impracticable there was nothing left but to accept the report of the commission appointed to consider the case for retrogression. The Southland and Otago Union Bill had been passed by the House of Representatives during 1869; nothing was now needed but the voice of the Council to pronounce the irrevocable sentences. Dr Menzies and a few devoted followers voted against the report, clause by clause, but the Union was carried by a majority of eleven votes to six. The division list is worth preserving: Ayes, Messrs Calder, Johnston, Daniel, Macdonald, Toshack, Kinross, Lyon, Bell, Dalrymple, Petchell, McGillivray. Noes, Dr Menzies, Messrs McNeill, Lumsden, Webster, Stewart, and Basstian. “The Report,” says Dr Heeken, “was written in the happiest spirit; there was no recrimination, no exultant tone, and the concessions and agreements were liberally conceived.” Naturally enough, the promoters of independence felt the defeat bitterly; but the position was hopeless. A debt of £100,000 was too heavy a burden for 7000 scattered settlers in a new land, and there was only one course to take. The measure was submitted to the General Assembly, and re-union was finally proclaimed in November, 1870. The gain to Southland was undeniable; and Otago profited largely, not only by an increase in her landed securities, but by the direct gain accruing from the sale of the provincial land reserves.
Enough has been said of the general physical characteristics of Southland to indicate that it is well adapted for every form of agricultural and pastoral settlement. The plains, terraces, and lower hills are peculiarly fit for grain, as well as turnips, mangolds, and other root crops. Wheat is not so largely grown as oats, chiefly because of the importance of the pastoral industries, to which oat-growing is a useful accessory. In Southland, Wallace, and Fiord counties (covering the Southland provincial district, with modifications) there are 245,594 acres under crop, and 755,928 acres of ploughed and unploughed grain land. There are 1154 acres in garden and 650 acres in orchards. The return for wheat where it is grown is highly satisfactory, averaging from 40 to 60 bushels per acre, while oats often give as much as 80 to 100 bushels per acre. Several flax mills have been started; linseed is also being freely cultivated, and often brings a return of £5 per acre.
As in many other parts of New Zealand, the dairy industry has already assumed large proportions in Southland. There are twenty-three dairy factories, one a large condensed milk factory, one a Stilton cheese factory, the rest cheese and butter factories. As the forty-two dairy factories belonging to Otago and Southland combined, produced butter and cheese to the value of over £260,000 in 1901, it is evident that Southland has here a source of great and permanent wealth.
Another source of wealth that Southland has not yet exploited far, is to be found in the seas that wash her shores. The south and south-west coasts of the island absolutely swarm with fish, which will some day be extensively utilised as an export. Large quantities are already sent to Australia; and the Stewart Island oysters are famous throughout the colony.
Thus blessed by nature with a healthy and bracing climate and great potential wealth in its plains, rivers, and hills, it was inevitable that Southland should develop into one of the most prosperous settlements in the colony. The mistakes made by its too confident rulers during its separate provincial existence, were sufficiently injurious in their effect to retard its growth for some time; but the extension of the main trunk railway from Dunedin to Invercargill in 1878 was the turning point in its history. From that date Southland has never looked back.
All through the years of her provincial history Southland had been gradually growing in wealth and the attributes of civilisation. In 1856 the Otago Provincial Council had arranged for the establishment of a postal service from one end of the Province to the other at an annual cost of £600. Of this amount £300 was set apart for the Dunedin-Invercargill postal service, which entailed delivery once a fortnight, and thus connected the southern district with the rest of the civilised world. But for many years the townships were of necessity only small nominal centres for the agricultural and pastoral life which revolved about them and represented the true growth and vital activity of the young colony.
In the meanwhile Invercargill and the other townships had developed a good deal of industrial activity. In 1874 the first steam engine was built in Invercargill, by Mr. Hay. In 1875, a site was leased at the Mataura Falls, for the erection of paper mills. The rural districts were organising for the encouragement of the extractive industries. In March, 1875, the Mataura Agricultural and Pastoral Association's first show was held at Wyndham; and in July of the same year, the first Invercargill champion ploughing match was held. In June, 1877, the Gore-Waipahi railway page 786 was opened. In April, 1878, the demand for increased shipping accommodation was marked by the appointment of Sir John Coode to inspect the Bluff and New River harbours.
The years 1878 and 1879 were marked by two most important events in the history of internal communication in this colony. In August, 1878, the last rail was laid on the Dunedin-Christchurch railway, and in January, 1879, the railway was thrown open between Dunedin and Invercargill which now enjoyed direct land communication with Christ-church and Lyttelton as well as with Dunedin and Port Chalmers. About the same time the first sod was turned on the Waimea Plains railway, the Riverton-Invercargill line was opened, and the Fdendale-Tois-Tois line was started. The growth of Invercargill rendered it necessary, in the same year, to borrow £100,000 for the construction of waterworks, the extension of the gasworks, and other improvements; and Campbelltown (Bluff), now first attained municipal honours. In 1881, the industries of the district received a great impetus from the opening of the Invercargill Industrial Exhibition; but the growth of Invercargill itself was to some extent checked by two disastrous fires in 1882 and 1884. The opening of the Edendale dairy factory in 1882, marks an epoch in the pastoral history of Southland; and the institution of the Union Steamship Company's annual excursion to the West Coast Sounds helped to bring the natural wonders of this part of the country into public notice. The value of foreign tourists was then beginning to be appreciated; and the discovery of the Sutherland Falls, and the new track from Te Anau, by M'Kinnon, in 1888, added another unique attraction to the wonders of the Alpine country.
The most important railroad in Southland, is naturally that which connects Invercargill and the south coast with the Otago Lake system at Kingston (eighty-seven miles). Apart from the Main Trunk connecting Invercargill and Dunedin, the chief lines are:
The Invercargill-Riverton, twenty-six miles; continued to Orepuki, forty-three miles.
The Waimea Plains line, from Gore to Lumsden, thirty-seven miles.
The Lumsden-Mossburn line, towards Lake Manapouri, eleven miles westward.
The Winton-Hedgehope line, eleven miles south-east.
The line from Edendale (twenty-three miles from Invercargill on the Main Trunk line), to Glenhani, eleven miles south.
The Invercargill-Waimahaka line, twenty-six miles eastward.
The Nightcaps branch from Thornbury Junction, twenty miles from Invercargill; to Otautau, twelve miles, and Nightcaps, twenty-five miles.
Lumsden, fifty miles from Invercargill, at the junction of the Kingston and Waimea lines, is thus a great centre of railway communication, and is no less important as the focus of the coach roads leading up from the coast towards the Lake district. Further extensions of the railway system include the Mataura bridge on the Riversdale-Switzers branch, and rail-laying on the Orepuki-Waiau line. Gore is to be connected with Kelso on the Heriot line, and from Mossburn and Otautau, two westerly lines will be pushed forward towards the Waiau and the great lakes.
This extension of the road and rail system implies a great and progressive advance in settlement. In 1897 it was written: “There is no part of New Zealand developing just now so rapidly as Southland,” and that development has gone on almost uninterruptedly to the present day. “Land is being taken up,” the writer proceeds; “flocks and herds and exports are increasing, industries are growing, mining is successful, and altogether it would be hard to find a more thriving district. There is mountainous country to be taken up by the sheep-farmers; there is fertile bush land for the dairy-farmer; there is gold-bearing country for the quartz miner, or alluvial miner; for the prospector there are miles and miles of untrodden auriferous country, which promises wood and water and game in abundance. For fishermen and small settlers there are hundreds of sheltered bays and snug islands, and waters that literally teem with fish.” In the face of such evidence it is only to be expected that the settlement should advance rapidly, and that the district should be prosperous. There still remains for disposal a large area of Crown lands, estimated at about 500,000 acres; and this, though forest land of a generally inferior nature, will soon become suitable for stock when taken up. Stewart Island, on which about 150,000 acres have been for some time past open for selection, must evidently pay the price of its isolation, and wait for settlement till the more accessible country on the mainland is more densely peopled. But on the whole, few portions of the colony have advanced so consistently and rapidly as Southland within the last twenty years.
The Bluff township (Campbelltown), is of no great size—1,350 inhabitants at last census, as against 1,075 in 1896. But its position as the first port of call from Australia, and as the natural outlet for the whole of Southland's agricultural and pastoral produce, has, from the first, assured its prosperity as a seaport. Some idea may be gained of its importance to the colony from the magnitude of its export and import trade. In 1901, Invercargill and Bluff Harbour together, sent out exports to the value of £1,005,298, or only £400,000 behind Dunedin. But a far more remarkable fact is this, that the export returns from Invercargill and Bluff are the only expert returns for the whole colony that show a large increase. Between 1990 and 1901, the exports from Dunedin decreased £14,834, at Lyttelton £33,442. at Auckland £145,569, and at Wellington £401,432. On the other hand, the exports from Invercargill and Bluff actually showed an increase of £264,528. At the same time the value of imports to the same ports rose from £288,170 in 1900, to £328,727 in 1901, an increase of £40,557. Considering the size of the district, and its comparative isolation from the main course of trade, such figures are a remarkable proof of the commercial activity and prosperity of Southland.
Next in size to Invercargill of the Southland towns, is Gore, on the Mataura river, at the junction of the Main Trunk and Waimea Plains railways. Its position, and the fertility of the land in the neighbourhood, have insured the rapid growth of Gore. Its present population is 2,354, as against 2,032 at the previous census, and 1,618 in 1891. Riverton, the oldest settlement in Southland, and once a great resort for whalers, lies at the mouth of the Aparima (Jacob's) river, about twenty-five miles from Invercargill. It is the centre of a considerable sawmilling industry; and the harbour is freely used by coasting vessels. Riverton has a population of 815, against 893 in 1896; and this decrease shows the deflection of the population towards the agricultural and pastoral industries, which are destined to form the staple of Southland trade. Winton (474, against 397 at previous census) is on the Invercargill-Kingston railway, and is the centre of a prosperous sawmilling, farming, and coalmining district. Lumsden (population 437) is, as already seen, the nucleus of the rail and road system of Southland. Wyndham (417), connected by railway with Invercargill, opens another fine agricultural district. Fortrose, on the estuary of the Mataura, is a port with some coastal trade. Towards Catlin's river, Waikawa, a township only just settled on a fine harbour, has already page 789 established a timber trade. Orepuki, the most westerly town in New Zealand. is important on account of its shale deposits, which have been already utilised by the Government.
Some idea of the dimensions of the agricultural and pastoral interests of Southland may be gained by a brief reference to the J. G. Ward Farmers' Association Company, which, in spite of its unfortunate collapse, did a great deal for the country, and the farmers that it represented. In 1892 Mr. J. G. Ward's grain and wool business was floated into a company with a capital of £100,000, and close upon 1,000 farmers thus be-came personally interested in the enterprise. By 1894 two other firms, the United Farmers' Agency and Carswell and Company were incorporated; and the business of the Association had enormously increased. At this time the Association was handling yearly about 250,000 sacks of grain and grass seed; and about 7,000 bales of wool. In 1894 it chartered and loaded a steamer with 44,000 sacks of oats, up to that time a record shipment from the colony. At the horse sales held weekly, the turnover was at the rate of 2,500 horses a year. Branch businesses and wool and grain stores were opened at various country centres; and the scope of the business conducted by the Association was such as can be paralleled by few, and surpassed by none of the other agricultural and pastoral centres of the colony. Yet all this trade was the product of a district that twenty-five years before had been hopelessly bankrupt, and had resigned its independence because it could not manage to pay its way. The history of Southland, since the reunion with Otago, has, indeed, fully confirmed the confidence of its founders in its ultimate prosperity.
While the country has been growing in wealth and importance, the intellectual requirements of the people have not been neglected. The Southland Education Board expended between £30,000 and £40,000 on schools and salaries in 1901. There were 149 schools in the district; but of these, 118 had at a recent computation, an average attendance of less than 70; a fact which points to the wide distribution of settlement in Southland. The working average for the schools was nearly 8,000; and the number of teachers was 240. About £600 was expended in scholarships, and about £420 on tech-nichal and manual training. The District High Schools at Gore, Winton and Riverton represent secondary education in the country districts; while the success of the Girls' and Boys' High Schools at Invercargill is a proof that the zeal of the founders of Otago, in the cause of education, has borne ample fruits in Southland.