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



Woodlands is a flourishing settlement on the main north road from Invercargill towards Dunedin, and is also served by the Invercargill-Dunedin line of railway. The district surrounding the township is devoted to agriculture and sheepfarming, and of the bush which originally covered the country, little is now left. Woodlands has a creamery, a stilton cheese factory, old and extensive meat works, a Hotel and three stores; and at the railway station the New Zealand Pine Company has a large timber yard, which is connected with the sawmill at Mabel Bush, whence it obtains its supplies. The local railway station is also a post and telephone office combined, and mails are received, and despatched daily. Woodlands is twelve miles from Invercargill, by a good cycling road or by railway, and the station stands at an elevation of 112 feet above sea level. The district is partly in the Waihopai, and partly in the Awarua, riding of the county of Southland. At the census of 1901, the population in the latter riding was 111, and in the former ninety-six, with forty-six additional persons in the vicinity. Woodlands is part of the Awarua electoral district.

Woodlands Presbyterian Church was opened in 1873 by the Rev. Mr. Stobo, of Invercargill. Accommodation is provided for 200 worshippers, who have the assistance of a good choir and organ. Services are also held at the Mabel Bush church page 1063 every Sunday, and at the Hedgehope school, monthly.

Rev. Evan Bissett , Minister of the Presbyterian Church, Woodlands, who is the third son of Mr. Simon Bissett, farmer, was born at Knockbain, Ross-shire, Scotland, in 1855. Educated primarily at the Free Church school, Nairn, and Forres Academy, he proceeded to Glasgow University, where he went through his arts course, and studied theology at the Free Church College, as well as at the English Presbyterian College, London. In 1882, Mr. Bissett was licensed by the Presbytery of London, and sailed for Sydney by the s s. “John Elder.” On his arrival in New South Wales he was ordained and inducted Into charge of the Presbyterian church at Cooma, where he ministered until 1886. Mr. Bissett then revisited Scotland in consequence of his wife's health and in 1893 arrived in Dunedin, where he was appointed by the session of Knox church to undertake the pastoral work of the congregation during a vacancy; and, in 1894, was inducted into his present charge.

Rev. Thomas Alexander , sometime minister of the Woodlands Presbyterian church, was born in Ayr, Scotland, in 1824. He received his primary education in his native town, and subsequently became a student at Glasgow University, where he went through his arts course, and finally studied theology at the Free Church College of Edinburgh. In 1855, Mr. Alexander was licensed by the Presbytery of Ayr, and was appointed to a Free Church station in the town of Dumfries, where he ministered for five years. He sailed from Glasgow by the ship “Electric” for Port Chalmers, and on arrival in Otago was sent to Riverton to take temporary charge; and in 1864 was ordained and inducted to the Woodlands church, where he worked diligently until 1887. Mr. Alexander was married, in 1867, to Alice, daughter of Mrs Jane Taylor, of Dunedin, and died in the year 1900.

Watson, John Taylor , Carpenter, Woodlands. Mr Watson is a son of the late Mr Douglas Watson, sometime manager of the Woodlands Meat Preserving Works, and was born in Banffshire, Scotland, in 1862. He accompanied his parents to Port Chalmers, in 1865, by the ship “E. P. Bouverie,” was educated at Balclutha and Woodlands, learned the trade of a carpenter at Mataura, and was subsequently employed for six years at the Woodlands Meat Preserving Works. After some time at the Croydon Meat Works, near Gore, Mr Watson returned to Woodlands, where he bought three acres of freehold in the township, and leased two acres adjoining, where he has since resided. Mr Watson is connected with the local Jodge of Foresters. He was married, in 1894, to a daughter of the late Mr Michael O'Grady, of County Clare, Ireland, and has one son.

Gerstenkorn, phot. Mr. and Mrs J T. Watson.

Gerstenkorn, phot.
Mr. and Mrs J T. Watson.

Heads, Andrew , Coachbuilder and Wheelwright, Woodlands. Mr Heads was born in 1871, in Dunedin, where he was educated and learned his trade, and afterwards worked as a journeyman. He was subsequently employed at his trade at Gore, and at Waikiwi, before settling at Woodlands. Mr Heads has leased the coachbuilding department of Mr Leith's business at Woodlands, and undertakes all classes of coachbuilding and repairing work. He is connected with Court Star of the Forest, Ancient Order of Foresters, Woodlands. Mr Heads married a daughter of Mr D. Jones, of Melbourne, and has three sons and one daughter.

Leith Maitland , Coachbuilder and General Blacksmith, Woodlands. Mr Leith's business, which is the only one of its kind in the district, was established in the seventies. The smithy contains two forges, and there is also a coachbuilding department, which is leased by Mr A. Heads. These buildings, together with Mr Leith's private residence, stand on a site of one acre of freehold land, but the proprietor has eighteen acres altogether in four sections, which are all separate. Mr Leith was born in 1863, in Perthshire, Scotland, and came to New Zealand with his parents, in 1874, by the ship “Maria Bhan.” He learned the blacksmithing trade under Mr John Henderson, of Maerewhenua; near Oamaru, and was afterwards in business for a time at Ngapara. Mr Leith afterwards settled in Woodlands, where he entered into partnership with Mr Duncan McKenzie, and acquired the present business under the style of McKenzie and Leith. Six years later Mr Leith bought his partner's interest. Mr Leith has served for some years as chairman of the Woodlands school committee, and as director and treasurer of the Woodlands Saleyards Company. He was married, in 1888, to a daughter of Mr John Pringle, of Livingstone, North Otago, and has four sons and one daughter.

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Dewe, George , Rabbit Contractor, Woodlands. Mr Dewe was born in Berkshire, England, in 1870, and arrived in Otago, with his parents, at the age of five years. He was educated at the public schools at Edendale and Woodlands, afterwards worked upon a farm for six years, and since that time has been engaged in the rabbit and meat preserving trade. He is a member of Lodge Star of the Forest, Ancient Order of Foresters, and has filled the office of sub-chief ranger. Mr Dewe was married, in 1896, to Lucy, daughter of Mr Charles Wyeth, of Woodlands.

Mr. and Mrs G. Dewz.

Mr. and Mrs G. Dewz.

Woodlands Packing And Canning Co. (O. W. Oldham, proprietor), Woodlands. The Meat Preserving Works at Woodlands are said to have been the first established in New Zealand. They were worked for years by the New Zealand Meat Preserving Company, and the premises were leased by Mr Oldham in 1901. There are a good many large wood and iron buildings in connection with the establishment, which stands on part of 125 acres of land in the township. The most modern plant has just been erected, and the annual output amounts to 10,000 cases of canned rabbit, 4,000 cases of meat, and 20,000 cases of frozen rabbit. About one hundred persons are employed in the industry, exclusive of trappers, carters, and agents.

Black, Archibald , Orchardist and Fruit Grower, Woodlands. Mr Black was born on the 7th of October 1834, in Argyleshire, Scotland, where he was brought up to farming. He came out to Australia in 1866, and six years later crossed over to New Zealand, and settled in the Woodlands district. He was employed at the meat works there for ten years, and afterwards purchased two acres of heavy bush land, and fifteen perches in the township, in which he built a hut. At first he intended the place merely as a home for odd occasions; but in his spare time he cleared the land and planted it with fruit trees, which now yield many tons of fruit every year.

Mr. A. Black.

Mr. A. Black.

Wyeth, Charles , Gardener, Woodlands. Mr Wyeth was born in 1843, in Wellington, where he was educated. He was afterwards employed in farm work with his brother at the Upper Hutt, and in 1870 removed to Southland, where he has since resided. He acquired his present property, consisting of twenty-four acres of freehold, in 1876, and has since devoted himself to market gardening. Mr Wyeth was for several years secretary of the Woodlaiwds school committee, and was twenty years a director of the Southland Caledonian Society, for which he acted as handicapper for twenty-four years; and in 1903 he was presented with a gold chronometer watch, and elected as a life member of the society in recognition of his long services. He is also handicapper for the Otago Caledonian Society. During the Maori disturbances in the North Island, Mr Wyeth served for six years in the Taiti Rifle Volunteers. He was married, in 1874, to a daughter of Mr Joseph Sheriff, of Invercargill, and has six sons and six daughters, and ten grand-children.

Taylor, William Lang , General Storekeeper, Butcher and Baker, Woodlands. This business was established in 1874 by Mr E. Taylor, brother of the present proprietor. The premises, which are of wood and iron, comprise a large double-fronted shop, with offices and store behind, and a large bakehouse, stabling, and sheds stand on a section of twelve acres attached to the store. Mr Taylor's residence, a handsome building, standing on an acre of freehold, is close by, and he owns 170 acres in the vicinity, Mr Taylor was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1842, and was educated in his native city, and at Partick. For some years before coming to New Zealand he was employed in the wellknown publishing house of Blackie and Son. He started for New Zealand in the ship “Grasmere,” but this vessel was wrecked off the coast of Ireland, and Mr Taylor arrived at the Bluff by the ship “Paria,” in 1864. He followed mercantile life for some years, but had to abandon it on account of failing sight, and entered the service of the New Zealand and Australian Land Company. He remained in that company's service for several years, during which he was also clerk to the Clydevale, and then to the Oteramika, Road Board; and he acquired his present business in 1880. Mr Taylor was for some time chairman of the Edendale school committee, and secretary of the Woodlands school committee, and he is an honorary member of Court Star of the Forest, Ancient Order of Foresters, Woodlands. He was married, in 1880, to a daughter of the late Captain James B. Greig, at one time Magistrate at Stewart Island, and has three sons and two daughters.

Mr. W. L. Taylor and his Second Daughter.

Mr. W. L. Taylor and his Second Daughter.

Woodlands Timber Yards (New Zealand Pine Company, proprietors), Woodlands. These yards are connected by a six-mile tramway with the Mabel Bush sawmill, the entire output of which passes through the yards. The company does a large business in the Woodlands district, as well as in other parts of the colony.

Mr. George Ferguson Fleming , who has been in charge of the Woodlands Yards since 1901, was born at Newton Stewart, Wigtonshire, Scotland. After coming to New Zealand, Mr Fleming was employed in the railway service for a time, and was then eight years in the employment of Mr W. Snow, of Outram. He was afterwards lighthouse-keeper at Dog Island, for two years, and then in the employment of Messrs McCallum and Co., timber merchants, for eight years, before being appointed to his present position. Mr Fleming served for three years as a page 1065 volunteer in the West Taieri Rifles, and, as a Forester, is attached to Court Star of the Forest, Woodlands, of which he was Chief Ranger in 1904.

Berry, Richard , Farmer, “Woodside,” Woodlands. Mr Berry was born at Ballarat in 1857, and came to New Zealand when five years of age. He was brought up to farming, but in 1882 he commenced sawmilling, which he carried on in addition to farming in the Woodlands district, until 1898, when he gave up sawmilling. Mr Berry owns 540 acres of agricultural land, part of which is let, the remainder being farmed by himself. He has served on the Woodlands school committee for many years, and has been chairman and secretary of the Mabel school committee. He is also a member of the Woodlands Library Committee, and has passed through the chairs in Court Star of the Forest, Ancient Order of Foresters, Woodlands, of which he is now Senior Warden. Mr Berry was married, in 1879, to a daughter of Mr A. Anderson. grocer, Christchurch. His wife died in 1902, leaving three sons and four daughters.

Brown, Andrew George , Farmer, “Inchbank,” Woodlands. Mr Brown, who is a son of the late Mr George Brown, a very old Southland settler, was born in 1869, at Waikiwi Plains, and was educated at the Roslyn and Myross Bush schools. He was brought up to farming, and bought his present property of 490 acres in 1890. With the exception of about 100 acres, the whole block was then covered with tussocks and flax, but it has since been brought to a good state of cultivation. Mr Brown has erected a very handsome residence as well as substantial outbuildings, and has completed a considerable amount of fencing. The property is devoted to mixed farming, and special attention is given to breeding the Titiroa strain of Herefords. Mr Brown is also a breeder of Clydesdale horses, and is the owner of the well-known sire “Lochinvar,” by “Craigievar.”

Church, Mrs Annie , Lernview Farm, Woodlands. Mrs Church has resided in the Long Bush and Woodlands districts for about twenty-two years. She was born in County Fermanagh, Ireland, where her father, Mr W. Fraser, was a yeoman farmer. After a trip to Scotland, lasting a year, she came to New Zealand in 1876, and, in the same year, married Mr Horace Charles Church, who had fought in the American eivil war. In 1882, Mr and Mrs Church took up a small farm at Long Bush, to which the Woodlands property was afterwards added. Mr Church died, in 1898, leaving two sons and two daughters. Mrs Church still carries on both farms-comprising between 160 and 170 acres-which are devoted to dairying.

Dawson, George , Farmer, Fyvie Farm, Woodlands. Mr Dawson was born at Tullynessle, Aberdeenshire
Mr. G. Dawson.

Mr. G. Dawson.

Scotland, in 1830, and brought up to farm work. In 1852, he left for New Zealand by the “Slains Castle,” and landed at Port Chalmers. He settled at Green Island for six years, and engaged in farm work. In 1858 he took up his present farm of 250 acres, then in a state of nature. He took up another farm of 200 acres at Chatton, but sold it in 1884. While he was a resident of Chatton, Mr Dawson was chairman of the Knapdale Road Board during 1879–82. He has been chairman of the Woodlands school committee for a number of years; and since 1864 he has been an elder of the Woodlands Presbyterian church. He founded the Woodlands Dairy Factory, and has been chairman of directors on two occasions. Mr Dawson married, in 1852, a daughter of the late Mr Alexander Milne, of Fyvie, and has a family of six sons and three daughters.

Laidlaw, John , Farmer, “March-mont,” Woodlands. Mr Laidlaw was born in 1833, in the parish of East Kilbryde, Lanarkshire, Scotland, where he was brought up as a carpenter and builder. He arrived at Port Chalmers by the ship “Bruce,” in 1860, and carried his kit of tools to Balclutha, then known as the Molyneux, whence he proceeded to Southland. Mr Laidlaw settled in Invercargill, where he worked at his trade as a builder for ten years, and in 1870, removed to Woodlands, where he was employed in building the meat preserving works, a church, school, hotel, and other buildings. He then rented, at £60 per annum, sixty-five acres of land, on which he erected his homestead, and of which he subsequently bought the freehold. He afterwards purchased an additional 235 acres, and this part of his property has latterly been farmed by one of his sons and a daughter. In the early days, Mr Laidlaw served on the Woodlands school committee. He was for some time connected with the Long Bush sawmill, the first mill worked in the district, and subsequently had an interest in a mill at Seaward Bush. He was married, on the 31st of December, 1858, to a daughter of the late Mr James Strang, of Lanarkshire, Scotland, and has three sons and four daughters.

Meadows, Thomas John , Farmer, Flemington Bush Farm, Woodlands. Mr Meadows was born at Invercargill, in 1867, educated there and brought up to farming in the district. He left home in 1882, and worked for some years on farms and estates in various parts of Southland, and during 1891–2 he twice visited Australia. In 1893 he was appointed manager of Reid Brothers' estate, at Mossburn, and after two years and a-half went to Braxton station, where he remained five years, and was for the greater part of the time manager. After 1901 he was engaged in stock droving, and, at intervals, in looking after various farms throughout Southland. The page 1066 farm which he at present works contains 168 acres, on which he engages principally in dairying. Mr Meadows was married, in 1901, to a daughter of the late Mr T. Cooper, farmer, of Hawea Flat.

Milne, Peter Yule , Farmer, “Landside,” Woodlands. Mr Milne, who is a son of one of the earliest settlers in the district, was born at his father's farm, “Urie Bank,” and was educated at the local school and brought up to farming. At the age of eighteen he went contracting in various parts of
Mr. And Mrs P. Y. Milne.

Mr. And Mrs P. Y. Milne.

the district, and afterwards returned to his father's farm for some time before taking up his present property in 1896. “Langside” comprises 160 acres, and is all under cultivation. Mr Milne was married, in 1902, to a daughter of Mr William Hamilton, now of Invercargili, and has four sons.

Neill, James William , Farmer, Woodlands. Mr Neill, who is a son of Mr John Neill, secretary of the Southland Education Board, was born in 1877, educated at Gore and Invercargill, and brought up to mercantile life. He was for some time in an insurance office, and was afterwards in the employment of the J. G. Ward Company. In 1895, Mr Neill turned his attention to farming, and in 1902 bought his present property of 113 acres of freehold, which he devotes to dairy farming, and keeps twelve cows. Mr Neill was married, in 1902, to a daughter of Mr Robert Wallace, of Waianiwa, and has one son.

Shand, George , Farmer, Woodlands. Mr Shand was born in 1859, at the Taieri, where he was educated and brought up to farming by his father, Mr William Shand, who now resides at Kapuka. He was afterwards engaged in sawmilling work, and subsequently became a bush contractor. In 1898, Mr Shand purchased 100 acres of freehold at Woodlands, where he has erected a homestead, and effected many improvements. He devotes himself to dairyfarming, and milks seventeen cows, the milk of which he sends to the factory at Woodlands. Mr Shand was for some years a member of the Rimu school committee. He was married, in 1882, to a daughter of Mr James Blaney, of Kaitangata, and has four sons.

Walker, George , Farmer, Georgedale Farm, Woodlands. Mr Walker was born at Cupar, Fife, Scotland, in 1836. Twenty years afterwards he left for Victoria by the “Ocean Chief.” and spent about six
Mr. And Mrs G. Walker.

Mr. And Mrs G. Walker.

years farming in Tasmania and Victoria. In 1862, he arrived in New Zealand, followed the diggings for a few years, and was afterwards contracting at Waihola and Invercargill. For about seven years he was working by contract on the New Zealand and Australian Land Company's Morton Mains estate. Later on, he was regularly in the company's employment, but left the service in 1888. He took up his present farm of 200 acres in 1884, and has greatly improved it, and brought it under full cultivation. About twenty years ago Mr Walker was a member of the Woodlands school committee, but since then he has taken no part in public life. Mr Walker married a daughter of the late Mr Edward Lawlor, of Victoria, in 1864, and has two sons.

Mr. Douglas Watson , who was prominently associated with the meat preserving business in Southland, was born in 1810, in Perthshire, Scotland, where he was brought up to farming. He subsequently has an hotel with a farm attached at Cullen, Banffshire, for twenty-two years before coming to Port Chalmers in 1863, by the “E. P. Bouverie.” Mr Watson settled at Balclutha, afterwards became manager of one of the New Zealand and Australian Land Company's stations, and six years later was appointed manager of the Woodlands Meat Preserving Works-a position he held for thirteen years. On resigning, he bought a property of 200 acres at Otautau, which he named “Strathmore” Mr Watson was closely connected with educational affairs at Woodlands, and presented the committee with two acres of land as a site for the school. He was married, in 1860, to a daughter of the late Mr John Taylor, of Banffshire, Scotland. His wife died in 1881, leaving two sons and one daughter Mr Watson died at “Strathmore” in 1887.