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



Owing To Its Central Position in the county of Wallace, Otautau became the county town some years ago, when the offices were removed from Riverton. The Riverton-Nightcaps railway runs through the district, and the local station, which is also a post and telephone office, is thirty-two miles from Invercargill, and stands at an elevation of 128 feet above the level of the sea. Otautau is a town district in the Otautau riding of the county of Wallace, and in the electorate of the same name. At the census of 1901, it had a population of 443, with 197 inhabitants in the vicinity; while at Bayswater and Ringway, two estates which have been subdivided for closer settlement, there were ninety-three and forty-eight respectively. Part of the district surrounding Otautau is in the Waiau riding, and the population of that portion was sixty, while Otautau Bush, which is in the Aparima riding, had a population of sixty-four. The township is on the western bank of the Aparima river, which is crossed by a bridge about a mile distant; and the road leads beyond to Bayswater, Heddon Bush, Drummond and Winton. Otautau creek runs through the centre of the town, and is spanned by a substantial bridge. The township is occasionally visited by floods. A very large and prosperous farming community surrounds Otautau; a number of sawmills, flaxmills and a flourmill are at work in the district, and an up-to-date creamery is in operation. The Town Board has effected many improvements in streets and footpaths. As the railway station at Otautau is the nearest to the celebrated Waiau caves and river, Otautau is the stopping place for visitors to that interesting district, which is reached by coaches. Otautau has three churches, three hotels, a Town Hall, Masonic and Oddfellows' Lodges, a good many substantial business premises, and a public school.

The Otautau Town District is bounded on the east by the Aparima river, on the south and west by the old Aparima estate, now sub-divided into farms, and on the north by the old Strathmore station. The area of the district is 800 acres, and the capital value, in 1904, was £28,532. A general rate of 3/4d, and a special rate of 3/8d in the pound was levied, and produced an annual revenue of about £130. The Town Board also receives £75 as rent for the Town Hall, and a subsidy of 25 percent on the general rate, which, together with licensing fees, amount to £120; and rents of reserves give a yearly revenue of £400. There is a loan of £400, borrowed for drainage purposes, under the Government Loans to Local Bodies Act, and the money raised under special issue of debentures for £200 at 4 1/2 percent, for street improvements, which has been expended on asphalting footpaths. Otautau is lighted by about thirty kerosene lamps. The Town Hall is a wood and iron building, situated in the main street, with accommodation for about 300 persons, and has two offices for the use of the Board. The members of the Otautau Town Board in 1904–5 were Messrs E. Matheson (chairman), N. Kelly, R. Seator, A. H. Officer, and J. Swap. Mr John Fisher is clerk and treasurer, and Mr John Dimmock caretaker of the hall.

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Mr. Joseph Swap , who has been a member of the Otautau Town Board since 1892, was born in 1857, in Aberdeen, where he was educated and brought up as a carpenter and joiner. When twenty-two years of age, Mr Swap came to New Zealand with his wife by the ship “Napier,” and landed at Port Chalmers. After residing in Dunedin for eight months, he settled at Otautau in 1880, and commenced
Mr. J. Swap.

Mr. J. Swap.

business as a builder. Mr Swap has erected a considerable number of buildings in the Otautau district, including the Presbyterian and Anglican churches. He resides in Main Street, where his commodious dwelling-house stands on a site of an acre and a-half. Mr Swap was chairman of the Otautau Town Board in 1900, and is a member of the committee of the Otautau Racing Club, of which he has been president. As a Freemason, he was Worshipful Master of Lodge Wallace, in 1904. Mr Swap was married, in 1879, three days before leaving Scotland, to a daughter of the late Captain J. Ewen, of Aberdeen. Mrs Swap died in 1903, leaving one son and two daughters.

The Wallace County Council dates from 1876, when the Counties Act came into force. The eastern boundary of the county extends from the mouth of the Waimatuku stream to the north of the New River hundred; thence through Oreti hundred to the northern boundary thereof, afterwards passing through part of the Taringatura district to the Oreti river; the northern boundary extends from the Eyre district to the West Coast; the western boundary adjoins Fiord county; and on the south the county is bounded by the ocean. The total rateable value of the property is £766,865, on which a general rate of 3/4d in the pound is levied, with a charitable aid rate of 1/8d. There are also separate rates for four ridings of the county. The County Council has borrowed £608 under the Loans to Local Bodies Act. The county bridges include four over Jacob's river, one over the Otautau, another over the Orawai, and a fine suspension bridge over the Waiau at Clifden. About 900 miles of roads are maintained by the county, which is divided into six ridings; namely, Orepuki, Waiau and Mararoa, which return one member each, and Otautau, Aparima, and Wairio, each of which returns two members. The gross revenue for the year ending March, 1904, exclusive of Government grants, was £14,172. During the same year, Mr J. Fraser was chairman, and the other members were: Messrs E. J. Stevens, T. Power, and J. J. Newton, H. Hirst, J. King, F. J. Dyer, D. Clark, and R. Cupples. Mr James Fullerton, B. A., is clerk and treasurer, and Mr A. McGavock, engineer. The Council's offices were removed some years ago from Riverton to Otautau, as the most central settlement of the county.

Mr. John Fraser , who has been Chairman of the Wallace County Council since 1902, and a member of the Council for five years, was born in 1855, in Inverness-shire, Scotland, where he was educated and brought up to farming by his father. He
Mr. And Mrs J. Fraser.

Mr. And Mrs J. Fraser.

came to New Zealand in 1879, by the ship “Wellington,” and settled in the Waimatuku district, where he afterwards bought forty acres of land on the flat. He subsequently sold this property, and purchased 295 acres, on which he has since resided. Mr Fraser has been a member of the Waimatuku school committee for many years, and has been chairman since 1890; and he has also been a member of the Western Districts Agricultural and Pastoral Association for some years. In June, 1892, he took a trip to the Old Country by the s.s. “Rimutaka,” and was just in time to see his father, who died five days after his arrival. Mr Fraser was married, in February, 1881, to Miss Livingston, of Dundee, Scotland, and has, surviving, a family of six sons and three daughters.

Councillor David Clark , who has represented the Otautau riding on the Wallace County Council since 1899, was born at Clifton, near Invercargill, in 1866. He was educated at Limestone Plains, and was brought up to farming, in which he was afterwards associated with his father and brother. In 1894, Mr Clark took up 253 acres of land at Heddon Bush, and has since brought, the property into a good state of cultivation. Mr Clark is a member of the committees of the Southland and Winton Jockey Clubs, and has acted as starter at Winton since 1897. He has served, also, as a member of the Otautau school committee. As a Freemason, he was Worshipful Master of the Winton Lodge in 1904. Mr Clark has invented a moveable circular sheep-pen for drafting purposes, and also a patent turnip-hoer for field work. The latter is capable of thinning nine acres of turnips a day. Mr Clark is a recognised judge of horses, and acted as judge of the draughts at the Dunedin show in 1903. He was married, on the 24th of May, 1894, to a daughter of the late Mr J. Parry, of Riverton, and has two sons and two daughters.

Councillor James King , of the Wallace County Council, is a farmer at Clifden, in the Waiau district. He has been a member of the Council since 1899, and was chairman in 1902. Mr King was born at Ardoch, Perthshire, Scotland, in 1853, educated at Crieff, and brought up on his father's farm. He came to New Zealand in 1879, and engaged in general farm work. After a short period spent in farm contracting, he leased a farm at Long-bush. Then he bought a farm, which he occupied for eight years, when he sold it in order to take up land at Clifden, in 1893. Mr King takes great interest in the progress of the Waiau district, and has been connected, as member or chairman, with the Clifden school committee since its inception. He is a director of the Southland Agricultural and Pastoral Association, chairman of the Waiau Draught Horse Association, and a page 963 trustee of the Clifden Cemetery. In 1892, he married a daughter of the late Mr William Strang, of Waimatuku, and has two sons and two daughters.

Councillor John Thomas Newton has been a member of the Wallace County Council since 1895, and represents Wairio riding Mr Newton was born on the 23rd of March, 1846, at St. Just Penwith, Cornwall, England. He was brought up on his father's farm, and afterwards was engaged in farming on his own account. Mr Newton came to Port Chalmers by the ship “Maori,” in 1880, and two years later settled at Wrey's Bush. He was appointed to the Commission of the Peace, in 1898, and was for some years chairman of the Wrey's Bush school committee. When the school was closed, he was presented by the residents of the district with a gold chain, in recognition of his services. Mr Newton was married, in 1872, to a daughter of the late Mr Anthony Johns, of St. Keverne, Cornwall, England, and has, surviving, one son and one daughter.

Councillor Thomas Power , J.P., has been one of the members representing Wairio riding in the Wallace County Council since 1900. Mr Power was born, in 1842, in County Clare, Ireland, where he was brought up to farming. He arrived in Melbourne, in 1859, and after residing for nearly three years in Victoria, came to New Zealand. He was one of the early diggers at Gabriel's Gully and afterwards worked at the Dunstan, and at Hartley and Riley's Beach. In 1863, Mr Power bought land on the New River, where he farmed till 1878, when he settled in Wrey's Bush district. Mr Power was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1898, and is a member of the Wrey's Bush Cemetery Trust. He has been a member of the Otautau school committee, and was elected a member of the Wallace Licensing Bench, in 1903. Mr Power was married, in 1871, to a daughter of the late Mr John Francis, of County Galway, Ireland, and has one son and five daughters.

Mr. James Fullarton , B.A., Clerk and Treasurer of the Wallace County Council, was born in the Island of Arran. Buteshire, Scotland, and is the youngest son of Mr. Alexander Fullarton, farmer. He was educated at the local school and at Edinburgh University, where he took the degree of B.A. Mr. Fullarton studied Theology at the Edinburgh Free College, and was licensed to the ministry. Owing, however, to ill-health, he abandoned his sacred calling and left his native land for the Bluff by the ship “Sir William Eyre,” which arrived in 1863. He engaged in teaching for some time, but afterwards acted as clerk and engineer to the late Aparima Road Board, and received his present appointment in 1881. In 1864, he married Miss Jessie Cumming, of Banffshire, Scotland, and has three daughters and three sons. One of his sons is Dr. Fullarton, of Invercargill, another is on the staff of the Boys' High School, Dunedin, and the other is farming at Jacob's River, in the Southland district.

Mr. Archibald Mcgavock , Engineer, to the Wallace County Council, was born, in 1873, at Invercargill, where he was educated at the public schools. He joined the Survey Department in 1890, and, after serving for two years in the office, was sent in to the field. On the completion of his cadetship, he qualified as a surveyor, in 1896, and afterwards served as a contracting surveyor on the West Coast, under Mr John Robertson. In 1898, he was appointed assistant engineer to the Wallace County Council, and was promoted to his present position in 1902.

Mr. John Mcintyre , formerly a Member of the Wallace County Council, resides on the Rothiemurchus Estate, near Thornbury Junction, Southland. He was born, in 1837, at Rothiemurchus, Inverness-shire, and after leaving school he worked on a farm until he was nineteen; he then entered the timber trade, in which he was occupied for four years. Mr. McIntyre left Scotland in 1860 by the ship “Silistria,” on her maiden voyage for Otago. His first experience was in shearing and other station work, and when the “rush” set in to Tuapeka, he proceeded to that field and remained for seven months, meeting with fair success. For about three years after that he was engaged in the carrying trade, and in 1864 obtained a rail way contract to construct a section of the line from Ryal Bush towards Winton. He purchased his present farm of 1400 acres in 1865, and devotes the land to mixed farming. Mr. McIntyre has been a very successful breeder of entire horses and shorthorn cattle, with which he has been a frequen-prize-taker at the Invercargill, Dunedin, and Riverton agricultural shows. He is a member of the Highland Society of Southland. In 1871, Mr. McIntyre was married to a daughter of Mr. Thomas Bath, of Cornwall, but lost his wife in 1896.

Gerstenkorn, photo.Mr. J. Mcintyre.

Gerstenkorn, photo.
Mr. J. Mcintyre.

The Otautau Sub-Police District was established in 1884, and then included Nightcaps, which now forms part of another district. The boundaries include Drummond, Heddon Bush, Clifden, Merrivale and the contiguous districts. The police station, which is situated in the main street of Otautau, is a brick building, and contains five rooms and a porch, an office and two cells. Sittings of the Magistrate's Court are held in the Town Hall every four weeks.

Constable Patrick Joyce has been in charge of the Otautau sub-police district since 1888, and also acts as Clerk of the Magistrate's Court. He was born in 1851, in Oughterard, County Galway, Ireland, where he was educated. He came to the Bluff by the ship “Sevilla,” in 1864, and he was engaged in mining for many years at Hogburn, Queenstown, Waipori, and Cromwell, and joined the police force in 1882. He has been stationed successively in Wellington and Invercargill, and was in charge of the North Invercargill station for three years and a-half prior to his appointment to Otautau. Mr Joyce was married in Oamaru, in 1874, to a daughter of the late Mr John Joyce, of Murruaghe, County Galway, Ireland, and has one son and one daughter.

St. Andrew's Anglican Church , at Otautau, is built of wood and iron, stands on half an acre of land, and has accommodation for eighty persons. Services are held by the vicar of Riverton, twice every month. There is a small Sunday school with twenty children, in charge of two teachers.

King, Francis , Chemist and Druggist, Main Street, Otautau. This business was established by the proprietor in 1902. The premises consist of a wood and iron building, which contains a shop, a consulting-room and a dwelling. Mr King was born in 1878, at Port Chalmers, where he was educated at the District High School. He studied for his profession in Dunedin, and became a registered chemist in 1899. After serving for some time as an assistant chemist at Ashburton, he entered into business on his own account, in Colombo Street, Sydenham, Christchurch, in July, 1901; and was there for eighteen months before page 964 establishing his present business at Otautau.

Thomson And Beattie, Limited , General Drapers, Otautan branch, Main Street, Otautau; Head Office, Invercargill. The Otautau branch of this well-known drapery house was established in November, 1902. The premises consist of a brick and iron building, with two show windows on the main street, and there is a large shop with a show room and millinery work room. Goods are delivered from the branch throughout the surrounding district.

Mr. John Sheargold has been Manager of the Otautau branch of Thomson and Beattie, Limited, since February, 1904. Mr Sheargold was born in 1875, in Launceston, Tasmania, where he was educated and brought up to the drapery trade. He came to New Zealand in August, 1901, and was employed for some time by Mr J. A. Mitchell, auctioneer, and afterwards by the Southland Implement Company. In 1902, Mr Sheargold became traveller for Messrs Thomson and Beattie, and was appointed to his present position in February, 1904. While in Tasmania, Mr Sheargold was a member of a volunteer corps for six years, and also joined the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows. He was married in 1900.

Gerstenkorn, photo.Mr. J. Sheargold.

Gerstenkorn, photo.
Mr. J. Sheargold.

Jaquiery, Robert John , Plumber, Main Street, Otautau. Mr Jaquiery established himself at Otautau, in 1902, and carries on a general plumbing business in his own freehold premises. He was born, in 1874, in Carlton, Melbourne, and came to New Zealand in 1876, with his parents. On leaving school, he was apprenticed to the plumbing trade, which he has followed ever since, and has worked in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Mount Lyell, Tasmania. In 1901, he started a business in Invercargill, but removed to Otautau in 1902. Mr Jaquiery takes a great interest in athletic sports. He was captain of the Pirates' second fifteen in Invercargill; was a member of the club for eight or nine years, and was also on the committee. As a cricketer, he was for some time captain of the second eleven, and he also took part in cycle racing. Mr Jaquiery is a member of the Shamrock, Rose and Thistle Lodge of Oddfellows, Manchester Unity, Invercargill.

Paterson, William , Boot and Shoemaker and Dealer, Main Street, Otautau. Mr Paterson's business was established in 1900, and is carried on in a wood and iron building, containing a shop and fitting-room, with a work room behind. Mr Paterson was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1868, and was brought, by his parents, to Port Chalmers, in 1871, by the ship “Margaret Galbraith.” He was educated in the public schools in Dunedin, where he also learned the bootmaking trade. After working for several years as a journeyman, Mr Paterson went to Australia in 1887, and resided there, chiefly in Adelaide and Sydney, for ten years. He returned to New Zealand, in 1897, and, after residing in Auckland for two years, removed to Invercargill, where he entered the employment of Messrs Kings-land and Son. As a volunteer, Mr Paterson served for six years in the Dunedin Navals; and, as a Freemason, he is attached to Lodge Wallace, No. 129, New Zealand Constitution. Mr Paterson was married, in 1901, to a daughter of Mr William Stevens, of Seaward Bush, and has one son.

Gerstenkorn, photo.Mr. W. Paterson.

Gerstenkorn, photo.
Mr. W. Paterson.

Officer, Alfred Henry , General Butcher and Farmer, Otautau. Mr Officer was born in 1864 in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and, when he was four years old, was brought, by his parents, to Port Chalmers, in the ship “Schleswig Bride.” He was brought up to farming on his father's farm at Groper's Bush, and in 1895 he bought land and engaged in farming on his own account. His residence stands on Enderly Mead—a property of 160 acres of freehold, where he has resided since 1901. In 1898, Mr Officer opened a butchery business at Otautau, but his premises were destroyed by fire in 1901. In the following year he bought his present business in Main Street, where he has a double-fronted wood and iron shop, and small goods room. There is also a dwelling-house with stables on the section. Mr Officer owns a slaughter-house, situated on the Fairfax road, about three miles from Otautau, on a freehold of thirty-seven acres. As an Oddfellow, Mr Officer is a member of Lodge Aparima, and is at present a member of the Otautau Town Board. Mr Officer was married, in September, 1898, to a daughter of Mr David Reidie, farmer, Groper's Bush, and has three daughters.

Gerstenkorn, photo.Mr. And Mrs A. H. Officer.

Gerstenkorn, photo.
Mr. And Mrs A. H. Officer.

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Steele, Thomas , Family Butcher, Otautau. Mr. Steele is the eldest son of Mr. Thomas Steele, of Sydney, New South Wales, and was born in that city in 1858. He received his education at Riverton, and was apprenticed to the tailoring trade with Messrs. Whittingham Bros, and Instone, of Riverton, with whom he remained only eighteen months. He, subsequently, learned the trade of a butcher under Mr. Smidt, of Riverton, in whose service he continued about seven years. Mr. Steele was then appointed manager for Messrs. Walker and Todd, butchers, of Otautau, whose business he afterwards purchased. He was initiated in Lodge Aparima, No. 77, N.Z.C., in 1897, and is also a member of the local lodge of Oddfellows. In 1896, he married Grace, daughter of Mr. Francis Moore, of Tasmania.

Mr. T. Steele.

Mr. T. Steele.

Watson, J. E. And Company, Limited , headquarters at Invercargill. The Otautau branch of Messrs J. E. Watson and Company, Limited, is domiciled in a large wood and iron building about 210 feet by 45 feet, and stands on the firm's freehold. A large amount of grain is bought and stored, and the buildings, owing to their closeness to the railway station, are very convenient. A complete stock of farm and station requisites, machinery, manures, etc., is kept at the branch.

Mr. Thomas Parker Dyer , Manager, is the son of a very old settler, who had a store at the Bluff about 1856, and owned considerable property in Dunedin. He was born at Milton, in 1870, educated there, and afterwards spent six years and a-half in his brother's store at Mossburn. Mr Dyer joined the firm of Tothill, Watson and Co. about 1896, and after some years spent at the head office of the firm in Invercargill, was transferred to Otautau as branch manager. He takes great interest with horses, and has ridden in races with considerable success. He is a member of the Southland Mounted Rifles, and has taken part, with great success, in the horse competitions of the corps.

Gerstenkorn, photo.Mr. T. P. Dyer.

Gerstenkorn, photo.
Mr. T. P. Dyer.

Otautau Roller Mills (William Saunders, proprietor), Otautau. This mill was established in 1884, as a water-power stone mill, and stands on a site of eighteen acres. Mr Saunders purchased the business in 1888, and in 1894 substituted a complete roller mill plant, which he specially imported. The mill was burned down in 1902, and has since been rebuilt in concrete. A new plant, including elevators, was then erected, with a producing capacity of two sacks a day. The brand “Roller Flour, Otautau Mill,” is well known throughout Southland. Mr Saunders' residence is near the mill, and is a commodious building.

Mr. William Saunders , the Proprietor, was born in 1848, and is the eldest son of Mr Alfred Saunders, a pioneer colonist, and prominent politician. He was educated at Nelson College, brought up to flour-milling in Nelson and Canterbury, and afterwards erected land worked the Ashburton mills, in conjunction with his brothers. In 1884, he removed to Southland, and engaged in farming till he purchased the Otautau flour mill. Mr Saunders served for some time on the Otautau Town Board. In 1882, he was appointed Returning Officer for the Wallace electorate, and has been a Justice of the Peace since 1890. Mr Saunders was married, in 1873, to a daughter of the late Mr William Wilkie, merchant, of Nelson, and has four sons and four daughters.

Mr. David Mill Collett , Head Miller of the Otautau Roller Flour Mills, was born in 1878, in Invercargill, and was educated at Mandeville. Mr Collett Obtained his first experience in flourmilling at Mr R. Doull's mill, at Mandeville, where he worked for nearly six years. He was afterwards employed for fifteen months on the Southland section of New Zealand railways, and was appointed head miller of the Otautau mills in 1904. Mr Collett is well known as an angler, and has won several medals in fishing competitions in different parts of the South Island. He has also cultivated the art of whistling, in which he excels. Another of his hobbies is fancy wood-carving, in which he is an expert.

Gerstenkorn, photo.Mr. D. M. Collett.

Gerstenkorn, photo.
Mr. D. M. Collett.

Glenburn Mill (Messrs McCallum and Co., proprietors), Otautau. This mill is situated about three miles from Otautau, to which the timber is hauled over a tramway, which runs alongside the road. Twenty-five persons are employed, and the average output is 100,000 feet per month, all the year. The plant includes an eighteen horse-power boiler, a twenty horse-power engine, and full sets of page 966 sawing machinery. The planing machine, under a separate roof, is driven by an eight horse-power portable engine. There is an eight horse-power hauling engine. The mill commands 800 acres of very good bush.

Mr. Charles Herbert Bradley , the Manager of the mill, was born at Hythe, Kent, Tasmania, in 1876, and started to work in a fitting shop at Queenstown, Tasmania. There he remained three years, and afterwards drove a locomotive for four years. For some time he was engaged in sawmill work. He had charge of a mill at Zeehan for some time, and afterwards built a mill for the North Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company, in Kelly's Basin, Macquarie Harbour. After being for a short time a tributer in a tin mine, he was engaged in prospecting for the Tasmanian Government. In July, 1901, he came to New Zealand, and was engaged for about two years with Messrs James More and Sons, at Riverton, in driving a locomotive, and afterwards a steam launch, and for some time in charge of a mill. He came to the Glenburn mill as manager in the beginning of 1904. Mr Bradley holds both New Zealand and Tasmanian first-class competency certificates for locomotive engines. In 1897, he was champion light weight boxer of Tasmania, and, later in the same year, of Australia. He has competed in wrestling, rowing, and cycling contests with considerable success. Mr Bradley is a member of Lodge Wallace, Independent Order of Oddfellows, American Constitution, at Riverton.

The Otautau Sawmill (the Southland Timber Company, proprietors), Otautau. This mill lies back in the bush, about three miles and a-half from Otautau, to which the timber is conveyed by tramway. From twelve to fourteen men are employed, and cutting rights are held over 800 acres of bush. The plant comprises a sixteen horse-power portable engine, and a planing machine.

Mr. Thomas Robert Newton , Manager, was born in Waimate, Canterbury, in 1868, educated there, and brought up on his father's farm. Since he left home, he has been engaged, in various capacities, in sawmill work. For about six years, he worked a mill in Victoria, and, after settling at Otautau, managed one for McPherson Brothers. When in Australia, Mr Newton took part in athletics, and was very successful as a sprint and hurdle runner. For some time he was engaged in making stockwhips for the Queensland market. The mill which he now manages was built by him. In 1892, he married a daughter of Mr W. Boothman, of Victoria, and has one son.