The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Otago & Southland Provincial Districts]
Ryal Bush is a rural district, ten miles from Invercargill by railway, and twelve miles by road. It is in the Wallacetown riding of the county of Southland, and in the electoral district of Awarua. The population, at the census of 1901, was 218. The whole countryside, in the early days of the settlement, was one dense bush, of which many pretty patches still remain, to remind the old pioneers what the country was like when they first saw it. The main road from Invercargill to Winton passes through Ryal Bush, and also the Invercargill-Kingston line of railway. Seven miles further on, is the borough town of Winton, which is also connected by an excellent cycling road, which passes through the fertile district of Forest Hill. The district is supposed to have taken its name from an early settler named Ryal. Ryal page 976 Bush has an English church, at which services are held by the vicar of Winton, who is assisted by lay readers. There is an excellent public school, and also a hall, in which Presbyterian church services are held once a fortnight. The district is devoted to agriculture, dairy-farming; and, in addition to moderate-sized farms, there are deferred-payment selections of from fifteen to twenty acres. The local railway station stands ninety-two feet above the level of the sea. It is within two miles of the station at Wilson's crossing; and Branxholme station, on the Invercargill Orepuki line, is also available for settlers in the district. The business of the post and telephone bureau is conducted at the schoolhouse.
The Ryal Bush Post Office And Telephone Bureau was established in 1893, and is conducted at the schoolhouse. Mails are received on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in each week, and the outward mails are despatched on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Mr John Officer, headmaster of the publie school, acts as postmaster.
The Ryal Bush Public School was established in the early seventies. The building, which is of wood, occupies part of a section of three acres of land, the gift of Mr James Blaikie. There is accommodation for fifty children, and the average attendance is about thirty. There is a good playground, well sheltered by a plantation of trees, and a school residence of six rooms and offices. There is also a public hall erected on the property.
Mr. John Officer , Headmaster of the Ryal Bush public school, was born in 1852, at Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, where he was partly educated. Mr Officer came out to Port Chalmers by the ship “Schleswig Bride,” and finished his education at the Training College, Dunedin. He was afterwards appointed teacher at Limestone Plains, and was at the Training College in Dunedin for two years, Mr Officer was for a short time in charge of Heddon Bush, and was subsequently teacher at Chatton for four years, before he was appointed headmaster at Ryal Bush in 1895. He was married, in 1895, to a daughter of Mr James Marshall, of Chatton, and has one son and three daughters.
Mr. J. Officer.
All Saint's Church , Ryal Bush, is one of the oldest churches in Southland. Its oldest portion was built in 1861, and consecrated by Bishop Harper, of Christchurch, when Southland was part of his diocese. The building, which is of wood and iron, has since been enlarged, and is surrounded by a neatly-kept cemetery, The church has accommodation for one hundred and twenty people, and services are regularly held by the vicar of Winton, who is assisted by a lay reader.
Blaikie, William , Farmer, “Sunnyside,” Ryal Bush. Mr Blaikie was born in 1847, in Roxburghshire, Scotland, where he was educated. He accompanied his father to Port Chalmers, in 1860, by the ship “Robert Henderson,” and was brought up to farming in the Ryal Bush district. Mr Blaikie is owner of 300 acres of freehold, which he acquired in 1874, and he has brought his property to a fine state of cultivation. He has been a member of the Ryal Bush school committee on two or three occasions. Mr Blaikie was married, in 1891, to a daughter of Mr Thomas Hodgkinson, of Hanley, Staffordshire, England, and has three sons and two daughters.
Mr. And Mrs W. Blaikie.
Clark, J. And D. (James Clark and David Clark), Farmers, Threshing Mill and Flax Mill Proprietors, “Stuarton,” Ryal Bush. This firm owns 200 acres of freehold, besides a traction engine, three portable engines, three threshing mills, and a flax mill, which is situated near Makarewa Junction railway station. The threshing mills are kept busy during the season, and in the off season the power is used to work the flax mill. From twenty-five to thirty men are employed by the firm.
Mr. James Clark , the Senior Partner, was born in 1872, in Greenock, Scotland, and accompanied his parents to the Bluff by the ship “Peter Denny,” in 1875. He was educated and brought up in the Ryal Bush district, and established his present business in 1889. He was married, in January, 1901, to a daughter of the late Mr James Fraser, of Forest Hill, and has one daughter.
Mr. David Clark , the Junior Partner, was born near Greenock, Scotland, in 1874, and was brought to the Bluff by the ship “Peter Denny,” in 1875. Mr Clark was educated and brought up in the Ryal Bush district, and joined his brother in partnership in 1899.
Mrs R. Blaikie.
The Late Mr R. Blaikie.
Mr James Blaikie Was One Of The Earliest Settlers In The Ryal Bush Bush District, And Was Born In Roxburghshire, Scotland, In 1829. He Came To Port Chalmers By The Ship “Robert Henderson,” In 1860. After Residing About Six Months In Dunedin, Mr Blaikie Borrowed An Old Hack, And Rode South From Dunedin To The Ryal Bush District, Where He Bought Property, And Became A Large Landholder. Before His Death, In 1896, Mr Blaikie Divided His Property Among His Sons, Of Whom He Left Six, Besides Two Daughters. In The Early Days Of The Settlement, Before The Formation Of Roads And The Construction Of Bridges, Mr Blaikie Had Many Rough Experiences Which Were Fully Shared By His Young Family. In Order To Reach His Property, He Frequently Had To Walk Along A Mere Survey Track, And Often Had To Ford The Streams Between Ryal Bush And Invercargill.