The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts]
Brightwater is a small township about twelve miles south of Nelson, by rail, lying between the Wairoa and Wai-iti rivers, by which it is separated from Hope and Waimea West. When Mr. Alfred page 130 Saunders, well known as an early colonist and politician, built a flax mill on the Wairoa river, the river was so beautifully clear that he called it the Brightwater mill, and from that circumstance the township obtained its name. There appears to be a future in store for Brightwater in connection with the mineral belt, which runs through the Brightwater Gorge, and can be reached only through the township, for the purpose of obtaining proper levels and grades, for working the mines. Both the Waimea and the Wai-iti teem with trout; deer are to be found on the neighbouring hills; and other game exists in the district. There are delightful drives, especially by the new road to Wakefield, via the Gorge. Brightwater is the law court town for the Waimeas, and the local industries include a flour mill, flax mill, and the Nelson Co-operative Butter Factory Company's main plant. There are two churches, an institute, post and telegraph office, two public schools, two friendly society lodges, and a horticultural society. Good accommodation is provided for tourists and sportsmen.
Lightband, George William, J.P., Tanner and Skin Buyer, Brightwater. Bankers, Bank of New Zealand. Established 1882. Mr. Lightband was born in Worcestershire, England, and came to New Zealand by the ship “Thomas Harrison,” in 1842. He served his time at the tannery business under his father till 1851, when he went to the Australian goldfields, whence he returned to New Zealand in 1853. In 1855 he went to Collingwood, to prospect for gold, and was successful in opening the first payable goldfield in that district. A bonus of £500 had been offered for its discovery, and Mr. Lightband's case was pleaded before arbitrators, who considered that he had fulfilled the conditions, but owing to some unexplained reason, the money had never been allocated. The ladies of Nelson presented him with the British ensign, to be hoisted over his tent while acting in the capacity of Honorary Warden on the Collingwood goldfield. He also drew up the first mining rules and regulations for Collingwood, where there was then a population of 2000 miners. Mr. Lightband followed the life of a miner for thirty years in the Grey district and other parts of the West Coast, and was subsequently a warden under the Government. On leaving Greymouth he was presented with a testimonial and a purse of one hundred sovereigns in recognition, of his services. Mr. Lightband is well known as one of the leading fruitgrowers of the Waimeas, and has about eight acres planted with choice fruit trees and small fruits. One acre is under irrigation for raspberry culture, and this method has been proved to be extremely satisfactory.
Newman Brothers (Henry Newman and Thomas Newman), Coach Proprietors, Brightwater; Proprietors of Cobb and Co.'s Royal Mail Line of Coaches, Motupiko to Inangahua Junction, Reefton to Westport, Nelson to Blenheim. The Nelson-Blenheim route is eighty miles long, and it is run in five stages; the coaches leave Nelson on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and return on alternate days. This route, which is renowned for its wonderful beauty and rugged scenic grandeur, especially in the Wangamoa and Rai Valley, should not be neglected by tourists. From Motupiko to Inangahua Junction, run in five stages, the distance is eightyfour miles, and the country through which the coach passes is exceedingly picturesque. From Reefton to Westport, a distance of fifty miles, there are three stages, and the coach passes through the famous Buller Gorge, and primeval forests, unequalled by anything else of the kind in any other part of New Zealand, Messrs Newman Brothers have a most com- page 131 plete and up-to-date plant, including ten coaches (five of which are running daily), waggons and other vehicles; 150 horses (including seventy coach and ten waggon horses), a full supply of harness of every description, and plenty of forage, etc. Five coach drivers and a waggon driver are employed, and also a blacksmith to effect necessary repairs. Along the routes travelled, twenty stables have been erected and secured by the firm, which keeps stab lemon for the purpose of attending to the horses and effecting the necessary stage changes. Messrs Newman Brothers have carried on coaching for nearly thirty years on the routes referred to, with the exception of one section, on which Mr. A Hall; of Nelson, ran coaches for six years. The firm has long been in the habit of securing most of the prizes it competes for at agricultural shows, and it won a gold medal for the best draught stallion entered for the Nelson show in 1898. By carefully attending to the needs of their customers, the Messrs Newman have obtained an enormous share of patronage from the travelling public; and tourists never fail to express the pleasure they experience while occupying the box seat of one of the firm's coaches, which are always driven in a masterly style by “whips” of many years' experience.
Mcmurray, James, Dairy Farmer, Brightwater, Mr. McMurray was born in County Down, North of Ireland, in 1834. In 1855, he came out to Melbourne, and in company with his brother Robert followed up the diggings at Bendigo, Castlemaine and Ballarat, After more or less success, they resolved to try New Zealand, and landed at Dunned in just in time for the Gabriel's Gully “rush.” They were fairly successful, and went to Nelson in 1863, and were prospecting at Wangapeka and the Dun Mountain. Tnence they went to the West Coast, where they encountered hardships known only to pioneers. The brothers afterwards returned to Nelson, and Mr. James McMurray finally settled down at Brightwater in 1864. He has a farm of 100 acres, well suited to dairying, and used by him for that purpose. Whilst working on the railway line about twenty years ago, Mr. McMurray had the misfortune to lose one of his legs; and this has handicapped him in the latter years of his life. Mr. McMurray is married, and has twelve children, five of whom are married. He has always taken an active interest in matters conducive to the walfare of his district, and is chairman of the Spring Grove Road Board, and a member of the Brightwater school committee. He was formerly a member of the Waimeas Road Board.