The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts]
The Blind River Settlement is situated about twenty-six miles from Blenheim, and is on the sea coast. Formerly, it consisted of an estate of 5,600 acres, and was originally taken up by the late Mr. Fell, father of Mr. C. Y. Fell, Crown Prosecutor, Nelson. On the death of Mr. Fell, the property was carried on for the benefit of the family, and was afterwards leased to the owner of Starborough, until it was acquired by the Government, by whom it was cut up into about twenty holdings, ranging from 120 to 500 acres. There is a telegraph office at Seddon, two miles and a-half distant, and good shooting is obtained on Lake Grassmere, about one mile away from the settlement.
Grassmere Accommodation House (David Wheeler, proprietor), Blind River, Awatere. This house is situated at the extreme southern boundary of the Blind River estate. It is an eight-roomed building, within easy distance of Saltwater Lake, of which it has an excellent view. The locality is a very healthy one. “Grassmere” affords good accommodation for tourists, who can have shooting in the immediate neighbourhood. After leaving Starborough (now Seddon), page 442 “Grassmere” is the only recognised place of call till Kekerangu is reached, a distance of about twenty-five miles. The Government reserve at the house contains only 100 acres, and Mr. Wheeler has decided to add to his property.
Mr. David Wheeler was born in 1848 at Auckland, which he left at an early age. Mr. Wheeler has followed fellmongery work and wool washing for about thirty years. He was wool-classing on the Clarence Reserve, Kaikoura, for nine years, and at St. Helen's station, Hanmer Plains, for five years, prior to taking up the Government Reserve and keeping the Accommodation House at Grassmere.
Mr. D. Wheeler.
Mr. J. Allen.
The late Mrs J. Allen.
Morrow, Robert, Farmer, Blind River, Awatere. Mr. Morrow's holding of 300 acres was formerly a portion of the original Blind River estate. It has a frontage to the main road, and is considered to be one of the best selections in the neighbourhood. The land in its natural state will carry a sheep to the acre in a good season, and would carry double the number if it were broken up, cropped, and laid down in grass. Mr. Morrow was born in Donegal, Ireland, in 1839. He was brought up to farming, and emigrated to Australia by the ship “Australia,” in 1838. He was for about five years on the leading Victorian goldfields, and after coming to New Zealand, he was for several years mining at Dunstan, Shotover, Wetherstones, and Waitahuna. In 1865, he joined in the “rush” to the West Coast, and was present at Hokitika, Greymouth and the Buller. The Wakamarina “rush” of 1866 brought him to Marlborough. He had no luck on the goldfields, and he took to sheepfarming in 1895.
Rodgerson, James Ernest, Farmer, Blind River, Marlborough. Mr. Rogerson's property consists of 125 acres of Government land, held on a lease in perpetuity. Originally, it was covered with tussocks, and overrun with rabbits, and there were neither roads nor conveniences of any kind in the district. But Mr. Rodgerson, with indomitable pluck, overcame all obstacles, and has been very successful in his undertakings. He depastures about 160 Leicester and Merino crossbred ewes, and there has been over 100 per cent, of lambs. Very little cropping is carried on, on account of the poor railway facilities in the district. Mr. Rodgerson was born near Hull, Yorkshire, England, in the year 1848, and as a youth served an apprenticeship as an engine-fitter and pattern-maker. To gain further experience, he afterwards went to sea for five years in the Wilson line of boats, trading from England to ports in the North Sea. In 1874, Mr. Rodgerson came to New Zealand in the ship “Calliope,” landed at Port Chalmers, and after visiting various parts of New Zealand settled in Christchurch, where for a number of years he was employed in Mr. John Anderson's foundry. He subsequently removed to Nelson, where he found employment with the Anchor Foundry and Shipping Company, and in 1895 secured his present holding. Mr. Rodgerson has always taken an active part in public matters. It was through his endeavours that the Blind River public school was established, and for six years he gave his time and attention to the upkeep and Wellbeing of the school. He has been chairman of most of the public and political meetings held in the district, and he is a staunch supporter of the Seddon Government. Mr. Rodgerson was married in the year 1869, and has three sons and five daughters.
Trueman, Robert, Farmer, “Collingbourne,” Blind River, Marlborough. “Collingbourne” is a property of 317 acres of Goverenment land, held on a nine hundred and ninety-nine years' lease. A large number of sheep are depastured, and cropping is also carried on. The land is chiefly flat, and the Blind river runs through the property. Mr. Trueman was born in Wiltshire, England, in the year 1842, and was brought up to an agricultural life. He came to New Zealand in 1875, in the ship “Mataura,” landed in Nelson, and then transhipped to Blenheim. For twenty years, Mr. Trueman was engaged on the Picton-Blenheim railway. In 1895 he removed to his present holding, where, with the assistance of his son, be has been prosperous in all his undertakings. Mr. Trueman married a daughter of the late Mr. Robert Blackmore, of Collingbourne, Wiltshire, England, in the year 1866. Mrs Trueman died in April, 1905, leaving one son and one daughter.page 443
Mr. R. Trueman.