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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts]



Dillmanstown , or the township of Dillman's, as it is familiarly known to all West Coasters, is situated about a mile from Kumara. It is in the Arahura riding of the county of Westland, and in the electorate and provincial district of Westland. Dillmanstown first came into prominence about the year 1870, when Cashman and party found paying gold. In 1875 gold was obtained at the farther end of the township, and in July, of the following year, the general “rush” set in. It is estimated that at one time fully 3000 men were digging between Dillman's and Kumara. In 1883, the Government put down a water-carrying plant known as No. 1 Channel. The yield of gold of late years has, however, slowly decreased. The public school is attended by about 120 children, who receive instruction up to Standard II, and are then transferred to the main school at Kumara. There are six hotels in the township, which has also a post office and telegraph station. The roads are good for cyclists, fishing and shooting are obtainable in the neighbourhood, and greenstone is found in the district.

The Dillmanstown Side School is a branch of the Kumara public school, from which it is about one mile distant. Children receive instruction up to a certain point, and are then transferred to the Kumara school. The building is of wood and iron, contains one class room and a porch, and there is a playground and shed. Miss Elizabeth M. Stark is sole teacher in charge.

Ring, photo.Miss E. M. Stark.

Ring, photo.
Miss E. M. Stark.

Miss Elizabeth M. Stark was appointed to the Dillmanstown public


page 543 school in the year 1902. She was born at Kumara, where she was educated. In the year 1896 she won a High School scholarship, and in 1897 and 1898 passed the Matriculation and Junior Civil Service examinations. Miss Stark then served a four years' pupil teachership in the Kumara public school, prior to her present appointment. She holds a D3 certificate.
McGrath and Company (Mrs McGrath, senior, and Thomas McGrath), General Storekeepers, Hydraulic Miners, Sawmillers and Timber Merchants, Dillman's. Bankers, Bank of New South Wales, Greymouth. Telegraphic address, “McGrath, Dillman's.” This firm's large and extensive business was founded in the year 1878 by the late Mr. Patrick McGrath, who conducted a successful trade at Dillman's till his death in 1890. Mr. Thomas McGrath then took charge on behalf of his mother, and subsequently admitted into partnership Mr. Thomas Moynihan, an executor in the estate, who was himself a practical miner with large interests in the district. Thus a union of forces took place, and the business grew by leaps and bounds, special attention being devoted to hydraulic mining. Intent upon carrying out their mining operations on an extensive scale, and requiring a large quantity of water, Messrs McGrath and Moynihan, in August, 1896, purchased from Mr. Holmes the Okuku water-race, and several mining properties in the neighbourhood. The race carries thirty Government
Sluicing Claim at Dillmanstown.

Sluicing Claim at Dillmanstown.

heads of water, and has its source in the Okuku river, eight miles from Dillman's. There are four dams, one of which has a depth of thirty feet, and is always filled to overflowing with a perpetual supply of water. There are from two to three miles of iron pipes and fluming, the latter being constructed of silver pine and heart of red pine. There is a pressure of eighty feet, and the race is constructed
McGrath and Company's Store.

McGrath and Company's Store.

in such a manner as to give an additional forty feet by raising it, without interfering with the flow of water. In May, 1898, Messrs McGrath and Moynihan amalgamated five or six of their claims with the Okuku Water Race and Goldmining Company, including in all about fifty acres of ground. The property has four faces with a frontage of 400 feet. About twenty-four heads of water are allowed to play on the face from four nozzles for ten hours daily. The twelve-feet boxes in the tail race have a fall of about seven inches, and measure twenty-eight inches wide by thirty inches high. The whole of the tailings from the front of the claim find their way into the Teremakau river by means of a sludge channel, 7 feet by 4 feet, constructed in 1898 by Messrs McGrath and Moynihan to supersede the old tunnel, which was found insufficient for requirements. The tunnel took over six months to complete. The property is worked to the best possible advantage, and gives employment to from eight to fourteen thoroughly competent miners. The property at the back of Dillman's, known as the Lee Company, consists of four acres, on which four men are employed, and two nozzles work on the face for about six hours daily. It has two tail-races, of twenty-four and twenty-six inches, with a total strength of 650 feet and 1100 feet respectively. A race of nearly 3000 feet was constructed for the purpose of opening up ground that had hitherto been worked unsuccessfully, owing to the channels being at too great a height to work the lower levels. The washing up returns are at all times satisfactory to page 544 the owners, and sufficient to warrant them in opening up fresh fields on the same extensive scale. As general storekeepers, Messrs McGrath and Co. have premises in Dillman's, with a frontage of sixty feet, and a depth of thirty-five feet. The firm carries full stocks of general merchandise and pays special attention to the wants of the mining community. The extent of the business necessitates a daily delivery within a radius of twenty-one miles. Messrs McGrath and Company give employment to upwards of thirty persons, exclusive of those employed at their sawmills. Mr. Moynihan retired some time ago from the firm, which is now (1905–1906) owned by Mrs McGrath, senior, and Mr. T. McGrath. Mr. Timothy Dunn manages the firm's mining operations.

The Larrikins Sawmill Company (Mrs McGrath, senior, and Thomas McGrath, proprietors; Mr. Gilbert London, working manager), Sawmillers and Wholesale Timber Merchants, Dillman's. Bankers, Bank of New South Wales, Greymouth. The mills are situated about three quarters of a mile from Dillmanstown, and were originally the property of Mr. William Morris. The present proprietary took them over in the year 1896 and is fast building up a large local trade. A Pelton wheel, three feet in diameter, is used, giving a pressure of sixty-five feet and equivalent to eighteen horse-power. The milling plant consists of three saws (circular and breaking-down) and breast and block-cutting benches. The bush, which is 500 acres in extent, is worked by day labour, and the plant is capable of an output of 6000 feet daily. Logs are hauled out of the bush by means of a patent steam winch, with wire rope. Messrs McGrath and Co. give constant employment to ten men, and have two timber carts running daily.

Union Sawmill (Robert Watson and Sons, proprietors), Dillmanstown. This mill is about one mile from Dillmanstown, with which there is communication by a good metalled road. The plant includes the usual breaking down and breast benches, a fourteen horse-power portable engine, a ten horse power hauling engine, and machinery for cutting blocks for mining purposes. The output is 4000 feet per day, and about eight persons are employed. Two three-horse teams are employed in carting.

Mr. Robert Watson , Senior Partner of the Union Sawmill, was born in Fifeshire, Scotland, in the year 1837, and brought up to mining and general work. In 1854 he went to Melbourne, Australia, and was engaged in mining in Victoria. Mr. Watson came to New Zealand in 1866, went to the West Coast, and attended all the principal gold rushes. About 1875, he started in the timber trade, near Hokitika, and in 1889 established his present mill. Some years later, Mr. Watson took into partnership his two
Ring, photo.Mr. R. Watson.

Ring, photo.
Mr. R. Watson.

sons. His eldest son has been second engineer to the Durban City Council in Natal since the year 1902. Except for being a short period on the Kumara school committee, Mr. Watson has taken no part in public life. He has three sons and two daughters.

Messrs Arthur And Francis Watson , Partners in the firm of Robert Watson and Sons, sawmillers, are the second and third sons of Mr. Robert Watson, and have been brought up to the timber trade from boyhood.