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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]


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The township of Martinborough is laid out on a broad plain, and is situated so as to form a half-way-house between the Lower Valley, Greytown, and Featherston. With the two latter places it has communication by coach, having a daily mail service with Featherston. It is about ten miles from the Featherston Railway Station and twelve from Greytown. The original village was called Te Waihinga, but later the late Hon. John Martin cut up a piece of his estate there and laid out the present town. It has a spacious square for its centre, and broad street-lines radiate to all points. The town has necessarily progressed slowly, because there is no large industry either within or near it to attract population; nevertheless it has progressed, and is well supported by the surrounding stations. There are two large hotels, handsome buildings both; a public school, post and telegraph offices recently erected, public library put up and stocked with books almost entirely by the donations and subscriptions of the people


page 862 of the neighbourhood. There are three churches—Anglican, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic, and latterly an outpost of the ubiquitous Salvation Army has begun to skirmish in the township. There are the usual stores, smithies, etc., and the people appear prosperous and enterprising. it is a great sporting community, and an annual race meeting has been held in this town from the very earliest time of settlement. Martinborough suffers from want of local self-government, and is a typical instance of the difficulty of governing small towns by large bodies at a distance. The old town boards having being abolished, and the place not having population enough to be constituted a borough, it comes under the jurisdiction of the Featherston Road Board, which body cannot fairly expend rates on such luxuries as footpaths, lighting, etc., in the town when the borough roads take all the money it can obtain to keep them in anything like decent order. The town still grows, however, and the time will come when it will be a flourishing borough. There is a great area of land surrounding it suitable for small farmers, and the advance of settlement will one day see it cut up and occupied. In fact, the Hon. Mr. Martin did, years ago, cut up the land for such a purpose, but he was a little ahead of the times, and the farms were not then taken up. When closer settlement eventuates, the town of Martinborough will, from its situation, he one of the most prosperous in the district. Particulars re mails will be found in the article on the Post-office.

Martinborough Public Library and Reading Room was built in 1894. The building, which is of wood, is very prettily designed, the architect being Mr. Natusch, of Eketahuna. There is a large reading-room and a chess-room, besides the library, which contains some 400 or 500 volumes. The cost of the building—£226—was defrayed principally by public subscription. The reading-room is open daily to the public from 9 a.m. to 9.30 p.m. It is managed by a committee of seven, with the following officers: Messrs. J. Martin (president), C. W. Lee (treasurer), and Rev. J. Lymburn (secretary).

Martinborough Post-Office, with which are combined the Telephone Bureau, Money Order Office, Savings Bank, and Government Life Insurance Department, is at the time of writing (1896) attached to Mr. J. Gallie's store. A new post-office has, however, just been erected in the centre of the township. This is a wooden building of modern design, with ample accommodation for the requirements of the place for some time to come. The new office was erected by co-operative workmen sent out from Wellington by the Government. Mails arrive from Wellington daily at 12:30 p m., the outgoing mail closing at 8.30 p.m., and on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2 p.m. The mails are conveyed to and from Featherston by coach, the office being connected by telephone with that place. The postmaster is assisted by a cadet.

Mr. John Gallie, Postmaster at Martinborough, was born in Dunedin in 1854. His father was a blacksmith, and one of the earliest settlers in Otago. The subject of this notice was educated at the Dunedin District High School and at Nelson College. He served an apprenticeship to the drapery business with Messrs. Herbert Haynes and Co., of Dunedin, and in 1879 came to Wellington to manage the business of the New Zealand Clothing Factory. Three years later he started in business in Carterton, in which he continued for about five years. After five years retirement he recommenced in Martinborough, establishing a general store, which he still conducts. In 1878. Mr. Gallie was married to the youngest daughter of Mr. James Butters, of Tapanni, Otago, and has seven children. Mr. Gallie is widely known in New Zealand, and takes an active interest in local affairs.

Mr John Gallie.

Mr John Gallie.

Martinborough Police Station is situated close to the Public Reading Room. It consists of a comfortable residence built of wood, with a number of convenient outhouses and store-rooms, which latter have been erected by the officer-in-charge in his spare time. The garden and grounds are well kept, and reflect credit on their keeper. Attached to the stable there is a workshop, from which is turned out many a handy contrivance u[unclear: s]ed, about the station. The lock-up is a wooden building of the style usual in country townships in New Zealand. Constable John May is the officer-in-charge.

Waihenga Public School, Martinborough —a wooden building of two rooms—has ninety children on the roll, page 863 the average attendance being about eighty. The school, which is but a short distance from the Martinborough post-office, possesses a small library numbering 230 volumes. The headmaster is assisted by two pupil-teachers.

Mr. Clement William Lee, Headmaster of the Waihenga public school, holds an E1 certificate. Born in Chelsea, England, and educated partly at the Royal School, Enniskillen, Ireland, Mr. Lee completed his course with his father, who was rector at East Clandon, Surrey. After teaching in his father's grammar school and gaining experience elsewhere, he conducted a boarding school on his own account. Mr. Lee came to New Zealand in 1875 in search of health, and after filling appointments in Manatahi, Wangaehu, Otaki. and Pahiatua public schools, received his present appointment. In church matters he is a lay reader and churchwarden of St. Andrew's Anglican Church, Martinborough.

Church of England, Martinborough, is a wooden building that was considerably enlarged in the beginning of 1896, and is now one of the finnest little wooden churches in the district. Services are held every Sunday by the Rev. A. V. Grace, assisted by lay readers. There is a good choir under the leadership of Mr. Lee.

Martinborough Presbyterian Church —a wooden structure which accommodates ab ut 180 people—was built in 1891. Churches at Lower Valley, Featherston, Kaiwaiwai, Morrison Bush, and back country are worked from Martinborough. An organ and a choir materially add to the attractiveness of the services at the Martinborough Church. Messrs. W. and J. Macleod and D. MeMaster are the members of the session, the board of management consisting of eight representatives from the various places of meeting. A comfortable manse with a glebe of eight acres is occupied by the minister. In connection with the church there is a successful Band of Hope and the usual Bible classes.

Rev. James Lymburn, the Minister in charge of the Martinborough Presbyterian Church, was born in Hawick, Roxburghshire, Scotland, in 1854. After completing his education at the parish school, he went to work, serving an apprenticeship to a carver and gilder. After entering into business in Glasgow, Mr. Lymburn became private secretary to Mr. Jas. McDonald, of London, whom he served six years. He afterwards attended the Glasgow University for four years, and was two years in the Free Church College, working meanwhile in the Glasgow City Mission, Selected by the Colonial Committee of the Free Church of Scotland, Mr. Lymburn came out to Hastings, New Zealand, where he remained for four-and-a-half years. In 1886 he was licensed by the Hawkes Bay Presbytery, and fifteen months later he was called to Martinborough, where he was ordained by the Wellington Presbytery. The reverend gentleman is an enthusiastic student of music, and besides playing the violin, sings well, and conducts the church choir. He visits and travels a great deal, and takes much interest in the work amongst the young people. He is a so very active in public affairs, holding several public positions.

Roman Catholic Church, Martinborough, is on the main road leading into the township from Featherston. The building is a new one, of cathedral design, and will acoomodate about 200 worshippers. Services are conducted there periodically by the Rev. Father McKenna.

Martinborough Lodge of Oddfellows, No. 1730, meets periodically in the Martinborough Hotel. The Lodge has a goad membership, and has been established for a number of years.

Martinborough Athletic Club holds sports on the racecourse annually. There are usually twenty events on the programme, of which the principal is the Martinborough Handicap of £15. The sports are usually well attended, and the different events are keenly contested. The officers (1896) were : Messrs. W. C. Buchanan, M.H.R. (patron), J. Martin (president), W. Martin, J. Orr, and G. Paine (vice-presidents), and A. G. Stewart (secretary).

Martinborough Gymnastic Club was formed by Mr. J. W. McCarthy in 1895, a complete set of gymnastic appliances having been secured and fitted up in the public hall, which makes a good gymnasium. The entrance fee is five shillings, with a subscription of sixpence per week for active members, who number forty. The gymnasium is open two nights a week, and largely patronised. The officers are Mr. J. W. McCarthy (secretary), and Mr. A. G. Stewart, treasurer.

Mr. John Willoughby McCarthy, Secretary of the Martinborough Gymnastic Club, was born in 1864 at Ealing, London. When ten years of age he came to New Zealand with his father, landing at Wellington. Completing his educational course at Mr. Mowbray's private school, Mr. McCarthy went to learn the tailoring trade with the late Mr. J. Reid, of Lambton Quay, with whom he remained for thirteen years. After working in several other leading Wellington establishments, Mr. McCarthy opened business in Martinborough, where he employs two hands. While in Wellington he was a member of the rifle cadets for two years, and was a member of the D Battery for a like period.

Mr. J. W. Mccarthy.

Mr. J. W. Mccarthy.

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The Wairarapa Lower Yalley Racing Club, Martinborough, has a large membership, and possesses a freehold racecourse of one hundred acres, on which a commodious grandstand is erected. Annual meetings are held on Boxing Day, large stakes being given. The officers (1896) were :— Messrs. W. C. Buchanan, M.H.R. (president), T. F. Evans (secretary), and John Gallie (treasurer).

Valentine, Thomas Frank, Chemist and Druggist, Martinborough. As this is the only business of the kind in the district around Martinborough, Mr. Valentine naturally gets all the trade. He is also a herbalist and a newsagent.

Ramsden, H. O., Commission Agent, manager for Mr. Toogood's Martinborough branch store, The Square, Martinborough. Telegraphic address, “Ramslen, Martinborough.” Bankers, Bank of Australasia, Featherston. Mr. Ramsden is agent for the New Zealand Insurance Company, the Accident Insurance Company, Mutual Life Association of Australia, Mr. F. H. Wood, auctioneer, of Greytown, and Mr. R. W. Tate, solicitor, Greytown. Prior to beginning business on his own account, Mr. Ramsden was with Mr. Pain, Mr. Coleman Phillips, and Mr. Peter McLaren, as accountant. He is a native of Essex, England, and arrived in Wellington in the year 1886 per ship “Canterlur.” Mr. Ramsden is a member of the vestry of the Church of England, and librarian, secretary, and treasurer of the Martinborough Library.

McCarthy, John Willoughby, Tailor, Martinborough. Bankers, Bank of Australasia. Established 1893. Two girls are employed in connection with the business. Mr. McCarthy holds the position of secretary to the local gymnastic club, and will be found more fully referred to in that connection.

Club Hotel (D. H. Johnston, proprietor), Martinborough. Telegraphic address, “Club, Martinborough.” Bankers, Bank of Australasia, Featherston. The “Club” was established in 1891 by Mr. Robert Buckeridge, and came into the hands of the present proprietor in 1893. It is a fine, large, well-constructed and well-lighted hotel, containing twenty bodrooms, and the customary complement of parlours, commercial-rooms, dining-rooms, billiard-rooms, etc. The yards of the hotel are also very extensive, and contain splendid stabling accommodation. The proprietor, Mr. Johnston, is well liked in the district, and his house altogether is an exceedingly popular one.

Martinborough Hotel (Alexander Gray Stewart, proprietor), Martinborough. This hotel is the oldest in the district, and is owned by Mr. J. Orr. The present licensee, who took charge in 1895, was previously for three years in the Whakataki Hotel. The Martinborough Hotel is a much more pretentious one than would be looked for usually in a country township. It is a large two-story wooden building containing thirty rooms, having a balcony on three sides, which provide a good promenade in wet weather. Inside, the hotel is well furnished, the public and private sitting-rooms and the bedrooms being roomy and comfortable. The bath-rooms are proviled with hot, cold and shower baths. Under the management of Mr. Stewart the house has a reputation second to none in the Wairarapa district. The stabling accommodation is all that could be desired. There are many loose-boxes, and every convenience for horses and vehicles. Mr. Stewart, who was born in Edinburgh, and came to New Zealand in 1881, is an enthusiast in sport. He is secretary of the Martinborough Athletic Club, a steward of the local racing club, a member of the Gymnastic Club, of the Greytown Cricket and Football Clubs, and is a lover of cycling.

Ferry Hotel (William Barton, proprictor), Lower Wairarapa Valley.

Martinborough Restaurant (proprietor, G. Croot), Otarai Road, Martinborough. Telegraphic address, “Croot, Martinborough.” The Martinborough Restaurant was established in 1889. It is a good large house, and of one story, containing ten bedrooms, besides the full complement of sitting and drawing-rooms, etc. It is in the centre of the business part of Martinborough, being but a few doors from the Square. The house is well kept, and there is an air of comfort about it. The proprietor, Mr. Croot, is a native of Cambridgeshire, and arrived in Nelson, New Zealand, per ship “Chili,” in the year 1874.

Jackson, Joseph John Griffiths, General Blacksmith, and Wheelwright, Martinborough. Mr. Jackson's smithy, established in 1890, is close to the new post-office on the main road going through Martinborough. Born in Greytown in 1862, he was first employed in Mr. Black's coach factory, and subsequently worked for Mr. Whitton, blacksmith, Greytown, for two-and-a-half years. Mr. Jackson gained an extensive experience at his trade with Mr. Hodge, of Martinborough, where he remained for five-and-a-half years. Upon that business being transferred, Mr. Jackson started for himself in his present premises. His specialty is shoeing racehorses, at which he is regarded as an adept. He does a considerable trade as a general wheelwright, employing a competent assistant. In local affairs Mr. Jackson takes an active part, having been bandmaster of the late local band, and acted as a member of the school committee, racing club, cricket club, and other institutions.

Ross, D., Shoeing and General Blacksmith, Otarai Road, Martinborough. This centrally situated smithy was established in 1881 by Mr. John Hodge, junior, who sold out to the present proprietor. Mr. Ross's acquaintance with the district is of a very much longer date, he having lived there for many years. He was apprenticed to the former proprietor, Mr. Hodge, but finished his term in Sydney, where he resided for some seven years prior to returning to Martinborough, and commencing as above. His trade extends throughout a very large district, and his specialties are shoeing and general jobbing work. Mr. Ross is a native of Walls, one of the Orkney Isles, but left there in 1873 for Wellington. He holds the position of auditor to the Public Library, and is a member of the managing committee of the Presbyterian Church. He has worked up a fine business, and appears to have the confidence of the public of Martinborough and surrounding district, his general disposition making him a favourite with all.

Evans, Arthur, Blacksmith, Waitapu, Martinborough.

Leppein, Ernest, Blacksmith, Pirinoa, Martinborough.

Evans, T. F., Saddle, Harness, and Collar Maker and Importer, Otarai Road, Martinborough. Telegraphic address, “Evans Martinborough.” Bankers, Bank of Australasia, Featherston. Mr. Evans established himself as above in the year 1878, and has ever since then carried on a good business. His property is freehold, and most centrally situated. The building is of wood and iron, and was erected by Mr. W. Boyd. The shop is fairly large, and conveniently fitted, and his trade extends all round the district for about thirty miles Mr. Evans was born in Wellington, and learned the business with his brother, Mr. page 865 J. E. Evans, by whom he was subsequently employed for several years. The Martinborough agency of the Northern. Insurance Company is in his hands. Mr. Evans is and has been for many years a member of the Featherston Road Board, in which he represents the Martin borough district, or No. 5 ward. He is also secretary of the Lower Valley Jockey Club, and in many other ways devotes his time and talents to the service of the district.

Green, J., Bootmaker, Otarai Road, Martinborough. Telegraphic address, “Green, Martinborough.” Mr. Green established himself in business in 1878, and has been favoured with a large share of the Martinborough patronage. His trade extends all round the district and right out to the coast. The premises are freehold, and are built of wood and iron. A really good stock is kept on hand of boots and shoes of all varieties, light and heavy. Mr. Green was born in Nelson, and learned his business with Mr. Arthur Coppins, of Motueka, completing his term in 1870. He was subsequently in business in Picton for two or three years. Mr. Green is agent for the Phœenix Insurance Company and the Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Company.

Gallie, John, General Storekeeper, Martinborough. This business was established by the present proprietor in 1891, and has been conducted by him since that time. He employs two men in the business.

Macleod, Alexander, General Storekeeper and Wholesale Boot. and Shoe Manufacturer, Otaraia Road, Martinborough. Bankers, Bank of Australasia, Featherston. Mr. Macleod's business, which is in the front rank in Martinborough, was established in 1889. His store—a wooden building with dwelling attached, erected on freehold land—contains a large stock of groceries, drapery, and general stores. Three hands are employed in the store, which is under the management of Mr. Murdoch Ross. Behind the store the boot and shoe factory finds employment for nine hands. It is a roomy place, well fitted with the best modern machinery used in the boot trade, amongst the machines being rollers, cutting press, skiving machines, blocking and pricking machines, a split-lift machine, a number of sewing machines of different kinds, and a Blake sole-sewing machine of the latest pattern. The produce of the factory finds a ready sale in the Wairarapa district, and compares favourably with the best colonial articles. All classes of boots, shoes and leggings are made, and these are disposed of at prices which command a speedy sale. Mt. Macleod was born in 1842 in Caithness, Scotland, learned the shoemaking trade, and was manager of several businesses in Bristol, England, his experience being gained principally in wholesale houses. In 1886 he came to Melbourne, where he was for two years in Messrs. Rollins and Burdett's, and for one year with Messrs. Smalley and Harkness. In 1889 he came to Martinborough, New Zealand, and opened his present business.

Boyd, William, Carpenter and Builder, Martinborough.

Donnelly and Sharp (Joseph Donnelly and Alexander Sharp), Coach. Proprietors, Martinborough.

Greenaway, Thomas, Butcher, Martinborough.

Tulloch, L. and T. (Lawrence Tulloch and Thomas Tulloch), Butchers, Martinborough. Bankers, Bank of New Zealand. Established 1894.

Tulloch, Lawrence, Flaxmiller, Halford, Martinborough. Established 1890.

Bidwill, William Edward, Sheepfarmer, Featherston. Mr. Bidwill is the second son of the late Mr. Charles Robert Bidwill, one of Wairarapa's earliest settlers, and was born at
The Late Mr. C. R. Bidwill.

The Late Mr. C. R. Bidwill.

page 866 Pihautea in 1858. His early education was received on the station, and afterwards at the Rev. St. Hill's school, Crofton, Wellington. He subsequently attended Christ's College, Christchurch, where he completed his education. For three years after leaving school he was in the office of Messrs. Levin and Co. of Wellington. In 1876 Mr. Bidwill had a tour round the world, and on returning to New Zealand settled down to farming pursuits. His property at Rototawai comprises 5000 acres of splendid country, and was inherited by him on the death of his father, who came to the Colony in 1843, after spending three years in Australia. Mr. Bidwill, senr., was the first man to take stock into the Wairarapa. In those days there were no roads or railways to the Wairarapa, and it took him six months to get them from Wellington to the Valley, having to cut a track in order to drive the stock round the coast, via Palliser Bay. He met with considerable success in his farming ventures, and when he died in 1884, the property, which consisted of 13,000 acres, was bequeathed to his children. Mr. W. E. Bidwill was married in 1894 to Miss Edith Mildred, youngest daughter of Mr. Joseph Rhodes, of Hawkes Bay. He is an ardent sportsman, being a member of all the principal clubs of the district, and is chairman of the stewards of the Wairarapa Racing Club. He was for one term president of the Wellington Pastoral Society, and is now a member of its committee. The picture of the late Mr. C. R. Bidwill, which appears on the preceding page, will be of interest to all who remember him.

Roydhouse, William Francis, now engaged in sheepfarming near the Wairarapa Lake, was connected with the colonial press for many years. Coming to the Colony in 1868 with his father (who had been engaged William Francis Roydhouse in England by the New Zealand Government as an electric telegraph expert), Mr. Roydhouse's first acquaintance with newspaper work was on the Mercury (afterwards merged into the Standard). the first paper in the Wairarapa. Some time later he started, in conjunction with Mr. J. Payton, the Wairarapa Daily, the first daily paper in the district, and still the leading Wairarapa journal. In 1884 he left the Wairarapa to try his fortunes in Wellington, where he established The Evening Press. In the following year he was joined by Mr. Edward Wakefield, and The Press boomed until an expensive libel action blighted its prospects. After a few years Mr. Wakefield left for England, and Mr. Roydhouse edited and managed the paper until 1893, when he disposed of it to a company, and bought the Wairarapa Standard, the journal upon which he had commenced his career. In 1896 he sold this paper, and, like Cincinnatus, retired to a farm.

Pain, George, J.P., Sheepfarmer, Clifton Grove, Martinborough. Mr. Pain is the third son of the late Mr. George Pain, bricklayer, who set sail from Kent, England, in 1839 for New Zealand, and arrived by the “Oriental” in January, 1840, living to the ripe old age of eighty-four. The subject of this notice was born in Wellington in 1846, and early in life was working for his living. Coming to the Wairarapa in 1865, he spent two years shepherding, and then started out selling goods round the stations with pack-horses. Mr. Pain subsequently decided to settle down in Martin-borough, and he built the first store in that place. He bought some land in the centre of the town, and on this he built his store. His business soon became a most successful one, and he was able to retire a few years ago, leasing his premises to Mr. John Gallie, who is referred to herein. Mr. Pain then bought his sheep run, which is about 3500 acres in extent, and owns also the Club Hotel at Martin-borough and various other properties. He is a member of the Featherston Lodge of Freemasons, and has been a steward of the Martinborough Jockey Club for the past twenty years.

Mr. Geo. Pain, J.P.

Mr. Geo. Pain, J.P.