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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Otago & Southland Provincial Districts]

St. Bathans

St. Bathans.

St. Bathans , which is in the county of Maniototo, lies at the foot of the Maniototo and Dunstan ranges, connected by Mount St. Bathans, which rises to a height of 6,600 feet. It was formerly known as Dunstan Creek, but was re-named by the Otago Lands Department after St. Bathans, in the Island of Iona, in Scotland, famous in the days of the early Christians. In the spring of 1863 the Provincial Government sent a number of prospectors to St. Bathans, under the charge of Mr. Payman, and from that time the district has been noted as a successful goldfield. Formerly there was a great number of miners on the field, but the claims are now worked on a much larger scale by hydraulic sluicing and elevating. The surrounding country, a series of ranges, is held chiefly in large sheep runs.

St. Bathans lies 114 miles north-west from Dunedin, and is thirteen miles distant from the nearest station on the Otago Central railway, Rough Ridge. A daily coach service from St. Bathans connects with the trains to and from Dunedin. The town, which is 1,850 feet above sea level, possesses a dry and invigorating climate; good fishing is obtainable, and during the winter season the Scottish game of curling is a favourite pastime. The Roman Catholics have a place of worship at St. Bathans, and in another building, given by Mr Dalgety, proprietor of the Hawkdun run, Anglican and Presbyterian services are held in turn. A local cottage hospital is subsidised by the Otago Central Hospital Board. St. Bathans has also a public school, post and telegraph office, a branch bank, public hall, and a Masonic Hall. Several social and athletic clubs are established at St. Bathans, and there are also good stores and hotels.

St. Bathans Domain Board was established in October, 1894, and controls the public domain—thirty acres in extent—which has been fenced and well planted. The property is about half a mile from the township, and is available for local sports, the principal event of the year being the athletic club's demonstration on St. Patrick's Day. An artificial lake has been formed on the ground to provide for the curling and skating club's practices and tournaments in winter.

St. Bathans Post And Telegraph Office has three subsidiary offices—Becks, Blackstone Hill and Cambrians—which are connected by telephone with St. Bathans. Miss R. G. Glanville is in charge.

The St. Bathans Cottage Hospital is pleasantly situated at the higher end of the township. It is constructed of sun-dried bricks, and contains seven rooms, including a ward for three patients, the surgery, and the doctor's residence. The building was erected mainly by local contributions, and is maintained by voluntary subscriptions, subsidised by the Central Otago Hospital Board.

The St. Bathans Public School is a substantial stone building of two rooms, with accommodation for about 100 children. There are sixty-five names on the roll, and the average attendance is fifty-three. A small play-ground surrounds the building, and there are covered sheds to provide needful shelter in wet weather. A five roomed schoolhouse, also of stone, fronts the main street. Mr R. H. Cowan has been master of St. Bathans Public School for fourteen years.

The New Zealand Curling Province . The curlers of Otago—the only part of New Zealand in which the sport can be carried on—founded their society in 1873. There is a total membership of 250. The society is a branch of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club of Scotland, and holds annual meetings to make arrangements for each season's events.

The Bank Of New South Wales was first represented in St. Bathans in October, 1864. It is now conducted in a wooden building, which occupies a central position in the main street, and the staff consists of the manager and an accountant. Mr. W. Brown is now (1904) the manager.

Mr. Alfred Harry Vernon-King , formerly Manager of the Bank of New South Wales at St. Bathans, was born in Auckland, in 1860, and was educated at various schools. When he was sixteen years of age he entered the service of the Bank of New South Wales page 620 at the Thames; was promoted to the position of manager of the Charleston branch in 1884, was transferred to Naseby four years later, and to St. Bathans in 1891. He was married on the 21st of June, 1888, but Mrs Vernon-King died on the 10th of November, 1898, leaving three daughters. Mr. Vernon-King now (1904) conducts business as a gold-buyer, at Tonkins' Buildings, Lower High Street, Dunedin.

Wilkinson, Thomas , Builder and Contractor, Main Street, St. Bathans. Bankers, Bank of New South Wales. Mr. Wilkinson has conducted this business since 1884. The premises occupy a central position, on freehold land, and consist of an eight-roomed residence, workshop and other buildings, constructed of wood, stone, and iron. A large number of the residences and places of business in St. Bathans and throughout the district have been erected by Mr. Wilkinson; for instance, the Bank of New South Wales at Naseby and Ophir, and the Presbyterian Church and Police Camp at Ophir. Mr. Wilkinson was born at Houghton-le-Spring, Durham, England, in 1854, and learned his trade at Newcastle-on-Tyne. He was engaged chiefly in shipbuilding till he came to the Colony, by the ship “Auckland,” in 1884. After a short time in Dunedin, he came to St. Bathans, where he has since been settled. Mr. Wilkinson has served for many years as a member of the school committee and has acted on the committee of the local cottage hospital and domain board. He was married, in 1884, to a daughter of Mrs. Hanger, of St. Bathans, and sister of Mr. W. Hanger, and has five daughters.

Vulcan Hotel (Patrick Sexton, Proprietor), St. Bathans. This well known hostelry, which was established in 1869, is built of sun-dried bricks and contains twenty rooms, of which thirteen are bedrooms and two sitting-rooms. The capacious dining-room is ordinarily seated for twenty guests, but on special occasions as many as sixty have been accommodated. The stabling includes seven loose boxes and five stalls.

Mcconnochie, William , General Merchant, Main Street, St. Bathans; branch at Lauder. Bankers, Bank of New South Wales. This prominent business was established in 1865 by Mr. D. McConnochie, and about three years late, the present proprietor became the purchaser. Mr. M. Connochie was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, on the 10th of August, 1846, and educated at the national schools at Dalmellington. He came to Port Chalmers, by the ship “Peter Denny,” in 1865, and joined his brother at Clyde. A few months later he removed to St. Bathans and took the management of the business. The premises are erected on freehold land and consist of a large brick double-fronted shop, at the back of which is the drapery department and the owner's private office. On the opposite side of the street there is a capacious brick store. Mr. McConnochie, who has been a Justice of the Peace since 1884, has always been identified with movements for the development of the district, as well as with social and recreative clubs, of which he has been a liberal supporter. He was for a long time largely interested in mining, and was associated with Mr. John Ewing, under the style of Ewing and McConnochie. The firm expended £12,000 in the development of the Matakanui mine and were rewarded with a substantial return of £900 in the year 1898. For business reasons Mr. McConnochie has to a large extent retired from mining. He was married in 1882 to a daughter of Mr. H. Ferguson, of Kensington, London, and has two sons and four daughters.

Mr. M. Mcconnochie.

Mr. M. Mcconnochie.

Mr. W. Mcconnochie's Premises.

Mr. W. Mcconnochie's Premises.

Pyle, William , General Merchant, Main Street, St. Bathans. Bankers, Bank of New South Wales. This business was established in March, 1864, by the proprietor's father and is conducted in a double-fronted building, composed of wood and iron and sun-dried bricks. Mr. Pyle keeps a well assorted general stock, and his connection extends for a number of miles round the township. He was born in 1851 in Geelong, and was educated there and in Dunedin; came to Otago in 1863, and has carried on his present business for thirty years on the freehold site still occupied by him. For over thirty years Mr Pyle has been a prominent figure in St. Bathans, where he holds numerous offices in connection with local institutions. He is chairman, treasurer and secretary of the Domain Board, a member of the cemetery committee and of the athletic club, legal manager of the United M. and E. Water-Race Company, registered; and Registrar of Births,
Mr. W. Pyle.

Mr. W. Pyle.

page 621
Mr. And Mrs F. A. Haig.

Mr. And Mrs F. A. Haig.

Deaths and Marriages for the St. Bathans district. Mr. Pyle was married, in 1883, and has four sons.

The Downs Farm , St. Bathans district, is owned by Mr. John Beattie, of Cam-brian, and consists of 2466 acres of freehold, besides 200 acres held under grazing right. About 1500 sheep are shorn annually, and sixty head of Polled Angus crossbred cattle are depastured on the estate.

Mr. Frederick Andrew Haig was born on the 18th of December, 1873, at Hawkdun station, near St. Bathans. He was brought up to farming and the care of stock, gained experience on Blackstone Hill and Maniototo stations, and spent most of his time on the Downs estate, of which he became manager in October, 1893. He is now (1904) manager at Rough Ridge for Mr. R. S. Black, rabbit exporter. Mr. Haig was married on the 8th of March, 1898, to a daughter of Mr. Thomas Hughes, of Cambrian.

Mr. Patrick Frederick Mccarthy , formerly Mine Manager of Shepherd's Flat Mine, was born in 1865, in County Meath, Ireland. He came to Lyttelton in 1885, by the ship “Norfolk,” and shortly afterwards settled in Central Otago, where he engaged in goldmining. Mr. McCarthy was appointed manager of Shepherd's Flat Mine in October, 1898, but is now otherwise engaged as a miner in the neighbourhood of Cambrian.

Mr. W. Thurlow was born in 1837 in Milton, Cambridgeshire, England. He came out to Victoria in 1857 and was long closely associated with goldmining. In 1861, he crossed the Tasman Sea, and made his home in Otago. For many years he was at Cambrian, where he was successful as a prospector, and also in the Vmegar Hill district. Except during a trip to England. in 1872–3, Mr, Thurlow was actively employed in goldmining till he took an interest in the management of the Vulcan Hotel (now kept by Mr. P. Sexton) in 1889. He served as a member of the school committee and held a seat on the local Domain Board and the Board of Management of the St. Bathans Cottage Hospital. Mr. Thurlow died on the 31st of January, 1902.

The Late Mr. W. Thurlow.

The Late Mr. W. Thurlow.

Mr. John Thurlow was born in the same place as his brother, landed in Otage in 1861, and was long engaged in mining and hotelkeeping. He was married in 1860 to a daughter of Mr. J. Froment, of Milton, Cambridgeshire, and has eight sons and three daughters, besides thirty-one grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Scandinavian Water-Race Company, Ltd. , Registered Office, St. Bathans, Mr. John Ewing is Chairman of Directors, and Mr. Neil Nicholson, Legal Manager, This Company brings in water for twenty-five miles from the Manuher [gap — reason: illegible] river at Surface Hill. During 1897 and 1897 a sum of £3000 was expended in enlarging the races and erecting additional plant. The property of the St. Bathans Water-Race Company was recently purchased for £2000, and the Company has a force of water equal to twenty-five heads.

Mr. John Ewing , who is Chairman of the Scandinavian Water Race Company, works alluvial gold deposits by hydraulic sluicing and elevating, more extensively than anyone else in the Colony. Mr. Ewing has works in seven different localities, and at St. Bathans, where he resides, his workings, from which the material is elevated vertically 170 feet, are the sight of the district. The other workings are at Vinegar Hill and Cambrian, both situated within a radius of five miles from St. Bathans—and at Matakanui, Bald Hill Flat and Roxburgh. Mr. Ewing has been closely identified with the progress of this class of goldmining, not only in Central Otago but throughout the Colony, and has taken the lead in most of the improvements, which have been effected. He employs from sixty to one hundred men, as the water supply page 622 admits Mr. Ewing has represented the St. Bathans riding in the Maniototo County Council ever since the inauguration of the county system, and has been several times chairman. He stood for the district—then MountIda, now Waihemo—in 1885, against the late Mr. Scobie Mackenzie, who defeated Mr. Ewing by 103 votes, and so entered Parlia-ment for the first time. Mr. Ewing stood in the Liberal interest, aside in polities he has always strenuously upheld, whether the party has been in or out of power. Mr. Ewing came to the Colony in 1863, when a youth of nineteen, and straightway embarked in goldmining. Within a fow years he was the largest employer of labour in his own line on the Otago goldfields, and has remained so ever since. He was born on the 3rd of November, 1844, at Alexandra, Dumbartonshire. Scotland, and educated in the Academy of his native town. Mr. Ewing is married, but has no children.

Mr. Neil Nicholson , Legal Manager for the Scandinavian Water-Race Company, Ltd., was born in 1873, at Matakanui, and was brought up to mining. For four years he studied at the School of Mines in Dunedin, where he took several certificates. He was appointed to his present position in 1896, Mr. Nicholson was married, in 1897, to a daughter of Mr. P. Fahey, manager of the Muddy Creek Channel Company, St. Bathans.