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



The Picturesque Township Of Stirling was surveyed about 1877, when railway communication was established with Dunedin. Mr. Anderson, the owner of the land, made two offers to the Government. If it erected a railway station at Stirling he would give it free permission to run the line for a distance of two miles through his property, but if the Government declined to accede to the request, he would charge £5 per acre for land required for the line. After a great deal of delay the Government erected the station, and Mr. Anderson then surveyed and cut up ten acres which formed the original township; subsequently an additional area was added, and on this also the present township stands. Stirling, which is fifty miles south-west from Dunedin, is the centre of a dairyfarming district. It has an Athenæum, public school, dairy factory, one hotel, and two smithies; and across the Matau branch of the Clutha river is the pretty village church, with its pointed spire, which forms a conspicuous object for miles around the district.

Mcskimming, Peter And Son , Sanitary Pipe Works, Benhar, Stirling. These works were established in 1879, by Mr. John Nelson, but were subsequently leased to Messrs McSkimming and Son, under whose management the output has more than trebled itself. To keep pace with requirements, new and up-to-date machinery has recently been installed, and the premises have been enlarged. Though the making of sewage pipes is the chief industry, bricks, and fire-clay goods of every description are also manufactured. The clay is quarried from the surrounding hills, from which it is carted to a large grinding pan, where it is crushed by steel grids and heavy rollers, each of the latter weighing thirty-five hundredweight. It is then taken along a carrying belt and dropped into a pit, to be soaked with sufficient water to make it workable, before being conveyed in barrows and tipped into a scoop placed above two sets of clay rollers. Subsequently the clay is treated by a pug-mill, and comes out in square blocks, which are stored in a loft alongside the pipe machine. These blocks are afterwards put through a direct steam pressure sanitary pipe making machine, in which the clay is pressed and moulded into pipes, varying from three inches to thirty inches in diameter. This machine is capable of turning out sixty eighteen-inch pipes per hour. After being moulded the pipes are carried to a drying loft situated over the burning kilns, where, after being trimmed, turned and fettled they are allowed to harden. They remain in the drying loft from eight days to two weeks before being placed in the kiln and burned in a temperature of over 1400 degrees centigrade. The kilns, of which there are five, each eighteen feet in diameter, are constructed on the improved down-draught principle, and each kiln is under full fire for about fifty hours. When the salting process has been carried out the kilns are allowed to cool down. The cooling occupies about eight days, and then the pipes are taken out ready for the market, and placed direct into trucks on the railway siding. Not the least important feature of the works is a small experimental kiln, operated by Mr. Parker McKinlay, M.A., who has made a special study of clays and enamels, and is at present (1904) carrying on experiments in a small kiln at the works, with the object of producing high-class enamelled fire-clay sanitary ware and glazed bricks. The firm has for years supplied the Public Works and Railway Departments, and County Councils over Otago, Southland and Canterbury, and at present holds large contracts for supplying pipes to the Dunedin Drainage Board, and the Gore and Mosgiel Borough Councils. The lignite coal used is mined from the firm's own coal pit, close to the works. Much of the success of the firm during recent years is due to the energy and ability of Mr McSkimming, junior, who, as working Manager, has improved and brought the works to a high standard of perfection.

Mr. Peter Mcskimming was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland, in 1848, and with his wife, a daughter of Mr. Richard Pelling, of Bankfoot, Lesmahagow, came to New Zealand in 1878, by the ship “Canterbury.” After three years at Lawrence and a year on the Waitahuna goldfields, he entered upon employment as pipe-maker with Mr. John Nelson at the Pipe Works, Benhar. Subsequently Mr McSkimming took over the works from the proprietor, and devoted himself to the perfection of the brick and sanitary pipe industry. He has a family of four daughters and one son. Mr. McSkimming takes a prominent part in all public and local questions, and is also a Justice of the Peace.

Sanitary Pipe Works At Benhar, Belonging To Messrs P. McSkimming And Son.

Sanitary Pipe Works At Benhar, Belonging To Messrs P. McSkimming And Son.

Anderson, Archibald Henry , Farmer, Mount Wallace, Stirling. Mr. Anderson's farm consists of 750 acres of arable land, which consists in part of a portion of the estate belonging to his father, one of the oldest residents in Otago. He was born in 1858, at Bellevue, Dunedin, and educated at the Inchclutha school, by Mr. Alexander Grigor, one of the oldest teachers in the province. Mr. Anderson was apprenticed to the drapery trade, which he left to work on his father's estate at Balmoral, Inchclutha. In 1882 he leased the Mount Wallace property of 600 acres, and subsequently purchased 150 acres adjoining his present leasehold. The land is all under cultivation, and is devoted to raising oats, wheat, barley, root crops, and the fattening of sheep. There are large deposits of coal on the land, and about ten years ago Mr. Anderson opened a large seam, which he leased to Mr. H. Hill, who pays a royalty on every ton of coal won from the mine. The coal is of the lignite species, is very suitable for open fires and steaming purposes, and finds a ready sale in the local market, which would be increased were the page 731 means of transit more favourable. In 1888 Mr. Anderson was married to the only daughter of Mr. William Smith, of “The Bush,” Stirling. The view from Mr. Anderson's homestead includes Lakes Tuakatoto and Kaitangata, and the Hillend district.

Inveresk Farm , the prize model farm of Otago, is situated two miles from Stirling, near the Matau branch of the Molyneux river. The property consists of 338 acres of flat land, and was originally owned by Messrs Maitland Brothers, who held it in its unimproved state until 1890, when it was purchased by Mr. Gilroy, the present proprietor. He at once set to work to subdivide, fence, and drain the property, and to eradicate the stumps of old manuka trees which were thickly and firmly embedded in the soil. This task involved heavy expenditure, as large numbers of men were employed in the operations; but the whole of the land is now arable, and some of the heaviest root crops in the colony, running up to seventy tons to the acre, have been grown upon it. Cattle feeding and sheepfarming are carried on, and there is usually a herd of 150 to 200 head of cattle, and up to 1500 Romney crossbred sheep. The cattle shed, which contains fifty stalls, and is exceptionally well fitted up, is a large brick building with brick floor, and is ventilated along the top and under the iron roof. On three sides the roof extends so as to form a wide verandah, under which the farm implements, machinery, and carts are stored and protected from the rain. The manager's residence is of brick, and there are separate quarters for the men. The stable is also of brick, and the floor of it and the whole of the farm yard are paved with stone. The wool-and-shearing-shed is sufficiently large to hold from 300 to 400 sheep under cover. The water from the roofs is collected by large concrete tanks, which have iron drinking troughs attached to them. A system of pipe drainage all over the property conducts the water to the main drains leading to Lake Kaitangata; but when the Molyneux river and the lake rises, the drains are banked up, and the flat country is liable to flood. To cope with this contingency Mr. Gilroy has erected a pumping engine shed, and installed one of Booth, Macdonald and Co.'s ten-horse-power gasoline engines, which drives an electric pumping plant with a capacity of 500 gallons per minute. This is now (1904) about to be increased sixfold, and when the alterations necessary for this are effected, rapid and perfect drainage will be assured, unless the river should seriously overflow its banks. In addition to “Inveresk,” Mr. Gilroy owns 168 acres on the Balclutha Ridge, and sixty-five acres at Inchclutha. He personally superintends the working of these properties, and resides at a beautiful homestead at Inchclutha, while his son resides at “Inveresk.” He breeds all his own horses, and has won numerous prizes with them and with his stock, at the local and Dunedin shows. Mr. Gilroy has four times won the gold medal and several trophies given by the Otago Agricultural and Pastoral Association for the best farm in Otago, and the shield, which had to be won three years in succession, is now his absolute property.

Mr. George Hay Gilroy , Proprietor of “Inveresk,” was born at “Eskfield,” Musselburgh, near Edinburgh, in 1840, and was brought up on his father's home. After leaving school he learned the trade of a blacksmith, with Mr. Storey, of West Fenton, East Lothian. In order to improve himself, he afterwards worked with Mr. Gray, M.R.C.V.S., and with Mr. Dick, of Edinburgh, and became farrier for Messrs Matthew and Thomas Dawson, and other well-known sportsmen. He was subsequently employed at Mr. William George Armstrong's (now Lord Armstrong's) gun works at Elswick. Newcastle-on-Tyne. Mr. Gilroy arrived at the Bluff by the ship “New Great Britain,” in 1862, and after six months at Invercargill, started business as a blacksmith at the Bluff. In 1864 he removed to Stirling, where he bought some land from Mr. John Pitchel, of Inchclutha, and Mr. A. Anderson, and erected a smithy which he conducted for many years. He established branch businesses at Inchclutha, Kaitangata, and Balclutha, all of which he supervised until he devoted his attention to farming, when he leased them. Mr. Gilroy is a member of the Otago Agricultural and Pastoral Association, and has served on its committee; and for many years he was president of the Clutha and Matau Agricultural and Pastoral Association of which he is now (1904) a life member. He has also been a member of the Stirling school committee, and he promoted the Stirling Dairy Factory, to which he gave his services gratuitously as chairman of directors for many years. As a mark of their esteem the shareholders presented him with a gold albert. Mr. Gilroy married, in New Zealand, Miss Agnes McNiven, of Argyleshire, Scotland, and has one son and five daughters.