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

Mr. Sutherland John Maclister

Mr. Sutherland John Maclister , sometime of Blenheim, was born at Clyth, Caithness-shire, Scotland, in 1848, and was one of a family of twelve, who, with their parents, landed in New Zealand in 1865. At the age of seventeen, Mr. Macalister started work on Weld's Hill, Awatere. Shortly afterwards the telegraph was established in New Zealand, and he obtained a position in the department. There he displayed unusual expertness, with the result that he was very soon appointed to the charge of the office at Kaikoura. Thence he was transferred to the King Country, where he served the department so well that the Government acknowledged his services by appointing him, at the age of twenty-four, Inspector of Telegraphs for Nelson, Marlborough and Westland. He held the position for fourteen years, during which many important telegraph lines were erected under his supervision. When the amalgamation of the post and telegraph branches took place, Mr. Macalister was appointed chief postmaster at Blenheim, and filled the position for five years. The sedentary life inseparable from the position did not, however, agree with his health, and he retired in 1887. When he did so he obtained twelve months' leave of absence on full pay, in addition to a flattering testimonial from the authorities. He was also presented with a beautifully illuminated address, together with a large astronomical clock by the officers of the department, contributions having been received from all parts of the Colony. Mr. Macalister left the Government service with a record established by exceptional administrative ability and a thorough knowledge of electricity. He afterwards turned his attention to agricultural and pastoral pursuits with varying success, and also engaged in the businesses of auctioneer, commission agent, contractor, etc. Subsequently he left Marlborough for Auckland, and settled on a sheep run at Rotorua. This venture did not turn out very satisfactorily, and Mr. Macalister removed to Auckland city, where, during the mining boom, he acted as auctioneer for the Free Stock Exchange. In 1895, he returned
The late Mr. S. J. Macalister.

The late Mr. S. J. Macalister.

to Blenheim, and opened a commission agency, which he carried on till his death on the 3rd of December, 1897. In matters affecting the welfare of the district, Mr. Macalister took a keen and intelligent interest; full of energy and possessing more than average ability, he was ever in the vanguard of progress. Being a fluent speaker, he was at home on the public platform. Politically, he was a Liberal, and he twice unsuccessfully contested the Wairau seat. Mr. Macalister was for a time president of the Marlborough Agricultural and Pastoral Association, and he also acted as secretary of the Land and Railway League. In private life Mr. Macalister was highly esteemed; warm hearted, hospitable, ever ready to lend a helping hand. He was stricken down in a painfully sudden manner while walking along the footpath, and never regained consciousness. His funeral was attended by colonists who came from all parts of the province to testify to the respect and esteem in which he was held. He married a daughter of Mr. James Sinclair, the founder of Blenheim.
Dr. Stephen Lunn Muller was the first Resident Magistrate of the Wairau district, and ably filled the position for twenty-two years. He was appointed in 1857, with his headquarters at Blenheim, and Picton was visited at regular intervals. Dr. Muller was born at Camberwell, near London, England, in 1814, and was the son of a French gentleman, a count by birth. He was educated for the medical profession at the London University. After taking the degree of M.R.C.S., England, he practised at Peckham for about twelve years, and then decided to emigrate to New Zealand. He landed at Nelson from the ship “Pekin,” in January, 1850, and resided there for nearly eight years, when he proceeded to Blenheim to discharge the duties of Resident Magistrate. Dr. Muller died on the 27th of April, 1891, and was very hale and hearty till three days before his death. He was a man of studious habits, and ever ready to assist any movement which had for its object the intellectual and social improvement of his fellow colonists. He also wrote on the topics of the day, and in that connection he received valuable assistance from Mrs Muller, who was the first in New Zealand to advocate Woman's Franchise. Dr. Muller read interesting papers before the members of various popular associations, recorded the meteorological observations made by him, and
The late Dr. S. L. Muller.

The late Dr. S. L. Muller.

kept a diary which, no doubt, contains items which would be useful to the historian of Nelson and Marlborough. In conjunction with Mr. John Allen, Dr. Muller organised the Marlborough Art and Industrial Association, which was carried on for several years. He left a family of three daughters; namely, Mrs Elliott and Mrs McCrae; and Mrs Arthur Carkeek, of Otaki, Wellington.