The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts]
Picton , the chief port of Marl-borough, is situated at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound, which forms one of the safest harbours in New Zealand, and is connected by rail with Blenheim, eighteen miles to the southward. The site of the township was selected as far back as 1848. Later on, after a hard right, it was made the seat of the Provincial Government, and became a centre of importance. It received so much impetus from the discovery of gold at Wakamarina in 1864, that its population at one time was estimated at 3000. However, in 1865, the seat of the Provincial Government was transferred to Blenheim, the goldfields became exhausted, and the population then spread towards the Wairau and Kaikoura. Nevertheless, Picton, as a prospective railway terminus mountainous ranges, and has the waters of the Sound for a frontage. It is the starting point of the favourite tour through the Sounds country, with which it is in daily communication by means of an oil launch. Its traffic as the chief port of the province is very considerable, and on this account alone the town is growing in importance. Picton has a number of industries that must help to assure its prosperity. It has large meat freezing works, extensive lime and cement works, malthouses, a sash and door factory, and a fellmongery; and farming is carried on extensively in the neighbourhood. Then shipping, flax grading, and wool dumping give a good deal of employment. Pieton is well laid out, and the streets are wide and well looked after. Its buildings include churches, a ter and leave the port, which has two extensive public wharves.