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



Cullensville is a small mining township at the head of the Mahakipawa Valley, about two miles inland from the eastern arm of the head of the Pelorus Sound, and is reached from Blenheim by rail to Picton, thence by launch to the Grove, and from there by a good road—a total distance of about thirty-six miles. Cullensville came into existence at the outbreak of the Cullensville diggings, in the year 1888, but for some time now (1905) the mines have been practically at a standstill. The plant of the main mine, however, is now being reorganised, and a further trial is to be given to the old field. Farming is carried on in the neighbourhood, and this helps to sustain the township. There is a public school, and a post office with a bi-weekly mail service, and a public house stands on the main road some distance down the valley. There is magnificent scenery in the neighbourhood; good shooting is obtained, and there is abundance of fish in the Sounds.

The Cullensville Public School is situated near The Grove, Marlborough. It was established in the year 1889, shortly after the discovery of gold in the neighbourhood, and is a small wooden building with accommodation for about forty children; there is also a schoolhouse. The playground is about hall an acre in area. Population in the neighbourhood is now sparse, and many of the children walk a distance of over three miles to school. The number on the roll is thirty, and the average attendance for the year ending 1905 was about twenty-five.

Mr. Edward John Gilmor was appointed master of the public school at Cullensville in March, 1905. He was born at Ballarat, Victoria, in the year 1882, and came to New Zealand at an early age. Mr. Gilmor was educated at the Wakefield public school and gained a scholarship for the Nelson Boys' College at which he matriculated in 1899. He was subsequently for about one year and six months storekeeping at Feilding in the North Island, and in 1901 was appointed master of the Glenroy aided school. Mr. Gilmor was afterwards master of the Motueka Valley school for about two years; thence he proceeded to Cullensville, and from Cullensville he went to Birchfield, near Westport, as headmaster of the school there, in July, 1905. He holds a D4 certificate.

Mr. John Cawte came to New Zealand in the ship “Whitby,” in 1842, and landed at Nelson, the site of which was then monopolised by swamps and virgin forest. Mr. Cawte had his full share of the toils, hardships and privations, which fell to the lot of the colony's pioneers, and were bravely borne, and in most cases successfully overcome. He was one of those who more than once were face to face with starvation, and who were sometimes reduced to such straits that seed potatoes, after being planted, had to be dug again and eaten. After residing for several years in Nelson, Mr. Cawte went to the Australian goldfields, where he remained till 1859. He then returned to New Zealand, and began farming in the Pelorus Valley, and a little later at Mahakipawa, where he resided until the formation of the province of Marlborough, when he was appointed governor of the Picton gaol. He held the position for more than twenty-eight years, when he returned to Mahakipawa. Mr. Cawte died in 1887, leaving a widow, six daughters and three sons. Mrs Cawte had been his willmg helpmate throughout, and landed in the Colony shortly after her husband. page 406 Ore of the sons is settled in the Wairarapa district, and the other two brothers
The late Mr. J. Cawte and Mrs Cawte.

The late Mr. J. Cawte and Mrs Cawte.

are in partnership at Mahakipawa. The whole family are respected throughout the province of Marlborough.

The King Solomon Mine , Cullensville, near The Grove. This mine is among the oldest claims in the once famcus Cullensville diggings, and it was opened upon the first discovery of gold in the district in the year 1888. Three shafts, of 117 feet, eighty-nine feet, and seventy-six feet deep respectively, and connected with one another by subterranean channels, were sunk, and elaborate machinery for the work erected. For several years, the mine yielded handsome returns, but the first-discovered deposits were gradually exhausted, and the mine sank into disrepair, with the general decadence of the field. In the year 1902 a new syndicate took over the property, and a vigorous prosecution of the work is now (1905) being conducted. There are excellent prospects of profitable returns, and it is not unlikely that the King Solomon Mine may yet be the means of restoring to Cullensville its former status as an important mining centre.

Mr. Edward Knutson , Mine Manager of the King Solomon Mine, was born in Sweden in the year 1867, and came to New Zealand with his parents at an early age. He was educated at public schools, and learned carpentry in the Wairarapa district, and subsequently worked for many years at his trade. In 1902, Mr. Knutson was one of several who bought the King Solomon Mine, and, two years later, on the death of one of his colleagues, he was appointed to his present position.

Campbell, Alexander, Mine Manager, became manager of the King Solomon Mine Gold Mining Company in 1898, and under his direction the property was worked to the best advantage. Mr. Campbell was born in Auckland, in 1866. After leaving school, he served in the New Zealand Telegraph Department for three years but resigned in order to follow mining. He arrived at Cullensville in 1888, when the rush set in, and in conjunction with three others he worked the Wairapa claim, from which over £10,000 worth of gold was obtained in about two years.