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



Onamalutu is a long narrow valley. It extends about seven miles in a north-westerly direction from the north bank of the Wairau river, and the township, which stands midway in the valley, is situated fifteen miles in a direct line north-west of Blenheim. Most of the country is hilly, and some of it exceedingly broken. The Onamalutu creek passes through the valley, and is well stocked with trout.

The first settlers in the district were Mr. J. J. Ward, who arrived late in the fifties, Mr. Charles Smart, and Mr. J. I. Barton. There was, at one time, some flaxmilling in the district, and a little goldmining and sawmilling is still carried on. Sheep and cattle and dairy-farming, however, have largely taken the place of these industries. The township of Onamalutu has a public school, a sawmill, and a few farm residences, and a good road connects it with the Blenheim-Nelson route. There is also a post office, and the mail is brought twice a week on horse-back from Kaituna.

The Onamalutu Public School was established many years ago, and is situated in the township on a site of about an acre. It is a small wooden building, and has accommodation for about forty pupils. The number on the roll is thirty, and the average attendance is twenty-eight.

Miss Elizabeth Charles was appointed mistress of the Onamalutu public school in February, 1904. She was born in Canterbury, and is a daughter of Mr. William Charles, of Oxford. Miss Charles was educated at the Waddington public school in West Canterbury, where she afterwards served four years as a pupil teacher, and then went to the Normal School in Christchurch for a year's training.

Macey, photo.Miss E. Charles.

Macey, photo.
Miss E. Charles.

She subsequently became mistress, successively, of the Greendale and Carlton public schools, before her appointment to Onamalutu.

Folster, Heinrich, Farmer, Onamalutu. Mr. Folster has a farm of 300 acres, on which he grazes crossbred sheep. At the homestead there is a handsome six-roomed house; of which Mr. Folster was both architect and builder. Mr. Folster was born in Holstein, five miles from Hamburg, in Germany, and learned the trade of a bricklayer and plasterer. He landed in Queensland in 1865, and shortly afterwards came to New Zealand. Prior to settling at Onamalutu, Mr. Folster resided successively in Auckland, Taranaki, Nelson, and Christchurch.

Mr. H. Folster.

Mr. H. Folster.

Rickersten, Mathias , Farmer, Onamalutu. Mr. Rickersten was born in Denmark in 1835. He came to Australia in 1860, and was on the Gippsland diggings for some years. On coming to New Zealand, he worked on the West Coast goldfields. He reached
Macey, photo.Mr. and Mrs M. Rickersten.

Macey, photo.
Mr. and Mrs M. Rickersten.

Marlborough in 1867, and engaged in farming. His present property consists of one hundred acres, on which he conducts mixed farming, and depastures page 424 a small flock of Romney Marsh sheep.

Smart, James Farmer, Onamalutu. Mr. Smart is the second son of the late Mr. Charles Smart, and was born at Blenheim in the year 1866. He was educated at the Gibsontown public school, and was afterwards employed at general work, chiefly horse driving, until 1897, when he took up his present farm. The property consists of about 550 acres of sheep grazing land, and carries about 360 sheep, and three hundred head of cattle. Mr. Smart married Miss Warmoth, in August, 1898, and has two sons and one daughter.

Mr. John Irlane Barton , sometime of Onamalutu, was born in Manchester, England, and went to Melbourne in 1854, in the clipper “Guiding Star,” which brought out the first German band that ever visited Australasia. He brought out a sawmilling plant, which he took to Gippsland
The late Mr. J. I. Barton.

The late Mr. J. I. Barton.

Mr. Barton subsequently resided in Sydney for some years, and on arriving in Auckland, he worked as a pattern-maker at a foundry. He then removed to the Bay of Islands, where he was for six months erecting a flour-mill for the Church Mission station. After spending some time on the Collingwood diggings, and working in other parts of the Nelson district, Mr. Barton went to Marlborough to build a flourmill for the late Mr. Henry Godfrey, at Woodburn, near Renwick. He settled at Onamalutu in 1859, and was the first person to take up land in the district. At that time the valley was in its rough primitive state, with no roads, and was swarming with wild pigs and native birds, now almost extinct. Mr. Barton had a farm of 450 acres, on which he kept Romney Marsh and crossbred sheep, and devoted only a limited area to general farming. Mr. Barton was a member of the Onamalutu school committee. He died on the 21st of April, 1900.
Mr. Charles Smart , of Onamalutu, was one of the pioneer settlers of the district. He was born in England in the year 1837, came out to
Macey, photo.The late Mr. C. Smart.

Macey, photo.
The late Mr. C. Smart.

New Zealand about 1860, and settled in Onamalutu, where he farmed until his death in March, 1898. Mr. Smart left seven sons and five daughters.