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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]



Midhurst is a dairy-farming and sawmilling settlement, twenty-seven miles south-east by rail from New Plymouth, in the north riding of the county of Stratford, and in the Huiroa survey district of the Taranaki land district. The township has two large stores and several smaller ones, a bakery, a butchery, two smithies and a hotel; and also Anglican, Primitive Methodist and Methodist churches, and a public hall. The settlement has a public school, and other schools are situated at Salisbury and Beaconsfield roads, where there are also skimming stations belonging to the Midhurst Dairy Factory Company. The Midhurst Dairy Factory is one of the largest in the colony. The railway station is at an altitude of 1122 feet above sea level. The surrounding country is of an undulating character, and was at one time entirely covered with bush; and two mills, belonging respectively to the Union Timber Company, and Messrs Quin Brothers, are still (1906) in operation. Game and fish can be obtained in the neighbourhood.

The Midhurst Public School was established about the year 1890. It is a wood and iron building, and contains two class rooms, and two porches; and the school and the teachers' residence stand on a section of three acres. The school has accommodation for 140 pupils; there are 151 names on the roll, and the average attendance is 120. Mr. James William Mail, who was appointed headmaster of the Midhurst public school in the year 1904, was born in the Shetland Islands in 1869, and came to New Zealand at an early age. He was trained as a teacher in Invercargill, and had considerable experience under the Southland Education Board before his appointment to Midhurst.

The Salisbury Road Public School was established in the year 1894, and stands on a section of six acres. The building is of wood and iron, and contains two class rooms, two porches, and there is a six-roomed residence for the headmaster. The school has accommodation for seventy children. There are sixty names on the roll, and the average attendance is fifty. Mr. James Alexander Auld was appointed headmaster in May, 1904, and Miss L. Finnerty, assistant mistress, in August, 1905.

Mr. Henry James Reaks, formerly Master of the Midhurst school, was born at Rattray, Perthshire, Scotland, where he was educated and trained as a teacher. He came to New Zealand in 1887, and was for some time engaged in teaching under the Otago Education Board, at Ida Valley and Blacks. Mr. Reaks removed to Taranaki in 1896, under engagement with the Taranaki Education Board, to take charge of the Midhurst school. On leaving the Ida Valley school, Mr. Reaks was presented by his pupils with a handsome gold locket; and on his departure from Blacks, with a Gladstone travelling bag, from the school children, and was entertained and presented by the parents and other residents with a purse of sovereigns. He is married, and has four children. After leaving Midhurst Mr. Reaks went to reside at Stratford.

All Saints' Church, Midhurst, is a wood and iron building. It stands on a section of a quarter of an acre in extent, and has accommodation for seventy persons. Services are page 162 held every Sunday, either by the Rev. C. A. B. Watson, B.A., vicar of the parish, who resides in Stratiord, or by lay readers. In connection with the church there is a Sunday school, with twenty-five pupils, under the charge of two teachers.

Mr. H. Pedersen was a native of Denmark, and learned the trade of a cabinetmaker. In 1870 he came to New Zealand, landed in Napier, and after working there for some time started business on his own account in Kaikora North, where he remained for seven years. He then removed to Taranaki, took up land, and subsequently established a business in which he was assisted by his son. Mr. Pedersen died some time ago.

The Midhurst Co-Operative Dairy Company, Limited, was established in the year 1895. Directors for 1906: Messrs A. Brown (chairman), L. Baskin, S. Carlton, W. Hathaway, S. M. Porritt, A. Ridd, F. E. Y. Taylor, and A. A. Ward. Mr. R. C. Templer is secretary, and Mr. F. Kleemann, manager. The Midhurst Dairy Factory is a wood and iron building, and contains a receiving room, a separating room, and cream, butter, chilling and freezing rooms. The plant is driven by water power, which is obtained from the Tepopo stream, on which a concrete dam has been constructed. The water is then brought by wooden fluming through a tunnel thirteen chains long, to the McCormick twin turbines. These will develop thirty-six horse-power in combination. There is also a De Laval separator, and Humble and Sons' four ton freezing machinery is employed. The output of the factory is about 380 tons of butter per annum. There are seven creameries within six miles of the factory; namely, at Waipuku, and at York, Rugby, Salisbury. Pembroke, Beaconsfield and Stanley roads.

Mr. Reginald Charles Templer was appointed Secretary of the Midhurst Dairy Company in the year 1905. He was born in 1855 in Lyttelton, and is a son of the late Mr. Edward Merson Templer, of Coringa station, who was a member of the first Provincial Council of Canterbury. He was educated at Christ's College, Christchurch, and was brought up to farming. Mr. Templer subsequently served under the Wanganui Education Board as a teacher for eighteen years, during ten years of which he was headmaster of the Cheltenham school. In 1893 be became connected with the dairy industry, assisted in establishing the Cheltenham Dairy Factory, and was secretary for six years. He left the district to take up the management of a large herd of cows for Mr. C. Fitzherbert, of Cinder Hill. Two years and a-half later, Mr. Templer removed to Stratford, where he was in business on his own account as an auctioneer and commission agent for two years. He was the first to organise the Farmers' Union in the Taranaki district, and was for some time afterwards secretary of the Stratford Dairy Company, before his present appointment. In the year 1881 Mr. Templer married a daughter of Dr. Richards, of Hororata, Canterbury, and has two sons and one daughter.

McAllister, photo Mr, R. C. Templer.

McAllister, photo Mr, R. C. Templer.

Mr. Fritz Kleemann was appointed Manager of the Midhurst Dairy Factory in the year 1902. He was born in 1866, in Germany, where he was educated. In 1893 he came to New Zealand, landed at Lyttelton, and was for six years employed by the Tai Tapu Dairy Factory, as butter-maker. He then removed to Stratford, and held a similar position in the Stratford Dairy Factory, for five years, and in 1901 went thence to Midhurst. A year later, he was promoted to the position of manager. In 1892 Mr. Kleemann married a daughter of Mr. Smidt, of Christchurch, and has one son and two daughters.

The Pembroke Road Creamery of the Midhurst Dairy Company was originally an independent co-operative butter factory, before it was acquired by the Midhurst Co-operative Dairy Company. The buildings are of iron and wood, and stand on an acre of ground. The plant is driven by a four-horse horizontal engine, and there is a Crown separator with a capacity of 510 gallons per hour. During the season of 1905–6 there were nineteen suppliers; and a record of thirteen hundred gallons per diem was reached in the height of the season.

Mr. John R. Murch was appointed Manager of the Pembroke Road Creamery in the year 1904. He was born in 1875, in London, England, where he was educated, and followed a seafaring life for seven years. Afterwards he went to Argentina, South America, where he learned his present business, and from 1895 to 1901 was in the service of a company known as La Escandinavia Argentina Limitada. He then went to Australia, and joined the firm of Bartam and Son, the well known dairy machinery importers, of Melbourne. Later, he came to New Zealand, was for some time employed as fireman at the Belfast Freezing Works, and finally removed to Stratford and joined the Stratford Dairy Company. He was afterwards manager of the Toko road and Makuri creameries before his present appointment. In 1905 he married a daughter of Mr. Lees Watkins, of Stratford.

McAllister, photo. Mr. J. R. Murch.

McAllister, photo.
Mr. J. R. Murch.

Jones, G. and W. (Griffith Jones and William Jones), Butchers and Farmers, Midhurst; branch at Tariki. The premises owned by the firm of Messrs G. and W. Jones stand on a freehold section of half an acre, and include two shops and a smithy. The portion occupied by the butchery consists of a shop with a verandah and a small page 163 goods room. The slaughter house is situated on Salisbury road, where Messrs Jones own a farm of 170 acres. This farm was taken up many years ago. It has since been fully cleared, and is used for grazing purposes.

Mr. William Jones, of the firm of G. and W. Jones, was born in March, 1859, in North Wales, England, where he was educated. He came to New Zealand in the ship “Rangitikei,” in 1879, when he was unable to speak a word of English. Mr. Jones was for two years in Christchurch, Canterbury, but, later on, removed to Stratford, then in its infancy, and was for a number of years engaged in bush work, shearing and road construction. He was afterwards at Kaiapoi, Canterbury, for two years, and gained experience as a butcher and in threshing mill work. Finally, he returned to Taranaki, and in 1892, in conjunction with his brother, established the present business. In 1894 Mr. Jones married a daughter of the late Mr. John Carson, of West Oxford, Canterbury; but she died, leaving one son.

Mr. S. Sergeant established himself in business as a general storekeeper and produce merchant at Midhurst in the year 1899. A large and complete stock of all descriptions of merchandise necessary for a first-class trade was kept on hand by Mr. Sergeant, who also had various agencies essential to the requirements of the district. Mr. Sergeant afterwards sold his interest in the business to Mr J. R. Parkinson, and removed to Tauranga.

Carter, John William, Farmer, Salisbury road, Midhurst. Mr. Carter's property consists of 100 acres of freehold land, on which he conducts dairying. He was born in the year 1880, at Bell Block, Taranaki, was educated at Waipuku, and brought up to country life. Afterwards he was employed at the Eltham Butter Factory for some time, and rose to the position of assistant, and then to that of buttermaker. In 1904 Mr. Carter acquired his present property, and has since carried on farming on his own account.

Mr. Joseph George Harkness, formerly Secretary and General Manager of the Midhurst Co-operative Dairy Factory, is well known as a politician. He was born in Nelson, was educated at Nelson College, and was afterwards a school teacher for some time. He then joined the firm of Messrs Hodder and Company, merchants, of Richmond. In 1892 he removed to Taranaki, and took up land at Tariki, and afterwards became secretary and manager of the Midhurst Co-operative Dairy Factory. He subsequently removed to Wellington, and is now (1906) secretary of the National Dairy Association. Mr. Harkness has twice represented Nelson city in Parliament, where he was a strong supporter of the Atkinson Government. In Nelson he was a member of the Waimea County Council for eight years; as chairman of the Richmond Town Board, he took a prominent part in the waterworks scheme; and he was a member of the Nelson Education Board and school committee for many years. While he was in Taranaki he was chairman of directors of the Midhurst Co-operative Dairy Factory, a member of the Moa Road Board, and a director of the Inglewood Moa Farmers' Union. As a Freemason he has held office as Past Grand Master and Junior Deacon. Mr. Harkness is married, and has five sons and four daughters. He is further referred to on page 36 of the Nelson, Marlborough, and Westland volume of the Cyclopedia of New Zealand.