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

Old Colonists

Old Colonists.

Mr. Frederick William Brooking was agent at Stratford for the Accident Branch of the Commercial Union, the National Fire Insurance Company, and the Citizens' Life Insurance Company; auditor for a number of local companies, including the Stratford Building Society and the Electric Supply Company; and acted as agent for the purchase and sale of property in all parts of the colony. He was appointed Returning Officer for the Patea electorate in the year 1905. Mr. Brooking was born in New Plymouth in 1870, and was educated at the New Plymouth High School. He afterwards gained experience in mercantile life in New Plymouth, Wellington, and Auckland. For two years and a-half he was secretary of the Stratford Co-operative Store Company, and was the proprietor of the Egmont Settler for two years. In 1896 Mr. Brooking married a daughter of Mr. B. Buckthought, of Taranaki, and had three sons and two daughters, at the time of his death, on the 27th of April, 1906. Mr. Brooking had been operated on for appendicitis, but passed away on the second day after the operation.

Mr. Richard Dingle, who was at one time chairman of the Stratford County Council, is the youngest surviving son of one of Taranaki's page 183 pioneer settlers, who came out with the New Zealand survey party in 1810, and was born at Frankley road, New Plymouth, in the year 1851. During the time of the Maori disturbances in 1861 the family were driven into New Plymouth for shelter; but Mr. Dingle was brought up to country life, and served as a volunteer in a mounted corps until disbandment. At twenty-one years of age he struck out on his own account, as a contractor, and started farming near Hawera, when there were not more than half a dozen houses in the settlement. Six years later he took up land in the Waimate Plains, having drawn a section of fifty acres at Manaia at the first selection. On this property he built a house, but subsequently sold his interest, and bought about 150 acres at Otakeho. After working this land for about nine years he again sold out, and acquired 600 acres of bush land at Rowan, where he effected great improvements on his property, the value of which increased from £2 to £12 an acre. In 1900 he finally settled in Stratford. Mr. Dingle and his family have had many rough experiences in connection with bush life, and in the construction of roads in the early days. He has taken a keen interest in the development of Taranaki, especially in the dairying industry, and was one of the first directors of the second Co-operative Dairy Company established in Taranaki, at Otakeho in 1883. Mr. Dingle was one of the first members of the Waimate Road Board about 1881; was a member of the Stratford County Council for seven years; has been chairman of the Kaponga Dairy Company; and has held positions as member and chairman of the various school committees, the Stratford Borough Council, the New Plymouth Harbour Board, and the Egmont Forest Reserve Board. Mr. Dingle is also chairman of the Stratford Bacon Company, and a director of the Egmont Box Company, and of the Moturoa Freezing Works. He is a member of the Egmont National Park Board, and was one of the first honorary rangers to act in connection with the Egmont Reserve in 1891. In 1876 he married a daughter of the late Mr. William Black, one of the earliest settlers in New Plymouth, and has two sons and one daughter.

Mr. James Gorrie was born in Perth, Scotland, in the year 1836, and arrived with his parents in Nelson by the ship “Phoebe Dunbar,” in 1850. He afterwards worked at the building trade with his father, and in 1856 went to the Collingwood gold diggings, and was with the first party who found gold at the Slate river. A year later he returned to Nelson, and worked again at his trade for five years. He then removed to Blenheim and was in business there for twenty years, during thirteen of which he was Deputy Official Assignee. He had large stores and timber yards, all of which were swept away in the great flood of 1872, which ruined him. On making a fresh start, he received large orders for tallow casks, and did very well as a cooper and contractor. In 1878 Mr. Gorrie removed to Nelson, where he followed various occupations and contracts. In 1891 he went to Taranaki, and settled in Stratford in the coachbuilding trade, from which he retired four years later with an interest in the Oeo Hotel, on the West Coast. As an architect he supervised the construction of many fine buildings in Stratford town and district. Mr. Gorrie was sub-agent for the National Insurance Company, Citizens' Life Assurance and Scottish Metropolitan Accident Insurance Societies. Whilst he was in Blenheim he was captain of the Fire Brigade for twelve years. He was married and had one son, a coachbuilder, at the Lower Hutt, near Wellington. Mr. Gorrie died some time ago.

The Late Mr. J. Gorrie.

The Late Mr. J. Gorrie.

Mr. Thomas Wellington Rapley, formerly Postmaster and Telegraphist at Stratford, was born in Wanganui, in the year 1858, and was educated at the Wanganui College. He was afterwards clerk and shipping reporter on the Wanganui Herald, when that paper was owned by the late Hon. John Ballance. In 1874 he became a cadet in the telegraph department. After being stationed at Blenheim for eighteen months, he was removed to Christchurch, where he remained for nine years. He was then successively at Wellington and Wanganui, and was appointed to Stratford in 1893, where he remained until retiring in 1902. Mr. Rapley's never failing courtesy made him a very popular officer. He was for some years, subsequently, agent for the United States Equitable Life Insurance office, and on the withdrawal of the company became agent for another life insurance office. He has been a Freemason for many years, and is a member of the local lodge. While in Wanganui he studied for, and successfully passed the barristers' general knowledge examinations. Mr. Rapley is married, and has five daughters and two sons.

Mr. William Tisch, formerly Chairman of the Stratford Butter Factory Company, was born on the Rhine, Germany, and came with his parents to Canterbury, in 1851. He was educated at Christchurch, and was afterwards engaged in farming. Mr. Tisch visited the West Coast goldfields, and followed goldmining for two years. He then travelled through the colony, and finally bought an estate at Lepperton, near New Plymouth, which he farmed until the foundation of Inglewood township, when he determined to start business there as a butcher, and fattened his beasts on his own farm. He remained at Inglewood for about four years, and sold out in 1878. Mr. Tisch then removed to Stratford, when he opened the first hotel there page 184 and carried it on for about twelve months, when he sold out, and bought a property of 170 acres. In 1894 he started dairying with a ninety-gallon De Laval separator, which he worked by water power; in 1896, with others, he bought the butter factory of Messrs Robbins and Pierard, who had established the Stratford Dairy Association. Mr. Tisch was a director of the company for two years, and afterwards its chairman. He subsequently leased his Stratford property, and bought a farm at Te Rapa, near Hamilton, Waikato, where he now (1906) resides. Mr. Tisch was a member of the Stratford school committee, and takes a prominent part in the local affairs of his district. He is married, and has five sons and two daughters.

View On The Property Of Mr. W. Tisch.

View On The Property Of Mr. W. Tisch.

Mr. Peter Wilson was one of the early settlers of the Stratford district. As a man of unusual energy and enterprise he has, however, been actively associated with settlement and industry in other districts, such as Meanee in Hawke's Bay, and Karamea and Manutahi in Taranaki. Mr. Wilson is at present (1906) a resident of the provincial district of Auckland.