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



The municipality of Marton is situated on the Wellington — New Plymouth railway line, 116 miles north-west from Wellington, and stands 461 feet above the level of the sea. It forms part of the electoral district of Manawatu, and is in the Porewa riding of the County of Rangitikei. The town was named after Marton, Yorkshire, England, the birthplace of Captain Cook, but its original Maori name was Tutaenui. The first attempt at settlement was made in 1866, and in 1868, owing to trouble with the Maoris, a blockhouse was erected on a site now occupied by the Anglican church. The town was constituted a borough in 1879, prior to which it was governed by a town board. The population of the borough at the census of 1906 was 1,268, the outlying districts 371 additional, and there are 241 houses within the boundary. The weekly half-holiday is held on Wednesday. Besides the local public school, which is attended by about 240 children, there is a technical school, and also school districts at upper Tutaenui, Porewa, Mount View, and Mount Curl. The railway station is two miles south from the centre of the borough, the road being a continuation of Broadway, the principal street. Marton is the head-quarters of the Manawatu electorate, the Manawatu Licensing Committee, and the Rangitikei County Council. The Banks of New Zealand, Australasia, and New South Wales are represented in the town, which is the centre of a rich agricultural and pastoral district. There is first-class accommodation for tourists and commercial men, and the professions and trades are all well represented, Broadway being the principal business throughfare. There are Anglican, Presbyterian, and Methodist Churches in the borough. The town is lighted by gas from the municipal gasworks, the borough council have also established a municipal theatre in Broadway, and there is an excellent library and reading room, under the control of the council. Among the industrial concerns of Marton are flour and saw-mills and a large and well-equipped sash and door factory. Sports and pastimes are by no means overlooked, football, cricket, chess, racing, and other clubs are in active operation. In the centre of the town is a fine recreation ground, nine acres and a half in extent. Government departments in the district embrace the post and telegraph office—conducted in an imposing brick building in High Street—the Magistrate's court, and the police station. The Newspaper Press is represented by the “Rangitikei Advocate and the Manawatu Argus” (published every evening) and the “Farmers' Advocate” (published every Saturday morning). The district of Marton has some noteworthy scenic attractions, a splendid view of the undulating country may be obtained from Bonny Glen Hill, about four miles from the town. From some of the higher parts of the country lovely glimpses of Tongariro, Ruapehu, and Ngauruhoe can be obtained, while in the direction of Taranaki is the symmetrical snowy cone of Egmont, and westward the shining waters of the Tasman Sea. The town is supplied with a low pressure water supply, the source being on a section of seventy-seven acres.

The Borough of Marton, which was constituted in 1879, has an area of 1,423 acres, with a population at the census of 1906 of 1,268. The capital value of property in the borough is £12,664, on which there is a general rate of 2s in the pound, a special rate of 1s 1d, a differential rate of 5d, and a library rate of 1d in the pound. In 1907 the number of rateable properties was 429, of which 320 were dwelling houses; and there are 264 ratepayers. In 1903 the council established municipal gasworks, and erected a theatre. The latter, which occupies a site at the corner of Broadway and High Street, is a building of wood and iron, and has seating accommodation for 750 persons. The Borough Council Chambers, situated in High Street, are built of wood and iron, and contain the council office, a library with about 3,000 volumes, and a public reading room, where there is a good supply of newspapers and periodicals. The drainage of Marton consists of one main drain for surface and storm waters. The water supply is drawn from two large reservoirs, situated about two miles outside the town. There is a capital recreation ground centrally situated in the borough; it consists of nine acres and a half, well laid out, and in every way fitted for athletic sports and recreation purposes. Members of the council for the year 1907:—Dr. S. Skerman (mayor), Messrs. S. J. Gibbons, A. J. Gould, H. Sutcliffe, J. McEldowney, A. Lyons, and F. G. Hilton (councillors). Mr A. H. Knigge is town clerk.

The Dresden Piano Company, Broadway, Marton. The Marton branch of this popular firm was established in the year 1907. The premises comprise a large showroom and a convenient music room. Pianos, organs, and all kinds of page 626 musical instruments, and music are kept in stock.

Mr Robert Henry Coker, the branch manager of the Dresden Piano Company, entered the service of the company in the year 1905, when he took up his present position. He was born in the year 1878, in the Wairarapa, was educated in Masterton, and was brought up to commercial life.

Collins, Charles Bower, LL.B. (N.Z. University), Barrister and Solicitor, Marton and Hunterville. Born 1879, in Wellington. Educated at the Mount Cook public school and the Wellington College. Matriculated 1894. Graduated LL.B. from Victoria College in 1906; firstclass honours in law, 1907.

Brice, Broad, and Company, Limited (F. R. H. Brice, E. W. Broad, and S. Thomas, managing directors), Land and Commission Agents and Grain Merchants, High Street, Marton. This firm was incorporated in the year 1906, and took over the land agency business founded by Mr Brice in the year 1902, together with the old-established grain business known for many years under the style of Tennent Brothers. The company have their premises in High Street. In addition there are two large stores, one at the railway station (measuring one hundred feet by sixty feet), and the other in Broadway (eighty feet by forty feet), with storage capacity for about 30,000 sacks. The firm's business is of an extensive nature. All classes of agency business are undertaken, including the flotation of land and other syndicates.

Mr. F. R. H. Brice, one of the managing directors of the firm of Brice, Broad and Company, was born in Waverley and educated in Marton. For some years he followed farming pursuits, and, later, conducted a land agency before the establishment of the present company. He has been secretary of the Marton branch of the New Zealand Farmers' Union for four years.

Mr Edward W. Broad, also a managing director of the firm of Brice, Broad and Company, is the third son of the late Judge Broad, and was educated in Nelson. He joined the staff of the Bank of Australasia, and served for fourteen years before joining his present company.

Mr. S. Thomas, also a managing director in the above firm, is an old Rangitikei resident, and has been associated with Mr. F. R. H. Brice in his land agency business from its inception. He has followed farming pursuits in different parts of the Dominion, and the knowledge gained now stands him in good stead in the handling of farm produce and farming requisites.

McChesney, James, Builder, Contractor, and Sash and Door Manufacturer, Marton. This business was established in the year 1877, and has one of the largest connections in Marton. In his various contracts Mr McChesney has often as many as twenty persons in his employment. The site of the premises occupied extends from Broadway to Stewart Street. In 1902 the sash and door factory was added to the business. The factory stands at the rear of the section, and carries a complete plant of wood-working machinery, driven by a thirteen and a half-horse power gas engine. Joinery work, cabinetware, and furniture are turned out in large quantities. There is also a fine two-storeyed shop, which carries a large stock of manufactured and imported furniture, and does a considerable retail trade. Mr. McChesney was born in the year 1848, in Belfast, Ireland, where he was educated and brought up to the building trade. For some years he traded on his own account in Belfast, and then went to England, where he carried on building and contracting for three years. In 1875 he came to New Zealand, and settled in Marton. Mr McChesney was for some years a member of the Borough Council, is a Freemason, a Forester, and a member of the Presbyterian Church. He is married, and has four sons and seven daughters.

Gunn, John Thomas Dent, Coachbuilder and Wheelwright, Broadway, Marton. This business, which is one of the oldest of its kind in the district, was acquired by the present proprietor in the year 1904. The premises consist of two apartments, a coachbuilding and repairing room, and a paint shop. All classes of vehicles, light and heavy, are made by Mr Gunn, and repairing of all kinds is also undertaken. A considerable amount of business is also done in the purchase and exchange of secondhand vehicles. He holds an agency for the A.B.C. incandescent lamp, and carries a considerable stock of accessories. Mr Gunn was born in the year 1876, in Lawrence, Otago, where he was educated at the district high school, and afterwards apprenticed to his present trade under Mr Alexander Campbell. After serving his apprenticeship he worked for some time on his father's farm, and then returned to his trade under Messrs. Matthews and Chalmers, of Lawrence. Subsequently he worked at his trade in Gore, Lawrence, Dunedin, and Waimate, and then removed to the North Island, where he was employed successively in various towns before starting business on his own account in Marton. Mr Gunn is a member of the United Ancient Order of Druids and the Rifle Club. He is married, and has one daughter.

Club Hotel (Rhys Jones Walters, proprietor), Marton.

The Junction House (J. McHardie, proprietor), Marton Junction. This large accommodation house was opened by the present proprietor in the year 1907. It is a two-storeyed building, conveniently appointed, well-furnished, and is kept scrupulously clean. The house contains a fine commercial room near the entrance, sitting rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms (with hot and cold water laid on), and means of fire escape are provided. There is a well-kept table, and the tariff is moderate. The house is lighted by a private installation of acetylene gas. There are also stables in connection with the establishment.

Mr James McHardie, proprietor of the Junction House, was born at the Hutt, Wellington, in the year 1865, and was educated at Bulls, in the Rangitikei. He then followed farming pursuits with his father, and afterwards on his own account, until he acquired the Junction House. Mr. McHardie was for two years a member of the Rongotea School Committee, and is a member of the Foresters' and Oddfellows' lodges. He is married, and has four sons and three daughters.

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The Co-operative Stores (T. H. Bredin, proprietor), Broadway, Marton. This business was established in the year 1882 by Mr T. H. Bredin. The present premises consist of a fine two-storeyed building, containing a large shop, with the storeroom at the rear. A very heavy stock of groceries, ironmongery, crockery, drapery, clothing, and boots and shoes is maintained. The proprietor imports direct, and is able to supply goods of the best quality at the lowest price. A number of persons are constantly employed, and a large turnover is done.

Mr Thomas Henry Bredin was born in the year 1855, in Londonderry, Ireland, was educated at the model school, and afterwards spent six years in a merchant's office. In 1877 he came to New Zealand, by the ship “Northampton,” and landed in Wellington. For ten months he was employed in Mr Caselberg's store in Masterton, and in 1878 started a business in Marton in partnership with Mr Moncrieff. Three years later the partnership was dissolved, and Mr Bredin has since conducted the business on his own account. He also conducts two farms (aggregating 400 acres) near the town. Mr Bredin takes a keen interest in local matters, and was for some years a member of the Marton Rifles and the local lodge of Foresters.

Bunting, photo.Mr. T. H. Bredin.

Bunting, photo.
Mr. T. H. Bredin.

Nicol, John Murray, General Storekeeper, Baker, Confectioner and Caterer, Broadway, Marton. This business, which is one of the oldest of its kind in the district, was founded by the late Mr Charles Nicol in the year 1865, and was acquired by his son in 1895. The original bakehouse on Broadway was destroyed by fire, and has been replaced by an up-to-date establishment, with every modern convenience and appliance for making bread and confectionery. In 1902 a general store was added to the business, with an office and refreshment rooms. Mr Nicol does a large business as a grocer and baker, and his services as a caterer are much in demand. He was born in the year 1861, in Wanganui, where he was educated and brought up to the printing trade. Mr Nicol was successively employed at the “Marton Advocate” office, and in the office of the “Lyttelton Times,” Christchurch. He then learned the bakery trade with Mr George Mouldy, of Christchurch, and subsequently returned to Marton, where he joined his mother in the management of his late father's business, which he afterwards took over on his own account. Mr Nicol was a member of the Borough Council for some time, and he was also a member of the Parihaka contingent. He is a member of the Bowling Club, is a well-known clarionet player, and a member of the Orchestral Society. Mr Nicol is married, and has two sons and four daughters.

Woolley, Alfred William, Grocer and Provision Merchant, High Street, Marton. This business was established in the year 1905, and has since considerably increased in volume. The premises occupy a corner section in the best part of the town, and a large stock of general groceries, ironmongery, crockery, brushware, etc., is carried. Delivery is made daily by cart throughout the town and district, and two persons are employed in the business. Mr Woolley was born near Picton, Marlborough, where he was educated at the public schools, and after a short time spent in farming pursuits he learned the grocery trade. He afterwards worked as a journeyman in various parts of the Dominion before starting business on his own account in Marton. Mr. Woolley is a Past Arch Druid, and takes a keen interest in the social and public affairs of the town. He is married, and has one son.

The Marton Roller Flour Mills (Mrs Janet Henderson, proprietress, trading under the name of Messrs. Henderson Brothers). This well-known mill was established in the year 1864 by the late Mr. Samuel Henderson, as a stone flour mill, in a small wooden building. At his death the mill was taken over by his sons, Messrs. William and Henry Henderson, who conducted it successfully for many years. They erected the present mill, which is a fine four-storeyed building, with attached granaries capable of holding 16,000 bushels, and there is also a complete roller plant, with a capacity of three tons per day. In October, 1903, Mrs Henderson bought the mill from the executors of the late Messrs. Henderson Brothers, and the whole of the machinery has since been replaced by a modern plant, which is driven by a seventy-horse power compound condensing engine. The mill draws the whole of its wheat supplies from the surrounding district, amounting to about 10,000 sacks of grain per annum. The flour commands a ready sale.

Mr. John Robson, manager of the Marton Roller Flour Mills, was born in Durham, England, in the year 1865, and was apprenticed to the flour-milling trade. In 1888 he came to New Zealand, under engagement to Messrs. Henderson Brothers, and has since had the sole control of the mill.

The Marton Hotel Stables (H. J. Reid, G. A. Reid, and A. A. Signal, proprietors), Broadway, Marton. These stables were established many years ago, being one of the oldest establishments of the kind in the district, and acquired by the present proprietors in July, 1907. They are built of wood, and contain seventeen stalls and five loose boxes. Messrs. Reid Brothers employ five gigs, two coaches, one palace car, one waggonette, and twenty-four horses in connection with the business. Baiting accommodation is provided for a large number of horses, and reliable horses are kept for hire, together with a good plant of buggies. All trains are met at the railway station with coaches.

Mr Harry James Reid was born in Auckland in the year 1874. He removed to the Taranaki district at an early age, where he was employed successively at flax-milling, dairying, and horse driving. He afterwards removed to Foxton, and worked in the flaxmills. Eighteen months later he returned to Taranaki, was variously employed in Normanby, and subsequently settled in Marton. He spent about three years with Messrs. Signal Brothers, was engaged for a time as billiard marker at the Club Hotel, and billiard room proprietor, and then for two months conducted the Junction Stables, before acquiring his present business.

Mr George Alben Reid was born in the year 1877 in Auckland, and was educated at the local public school, and in Okaiawa, Taranaki. He was brought up to general farm page 628 work, which he followed until he joined his brother in their present business in July, 1907. Mr. Reid is a Freemason and a Druid, and takes considerable interest in athletics, being usually on the official staff of the local sports. In 1904 he married Miss Gronn, of Marton.

Mr Albert Alfred Signal, the junior partner, was born in Marton in the year 1880. After leaving school he was brought up to dairyfarming pursuits, then found employment as a drover for thirteen years, and subsequently became a member of the present firm. Mr. Signal is married, and has one child.

McIndoe's Livery and Bait Stables (Signal Brothers, proprietors), Broadway, Marton. These stables, which are among the largest on the West Coast of the North Island, were established in the year 1873, and were conducted for some years by Mr McIndoe, until they were bought by Messrs. Signal Brothers in 1906. The building is of wood, and contains forty-five stalls, seven loose boxes, convenient offices, and waiting rooms. The working plant comprises twenty horses, three coaches, one cab, one waggonette, six traps, and two buggies.

The West Coast Livery and Bait Stables (Signal Brothers, proprietors), Broadway, Marton. These stables were bought from Messrs. Golbel Brothers in 1900 by Mr W. H. Signal, who afterwards took his brother into partnership. The building contains fifty stalls, sixteen loose boxes, offices, etc. Messrs. Signal Brothers employ eighteen horses, six traps, three coaches, one buggy, one dogcart, and one breaking-in cart in connection with their business. Four coaches run constantly between Marton and the Junction station, and the firm hold the mail contract. The firm do a large business in letting traps out on hire, and picnic parties can be supplied with large drags.

Mr Walter Herbert Signal, the senior partner, was born in the year 1875, at Onepuni, in the Rangitikei district, and was educated at the public schools. He then followed farming pursuits, and for some years successfully conducted a farm of 320 acres on his own account at Kimbolton, which he sold in 1900, in order to take over the West Coast Stables. Mr Signal takes a keen interest in local affairs, and is a member of the brass band and several social clubs. He is married, and has one son.

Zajonskowski, John Leopold, Timber Merchant, Marton. Mr Zajonskowski was born in the year 1865, in Prussia, and came to New Zealand with his parents in August, 1875. He was educated in Marton, learned the building trade under his father, and afterwards went into business in partnership with his brother. He subsequently relinquished the building trade in favour of the sawmilling and sash and door manufacturing. Mr. Zajonskowski is married, and has three children.

Zajonskowski, Joseph, Timber Merchant, Marton. Mr. Zajonskowski was born in Prussia, in March, 1867, and came to New Zealand at eight years of age. He was educated at the Marton public school, and was brcught up to the building trade under his father, and afterwards joined his brother in partnership. Later, they went into the saw-milling trade, and established the present factory. Mr Zajonskowski is a member of the Lutheran Church, and of the local lodge of Druids. He is married, and has four children.

Olive View Farm, Bulls Road, Crofton, near Marton. This farm comprises about 160 acres and is one of the finest properties of its size in the district. It was originally taken up by Sir William Fox, as part of a much larger area, and was acquired by Mr J. Follett in the year 1871. It was then in a very rough state, covered with scrub, but by hard work it has been brought to a high state of improvement. The property is rich level land, and is devoted to the cultivation of crops and sheep grazing. There is a fine homestead and outbuildings on the farm.

Mr. James Follett was born in Alderney, in the Channel Islands, in the year 1850, and was brought up chiefly in Somerset, England. At seven years of age he came to New Zealand with his parents. His father was engaged as a farm hand by Sir William Fox, and the family lived for many years where Marton now stands. Mr Follett, senior, bought the present site of the township, which was cut up in 1872, and subsequently sold. Mr Follett, junior, was brought up to farming pursuits with his father, and afterwards acquired his present farm. He is one of the oldest living volunteers in the province, having joined the Rangitikei Royal Rifles in 1867, and is now a life member of that corps. He is also a member of the school committee and the Farmers' Union. Mr Follett married Miss Agnes Signal, of Marton, and has four sons.

Thoresby Farm, Marton, the property of Mr W. J. Birch, situated a few miles north of Marton, is one of the finest farms in the district. It comprises 1,000 acres of rich undulating land, on the river flats, between the Rangitikei and Porewa streams, and was acquired by Mr. Birch in 1899. Since that date a portion of the hill country, bordering on the flats, has been added, and a large two-storeyed modern homestead has been erected. This commands a picturesque view of the flats and river bed, the undulating hills of the Kiwitea country, and the lofty snow-capped Ruahines. The grounds are well laid out and planted with native and imported shrubs. The farm is devoted to grazing and general farming purposes, for which it is well adapted. Mr. Birch also owns another property, known as “Erewhon,” which comprises 57,000 acres of good grazing, but high country, carrying some 32,000 sheep, managed by his adopted son, Mr. W. Caccia Birch.

Mr. William John Birch, J.P., was born in Oxfordshire, England, in February, 1842, and is the second son of Mr. William John Birch, Pudlicote House, Charlbury, Oxfordshire. He was educated in England, and in Germany, and then returned to England and entered the Royal Agricultural College at Cirencester, where he spent two years. In February, 1860, he emigrated to New Zealand by the ship “Wild Duck” (commanded by Captain Bishop). He settled in Hawke's Bay, where he bought sheep, and grazed them on Mr. St. Hill's property at Tuki Tuki, and for a time was manager of Mr. St. Hill's station. Mr. Birch was subsequently joined by his brother, a lieutenant of the 44th Regiment, and for some years they were engaged in operating a property in Hawke's Bay. In 1868 this property was sold and a grazing lease taken from the Maoris of a large extent of country in inland Patea, a then almost unknown country, at the head of the Rangitikei river, now known as Erewhon station. The partnership was subsequently dissolved, and Mr. Birch continued to live at “Erewhon” until 1897, since when he has lived principally in Wellington and at Thoresby Farm. Mr. Birch served as a volunteer in several expeditions during the Maori war, and holds the New Zealand war medal. He takes a keen interest in public affairs, was the promoter of the West Coast branch of the Farmers' Union, is president of the local branch, and a member of the Dominion Executive Committee of that body. He has also served on the Licensing Committee, the Agricultural and Pastoral Executive Committees, the Anglican Church management committee, school committees, and numerous other local bodies. In 1874 he married Miss Lydia Ethel Dreda Larden, daughter of the Rev. E. Larden, vicar of Earkel, Shropshire, England.

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Mr. Charles Nicol was born in Paisley, Scotland, in the year 1830, and came, with his parents, to New Zealand in the ship “Tyne,” in 1842. He subsequently learned the bakery trade in Wellington, and then removed to the Wanganui district, where for some years he carried on business. During the Maori war he baked for the troops engaged in the campaign. He afterwards left Wanganui and settled in Marton. Mr. Nicol died in the year 1884, and left a widow and a family of three sons and five daughters.