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William Falconer 1836-1891

Oamaru in 1860 - 1863

The following account of Oamaru covering the years 1860 - 1863 was written by Mr. William Falconer for The History of Oamaru, and was printed in the North Otago Times during August, September and October of 1889.

The History of Oamaru by William Falconer ...contd

1861

New Year's Day drew into town a pretty large assemblage of Bullock drivers, station hands, and some nondescript characters from the surrounding districts, a pretty large assemblage, the elements of which there is no doubt, were pretty rough.

Heavy drinking being considered the correct thing, many quarrels ensued, which were at once settled by pugilistic encounters in a neighbourly way; four pairs engaged in that pastime in front of the old accommodation house during the afternoon. In the appeal to the ordeal of battle it was usual, as soon as the combatants had tried conclusions, for eternal, if maudlin, friendship.

The residents of the town and the shepherds on the various runs in its vicinity are not included in this category they were, as a rule, steady, industrious men, and indulged in no such orgies. Amusements of a much more harmless character were engaged in. Impromptu games were got up, quoiting was the principal pastime; throwing the hammer was watched with much interest; hop, step, and jump, long and high jump; and a common to most of the gatherings in Scotland at the time, but which is seldom indulged in now [1889] in Oamaru - hitch and kick.

A bladder was suspended from a pole five or six feet from the ground, when the competitors, taking a short run, tried who could hit it with his foot at the greatest height from the ground. So that in the early days there was an incipient Caledonian gathering in Oamaru.

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The arrival of two constables, who took up their quarters in the 'choky' shortly after the New Year, was regarded with anything but satisfaction by the convivialists of the town, one bibulous and rather eccentric individual declaring that it was a direct infringement of the rights of man; and one night, having indulged rather freely, he swore a big swear that he would clear them out. Carrying a big cudgel, and followed at a respectful distance by a number of his laughing allies, he marched on to storm the garrison. Thundering on the door of the lock-up with his cudgel, he shouted in a stentorian voice; "Every mother's son of you surrender at discretion" and waited the result of his summons. Nor had he long to wait; The door was quickly opened, and the constables issuing forth, seized each an arm of the assailant, and the pot-valiant William disappeared from view.

Next morning he had the honour of being presented at the levee of A.C. Strode, Esq., the Acting Resident Magistrate who in the blandest of tones requested him to contribute the sum of £1 sterling towards the revenue of the colony, with the alternative of having the privilege of assisting the constables in the culinary operations of 'choky' for three days. With a most lugubrious expression of countenance the asserter of the rights of man produced one of Dalgety, Rattray's "On demand I promise to pay the bearer one pound sterling", this being the principal circulating medium in Oamaru in those days - and retired with the laugh decidedly against him.

Another Bacchanalian had a most unpleasant experience, Having taken in his quantity one night he endeavoured to zig-zag his way home, but wandered into the Oamaru creek near its mouth; floundering about and finding himself getting deeper, he had sufficient sense to stand still and yell for help. His cries attracted the attention of two wayfarers, who, scrambling down the bank, found him about three feet from the edge, up to his chin in water, and stretching their hands to him pulled him out.

The months of January and February passed without any startling incident taking place. The town was still busy. Mr. Richard Jones, the proprietor of th' Star and Garter built a large stone stable in rear of his hotel, and Dalgety, Rattray erected a large addition to their store in Tyne St., but the wool season was drawing to a close and there was not such a rush of drays in and out of Oamaru The survey of the northern portion of the town had been finished, and Mr. England was engaged in the trigonometrical survey of the Waitaki district.

The Oamaru sheep run had been proclaimed a hundred on 30th November 1860, to the extent of 39 square miles, and the survey of Block I was now being proceeded with, a large part of which was on the flat north of the town, and extended to the Boundary, or to give it its proper name, the Landan Creek.

In the month of March a fourth sale of town sections south of the creek was held. A large number were sold and brought good prices. One incident of the sale was the presence of a lady purchaser, who ran up the section she wanted in a most determined manner until she obtained it at £36. The sections sold were mostly well up the hill, and that was the highest price paid.

The Thames St. bridge, although not completed, was, through the courtesy of the contractors, available for foot passengers and horses, the drays still using the ford. The road to the landing place although not finished, had for some time been used for dray traffic.

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The coming Oamaru horse races were now the talk of the day; the brothers Julius being the principal competitors south of the Waitaki, Canterbury being represented by Messrs. Studholme, Martelli, and others, and as Tom, Dick and Harry all over the district had horses training, the town was quite lively with them. The race meeting gathered together a large concourse of people, numbers coming from the other side of the Waitake River and from Dunedin. Mark Noble, who for a number of years afterwards was one of the notables of Oamaru, putting in an appearance for the first time on this occasion. He attracted a considerable amount of attention on account of a dispute with regard to the conduct of one of Mr. Julius' jockeys. Mr. Noble was asked by Mr. Reginald Julius to ride the celebrated Kauri Gum for the Oamaru Plate, which he did, and won the race.

The crowd was fairly orderly, with little of the rowdyism that distinguished a New Year's Day. One big burly Maori and a little half - drunken fellow known as English Jack, indulged in a game of fisticuffs, and the mite of an Englishman polished off the native in a few rounds.

Creature comforts were supplied by the hotel keepers from the town, who had carts on the ground. The trivialities attendant on such meetings were provided by a 'broth of a boy' got up in a most approved style of the Irishman on the stage; old caubeen, brogues, broad ribbed stockings, Knee breeches, scarlet waistcoat and cut-away frieze coat with a nate barcelona round his neck. He had old Aunt Sally his special protection, but did not seem to use her very well. For three shies with a stick at that ancient lady he charged a shilling, and appeared to be making a good thing of it. He was also a born poet, and at a vocal entertainment which he gave in the evening in the long room of the Star and Garter, he hit off some of the peculiarities of the citizens very aptly.

In the month of February 1861, the hulk Thomas and Henry which had been moored in the bay nearly four months, and found to be utterly useless for any purpose whatsoever, was removed and the disappearance of the black, ungainly object that had floated on the water, the scoff and jest of all the sailing masters who visited the port, was a relief to the eye. Two cells were added to the lock-up with Oamaru stone, built by Currie and Co., the bridge contractors, the woodwork being done by Robert and Henry Allen.

In March I witnessed a most tragical event. One evening while Mr. James Alexander (who arrived in Oamaru 28th August 1860), and I were strolling towards the bridge we observed a man come out of the Oamaru Hotel, and a few seconds afterwards he was joined by another person; They linked their arms together and walked on a few paces, then separated. Then the man who had issued first from the hotel, with the short staggering run of a drunken man, went headlong down the steep bank into the deep pool formed by the bend of the creek in Thames St.

His companion uttered a yell of horror, and Mr. Oscar Davis who happened to be near, hearing the yell and splash ran at once to the spot, threw off his coat and plunged into the water, when my companion and I reached the pool, Mr. Davis was swimming and diving in the water but he failed to find the man, who had sunk like a lump of lead and lay like a stone at the bottom, leaving no trace save a few air bubbles which rose to the surface, Next morning a small boat was brought to the pool and the body recovered and buried; he was a stranger named Prank Danby, a black-smith from Timaru, and had been only a few days in Oamaru.

Another victim of intemperance was a young and rather intelligent man named James Evans, who had at one time been in the employ of Mr. Dansey but was then the driver of a bullock team belonging to Mr. Charles Mayer, of Blue Cliffs Station, who came to his death a short time previous by falling while drunk in front of the wheel of his dray which, passing over his chest, so injured him that he died a few days afterwards.

The town had now [1889] made considerable progress, but as there had not been any sections sold north of the creek, most of the buildings were on the south, spreading from Tyne St. and Itchen St. up the face of the hill, and from the bay or plain had a rather pretty appearance. A pen and ink sketch taken by Mr. Every - the father of Mr. Frederick Every - represented the town very accurately.

There was neither school nor schoolmaster (public or private) in the place, and the visits of clergymen were like those of the angels 'few and far between'. As Oamaru in those days was prolific in olive branches, Parson Andrews, a clergyman in holy orders, but a runholder up the Waitake, used, when in town to christen the children by the half dozen, while those who wanted the nuptial knot tied, had either to visit the Rev. J.A. Fenton at Waikouaiti, or go to Dunedin.

The landing service was now [1889] entirely in the hands of Captain Sewell, Tom Hardy and his Maoris having retired. The stores were; Dalgety Rattray's wholesale on Section 3 Block 2 under the management of Mr. Henry Wurm, who did business principally with the run holders. Messrs. Traill and Roxby, on Section 2 Block 3, and Mr. Henry France on Section 34, France's Block in Humber St. wholesale and retail, and Mr. Samuel Gibbs who had a retail store in Tyne St. on Section 5 Block 3, and wash doing a good trade.

The hotels were; the Northern - Andrew Baker, the Star and Garter - Richard Jones, the Oamaru - Edward Hudson. Livery and Bait stables attached to the Northern were kept by E.M. Weedon. Both the other hotels also had stables.

The master carpenters were Robert Allen, who, is the oldest inhabitant of the town of Oamaru, Messrs. Charles and John Lemon, and Michael Grenfell and others who have left the district. The master masons were; Messrs. John Currie and Murray and Thomas Glass. There were two butchers, John Hambleton and John Haggie. One auctioneer, Mr. McLure; one bootmaker, Oscar Davis, who usually employed one or two hands.

A tailor had also established himself but he was fonder of his beer pot than his goose and his appetite for cabbage was quite equal to his capacity for beer. From a piece of cloth which was supposed to be only sufficient to make a suit he would ingeniously manufacture a pair of trousers also for himself, and then unblushingly boast of his achievement.

A watch and clock-maker had also commenced business in a small shop in Itchen St. adjoining the Star and Garter Hotel. There was one wheelwright, John Thompson and one blacksmith, William Falconer (James Wate having left Oamaru in February) one landscape gardener, John Falconer who worthily filled the office of Mayor during 1884 and 1885. Among other residents of the town were John Campbell Gilchrist, who was elected the first Mayor of Oamaru on the 21st July 1866. Robert Bain of Spring Vale, Waiareka, and Henry Allan of Calton Hill, all were very early residents.

The excitement caused by the races had scarcely subsided when it was rumoured that gold had been found in the Lindus Creek. In the month of March a rush on a small scale took place, and a number of would-be diggers on leaving Dunedin made as little preparation for digging as if they were going on a picnic, so they required to supply themselves in Oamaru, which was a source of profit to the storekeepers and others during the few weeks that the rush lasted Oamaru was a very busy place, especially during April; sixty persons arriving by steamer at one trip, besides those passing through overland.

Picks, shovels, cradles and other necessaries were in great demand; bullock teams were loaded up with all manner of stores, and started for the diggings; horse wagons arrived by road from Dunedin to share the spoil; and numbers of tradesmen of the town formed themselves into parties and departed to try their luck. Mr. E.W. Roxby, Mr. Edward Hassell, Mr. Edward McGlashen of the firm Young & McGlashen, Dunedin, and other merchants took a trip to the gold field.

Four mounted constables, armed to the teeth, under the command of Sergeant Outram, arrived from Dunedin to escort the gold, which never was found, and passing through Oamaru scoured along the beach road at such a pace that they could not be seen for stour.

Then parties arrived from Dunedin fully equipped with horses and drays, tents, tools and provisions. Tents were pitched for the night in the flax on the flat, struck in the morning and their owners away on the road. But alas for human expectations I In a few weeks, disappointed parties came drooping back into Oamaru in a bedraggled condition; the diggings were a "duffer", was the cry. Numbers who now arrived by the steamer did not leave Oamaru but loafed about spending their money; others more wisely went straight back at once. The horse wagons returned from the Lindis and went right on to Dunedin. The whole thing was pronounced a failure and the crowds that had gone up gradually wandered back again.

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In May, the property of James Wate was sold at auction. It consisted of Sections 8 7 9 Block 4, on which were built the Oamaru Hotel, stables, blacksmith's shop and stone cottage, subject to the payment to Government of the average price the other sections of the block fronting Thames St. might realise. It was keenly competed for by John McLean of Kurow Station (Little McLean), and William Carr Young of the firm of Young and McGlashan of Dunedin, and was knocked down to Mr. Young at £750.

The survey of the first block of rural land had now been completed, and as the whole of Block 1, Oamaru district had been applied for, it was offered for sale at public auction in Dunedin and brought high prices for those days. The sections next the north town boundary brought £15 per acre and were bought by Fairfax Fenwick, the adjoining section was sold for £14. John Lyte Allan bought section 6 at £6 1s an acre and Sections 7 & 9 at £5 10s; Mark Noble, Luxmore and Julius S. Jeffreys purchasing at £12, £1O and £8. J.C.Gilchrist bought part of what is now the Redcastle Estate. None of the sections fronting the Main North Road selling much under £6 per acre until the boundary creek was reached; 51 rural sections were sold, containing 2394 acres, 1 rood, 28 poles and 17 perches, and realised £9972 11s 3d. including back sections.

In June 1861 gold was found at Tuapeka, but after the Lindis experience the people of Oamaru were rather chary and waited for the confirmation of the report.

However, in July, a complete exodus of the floating population of Oamaru took place, and the bullock drivers went off en masse with their teams, as also most of the tradesmen, in fact everyone who could get away, went and Oamaru was for a short time like a town deserted. Provisions became very dear, the 2001b sack of flour cost £3 12s; firewood rose from £4 to £5 10s and as the winter set in very wet, things sank into a chronic state of mud and misery.

There was one resident of the town of Oamaru who amid the excitement of the races, the gold fever, and land speculations pursued the even tenor of his way, undisturbed and unheeding the events passing around him. This was a bull that Captain Sewell had brought to Oamaru from Portobello and was broken in to saddle and harness - a quiet, easy going though somewhat stubborn beast, who at times would allow three or four children to ride him up and down the town, at other times would knowingly shake them off. One of his daily tasks was drawing water in a cask from the creek to his master's house. He roamed the town with placid gravity, and though he disdained to break down a fence, woe to the garden where a gate was left open. Entering, he would walk round and partake of the dainties it contained with the air of a connoisseur, and when assaulted by the irate owner, would walk off with calm dignity; but being a favourite he was seldom molested and considerable regret was expressed when the butcher's knife ended his career.

Another early resident of Oamaru deserves a passing notice. This was Ben, an Otaheitian, who was cook and man of all work for Mr. Traill. He was a pure child of nature and possessed of a large fund of quaint humour. On one occasion Mr. Traill was entertaining a few friends when Ben rushed into the room and set the party into a roar of laughter by making the announcement, "Massa Traill, your dem paper collars won't wash". Ben left Oamaru for the Lindis diggings and was one a party of six who started from the Lindis and crossed the ranges, then covered with snow, to the Tuapeka Goldfield.

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The months of July, August and September passed very quietly in Oamaru but during those months the first efforts at systematic farming were commenced in the district. Mr. John Lut Allan started in July to break up the land that he had just purchased. The contractors were two strangers who had been attracted to the district by the Lindis rush. They commenced to plough almost immediately after Mr. Allan bought the ground, but threw up the contract - which was 30s per acre - and left for Gabriel's Gully. The contract was then taken up by the late George Quarrie at £2 per acre, and his average earnings were 40s per day. As the mode of ploughing followed then may now [1889] be pronounced obsolete, a description of it will interest some farmers.

A team of bullocks in yoke, usually six in number, were attached to a swing plough with one man between the stilts to hold it and another driving the bullocks. They travelled along at a slow, steady pace for seven or eight hours a day, during which time they would turn over from three-quarters of an acre to one and a quarter acres, the area depending on the breadth of the furrow. At night the bullocks were unyoked and turned out to find their supper as best they could on the native herbage. Next morning they were driven in, yoked up, and the process of the day before repeated unless the day happened to be wet, in which case bullocks were very seldom worked.

A little later John Allan erected a substantial farm-looking dwelling-house of stone at the foot of the hill a short distance north of the town, the architect and builder being Mr. Thomas Glass. A few months later Mark Noble commenced to build stables and men's quarters at Cassa Nova (which is now Mr. Borton's property) and enclosed his land with a double ditch and bank, the price for a fence of that description being about 30s a chain. Shortly after-wards he erected a large square mansion with a rough brown stone, the architects being Messrs. Glass and Grenfell.

The late Alexander McMaster, who in May had unsuccessfully contested the election of Superintendent of the Province of Otago with Major John Larkins Cheese Richardson was, on the 12th of June, elected member for the Northern District in the Provincial Council. He had purchased a fine property near the Landon Creek which he named Waikura and where he commenced, in a systematic way, to lay off a demesne which is now a picture of rural beauty with its ornate Elizabethan mansion, charming grounds and verdant shrubberies. While the well cultivated fields, trim clipped hedges and nicely arranged farm buildings, show what skill, money and enterprise can accomplish in making the surroundings models of good taste.

Mr. John Lemon had also purchased a rural property, and during the year 1861 erected the commodious dwelling-house and laid off the grounds adjoining, which he named Parkfield, but which was afterwards known as Floraville.

An incident now occurred which illustrates the unsophisticated character of the head constable of Oamaru. Two prisoners had, on the 18th August escaped from Dunedin gaol. One of them was a man named Johnston who had been convicted of shooting a man in a boarding house in Dunedin, the other a woman named W........, convicted of shooting at her husband in Southland. Information reached the constable late in the evening of the 25th August that the escapees were on their way to Oamaru, the woman dressed in male attire.

The constable and his assistant at once started to search for them and discovered them in one of the hotels. As they had retired for the night, acting on the advice of the landlord they were allowed to remain undisturbed, the two constables walking sentry round the hotel till morning, when they arrested the runaways and marched them to the lock-up.

On arrival of the steamer there was quite a turn out of citizens to see a real live murderer. At length the stalwart John appeared, especially got up for the occasion, face washed and shaven, clothes well brushed, well blacked boots reaching to the knees, brightly polished silver spurs at heel, rug on the left arm, and other requisites for a voyage by sea. He marched his prisoners (the woman having resumed her female garments) with imposing and dignified air along Tyne St. and thence to the steamer. It was evident from the self-sufficient manner of John that he considered he had made an extremely clever capture. Having arrived with his prisoners at Dunedin he reported himself to the Chief Constable, Mr. John Shepherd, when instead of the kudos which he expected he received a severe reprimand for not having arrested the escapees when he discovered them, instead of allowing them to remain all night in the hotel where they had taken up their quarters, and was dismissed from the force on the spot.

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On the 1st of August, Oamaru was proclaimed a port of entry and on the 16th August the new enlarged hundreds of Oamaru, Otepopo and Moeraki were proclaimed. Seeing that the town and rural lands of the district were being rapidly surveyed and sold, and that the town was neither represented in the Provincial Council nor had any local body to manage its affairs, a number of residents formed themselves into a Vigilance Committee - formed on the 9th October 1861 - to watch over the interests of the town and bring the requirements of the district before the proper authorities.

The idea emanated jointly from Mr. Michael Grenfell, who was one of the men who took an active and intelligent interest in all matters relating to the welfare of the community, and Mr. John Young Ward, a young man of splendid ability who was then clerk to Messrs. Dalgety, Rattray & Co. The names of the first members of the Vigilance committee were; Michael Grenfell (chairman), Samuel Gibbs, William Sewell, Thomas Glass, Charles Lemon, John Baraclough, George R. Taylor, John Thompson (wheelwright), George Quarry, Henry France, William Falconer, W. Derritt, Dr. Williams and J.Y. Ward (secretary). Each member contributed 5s entrance fee to defray necessary expenses. The meetings were held in the little office attached to the old Government store on the top of the cliff near the landing-place.

One result of the action taken by the committee was a visit from Mr. John Hislop, the Inspector of School under the old Education Board of Otago during the month of October 1861, when he reported to the board that a school was needed; consequently the school district of Oamaru was formed. The first Education Committee was elected on the 7th October 1861, and held office till 5th October 1863. The members of that committee were; John Barraclough, Samuel Gibbs, James Grenfell, W. Derritt and James White. Michael Grenfell was appointed secretary, valuator and treasurer; the local school committees under the old Otago school system having power to levy a rate for education purposes. The Oamaru School District extended over all the first Oamaru hundred.

The Vigilance committee did other practical work during the term of its existence. It was the means of having a number of limestone quarries reserved from sale, and endeavoured to secure Cape Wanbrow as a commonage for the town, but, unfortunately, it was not successful, the Cape being sold in 1862. It also impressed upon the Provincial executive the necessity for a Town Board being granted, and that the town of Oamaru should be represented in the Provincial Council. It succeeded in obtaining a weekly mail service instead of a fortnightly post, and in persuading the Government to form and shingle Thames and Tyne Sts. as parts of the Main North Road, which at that time followed the spur down to the Northern Hotel, in nearly the line of Wansbeck St. The contract was let to Mr. James Elder, now of Maheno, and his brother in May 1862, at the price of £6 18s per chain, culverts extra. Shortly afterwards, the committee having fulfilled its mission, it quietly collapsed.

In October 1861, a second medical man settled in Oamaru, Dr. R. Grant, but he found the place so wonderfully healthy that after waiting a few months for patients, his patience became exhausted and he girded up his loins and fled.

Mr. John Bain, carpenter, Coquet St., arrived in Oamaru on the 11th November. He sailed from Glasgow in the ship Winged Arrow, which brought out a large number of Leicester sheep for Mr. William Broen, who settled at the Totara Tree. (The same gentleman audited the books of the Borough Council in 1887 when Mr. Christie was Mayor). Mr. Bain was with Mr. Brown at Totara and erected the buildings, yards, etc. required by Mr. Brown. He afterwards made, to the order of Holmes and Campbell, the first pair of fanners made in the district.

He took an active interest in connection with the call of a Presbyterian Minister, being one of the Committee of Management, and was elected one of the first elders of St. Paul's Church after the Rev. Charles Connor was placed, but resigned when a disagreement took place between Mr. Connor and the congregation. Mr. Bain, although now past three score years is still hale and hearty, the result of temperate habits and the salubrious climate of North Otago.

In the month of November, the constable Sandie Simpson - the easy-going successor of the hero of the escapee episode, and who used to saunter round the town in an apathetic sort of way, as if ashamed of never having a court case - was replaced by one of St. John Brannigan's smart troopers who paraded the streets with great vigour, exhibiting himself to the gaze of the admiring citizens, in full regimentals.

During the Lindis rush, Alfred Chetham Strode had been appointed temporary Resident Magistrate at Oamaru from 11th May, but in November, Thomas Windle Parker was appointed permanent Resident Magistrate. He arrived in Oamaru on 28th November. Mr. Parker was not unknown to the people of Oamaru and surrounding districts, having been a resident of the Waitake for some time previous up to the beginning of 1861. In July he was gold receiver at Tuapeka. He occupied the position of Resident Magistrate of Oamaru most worthily until 26th May 1881, when much to the regret of the public, he voluntarily retired.

During the months that elapsed since the discovery of gold at Tuapeka, the town of Oamaru had made very little progress. No sections had been sold north of the creek, and no new buildings, with perhaps the exception of a fowl-house or so, had been put up on that part of the town during the year. The total number of houses in Oamaru was 47, of which, 39 were situated south of the creek, and only 8 on the north side.

Provisions and wages were very high; carpenters receiving 18s per day, and those working for their own hand reckoned on earning £1 a day; masons 15s; journeyman blacksmiths, 15s. Farm produce came principally from Otepopo. Eggs cost 3s to 4s 6d a dozen, butter 4s 6d to 5s per pound, oats, 9s per bushel, potatoes £17 a ton, flour £36 a ton, mutton 6d per pound, a tin of lobster or salmon cost 3s 6d, firewood £5 10s a cord, smithy coal £7 10s per ton, bar iron £32 a ton, horse shoe nails 1s per lb, horse-shoeing -a set of new shoes under a hack 12s, for a draught horse 14s.

There was no proclaimed burial ground in Oamaru in 1861. The present cemetery was a reserve intended for a cattle market. Persons were buried on what is now Section 8 Block 73, and the adjoining portion of Hull St. Some of the remains were removed to the cemetery after it was granted in 1864 but several were never disinterred. One of the first buried on Section 8 was a child of Mr. Millstead's, William Eadie, aged 7, died on 16th October 1860 and Robert Penson on 3rd December 1860, aged 36. Both of these were removed to the present cemetery and headstones show where their bones rest, some 40 yards from the north-east gate. William Smith, the captain of the little schooner, who was drowned 12th October 1860; John Healey, who died in 1858, and others; and during February 1861, James Evans who was crushed by the bullock dray, and Frank Danby, the man who was drowned in the pool in Thames St., were buried on Section 8 Block 73.

Before closing the reminiscences of 1861, I may mention a few of the early residents not already noticed, many of whom are still in the town and district. Some by thrift and hard work have amassed a competency, having carefully provided comforts for coming age, others are well to do, and all highly respectable.

There is my old friend Mr. James Alexander, who arrived in Oamaru a few weeks after I had established myself, who shared my cottage, when we baked our own damper, cooked our chops, and infused our tea, roasted in the smiddy and slept on top of the bellows.

Mr. James Lambert, carpenter, a very early resident, was in Oamaru when I arrived, and is one of old Oamaru's most steady, industrious and successful workmen. The late James Dunn, farmer, Papakaio, was one of the residents of 1861 and with his partner James Kay built the old Otekaike House for W.H. Dansey. They came to the district in 1858 or 1859.

John Maitland who for many years has taken an active and intelligent interest in municipal and other affairs, was also one of the 1859 arrivals. William Easton, of Pukeuri, one of our best known and respected farmers, has resided in the district since 1858.

Thomas Cunningham of Humber St. is another old and esteemed landmark of the years 1860 and 1861. That respectable old gentle-man William Eadie, who now resides in Arun St., was one of the 1860 arrivals. Alexander Caldred Johnstone is also of that early date; Christian Kleeber, George McKenzie, Joseph Hay, James Hay, David Hay, William Ferguson, all old identities; and that venerable lady Mrs Hannah Hughes, now residing at the North Town Belt, was a resident before 1860, she and her first husband, Robert Penson, then living at the Star and Garter. These are only a few of the names of the pioneers that might be jotted down and on reflection, one cannot help being struck by the large number of hale and hearty men and women that survive at the end of nearly three decades. This surely speaks volumes for the healthiness of North Otago, and the temperate and industrious habits of those early settlers.

Christmas and New Year's days again came around in the ordinary course of time, and were held in much the same manner as described in 1860 - 1861, but there was a lack of spurt and go, a want of the enthusiasm that had characterised the former occasion, and an absence of brawling on the part of the rowdies. The presence of the Magistrate and Trooper were no doubt partly to be thanked for that, but the element itself was wanting, the town and district having been drained by the gold diggings.

Remainder of Article  1860 | 1862 | 1863


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