WAIMATE COUNTY AND TOWN in 1886

Timaru Herald, 17 May 1886, Page 3

The prefix "wai " (water), has been expressively used in Maori names, and nearly all the New Zealand rivers and creeks, as well lands adjoining them, are identified with that prefix. There are several Waimate's in the colony, but the Waimate of South Canterbury is by far the largest and richest of these in every respect. The Waimate County contains a vast area; and its soil is both fertile and productive. For agricultural and pastoral pursuits it holds a first position in the country. Its cereal and root crops have always been regarded as amongst our best productions, whilst its sheep and cattle are by no means inferior to similar stock in the Province of Canterbury. In common with other agricultural districts in the Middle Island, Waimate has of late years materially suffered from falling off in the price of wheat, coupled with the effects of drought, but its resources being inexhaustible a more propitious state of affairs may reasonably be expected, and that, too, at no distant day. For many years prior to 1877 the timber trade of Waimate was, in itself a source of great wealth. Seven or eight sawmills, employing in the aggregate hundreds of men, were in full operation, and the demand for every description of timber turned out at these mills was great, and money was consequently plentiful. The Waimate totara and black pine were in active requisition, and the mills could scarcely execute all the orders with which they were favoured as expeditiously, as could be wished. Towards the latter end of 1878 an overwhelming calamity overtook the district and town of Waimate, in the destruction by bush fires of the best of the timber. For two months the devouring element raged unrestrained in defiance of every effort that could possibly be put forth to extinguish it. Not only the standing timber but the homesteads of upwards of sixty families were sacrificed to the destructive conflagration. This disaster involved damage to the amount of many thousands of pounds and paralysed commercial affairs in the county to a ruinous extent that can scarcely be estimated, and from which severe loss but partial recovery has yet taken place. The sawmills, with the exception of one — the only one now in the district— were unable to resume operations, and the numerous hands by which they were so long and so successfully worked, were thus thrown out of employment, and had to go in quest of work elsewhere. From this and other causes scores of families had to leave the district and town within the last few years, their removal being of course followed by corresponding drawbacks to the whole county. The average length and breadth of the Waimate County is 60x45 miles. The annual rateable value of it is £2,421,522, the yearly assessment being £10,000, which latter amount is annually expended in the maintenance and construction of roads and bridges.  

The townships in the county are: St. Andrews (Pareroa riding), Makikihi (Makikihi-riding), Waitaki North (Waihao riding), Sandhurst (Hakateramea riding). The largest landholders and wool kings in the county are Messers E. El worthy, Teschemaker, M. Studholme, Allah McLean, John Douglas, H. B and J. Parker, Robert Campbell and sons, the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company, and the Bank of New Zealand. The County Council comprise nine members, namely, Messrs J. Manchester (chairman), M. Studholme, E. Elworthy, A. Turnbull, W. J. Hardie, D. McLaren,  A. Hayes, P. J. Murphy, and John Douglas. The officers are Messrs Jackson (secretary), and W. J. Black (county overseer) .The Council holds its meetings monthly, at the Council Chambers in the town of Waimate. The roads throughout, the district are invariably kept in the best state of repair, and the Council revenue is very judiciously appropriated. For an industrious class of what might be termed small tenants, the county affords an indisputable scope, and were the Belgian system of farming adopted, therein a great agricultural acquisition would be the result. Here are thousands of acres ready for the plough, the spade and the hoe, and the productiveness of the soil being such as it is, no misgivings need be , entertained as to remunerative yields. Farming is, however, a science that requires not only plodding industry but skill and judgment in the rotation of crops, manuring, irrigation and climatic study. Many agriculturists have wrecked fortunes from lack of possessing these indispensable qualifications, which can only be acquired by experimental knowledge based upon principles laid down for the guidance of those who follow agricultural pursuits with the intention of making them profitable enterprises, and thus developing the resources which nature has so bountifully placed at our disposal. ...

The town of Waimate is situated on a plain about thirty miles south-west of Timaru, and in close proximity to a range of hills, of which Mount Studholme is the highest. The original founders of the town could have scarcely made a better selection for the principal centre of the population of the judiciousness is to be commended. The town is where it should be, and nowhere else, and the advantages of its situation is at once apparent. Waimate is a municipality comprehending an area of 700 acres, most of which is built upon in a somewhat straggling manner, many of the houses in the outskirts being far apart. The town is civically governed by a Mayor and nine Councillors, who meet once a month to deliberate upon matters appertaining to their office. The municipal machinery include a town clerk, an engineer, a sanitary inspector, a foreman of works, two day labourers, and a lamp-lighter. The annual income, of the borough is about £600, the rate of assessment being a shilling in the pound.

The streets are well formed and kept in excellent repair. Both the surface and subterranean drainage are well attended to. The pathways of the principal thoroughfares are asphalted, those of the other streets being gravelled. There are but few country towns that present the improved and clean appearance Waimate does. The town is supplied with water from ordinary pump wells, whence never failing pure water is obtained. As yet there are no artesian wells in the town, nor is there any need of such, except, indeed, for the extinguishment of fires. There are many handsome buildings in the town, including the District High School, the Hospital, the Bank of New Zealand, the County Council Chambers, Rickman's buildings, Manchester Brothers and Goldsmith's stores, the Union Bank of Australia, and some of the hotels. About a mile from the town on the Junction road stands the mansion of J. Manchester, Esq., J.P., which is a feature in the landscape. The house is a commodious dwelling of many rooms, and the immediate garden and lawn surroundings are tasteful and pleasing to the eye. In architectural appearance the mansion presents an ideal country residence, the other large suburban residences are those of Messrs Price and Studholme.  

 
The old Belvoir house, 169 McNamaras Rd,  was built by John Manchester, in the 1870s. He arrived on the Strathallan and was a self-made man. He named it after a castle near his original home in England's Midlands. Sits on 16ha. The gardens are beautiful in the springs. Every room has retained it's original Kauri doors, fireplaces etc.  He was the first Mayor of the town in 1879 and then held office from 1901 to 1908. On retiring from the position he was presented with a piece of plate and a handsome testimonial by the citizens.

Observer, 3 November 1900, Page 16
A wedding of much interest to a wide circle of friends was celebrated on Wednesday, October 17th, the contracting couple being Mr John Candlish Allen, son of Mr and Mrs Shepherd Allen, of Avondale, Piako, Auckland, and Cheadle, Staffordshire, England, and Mr Manchester, eldest daughter of Mr John Manchester, of Belvoir, Waimate, Canterbury. The family of the bride are well known in the Waimate district, where they have resided for many years, Mr John Manchester having been the first mayor of the town, and is also -a prominent member of the Wesleyan Church. The ceremony took place in St. Paul's Wesleyan Church, Waimate, and was witnessed by a large congregation. The church was beautifully decorated, and the happy couple stood under a beautiful wedding bell of clematis, etc., during the ceremony. The Rev. J. Bligh officiated, assisted by the Rev. G. Barclay.

North Otago Times, 15 March 1911, Page 2 FUNERAL NOTICE
The friends of the Late, Mr John Manchester are respectfully informed that his funeral will leave his late residence, "Belvoir," South Road, Waimate, on Wednesday, the 15th inst, at 2.30 p.m., for Waimate Cemetery. GEO. W. COLLECT, Undertakcr, Waimate, Telephone-93.

Timaru Herald, 14 March 1911, Page 2
The late John Manchester who had been, the first Mayor of had served on every local body there, and was a member of the Timaru Harbour Board, and all his work had been done with credit to himself and those whom he served. (Hear, hear.) The Council should pass a motion of sympathy with Mrs Manchester and the members of the family. Such a motion was passed in silence, all Councillors standing.

Timaru Herald, 1 April 1911, Page 7 Harbour Board
At the outset the Chairman referred to the death of the late Mr John Manchester, who, he said, had been a very valued member of the Board for 221 years. He was first appointed by the Governor in 1887. In 1896 he resigned to take a trip Home, and after an absence of two years he was elected by the people., and had been a member ever since. Though Mr Manchester had not always been able to see eye to eye with other members of the Board, ; everything he had done was done conscientiously. A pioneer of this country, Mr Manchester was a man of integrity and ability, and one who had done a great deal of good for the districts. Through his death the Board and the district of South Canterbury had sustained a great loss. The chairman moved—"That the Board place on record its regret at the demise of the late Mr John Manchester; its appreciation of his services as a member of the Board; and its sympathy with his widow and relations in their sad bereavement.'' Mr. Skinner seconded the motion, and endorsed what the chairman had said. The motion was carried, all members standing.

Otago Daily Times 14 March 1911, Page 6
The death occurred on Sunday, at his residence, Belvoir, at Waimate, of Mr John Manchester, a leading resident, who was associated with the public life of the town and district since 1863. Mr Manchester, who was a native of Leicestershire where he was born in 1833, came to New Zealand in, 1859, and landed at Timaru. After a few years he, with his brother (now deceased) and Mr G. W. Goldsmith (also dead), established a small general store at Waimate, and the fortunes of the firm rose with the place. He was the first mayor of the borough, and was many times reelected. When he retired in 1903 he was presented with a piece of plate by the citizens. He was also a prominent member of all the local bodies. He was one of the founders of the Methodist Church at Waimate, and frequently represented it at the district of synod and annual conference. It was to his iniative that the creation of the connexional fire insurance fund was due. Mr Manchester married in 1867, and his wife and two sons and two daughters survive him. A Press Association telegram says of Mr Manchester that he was the most useful business man in the borough and county for a long period, and his counsel will be greatly missed.

Press, 19 February 1895, Page 5
Timaru, February 18. Mr S. W. Goldsmith, who had been Chairman of the Board of Education Board 1885, and member of the Timaru High School Board since 1883, died at Dunedin on Sunday. The High School Board met to-day, but adjourned for a week as a mark of respect. Samuel William Goldsmith, who was sixty years of age, was one of the oldest residents of Waimate. He had been in delicate health for years, but had only been seriously ill for a fortnight. On Tuesday last he was taken to Dunedin, and an advice was received in Waimate on Sunday night stating he died of typhoid fever ac the residence of the Rev. J. J. Lewis. Daring Mr Goldsmith's residence at Waimate, extending over thirty-three years, he was universally esteemed and respected. Mr Goldsmith was for thirty-three years and at the time of his death a member of the firm of Manchester Bros, and Goldsmith, and had been closely associated with the Wesleyan Church, choir, and Sunday School, had taken an active part in tern perance work, was thrice Mayor of the borough, had for many years been Chairman, of the South Canterbury Education Board, and was a member of the High School Board.

Timaru Herald, 17 December 1887, Page 3
Waimate, Dec. 16. The foundation stone of the new Wesleyan Church was this afternoon laid by Mrs Samuel William Goldsmith before a large number of persons. The proceedings commenced at two o'clock. A sealed bottle containing five newspapers, inclusive of a copy of the Herald, of December 10th, and New Zealand Methodist, of December 10th, together with a Jubilee coin of the realm, and a document, a copy of which was read by Mr Goldsmith, were then placed under the stone.

Ann Eliza Day married Samuel William Goldsmith in Lambeth, Surrey 1852, and emigrated to NZ on the Strathallan in 1858/9, arriving Timaru.

The principal streets in the town are Queen, High and Sherman streets, the first-named being the main thoroughfare, in which are situated the most of the places of business. The principal general stores are those of Messrs Manchester Brothers and Goldsmith, E. Price and Son, Cameron Brothers, and J. H. Taylor. In these almost every description of goods is sold. The grocery stores are those of Messrs E. McEvoy and G. Boyd. In drapery and ready-made clothing Messrs Donald Mitchell and R. Boyd transact business, whilst Mr Franklin and Mrs E. Gascoyne supply fancy goods of a miscellaneous description. Miss Evans and Brooker represent the tailoring trade, and do much business in that line. There is one plumber (Mr Dugdale), and one hairdresser (Mr Aslin). There are five blacksmiths, namely, Messrs N. Wall, W. Allan, Alex. Watt,  Geo. Harding, A. Drayton, and McTaggart. In these establishments ploughs and agricultural implements are manufactured. Mr Allan combines coachbuilding with his other trade. The livery stables are those of Messrs John Jacobs and G.R. Freeman. For the transaction of financial matters, the Bank of New Zealand and the Union Bank of Australia are available, both being in the principal business thoroughfare, Queen street.  

The wine and spirit merchants are Messrs Gascoyne and Black, who are also cordial manufacturers. The other local industries are Mr Forsbroob's brewery, and a brick manufactory. The brewery business is confined to the supply of private families with beer, the supplies of that beverage for the town hotels being chiefly obtained from Christchurch and Dunedin. There is one flour mill (Mr Clayden's) whose operations are almost exclusively limited to gristing for country farmers. The wheat and oats not required by the settlers for their own use are sent to Timaru and Oamaru for exportation. The Oddfellows, the Orangemen, the Freemasons, and the Ancient Order of Foresters have each a lodge in Waimate with a numerous membership. During the winter months a harmonic society exists in a semi organised state. The Wesleyans have their mutual improvement association, and debates, discussions and lectures frequently take place in the institution, whose proceedings are open to the public. There is a cricket club and a football club, and games at both these institutions are occasionally played. The bracing air of Waimate suits people of muscular exercise proclivities well, and the young folk of the town are not slow in availing themselves of such. The Waimate Agricultural and Pastoral Association, of which Mr M. Studholme is the president, and Mr W. Middleton the Secretary, is in a flourishing state, and a great acquisition to the district. It stimulates improvement in farming and stockbreeding, and thus confers a public boon. The local Fire Brigade, under the superintendance of captain Sinclair, is in as an efficient a state as could be expected in a country town. Of the disciples of Esculapius there are two in Waimate, Dr Staopoole, J.P., and Dr Nicolls, who attend to the ailments of the people. Dr Stacpoole has change of the hospital, at which there are but few patients at the present time. Mr H. Gall is the only chemist and druggist in the town, there being scarcely scope enough for another in the same line of business. The legal profession is represented by Mr J. B. Clement, whose services are in requisition in connection with litigious matters in the town and district. The spiritual concerns of Waimate are well cared for. There are five churches, viz., Anglican, Presbyterian, Wesleyan, Roman Catholic and Primitive Methodist. In each of these places of worship a resident minister officiates twice every Sunday, with the exception of the Primitive Methodist Church, which is principally supplied by local preachers. These Ministers have all out-preaching stations to attend to, and their Sunday labours are generally fatiguing. As preachers they compare more favourably with the clergy of the larger towns in the colony, their pulpit protections being really good. Attached to each church is at Sunday school, with an efficient staff of teachers, and the attendance of pupils is good.


St. Augustine Church

The post and telegraph office is situated in the centre of the town, and in the most business part of it. There are mails to and from Timaru, Oamaru, and intermediate post stations three times a day, and the  town correspondence is delivered by a letter carrier. The postmaster (Mr St. George) is deservedly popular, and is also his assistant, Mr Clapstick. For the public accommodation there are five hotels in the town, in which, to use a Saxon phrase, ''entertainment for man and beast," is always at moderate charges, and with commendable civility. These hotels are respectively designated the Royal, the Empire, the Waimate, the Criterion and the Grosvenor, The Royal Hotel — which is situated in Sherman street close to the Courthouse is the most commodious of the hostelries, and comports well, with some of the hotels of our larger towns. Attached to the promises are no less than four sample rooms for the convenience of commercial travellers, the Royal being much, frequented by that class of business man. The sample, rooms are fitted up with shelves, for the display of goods of all descriptions, which is no small advantage to both the seller and the buyer.  


Criterion Hotel

The Waimate courthouse is one of the best buildings of that, description in the colony. It has all the requisite accommodation, and is well furnished. The regular court days are Fridays, but case requiring to be peremptorily dealt with are disposed of on other days. The Resident Magistrate of Timaru (Mr Beswick) generally attends every regular court day, and his adjudication is always regarded as equitable and just. The local justices of the peace also give satisfaction. Mr J. H. Graham, an old and much respected resident, is the clerk of the court, and holds other offices besides. The local police is under the direction of Sergeant Morice, an old and most intelligent officer, whose services should be duly appreciated, as, no doubt, they are. In educational matters Waimate is exceedingly Well off. There is the District High School, of which Mr A. Grant, M. A., of long scholastic reputation is the head master. He is assisted by an efficient staff of teachers, and the pupils — including those who attend the public school — number nearly four hundred. Two of Mr Grant's pupils recently obtained a scholarship, and others are advanced towards that distinction. The instruction imparted at the high school, which comprises the various branches taught at similar institutions, including Latin, grammar, etc., is of a high order, and the town is to be congratulated upon its possession of so advantageous an educational institution.  

 

There is a taste for flowers everywhere, and Waimate is not behind the age in this respect. Some time ago an horticultural society was formed in the town, and there are periodical exhibitions of flowers, and prizes are awarded in the usual way. There are several well-kept flower gardens in the borough, the most attractive of these being Mr J. H. Taylor's, which is certainly the very reverse of the garden of the sluggard spoken of by the wise man Solomon. It is a model garden.  

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