“BRIGHTWATER FOR ME”


On a brilliantly fine March day about 20 members enjoyed a walk of discovery through Brightwater – a town originally named Milton, Wairoa, Spring Grove and finally, with the coming of the railway, Brightwater, after Mr Alfred Saunders’ flour mill on River Terrace.

The ” Centennial History of Brightwater and District Schools” provides much useful information about the town.

Brian Batchelor talks to the group.

Ellis Light  Much background information was provided by Mr Brian Batchelor, local historian and former teacher.  We began at the Public Hall where the Ellis light and memorial gates remind us of the man (Robert Ellis) who brought electricity to the area.  The 5 street lights in the town and 10 in Richmond were switched on by the hens when they went to roost at night.

The Ellis light

Rutherford Corner Diagonally across from the Memorial Gates is the corner of Lord Rutherford Road and Ellis Street. In the early days a blacksmith, wheelright, coachbuilding, painting and undertaking business operated here originally by George Rutherford Snr, his two sons Andrew and George and later by his grandson,   Frank.

Rutherford Houses  Facing west about two houses down on the left hand side are a villa and cottage (now with extensive additions and in excellent condition) originally owned by members of the Rutherford family.

A Rutherford home

Beautiful kauri turned fire surrounds and doors grace this Rutherford home.

The Malthouse  was originally attached to Stratford’s four storey flour mill.  An internal stairway still runs up the inside south wall. It was the earliest flour mill, built in 1878 and powered by a water wheel.   Later Mr White built a brewery on the site.

Mrs G. Rutherford went to live here as a 17year old bride. It is similar in style to Lord Rutherford’s birthplace. Several sympathetic additions have greatly enlarged the original cottage set in half an acre of gardens.

St Paul’s is the second oldest Anglican church in the diocese.  It opened in a tent in 1857 followed by the present building two years later.

Extensive gardens still surround this early Rutherford house.

“Longfield”  Peter Kerr’s Cob House now shelters behind a high dry stone wall which protects it from the traffic on the motor way and on Ellis street. Situated on the eastern town boundary opposite the school, it was built by Peter Kerr, son of John Kerr of Waimea West who ploughed the first furrow in Nelson.

Mrs William Jones (4th owners of “Longfield” in 1874) used to cook her dinners in a camp oven over the open fire and often invited children from the school across the road to watch.

Brightwater Trading Companythis building, now a category listed building with the Historic Places Trust, commands a central position in the town opposite the old Post Office.  Complete with cellar, it contrasts markedly in style with the new block of shops nearby.

Bev Hodgkinson, our tour guide for the day, consults her notes.

                                                    Brightwater residents today show a great sense of humour:

Poor postie!

A salutary warning!

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