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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
Brightwater residents today show a great sense of humour: