Monthly Archives: June, 2017

Are there any Wratts in your Family Tree?

We have been looking up my husband’s family.  George Ratt came to NZ in 1841 on the “Clifford” to Nelson.  He died in Spring Grove  on the 30th April 1873.

His son George Wratt came as well aged 20.  He was given 12 acres plus five acres of Section  34 in the Spring Grove, Waimea West area.

William farmed the land as the Georges were carpenters known as Waimea West Carpenters and Undertakers.  George and with Hannah moved to Canvastown,  Marlborough.


Any more information about this family would be welcomed.  Contact Brenda directly at the address below.


Brenda Wratt




The recent AGM of our Society held on Thursday 25th May resulted in the existing executive being elected unopposed for a further 12 months.  Members confirmed are:

President              Rodger Quinney

Vice President     Roger Batt

Secretary              Arnold Clark

Treasurer             Margaret Clark

Committee           Wayne Price,  Virginia Gray,  Bev Hodgkinson.

Following formal business, members were invited to speak on an incident in their early childhood or a book that had influenced them in an important way.

Stephen Eagar showed us the 100 million year old fossil which came into his possession that sparked his interest in collecting more of the same, many of which came from a clay pit that was being dug for bricks.  This  led eventually to his obtaining a science degree at Reading University followed by work at the Natural History Museum in London.  Later he emigrated to New Zealand where he continued working in Geology.

The sea urchin fossil which led to a degree in geology for Stephen

Members listing to Stephen’s explanation of how he became interested in fossils. Wayne examines the one which started it all











Firstly I wish to thank all members for attending our meetings and turning out for the field trips. Without your participation there would be no society. Nelson Province has many sites of historic interest and your membership of our society enables you to visit and enjoy these sites.

At our 2016 July Meeting we had Show and Tell and members displayed and spoke about the fascinating items they owned from the past. Karen Stade spoke about the idea of producing a pamphlet depicting places of historic interest in the Nelson areas.

In August 2016, Colin Gibbs assisted by Marilyn spoke on the history of his family farm Lone Oak which had been in the same family since the early settlement of New Zealand.

Our September Field Trip was a visit to the Harvey Hop Kiln. It was good to learn the history of hops as this industry is unique to Nelson. After the Hop Kiln we went to the Moutere Cemetery which was in a very clean tidy condition and kept that way by working bees by the local community.

Our October Meeting was addressed by Rosie-Anne Pinney. She spoke on the history of Book Binding and showed examples using photos screened overhead. She has been invited to our July 2017 meeting where she will hold a workshop and members can bring books that need repairing.

In November for our final meeting of the year we went to Willow Bank, just south of Wakefield. We enjoyed a shared lunch and then Christine told us about Willow Bank. Members were then free to explore the various historic buildings most of which had been located from other areas around Nelson Province. The visit to Willow Bank was an excellent way to end the year.

Our first field trip for 2017 was in February to the historic property known as Whitefriars located south of Wakefield. The owners Bryan and Suzie made us very welcome. This property was originally settled by Jacob Watson. The original house has been extended in more recent times. Our members were free to walk through and inspect the house. The paint job was outstanding. Suzie and Bryan are developing a plan to run a wide variety of animals on the farm so Whitefriars could be worth another visit in the future.

Our field trip in March was to The Grange near Motueka. Also attending were other societies from around Nelson. This house is a wonderful example of a large house built in the 1800’s. Its builder was Motueka’s first GP, Dr Greenwood. The present owner spoke on the history of The Grange after which members were able to inspect the house. This was followed by a representative from each society present giving a short talk on the activities of their particular group.

Our speaker for our April, 2017 meeting was Colin Mann who spoke on his experiences in 1952 when he was serving in Compulsory Military Training. He served in the Marine section of the RNZAF. You didn’t know the Airforce had a Marine section? Neither did I until Colin told us about it. He gave us a very informative and entertaining address.

We have decided to tighten up on the speaking time allocated to invited speakers. If we allow 30 minutes for the talk and 10 minutes for questions, this makes 40 minutes. There may be an occasion when a member may move an extension of time. If the meeting agrees the speaker may be granted an extension of 5 or 10 minutes.

Mention has been made of the 175 years of settlement of Nelson. If members have any ideas how to mark this milestone please bring that idea forward.

The settlement of 175 years also happens to coincide with the development of photography. You think that is a long time? Really it is only 17 and a half decades. Could it be an idea to collect an iconic photo from each decade of the settlement and development since of Nelson and do a publication and make a small profit for our society?

Our present format of alternating meetings with field trips I think works well. Also I wish to thank those members for providing me with transport when I have not been able to drive.

Finally it has been my privilege to serve as your President for the past year.


Rodger Quinney


Waimea South’s Committee for 2017. Front row left to right: Arnold Clark (Secretary), Rodger Quinney (President), Margaret Clark (Treasurer). Back row (L to R): Bev. Hodgkinson (Committee member), Virginia Gray (Committee Member), Roger Batt (Vice-President), Wayne Price (Committee Member)