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Nelson’s 175th Anniversary Year of European Settlement

On the 1st February, 2017, it will be 175 years since the first four emigrant ships: Fifeshire, Mary Ann, Lloyds and Lord Auckland arrived in Nelson Haven, carrying our pioneer ancestors from Britain. Over the course of the year 15 more would follow.
We would like to encourage all families clubs, societies and organisations in the Nelson Province to recognise this in some way during the year.
We would also like to publish in Window on Wakefield photographs of any houses in and around Wakefield which were built before 1920. We may have a photo of your house on file, but if you think we haven’t please feel free to send us one (the most interesting side) in jpg format. Include the name of the family who first owned it and (if possible) the year of construction as well as your address.
Send your e-mail to the address printed in the magazine
With the title: Nelson’s 175th Birthday

George Harvey’s Hop Kiln

Early spring rain had turned to a bright, sunny afternoon when about 12 of our members visited George Harvey’s hop kiln in Mahana on 27th September.

Our guide, Eileen Thawley is a third generation descendant of George who had build the kiln on land granted to him by the Crown in 1913.  When that kiln was destroyed by fire in 1938, it was quickly rebuilt according to the original plans and on the original footprint the following year.  It therefore still qualifies to be registered as an historic building with the local council and Heritage New Zealand.

Since hop growing is no longer carried out on the farm, it is set up as a small museum with original tools and equipment together with historical items connected with the Harvey family.  Many photos copied and enlarged from  family albums adorn the walls, illustrating how this cottage industry worked.

Eileen is a mine of information and we greatly appreciated her easy recall of facts and incidents relating to the workings of the hop garden and apple orchard over three generations. It was satisfying to think that her knowledge will not be lost but will continue to be told by other members of the Harvey family in the future.

Later that same afternoon we visited the Moutere Hills Public Cemetery in Gardeners Valley Road where Eileen was also able to be our guide as her family had been the guardians of this public amenity over the years.

A very informative and enjoyable afternoon  concluded with afternoon tea at the Upper Moutere Cafe.

Members gather to listen to Eileen Thawley (Harvey) give some background to the family farm's operations.

Members gather to listen to Eileen Thawley (Harvey) give some background to the family farm’s operations.

The second kiln building built on the the original footprint about 1900 after the first kiln was destroyed by fire.

The second kiln building built on the the original footprint about 1900 after the first kiln was destroyed by fire.

Two young figures at work picking hops into a portable bin which could be moved around the garden as the hops were cut. Note the bushel measure used for measurement. (36.37 liters)

Two young figures at work picking hops into a portable bin which could be moved around the garden as the hops were cut. Note the bushel measure used for measurement. (36.37 liters)


An invoice from Buxtons, the local buyer, for a bale of hops from the Harvey farm.


An unusual headstone in the Moutere Hills cemetery in Gardener’s Valley Road. Sadly there is no name.

ALL GUTS – NO GLORY : The Author Speaks

The guest speaker at our meeting on March 22nd was Cheryl Carnahan March History meet 2016 006 the author of All Guts – No Glory March History meet 2016 003– a history of the role nurses and chaplains played in World War I with a particular focus on  Nelson.  (Almost 60 nurses and 14 chaplains came from the Nelson area.)  She was assisted by Bob McFaddenMarch History meet 2016 010 who presented some very interesting information about the hospital ships Maheno and Marama.  Cheryl also  acknowledged the assistance she had received from a team of researchers from the Nelson Genealogical Society.

This detailed and well documented work has filled a gap in our knowledge of the special part nurses played during this terrible time and of the hardships they endured.  Having to put their uniforms under their mattresses at night to prevent them being stiffened by the cold is just one example.  It was rather suprising, however,  to hear about the attitudes of New Zealanders towards them when they returned  and the reluctance to acknowledge their important role in World War I.

Mention was made of the sinking of the Marquette (not a hospital ship)  when 10 nurses lost their lives and how Ina Coster survived for 10 hours in the water.

Strict rules governed the appearance and operations of hospital ships.  They were painted white with a wide green stripe running from bow to stern.maheno-postcard  Three large red crosses were painted in prominent positions along the sides but they were unescorted and carried no guns.  The Maheno was in Anzac Cove in August 1915 and later transported 320 convalescing soldiers back to New Zealand.  Overloading was not uncommon – during the Somme offensive some carried up to 3 times the number of wounded that they were designed for.

Members were able to purchase signed copies of the book at the end of the meeting.

It is currently available in bookshops.

2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,900 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 32 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,000 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 17 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

2015 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,900 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 48 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


On Sunday May 3rd our group visited Nelson College.  We were keen to see what memorabilia was held by the oldest secondary public school in New Zealand.

Our journey began at the Scriptorium, an impressive memorial building erected by the Old Boys of the college after World War II to honour those who took part in that conflict.

The northern wall of the Scriptorium overlooking the city.

The northern wall of the Scriptorium overlooking the city.

In the entrance floral tributes still remained following the observance of Anzac Day.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERASANYO DIGITAL CAMERA     SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAInside in a central position was a painting of one of the school’s greatest war heroes, Group Captain Leonard Henry Trent VCSANYO DIGITAL CAMERAHe had been a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft III, participated in the Great Escape, was recaptured almost immediately but because of his immediate surrender was spared execution.  Fifty of his comrades were not so lucky.   After his return home he saw further action during the Suez Crisis.

However, the man whom we had really come to see was a local boy – Ernest (Lord) Rutherford who also attended Nelson College.  SANYO DIGITAL CAMERASANYO DIGITAL CAMERASANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThe story of a Brightwater boy who from humble beginnings came to be a peer of the realm through his discoveries in nuclear physics is displayed on a succession of panels, which toured the country in 2002 and is now attached to the wall of a corridor in the science block   SANYO DIGITAL CAMERASANYO DIGITAL CAMERASANYO DIGITAL CAMERAWe hope to produce: first a tourist brochure highlighting all the places in the area which are connected with Rutherford and perhaps later a booklet which contains the information on the panels.




This report was delivered at the AGM of the Waimea South Historical Association held in the Tasman District Library at 2.00pm on Wednesday 28th May, 2015.

Waimea South Historical Society Inc.
President’s Report May 2015

The past year has been, in my opinion, one of the most active and interesting years during my time as President. We have had a good balance of field trips and speakers and can also record some worthwhile achievements and events which helped to promote our society in the district. This has resulted in a growth in membership from 29 to 40 financial members (an increase of 42.85%) despite a rise in our subscription from $10.00 to $15.00.
Projects and Promotions
We began with an extra meeting in June 2014 to celebrate the completion of the William Harkness information board which was jointly funded by the Tasman District Council, Waimea South Historical and William’s great-granddaughter, Helen, who officiated at the unveiling. Its weather-protected position at the northern car park entrance of the Tasman District Library also proved ideal.
In January the committee agreed to have printed 50 copies of a booklet entitled The Way we Were – a collection of the last two years of articles that I had written for the Window on Wakefield magazine. Since then we have printed 25 more to meet demand. I am continuing to write articles centred on Wakefield for this magazine and hopefully this will continue for another two years when we can produce a second volume. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work of Marion Stringer and Betty Bint, without whose efforts in producing River to Range, Another Row of Spuds and other publications, I would have found this task considerably more difficult and time-consuming.
Our latest project was suggested by Shona Barber and agreed to in July to produce a tourist brochure entitled The Rutherford Trail which would detail important places throughout Nelson and Marlborough with connections to Lord Rutherford. On May 3rd we visited Nelson College where the headmaster, Mr Gary O’Shea, showed us a series of wall panels on Rutherford’s life and items of memorabilia held in the Scriptorium. He was extremely supportive of our plans and has promised support in the design and production of the pamphlet. A sub-committee needs to be established to co-ordinate this work.

This year we have been able to promote our Society at four local events:
In July 2014 the Richmond Women’s Probis Group invited us to speak to them about our society. I felt that it was a good opportunity to promote our activities to quite a different section of residents. As internet access was available I found that I could base a talk around our web page and this provided an excellent visual source of interest and focus for my comments.
The second opportunity was the combined meeting of history societies in Nelson, Waimea, Motueka, Tapawera and Golden Bay held at Willow Bank in February. This was an extremely successful and useful event which enabled us to gain an insight into the work of other groups in the area. It was also an appropriate occasion for my suggestion of a way of celebrating 175 years of European settlement in Nelson which will occur in 2017. (see attached) This idea of a “house trail” of a range of interesting/historical houses will need to be followed up in the coming months to determine the level of support from the different groups in the area and to set up a team to oversee its implementation.
Many of us enjoyed the Wakefield Apple Fair held at Willow Bank on the 12th April. We were able to sell our publications and interest several people in what we do. It was an ideal venue to show everyone that we are part of the Wakefield community. The performance of the bell ringers from the Nelson School of Music with the Edridge – Maclean handbells struck just the right historical note particularly with the closeness of Wai-iti and the presence of Edward Edridge’s great-granddaughter in the audience.
The Apple Day held at Founders on Sunday 26 April as a fundraiser for non-profit organisations was not well attended because of bad weather. Nevertheless, through the enthusiasm of Maryann and Colin Mann we “manned” a table there during the day and “showed the flag” for Waimea South.
The Age to Be: Positively Ageing Expo was held in the Headingly Centre on Friday 27th March. This was an excellent event and a particularly good opportunity to make contact with others and to be seen ourselves. We were approached by a member of the Rotoiti History Group who wanted to know more about how we operate. This could become the basis of a future field trip where we learn about the St Arnaud area and share ideas with them.

We were privileged during the year to visit two homes which would be excellent to include in a “trail” of historic houses.
In September we visited Mapledurham and The Stables in Edward Street, Richmond. These are two houses that were originally one property owned by Thomas Kidd in the 1920’s. The new owners, Carol and John Syme were extremely welcome hosts and presented us with a sumptuous afternoon tea complete with bone china trios.
The Stables, now owned by Jane and Jonathan Watkins was the orginal coach house of Mapledurham and has undergone extensive renovations over time. One of our members, Ron Craig, lived in the house for many years and was able to add to the information about how it has been developed and also narrowly escaped destruction by fire.
Our October 2014 trip was to the two-storied cob homestead first constructed by the Busch family and now owned by Joanne Kininmonth and her husband at Hoddy’s Orchard in Hope. Apart from the dormer windows, the cellar from which the earth walls were constructed is a special feature of this house. We also travelled to Aniseed Valley to the Hans Busch Memorial Reserve where an informative plaque explained much about the man but did not pinpoint his gravesite.
Our first guest speaker in July was Diane Clarke who spoke on her great-grandfather, Appo Hocton. This remarkable man’s life was an inspiration to us all. Copies of his biography, written by Karen Stade were on sale.
In August, Karen Stade spoke to us about Nelson’s experience of World War I. She has been helping to prepare the excellent Nelson Provincial Museum displays commemorating those involved in this conflict. Her focus was on the effect of the war on those at home and the support they provided for the troops overseas.
Jenny Baumfield was our guest speaker in March. Her recently published book Nelson 1914 was the result of extensive research of The Nelson Mail for the year in which the war began. Some amusing anecdotes as well as familiar local concerns created a link with the past of 100 years ago. She also spoke about her two other books – one on cats, Our Furry Family and the other a history of the first 50 years of the Nelson Motor Cycle Club in which both her father and grandfather were involved. Personal stories of extra- sensory perception involving the death of two cats in particular were particularly fascinating coming as they did from someone with a very down-to-earth, practical personality.

Our Christmas celebrations were once again held at Willow Bank in November.
Summary & Conclusion
We have achieved much during the last year. Our membership has grown, we have increased our profile in the community and made contact with other history groups. By adopting a new project for the coming year (the Rutherford Trail brochure) we have established a focus for future activity for our members. If there is sufficient interest, the idea of the Historic House Trail will involve more people over a wider area in the province, further developing contacts with people interested in our local history.
My special thanks to the supportive members of our committee, Jeannine, our long-serving secretary and Maryann our newest treasurer whose enthusiasm and love of things historical has widened our outlook in the whole area. I would like to thank Colin Mann also for his work as our photographer and my deputy Wayne Price whose wise council can always be relied on.
I have particularly enjoyed this year as your President. However, as I enter the third year of a second term we should all be looking forward for someone to take over the reins as President from June 2016.

Roger A. Batt
27th May 2015

Harvest Festival – Willow Bank’s Apple Fair

On Sunday 12th April from 12.30 to 4.00pm Willow Bank will open its gates and doors to this year’s  Apple Fair, a Nelson harvest festival centred around our district’s traditional fruit crop.

One special event will occur at 2.45pm when the Porter-McLean handbells bought by Edward Edridge, Wai-iti’s schoolmaster in the 1880’s will be played by a group from the Nelson School of Music in the Chapel on site. This will be a unique experience for most and one not to be missed.

Apple Fair Poster A4-01