Murchison  New Zealand   -   How a Settlement Emerges from the Bush  

 by  J.R.Grigg  -     printed 1947

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The Stories of Pioneer Families  - 
BROWN  -  Joseph  -  87
Joseph Brown came to the district from around Reefton  with his step-father Mr J.Blight,  who owned a claim at the Eight Mile.  In 1888 a farm owned by a Welshman, David Evans, at the Six-Mile was bought in the name of Joseph Brown. ------ later a section across the road belonging to the blacksmith,  Ted Kerr was added   --- In 1896 Joseph married Miss Florence Fittall, of Richmond.  Of their family of 4 sons and 4 daughters only 2 are still in the district,  Mr E.M.Brown, County Chairman  and Mrs Nelson. ------ Joseph died in 1921  ------

DELLOW   -  Harry  -  74
Born at Nelson in 1850, he went to Murchison with his father at 14 years of age.  With them was George Moonlight, who had prospected the district ---- for 70 years Harry Dellow remained  here. ----  he joined the Flower brothers and their father prospecting for gold.  they found many rich claims, the best known the Blue Duck.  ---- for some years  he was ferryman over the Buller ------ His brother Mr Tom Dellow is still in the township as well as a number of descendants.  Mrs Emma Russell, who lived in the township for 67 years was a sister.

DOWNIE - Charles  -  81     &  photo  67
The 4th son of a family of 14,  Charles was born at Heather Ha', Eaglesfield, Scotland in 1843.  at 19 he set sail from Liverpool in the ship "Great Tasmania"  his first attempt was on the Victorian goldfields until 1866 when the West Coast fields lured him to Hokitika he was there until 1868  when he left for Westport ----  in 1871 he married Miss Sarah Goodyer, and 3 years later with his wife and infant son travelled up the Buller to Lyell.  here he joined his brother John and brother-in-law William Goodyer  in road-contracting -----    had a family of 9 daughters and 3 sons,  before his death in 1939  Charles Downie then aged 96 was known as the grand old man of Murchison.  His wife died 13 years earlier.

DOWNIE  -  John  -  81a  & 82  &  photo  67
Born in 1875 at Stafford,  near Hokitika,  John as a few weeks old baby went with his parents to the Lyell ----  the family came to Murchison in 1877. ----  in 1883 when the Murchison school opened he was one of the 1st pupils.    In 1903 he and his brother William had taken over his father's sawmill,  in 1903 he married Miss Florence Ann Russell,  she died after 3 years  leaving their only child John 6mths old.  For 24 years he was in sawmilling and then the building trade,   He married Mrs Janet Winifred Gaynor in 1925 -----

FLOWER -  Alfred -
  (Lake Rotoroa) - 84 & 84a
In 1863 Mr Flower was born in Nelson and went with his parents to Westport in 1867.  His father proceeded to Flowers Flat (now known as Newton Flat)  where he worked a gold claim  later operating a store and a hotel. -----  as a lad of 13 Alfred worked for Joseph Gibbs at Longford. -----  in 1887 he and his father were members of a party of 6 men who 1st worked the Blue Duck claim.  -----   Alfred was digging in the Maruia when his brother found Jack Tarrant pinned under a log in his hut and helped carry him 30 miles to the end of the road at the Six-Mile.  In 1894 he took up a farm in the Mangles Valley,  now owned by Mr Rouse ----  in 1907 he married Miss Ellen Lusty, of Richmond. -----  He built an accomodation house at Lake Rotoroa, where he has lived for the past 24 years with his 2 sons.------ 

GOODWIN  -  Biddy   -  92 & 93   &  photo 73
A figure who for 30 years  with her 2 men partners  combed the beaches of the Buller for gold  was Bridget Goodwin,  commonly known as Biddy of the Buller -  a tiny Irishwoman,  lived to 86,  worked alongside her 2 men companions  shovelling, lifting and panning  --------  she first saw gold at Bendigo in the early 50's --  she and her partners landed in Nelson in the 60's  before making their way overland  to the Buller.  -------  Bridget Goodwin  died 19 October 1899 

GOODYER  -  William Henry  - 85  &   photo 007
William Goodyer was born at Castlemain, Victoria in 1855 and while still a youth left for Hokitika during the gold rush.  ---  he came to Murchison, where he took up a claim in the Doughboy  with his brother-in-law Charles Downie.  ----   after his marriage to Miss Sarah Griffiths, he was cutting timber for the Lyell quartz mines.  there were 10 children, ----  he died in 1929 and Mrs Goodyer  10 years later.

HODGKINSON - J.W.  -  78    &  photo - 68
A son of German Hodgkinson, of Tadmore,  J.W.Hodgkinson was born in 1859. At 12 he accompanied the surveyor John Rochfort, who was to survey the route from Longford  to Inangahua Junction.  ------  he married Emily Sarah Jane,  a daughter of John Oxnam in 1893,  when he owned a gold claim at Glencairn.  ---  Mrs Hodgkinson died in 1929 and Mr Hodgkinson in 1944   at age 85.

HUNTER - William  - 76
Arrived in NZ in 1842 with his parents who came from Stirlingshire, Scotland.  ----  he joined a party formed by Julius Von Haast ----   Hunter discovered gold in the Mangles and other rivers. --- William Hunter selected the Matakitaki Run ---   when the diggers arrived in large numbers he opened stores at Upper Matakitaki and at Murchison  ----   he he set up the first sawmill at Fern Flat in 1880.  The Run was later operated by his son Graham while son Robert had a portion of the land at Fern Flat

JAMES -  John  -  85a  & photo  009
Born at 88 Valley, near Wakefield in 1853, John James was engaged in carting supplies from Nelson via the Gripps before the Hope saddle was completed in 1874.  He was a good horseman ---- ---  from 1913  to 1928  he was chairman of the Dairy Co.  he left Murchison in 1929  and the property  was taken over by his son Mr Tom James,  he died the next year and is buried in the local cemetery.

LYNCH - Owen -  80 & 81
Owen Lynch was born in 1842 in County Cavan, Ireland -----  came to NZ in 1865  landing at Auckland--- went to the Thames goldfields ----moved on to Nelson -- in 1876  bought land ---- farmed for 25 years before buying the Commercial Hotel.  ---   original member of the Hampden Road Board  -----  In 1875 he married Miss Sarah  Hagen  and had a family of 4 sons and 4 daughters.  Mr Charles Lynch is still farming at Six mile -- original holding destroyed by the earthquake.  Owen died in 1911 and buried in the local cemetery.

McCONOCHIE -  Thomas  -  86  and 86a
Born in Scotland in 1843, Thomas came to NZ with his mother in 1860  by the"Ravenscraig" -------  was a musterer for awhile then during the gold rushes he went into business a s a butcher at Lyell Flat,  Addison's Flet  and the Wangapeka.    ----  in 1893 he acquired land at Glenhope  where he lived until he died in 1914. -----  One son Newton owned the Glenhope property and another son Alex, owned the Lake Station.

McNEE  -  Arthur Robert  -  83  & 72    & photo 72
Born in 1837  at Lochearnhead, Perthshire, Scotland.  Robert McNee learnt the drapery trade  before setting up for himself at Ballarat, Victoria.  In 1861 he came to NZ  following the gold rushes.  -----   in 1877 he moved to Murchison  where he worked at George Moonlight's store.  --------  when the company went into liquidation in 1990  Mr McNee purchased its assets.  --- he commenced the first library in 1878  -- he was postmaster,  also chairman of the school committee  he died in Murchison in 1921.
A.R.McNee  -  a son of Robert,  Arthur was born in 1876  on his fathers death he took over the business  -- in 1929  he sold this to W.H.Swanney.  In 1909 he married Miss Jessie Ellen Hunter  dau. of Mr Robinson Hunter -----  he retired to Christchurch where he died.

McWHA   - Francis - 89

Frank McWha left his home in Ireland, came to NZ  and worked on the threshing mills near Oamaru ------  in 1893 he set out for a new claim in the mid-Maruia  ---  he brought his young wife who was Miss Alice Parsons (m. 1888)  of Motueka and came to Fern Flat as a telephone operator.  in 1907 he bought the farm  below Four River Plain  from Mr Pat O'Hagan  and lived there until his death in 1936  aged 63.  Mr D. McWha is a son  and Mrs McWha  died in 1943  age 72.

MAY  -  Tom  -  79 & 80     &  photo 68a  
The character who for 30 years in Upper Matakitaki  was Tom May, generally known as King Tom,  he reached here in the early 70's,  built an inn and store ----    Stores were packed from Hampden (Murchison) -------  in 1897 Tom May met his death by drowning as he was fording the river near his old home.   The Hotel was bought by Mr T.O'Rourke.

MOONLIGHT  -  George Fairweather  -  09, 10,  11,  12,  13,  14,   & photo 57
Born in Scotland in 1829,  he began his career as a seaman,  first in the herring fisheries  and then as a sailor  --- joined  the Californian gold rush which broke out in 1848  was not successful  and set out for the Australian goldfields ----   news of gold in Otago brought him to NZ in 1861  ----- in 1863 he left for Nelson and Collingwood ---  hearing of the Mangles, Matakitaki and Maruia rivers  he decided to explore them.  Between May and September 1863 he set out  for the Buller  --- gold was found at the mouth of the Matakitaki  Gorge.  A flat nearby was called Moonlight Point by the early diggers -----   lots more ------

MOREL - Gustave  -  81 and 82   & photo - 66
This early pioneer was born in Switzerland in 1834 and as a young man set out for Ballarat  during the gold rush there.  -----  next he tried Wakamarina (Marlborough)   where he was joined by his brother. -----  he married  Miss Chrisitina M. Hettler in 1869 at Charleston  (south of Westport)  and had several children ---  in 1874 the family  moved to Lyell  where he kept a store for 5 years.  --- the family left for Murchison  to settle on a farm "Belle Vue"  here Mr Theo Morel was born. It was farmed 1879  to 1929  when the earthquake struck  and ruined it.  Mr Charles Morel who was then in possession died as a result of the injuries he received. -----  Mrs Morel sen.  passed away in 1926,  her husband died 23 years previously.

NORRISS - Henry  -  88
A son of early Nelson settlers Henry Norriss was born in Wakefield about 1862, at age 14 he became pack boy in George Moonlight's team  ------  with his elder brother David  he was involved in gold digging  and worked on road and bridge construction.  ----   He bought land in Six Mile and lived there with his wife, formerly Mary Ann Dyer and 5 children,  one is Mrs W.Woodcock  and Mr W.H.Norriss   Henry retired to Wakefield  where he died in 1932.

O'ROURKE -  Thomas Patrick  -  84 & 84a
Born in Dublin, Ireland about 1830,  Thomas left as a young man for Ballarat ------ went into business as a hotel-keeper until 1879  when he came to NZ  and worked in a quartz mine in Reefton.   In 1880 he arrived in Murchison  and bought "Pleasant farm"  in the Matiri Valley  from Ned Welsh  ----- Thomas married a Miss Broughton, of Ayeshire and had a family of 5 sons and 6 daughters,  Thomas died age 58   Mr Ambrose O'Rourke died in 1946   ----- a daughter Mrs J.Badcock  and Messrs R. and W. O'Rourke  lived in the district.

OXNAM -  John  - 74 and 75    & photo - 66a
John Oxnam, was born in Cornwall in 1839  came to NZ in 1856,  he arrived in the Buller district in 1863   -- and was for 57 years engaged in pioneering activities.  in 1872 he took up farming at Fern Flat  then purchased the Owen Hotel  from John Dellow,  his father-in-law.  In 1881 he sold the hotel  to George Trower and settled at Longford  he died aged 81.  married Mary Dellow in 1872

RAIT -   John  -  78 and 79
John Rait was born in Dundee, Scotland,  worked as a ship's carpenter  and sailed to NZ in that capacity. --- in 1872  he was at Roundell (near Lake Rotoiti)  -------John purchased a section in Murchison village being the firat local resident to do so.  he was at that time married to Mary the sister of  John 1867.    In 1878 the family  (4 sons and 2 daughters)  were at Hope Junction in a log cabin.  ------  Mr Stephen Rait  ------  the family built an accommodation  house at Kawatiri  ----      the children attended the first school across the Buller at Fern Flat.  in 1884 after the death of George Moonlight,  John Rait bought the Commercial Hotel  and store ----   also acquired a bush section of 140 acres  and while felling trees he suffered an injury  from which he did not recover   he died in 1887 at age 45,  the family moved to Wellington  ----   the hotel was left under lease to Charles Downie. In 1899  when all children were 21  David and James resumed occupation of the Hotel with Stephen taking over the old Hampden Hotel  from Mr Wm Watson  ----     James Rait  bought a freehold title at the Owen and farmed there.  His widow (formerly Mary Lynch)    ------   lots more ------

SUTHERLAND -  Alexander  - 76 and 77   &  photo 65
Born in England in 1840,  Alex Sutherland arrived  in this district about 1866  ----     together with George Stewart and 2 others he worked a sluicing claim near the Big Doughboy.    --- left for Nelson  where he was building  until 1888  then returned to Murchison,  bought 50 acres of land --- he built  the 1st Newton Creek bridge,  dredge fittings  a 24ft water-wheel  for Wm Hunter, a punt for the ferry  --------he returned to Nelson in 1915  and died in 1929 -------

THOMSON -  Alexander  -  &  George  -   88  & photo  008
in 1843 Alexander Thomson was born in Perthshire, Scotland  and at age 15  was apprenticed at sea ---  came to Nelson in the ship "Glenshee"   ------   in 1867  he began a line of coaches at Hokitika  where the gold rush was  ---  after running a butchery business and then farming at Wangapeka  he bought in 1897  from his brother Robert  "Forest Home"  a very fine dairy farm    --- son Alec ----

THOMSON  -   George - 88 & 89  & photo 008
(a brother of Alexander)   with his wife and infant son George came to NZ  in the "British Queen"  in 1883 ----     Mrs Thomas came from the city of Perth  ----   the Thomson's and the Walker's were the only permanent settlers in the Maruia for many years  ----  

TROWER  -  George  -  87
Another well-known family  the Trowers  have descended from Charles  who was born in Nelson in 1845  and his brother George --- Charles was farming in the Matiri and left to take over a property at Takaka  returning to Matiri in 1879  -----  grew hops ----   George Trower owned the Owen Hotel in the 80's.

WATSON -   William -  77 and 78
William Watson, sen. was born in Scotland and left for Tasmania  where he was an engineer,  here  his 2 sons Robert and William were born -- the family arrived in new Plymouth after being shipwrecked ----  in 1869  they arrived at Wakefield  ---- about 1872    ----  moved around ending up at Tutaki and Hunter stations    --- father was drowned -- oldest son Robert worked on gold claims in the Glenroy later went into business as a blacksmith in nelson.  ---  Mr William Watson  - for 30 years  from the time the Murchison County Council was formed  Mr watson acted as foreman and engineer   retiring in 1939  ---  in 1888 Mr watson married Miss Emily Oxnam  he remarried in 1899  

WARNE - Lyvian  -  85b  &  85c  &  photo 006
born in Cornwall in 1840  L.Warne arrived here as a young man  -----  entered the postal service in 1877  ---  in 1878  became postmaster at Longford  for 30 years.  married in 1878  to  Martha Ann Hughes of Spring Grove,    she arrived in Longford in 1878 to assist at the Accommodation house  owned by Mr Joseph Gibbs.  ---- contained 32 rooms ---  was burnt down in 1909  ---   had 13 children  and died in 1912    Mrs Warne died age 80  -----

WIN - Robert -  86
The son of one of Nelson's earliest settlers  Robert was born in Hope  in 1852-----  mustering for John Kerr at Lake Station  --- in 1874 he joined  a party sub-contracting on a new road over the Hope Saddle ----  in 1883 he bought a bush section near Glenhope and sold to George Batt and bought Robert's Accommodation House of 32 rooms at Kawatiri.   He married Miss Rose Eliza Elliott of Nelson in 1881 --- burnt out in 1894  ---  son Dudley  ---  Robert died in 1925    -----

Photo  -  55
Mr C. RANSON  and Sir Robert NOLAN

Photo  -  56
Mr R.Acton-Adams,  G.Fielding,  and C.Christie.

Photo  -  58
KERR - John
WALKER - Tasman

Photos  -  59
HUNTER  -  William
McGREGOR - Donald

Photo  -  The 1st Cricket Club 1892 -  60
Standing  -    A.Morrell,  C.Roberts,  J.Downie,  S.Rait,   G.Bastin,  H.Huddleston,  
Seated  -  L.Norriss,  A.McNee,  W.Tear,  W.Russell,  W.Watson,  
photo taken on site of present McNee's  shop.

Photo  -  61
Murchison in 1887  showing George Moonlight's Hotel,  blacksmith's shop, bakery, hall, McNee's store and Jack Hagen's team carting dredge material.

Photo  -  62
FORD  -  George Ford,  of Nelson,

Photo  -  63
Old Hampden Hotel  (Murchison)

Photo  -  64
GAUKRODGER'S Hotel,  Mr T.Newman in sulky..

Photo  -  1st County Council  -  69
Back row -  G.Thomson,  W.Thomson,  F.Page,  J.Badcock,  V.T.McNamara
Front row  -  A.Rogers,   H.Fraser,  (County Clerk)    O.Lynch, (Chairman)    J.Rait.

Photo - School Committe  and Staff  -  70
Back row -     J.A.Feary (S)       F.H.Anderson (C)      J.Cooper (C)      N.Lynch (C)      D.R.Conway (C)
Middle row  -    Miss M.Bartlett (S)   B.C.Spiers (C)       J.R.Grigg (S)      Miss C.Osborne (S)      Miss M.Hill (S)
Front row -     O.Hodgkinson (C)      L.Mcbride (C)      C.T.Irvine (S)

Photo  -  71
H.J.  and  E.W.Hodgson.

Photo  -  72
McNEE - Robert
ROWE -  Arthur

Place Names  -  90 & 91
Howard River -  named by Heaphy and Spooner  -------
Devils Grip - stretch of Buller River between Lake Rotoiti and hope Junction  named by heaphy and Spooner -----
Mangles River  and Gowan River -   2 directors of the NZ Land Company, names given by William Fox
Buller River  -  Heaphy and Spooner named it after Charles Buller,  barrister for the NZ Land Co.
Lake Howick - name given by Fox  to Lake Rotoroa, it appears on old maps
Lake Arthur - heaphy and Spooner  named Lake Rotoiti, Arthur after Captain A.Wakefield
Mt Robert - christian name for son of Von Haast
Mt Murchison -  Sir Roderick Murchison famous Scottish geologist.
Mt Owen - Professor Richard Owen famous English palaeontologist ---
Mt Lyell -  Sir Spencer Lyell noted English professor of geology.
Mt Mantell -  Mr G.A.Mantell was another noted English geologist
Mt Franklin - named after Sir John Franklin
Mt Travers -  Mr W.T.L. Travers,  an early Nelson explorer.
Lewis Pass -  H.Lewis  and C.Maling  from Nelson discovered this in 1860
Mt Alexander -  named by James Mackay in honour of his cousin Alexander Mackay.
Spenser Mts. - named after English poet
Glenroy - Donald McGregor gave this name after a small stream in Scotland
Rappahannock and Shenandoah - named by George Moonlight, former a river in Virginia and the latter a famous old Red Indian Chief
Harley's Rock -  Mr J.A.Harley was an early run-holder --married a dau of John Kerr.

Beverley Evans
Christchurch NZ
2 June 2010

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