03 September 2013

Ernest Shackleton visits the Wairarapa - 1917

Sir Ernest Shackleton with Mrs C. Gray and Mr Gray at the summit of the Rimutaka Hill, 1917. They are standing alongside their Dodge car.  91-055/49C.R3B1S6

Polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton gave a lecture in the Masterton Town Hall on 3 March 1917. This was covered by the Wairarapa Daily Times, who wrote:

The trials and tribulations of the men who invade the fortresses of the Frozen South were pictured in graphic language by Sir E. Shackleton before a large audience in the Town Hall on Saturday evening, the proceeds being in aid of the widow of the late Captain Mackintosh and the Red Cross Band. The Mayor presided. 
In the course of his lecture. Sir Ernest stated that after the expedition was organised, and on the point of failing, the war clouds loomed in the sky. He immediately offered the services of his ships, stores, and men, but was instructed to proceed on his expedition. Several of his men were now going on active service, nine were already at the front, and one had been killed in the trenches.
Shackleton after the loss of Endurance
Dealing with the voyage on the Endurance, he stated that when they expected the ice to open up it closed in on them, and the pressure became so great that finally, on October 27th, 1915 the ship was crushed, and she sank on November 20th. With their three boats, the largest but 22ft long, and with 28 men, and with their goal 20 miles away, the party slowly trailed their way over the ice, encountering innumerable dangers, and suffering many hardships. Finally they came to the open sea. and then followed the adventurous trip to Elephant Island.

Owing to the impossibility of relief coming to Elephant Island, Sir Ernest decided to make a dash for South Georgia with a few of the party in one of the boats—a distance of 750 miles—over the turbulent seas. Then followed a hazardous trip of the frail barque through a storm tossed ocean: but throughout the voyage, when things seemed at their very worst, they turned round for the best, and the explorers won through. Finally the cliffs of South Georgia were seen, a landing was effected, and a perilous journey was made over ice-bound mountainous country—which had never been tried by man before, until a whaling station was reached.

Launching the James Caird from the shore of Elephant Island, 24 April 1916.
Sir Ernest then detailed the various attempts made to rescue Wild's party, and the success of the fourth—four and a half months after he had left Elephant Island. Sir Ernest then referred to the Aurora expedition, and stated that Captain Stenhouse performed as fine a piece, of work as ever man did when he brought the ship to safety.
At the conclusion of his address. Sir Ernest Shackleton stated that, in view of the many kindnesses shown him in the Wairarapa, he had decided to place some of the dogs that had accompanied the Antarctic Expedition on exhibition in Masterton in aid of the Red Cross funds. The lecture, which was profusely illustrated, was greatly appreciated. At the conclusion of the address a vote of thanks was accorded to the speaker. 
A sum of £63 was taken at the door.

Wairarapa Archives
Papers Past - Wairarapa Daily Times, Volume LXX, Issue 146189, 5 March 1917, Page 6
Wikipedia - Sir Ernest Shackleton 

15 January 2013

The Great Storm: October 1, 1934

STORM IN NEW ZEALAND. (1934, October 2).
The Argus(Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 9





Buildings were wrecked, roads were blocked by fallen trees and smashed telegraph poles, and many cars were abandoned in river floods when a fierce storm swept the Wairarapa district of New Zealand yesterday. Many ships were prevented from entering Wellington Harbour owing to the force of the wind.

WELLINGTON (N.Z.), Monday. The worst storm in the memory of the oldest settlers of Wairarapa occurred last night and to-day. The roofs of dozens of buildings in Masterton and Carterton have been torn off, and in some cases the top stories of dwellings have been shorn off. All communication between Wellington and Wairarapa has been cut off, the only information being brought by motor-car travellers who describe the countryside scenes as reminiscent of those following the Napier earthquake.

The waters of the Ruamahanga River are being blown 50ft. high by the wind. The roads are blocked with fallen trees, and smashed telephone and telegraph poles and wires are making progress slow owing to the necessity for clearing away obstacles.

Plate-glass windows in shops in Masterton and Carterton have been smashed, and the stocks in windows have been damaged by the terrific rain. The front portion of the Bank of New Zealand in Carterton, a brick building, was completely shorn off. The roof is off the Greytown dairy factory, one of the largest buildings in Wairarapa, and a sawmill on the south side of Grey town looks as if a huge box of matches has been upset.

Carterton is a scene of wreckage. Roofs, sheds, tanks, and telegraph and power lines are tangled together in helpless confusion.

Bus blown over 01-219/5.digital

A motorist found a motor-bus upside down between Masterton and Carterton with the driver imprisoned. He released the driver and then continued his journey to Wellington. Cattle and sheep were blown against fences. Rivers are rising. Many cars have been abandoned in flooded areas.

Railway Traffic Stopped

Railway traffic both north and south was stopped when large trees fell across the track. At Masterton extensive damage was done in residential areas. Fences and wireless masts were levelled, windows were smashed, gardens were ruined, out-buildings were wrecked, and trees were uprooted. In business streets many plate glass windows were smashed. C. E. Daniell's timber-mill and joinery works was wrecked mid a stack of timber was scattered. Burridge's brewery collapsed, and St. Matthew's Anglican Church was damaged. Trees 50 years old in Masterton Park were uprooted or broken. 

Grandstand at the Cameron and Soldiers Memorial Park- 02-94/1.digital

The grandstand at the Memorial Park, the produce hall at the showgrounds, and the women's baths enclosure were wrecked.

Owing to the wreckage of electric power lines, Masterton and other towns were in darkness to-night. Candles were not procurable. A motor-bus carrying children to school was overturned by the wind, but no one was injured. The engine of a train travelling to Featherston lost its smoke-stack when it collided with a partly uprooted tree. The abattoirs, gasworks, and similar buildings at Masterton were partly unroofed. 

Knutson and Jamieson (builders) factory in Broadway, Carterton, after storm -  - 08-60/197.digital

At Carterton, seven miles from Masterton, there is hardly a building that is not damaged. Much debris from Carterton, including sections of a roof, was found at Parkvale, five miles away. Many families had to leave their homes because pouring rain made it impossible to remain under damaged roofs.

Uncomfortable Tasman Crossing

Fierce weather is raging in Cook Strait, and many ships cannot enter Wellington Heads owing to the force of the wind.

The Maunganui arrived at Wellington from Sydney at 4.30 p.m. to-day. Owing to the thick weather the commander was unable to check the position of the vessel in Cook Strait, where visibility extended for only half a mile. The liner had to "feel" its way toward port, travelling at slow speed.

The voyage across the Tasman was uncomfortable for the passengers owing to a heavy swell. On Saturday Mrs. J. Verngreen was thrown against a hatch as the vessel rolled, cutting her forehead, face, and knee. She had recovered sufficiently to walk down the gangway to-day unaided.

"STORM IN NEW ZEALAND." The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) 2 Oct 1934: 9. Web. 15 Jan 2013 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10961000>.

Edwin Meredith - early settler - obituary, 1907

Meredith Memorial Window, in its original site, behind the altar in the second St Matthew's Anglican Church, Masterton, built in 1913. - 90-017/67

The Meredith Window installed in the Chapel of the current St Matthew's  Church


("Wairarapa Age," March 6.) 1

There passed away at his residence, "Llandaff," Upper Plain, at an early hour yesterday morning, one of the oldest and most esteemed settlers of the District in the person of Mr. Edwin Meredith. The deceased had been ailing for some time, and death was due to an internal complaint. The late Mr. Meredith was one of the pioneer settlers of the Wairarapa. He was born in Tasmania in 1827, his father, Mr. George Meredith, who at one time held a commission in the Royal Marines, having chartered the ship Emerald, and sailed for Hobart six years previously.The deceased visited New Zealand on two occasions before finally settling in the country. The first visit was in 1850 in H.M.S. Bramble. and at the time of that visit the Canterbury settlement was being formed, the fifth immigrant ship having only just arrived from the old country.

The second visit of Mr. Meredith to New Zealand was a year later than the first. He came to Otago in the schooner Sisters, and arrived at Port Chalmers after being ten days out from Hobart. Port Chalmers at that early date was represented by six buildings, dotted about the water's edge. Soon after arriving, Mr. Meredith took up land--a large tract of country lying between the Kaihiku Ranges and the Molyneux River. It was a Crown run of 80,000 acres, held under Sir George Grey's pastoral regulations. The clip from his 300 sheep amounted to seven bales, and that was the first load of wool that was sent down the Molyneux River. 

Mr. Meredith returned to Hobart, where he was married on December 14, 1852, at St. David's Cathedral, to Mrs. Meredith, daughter of Captain Chalmers, of that town. While away he was notified that his land had been absorbed by the Otago association, or, as he once described it himself, he was bluffed out of the land within 18 months of occupation. He was the pioneer settler of' South Molyneux, and, notwithstanding, his risk, toil, and expense in settling on the land, he was forced to give up his station. Mr Meredith then sold his sheep, and in May, 1853, he embarked, for Wellington en route to Hawke's Bay, where he heard there was a fine tract of country available for settlement. The trip to Hawke's Bay, a distance of 250 miles, was a slow and tedious one, and Mr. Meredith's experiences were many. When he was satisfied with the land in that district he returned to Wellington, and purchased 2000 acres at Waipukurau. His troubles commenced anew when he went to fix up the transfer of the land, for he was informed by the Commissioner of Crown Lands, with many expressions of regret, that a mistake had been made in selling the land to him, and that he could not have it. Thus was he for the second time unjustly deprived of the fruits of enterprise and indefatigable toil and risk extending over a period of two years. 

Mr. Meredith then set out for Hawke's Bay again with the intention of occupying any available land that he might be able to acquire from the natives. He was driving a mob of 120 head of cattle along the East Coast, and had got as far as the Paohau River, when he learned that Sir Donald M'Lean had completed a purchase from the natives of the land on the south side of the Whareama River. He further heard that a special messenger was on his way to Wellington from Castlepoint to apply for the land under the Crown Land regulations, so leaving his cattle in charge of two men he hurried off to Wellington in order to fore-stall the messenger by getting in a prior application. He had got a few days' start of Mr. Meredith, but did not know that the latter was riding hard to get in first. On arriving at the lighthouse, by the aid of the lighthouse-keeper, Mr. Meredith signalled to the pilot on the opposite side of the heads to bring a boat over. This was done, and Mr. Meredith crossed the Straits, and, walking to Wellington, he cut off a distance of 25 miles, and thereby reached Wellington a day before the other party, and not only registered his application, but got authority to take possession. Such were the incidents which led up to, and the circumstances under which Mr. Meredith subsequently became owner of the Whareama estate. 

In 1856 Mr. Meredith left his estate, and went again to Tasmania to take charge of "Quamby," the property of his brother-in-law, Sir Richard Dry. Mr. Meredith was absent from New Zealand about five years, during which time he went to England to seek medical advice. In 1861 he returned to "Orui," at Whareama, his health at that time being very indifferent.

Llandaff homestead with Edwin Meredith and a woman on the buggy, two women with bicycles, a child on horseback with a boy holding the horse's bridle, and three women on the verandah, c1900s  - 90-017/58

Seventeen years later he removed to Masterton, and in 1880 he erected "Llandaff," on the Upper Plain. 

The late Mr. Meredith was esteemed and respected by all who knew him, for of him it may truthfully be said that he was a man of fine character. His early training and associations developed in him both principles and ideals to which he owed the success that he made of his life. Upright, determined, courageous. patient, he was one of those early settlers to whom this country owes so much to-day. Although Mr. Meredith took a great deal of interest in public questions, he was not identified with public life to any great extent, and never sought to be. He was a member of the Masterton and Whareama road boards, and of the Wairarapa North County Council; but since 1890,when the Whareama Road Board was merged into the Wairarapa North County Council, he did not sit on any public body, except the board of management of the Upper Plain water supply, a position which he held at the time of his death. The late Mr. Meredith leaver a widow, two sons, eight daughters, and a number of grandchildren.

1 MR. EDWIN MEREDITH. (1907, March 30). Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 - 1954), p. 10 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved January 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article45807035

01 November 2012

Bunny/Kebbell Wedding - 1938, Masterton

The Evening Post, 6 June 1938 reported

Barbara Rita, only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Kebbell, "Nga Rata," Alfredton, was married on Saturday afternoon to Henry Oliver, twin son of Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Bunny, "Waipipi," Masterton, The ceremony was performed at St. Matthew's Anglican Church by the Rev. E. J. Rich, assisted by the Rev. L. Ives, Eketahuna. The service was fully choral. Two hymns, specially chosen were "O Father, All Creating" and "O, Perfect Love," and during the signing of the register Mr. W. C. Mann sang the solo "Where'er You Walk'" 
The decorations in the church were particularly lovely, forget-me-nots, which are completely out of season, spilling their bright colour against autumn-tinted chrysanthemums and shiny scarlet berries. The bride's lovely gown of heavy cream satin was brocaded in an allover design of polyanthus roses. Slim-fitting, it was made with a softly ruched bodice and a heart-shaped neckline. The long sleeves were pleated and full at the shoulders, and were tight fitting and pointed over the wrists. The yellow satin sash of matching material was tied in a bow at front and the ends were silver tasselled. The bride's graceful veil of honiton lace was lent by Mrs. Frank Leckie, Wellington, an old friend of her mother. Mounted on cream tulle it was held in place by a coronet of orange blossom and was worn with a short face veil of similar lace. Her lovely pendant was of blue enamel and diamonds, and her bouquet was of deep cream roses and carnations. Mr Kebbell escorted his daughter to the altar. 
There were five bridesmaids, the Misses Kirsty Cameron (Hinakura), Pat von Dadelszen (Hastings), Barbara Greenwood (Christchurch), Janet Williams (Gisborne), and Beverley Vallance (Hastings). Their frocks in a clear shade of turquoise blue were of silk velvet and were cut on similar lines to that of the bride's except that the sleeves were short and ruched. They wore circlets of red roses in the hair and carried bouquets of the same flowers. 
Mr. Dick Wardell was best man and the groomsmen were Messrs. John Riddiford, Tony Riddiford, Joe Bunny and Jack Bennett. The ushers at the church were Messrs. Allan Wardell,  Dick Bunny, W. Leckie, and Dick Hewitt.

Waipipi Homestead, Opaki, 90-017/575
Pot plants and greenery made a bower of the large marquee which had been erected in the grounds of "Waipipi," and where Mrs. Kebbell and Mrs. Bunny received the guests after the ceremony. Over five hundred visitors from both islands were present. Over her model frock of deep petunia braided lace embossed in a deeper shade of velvet, Mrs. Kebbell wore a squirrel cape. Her hat was of a similar shade to her dress, and she carried a posy of cyclamen and anemones. The bridegroom's mother wore a rust-coloured frock and hat and her bouquet was of flowers in autumn tints. Mrs. von Dadelszen (Hastings), aunt of the bride, wore a frock of wine silk ottoman, a dyed squirrel cape, and a black velvet hat. Mrs. Reg Kebbell, another aunt, wore a navy ensemble with fox furs. 
A three-tiered wedding cake centred the bride's table, which was gay with iceland poppies in shades of pink, and dainty blue-tongued stilosas. 
Relatives of the bride who were present were 
Mrs. A. W. Nisbet (Wellington),
Mrs. R. E. Gaisford (Palmerston North),
Mrs. H. Pavitt, and Mrs. L. Pettitt (aunts). 
Aunts of the bridegroom present were: 
Mrs. Edward Riddiford (Lower Hutt),
Mrs. E. W. Bunny,
Mrs. Earl Bunny (Dannevirke),
Mrs. B. R. Bunny, and
Mrs. Arthur Bunny.
The bride's tailored going-away suit was clover-coloured and trimmed with grey Persian lamb. Her grey hat was trimmed with clover and her accessories were grey. 


  1. Harold Noel Kebbell married Isabella Margaret (Belle) Pettit in July 1915. An account of the wedding is here.
  2. Further information about the Kebbell family at Nga Rata in the Alfredton district is available here

08 October 2012

Views of Masterton, 1887

Shows left part of Masterton panorama, looking west, from near the area of Bannister and Hessey Streets. A number of houses are in the foreground, with two-storey buildings in the distance along Queen Street. Taken from new gas storage tank - 97-151/114.R6B1S1

Shows left centre part of Masterton panorama, looking west, from near the area of Bannister and Hessey Streets. A number of houses are in the foreground, with the Public Institute (two-storey building in the distance) in Chapel Street. 
Wrigley's Bush is beyond the buildings. Taken from new gas storage tank - 97-151/115.R6B1S1

Shows right centre part of Masterton panorama, looking north-west, from near the area of Bannister and Hessey Streets. A number of houses are in the foreground, with St Matthew's Anglican Church in the distance. Taken from new gas storage tank - 97-151/116.R6B1S1
Shows right part of Masterton panorama, looking north, from near the area of Bannister and Hessey Streets. A number of houses are in the foreground, with Lansdowne hill in the right distance. The Waipoua River trestle bridge can be seen beyond the houses. Taken from the new gas storage tank - 97-151/117.R6B1S1

Photographs: Wairarapa Archive

01 October 2012

Queen Street, Masterton, in 1910, showing double lamps on a concrete pedestal, in the middle of the road - 89-011/1.R1B1S1

Wairarapa Daily Times, Volume XXVIII, Issue 7869, 8 October 1904, Page 4
The erection of lamps in the middle of the street appears to be becoming more and more popular. Where it has been employed it appears to have no drawbacks. The drivers of vehicles soon become accustomed to them, and accidents are of rare occurrence.
Members of the Masterton Borough Council, while travelling to Feilding, on Thursday, took the opportunity of gleaning information regarding these, both at that place and Palmerston North.  
Since the lamp has been erected, however, not a single mishap has occurred, and public opinion now appears to be changing in favour of the new and apparently better system of street lighting.

Dagg-Wakelin wedding, Greytown, 1911

Dominion, Volume 4, Issue 1022, 11 January 1911, Page 9
On Thursday last at St. Luke's Church. Greytown, the marriage took place of Miss Florence Ethel Wakelin and Mr. Alfred Dagg.  
The bride (who was given away by her father) was gowned in white muslin with valenciennies lace and insertion and had in attendance upon her as bridesmaids the Misses Alice Rosilind Wakelin (chief), attired in cream taffetta, Mabel Josephine Wakelin, in a white muslin Princess costume (both being sisters of the bride), also Misses Florence Dagg, gowned in cream, and Lucy Dagg, attired in cream taffetta (both sisters of the bridegroom). The bride and her attendants carried lovely bouquets of cream roses, sweet peas and maiden-hair fern. The bride also wore the orthodox veil.  
The bridegroom had for best man his brother Eddie, and as groomsman Mr. Ellingham. The music suitable for the occasion was fully choral, Mrs. Nicholson of Martinborough, presiding at the organ.  
A reception was held afterwards, at the home of the bride's father, Mr. Y. S. Wakelin, "Woodland Cottage," Moroa.