The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Otago & Southland Provincial Districts]
Sandymount is one of the most important dairying districts on the Otago Peninsula. It is eight miles east of Dunedin, with which it has coach communication three times a week, by the main road. It has a creamery, school, post office, volunteer hall, and a Presbyterian church. The farms in the district are of a fair size, and devoted to dairying; and, owing to the breezes from the ocean, the pasture is wonderfully fresh and luxuriant. There are good roads, and Dunedin may be reached by the main high road, or through Portobello, which is four miles distant.page 587
Robertson, John , Farmer, Sandymount. Mr. Robertson, who is the eldest son of the late Mr. William Robertson, was born in 1840, in Glasgow, and accompanied his parents to Otago by the ship “Silistria.” Shortly after his arrival he and his brother were attracted to the Lindis goldfields, and they afterwards went to Gabriel's Gully, where they met with considerable success. The brothers then went to the diggings at Hokitika, and returned to Dunedin in 1865. When the colonial public works were started, they went into partnership in the lime burning industry, and carried on a large business for many years. On giving up the business, Mr. Robertson returned to the farm, which he and his brother carried on until the death of their father, when both succeeded to their portions of the estate. Mr. Robertson has been a member of the road board, and took an active part in starting the creamery system, which has done so much towards the prosperity of the Peninsula. He married a daughter of the late Mr. Murdock, of Puerua, Clutha, but she died in July, 1890.
Standing—Miss Jessie Robertson, Mr. John Robertson, Miss Agnes Robertson. Sitting—Miss Annie Robertson, Mrs Forrest, the late Mr. William Robertson, Mr. Robert Forrest.
Robertson, Miller , Farmer, Sandymount. Mr. Robertson, who is the youngest son of the late Mr. William Robertson, was born in Perth, Scotland, and came to New Zealand with his parents in 1860, by the ship “Silistria.” As a boy he worked on his father's farm, and in 1886 went to Melbourne, where for twelve years he was engaged on the cable trams. On returning to New Zealand Mr. Robertson became manager of the Government lime kilns at Palmerston, but resigned after twelve months, and has since been engaged in dairy farming at Sandymount. He is a member of the Highcliff Road Board and the Portobello Agricultural and Pastoral Association, and he has served as a volunteer in the Portobello Rifles, the Bruce Rifles, and the City Guard Cadets. Mr. Robertson married a daughter of Mr. William Nunn, of Ballarat.
Robertson, William , Farmer, “Birnam,” Sandymount. Mr. Robertson, who is the second son of the late Mr. William Robertson, was born in Perthshire, Scotland, in 1848, and came to New Zealand with his parents, at the age of fifteen, by the ship “Silistria.” He accompanied his brother, Mr. John Robertson, to the Lindis, Gabriel's Gully, and West Coast diggings, and was the youngest digger on the Lindis. He subsequently carried on farming in conjunction with his father and brother on their property at Sandymount. Later on Mr. Robertson and his brother had the lime kilns at Sandymount and Milburn, but he soon gave up the business, and returned to the farm, where he has since carried on dairy farming. He has been for several years a member of the Sandymount school committee, of which he was at one time chairman; he was also a member of the road board, and took an active part in getting the creameries on the Peninsula startad. Mr. Robertson is a member of the Portobello Agricultural and Pastoral Association, and of the Farmers' Union; and served as a volunteer in the Portobello Rifles until retiring with the rank of lieutenant. He married a daughter of the late Mr. Hector Baxter, of Caversham, Dunedin, and has five sons.
Mr. W. Robertson.
Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo.
Mr. C. Weir.
Weir, Robert , Farmer, Sandymount. Mr. Weir was born in 1855, at Anderson's Bay, Dunedin, and is the youngest son of the late Mr. Daniel Weir, who came out by the ship “Blundell.” He worked on his father's property till he was nineteen years of age, when he took up a farm at Sandymount. In 1884 Mr. Weir acquired his present property, a fine farm of over seventy acres, which he devotes to dairying. He has been a member of the Sandymount school committee for seven years, and was for one year its chairman. Mr. Weir has been an active member of the Peninsula Agricultural and Pastoral Association since its inception, and is also a member of the Portobello Rifle Club. He married Miss Cowan, fourth daughter of Mr. Robert Cowan, of Sandymount, and has three daughters and one son.
Mr. and Mrs. R. Weir.
Mr. Robert Cowan , who has lived in retirement on his farm at Sandymount since 1881, was born in Renfrewshire. Scotland, and came to Dunedin by the ship “Lady Egidia” in 1861, with his wife, five daughters and one son. At first he was engaged in road making and various other work about Anderson's Bay, and in 1863 purchased a farm at Sandymount, to which he removed two years later. The land was then practically covered with bush, but is now in a fine state of cultivation. Mr. Cowan was for many years a member of the Portobello Road Board and school committee, but retired from active life in 1881. Of his family of six, four are now alive, and there are forty-five grandchildren and twenty-five great-grandchildren. Mr. and Mrs Cowan are still hale and hearty, and will celebrate their Diamond Wedding in December, 1904.
Mr. and Mrs R. Cowan.
Mr. William Robertson , sometime of “Sandffy,” Sandymount, was born in 1812. in Coultrannie, Perthshire, Scotland,. As a young man he learned the macadamised system of roadmaking under Mr. Macadam, its founder, and was afterwards engaged in teaching the system throughout Scotland. He subsequently learned the trade of a stonemason, and after two years took a sub-contract under Mr. John Stephenson, the well known railway contractor, then engaged in carrying out some important railway contracts in Scotland. Mr. Robertson's ability in carrying out his work caused him to be chosen by Mr Stephenson to superintend the making of a railway in France under the French Government, but owing to the outbreak of the revolution which led to the Second Empire, the work was not proceeded with. For ten years after the death of Mr. Stephenson, under whose supervision he had carried out several important railway contracts, Mr. Robertson lived in retirement in his native place. A position of responsibility was then offered to him in connection with the formation of the Grand Trunk Railway in Canada, but after visiting that country he declined the offer. He built the Elie Pier on the Firth of Forth, the last undertaking he was engaged in before leaving for New Zealand. Mr. Robertson, with his wife, four sons and six daughters, arrived in Otago in 1880, by the ship “Silistria.” Not finding any railway works in Otago, he almost made up his mind to leave for Victoria, but his two eldest sons being attracted to the Lindis gold rush, he remained in Dunedin. Soon afterwards Mr. Robertson bought a large property of 600 acres at Sandymount, where he resided up to the time of his death in 1902, at the age of ninety. Mrs Robertson, who will long be remembered throughout the district for her kindness and hospitality, died in 1885, at the age of sixty-nine. Mr. Robertson always took a prominent part in local affairs, and especially in educational matters. During the first years of his residence at Sandymount the nearest school was at North East Harbour, and the teacher's salary was paid by the settlers. He urged that the state should pay the salary, and this led to the late Mr. James Macandrew bringing the idea before the Provincial Council, and, indirectly, to the general state system of education. Mr. Robertson was for many years a member of the road board and school committee, and contested a seat in the Provincial Council. He is entitled to remembrance as one of the originators of the scheme of cheap money for farmers. At the last nomination for the Superiutendent of Otago he put the following question to Mr. Macandrew: “In the event of your being returned as Superintendent, will you bring in a Bill to give cheap money to farmers?” Mr. Macandrew replied he would endeavour to do so. Subsequently Mr. Robertson approached Sir Julius Vogel on the same subject; but that statesman replied that the monied institutions were too powerful for any public man or political party to think of taking such a scheme in hand at that time.
The late Mrs W. Robertson.