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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Otago & Southland Provincial Districts]



Fortrose was originally an old whaling station, and so, naturally, it became in the early days a port for the surrounding district; but since the opening of the railway line to Waimahaka, six miles distant, it has become mainly dependent upon road and railway for its communication with other places. The Mataura river empties itself into Toetoes harbour, a short distance to the westward of the township of Fortrose, and the Waimahaka rivet also enters the harbour about midway between Mataura and the township. In the early days boats ran from Fortrose to Dunedin and the Bluff, and a wharf was constructed for the convenience of settlers and traders. The township and surrounding district are in the Toetoes riding of the county of Southland, and in the electoral district of Mataura. At the census of 1901 there was a population of 131 in the township, with eighty-six other residents in the neighbourhood. The flax industry flourishes in the district, and there are six mills within fifteen miles of the township. Fortrose has a store, a butcher's shop, a boot-and-shoemaker's shop, a blacksmith's shop and a private hotel; the hotel had a license up to the 30th of June, 1903, when prohibition came into force. It has, also, an Anglican and a Presbyterian church, a public hall and a public school. At one time the Bank of New Zealand had a branch at Fortrose, but it was closed in 1900. Formerly Fortrose had three hotels, but two of them were destroyed by fire. Very good agricultural and pastoral country surrounds Fortrose, and in the summer season the township is a popular resort with tourists and visitors. Very fine ocean views are obtainable from many points of the road in the neighbourhood. There is a telephone bureau at the local post office.

Fortrose In 1898.

Fortrose In 1898.

The Fortrose Post And Telegraph Office was opened in 1884. The business was originally conducted in Mr Elliot's store, and was afterwards removed to the present building which is of wood and iron, and contains a public office and a residence for the postmistress. There are fourteen private letter boxes, and mails are received and despatched daily. It is the principal post office for the surrounding district, extending over twenty miles, and there are sub-offices at Tokonui Gorge, Quarry Hills, Waikawa Valley, Niagara, Waikawa, Chaslands, Otara and Haldene.

Mrs Annie Marryatt

, Postmistress in charge at Fortrose, was born and educated in Dunedin. She was married, in November, 1891, to Mr Walter T. Marryatt, who was seventeen years in the telegraph service, and had been stationed in Dunedin for twelve years. Mr Marryatt died in November, 1900, leaving two sons and one daughter. After six months' experience at Wereroa post office, near Wellington, Mrs Marryatt was appointed postmistress at Fortrose in September, 1902.

The Fortrose Public School , which was founded in 1876, occupies an elevated position on a fine site of ten acres on the main road from Fortrose to Tokonui and Waikawa. The building is of wood and iron, and contains two class rooms, with accommodation for a hundred children. In 1903, the number on the roll stood at 50, and the average attendance was forty-six. The playgroung has a shelter-shed, and there is a school residence of five rooms.

Mr. Arthur James Millard , who has been headmaster of the Fortrose public school since 1889, was born at Wetherstones, Tuapeka, in 1864. He was educated at the public school at Wetherstones, and at the Lawrence District High School, and, after being a pupil teacher at Ryal Bush for four years, had charge of the Slopedown school for a year and eight months. Mr Millard was subsequently sole teacher at Charlton for three years before being appointed to his present position, in 1889. He served as a volunteer in the K Battery, Invercargill, and, in 1901, he joined the Murihiku Mounted Rifles at Wyndham as a trooper, became quartermaster-sergeant, and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 1903. Mr Millard was married, in 1888, to a daughter of the late Mr Edward Wilson, of Invercargill, and has four sons.

page 903

The Fortrose Caledonian Society was established in 1879, and the annual sports are held on New Year's Day, at the Fortrose Recreation Ground. The gathering is very popular, and, in 1904, about £30 was distributed in prize money. The officers for 1904 are Messrs R. A. Elliot (president), and K. G. McKenzie (secretary and treasurer), who are supported by a strong committee.

Fortrose Public School.

Fortrose Public School.

Mr. Kenneth George Mckenzie , Secretary and Treasurer of the Fortrose Caledonian Society, is the son of Mr Kenneth George McKenzie, an old settler, who died in 1901. He was born, in 1872, at Fortrose, where he was educated, and brought up on his father's farm. On the death of his father he inherited the Green Bush Farm, a property of 1,000 acres of freehold and 200 acres of leasehold, which had been brought into a good state of cultivation during his father's lifetime. Mr McKenzie is a member of the Fortrose school committee. He was married, in 1900, to a daughter of Mr James Clark, of Nightcaps, and has one son and two daughters.

The Commercial Hotel (Charles James Humphries, proprietor), Fortrose. This hotel, which was established in 1881, is a two-storey wood and iron building, with a verandah and balcony, and contains thirteen bedrooms, four sitting-rooms, a billiard-room, and a dining-room. The stables comprise six stalls and three loose boxes, and adjoin a paddock of eleven acres. The hotel is close to the jetty, and provides comfortable accommodation for visitors. It has been conducted by the present proprietor since 1901.

Mr. Charles James Humphries , the Proprietor, was born in 1866, at Riverton. He was educated partly at Riverton, and partly at Mataura, and resided at Mataura and Pine Bush for some time, before settling in the Fortrose district. As a Freemason, Mr Humphries is connected with Lodge Victoria, Irish Constitution, Invercargill. He is a director of the Fortrose Caledonian Society, and of the Racing Club. Mr Humphries was married, in 1897, to a daughter of Mr William Newson, of Wellington, and has three sons.

Chisholm, H. and J., (Hugh Chisholm and John Chisholm), Blacksmiths, Wheelwrights, Fortrose; branch at Waimahaka. This business was established in 1879, and is conducted in a wood and iron building, which stands on a section of three-quarters of an acre. The departments include a blacksmith's shop, and coachbuilding and paint shops.

Mr. John Chisholm and Mr Hugh Chisholm were born in the parish of Kirk Hill, Inverness-shire, Scotland, where they were brought up as blacksmiths. They came out to Port Chalmers, in 1875, by the ship “Auckland,” were employed for a time in Central Otago, and worked on the first bridge erected over the Molyneux river at Roxburgh. They acquired their present business in 1879. The Messrs Chisholm are members of the Fortrose school committee, of which Mr H. Chisholm has been chairman since 1902, and they are also members of the Fortrose Domain Board. In 1883 Messrs Chisholm sent home to Scotland for their father and mother, who sailed in the ship “Wild Deer,” but were shipwrecked in the Irish Channel. They ultimately arrived in New Zealand by the ship “Caroline,” and died in 1891. Mr H. Chisholm was married, in 1887, to a daughter of Mr Robert Blair, of Otara, and has three sons and three daughters. Mr John Chisholm married a daughter of the late Mr John Riddle, of Fortrose, and has two sons and five daughters.

Anderson, John , Butcher, Baker and Farmer, Fortrose. Mr Anderson was born, in 1846, in County Derry, Ireland, where he was brought up to an outdoor life. He arrived in Melbourne in 1861, and after working on the Sandhurst diggings for fifteen months, left forIor the Shotover gold-fields, Otago. Mr Anderson afterwards resided for twelve years in the Waipori district, and then removed to Lawrence, where he entered into partnership with Mr Alexander Sutherland, and carried on business under the style of Anderson and Sutherland. Two years later he sold out to his partner, and after being employed in cattle driving and mustering for two years, he settled at Wyndham as a cattle dealer. Mr Anderson established his butchery business at Fortrose in 1882, and a year later added the bakery department. In 1884 he bought a farm of fifty acres of suburban land, and has since acquired a hundred acres held under leasehold in perpetuity. His original premises having been burned down. Mr Anderson built his shop and office on his own freehold in January, 1902. His residence is situated on the hill overlooking the township. As a volunteer, Mr Anderson served in the Southland Hussars for about four years. For over twenty years he was a member of the Fortrose school committee, and, in 1900, was appointed to the Fortrose Domain Board. He has been a Justice of the Peace since 1902, and is a churchwarden of the Fortrose Anglican church. Mr Anderson was married, in 1889, to Miss Cruickshank, of Forfarshire, Scotland, and has, surviving, three sons and two daughters.

Elliot's Store (Walter Springford, manager), Fortrose. This store is owned by Mr R. A. Elliot, who has, also, a fine farm in the district. The store is one of the principal buildings in Fortrose. It was built in 1892, and consists of a double-fronted shop, with ample storage at the back.

Mr. Walter Springford , who has been manager of Mr R. A. Elliot's store at Fortrose since 1903, was born, in 1845, at Oathill, Somersetshire, England, where he was educated. He learned the grocery business at Plymouth, and in 1863 came out to Port Chalmers by the ship page 904 “Prince of Wales.” After working for ten years as a miner on the Dunstan, Hamiltons, Tinkers, Hogburn, McCrae's and the Whakamarina goldfields, he took up farming at Oamaru, but afterwards removed to Canterbury, where he resided for five years. Mr Springford then removed to Southland, and was for some years a contractor under the Oreti Road Board. In 1891 he commenced business as a storekeeper at Waimatuka, but disposed of his business three years later and entered the employment of Messrs Matheson and Co., Invercargill. In 1897 he was employed by Mr R. A. Elliot, storekeeper, Fortrose, and has been manager of the business since 1903. As a Freemason, Mr Springford is attached to Lodge St. John, Scottish Constitution. He was married, in 1879, to a daughter of Mr William Goldie, of Invercargill, and has, surviving, four daughters and three sons.

Elliot, Robert Archibald , Farmer and Storekeeper, Fortrose. As a farmer, Mr Elliot owns 1,100 acres, chiefly grazing land, lying between the Mataura and Titiroa rivers, which he has farmed since 1895. Mr Elliot was born, in 1839, in Canada, where he was brought up as a carpenter. He arrived in Auckland, in 1867, by the ship “Mary Shepherd,” was employed for about a year in the building trade at Mangawai, and, after working for two years at the Thames, left in 1871 for the Shotover diggings. He was engaged for a time in the erection of the Shotover bridge, and removed in 1874 to Wyndham, where he resided for some years. Mr. Elliot then started a line of coaches between Edendale and Fortrose, which he ran for four years, and afterwards opened a store at Fortrose, and a blacksmith's and a wheelwright's shop at Wyndham. He subsequently sold his Wyndham business, and has since confined himself to the Fortrose district. Mr Elliot has been president of the Fortrose Caledonian Society since 1901, has served on the school committee, is one of the trustees of the Fortrose Cemetery, and a member of the committee of the Presbyterian church. He was married, in 1876, to Miss Stirling, of Perthshire, Scotland.

Gerstenkorn photoMr. R. A. Elliot.

Gerstenkorn photo
Mr. R. A. Elliot.

Hutton, John , Farmer, “Maple Bush,” Fortrose. Mr Hutton's property consists of 558 acres of freehold land, adjoining the township of Fortrose. The land, which is fully improved, is devoted to mixed farming, but principally to the rearing of fat stock, and a special feature is made of the breeding of Herefords. Mr Hutton was born in 1856, at Saline, West Fife, near Dunfermline. Scotland, was educated at the Saline parish school and at Dollar Academy, and was brought up to farming. He arrived at Port Chalmers, in 1877, by the ship “Marlborough,” and was employed for four years as book-keeper and overseer at Dome station, Southland. He then removed to Waipahi station, where he was employed for some time. In 1883 Mr Hutton took a trip to Scotland, and on his return in March, of the following year, resided in Dunedin. He afterwards took charge of Moa Flat station for a few weeks, and was employed on the estate altogether about two years. In 1882 Mr Hutton acquired Maple bush estate at Fortrose, where he has effected large improvements, including the planting of trees, and the erection of the farm-steading and homestead. Mr Hutton served for two years in the Clackmannanshire Rifles, Scotland. He is a member of the Fortrose school committee. Mr Hutton was married, in 1894, to a daughter of Mr James Holms, of Waimahaka estate, and has one son and one daughter.

Mr. J. Hutton.

Mr. J. Hutton.

Mcintosh, James , Farmer, Fortrose. Mr McIntosh was born in 1835, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, where he was brought up to country life. He arrived at Auckland, in 1866, by the ship, “Pegasus,” and settled at Edendale, Southland, where he was employed in engine-driving for eighteen months. He afterwards became mail coach driver for Mr Duncan Campbell, and was employed, later on, at the meat-preserving works at Woodlands. In 1873 Mr McIntosh took up 200 acres of land at Fortrose, and has since increased his holding to 472 acres. He was a member of the Fortrose school committee for twenty-five years, and retired in 1902. Mr McIntosh was married, in 1869, to a daughter of the late Mr Archibald Lauder, of Fortrose, and has seven sons and three daughters.

Smith Brothers (James Hart, John, and Robert Smith), Farmers, Flag Hill, Fortrose. Messrs Smith Brothers' property at Flag Hill consists of 200 acres of freehold, which, togther with another property of 162 acres, known as Jack's Hill, is devoted to mixed farming. Messrs Smith Brothers are successful breeders of Clydesdale draught horses, and are the owners of the entire horse, “Lord of Aynsley.” For twenty-one years they had a traction engine and threshing mill, which they worked in the Fortrose district till 1903, when they disposed of the plant.

Mr. James Hart Smith , Senior Partner of the firm of Smith Brothers, was born in June, 1858, on board the ship “Three Bells,” during her voyage to Port Chalmers. He was educated in Invercargill, and was brought up in Southland, where he commenced farming in 1883.

Mr. John Smith , Of the firm of Smith Brother, was born in 1860, in Invercargill, and was brought up to farming in the Fortrose district. He was for many years a member of the Order of Oddfellows.

Mr. Robert Smith , Of the firm of Smith Brothers, was born in 1864, in Invercargill, and was brought up to farming. Mr Smith has taken twenty championship prizes at ploughing competitions, and claims to be the first to take a championship prize page 905 for double-furrow ploughing, in which he was successful, at the age of nineteen, against forty-two competitors.

Mr. William Gregory , sometime of “Rosebank,” Fortrose, was born at sea in 1843, and was brought up in Tasmania, where he was educated by his mother, who was a teacher. In 1863 he arrived in Invercargill, and became a shepherd at Morton Mains. He settled in the Fortrose district, in 1872, and acquired 200 acres of land on the deferred payment system; and the property is now known as “Rosebank. Mr Gregory was a member of the Fortrose cemetery committee, and was also chairman of the school committee. He was married, in 1865, to a daughter of the late Mr Archibald Wilson Lauder, an old settler, who brought a saw-milling plant out to New Zealand. Mr Gregory was killed in a trap accident in 1888, and left a family of eight sons and eight daughters, of whom one son and one daughter have since died. Mrs Gregory, who, since her husband's death, has farmed the land with the assistance of her family, has twenty-four grandchildren.

The Late Mr. W. Gregory, And Mrs W. Gregory.

The Late Mr. W. Gregory, And Mrs W. Gregory.

Gerstenkorn, photo.Mrs W. Gregory.

Gerstenkorn, photo.
Mrs W. Gregory.

Waipapa Lighthouse.

Waipapa Lighthouse.