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Edwin Meredith - early settler - obituary, 1907

Orui Homestead


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


MR. EDWIN MEREDITH.

("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


Llandaff now provides country accommodation and is a rural wedding venue

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