Writing

Historic diary extracts

These extracts from the diaries of Sydney Johnston and his descendants, now held in Hawke’s Bay Museum, Napier, provide a glimpse into Oruawharo’s rich social and family life, into the development of its extensive farmlands and into its role in the surrounding district.

 

Extracts from the Home and Family Diary

14 May 1870

Drove Mrs Russell and Bessie to Canning’s. (First mention of driving – it would have referred to a horse-drawn buggy.)


October 1870

Additions to house (ie. the cottage Sydney and Sophia were to occupy before the present homestead).


12 July 1873

Married.


16 July 1874

Planting trees around site of new home.


26 December 1874

Daughter Henrietta Mary born.


26 October 1875

Scandinavian girl came at six shillings a week.


8 July 1877

Son Robert Quentin born. Died 14 October that year.


29 October 1878

Thompson began making dam for water supply for new house.


8 August 1879

In Wellington. Arranged with my father to lease Oruawharo at rental of £3,500 a year.


17 September 1879

At new house planting trees.


2 October 1879

Moved into new house.


13 February 1881

Fire at 8.30pm destroyed plantation near house, burning 100 valuable trees.


5 February 1882

Alice Lambert (a relative of Sophia’s) married to John Mason in Oruawharo drawing room. Bridesmaids: Molly Johnston,
Tooni and Evelyn Inglis, Fanny Ormond, Miss Stewart and Hetty Herrick.


10 April 1883

Daughter Jessie Meta born.


3 March 1888

Purchased Oruawharo under terms of my father’s will. Paid £3 per acre plus agricultural implements and stock 22,000 sheep,
100 cattle, 30 horses.


5 December 1888

Daughter Agnes Beatrice born.


9 December 1895

Mollie married Herbert Watson in Takapau Catholic Church. Ball for men and Takapau people in the woolshed in the evening.


12 December 1899

Additions to house began.


29 December 1899

Bought pair of cattiage horses, Nutshell and Te Whiti, for 55 guineas.


April 1901

Acetylene gas lighting plant installed.


14 June 1903

Salary cheque for £35 to governess Miss Davidson.


1 April 1904

Messers Kenway and Tod came in a motor car.


5 August 1904

Severe earthquake brought chimneys and plaster down.


1 June 1907

Drove by motor car to Guavas and returned in the evening (the first mention of driving a car).


6 June 1907

Carlyons came to lunch.


28 June 1907

Sent car to Napier for repairs.


19 December 1910

New motor car arrived (a Lorraine-Detrich, sold in 1935 for £10).


17 February 1911

Grandson John Riddiford (son of daughter Jessie Meta who had married Daniel Riddiford a year before) born in the blue room.


13 March 1911

My 70th birthday.


1 October 1911

Telephone connected.


20 October 1911

New Cadillac came, price £575 less £150 for Decauville.


May 1914

Electric light plant installed.


29 June 1917

Sydney Johnston died in England.


5 July 1922

Daughter Agnes Beatrice married John Rolleston. A dance was held at the house that night and another at Takapau Hall on 7 July.


3 December 1923

Grandson Sydney Christopher born in the blue room.


9 October 1931

Sophia Johnston died.


15 July 1933

Agnes Rolleston took over her mother’s and sisters’ shares in Oruawharo and in December she and her family took up residence.


June 1936

The Rolleston family left for England, returning in 1938 after leaving Christopher at school in Ampleforth. He later undertook military
service with the Grenadier Guards in Germany and returned to New Zealand in 1947.


19 January 1952

Christopher Rolleston married Jennifer Mary Hinde, only daughter of Mr & Mrs Douglas Hinde, Kenya. The ceremony was held in Kenya.


19 March 1953

Christopher Rolleston was killed in a tractor accident at Oruawharo.



Extracts from the Social and District Life Diary

7 April 1866
Rifle match. Five from Patangata V five from Waipukarau. We were beaten, 28 points.


30 November 1868

 Rode to Waipukarau to attend meeting about stockade. Meeting decided stockade should be built at Waipukarau.


29 April 1870

Meeting at Waipukarau to consider best means of preventing spread of sheep scab in the province.


8 May 1874

Work began on plan for railway.


26 May 1874

Addressed electors at Waipukarau.


15 October 1874

Rode from Tamumu to Hastings show and afterwards traveled to Napier by train (first mention of train travel).


1 May 1875

Elected member of Provincial Council.


1 September 1876

To Waipukarau for opening of railway from Napier.


19 September 1876

Rochfort came to survey township of Takapau.


23 September 1876

Elected member of County Council.


1 January 1877

Attended funeral of Sir Donald McLean in Napier. About 3000 present.


12 March 1877

Railway opened to Takapau.


18 December 1878

Telegraph office opened at Takapau.


1 January 1879

Races at Takapau.


2 January 1879

Railway engine set fire to 500 acres of grass.


1 May 1879

Pheasant shooting.


23 May 1879

Oddfellows’ dance at Takapau schoolhouse.


13 February 1881

Fire at 8.30pm destroyed plantation near house, burning 100 valuable trees.


18 September 1882

To Napier to a attend meeting about new freezing company. Sold section in Takapau, receiving £50 for half an acre.


5 November 1889

Dance for men in new woolshed.


17 May 1894

Dance to which guests from north Hawke's Bay came in a special train and were then conveyed from the siding at the crossing to the house
by horse transport. Capt Russell was among the guests, but Lady Russell was unable to attend as their daughter Violet had scarletina.


17 March 1895

Attended service conducted by Father Keegan, new church at Takapau.


21 August 1899

Agreed to sell Takapau blacksmith shop, cottage and section to May for £600.


22 August 1902

Dance in Takapau Hall.


12 June 1908

Entertainment at Takapau to open Town Hall given by Sophia and me.Takapau Dramatic Club performed ‘Jane’.


17 January 1911

Meeting in Takapau about telephone.


13 March 1911

My 70th birthday.


1 October 1911

Telephone connected.


4 July 1947

Ball held in the ballroom to celebrate Christopher’s return and the Rollestons’ silver wedding anniversary.

 



Extracts from the Farm Life Diary

12 November 1865

Rode to pa and engaged two natives to come for docking, agreeing to pay them five shillings a day if they worked exceedingly well.


1 November 1866

Sent two sheep to show and won prizes with both.


7-9 February 1867

Left Wellington for Hawke's Bay via Manawatu. Bought horse for £15 from T Cook of Manawatu. Own horse unable to travel.


12 February

Arrived Oruawharo.


30 May 1867

Bridges on Oruawharo and Tamumu washed out. Ngaruroro River changed course.
(Tamumu was a neighbouring property which Sydney managed for his father John).


29 June 1867

Meeting at Napier about boiling down. Entry on 27 November that year records,‘Paid Braithwaite £30,
being £3 per share on 10 £5 boiling down shares.


30 July 1867

Bought additional 869 acres at Oruawharo, paying five shillings an acre.


March 1868

Oruawharo ear mark registered.


12 November 1868

Maori shearers at Tamumu taken away by (Chief) Karaitiana owing to massacre of whites at Turangi.


30 November 1868

Rode to Waipukarau to attend meeting about stockade. Meeting decided stockade should be built at Waipukarau.


12 February 1869

Rode to Waipukarau, swimming Maharakeke. Tukituki River higher than ever known.


22 December 1869

Received particulars of one-horse mower recommended by Mr Dixon of Masterton.


4 April 1870

691 sheep driven to Waipukarau for boiling down. Boundary rider engaged for between Tamumu and Omakere at £74 a year.


29 April 1870

Meeting at Waipukarau to consider best means of preventing spread of sheep scab in the province.


5 October 1870

Passing sheep through arsenic trough for foot rot.


14 March 1871

Delivered 61 three-quarter-bred Cotswold rams to Mr Hamilton and received in exchange, 60 seven-eighths Lincolns.


December 1872

14,000 sheep shorn at Oruawharo.


4 March 1873

Bought 14 stud Lincolns from Tanner. Average cost £12.


1 July 1873

Men planting furze.


17 October 1873

At show in Havelock North. Took prizes for fat ewes and quarter-bred hoggets.


28 May 1874

Sowing cocksfoot on land cleared by burning near site of new house.


15 October 1874

Rode from Tamumu to Hastings show and afterwards travelled to Napier by train (first mention of train travel).


1876

Stocking with cattle began.


1 September 1876

To Waipukarau for opening of railway from Napier.


10 March 1877

Bought double-furrow plough.


12 March 1877

Railway opened to Takapau.


14 January 1878

Large fire burnt about 2000 acres.


29 May 1878

Began building dip.


2 January 1879

Railway engine set fire to 500 acres of grass.


26 March 1879

Bought reaper and binder with sufficient wire for 300 acres. (Before this, crops would have been hand-tied.)


30 March 1879

Cutting chaff by hand.


1 April 1879

Man engaged to cook for farm men at £1 a week.


15 May 1879

Wheat to Onga Onga mill and flour brought back.


8 August 1879

In Wellington. Arranged with my father to lease Oruawharo at rental of £3,500 a year.


18 September 1881

To Napier to meeting about new freezing company.


31 December 1883

27,563 sheep shorn at Oruawharo – 1880 Merino, the balance Lincoln-Merino cross.


6 March 1884

Sent 520 half-bred wethers to Nelson Bros Tomoana works for freezing. Drew 10 shillings a head in advance.
(Later when sheep paid only four shillings a head, had to return the difference.) Hoggets put on turnips.


December 1886

28,030 sheep shorn at Oruawharo. Average fleece weight 8lbs 3oz.


3 March 1888

Purchased Oruawharo under terms of my father’s will. Paid £3 per acre plus agricultural implements and stock – 22,000 sheep,
100 cattle, 30 horses.


17 November 1900

Began machine shearing.


12 May 1903

Worrall (station manager) left for England, due to health. 14 October that year received a cable from Freemantle saying
Worrall had died at sea. “I received this news with deep regret. He was in my employment for over 25 years and
was a most valuable servant and good friend.”


June 1903

Felling 150 acres of bush on back country.


1 February 1904

Leithead who had been managing Mokoia, took over management of Oruawharo at £250 a year.


1947-49

Christopher (Johnston’s grandson) worked as a rouseabout and shepherd on nearby properties before becoming
manager of Oruawharo in January 1951.