the BUSH FIRES in CARTERTON, New Zealand 1872
the following article was taken from PAPERS PAST ...
- it shows names of some of those in the Wairarapa who experienced the Fire of Carterton in January 1872
- Thanks to the National Library of New Zealand -
.. PAPERS PAST - EVENING POST, volume VII, Issue 299, 30th January, 1872, page 2
surnames in capitals and where available, links, are mine for ease of seeing ancestors - otherwise written as is
BUSH FIRES (from the Wairarapa Mercury)
We regret to have to record one of the most devastating fires that have taken place in the Wairarapa for many years.
One Sunday last some lads set fire to a piece of felled bush situated on Hooker's line, about half-a mile from Carterton, and it burnt slowly all that day and night, gradually creeping towards the main road.
On Monday, the wind getting up, brought the fire into the heart of the township, we regret to say, to the utter ruin of many of the small farmers, who have after the toil of years, managed to create comfortable homesteads.
In addition to the above there has been a large quantity of fencing destroyed, while the amount of grass over which the fire ran, will cause any of the settlers to be put to very serious inconvenience to provide food for the stock during the ensuing winter.
How the Hall and School buildings, with the Carterton Stockade escaped , is a mystery.
Mr CADWALLADER'S Hotel had a very narrow escape, and but for the energy of those present must have been destroyed.
All the buildings were uninsured. We understand that a subscription list will be opened for the relief of the unfortunate persons who have lost so much in so short a time.
The fires on the Taratahi Plain have also done great damage. Mr MITCHELL has lost, we are informed, nearly three miles of four rail fencing, and Messrs WALKER and STRANG also a quantity. Mr WILTON'S furze hedges were completely destroyed, and to show the force of the fire, we may mention that the waggons (sic) laden with wool, after being drawn from Masterton to RAY'S were taken back on Tuesday night and left in the bed of the Waingawha River as the only place of safety.
These fires have not been confined to Carterton; from all parts of the country we hear of the destruction of grass, &c, on the runs, and among others we have to report the burning of Mr VALLANCE'S old house at Koumingi; this, although of not great intrinsic value, has been used for some years as a shearing shed, and we are glad to hear that the wool press lately erected in an adjoining building was uninjured.
On Wednesday an investigation was held at the Town Hall, Carterton, Mr R. FAIRBROTHER in the chair. There was a fair attendance, and after a careful inquiry it was decided to solicit the Coroner to hold an inquest.
The Chairman wrote a letter to Dr. SPRATT, of which the following is a copy:-
Carterton, 24th January, 1872
.. Dear Sir - The settlers of Carterton have held a meeting respecting the late fire, and as it seems from statements made at the meeting that the fire was lit wilfully, the people hereby request that you will hold an inquest on said fire at your earliest convenience
R.Fairbrother - On behalf of the Meeting, Dr. SPRATT, Greytown
On Thursday a jury was assembled and after a tedious inquest, the following verdict was returned:-
"That a fire having been lit on the land of THOMAS OLIVER by JAMES
PETERS, jun., at the request of THOMAS OLIVER, and other bush fires being alight at the same time in the neighbourhood, the dwelling-houses of WILLIAM CRAWFORD and WILLIAM BOSLEY, situated in Carterton, Wairarapa, took fire on the 22nd January 1872, and were burnt down; but there is not sufficient evidence to show which of the fires
aforesaid caused the said houses to be so burnt down.
The jury expressed a hope that at the next meeting of the Provincial Counccil an act will be passed to prevent persons setting fires, except at certain seasons of the year"
The following is a list of the properties burnt, with their approximate value...
CRAWFORD - wheelwright's shop and house, 80
BOSLEY - house, 30
KING'S - shop and house, 80
PARKER - barn and hay, 20
DIXON - cowshed and hay, 20
STRANG'S - house, barn and hay, 35
DODD'S - shop and house, occupied by PHILPOTTS, 20
APLING'S - whare, (house) 10
CALLISTER'S - outhouses, hay &c., 35
GREATHEAD'S - house, blacksmith's shop, coal &c., 100.
- (I chose William because he was a blacksmith but so was his father and possibly a brother or two)
MERRICK'S - shed with hay, 20
MOORE'S - shed with hay, 25
BUDD'S shed &c, 30
JOHN'S - barn and dairy, 25