The Climo's of Taranaki - Ormond (Poverty Bay)
In 1876 Ormond was little more than a well-planned town in the making, situated in a massive Kahakitea forest, through which flowed the Waipaoa River, 15 miles from the mouth at Turanga (now modern-day Gisborne). When the Climo's arrived to set up their sawmill, Ormond was a military settlement with barracks for the Armed Constabulary, who were dealing with unrest at Te Kooti. Ormond also boasted two well set-up hotels (The Ormond & The Chandos), a Post Office, a police station with a lock-up, a bakery, school, a large general store and a doctor who served both Ormond and Turanga. There was also a small sawmill and not far away was a deserted school and chapel, which belonged to the Waerenga-a-Hika Mission.
The area was in the process of being surveyed into huge blocks of land of up to 20,000 acres and alloted to those who had sufficient funds to “develop” them. Some of these stations still remain intact today. Owing to the swampy nature of the ground near the mouth of the Waipaoa River, which was joined at this time by the Turanganui, the first surveyors had considered that the main town should be established further inland where the ground was higher and less prone to floods, than at Turanga, which they thought would be the port to service the hinterland.
James established his sawmill with his sons John, Richard, Sam and Robert; also George for a time and young James (Jim), following his adored Sam as his shadow. But soon tragedy struck when Richard and Marianne's daughter, 4-month old Angusina died. But four more of James and Jane's grandchildren – John's two sons, George's daughter Elizabeth Catherine (Lizzie) and Richard's daughter Ada Adeline were all born at Ormond (the births were registered at Turanga), but the families were having other difficulties. The mill houses still had dirt floors and through the stripping of the bush from the hills nearby, the houses became damp and it wasn't long before Jane developed chest trouble.
There were great floods in the winters of 1877 and 1878, which blocked the road to Gisborne for months at a time. Robert's bullocks were rendered immobile and soon, the log supply for the mill ran out. Sam's venture as a coachman ended in disaster, while Robert lost 3 fingers in a sawing accident. But even worse was the growing unhappiness between Richard and his wife Marianne - she was finding the hardships of life more and more unbearable as each day passed. The final straw was the great fire at Makauri which demolished King's Mill, 20 houses along with the greater supply of timber for the Climo's mill. So in 1879, after enduring one hardship after another, the family decided to move away from Ormond. However, there was one bright spot - this being Sam's marriage to Johanna Gallagher at the New Year. By 1880, King had taken over Climo's mill and the family scattered far and wide.
Unfortunately, Richard and Marianne, went their separate ways. Richard spent time, firstly in Masterton before spending time in Carterton and Halcombe, while Marianne went to Clareville, Wairarapa to stay with her mother. Six months later, Marianne & Richard's sixth child, Ernest Alfred, was born.
George and his wife Alice returned to Canvastown and Sam took Johanna to the Sounds, in the company of youngest brother James, now a young man of 17-years. John and his wife Katherine (Kate) went to Makotuku, near Norsewood. They stayed to help with the establishment of a new sawmill at a new Scandanavian settlement.
Robert moved on to Masterton where he, and for a short time, Richard, continued driving a bullock team, hauling logs and timber for the first Waingawa truss bridge and sleepers for the line. A story that has been told in Robert's family over the years is of James, once again, walking from Auckland to the Wairarapa, carrying a screw-jack. This could have been to help his grandson, Harry Pope (my great-great-grandfather) who at one time set up a mill near Carterton. But it has been difficult to trace the exact dates as so much mill history was lost when the closures took place - the sites thus obliterated and the workers moving on to other areas.
on 2010-05-15 20:11:51
I have been researching my family tree for over a year now & have a lot of information regarding the Climo's. So I am hoping to connect with any descendants of James and Jane as well as descendants of my 3rd-great-grandfather's family, the Popes. His name was George Whiting Pope. And lastly, I am trying to find information on my 2nd-great-grandmother's family, the Cotton's, who lived in Nelson. I have found some information which I am happy to share here and am ever hopeful that I may connect with descendants of this family also.