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Know your town 

October 15, 2020 October 2020 No Comments

Early settlers

Thomas Fredrick Evans, saddle, harness and collar maker, also an importer. 

The Evans family came to New Zealand in the ship Adelaide in 1840. Thomas was born at Wellington in June 1852. He was bought up in the saddlery trade learning from his elder brother .

TYhomas Evans established himself  at Waihinga in 1878. Thus before John Martin’s township of Martinborough came into existence. His premises was by the small stream just south of McLeod Lane (now Radium street). 

An 1879 report on Waihinga described it as: ‘ This town has a general store , Post Office, Blacksmith’s shop, bootmaker,  and saddler TF Evans. With may other  shop s and dwellings being built. 

A notice in a January 1882 paper announced that he had moved to the Martinborough township Square, describing the property as being very central. The shop, built by local builder W Boyd,  was well suited for his trade, a large wooden building with an iron roof and plate glass windows. He was the agent for D C Kerr the Featherston Chemist.  

Thomas Evan also has a real interest in farming having purchased 600 acres at Dry River (Pukio) . 

He took an active interest in getting the  district ‘off the ground’. During thirty years as a member of the Lower Valley Jockey Club he served variously as Trustee, Secretary and President. He was Secretary of he library committee, and Secretary of the Collie Club. Memberships  included the A&P Association, School Committee,  Cricket Club, Masonic Fraternity and committee building the Anglican Church.

Thomas Evans served on the Featherston County Council for five years and was an Early Commissioner for the Martinborough Town Board.  He owned sections on the corner of Regent and Dublin Streets know as ‘the dip’.

He wanted the Dip dammed and filled with water so as to make a swimming pool for the town.  

Thomas’ daughter Maude became New Zealand’s first registered Woman Land Agent

Thomas Evans died in Martinborough in1932.  

Mate Higginson

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