MRS JAMES FULTON, WEST TAIERI. 1829 TO 1919. The death of Mrs James Fulton, of , Ravensclifte, Wooodside, to-ciay in her 90th year represents the gentle close of a , crowded life of unselfish sendee, womanly j duty, and tranquil faith In the best ; sense of the term, she was a pioneer, ■: tvpicallv representative of the spirit of . the past. Her life and activities were linked intimately and earnestly with the development of the " Taieri," and she saw the district, under the able hands of pioneers " frae ower-the sea," change from a rank swamrj to a rich garden. And throughout o7 changeful and eventful years, amidst initial conflict and subso- ; qtent success, the late Mrs Fulton was an earnest worker, an encouraging leader-, ( a wise counsellor, and a great neighbor. From the beginning she understood that the purpose of life is honest eemee, and that "the test reward is an easy conscience. And, like a passing thought, she fled In light away. Mrs Fulton was the third daughter of the late Judge Valpy, of the Hon. Eafct ; Irdia Company's service, and was born m ! England in 1829. Her education at Home and on the Continent was thorough, and fitted her for a leader's place in the crude and difficult conditions of pioneering_ life "in the far country.'' Owing to failing health Mr Yalpv and his family came to New Zealand in 1848. The voyage was made on the Ajax. which took four months . to make the trip. The passengers suf- | iercd many hardships, and when the ship i made Port Chalmers the living greenness : of the quiet hills about tho picturesque : harbor promised a home of peace and ; mosoeritv. The hillsides were clothed with bush to the water's edge, and tho ; place appeared to wearied voyagers as a fairyland.
After four years' residence at Forbury, near St. Clair, Miss Valpy married Mr James Fulton, and went "over the hill" to live at the west end of the Taieri. It is almost, easier now to go to Central Africa than it was then to reach West Taieri. When Mrs Valpy paid her first visit to the simple home of the young couple at West Taieri she went in this interesting manner: A bullock dray took her from Dunedin to what is now known as ALlanton, and then in the evening of (he same day a beat conveyed her up the river to Outram. The night was spent at Mrs Donald Borrios home, which, like all homes in the wilderness in those far-off davs, was a haven of hospitality. The following day Mrs Valpy proceeded by a sledsw to her daughter's home, a hut on the "bank of a pretty stream, surrounded bv charming native bush. This was called Ravensboume, after the stream which flowed near Blackheath School, where Mr Fulton had as a boy been educated. The name was used for many years, but after a, visit by Mr Do Lacy it was abandoned, because a village sprang up at West Harbor around ""Ravensboume"—Mr Dt Lacv's residence. _ The Taieri Plain then was a real wilderness of swamp, flax, and native bush, and for raanv vears Mr and Mrs Fulton used a sledge to take them to Dunedin. Mrs Fulton was very musical, as the saving is, and, after a few years a piano was procured, but it never graced the hut by the wimpling stream. It was taken "safely in a dray to the riverside, but in attempting to ferry the instrument ever the Taieri the boat was upset, and the piano went down the river to hopeless ruin. The bend in the river where it was subsequently found is called to this day "Piano Corner." It is on Mr James Blair's property near Outram. Life for several years was tremendously rough. Flour in 251b and 501b sacks had to be carried on one's back from town over the Halfway Bush road. Ultimately Mr Fulton erected a little steel mill* and ground his own wheat for bread. But so free and easy was the hospitality of the pioneers that the experience trequently was that two or three visitors would consume a week's supply at a single visit. There was no porridge at "Ravensboume" —perhaps an English characteristic—and there was _no neat. But there were appreciable equivalents—pork of wild pig (numerously let loose by Captain Cook), pigeons,_ wild ducks, and a beautiful species of little quail, now extinct. Wild fowl was so plentiful as almost to jade the appetite of pioneers. Milk was scarce, as the few cows then available were allowed to roam at will, the aim being to increase the stock. It may be mentioned that in the pioneering days the children were sturdy enough. Their mothers were very wise. As may be understood, a journey from West Taieri to Dunedin in the fifties was something in the nature of an expedition. Mr and Mrs Fulton used to come in on a wooden sledge drawn by a bullock, a conveyance thai very naturally created lively" interest in the straggling town, wherein the main rendezvous of the folks of that day was R. K. Murray's accommodation house in Rattray street, now Wood's. Prosperity and progress led to improved locomotion. The wooden sledge dragged laboriously by a bullock subsequently gave way to an iron sledcro, drawn by a pair of horses. It was a great day for the folk in Dunedin wb• -i Mrs Fulton drove over the hill into to-■: in the latest type of Yankee vehicle, known as a "jump-jack queeneppiac " a hooded four-wheeler. It was the o: four-wheeler in the district, and it v. as interesting as a circus. The curse of pioneering on the land thoso days wns tutu, which, was vt: prevalent on the way to the Taieri. 1 caused a heavy loss of stock. An Australian cattleman lost several hundred heed in Caversham vrdlev before reaching Lookout Point.
In time the wilderness at West Tak-ii was conquered, and the happy couple were able to "build a commodious house. As sett!t>ine:it d<?vel<>ped and population ina purposeful woman like Mrs Fulton found wide scr.ps for _ unselfish work in the neighborhood. Religious services were held weekly by the Rev. W. Will, of East Taieri, and Mi's Fulton gave up her best service to the church ._ _ She saw the value of inculcating the spirit of Christianity in children, and her keen enthusiasm' was devoted to Sunday school work, in which she was designed-to achieve a record of noble service. In the early davs she started a Sunday school, and this she superintended without a break and with undiminished love and ardor till Sunday, March 13, 1916—50 years' patient and rich service. This work began with a class in her own dining-room, and was continued subsequently in a little mission-house erected at Wcodside village. For marry years there was no doctor nearer than Dunrd'n. and Mrs Fulton supplied simple remed : es for the simple ailments of sturdy folk whose hard life in the- open air made for wholesomeness of body, mind, and ~-oul. As Mrs Fulton's own family grew up she began to take a wider interest in .the affairs of the district, and also of the country. She started cottage prayer meetings for women in the district, became a collector fear the Bible Society, and accepted presidency of the Women's Christian Temperance Union in Dunedin. This position she occupied for many years, and rendered JaTaluabl&
help in connection witlh the women's franchise. During her husband's term of public life, both as Magistrate in the district and as member fox the Taieri in the House of Representatives, Mrs Fulton vras associated prominently with social progress. In 1891 Mr Pulton died, and thereafter Mrs Fulton surrendered much of her splendid public work. But her home remained tho centre of sympathy, wise counsel, and encouragement for those whose minds ever remembered that faith alone sustains the soul Always Mrs Fulton took a keen interest in home and foreign missions, and missionaries of all denominations fovnd her an encouraging friend. A warm heart and a sound head enabled her to perform duty with cheerfulness and effect. From the "very earliest days her home was really Hospitality .Hall. She was always ungrudging in assisting others. Love was her staff and guide, and duty was a pleasure. And throughout and to the end" site was beloved alike by old and young, and especially by little children, who learned soo 1 to draw generously at the well of grandmotherly sympathy, understanding, and kindness. She had a facile pen, and this gave her power to send her sympathy and counsel afar. Temperance appealed to her wise mind. In the early days there was much winedrinking, and many a fine lad who had come from Home to m&fcc a mark in colonial life took the wrong way. To be a teetotaller then was to be a crank. Australian wine was a popular drink, and it was popularly believed that its li.htness was It required courage to practise hospitality without the uee of wine, but the Fultons succeeded. One particularly hospitable .home in Dunedin was influenced by their example, and saved, by substituting tea for wine, over £IOO in the first year of trial. On a certain memorable occasion, at a. parliamentary dinner at Wellington, only six of the great company were teetotallers —a matter for wide wonder. Among these were Sir W. Fox, Mr T. Dick, Mr Fulton, and Mr Tolliurst. It was deemed remarkable to find six teetotallers in such a companyfor men drank copiously, like the great men at Home. Mrs Fulton was always especially interested in education, which even in pioneering days was splendid. Many of the settlers" had come from Home, where condition* had rather forced ordinary folk to manage without ''a good schooling," and now "that they were in a new country they became determined to give their children a fair chance "to ken what's best in life." Much sacrifice was essential to provide the desired opportunity ; but desire was keen, and a fine standard of education and opportunity for acquiring know led 'e was established from the outset. And if the educational standard was then lacking in modem frill, it <nd not lack in essentials. Near the close of her serviceable life, in which there was a rich harvest of memories. Mrs Fulton took a keen and tender interest in the war, which distressed her severely. In girlhood she toured France. Belgium, and Italy, and saw many of the towns, cathedrals, and noble shrines now i devastated bv the madmen of F.irrope. 1 \nd then she had a very personal interest in the conflict. She had eight grandsons. I one son-in-law, seven grand-nephews, and I many kinsmen fighting for her King and country. But even in distress over | the havoc of war she possessed the proud i knowledge that her kith and kin shared m | the mighty conflict for the preservation of j Christian liberty and love. Mrs Fulton is survived by three sons, I three daughters, 25 grandchildren, and j four great-grandchildren. And each and ; all know that they have temporarily parted I from one whose life was an inspiring in- ' f.uence for good and resolute purpose. By the death of Mr John Barelay._ of FnVn street. Oaniaru a resident of 57 years' standing (says the 'Mail'), and one ias widelv known as respected. The late j Mr Barclay landed at Dunedin in 1862, j and after a residence of a few months ' there came to live in the Oamaru district. ! Tie came to the Dominion at the age of 26 years. A building contractor, he was concerned in the erection of most of the buildings in and around Oamaru in the earlv days, including the Queen's Hotel, Meok's mill, the first portion of the Farmers' Co-op., the Thames street bridge, and the first laid portion of St. Luke's Church. The late Mr Barclay took a keen interest in education in the early days.
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OBITUARY, Evening Star, Issue 17037, 7 May 1919
OBITUARY Evening Star, Issue 17037, 7 May 1919
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