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PASSING OF A PIONEER

MR DONALD SUTHERLAND. Tho death of Mr Donald Sutherland, of tho Milford Sound accommodation house, removes one whose personality was not without historic interest, and who had bocome known to a yory wido circlo of tourists and travellers. It was by a message from Captain John liollons, of tho Hinomoa, that tho news of Mr Sutherland's death was , received. Nothing is yet known as to tho immediate cause of his death, nor as to •.vhero or how ho was buried. He and Vis wife lived alone in t.ho well-known house cm the flat nearly two miles from Sandfly Point, and it would bo only by chance if •myone elso was about at tho time. Ho had been ailing for about throe years, asthma and a weakness of the heart compelling lnm to lie up frequently, Mr Sutherland was an old sailor of Highland birth, and inherited to tin® full the tough ctiduranc© and self-reliance combined with the adventuring spirit of his race. He took part in the Maori war, and sought his , fortuno oil mor.e than one of the goldfiolds of Now Zoaland in tho early days. It was so far back as 1878 that ho_ began to < cruise round the Otago Sounds in a little boat entirely alone, living on such birds and fiah as ho could catch. He left notices and records at various spots where he had landed and camped, and when the Rotorua, a littlo vessel of 126 tons, visited Milford Sound in December, 1878, ho was found camped under a tent fly near the sito of tho pre seat accommodation house. He had been exploring up tho Arthur River, and had discovered Lake Ada, which was so named by ono of tho Rotorua's passengers after a lady who formed ono of the company. Mr Sutherland sold to the passengers bird skins and other odds and ends, and receivted flour and tea and other provisions in* return. _ _ Sutherland continued, with but rare visits to civilisation, his lonely existence in this remote spot, till, in 1891, he took home to share his isolation a ■widowed lady whom ho married in Dunedin. Before this he had earned _ his chief title to fame by the 'discovery in 1888 of the wonderful Sutherland Falls, named after him, and generally spoken of as the highest in the world. Tho discovery of the M'Kinnon Pass about this time, and tho subsequent opening up of the Te AnauMilford-' track led to Mr and Mrs Suther- ,, land taking charge of an accommodation houso /which is really the terminus of this far-fartied walk. Tho track ends at Sandfly Point, opposite tha house, and Mr Sutherland had a motor b#at in which to bring travellers across. To the very end it was only while tha trad: was open during tho summer season that he was at all in touch with the out-side world, and for the greater part of the year he was quite content to remain in complete isolation. Mr Sutherland was a man wdl over 80 -years■_ of age, and was a figure of romantio interest, who will be much missed by thoSe, who have to visit tho magnificent scenery of the Milford district.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ODT19191201.2.89

Bibliographic details

PASSING OF A PIONEER, Otago Daily Times, Issue 17796, 1 December 1919

Word Count
534

PASSING OF A PIONEER Otago Daily Times, Issue 17796, 1 December 1919

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