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One of the oldest of the white settlers in Stewart's- island has just • passed away. Robert Lowrie Ballantine, familiarly known ,in the .island .as-" Old/. Lawrie," bad;, been, ..until his) dqath on- Sunday "last, , for 45 years one of the most, conspicuous figures on the j " neck." He was one of the old whalers-who made that place their home, when settlement in New, Zealand had hardly begun. It is unnecessary to say 'what changes he witnessed in the colony during Ms lengthened sojourn, I and how completely he had outlived nearly every' Vestige of the old state of things on the Neck. "Bloody Jack" was the dominant I chief, and dispenser of land titles in Stewart* Island an'dKuapake 'when Lowrie landed in the,former.abput lS^Tand. it is qxciting to, hear from the lips'of his confreres, what rich endowments were then to be had for a shirt or a musket. Lowrie was in his 78th year, having been nearly as old as' the century. He seemed to haye grown to the where - his hqge figure was long to been seen daily at ■ the ;door of his house, a red cowl on his head, and in his hand a telescspe with which he was wont to sweep the expanse of water which the Neck commands- He has dropped -from that perch at last, and has left but few, of his old mates behind. Still- one or ,two aged men of course— and witnessing, 'as others have done, to the remarkable salubrity of the abode tfcey hava chjasen. One of these survivors is above-* 80, and the other above 70, and neither shews indications of leaving the Neck for .-awhile..' Sometime sinee -the writer of these notes heard from Lowrie's lips, and noted down some curious " yarns" of the "early . days, which perhaps _ may yefc see the light. Tfce oyster se^sori'lia^ fairly opened; here,

The -cutters on the; bed numbered 10 'yesteiv day; iand 12 to r (i^;: Yesterday the weather was snperb,' saewing Stewarts Island at its best;, and it was a most picturesque sight to s^Btlje little flotilla .moving along in line, witH topsails set, before a light breeze, and se'einingly contending in a; race, as no doubt they ; w^ere. -: althpngh;- the : prize was not for ,speed/;It appears the take lias been good, i <and;in;aiVhkelihood a rich harvest is awaiting "fine owners bf^Ke; busy little fleet. z&JI- good many strangers here this season visited the island to make acquaintance with its, ,heautie3 and it .is .not; yet.,too late to enjoy a little boating : up the -inlet andalong the coasts. The climate here is a bland one, and summer seems .stilly to linger when thesun gets out. The flowers bloom-late in the year, and will be fresh months hence, and :are: justw now ;in; full :^iQte, srTery,-numerous,5 rTery,numerous, and making.;the bush ring in the early morning. This is' written from the island of Ulva, which Mr Trail! has done so much; to cultivate s and ornament, and into .which . he.£urpose3 shprfci^ mtrodiicing a number: of English" song birds.^'),;; One thing militates against the progress of S te- : w;af,tslsiandV and that isthehighprice at which the land is held by.Government. £2 an acre is almost prohibitive of settlement where the forestis ; so dense, and the cost of clearing,sa: enormous. An exception^ might well be made of an out-of -the- way region like this, and the ; price for timbered land made simply nominal to those who would dear.and cultivate it. ■ It; is to be hoped that in any change of .the Land Law proyisidn will, be,^ made to some such effect. '■■'" '/■,-"■-:■ ■■' ■"■'■[■ ' : -_,; ;,'"'. ". V'-.' The sawmills in iSorseshoe/and Half-modn Bays are employing 'a number of people, whose condition would be, betteir. but for the baneful presence fof a p.ublic house_ in/I the, latter locality. It , is prettjr^ certain^ that a Local :Option Bill would Vsettle. the v que^ promptly agairis^ such, an institution there, to :the great benefit' of the' workmen ; and their families. "■'. Nothing is' here ' said againsfc : the conduct of the house referred to, , but the existenc^ of such a house is totally uncalled for, and is simply a. snare to men ,who in its absencejinight in such a place as' Stewarts Island live simple, frugal, and sober lives, The Schoblin Half -moon Bay is no' small boon to the district.: It is well attended, and is conducted with. yigoj: and success by : Mr Peterson. : . Ohildrenirpm^Horseshoe Bay haVe to travel Tfo school by a; traclc that is somewhat deterring, ;but the energy of the settlers should be sufficient: to; remove the -obstacle without any outside assistance, now that they^en joy free' education for their,- chll'.dren.■•--.■■.'..-.::---. ..'/■: . . ■;■ ' ■^■-:-: -. '-■ ',■:,},.: \ It .woflld; ■berunfajr > nqt to notice the ad • vantage to the island. that is derived from [the conduct of;the weekly mail cutter,' Ulva. • This smaricratt performs the service with remarkable regularity ,_and in weather that •would sometimes^ be. .a ; |uflicient excuse for '■■ failiire. Captain Joss! deserves no little .credit" 'for' the." pluck that- h6 "shows so often ■ in crossing theStMtSjandforthe trim, clean, and smart condition in which his vessel: is always to be found:: ■" • -- - -

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NOTES FROM STREWART'S ISLAND., Southland Times, Issue 3370, 9 April 1879

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NOTES FROM STREWART'S ISLAND. Southland Times, Issue 3370, 9 April 1879

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