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OBITUARY.

JOHN McLEAN, OF REDCASTLE.

Per Press Association.

OAMARU, July 15. Mr John McLean, of Redcastle, for years a member of the Legislative Council, and the Otago Provincial Council, died this morning, after a long illness; aged 84 years. s

From last night's "Oamaru Mail" we I take the following:—"lt is to-day our I painful duty to record the death of Mr : John McLean, of Eedcastle, who passed away peacefully and calmly at his residence at 7 o'clock this morning, at the ripe age of 84 years. Until about eight . years ago the deceased gentleman had en- ■ joyed robust health, and few men at bis age could compare with birn in uis tlra. vigour of mind and body. Since, however, he was attacked with illness, while his mental strength remained sufficiently active to enable, him to give attention to his business affairs, he had been only occasionally able to leave his home, and latterly he was a confirmed invalid. When in the latter part of last week he was unable to leave his bed, it was felt that the end was approaching, and his relations were called to his bedside. Mr McLean's was a busy, eventful, successful, and useful life. Born in the Island of Coll, Argyleshire, 1 Scotland, in 1818, Mr McLean began the battle of life at a very early age, and for some years was employed in farm work. When entering upon man's estate he resolved to carve out for himself a career in a. new land, and in 1839 he landed in Australia. Here we find him in Victoria accepting employment under Messrs Hales ' and Haynes (the latter at one time Premier ; of the colony) upon their large sheep station ■ on the Barrabool Hills. It was here that he acquired by observation and study the knowledge and experience which made him in after years a successful station-holder. His first venture upon his own account was in the Western district, where he took ;up a large block of land, and was, we believe, joined by his brothers. It was a prosperous venture, for wool-growing in those_days. when prices were good though difficulties were many, was a profitable enterprise. When gold was discovered in 1851 Messrs McLean, while, still retaining their station, struck out in a new direction. .They became gold buyers upon a large scale, and, surmounting all the difficulties of imperfect means of communication and braving all the dangers arising from the inflow of very undesirable characters, made many journeys to Bendigo for the purpose. There were no banks in those early and primitive days, and Messrs McLean, while reaping a good reward for their enterprise and pluck, conferred upon the diggers a substantial service. With the development of the mining interest properties in victoria were enhanced in value enormously, and Messrs McLean resolved to accept a tempting offer for their property which they sold to great advantage. The foundation upon which was built the fortunes of the family were thus laid. Concluding that a further purchase of laud at a reasonable Tate was impossible in Victoria, they turned their eyes towards New Zealand, the southern portion of which was then in the early stages of settlement. Mr John McLean and* his brothers then came to this colony, landing at Lyttelton in 1854. Their first purchase of land was at Morven Hills, and the area then acquired was gradually extended until the Morven Hills Estate comprised 200,000 acres. The acquisition of other blocks in other localities went on as time passed" by, until the Laghmor (Ashburton), Creighton Park (Southland), Waikakahi and Wai--1 taki Estates were founded upon broad and I imposing lines. Thus Messrs John and | Allan McLean became the largest flock- | owners in the colony, counting their sheep by hundreds of thousands. Indeed it £ recorded that in one year they shore close upon a quarter of a million sheep. In the early seventies the Morven Hills Estate was sold to the present holders, Messrs' Ualgety and Company, Limited, and shortly aitern-aras the partnership between Messrs John and Allan McLean was dissolved. As an indication of the enterprise which marked their conduct of their business, we may mention, that they constructed the first road across the Kakanni ranges, through Dansey's Pass, n order to o-et their wool to the seaboaid. While this work was being carried on gold was found by the men employed upon it/ and something in the nature of a mild rush was occasioned by the news of the discovery. . It may also be noted here that Messrs McLean many years ago imported deer, and having carried the animals in waggons to the back country, liberated them° on the Morven Hills Estate. Mr John McLean held a large interest in the Bank of New Zealand, and was, we believe, one of the early directors of that institution. He was, it may be noted, one of those whose advice was sought when a few years ago it was felt that a crisis was impending in the Bank's affairs, and he was one of the' committee of three elected to fully investigate- ths affairs of the institu-

tion, a tribute being thus paid to his financial acumen. -, Mr McLean at one time took an active interest, in public and local affairs. He was for many years a member of the Otago Provincial Council, and retained his seat up to the time of the abolition of the provinces in 1876. He was also a member of the Legislative Council for "five years, having been called to that body in 1567. and retired by resignation in August, 1872. He was." too, a member of the kcal Road Board in the earlier days, and had been a member of the committee of the North Otago Agricultural and Pastoral Association and a director of the Oamaru Caledonian Society, in both of which he had occupied the position of president, while in the Horticultural Society he had filled a like position, and was latterly designated patron. He has also given considerable help to other local societies and institutions. Mr McLean was an old Mason, and had won a distinguished place in the craft. In many ways and by many people he will be greatly missed, for though reputed to be a keen man in business matters, he was also a generous one, whose gifts and contributions were on a liberal scale. Only those who enjoyed his closer confidence had any knowledge of the extent of his benefactions, for Mr McLean had a strong dislike to ostentation in any form. He possessed a keen insight into men and matters, and was a man of wide reading and deep thinking, with whom it was always a source of great pleasure and not a little profit to discuss all manner of topics. We understand that in .compliance with a wish expressed by the deceased gentleman to be buried beside a deceased sister, the body will be. sent to Christchurch for interment, and that the funeral procession to the railway station will take place "on Thursday.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/THD19020716.2.32

Bibliographic details

OBITUARY., Timaru Herald, Volume LXXVII, Issue 11810, 16 July 1902

Word Count
1,172

OBITUARY. Timaru Herald, Volume LXXVII, Issue 11810, 16 July 1902

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