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A FRIEND TO MANY.

THE LATE MRS. BURNETT. Although tradition and ancestry are not everything in the formation of character yet they play a very important part. In estimating the characteristics of any particular individual it is always wise to go back a little. The father of the late Mrs A. Burnett, who. recently passed iiway at the Cave, was for many year's a soldier in the Sutherland Highlanders. In those days the soldiers were a leavening force in their native parishes. In goiDg abroad they came in contact with different nations and different classes, and thus had their ideas enlarged and mellowed. They almost unconsciously became leaders of opinion. Her father's contact with different nationalities was the "seed germ of that catholicity of spirit so characteristic of Mrs Burnett. Mr and Mrs-Burnett left Home in the year 1861, and on arriving in New Zealand went straight into the Mackenzie Country., and ever since the name Burnett has been almost synonymous.' with the term Mackenzie Country. At that time there were only four or live other "women in the whole of the Mackenzie; there was no track, no fehee, ho bridge, and only a. few sod huts. "Where the Tekapo bridge .now stances there was just one small rowing "boat.--Bullock'drays and saddle horses were the only means of transit then. In those days it took as long to go from •Timaru to Mount Cook as it does to go from Mount Cook to Auckland now; 1 .

.We'are told that in those days people were more ready to help one another; mutual difficulties seemed to draw one to the other. A woman would go miles and miles to assist in distress. Tn 1864 Mr and Mrs Burnett took up Mount Cook run and practically carved a home out of the most formidable wilderness. However, they were undaunted, and overcame the seemingly impossible. It is hard to estimate the influence of a good woman in such surroundings. All would naturally come to her for sympathy in their troubles and advice in " their difficulties. Throughout the whole of the Mackenzie Mrsßurnett was noted for her hospitality and sound iudgment. It must be remembered that the dispensing of hospitality was not so easy then as it is now. It involved a much larger amount of sacrifice as modern conveniences were quite unknown. The nucdusof the Cave property was acquired in the year 1575 with the idea of having a property outside of the aone of disastrous snow, losses, and in 1876 the Burnetts acquired a town house to get their children educated. There was no free education then, and consequently it was much mare highly valued. Such circumstances tended to develop a, spirit of rigid independence. _ One of the late Mrs Burnett's chief ideals was-to lay the foundation for the future success of her family. This meant a great deal of sacrifice on both sides. The family lived in town during the winter,, and moved up to the run in summer. Mrs Burnett was kind l to all. Her attitude towards the man carrying the swag was just as kindly as her attitude towards the man with thei big bank book She was brought up in the Free Church of Scotland, and was always loyal to the church of her fathers.

In the course of a memorial service in Fairlie Presbyterian Church last Sunday the Hev. John Craig said : "I have; chosen as my subiect this morning the 91st. Psalm, because I am assured it was the favourite rcsalm of the late Mrs A. Burnett, who passed away last Wednesday, and because she has been so long associated with this church. On the Sundav previous to her death, Mrs. Burnett gave a beautiful testimony in connection with her •Christian faith; When, her family were all present she said that there was only one Saviour, and that He was her Redeemer. Nothing that had been said or written had ever shaken her absolute faith in and dependence on the Atonement of .Christ. "During all her trials in the Mackenzie she had been sustained by the thought that Christ was with her.

"One noteworthy fact is that Mr and Mrs Burnett were for many years so situated that tliev could riiot attend church, yet the Sundav was always ' observed. No unneccKsarv -work was allowed- on the Sunday. It .'■s to "be hoped that, the oresent occupiers of the great Mackenzie runs will always remain faithful to the same Commandment."

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/THD19140715.2.52

Bibliographic details

A FRIEND TO MANY., Timaru Herald, Volume CI, Issue 15398, 15 July 1914

Word Count
743

A FRIEND TO MANY. Timaru Herald, Volume CI, Issue 15398, 15 July 1914

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