Hackfalls Arboretum – Tiniroto, Gisborne NZ

Friday, 2012 March 2

David Whyte of Abbotsford

Filed under: Hackfalls,Hackfalls Arboretum — Dick Bos @ 8:56 pm
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Today John and I made a walk to the grave of David Whyte and some of his family members, in the paddock just past the woolshed. We found the one gravestone.

Grave of David Whyte at Hackfalls Station and Arboretum, Tiniroto, Gisborne NZ

The text on the stone reads (as far as I can decipher):
IN LOVING MEMORY
OF OUR DEAR SISTER
BESSIE
WHO DIED DECEMBER 1896
AGED 32 YEARS
ALSO OF
MAY
WHO DIED OCTOBER 1898(?)
AGED 22 YEARS
ALSO OF OUR DEAR FATHER
DAVID WHYTE
WHO FELL ASLEEP SEPTEMBER 6th 1910
AGED 72 YEARS
PEACE PERFECT PEACE
WITH LOVED ONES FAR AWAY
IN JESUS KEEPING
WE ARE SAFE AND THEY.
TOGETHER TO THEIR FATHERS HOUSE
WITH JOYFUL HEARTS THEY GO
AND DWELL FOREVER WITH THE LORD
BEYOND THE REACH OF WOE.

The grave definitely needs some maintenance!

Grave of David Whyte at Hackfalls Station and Arboretum, Tiniroto, Gisborne NZ

David Whyte was the original owner of Hackfalls, which he then called Abbotsford. He build a two storey house, according to Colleen Bull (2000) – ”From Papa to Pumice and Back Again” (the history of the Mossmann family of Awapiko and The Laurels at Waerengaokuri). I suppose this was the building that has become known as the original homestead (of Abbotsford / Hackfalls).

David Whyte was also one of the persons who promoted the railway link between (Napier,) Wairoa and Gisborne via the inland route:

Napier - Gisborne Railway; from Bellamy 1969

David Whyte had been trained as an engineer and he had been in charge of railway works in India, before he came to Tiniroto and became a farmer. He made a proposal in 1896 to create an inland route between Wairoa and Gisborne via Frasertown, Tiniroto, following the Hangaroa River to Hangaroa township and then to Ngatapa and Gisborne. He estimated the line would cost about £655,000, to be borrowed at 3 % from London.
The line was built from from Gisborne to Ngatapa (1914), and from Wairoa to Frasertown (1919), and then abandoned (about 1924). From 1935 onward the so called Wharerata route along the coast was build. This section was finally finished in 1942.
Imagine what it would have been like if this plan had become true. To have a Railway Station somewhere near Tiniroto, perhaps even on the grounds of what now is Hackfalls Station, and take the train to Ngatapa – that’s where Eastwoodhill Arboretum is nowadays! A direct railway connection between Hackfalls and Eastwoodhill!

John and I also tried to figure out where exactly the original homestead has been standing. It must have been somewhere in the far corner of the paddock, on a flat place.

Place of the first homestead of Abbotsford Station, Tiniroto, Gisborne NZ

There are quite a few very old trees over here. Mainly Pinus radiata and some gum trees Eucalyptus. And there is also a walnut tree Juglans regia.

walnut tree near place of the old homestead of Abbotsford Station, Tiniroto, Gisborne NZ

We found a fig tree as well. I can’t find these trees in the cat.

In this corner we also found some growth of Periwinkle (“maagdenpalm” in Dutch – Vinca). Typical traces of an old settlement.
– – – – –
map of the Napier – Gisborne Railway taken from:
Bellamy, A. C. (1969) – The Napier Gisborne Railway : The story of its construction and development. Napier (?): NZ Railway and Locomotive Society Inc., Hawke´s Bay branch.

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1 Comment »

  1. Yes, the original house was on the flat land you mention.
    Originally he was a railway engineer. Went out to India twice for a few years each time,but his wife refused to accompany him. He returned to Glasgow intending to be permanently there and had a partnership in a tea merchant firm. After serious injury in a rail crash in Scotland, he and his (by modern standRds) massive family emigrated peace meal to New Zealand, buying a five square mile plot which they developed as a sheep farm. Maybe that is why I am keen on Shawn the Sheep – I am one of his great grandchildren.

    Donal Hopkins

    Comment by Donald Hopkins — Wednesday, 2017 January 4 @ 4:30 pm | Reply


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