Monday, 15 September 2014

Otautau Groups Through the Years

The sporting clubs from the last post led to creating a list of 69 Otautau groups dating back to 1875. The Otautau Football Club seems to be the oldest, still existing group, followed by the Otautau School Committee (1879). Fraternal organisations, sport clubs, religious and community service groups soon followed. It appears that the first decade of the 20th century had the most groups start, with 15 groups formed. Skimming this long and incomplete list, it's apparent that the efforts of many throughout the years have resulted in the community we now have.

While looking through PapersPast for groups, this story popped out. In 1905, the Wallace A&P Association was born. But it seemed to have come about because of a disagreement with the Western District A&P Association which had formed in 1879. Someone suggested that the Western District annual show should alternate between Riverton and Otautau each year. This was unacceptable to Western District, and so Otautau formed its own organisation and called it the Wallace A&P Association. That's how we got the annual show.
Every group has its story, and it would be ideal if we could collect all those stories. But at the very minimum, it would be great to complete this list with beginning and ending dates for each group. If you can fill in a year or see a group that is missing, please contact us. Even if you don't have the years but want to add a group, please do!
  1. Otautau Football Club (1875-present)
  2. Western District A & P Association (1879-1913?)
  3. Otautau School Committee/Board (1879-present)
  4. Aparima Lodge Independent Order of Oddfellows, No 39 (1883- )
  5. Birchwood Hunt Club (1886-present)
  6. Otautau Racing Club (1887- ?)
  7. Otautau Cycling Club (1900?-?)
  8. Otautau Hack Racing Club (at least 1901-)
  9. Otautau Lawn Tennis Club (1902?-?)
  10. Lodge Wallace Masonic, No 129 (1903-?)
  11. Band of Hope, Presbyterian youth group (?)
  12. Young Men's Bible Class, Presbyterian youth group (?)
  13. Young Women's Bible Class, Presbyterian youth group (?)
  14. Wallace A & P Association (1905-?)
  15. Otautau Gun Club (1905-?)
  16. Otautau Cricket Club (1905-?)
  17. Otautau Brass Band (1905-?)
  18. Otautau Bowling Club (1906-present)
  19. Otautau Choral Society (1907- ?)
  20. Te Ara Rebekah Lodge IOOF, No 11 (1908-?)
  21. Pride of Wallace Tent Independent Order of Rechabites (1909-?)
  22. Hope of Wallace Tent, Juvenile Rechabites (1910?-?)
  23. Otautau Harrier and Athletic Club (1910-?)
  24. Otautau Hockey Club (1911-?)
  25. Otautau Golf Club (1912-present)
  26. Loyal Otautau Lodge Manchester Unity IOOF (1913-?)
  27. Otautau Branch Southland League (1914-?)
  28. Lady Liverpool Fund (1914?-?)
  29. Red Cross Committee (1914?-?)
  30. Otautau Swimming Club (1917-?)
  31. Fallen Soldiers Memorial Committee (1919?-?)
  32. Otautau Pipe Band (1920?-?)
  33. Otautau Croquet Club (1922-?)
  34. Loyal Orange Lodge No 109 (1924-?)
  35. Bayswater Tennis Club (1927-?)
  36. Otautau Debating Society
  37. St Andrew's Scottish Society (1919-?)
  38. St Andrew's Scouts (1927-present)
  39. Girl Guides (1927-present)
  40. Otautau Basket Ball Club (1928-?)
  41. Otautau Plunket Society (1930?-?)
  42. Women's Division of Federated Farmers (1930-1999)
  43. Otautau Returned Services Association (1946-present)
  44. Otautau Fire Brigade
  45. Otautau Marching Team
  46. Otautau Playcentre (1958-present)
  47. Otautau Jaycee (1963-1990)
  48. Lions Club of Otautau (1963-present)
  49. Otautau and Districts Historical Society (1974-1983)
  50. Otautau Pottery Club (1979- ?)
  51. Otautau Squash Rackets Club (1979-present)
  52. Order of St John (1986? -?)
  53. Otautau BMX Club (1986?-?)
  54. Otautau Combined Sports Complex (1988-present)
  55. Otautau Local History Museum (1991-2002)
  56. Otautau and District Community Charitable Trust (1994-present)
  57. Otautau Promotions Committee (?)
  58. Western Districts Country & Variety Music Club (?)
  59. Otautau Patchwork and Craft Group (?)
  60. Otautau Community Health Trust (2000?-?)
  61. Otautau Heritage Trust (2000-present)
  62. Otautau & Districts Creative Arts Trust (2000-2007?)
  63. Otautau and Districts Toy Cupboard (2003-present)
  64. Otautau Museum Trust (2003-present)
  65. Western Southland Floral Art Group (?)
  66. Otautau Senior Citizens (?)
  67. Alex McKenzie Memorial Arboretum Charitable Trust (2007-present)
  68. Otautau Community Swimming Pool (2009?-present)
  69. Otautau Friendship League (2013?-present)
Thanks again to the people at the National Library for creating PapersPast. It holds historical NZ newspapers and is invaluable for all kinds of historical research.

By the way, if you received this as an email, you can make comments by clicking on the title which will take you to the blog.

We're open Sundays, 2pm-4pm, and at your request.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Sporting Clubs

Otautau has a great sporting history starting way back in 1875 when the rugby club formed. While we have a few photographs of teams, they often don't tell enough of the story. A quick look at PapersPast reveals when the clubs formed and by whom. This brief sketch of sporting clubs shows the main difference between clubs today and clubs of the past is shear numbers of involvement. It seems more people in the past spent more time participating than people of today.

The Otautau Football Club, 1875

This is the earliest reference to the Otautau Football Club. It was found in the Southland Times, 28 July 1876. While it doesn't show how many members formed the club, we do know that many men were involved in it especially by the turn of the century. Next to the Athletics club which didn't form until 1910, this was one of the more popular clubs to belong to.



The Birchwood Hunt Club, 1886

 From the Southland Times, 2 May 1890.

The Western District Racing Club (aka Otautau Racing Club), 1887

From the Otago Witness, 9 Dec 1887.


The Otautau Lawn Tennis Club 

Some time between 1890 and 1909, the tennis club formed but havent found a reference for it.

The Otautau Cycling Club (probably 1900)

The Cycling Club sounded like a fun affair with races at the recreation ground (before it was named Holt Park) and excursions around the district. Southland Times, 9 Jan 1902.

The Otautau Gun Club, 1905

From the Otautau Standard, 12 Sep 1905

The Otautau Cricket Club, 1905

From the Otautau Standard, 17 Oct 1905. There were enough members in the club to form two teams on the day of their opening match.


The Otautau Bowling Club, 1906

From the Otautau Standard, 2 Oct 1906.

The Otautau Harrier and Amateur Athletic Club, 1910 

From the Otautau Standard, 26 Jul 1910. Just look at the long list of office bearers and volunteers listed here.

The Otautau Hockey Club, 1911

From the Otautau Standard, 11 Jun 1911.

The Otautau Golf Club, 1912

From the Otautau Standard, 28 May 1912. A modest group of 20 people formed the golf club.

The Otautau Swimming Club, 1917

From the Otautau Standard, 16 Jan 1917. This group had four vice-presidents. Just amazing the overflow of office-bearers.

The Otautau Croquet Club, 1922

From the Otautau Standard, 12 Sep 1922.

The Otautau Basket Ball Club, 1928

From the Otautau Standard, 22 May 1928.

While the cricket, croquet, hockey and racing clubs seemed to have fallen away, most of the other clubs have survived. In addition, we now have a squash club that is very active. But as culture changes, so do clubs. Their ability to endure into the future is directly linked with the numbers of volunteers who can help. If you can help a club, please do, otherwise they tend to fall into obscurity. They lose their paperwork, their records and artifacts get misplaced over time. Then museums like ours might try to piece together a club's history but it's never the same as the real thing.

We're open Sundays, 2pm-4pm, and at your request. Your comments are always welcome!

Monday, 8 September 2014

The Gown

The most glamorous of Thelma's designs is this hand-dyed Indian silk evening gown. Thelma describes it as a fully lined, fully boned, red, strapless floor length, silk evening dress with darted shaped bodice and invisible side zip. Yellow-shot with orange silk bodice detail that wraps around the body into the rear bustle panel. The square train flows from the lower waist with a shaped bustle that when lifted to the shoulder is worn as a shawl.

It's a stunning creation from an amazingly talented Otautau woman.

We're open Sundays, 2pm-4pm, and at your request. Your comments are always welcome!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Three for the Price of One

Instead of the usual one big display at the museum, we have three small displays going at the moment. There's the Otautau RSA display in the first room which has been up for a few weeks.


Then, local designer/businesswoman, Thelma Froude, has just installed six of her latest fashion designs. These beautiful outfits had a good showing at the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards, all being accepted for the catwalk.


And in the courtroom, we are steadily putting together a 'Men of the Monument' display. This is a biographical display that touches on their lives here and at war. This display will also encompass other interesting aspects of WWI and Otautau and District's part in it.

Three displays for the price of one -- and as always our price is free.

We're open Sundays, 2pm-4pm, and at your request. Your comments are always welcome!

WWI Volunteer Couple

The second WWI couple to come to my attention this week is Mr and Mrs F.L. Donkin. They had bought a farm called Pheldy in 1909. They are the only couple, and Mrs Donkin is the only woman that we know of, from Otautau to have joined the war.

Frederick Donkin apparently had an interest in flying as there was mention of some exploits in a glider in Otautau though I can't find anything further on it in the Otautau Standard on PapersPast.

So, in 1915, this couple left Otautau for King and Country. Six months later, an article stated that Mrs Donkin was working in a munitions factory in England while Mr Donkins had been made Captain at the Front in France. He later was promoted to Major.

In 1921, while living in Geraldine, Frederick received the Order of Companion of the Distinguished Service Order from Governor-General Lord Jellicoe.

Sadly, in 1925, Frederick died in a motor lorry accident near Picton, aged 43 or 45. It was reported that his wife and 11-year old son were in England at the time. 

If you know anything about this couple or have a photo, please drop us a line.

We're open Sundays, 2pm-4pm, and at your request. Your comments are always welcome!