Truby King commemoration proposed
Chapman describes King being lured by the Otago goldrush, and buying a gold dredge from Southland, forming the Argyle Gold Dredging Company in about 1902. The dredge was operating near Beaumont on the Clutha River, and was moved to the Waikaka River.
Next came King’s puzzling decision to buy Lauriston farm near Tahakopa in 1911. The Catlins was a long, rugged journey from Seacliff, and his beloved patients who worked the farm there. But apparently King was able to fix things so that some could work at the Catlins farms. He ended up by owning six.
King even built a bridge to accommodate a railway extension to link his timber mill to the outside world, which still stands today. He also built 24 mill workers’ houses, a very technically advanced dairy operation, with the first herringbone milking shed. From his cheese factory, he used the whey to feed a new piggery. He sold his farms in 1921.
King died in Wellington on February 10, 1938. He was the first private citizen in New Zealand to be given a state funeral.
The men’s club hopes their trip will spark peoples’ interest in attending a public meeting at a later date, to discuss options and have input into a commemoration, maybe something as simple as a plaque, or a more elaborate structure.
Plunket founder Sir Frederic Truby King, with a child named Madelaine, at the Karitane Hospital in Wellington in 1932.