Cel­e­brat­ing Ren­wick’s early pioneers

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - FRONT PAGE - DAVID JAMES

A lit­tle town­ship in ru­ral Marl­bor­ough wants to cel­e­brate its roots. But it needs a lit­tle help. Ren­wick Mu­seum is call­ing on the town­ship’s ‘Found­ing Fam­i­lies’ - the de­scen­dants of early set­tlers - to come and share their sto­ries.

The Ren­wick Found­ing Fam­i­lies Cel­e­bra­tion will be held at the Ren­wick Mu­seum on Novem­ber 13 from 1pm to 3pm.

Ren­wick Mu­seum sec­re­tary San­dra Wel­burn says peo­ple will be sur­prised by how much in­for­ma­tion they have on Ren­wick and its early set­tlers.

This is the first time the small team, com­prised of pres­i­dent Gwenda Hod­son, San­dra Wel­burn and trea­surer Ray Wel­burn, has held such an event, which hap­pens to co­in­cide with Marl­bor­ough Her­itage Week.

The Wel­burns, from York­shire, Eng­land, just moved to Ren­wick four years ago. Their thirst for knowl­edge on the area made them vol­un­teer at the mu­seum, where they slowly started to put to­gether a time­line of the town

‘‘We’re fas­ci­nated by his­tory,’’ Ray Wel­burn says. ‘‘We wanted to learn about this town when we got here and it just took off.’’

The trio have been work­ing tire­lessly, in their own time, putting to­gether a com­pre­hen­sive ge­neal­ogy of the town­ship.

Hang­ing on the walls around them, in the re­search room, are pho­to­graphs and gi­ant-sized fam­ily trees.

Hod­son has rel­a­tives that go back to the found­ing fam­i­lies, and has even writ­ten a book about grow­ing up in the re­gion.

She says the mu­seum wants more peo­ple to come and check out what they have on of­fer.

‘‘Some­one do­nated a high chair, which be­longed to the Bary fam­ily here in Ren­wick,’’ Hod­son says. ‘‘You’d be sur­prised how many peo­ple have come for­ward and said, ‘My gran­dad, my un­cle, or so and so, sat in that’.’’

The Wel­burns have been work­ing around the clock in the lead up to the event, Hod­son says.

‘‘They just about sleep here,’’ she says. ‘‘They do ev­ery­thing around the mu­seum.’’

The day prom­ises to be a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for ev­ery­one.

‘‘We have so many pho­to­graphs, fam­ily trees and col­lec­tions that, you know, they ought to ac­cess,’’ San­dra Wel­burn says.

‘‘There’s so much po­ten­tial for this mu­seum. It seems a shame not to push that po­ten­tial.’’

For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact Marl­bor­ough Mu­seum on 03 578 1712 or info@marl­bor­ough mu­seum.org.nz.


The ge­nealo­gies of Ren­wick’s found­ing fam­i­lies are start­ing to come to­gether thanks to the tire­less work of vol­un­teers at Ren­wick Mu­seum.

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