Trea­sures hid­den in the wall

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - KOREN ALLPRESS

Ti­maru man Ja­cob David­son has dis­cov­ered ar­ti­facts of lo­cal his­tory with an Ash­bur­ton con­nec­tion in the wall of his new home.

The 25-year-old pur­chased the house from fam­ily about three and a half months ago and was un­der­tak­ing ren­o­va­tions when he made the dis­cov­ery.

‘‘There was a shelv­ing unit in the basement which I shifted. I don’t know why, but I looked over the back and I could see [three suit­cases], tucked over be­hind the wall,’’ David­son said.

‘‘I was hop­ing it was full of money.’’

In­stead, he found do­mes­tic items, tele­graphs and pho­tos, some of which were from the 1930s, but did not recog­nise any of the names on the items.

He was con­tacted by a Ve­nessa Ashby within hours of post­ing a photo of the find on the Ti­maru His­tory and Mem­o­ries Face­book page.

David­son’s father Ross also came across a name he knew; New­lands. He had worked with a Lor­raine New­lands in the past.

Lor­raine New­lands said her hus­band Greg New­lands was Vanessa’s cousin, and his par­ents John and Dawn New­lands — nee Ashby — had owned David­son’s prop­erty un­til they died in 1998.

She be­lieved Vera Ashby nee Tur­ton, who mar­ried Wil­liam Ashby in 1930, was Dawn’s grand­mother.

Vera Tur­ton was the grand­daugh­ter of Ash­bur­ton founders Wil­liam and Fran­cis Tur­ton, who set­tled in Ash­bur­ton in 1858.

Lor­raine New­lands said she knew the suit­cases were in the wall, as she and Greg had cleaned out the prop­erty be­fore it had been sold, but nei­ther could reach them from be­hind the shelv­ing unit.

Ash­bur­ton Mu­seum mu­seum di­rec­tor Tanya Robin­son said it was an ex­cit­ing find, as the Tur­tons were a very well known and im­por­tant fam­ily in Ash­bur­ton his­tory.

‘‘There are lots of peo­ple con­nected to that fam­ily liv­ing here,’’ she said.

Robin­son con­firmed Vera as the grand­daugh­ter of Wil­liam and Fran­cis Tur­ton and said Lor­raine was drop­ping the cases off dur­ing the school hol­i­days.

‘‘We’re def­i­nitely look­ing for­ward to see­ing what is in there,’’ Robin­son said.

‘‘It is be­com­ing rarer to find items like this, and it sounds like the items are over 100 years old, so that makes them sig­nif­i­cant in their own right.’’


Lor­raine New­lands holds a photo of the wed­ding of Vera Tur­ton and Wil­liam Ashby in Au­gust 1930.

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