Hutt River

Evening Post 28 April 1909
A public meeting to consider the question of extending the present River District is to be held at the Taita School at 7.30 p.m on Monday next. Yesterday Mr. Robert Stevens, chairman of the board, with the consulting engineer, Mr. Laing-Meason. M. Inst C.E., made an extended inspection of the land which it is proposed to bring under the River Board”s control, and they examined the river bank, and the overflow channels from which danger is apprehended. The recent very heavy flood in the river made it an easy matter to observe the height to which the flood waters had risen, and the chairman was strongly impressed with the seriousness of the situation. The flood mark made it very evident that an overflow had taken place into an old river channel about a mile northward of the Taita Hotel, and this old channel was traced from the river bank to the point where it crosses the main road near Mason”s Gardens. In the early days of settlement, this channel was the main branch of the Hutt River, and in times of flood it carried a very great volume of water into the Waiwetu River and inundated a large area of land in the lower valley. Should this occur again, and experts say it is quite possible, disastrous results would follow, and all the work erected by the board in its own district would be outflanked and rendered useless. It was observed, also, that much good land is being eroded by the river in every flood, and if the proposed new area was brought under the control of the board, all this loss of land would be prevented. After his inspection of the ground, the chairman was strongly of opinion that, both in the interest of the settlers in the area proposed to be included in the River District, and of the lower valley, the suggested extension of the district should be given effect to without any delay.

Evening Post 30 April 1931
Recent and old-time flooding in the Hutt Valley was the subject of an interview recently in “The Evening Post” with Mr. A. J. M”Curdy, who incidentally called to mind that the site of the old Barley Mow Hotel, Silverstream, is now monopolised by the Hutt River. And that observation prompted other memories. Mr. McCurdy, stated that in the old days of Wellington-Wairarapa traffic, via Hutt Valley, the chain of hotels in the valley, from north to south, was:—
Golden Fleece, Mrs. Wagg, on rise where the main road runs down to the Pakuratahi River. On right hand side of road, looking south. [The site can still be traced, through cellar pit and remains of foundations. The hotel is mentioned by the Greytown pioneers, who mention it as the last hotel before crossing Riniutaka divide in 1853.]
Mungaroa Hotel, Mrs. Collens, near where the Mungaroa tributary of the Hutt crosses the main road.
Shepherd”s Rest, James Brown (senr.), Upper Hutt. Mr. M”Curdy remarked that Mr. James Brown was the father of the late Mr. George Brown, of Upper Hutt, Hutt county councillor. [Mr. Brown and his hotel and Upper Hutt are also mentioned in the Greytown records of 1853.] The hotel was situated in Upper Hutt on the left hand side of the road, looking south; and the site is now occupied by Mr. Cotter”s plumbing premises. The hotel was afterwards known as the Criterion Hotel.
Highland Home, S. M”Hardy (sic), on main road at Wallaceville, near the site of the “Old Blockhouse.” The “Old Blockhouse,” with its loop-holes, is still standing, and a signboard on the main road directs sightseers to this relic of Maori War scares.
Barley Mow, Mr. Wyeth (senr.), the site of which one-time hotel is surveyed, consciously or unconsciously, by every railway passenger who looks upriver as the train swings over Silverstream railway bridge. This hotel used to be on the left-hand side of the road looking south, and the river used to flow west of the hotel and the road. In its” eastward swing the river has taken the place of both hotel and road, and the latter was moved eastward to its present location. Moving the road, said Mr. McCurdy, simply meant laying out a deviation through the paddocks to the east, and it was done so quickly that they discovered years afterwards that the road site at this point had never been properly conveyed. Traveller”s Rest, Mr. _, Taita, left side of main road looking south.
After that, the Lower Hutt hotels awaited the thirsty coach traveller.
“If anyone wishes to locate the Barley Mow site more exactly,” added Mr. McCurdy, “all he has to do is to look up-river as he crosses Silverstream railway bridge, and he will see, a few yards upstream, one little willow tree close to the river channel, but west of it, and quite distinct from the row of willows east of it. This willow springs from an old stump that used to flourish as a tree in the yard of the Barley Mow. The willow was east of the Hutt River until the river decided Otherwise. It will be seen that on the western side there is still a channel in which the Hutt flows when in flood. That channel crosses the toe of a moraine or fan of material carried down from the western hills. On this fan used to be a whare; it has gone where a Hutt flood took it. Another whare, further east, was also carried away by flood.
“It may also be of interest to know that the above-mentioned Highland Home Hotel, Wallaceville, was afterwards called the Railway Hotel. The railway was being built at the time and it was thought that Wallaceville would be the principal station. But the late Hutt county councillor, George Brown, gave the Department of Railways 28 acres of land at Upper Hutt adjacent to the Rhodes estate, and Upper Hutt became the principal station. Land for railway purposes at Silverstream was given by Mr. Todd, and that fact helped to secure a station there. CANOEING IN UPPER HUTT.
“Talking about big floods in the past, would it surprise you to know that on one occasion the Maoris of Maori Bank (no Maoris there now!) came to the Upper Hutt saleyards site in a canoe!”

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