Hidden Gems
View of Pelorus Valley

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Record 3/10
Copyright Marlborough Museum - Marlborough Historical Society Inc
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Collection MHS (unaccessioned) Cob Cottage
Description D.A. (David Anderson) Jones, View of Pelorus Valley, about 1900, oil on paper. Gifted by Pearl Farnell (nee Smart), niece of the artist

It took until 1876, 17 years after the Province of Marlborough was established in 1859 to upgrade the dirt track between Nelson and Blenheim. This view, approximately 6 kilometres west of Havelock, shows the metal coach road running through the Pelorus Valley. It skirts close to the Pelorus River as it passes Ngati Kuia's Ruapaka Pa and disappears around Ruapaka Bluff towards Canvastown. The old urupa or cemetery is up on the Bluff.
Ngati Kuia built the red painted wharenui, or meeting house, Te Oranga in 1899 as a tribal base to discuss political and other matters. The Ruapaka Flax Mill belching smoke beside it is on Ngati Kuia's land and was established in about 1873 to take advantage of the copious flax from the swamp by the edge of the river. Ernest Rutherford's father James leased the mill in the 1880s.

The hill on the left cleared of dense native forest for sawmilling indicates the major industry in west Marlborough. The tidy fences around tilled fields and grazing sheep may be more orderly than the reality in 1900, but they identify the boundaries of each rural section. David Jones (1871 - 1931) was an amateur artist who knew this landscape well because he grew up and lived his life in the Ruapaka and Canvastown area. The two-storied house in the foreground is likely the homestead built by his parents Robert and Sophia Jones on their land, and which his brother Norman farmed.

Label for Hidden Gems exhibition July to September 2014 written by Jane Vial, Guest Curator.
Object ID 0000.800.0865
Object Name Painting
Other # 0103
People Jones, David Anderson
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Last modified on: November 16, 2015