St. John's Church, Waihi, Winchester, South Canterbury

The Anglican Church of St John the Evangelist,

St John was the Anglician parish church in Winchester and was moved here in 1972. Photo taken by Margaret Todd in Janaury 2008.

in the Waihi School grounds, near Winchester, South Canterbury, N.Z.

An exert from John Button's 'Geraldine, the first 150 years' Chapter 7, Beyond the Town, Pg 388.

Church services were first held in the school in 1870, with Mr Inwood from the mill appointed lay reader in 1874. The Inwood mill had been named the 'Winchester Mill' after their English home in Hampshire and this soon became the name of the township. St John's Episcopalian Church was consecrated 25 March 1879. The church was built in 1879 opposite the flour mill, services being held every Sunday, usually by the Temuka vicar or local lay readers. From 1907 until the mid-fifties the pupils from the Waihi School used to march down the main road each Sunday morning to attend the service under the watchful eye of Mr Stone-Wigg and all wearing their cream 'boater' hats. In 1972 the Church was shifted to the Waihi School grounds and the pupils used the Church daily before school.

 The Waihi School history is from 'Daybreak in Geraldine County 1877-1952' Churches and Schools Pg 170-1 A J Davey

Waihi School, Winchester, a prepartory boarding school for boys from eight to fourteen years, was founded in 1907, and opened in September of that year. The founder, J.R. Orford, was a graduate of King's College, Cambridge, England, with first-class honours in classics and a triple Blue. The 'Orford Studentship' (1947-53) a scholarship to King's College was named in his honour open to students of NZ universities. When he died in 1924 Mr J.L. Stone-Wigg took over the school.
    The buildings stand in fourteen acres of playing fields and gardens. there is accommodation for 50 boys drawn from all over the South Island, mainly from country and in many cases isolated country districts. To date 500 boys have attended the school. Twenty-five old boys gave their lives in the Second World War.

Progress, 1 March 1907, Page 180 Building & Architecture.

A Boys' Preparatory School is to be erected at Orari for Mr. J. R Orford. The building is planned to accommodate from thirty to forty boys, and contains on the ground floor two large school rooms, boys' dining-room, kitchen, etc private dining-room and drawing room, study, office and music room, and lavatories for boys ; first floor contains two large dormitories and two smaller ones, nursery, sick-room, matron's sitting-room and bed-room, work-room, two large bed-rooms, and large boys' bath-room and private bath-room, attic floor contains servants' rooms and box room. The school portion of the building is heated by hot air while the whole structure is lit by electric light. The outbuildings contain washhouse, laundry, fuel, dairy, and engine-room, stable, coachhouse, etc The building is three stories, including attics and covers, and has 45,000 sq. ft of ground space Architect, J. S. Turnbull, Timaru.

Otago Witness, 10 March 1909, Page 4
Some bees, which for many years have made their home at the entrance to St. John's Church, Winchester, South Canterbury, and which have resisted all attempts to dislodge them, are a source of much annoyance to the churchgoers. On Sunday (says the Temuka Leader) last two persons were stung by them.

St. John's at Waihi School grounds. Photo taken January 2008 by Margaret Todd.
The church has one fine stained glass window "The Christ-child blessing in majesty with emblems of faith and hope" in the east sanctuary designed and executed by Veronica Whall in 1930 in commemoration of Joseph R. Orford, the founder and first headmaster of the school.

Old Boys

Captain Charles Upham, V.C. and Bar, served in Crete and in North Africa, attended the Waihi boarding school at Winchester between 1917 and 1922 and at Christ's College, Christchurch, from 1923 until 1927. He attended Canterbury Agricultural College where he earned a diploma in agriculture in 1930.

Charles William Feilden Hamilton was born at Ashwick Station near Fairlie (South Island, New Zealand) on July 26, 1899. He was educated at Waihi School, Winchester, and later at Christ's College, Christchurch. But it was to Ashwick that he owed the education that encouraged his naturally inventive mind.

William Andrew ORBELL (1942- 2003) (6551 Chris College) Aged 60 17/2/2004
He was the son of Wm. Derrick Orbell (3551 Chris College). He was raised at Levels, near Timaru and after attending Pleasant Point School and Waihi School was in Flower's House from 1956 to 1960. His early working years were spent gaining experience for a career in farming, working for National Mortgage and shepherding in Southland, Hawke's Bay and at Levels and undertaking a six-month study tour of the U.S.A., the U.K. and Europe. He took over Clayton Station in 1967, at that time a high country grazing run of 9000 hectares carrying 7,000 stock units of sheep and beef. With a combination of access tracks, fertilizer, fencing, drainage, cultivation and other improvements, he rapidly transformed the property from one carrying 7000 stock units to one carrying 25000 stock units and a large area of cereals. In 1971 he married Ruth Bowmar of Waikaia Plains, Southland d/o Sir Erskine and Lady Bowmar. He was always proud of the fact that Clayton today is a result, not just of his work, but that of his entire family. Andrew's involvement in community, regional, then national affairs was always generously and freely given. His outstanding ability as a chairman and his practical understanding of rural matters led to numerous involvements including: President of N.Z.D.F.A., President of Mackenzie Branch Federated Farmers, President of South Canterbury Federated Farmers, made Life Member of Federated Farmers, Secretary/Treasurer of Mackenzie Collie Club, Director of Canterbury Frozen Meat Company, Inaugural Director of South Canterbury Aerial Topdressing Co-operative, Councillor in charge of R & D for the D.F.A., major involvement in the Deer Master Research Project, Boards of Waihi and Craighead Schools, Central Radio Services Director, and Founding Director Multi-Scan Services. Andrew was a generous person and loved sharing his various passions, whether it be farming, flying, jet-boating or the annual Clayton duck shoot. He gained as much pleasure from other people sharing these activities as he did from his own enjoyment. He was awarded the International Robert Harris Award for community service in recognition of his work for fellow farmers during the 1992 snow storms. He lost his life doing what he loved, grading a new Clayton fence line. He considered on of his greatest accolades was that all three of his children wanted to go farming. He has left them with a wonderful legacy, big decisions and huge challenges. He died on 6 March 2003 and is survived by his wife Ruth, son Wm Hamish (10756 Chris College) and daughters Nicky and Phillippa and two granddaughters. The funeral on Tuesday 11 March at Fairlie was attended by c. 800 people. Today Clayton carries 25,000 stock units of deer, sheep and cattle and a large area of cereals.

The Press, December 12, 1996 Clayton station expands for the future
Andrew and Ruth Orbell are aggressively positioning Clayton station for a takeover bid by their three children. Rural accountants say succession for one child, let alone three, is often no longer a viable option for many New Zealand farming families so it is hardly surprisingly, after a closer look at the diversity and tone of the Clayton station operation, that the Orbells have tackled the problem from a different angle. ``There is no greater accolade, I believe, than to have your children want to do what you do,'' Mr Orbell said. Instead of tightening their belt, these farmers are pushing to expand, develop, and increase production. ``We'll work a bit harder, and we'll work a bit smarter ...

Timaru Herald 31 January 2002 By Janine Burgess
Schools in the Geraldine district got under way for the year this week and the numbers of pupils enrolling show things are off to a good start. Geraldine Primary School principal Lindsay Robertson said the school year had started with 213 students enrolled, a position which would see the roll at about 250 by the end of the year. He said the roll was about what was expected and would see them in the same position as last year.
    Geraldine High School principal Kerry Stevens said the school's roll for 2002 is 501, well in excess of the 477 predicted by the Ministry of Education last year. Student numbers are equal to or greater than the Ministry figures at most levels with the greatest increases coming at years seven and nine. This is excellent news for us to begin 2002 with. The additional resources with staffing and funding will be put to good use catering for all of our students and it is very reassuring for us to be so highly regarded by students and parents in the community.
    The roll at Woodbury School is 59 students, at Waihi School 82 students are enrolled.
Hilton School principal Tony Washington said the school has experienced a drop in numbers with a large group heading off to high school. The school had started the year with a roll of 28 pupils.

St. John's at Waihi School grounds. Photo taken January 2008 by Margaret Todd.
the grounds were empty... A peaceful atmosphere with large grounds and lovely old trees
and hostas in the shade of the was so cool in there.


Evening Post, 1 March 1902, Page 2
A quiet but pretty wedding took place at Winchester, South Canterbury, on Tuesday, 18th ult. (says a Southern paper), when Mr. F. C. Crease, of Wellington, was married to Miss Rebecca Klee, of Winchester. The Rev. J. M. Adcock, assisted by the Rev. T. Farley, conducted the service. St. John's Church was prettily decorated for the occasion. The bride was dressed in white silk, handsomely trimmed. She carried a very pretty flower bouquet.

Otago Witness, 2 May 1906, Page 67
Christchurch. April 28.
Last Saturday a very interesting wedding took piece at St. John's Church, Winchester, when Dorothy, third daughter of the late Hon. William Rolleston and Mrs Rolleston, was married to Mr Herbert Williams, of Mount Benger Station. Only most intimate- friends of the two families were present, the ceremony being performed by Dean Harper, of Christchurch, and the Rev. J. Adcock, vicar of the parish. The bride locked handsome in a trained gown of white satin duchesse, draped with some beautiful lace. Her veil was of white lace, and she carried a bridal bouquet. She was accompanied by her two sisters, the Misses Marjory and Helen Rolleston. and Miss Williams, wearing lovely gowns of white silk muslin and chiffon, peach-coloured hats, with wreaths of mauve flowers, and they carried muffs of drawn chiffon in a peach pink tone. The two little nieces of the bride, frocked in white muslin and lace, carried shepherd's crooks. Mrs Rolleston wore a handsome gown of back taffetas with bonnet and cloak of black ; Mrs Williams was in a superb gown of black velvet and lace, bonnet of black and white. After the ceremony Mrs Rolleston received the guests at the residence of Mrs Barker, her own being too far away to reach with convenience. In the evening she gave a large dinner party in Winchester. A great number of very beautiful presents were received by the bride. Mr and Mrs Williams are to leave shortly on tour through Japan, India, and Europe.

Sun, 13 July 1920, Page 4 Richard Ernest Barker
The Timaru "Post" gives particulars of the wedding of Miss Dorothy Enid Millton, who has many friends in this city, to Captain R. E. Barker, which took place at St. John's Church, Winchester, last week. The bride is the younger daughter of Mr and Mrs P. Millton, of Orari. and the bridegroom the third son of Mr and Mrs A. L. Barker, Waiuui, Woodbury. The ceremony was performed by the Rex. A. H. Norris, and the bridegroom was attended by Major John Barker, and Captain Robin Harper as best man and  groomsman. The bride, who was given away by her father, wore a frock of soft white satin, cut square at the neck, and j trimmed with lace and a court train from the shoulders, lined with pale pink georgette. She also wore a veil of Limerick lace and wreath of orange blossoms, and carried a sheaf of arum lilies. The bridesmaids. Miss Owen Millton, sister of the bride, and Miss .Mary Barker, sister of the bridegroom, wore dresses of pale grey crepe de Chine, with sleeves and yokes of cherry coloured figured georgette, and large hats of grey crepe de Chine with crowns of amethyst and streamers of grey with cherry-coloured pom poms. They carried bouquets of pink geranium and maidenhair fern. After the ceremony at the church, which was beautifully decorated by the girl friends of the bride with greenery and white chrysanthemums. Mr and Mrs Millton held a reception at their residence. Captain Barker. Major Barker and Captain Harper all wore uniform, and the bride cut the wedding cake with her husband's sword. The guests included Mrs Reeves, Mrs and the Misses Chapman (3), Mr and Mrs J. Barker, Mr W. Barker, Mr and Mrs Percy Barker. Mr and Mrs Frank Barker, the Misses Barker (3), Misses Cox (2), Mrs Jameson, Mrs G. Robinson, Mrs and Miss Smithson, Miss Helmore, Mr and Mrs Sinclair Thompson, Mr and Mrs Sercombe, Dr and Mrs Hislop, Miss J. Hislop, Mrs Empson, Mrs H. Grey, Mrs and Miss Hawdon, Mrs W. Helmore, Miss Ella Helmore, Mrs T. Tripp, Mr and Mrs Burns, Mr and Mrs G. Hamilton, Colonel E. B. Millton..Mr Eric Millton. Messrs F. H. Barker, Owen Barker, Eric Barker, Pat Barker, Lysaght and F. Sercombe. After the reception the bride and bridegroom left for the north, and later on for Dublin, where Captain Barker's regiment is quartered. The bride's travelling dress was a coat and skirt of dark blue braided in black, small black velvet hat with grey silk fringe and touches of emerald green.

Auckland Weekly News 04 OCTOBER 1939 p50  Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19391004-50-2
The Weekly News October 4 1939. Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Pinckney after their marriage at St. John's Church, Winchester, last Wednesday. The bride was Miss Juliet Kain.

St. John's CHurch, Winchester. Ferrier No. 9.

Mr Orford

The Press Saturday 21 June 1924 Timaru -
The death occurred of Mr Joseph Orford principal and proprietor of the Waihi Boys' School. Winchester. He arrived in the Dominion 30 years ago, ---- He built the present school at Winchester...

The Times Friday, Jun 27, 1924; pg. 16
Mr. J. R. Orford - Obit.
Mr Joseph Robinson Orford, the old Cambridge Blue, formerly of Brookes Hall, Ipswich, died on June 20 at Waihi School, near Winchester, NZ, of which he was headmaster and proprietor, at the age of 61. From Shrewsbury School, Orford went up to King's Cambridge, and in the University Sports he competed in the Weight in 1884, the Hammer in 1884-5-6, and the Hurdles in 1885-6. His best year was 1885, when he won the Hammer with a throw of 99ft. 7 in. and he came second in the Hurdles. He served as President of C.U.A.C. In 1887 he rowed four in the Cambridge boat, Reginald McKenna being bow and S.D. Muttlebury six. This was the race in which D.H. McLean, the Oxford seven, broke his oar clean off at the bottom at Barnes Bridge, and Cambridge won comfortably. It was owning to this incident that Mr Ayling invented a patent button whereby the leather was attached to the oar and kept in place by a brass late of some length, instead of the three long nails hammered through the leather into the oar.

J R ORFORD arrived in Wellington from London in 1894. He was in Wanganui 1897 or even earlier and there he was a member of local clubs and participated in football, golf, chess and rowing. I can see why Mr Orford settled in Wanganui - the river. The Wanganui Rowing Club was formed in 1875. Wanganui Collegiate School then a boys only Anglican Church boarding school also had a rowing club.

Evening Post, 17 January 1899, Page 2
Mr. Orford, had a brilliant academic career at the Cambridge University, and came out with first-class honours and two of the classical prizes of his University. Mr. Orford's academic distinctions, too, were all the more remarkable in that, at the time he carried off these honours he was in active training for the Varsity athletic contests, in which he was equally successful.

Mr Orford being one of the most popular teachers in the Wanganui Collegiate School

Wanganui Herald, 6 February 1900, Page 2
Mr J. E. Orford, of the Wanganui Collegiate School, writes the Mayor: "I enclose two cheques for 10 and 5 guineas respectively. I should be obliged to you if you would accept the 10 guineas on behalf of the fund for "Our Fifty." As to the 5 guineas, I should like it to be devoted (a) to the relief of disabled soldiers (British), or (b) to the Patriotic Fund, or if you are no longer collecting for either of these objects, (c) to the same fund as the other amount, viz., for "Our Fifty."

Wanganui Herald, 23 March 1900, Page 2
Wanganui Rowing Club Seniors will not be starters. The Club has been unfortunate in losing Captain Orford (who has volunteered for the Transvaal, and leaves on Saturday with the Fourth Contingent)

Evening Post, 20 October 1900, Page 2 Corporal J. R. Orford, Wanganui
Mr. J. R. Orford, who has been elected captain of the Wanganui Rowing Club, is at present serving in South Africa as a corporal in the Fourth Contingent.

Otago Witness, 23 November 1904 New Zealanders and the late War;
So when a great man dies,
For years beyond our ken,
The light he leaves behind him lies
Upon the paths of men.

Speaking of scholarships brings us to the carious or, at least, unusual bond that existed between many of our most successful soldiers and their officers that of master and old boy from the several excellent Collegiate and High Schools which New Zealand is fortunate in possessing. Many people thought that for schoolmaster whether the cultured Oxford or Cambridge honours' man, or the colonially trained primary or High School teacher to rush off to the war was a proceeding that showed a lack of ballast and sense of fitness that could do no one any good; but, as the event has proved, these men could, and did, return to their high work of educating the coming generation, with fresh power of influencing them for good, a wider comprehension of mankind, and certainly had lost nothing in the esteem of their pupils by proving themselves men of virile sort. The Wanganui Collegiate Magazine published many interesting letters from old boys at the front (some of which the writer owes special acknowledgements) and in many is expressed delight at meeting "Mr Orford," a trooper in the Fourth, and formerly their second master ; and an amusing letter of his to the head master was published, recommending the addition of "fatigue parties" to the school routine.

Wanganui Herald, 3 April 1905, Page 7 Wanganui Rowing Club:
Messrs Orford and Wray, who had coached the respective crews for the previous fortnight, being in charge of the rudder lines, Orford steering Tilley and Wray Williams. Tyreman bow, J. R. Orford coach.

Wanganui Herald, 26 February 1907, Page 3 Auction Sale of Valuable Suburban Section
In addition to the sale of Mr Alfred Atkins' property at Carlton on March 9th. Messrs C. L. Duigan and Co. will sell on account of Mr J. R. Orford, who is shortly leaving for Canterbury, three nice sections in Gonville Avenue, nearly 3/4 acre each, very close to the main Heads Road. Also a splendid block of 2 acres, quite level, very suitable for subdivision, situated on the River Bank next, to the late residence of Mr S. Fitzherbert, Aramoho, and a having frontage also to the Hylton Estate Road.

Wanganui Herald, 1 June 1907, Page 6 Wanganui Rowing Club's Smoke Concert.
The Chairman took occasion to refer to the approaching departure of Mr J. R. Orford, who he said had not only taught a lot of them to be good oarsmen but also to be good sports. He added that the members owed a great deal to Mr Orford also for the fine influence he had exerted in the shed. Mr Wray asked the company to drink the health and prosperity of Mr and Mrs Orford the toast being drunk with great enthusiasm.

BEHIND THE HEDGE By Oliver Riddell
17 May 2008 The Press (Christchurch)

BEHIND THE HEDGE by Oliver Riddell. Published by, and available from, Waihi School, (phone (03) 615-7040, Private Bag, Temuka, admin@waihi. school. nz), 208pp, $45 plus $5 postage.
A private, primary boarding school for boys from privileged backgrounds, stuck in rural South Canterbury, seems an anachronism. This centenary history does little to dispel that notion. However, it does much to portray Waihi as an institution with soul, a school that nurtures the whole pupil, an integral part of the lives of generations of families. Former Press journalist and Waihi old boy Oliver Riddell writes with fondness of the traditions of the school, pride in its achievements and humour at its foibles. He uses reminiscences of other old boys to colour the picture further. But this is no exercise in misty- eyed sentimentalism. Blunt criticism of some school practices studs the pages. Candid reportage of bad times, when the roll slumped and closure seemed imminent, makes engrossing reading. Balanced assessments of how successive principals approached change, including proposals to admit day and female pupils, are thought- provoking. Reflections on the pain of parents leaving young children at a boarding school are heart-wrenching. Waihi aims to foster honesty and build character. These virtues are hallmarks of this book. -- Mike Crean

South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project

St. John's Church in the Waihi School Grounds is registered as category 2 with the NZ Historic Places Trust. Historic place of historical or cultural heritage significance or value.