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Contact number: +64
Alternative contact number: +64

Address: Wreys Bush

Wreys Bush

Once known as Run153 and described as "wastelands of the Crown", Wreys Bush is a permanent memorial to Walter Wrey.

In June 1857 he and Herbert Seymour relocated 2500 sheep on the ship Taranaki from Nelson to stock Run153.

Naturally the terrain looked much different from what we see today. Pioneer diaries described "desolate bush" and "spurs more holey than righteous".

Walter Wrey built a sod and thatch hut on the site of the future Annandale homestead. He lived there for only about two weeks before he died in the infant settlement of Invercargill.

The founder of Riverton, Captain Howell, acquired Run 153 and other land as a dowry in 1838 when he married the Maori chieftainess Kohi Kohi Patu.

William Johnston followed as the owner of Annandale which became the run's name from 1869.

It was a popular stopover for wagoners, drovers and gold miners. Later Annandale was broken up into farms and settled predominantly by Irish farmers, mostly Catholic.

By 1901 there was a population of 289. The village had two pubs, two stores, a blacksmith, a saddler, a bootmaker and other services.

Once viewed as a major centre for the district, today surveyed but empty streets mock the planners, for as Nightcaps grew with the discovery of coal, Wreys Bush declined.

When St Peter's convent school, run by the Sisters of Mercy, opened in 1899, the Wreys Bush Public School, which had one non-Catholic pupil, closed and "The Bush" became the only school district in New Zealand without a state school.

After the growth of mining the Sisters opened a new school, St Patricks, in Nightcaps in 1917. In 1936 St Peter's closed. The convent is still used as a dwelling. But the dormitories that housed boarders are gone.



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