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William Scott Milne arrived in New Zealand on the ship Lady Nugent on 17 March 1841. The register reads:

Milne   Alexander       26                                                                                                      

Margaret                       24                   

Son                                4                   

Daughter                     13 mths                       Died at sea 10/11/1840 Teething (4.00pm)

Milne   William Scott 16        Carpenter

William was recruited by New Zealand Company representatives McEwen and Miller on 18 September 1840. He is described as a 16 year old carpenter’s apprentice, living in Blairgowrie, Perthshire. Alexander and his family signed up on 28 September.

Milne, Alexander, labourer, South Muir of Kirriemuir, married, M26 F 24 B 4 G 11 mths

There appears to be one family here, but it is not clear what the relationship was. I was told by a now deceased descendant of William Milne that Alexander and William were half-brothers, and came from Aberdeenshire in Scotland.

One website states that William was born in Glamis in Angus, but it is also possible that he is the William Milne born in Cairney by Huntly in Aberdeenshire on 16 March 1824, son of Alexander Milne and Isabel Craigan.

Neither Alexander nor William appear in the 1844 Jury list, but both appear to have settled in the Hutt Valley shortly after their arrival.

In 1847 William married Grace Yule who had arrived in Wellington on the Bengal Merchant on 20 February 1840. The marriage took place at Grace's family home in the Hutt Valley, and the Rev. John Inglis performed the ceremony.

Bengal Merchant

Yule   Alexander 34 Sawyer Lanarkshire

            Elizabeth 29

            Grace 10

            Robert 7

            Mary 1


            Moses 24 Farm Servant

The couple were to have six daughters and two sons. The following six appear in BDM records.

Grace 1852, Agnes 1856, Helen 1859, Anne 1862, Alexander Yule 1866, John Scott 1870.

Alexander Yule Milne died in 1874 at the age of seven. The other two girls, Matilda and Elizabeth, would have been born prior to 1852.

In the New Zealand Company records there are two consecutive land claims for part of Section 49.

No.370 William MILNE Wellington Crown Grant 10 acres part Country section 49 Lower Hutt district date 04 June 1852 Claim No.47

No.371 Alexander YULE Wellington Crown Grant 10 acres part Country section 49 Lower Hutt district date 04 June 1852 Claim No.46

Shortly afterwards the claim for a block of land for the Presbyterian Chapel in the Hutt was processed This measured 2 acres, 0 roods, 30 perches, part of section 35 Lower Hutt, and among the seven trustees appear the names of Alexander Yule, and Alexander and William Milne.

Both Alexander and William Milne were members of the Wellington Provincial Council, in William’s case for a very long time. Alexander represented the district of Rangitikei, where he moved in 1857. There are many reports of these meetings over the years, but this is one of the most revealing, as the unity among those from the Presbyterian Chapel is obvious.

Wellington Independent, 30 June 1866. Provincial Council.

Yesterday. The Speaker took the chair at 5 o'clock. The minutes of the last meeting were read and confirmed.

Mr. W. S. MILNE moved that the refusal of the Commissioner of Crown Lands to comply with the recommendation of this Council, in the matter of the petition of Peter Bruce, presented during the last session, was unjust, and calculated to bring this Council into contempt, and was the more unseemly, inasmuch as the Commissioner had availed himself of the recommendation of a previous Council, whereby he had received a refund of 4s l0d per acre on a large quantity of land, also because the matter in dispute lay between the Commissioner's own application and that of the petitioner. Mr. Fitzherbert claimed the indulgence of the Council for a few minutes, and said that the mover of the resolution had shown great animus against him. Several of the allegations were untrue. He had never, directly or indirectly as Crown Lands Commissioner, purchased land from the Crown, but he would maintain that his appointment to that office could never lawfully prevent him from exercising his just rights previously obtained. In conclusion, he said that he would court any proper investigation, but he would never hesitate to denounce the person making such accusations as those in the resolution, as a coward and a traitor. He would divide the Council on this present motion, and would move as an amendment the previous question, because he would submit to any investigation of his conduct which was instituted in a proper manner. Mr. Bryce defended the action of the Committee, and maintained that it had every right to presume that the Commissioner of Crown Lands would be able to grant Mr. Bruce’s application. The Provincial Solicitor condemned the conduct of Mr. Milne in bringing forward a resolution containing disgraceful charges against a high political officer, and casting blame on the Council in a previous session. He did not wonder that Mr. Fitzherbert had replied so warmly, and hoped that after the explanation he had given, all ill feeling would cease, especially as the charges were founded on rumour, and magnified by circulation. Dr. Allison was not quite satisfied with Mr. Fitzherbert's explanation. Several other members then expressed their intention of supporting that gentleman and throwing out the resolution. On the question being put the Council divided, when there were Ayes 6, Noes 15. Ayes, 6 Messrs. Allison, Bryce, Fagan, A. Milne, W. Milne, J. Taylor. Noes, 15— Messrs. Borlase, Brandon, Bunny, Dransfield, Fitzherbert, Halcombe, Hunter, Hickson, Kells, Ludlam, Masters, Pearce, Pharazyn, Reading, Wallace. The resolution was therefore not put.

Evening Post, 21 February 1873, THE NEW PROVINCIAL COUNCIL.

We subjoin a list of the names of the members of the new Council. The City. Messrs. C. B. Borlase, P. A. Buckley, H. Carter, G. Crawford, G, Hunter, E. Pearce, and W. Taylor. Hutt District. Messrs. Cruickshank, A. Ludlam, and W. S. Milne. Karori and Makara District. Mr, J. F. E. Wright. Porirua District.— Messrs. A. de B. Brandon, and W. Lowes. Wairarapa West. Messrs. Beetham, H. Bunny, and C. Pharazyn. Wairarapa East.— Rev. J. C. Andrew. Manawatu District.— Mr. J. T. Dalrymple. Rangitikei District. Messrs. C. C, Graham, and A. Milne. Wangaehu District.— Mr. J. Morgan. Wanganui Town District. Messrs. W. Hutchison, C. Iveson, and W. H. Watt. Waitotara and Kai Iwi District.— Mr. R. Pharazyn.


AN OLD SETTLER'S THEORY. An old Provincial Councillor, Mr. W. S. Milne, of Taita, who shares with Mr. John Plimmer the honour of being sole survivors of the third session of the first Wellington Provincial Council, makes an interesting contribution to the silting up of the harbour question. His view, as given to a member of the Post staff, is that the difference in the state of the harbour as shown in the old Admiralty chart and in the recent soundings of the Penguin is due, not to silting up, but to an earthquake in the interim. The soundings for the old survey were made, Mr. Milne says, three or four years before January, 1855, the date of the greatest earthquake shock known in the Wellington district. At Te Aro, in the neighbourhood of the three wharves, the earthquake caused an upheaval to the extent of 6ft at Korokoro, near Petone, the upheaval was 5ft; at Lowry Bay, near the outflow of the Hutt River, 7ft. The upheaval extended round the coast to Pencarrow, where it was as high as 9ft, and it continued further round to the east side of Palliser Bay. Prior to the earthquake, ground at Porirua that has since been used as a racecourse, was always under water. Our own racecourse at the Hutt used to be boated over at high tide, the Hutt River was tidal to a dozen chains above the bridge, and at the bridge there was a rise and fall of a foot at spring tide. Is it to be supposed, asks Mr. Milne, that a convulsion that raised the coasts and converted sea lands into racecourses would not have greatly altered the bottom of the harbour? This is the probable cause of the present soundings differing so greatly from the old ones. The trouble is not silt from the Hutt, which piles up its debris about its own mouth. If there was any silting from the shallower into the deeper parts of the harbour, it was probably caused by the wave that followed the earthquake. The reason the alteration from the old charted soundings has not been brought home to us before is that there has been ample depth till modern, vessels of greater draught drew attention to the position.

In 1912 Knox Church celebrated it’s 60th jubilee. The following interview appeared in the Evening Post of 23 May 1912 when William Milne would have been aged about 87.

SIXTY YEARS AGO. WORSHIPPING UNDER DIFFICULTIES. PRESBYTERIANISM IN THE HUTT VALLEY. A LITTLE HISTORY.                                                                                                          

Sixty years ago, away back in 1852 when the Hutt Valley contained many large Maori settlements with their pahs picturesquely situated on the banks of the Hutt River; when the Maori wars which ten years after proved so disastrous in the district, had not yet broken out; when communication between Wellington and the Hutt was principally by boat, there being no road worthy of the name, when to give a better idea of the period, New Zealand was first granted responsible Government it was then that Knox Church, Lower Hutt, came quietly into existence. There were many settlers in the Hutt district even then; it was a well-favoured settlement. The population has grown with the years, and it is a large congregation which is now celebrating the diamond jubilee of the Knox Church. Sixty years ago there were not the facilities for church worship that exist now, but there were some enthusiasts who laboured hard and, willingly to improve the conditions, and alleviate the hardships which existed. In 1848 or thereabouts the Presbyterians in the Hutt District were, so it is stated, greater in number than any other recognised denomination. But they had no meeting-house then. The Wesleyans, on the other hand, had a chapel and it was in this that all denominations worshipped. At the best of times the services, as far as the Presbyterians were concerned, were very irregular. About 1850 the Rev. J. Inglis made occasional visits. "Mr. Inglis did his best to come as often as possible," said Mr William Milne, an old Taita settler who gave the writer these facts, "and when he did not come we read one of his sermons. It was better than nothing, though," he added with a smile.           


KNOX CHURCH ESTABLISHED. It was mainly through the efforts of Mr. Inglis that the church was put on a firmer footing in 1852. He addressed a memorandum to the parent body in Scotland pointing out how handicapped the colonies were in the matter of ministers. He urged that something should be done to improve the religious facilities. "Well," continued our informant, "heed was taken of these entreaties, but the result was happier to us than we had expected. When the Rev. William Dron arrived in Wellington from Scotland in 1852, I forget the exact date, he was sent to the charge of the Hutt district. Fairly large congregations gathered to hear him, and so the Knox Church received a good start and progressed. I remember well his first Sunday here. It was a great church day for the Presbyterians. A large number of people came out from Wellington to hear our new preacher, and we were somewhat proud of him. He received a stipend of £100 a year from the parent body in Scotland, and the congregation was expected to contribute the remainder. It was Mr. Dron who founded the church in the district."                                                                                                                                                                                

BACK AS THEY WERE. During the Rev. Mr. Dron's charge interest in the church was well maintained, the congregation thoroughly appreciating the, fact that it had a resident, minister. The district was the envy of many settlements in New Zealand, but soon it was back in its old position. Mr. Dron stayed in New Zealand for three, years only; when he returned Home. The next preacher (the Rev. Mr. Tom) stopped a year, and he was followed by Revs, Lowry, Moir, and Fell, and others, at irregular intervals. The last mentioned preachers came only occasionally, and attendances at the church began to fall off. Other ministers followed, but many of them were not well liked as speakers. "Even in those early days the attendances largely depended upon the preacher.” Some of the men sent to us were very clever, and some deep thinkers; others were hardly suited. It needed some inducement to bring the people out, for you must remember we were very scattered, and that all this green grassy land you see about us now, and all the land which is now producing the cabbages and other vegetables was then dense bush. And we didn't have what you could call roads. Some settlers had miles to come to church.                                           


HOW SETTLERS GOT THERE. "How, did they travel? Well ------" He smiled, as some old incident flashed through his memory. "Well," he repeated, after a spell, "there were few horses in those days, and many of the settlers would draw up at the church in bullock drays." The old man laughed outright at the recollection, and added "Big heavy things they were, too. Those who possessed horse and trap, though the tracks were hardly good enough for light vehicles, could always be sure of picking up a complement of passengers on the way to church. I and my family usually walked. Yes, I had a bullock waggon, but I let it rest on Sunday. Oh, yes. And he laughed heartily once more.                                                                                                                    

THE "NEW ZEALAND WAY." "The ministers," continued Mr. Milne, "went about from place to place on horseback, and some of the now arrivals from Home provided us with much amusement. They could not understand the New Zealand way. Many could not ride a horse, and, to tell you the truth, I believe there were some who could not tell such an animal. I remember particularly the experience of one minister, the Rev. ------- He was always very shaky on horseback, and one day he was thrown off when several miles from home. He was a forlorn object when he arrived back, carrying the saddle and gently leading the horse. Of course, he did not think of making the horse carry the saddle."        


PREPARING THE SITE. It was Mr. Milne, assisted by Mr. Samuel Smith and, at a later stage, by, several other enthusiasts, many of whom are still alive, who in 1860 prepared the site on which Knox Church now stands. "I remember the work well," said Mr. Milne, "'the site was awfully rough— all bush, and nothing but humps and hollows. But it was some consolation that we got the ground very cheap on that account. We worked hard and soon had the ground in order, and then turned our attention to the timber, which we cut ourselves. It was white pine, but some of the hardest and toughest white pine I have ever had to deal with. However, we soon had enough to warrant making a start, and the contract for the work was let to a Mr. Keely. The church was built to hold about 200, but I am afraid it was too big for requirements There were hardly enough present to make the interior warm, and as a matter of fact  we" ------ here he stopped suddenly. The writer looked up enquiringly, and perceived his obliging informant once again highly amused over something. “I will tell you," he said, “but promise me that you will not publish it. It would paint us too black." The required promise was given, and must be kept. Nevertheless there is hesitation to break it, for the facts must be unique.                                                                                       

AN INTERRUPTED SERVICE. Going back to 1848, Mr Milne recalled a service on the banks of the Hutt River under the shade of a huge tree. He made it plain that it was not a general rule to hold open-air meetings, but on the occasion they were driven to it if they wanted the people to attend. Several big earthquake shocks had been experienced during the week, and all the settlers had been ”scared out of their wits." They refused to have service indoors, that is in the Wesleyan Chapel, and so it was decided to hold it on the river bank. "I tried to persuade them not to," said Mr. Milne, “but they would not listen to me, and in the end I was glad. Right in the middle of the sermon there occurred one of the biggest shakes I've ever felt. Would you believe it, the tree swayed to and fro like this," and he made a movement with his arms. I can tell you there was a scatter. That was the time when all Wellington, small as the population was then, took to the hills.                                                                                                                                               

The jubilee celebrations of Knox Church were continued last evening, when a "social" was held. There was a large attendance, including many old settlers, and the function was highly successful

Apart from involvement in the Provincial Council and the Presbyterian Church, William was also a member of the local Licensing District Committee.

Evening Post, 11th Feb., 1887. Lower Hutt Licensing District. Public Notice is hereby given that the following persons have been duly nominated for the office of members of the Lower Hutt Licensing District

Brown, Charles William

Livingstone, William James

Milne, William Scott

Ransom, John Robert

Smith, Samuel

Wilkins, John

There is five vacancies to be filled, and as the number of candidates exceeds the number of vacancies, I hereby appoint a poll to be taken as between the several candidates whose names are given above on Wednesday, the 23rd day of February, 1887, between the hours of 9 o'clock in the forenoon and 6 o'clock in the afternoon. The polling booth is the office of the Hutt Town Board, Lower Hutt. JOSEPH HALL, Returning Officer. Lower Hutt,

Manawatu Standard, 7 January 1908. On December 31st Mr and Mrs Milne celebrated their diamond wedding at Taita, Lower Hutt. The event marks an interesting incident of life that is worth recalling. In the year 1840 there arrived in Wellington, by the Bengal Merchant, Mr and Mrs Alex. Yule and their family, one of whom was Miss Grace Yule, then eleven years of age. In the same year arrived the Lady Nugent, full of emigrants for New Zealand, the wonders of which were then filling the Old World with rapture. Amongst the Lady Nugent's passengers were the Milne family, one - a sturdy youth of 16 summers - being the hero of this sketch. The Yules and the Milnes took up land in the district and the families saw a great deal of each other. Seven years later, that is, on December 31st, 1847, the Rev. John Inglis was called in to perform the nuptials of William Scott Milne and Grace Yule, who were then 23 years and 18 years of age respectively. Young Mr Milne and his good wife set to work to build up a home for themselves at Taita, and in this their industry brought success. In the course of time, six daughters and one son blessed the marriage, and all are to-day married and doing well. Their names are:- Mrs. Peter Speedy (Belmont), Mrs John Halley (Wellington), Mrs John Cundy (Featherston), Mrs Boyes (Bunnythorpe), Mrs Mackay (Auckland), Mrs John Thompson (Kaiwarra), and Mr John Milne, (Taita). These seven families have between them 39 children, and by the marriage of a daughter of Mrs Speedy's two great grandchildren have come to further bless the marriage of 60 years ago. With the exception of Mrs Mackay, all the descendants were present at the celebration last Tuesday. There is no respected couple in the Hutt Valley than Mr and Mrs.Milne, now - 83 and 78 years old respectively - and both are in a fairly good state of health considering their advanced age and the strenuous nature of their life's work.

William died in 1913, and his wife Grace 3 years later.

Evening Post, 25 April 1913 DEATHS.  MILNE .—On the 24th April, at his late residence, Taita, William Scott Milne, in his 89th year.

Evening Post 26 April, 1913.  Mr. William Scott Milne, one of the best known settlers in the Hutt Valley, died at his residence at the Taita this week. The deceased, who was in his 89th year, took a leading part in local affairs for many years and was a member of the Wellington Provincial Council when the late Mr. Henry Bunny, father of the present Mayor of Lower Hutt, was prominently connected with that body. It was during the time Mr Milne was a member of the council that the Provincial Government built the bridge over the Hutt River at the Lower Hutt preceding the present structure there. The late Mr. Milne was a fine stamp of the pioneer settler and he was held, in great respect by all who knew him.  



MILNE.—On the 12th January, 1916, at her residence, Main road, Taita, Grace Milne, relict of the late W. S. Milne, in her 86th year. Private interment.

Evening Post, 21 January 1916. By the death of Mrs. Grace Milne, of the Taita, aged 86, the Hutt Valley has last another of its earliest settlers. She arrived in Wellington with her father, Mr. Yule, in the Bengal Merchant, in the year 1840, landed on Petone beach, and was camped there for a while until her parents removed to Taita. Her anecdotes of the early pioneers were very interesting, especially to those of the present day, who enjoy all modern comforts. A walk to Wellington was not an uncommon experience. Her husband, Mr. W. S. Milne, predeceased her, aged 89. The surviving family are Mrs. P. Speedy (Belmont), Mrs. Halley (Grant-road), Mrs. F H. Boyes (Bunnythorpe), Mrs. A. Mackie (Auckland). Mrs. J. Thompson (Kaiwarra), and Mrs J. S. Milne (Paekakariki). Another daughter, Mrs. John Cundy, of Featherston, died a short time ago.            


Milne, Alexander, Settler, Rosebank, Marton. The late Mr. Milne was born in 1813 at Aberdeen, Scotland, and arrived in New Zealand per ship “Lady Nugent” in 1841. He settled in the Hutt District until 1857, when he removed to the Rangitikei, and took up the property now known as “Rosebank.” In the early days Mr. Milne took an active part in polities, local and general, having been a member of the Wellington Provincial Council and chairman of the Rangitikei County Council. He was a leading member of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Milne, who died on the 24th of December, 1895, left three sons and three daughters. The property is now in the occupation of his son, Mr. William Milne, who is married and has two daughters.

Feilding Star, 27 December 1895, Death of an old Resident.

(Per Press Association) Marton, Dec. 26. The death of Alexander Milne, an old and respected settler, occurred on Christmas Eve under peculiar circumstances. He was used to go to the Bonny Glen cemetery, the family burying place, and it is presumed that in trying to set fire to the gorse he was overpowered by the smoke, the result being a spasm of the heart. He dropped forward on his face and his body was burnt. Deceased arrived in Wellington in 1840 by the Lady Nugent. He settled in the Hutt, then came to Rangitikei, where he has since resided. He leaves three sons and three daughters.

His wife Margaret died in 1886.

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