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Cambridge Town

Learn about the history of town and its districts, schools and roads over the years.

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Roads – W, X, Y, Z

Researched and written by Eris Parker 1989



Matthew Lewis Watkins arrived in New Zealand 1879 from Monmouthshire and became an early settler of Taranaki before moving to the Waikato. With his wife Mary and family he farmed at Karapiro and Fencourt and at the beginning of the century they were living on St Kilda Road.

Watkins Road at that time was referred to as ‘The Back Road’ with most traffic using Thornton Road. In 1927 one of the sons, Horace bought property on the right – just out of the borough – sealing the Watkins name to the district.



In March 1884 a letter was received by the Piako Road Board from Mr James Bailey, Manager of Auckland Agricultural Co, offering to build the bridges on this road out of their next two years’ rates. The Board agreed that the Company’s offer be accepted and further that the bridges be erected on sites chosen by the committee of the Board appointed for that purpose, and that the road be afterwards surveyed to take in the bridges and the old road be closed, and the land for the new road be given by the Company.

After the ‘Bridgewater’ bridge was built the Board decided that rather than mortgage the following years rates they would charge a toll to all users of the bridge. It was rather ironic that the Auckland Agricultural Company who built the bridges was by far the greatest users of them.

In 1885 Thomas Bruce said that he was willing to contribute to the work on the Whitehall Road, on condition that he should carry out the work. His offer was accepted.
In 1901 a horsedrawn grader was introduced into the district.



John Charles Wiseman in 1907 came from Mamaku to Cambridge with £1 in his pocket and worked on farms around the Fencourt area. He bought 3 acres 18 perches on a fern track where he built a one room ‘house’ for himself. This he extended after he married Ivy Simpson at ‘Armidale Farm’ Fencourt on 5 October 1910 and had six children – Thomas Arthur, Charles Francis, Alfred Victor,

Stanley Raymond, James Laurence and Colin Edward.

He continued to work on farms and gradually built his dairy farm from these few acres to 74 acres. He purchased some of this land from Mr Daveys.

One son Arthur bought 95 acres across the road from Mr G Scott, which was passed to Russell – the next generation. Colin and Ray continued on the main farm and later Ray bought the adjoining farm at the end of the road. This meant that Wisemans owned both sides of the road from Victoria Road to the railway at Bruntwood. Grandson Bruce bought the farm from his father, Colin.



This was originally one of the entrances to ‘Wartle’ at Tamahere owned by Patrick Leslie. But was there a Woodcock family ?



This road followed the Main Drain but rumour has it that the contractor was paid by the number of corners!

At the junction of this and Swaynes Road stood the gate house to the Fen Court homestead when the estate was owned by Every Maclean.


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