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Article about Robert Moffat

Transcribed from a copy obtained from Peter Moffat. Possibly written by William "Ernest" Moffat as the article talks about "Dad" and his 4 sons and refers to them as "we".

ROBERT MOFFAT (1860 – 1933)

Robert, third child of William and Ellen Moffat was born December 24th 1860 at Smeaton Australia where his parents were living after emigrating from Scotland immediately following their marriage on 30th April 1857. In 1862 the family moved to New Zealand, first settling at East Taieri. In 1863 they moved to Te Houka where they had purchased a section of 50 acres at £1 an acre which was the nucleus of the present “Ellenslea” farm.

Robert later attended the Balclutha School which he reached by walking through paddocks on the property now owned by R K Christie and the South Otago Hospital Board. When Te Houka School was built he attended there

Like his brothers he later took up land in the Te Houka area, first at “Cornbank” and later “Fairview”.

In 1884 he married Abigail Stoddart, the wedding breakfast being the first function held in the Warepa Hall.

Robert and Abigail brought up a large family of four sons and six daughters who all attended the Te Houka School. He served on the school committee for a long period, being Chairman for a number of years.

As a district farmer he was keenly interested in all activities in the area and was involved with the Balclutha Agriculture Summer and Winter shows and was a successful exhibitor of livestock.

He was also a member of the South Otago Clydesdale Horse Society. The society imported from Scotland the Clydesdale stallion “Bohan Kennedy” whose progeny were prize winners at Agriculture shows.

After retiring from the farm in 1918, and never having had a chance to participate in active sport he became interested in Rugby as a spectator, and did not like to miss a Saturday afternoon at the showground if the Clutha Boys were playing. A special highlight was a trip to Dunedin for the International New Zealand v’s the English Touring Team. The morning was cold, wet and even snowing, but the trip was on, and Dad Moffat and his four sons headed for Dunedin. It was 1930, and early days of traffic inspectors.

We were stopped by an inspector who peered through the snow covered side curtains and said, “Good God Bob it’s you it is, be on your way you will to the football.” A check around revealed that of the five licensed drivers only one had brought his with him, and that was not the driver. (The Inspector was a well known Hillend farmer.)

While living in Balclutha he became a Board of Manager member and later an elder in the Presbyterian Church.

He died in 1933, and is buried in the Balclutha Old Cemetery.

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