Before Renwicktown existed, stockmen and traders would pass through this area after having crossed the Wairau river to the North. The absence of the highly toxic Tutu plant (fatal to stock) in this particular area made it an ideal place for stopping on the journey down the river valley. Mr Godfrey realised the potential for a small hotel at this point so built the Wairau Hotel on a ridge above the flood plain at the side of this track. By all accounts, this hotel was very basic with the roof and part of the walls being clad with sheepskins. It soon became known as the "Sheepskin Tavern" and it was in this very tavern that the plans were laid for the separation of this district from the Nelson district and the creation of Marlborough.
The Wairau Hotel stood on what is now Uxbridge Street, just around the corner from the museum where the bowling club now stands. There is a plaque to commemorate it at the site.
JOHN GODFREY'S EPITAPH
He's true to God who is is true to man
where a wrong is done
to the humblest, or the weakest
'neath the beholding sun.
That wrong is also done to us
and they are slaves most base
whose love of right is for themselves
and not for all the race.
John Godfrey's philosophy is vividly revealed in the words of this dirge, written in his own hand.
He died in Picton in 1891.