How Renwicktown Began


In 1854 Edward Green bought 3 150 acre sections, being 161,162 and 163 of the Omaka subdivision, from the Crown Lands Dept. for the sum of £225 (approx $450). On the 18th January 1855 Dr Thomas Renwick bought these 3 sections from Green for £300 (approx $600).

Doctor Renwick subdivided lot 161 into rural blocks ranging from 5 acres to 10 acre lots. Lots 162 and 163 he subdivided into quarter acre blocks to mark out the beginning of the town of Renwick. He also made provision for 3 churches, a school and a cemetery.

Things moved slowly in the 1850's and it wasn't until early 1857 that the Dr assisted by 2 surveyors, Joseph Ward and Cyrus Goulter and their assistant Howard Lakeman, began to subdivide the land to establish the township.

The township was named Renwicktown after its founder, it wasn't until 1955 that the name was shortened to Renwick.

The names given to the original streets of Renwicktown prove that the surveyors were very historically minded.

Seven streets were named after famous battles in which British generals and troops took part, AGINCOURT, ALMA, BLENHEIM, INKERMAN, OUDENARDE, POIETIERS and RAMILIES.

Five were named after famous generals, CLIVE, CLYDE, HAVELOCK PICTON and WILSON.

KIRK and NICHOLSON were named after the Presbyterian church and the Reverend Nicholson, the first Minister in the district.

UXBRIDGE was named after the Middlesex market town in England and HIGH after the well known London Street in England.

The last name in the original town plan is APSLEY. This was named after the mansion which stood close to Hyde Park in London which was built by Aaron Apsley, Lord Bathurst in 1785. In 1820 the Government of the day purchased the mansion and presented it to the Duke of Wellington, who lived there until 1852.



Doctor Renwick lived in Nelson at that time and was in a position to meet the immigrants off the ships as they arrived in port. He soon found people who were prepared to go down to the Wairau and begin a new life in Renwicktown. Being a Scotsman he naturally favoured those who hailed from his homeland and it is not surprising that a 'Little Scotland' sprang up on the lands owned by this enterprising early settler.