About Us
Our Stories
Volunteer Services
Useful Links


Manawatu Historic
Vehicle Collection


Pioneers:  from Farming to Flying

Joseph Joel Hammond crammed a wealth of adventure, thrills, and pioneering feats into his short 32 years of life.  The grandson of Matthew Hammond, an early settler during the 1800s, Joseph was born in Feilding in 1886 and after leaving New Zealand in 1906 at the age of 20 subsequently worked as a farmer, cowboy, gold prospector, and circus hand before becoming fascinated with flying while in France in 1909.

In 1911 while working in Australia promoting the value of the aeroplane for transport and communication purposes, Joseph created aeronautical history by carrying the first passenger on a flight in the Southern Hemisphere - between Altona and Geelong in Victoria - a flight of 42 miles which took 55 minutes.

He joined the Royal Flying Corps and on 23 September 1918, as an officer in the newly formed Royal Air Force on loan to the United States Air Corps as a flying instructor.  Major Hammond was killed in a flying accident at Chesapeake Bay.



[Right} Pilot of the Britannia and the first man to fly over Auckland:
Lieutenant J. J. Hammond of the Royal Flying Corps.


In the Footsteps

The Friends of Cannock Chase, Staffordshire County Council, the New Zealand Government and the Chase Project have joined forces to commemorate the New Zealand Rifle Brigade (NZRB) on Cannock Chase during the Great War.

The ‘In the Footsteps’ project (known as Nga Tapuwae in Maori) is launching an ambitious crowd funding project (hosted by CrowdfunderUK) which hopes to raise £12,500 in just four weeks.  If successful, the project will design, commission and erect an evocative interpretation panel at the Marquis Drive Visitor Centre on Cannock Chase.  This panel will tell the story of the NZRB on Cannock Chase and remember their sacrifice during the Great War.  If successful, the panel will resemble the panel [shown right] at Messines, Belgium. 

The New Zealand Government have already pledged £1,000 to the fund raising effort and so our Crowdfunding target is £11,500. 

The interpretation panel will make use the iconic New Zealand ‘silver fern’ design which was developed as part of the Nga Tapuwae (In the Footsteps) trail.  This trail tells the story of New Zealand soldiers throughout the theatre of the Great War and our panel would become a permanent part of that network.

Anyone wishing to find out more about the project or who would like to make a donation can click on the link to www.crowdfunder.co.uk/in-the-footsteps.  Please do pass this page on to friends and partner groups.  We have just four weeks to raise £11,500 and to make this commemoration of Staffordshire’s historic links with New Zealand and the soldiers of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade a reality.

The Emigrant and Colonists' Aid Corporation was set up in 1867 by a group of upper class Englishmen. Headed by the Duke of Manchester, their aim was to help the labouring classes, particularly agricultural labourers, who were at that time experiencing difficulty in finding employment in England because of industrial advances and changing social patterns.

Colonel William Henry Adelbert Feilding, one of the directors of the Corporation, was sent to Australia and New Zealand to buy a suitable block of land for a group of selected emigrants to settle on.  Colonel Feilding bought 106,000 acres in Manawatu from the Wellington Provincial Government in 1871.  This land became known as "The Manchester Block."  Feilding was the first of three towns established within the block.

The first group of immigrants selected under the scheme arrived at the site of Feilding in January 1874.  Halcombe was settled next, then finally Ashhurst.  The towns were intended as bases from which settlers could move into the surrounding bush, break in the land and establish farms for themselves as they got used to their new life.

To the right is a photograph of the Corporation Staff taken at The Pines in 1876.  Left to right, back row:  Charles Mountfort, Frank Owen, Alfred Atkinson, Tom Dalton, and Percy Earle.  Front tow: James Beattie, Howard Jackson, Arthur Halcombe, Douglas McArthur, and Hugh Sherwill.

A peek into the past ....

The railway yards at Halcombe, looking towards the village - 1883.

Jim Pitman, the first motorised milk vendor in Feilding


Who am I?

To the left and right are a couple of photos from our collections which are currently unidentified.

Can you shed any light on who they are?

The photo of the gentleman on the left was perhaps taken in the 1930s and came to us as part of the Feilding Public Library collection;

whilst the group of children to the right
has no accompanying information.


If you have any idea of the identity of those in either photo,
please click here to email the Feilding Archive.

Pilkington Writer's Fund

 See 'About Us' page for more details.


Feilding & Districts is a dedicated repository for the area's history.
If you have any historical documents or photographs about this area or its people,
please consider donating them to the FDCA.