Topic: Olson Street (TDN 05/09/2020)

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Olson Street 

A line of mature English trees on the left-hand side of Egmont Road going out of Egmont Village towards the mountain, are a modern-day connection to one of the first local settler families. So too is nearby Olson Street which crosses the road just outside the village.

Mary (nee Harrison) and Edward Olson moved out to their forest covered land at Egmont Village  about 1874 after Edward was granted the land when the Armed Constabulary was disbanded. Edward, along with his brother and a friend, arrived from New Plymouth with axes on their shoulders to cut a road through the bush to enable them to get to their allocated land.

The couple and their young children moved into the Egmont Village blockhouse (later to be used as the first Egmont Village School) on the corner of their section and began clearing the bush, sowing grass and building fences.

The couple must have worked hard because by 1879 they won a prize of ten pounds offered by Inglewood man Mr. W. Carter, for the “best bush farm in the district.” By 1892 the Olson’s had a substantial farm of 358 acres [145 hectares], had had nine children and were well known for producing homemade cheese and butter. In 1881 Mary was awarded a medal by the Taranaki Agricultural Society for her butter. Puke Ariki has the medal in their collection.

The family planted a significant amount of oaks and other English trees on their farm, called “Woodlands”, and Edward became involved in many agricultural groups and administrative bodies. He also set up an Ayrshire cattle stud.  

Edward met a tragic end when he was gorged by one his own prize bulls while tending to the animal at the Egmont A & P Show in Hāwera in 1893. He did not recover from his wounds and died the same day at the Cottage Hospital in Hāwera, aged 50.

After Edward’s death Mary continued living in Egmont Village before moving into New Plymouth. Their name continues to be connected with the district due to the street name, the trees they planted and their many descendants.

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