Topic: Cowling Road (DN 06/03/2010)
One of the original roads in Taranaki County, it is named after the Cowling family that settled in the Westown area and farmed and lived there for well over 100 years. William Cowling arrived as a single man aboard the Plymouth Company's first ship, the William Bryan in 1841. He later married Mary Hawke and together they had 13 children.
It was one of their grandsons, Fred Cowling who became the most notable member of the family. An early environmentalist, he was passionate in his determination to protect native bush from wholesale clearance. True to his word he embarked on an ambitious tree planting programme with two thousand kauri trees planted in a block on his farm. The resulting magnificent Cowling Plantation in Barrett Domain was gifted to the people of New Plymouth in 1948. It is now one of the largest stands of kauri in New Zealand; only eclipsed by some of the larger indigenous forests.
Fred's other lasting legacy is his pyramid. Still standing and visible as you descend Roto Street toward Barrett Domain, the five-step pyramid, decorated with marble and stone, was built in 1943. Located in the backyard of the family home it provided Fred with a lookout over his 30 hectare Hurdon farm.
Fred died in 1955 and like his ancestors was buried in the little Hurdon cemetery on Tukapa St. For many years the family looked after the small cemetery, the final resting place for many original settlers from the area and generations of Cowlings.