Walter Cameron(1862-1946), was a family man and a farmer. Him and his brothers settled on various farms from land previously owned by their father.
Walter Cameron was born 30th November 1862 in Wellington to Donald Cameron and Isabella Cameron nee Glasgow.
Walter has 4 older brothers and one younger brother, he also has 2 half sisters from his mother’s side who married again after the death of Walters father Donald. Walters Siblings are as follows;
Walter was only 3 years old when his father died. Therefore Walter and his younger brother Allan was brought up by a Scottish couple in Wellington. Two years after the death of Walters father, when his mother Isabella married William Lowes, she was hoping to keep the family together. This was not the case and Walter and his brother Allan were placed with a Scottish couple and were placed with them until they went to work.
Walter living with the Scottish couple was brought up in Wellington. He had a reputation as a boxer at school as he was known to be able to stand up for himself. In his early career he became an Accountant and worked for Turnbull and Jones, shipping agents.
At the age of about 21 he left to join his brothers Robert and DJ (Donald John). It appears that he did spend some time in Pahoao before he joined his brothers. Like his father’s generation, the brothers kept in close contact throughout their lives. It is believed that Robert and DJ grew grain on the land that Walter ended up farming. This was leased land from the Maori, and a lot of the subsequent land that Walter farmed was also leased land.
Accounts from Robert’s Grandson Ewen states that the brothers land deeds for Mauriceville land dated from 1881, and they initially brought Walter and Allan to help with the work on their expanding operations. Robert and DJ farmed in partnership as Cameron Brothers and when the partnership ended it would have included Blackrock. Blackrock was where the woolshed was, and hearing was done from both Blackrock and Mauriceville farms in the early days.
Walter and Allan bought the Rangitumau property in 1908. This was part of the Stuckey property that was sold when Mr. Stuckey retired to England. He was the man who introduced Hereford cattle into New Zealand.
Walters older brother DJ(Donald John Cameron) and his family went to Sydney at some stage where DJs daughters Phillis and Ruby meet Madeline. Before DJ and his family moved back to New Zealand, DJ asked Madeline to come back with him. This is where Walter and Madeline meet and were soon married.
There is an account from Jep (Walters eldest brother Duncan’s daughter) that Grandma Lowes(Walters Mother Isabella) and Madeline’s Mother (Madeline Baldwin nee Monkhouse) met on a boat trip and this is where the idea to bring Walter and Madeline together came from. By this time Walter was about 41 and Madeline about 18. Marc Ulyatt has stated that there seems to have been alcohol problems among different family members and by this time Walter was a heavy drinker. Madeline only agreed to marry him if he would give up the drink, which he did. The work the brothers were doing was hard physical work and the opportunities for recreation that we have today were not available.
Walter name their farm WaiWhetu and built a house on it in 1908.
Walter and Madeline’s first child was Hinehauone Coralie Cameron born 14th February 1904. The Maori Chief at the Te Ore Ore Pa send the name over to Walter and Madeline to use. Corrie, as she was mostly known as, carried this name for the rest of her life, and it is not known if she ever got an interpretation for what it really meant, although she made many enquiries about it.
Their next child was Ronald Stewart Cameron born 16th June 1907. He was also sent a name by the Maori Chief of Rangitawhio, but Madeline passed on using it, it is believed that she had gone off using Maori names by that stage.
Walter and Madeline’s third child Walter Norman was named after Norman Donald Cameron. Norman was Walter’s brother DJs son who died in Gallipoli during World War 1. As Corrie was known by her second name, so was Norman.
In 1930 Walter and Madeline had an overseas trip visiting Britain and the USA. Corrie, their daughter joined them while they were in Britain. Corrie, who had been living in London since 1928, had become engaged to a man while she was over there and Walter and Madeline had visited him and his parents. After this the young man travelled to South Africa and while he was there contracted Blackwater fever and died. This is probably the reason their daughter returned to New Zealand.
The area that Walter farmed was around 2000 acres. His brother Allan farmed a similar area and the Blackrock farm would have been at least that. Walter, being the nearest to town had an automatic telephone in 1918. It is believed that Masterton had the first automatic exchange in New Zealand. There was an earth return single wire starting at the Te Ore Ore Blackrock road corner and travelled across farmland all the way to Snowdon near Mauriceville. This was the telephone service used by the other brothers for a long time. The Snowdon farm was still using this line in the early 1950’s. At the time this line was put up it only crossed three or four outside farms, otherwise it was all on Cameron land.
Walter was essentially a horse man, cars came to be around when he was in his 50’s, and it is believed he found it hard to understand them. During the first World War, he was made Manager of the Wellington Meat Export Company at Waingawa. This was before the Borthwicks Works. He was provided with a car which was possibly delivered to him. Corrie was returning home by train and he thought he would surprise her by going to meet her. When he drove up to the front gate, he got out to open it but neglected to apply the hand brake, and when he turned around, it had disappeared down into the gully. The next car he was taking the family up to see his brother Allan and when changing gears put it in reverse gear. The next time Walter was supplied a car, it came with a driver. Any cars they owned after that were driven by Madeline.
Walter died 16th March 1946 of prostate cancer at the age of 83, and was buried at the Masterton Cemetery. Walter was survived by his wife and all his children
Births, Deaths, and Marriages records https://www.bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz/
Rodney Camerons Family Photos – YouTube video link
Walter Cameron [1862-1946] – Document written by Rodney Cameron
The Kaiwarra Camerons – The first fifty years in New Zealand: 1840-1890 – book by M. J. Ulyatt (page 112 paragraph 2)