Scholars & Gentlemen Both


G.M. & Allan Thomson in New Zealand Science & Education


  • Ross Galbreath (author)


Royal Society of New Zealand


Wellington City

Publication Date



The Thomsons evidently spent some time in Invercargill sorting out what they were to do, for it was not until August that they moved to a leased 300 acre farm, “Fern Dale”, at Mabel Bush, 15 miles out of town. Getting there was a struggle; for a little way the road was good but then it turned to mud—an “impassable, unfathomable, and endless sea of mud”.15 When they got there, “Fern Dale” was no grand country estate. It had the usual weatherboard homestead, some rough cleared fields, and much bush and swamp. What kind of enterprise the Thomsons had in mind on emigrating to New Zealand is not clear, but it can hardly have been this.

Source Notes


The account of the Mabel Bush farming enterprise is drawn from James Thomson's diary for 1870-71, copy held by Mrs S. Irwin, Upper Hutt.