"Mail Coach, Okato"

View of a mail coach outside J. S. Fox's store and post office, Okato. Coach is pictured on the right of the image and the store on the left. Four people are sitting on the front of the coach with several people standing beside it. A man and child stand under the awning of Fox's store.
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This photo (and a similar one) are referred to as "McCullum's Mail coach" in the Okato 100 years celebration booklet 1965, and again in Irene Waswo's history of Okato, Tataraimaka and Puniho districts book 1998. Though I've always referred to it as McCullum’s Mail Coach - I now believe it more likely to belong to T.P. Hughson (or A. Jury depending on the date). Hughson also ran coaches in the area; there are advertisements on Papers Past website for "Royal Mail Line", signed off "Proprietor T.P. Hughson" through 1900 - 1907 (then “Royal Mail Line” was (sold to &) signed off “Proprietor A. Jury” from about November 1907). I have not found any ads from McCullum offering a Mail service (he was ‘Postmaster’ when he owned the General store) Zooming in both similar photos (I've got high res. copies) I can see what looks like an 'R' insignia on the side of the coach under the drivers seat - which I can relate to Royal Mail Line - but I struggle to connect this with McCullum. McCullum did build the house in the background 1901 and sold it 1906 to J.S. Fox. McCullum also leased the general store site from Chew Chong in the 1880s - he must have purchased it from Chew Chong at some stage, and sold it to his father-in-law W.N. Syme 1888. J.S. Fox bought it after Syme’s death in 1899 and built the shop seen in the background in August 1899. The other similar photo is dated Circa1910 by Puke Ariki’s records of the image. This date is about right as the building was built 1900, and was extended in 1912 (so therefore looked different to this pic after 1912) Kerry Ruiterman who wrote the previous comment is James McCullum's decendant, and (given previous possible mis-labelling of the photo) is perhaps trying to connect the figures in the photo with her forebears - I tried to contact her earlier this year to share another bit of history about McCullum .. but sadly, I found she has since died. As an aside: Mr McCullum is believed to have imported the first motor lorry into New Zealand (5 tonne Milnes-Daimler) as he sought to advance to his coach transport business – unfortunately the expense and breakdowns of his truck lead to his bankruptcy, and the demise of his coach business of 25 years.

- Ben Lilley posted 2 months ago.

The coach Driver is James McCullum. He owned the Coaching business and large house on the left .He is with his wife and one of his sons.Probably Charles.James [Ray] is standing left of the coach and wears a white shirt.

- Kerry Denise Ruiterman posted 8 years ago.

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