Bev Ross has taken 10 years to gather information and write her book The Lovely People

Mangawhai’s historic past

by Ann van Engelen

Mangawhai Museum historian Bev Ross has taken 10 years to publish her book about the soldiers of the 58th Regiment.

The Lovely People was launched at the Mangawhai Museum last week.

“The 58th regiment soldiers came from England, Ireland and Scotland in the 1850s and were on coastal watch. They disbanded here in 1858 and were given the option of returning to Britain or receiving land here in Mangawhai, which many soldiers did, and it was a lovely community back then too,” says Bev.

“I have been involved in the museum for more than 30 years and have written two other books on Mangawhai. They Dared the Impossible, regarding the restoration of the harbour in 1991 and Ripples from the River, which is about setting up the community including the post office, schools and churches.”

As a curator, people gave Bev scraps of paper, diaries, entries in bibles and papers past with information.

“It was like a jigsaw, and I had great pleasure processing it into a sequence of events.

“The soldiers helped build the breakwater and after they disbanded they worked at the local shipbuilding yards or started their own businesses including brick making, fishing, farming and cropping.

“We had people such as Colonel Robert Henry Wynyard settle here and the land that was turned this week was once his land.

“I wrote the book to give the people of Mangawhai historic information as with the influx of new residents many are not aware of our history and that people settled here nearly two hundred years ago.”

The Lovely People can be purchased from the Mangawhai Museum or by emailing fearnflats@msn.com.