The community was painfully shocked on Monday last when the sad intelligence was circulated that one of Murchison's most respected, revered and esteemed citizen, in the person of Mrs C. Downie, Snr., had passed away in Nelson. Although the deceased lady had not been enjoying the best of late, it was generally anticipated that the change would prove beneficial, and even her most intimate companions and friends, had no idea that the end was in view, consequentially the blow was a sudden and severe loss in the family, while the news caused the whole district to be shrouded in gloom.
The late Mrs Downie was born in Castlemaine, Victoria in 1858 and in 1863 cam to New Zealand with her parents, the late Mr and Mrs Goodyer, the family settling in Otago following the gold rushes at Weatherstone's and Gabriel's Gully. A few years later, when gold was discovered on the West Coast, the Goodyer family followed the call of the yellow mineral, taking up their residence in Stafford town, where Miss Sarah Goodyer met Mr Charles Downie, who was destined later to become her life partner.
They were married in Ross and Mr Downie continued to follow the gold rushes, through the Butler and Lyell and finally settled in Murchison. It is just on fifty years since Mr and Mrs Downie came to this settlement which in those days, was nothing but massive bush and here the deceased lady nobly entered into the spirit of pioneering and cheerfully assisted her husband to carve out a home. these where the days of hardships, privations and hard toil, but Mrs Downie, like others of that memorable time, was endowed with courage, determination and perseverance and stuck to the task of assisting Mr Downie in " Blazing the trail " half a century ago.
Mrs Downie was one of the very few women who fought their way through the dense forests that marked the site where Murchison now stands and resides in the old camp near the Metiki and Butler river junction that was washed away by the Old Man Flood. Here Mrs Downie reared a large family, three sons and nine daughters, all of whom are alive today, testifying to true grit and loving motherly care bestowed upon them by a tender parent.
Somewhere in the vicinity of the eighties, Mr and Mrs Downie took over the control of the Rait's Commercial Hotel and ten years later built a large and commodious hostelry, which still bears the name of Downie's Hotel, Twelve years ago they retired from the business and took up a quantity of land on the road to Six Mile and here again the pioneers were faced with the necessity of tackling the forest to carve a home, and the indomitably spirit of pluck and energy was just as prominent with Mr and Mrs Downie as in the earlier days and the beautiful home and property now standing on the site is a testament in their imagination and ability.
The late Mrs Downie possessed a kindly hospitable and charitable disposition that readily won for her love and affection of all those whom she came in contact. Her word was her bond and she was never known to be unkind or uncharitable towards her fellow creatures. The deceased lady was all the time ready and willing to lend a helping hand in times of misfortune and was truly in a great many instances a friend in need. Quiet, unassuming, always thoughtful for others, Mrs Downie was beloved by the whole community, which today mourns with the deepest sincerity with the bereaved relatives.
To the surviving husband the populous extends it's heartfelt sympathy in the irreconcilable loss of a lifelong loving partner and to the family on the separation from an affectionate mother and grandmother. Murchison today painfully and sympathetically mourns the loss of one of their band of characters, the pioneer woman and mother.
" You will know that you have played your part;
Yours shall be the love that never dies;
You with the love within your heart,
You with God's own glory in your eyes."