History of Judgeford

"History is not melodrama, even if it usually reads like that."

- Robert Penn Warren

The pioneers of Judgeford

Image of 3 pioneers of the Judgeford area.
Names unknown.
The man standing was the carpenter who built William S Gardner’s house at Flighty’s Road, Judgeford.
Photo from Pataka Museum Collection, at Porirua Library ref CD 1 PM1983_181_1.

The area now called Judgeford has its origins in the long established track that connects the Hutt and Porirua and passed through this valley. Judgeford was originally called the Pauatahanui (often spelt Pahautanui) Small Farm Settlements by the first Europeans to settle there. These settlers, who had all arrived in the area by 1856, were Benjamin Draper, Charles Stuart and Alfred Judge. A few years later others such as the Flighty, Hurley, Carter and Boulton families joined them.

The Pahautanui Small Farms District Roads Board was set up in the 1860s and built what is now called Flightys, Mulherns, Murphys and in 1874 the bridle track to the Hutt was completed connecting the settlement with the outside world.

Farming was the main occupation in the area but there were also several sawmills operating. Bailly’s sawmill was the first in Judgeford starting in the 1850s and was said to produce only pit-sawn timber. Edward Carter operated a water-driven mill on mainly rimu and matai through to the late 1880s. Euphriam Greenwood’s Mill was located up the Moonshine Road during the late 1870s-80s. George Gardener & Son ran a mill a mile beyond Greenwoods from the early 1890s to the turn of the century and provided wood for the building of St Alban’s Church at Pauatahanui. It was the last of the nineteenth century’s active sawmills in the district.

By 1883 the settlement was commonly called Judgeford after one of the original settlers Alfred Judge. Alfred built his house close to that point in the river where the road crosses and from there came the name “Judge’s Ford”.

Judgeford reached its population peak in 1890

Image of Judgeford School pupils and teacher, 1868.
Judgeford School 1868.
Photo from Pataka Museum Collection, at Porirua Library ref P.2.165.

In 1879 the Small Farms School was opened but attendance dropped in the 1930s and when the time the school closed in 1935 there was only seven pupils. By 1890 at 24 households in Judgeford proper; the settlement had reached its population peak.

Little changed in Judgeford until the Second World War when first the New Zealand Army and then the United States Marines used Judgeford as training bases. Since their departure the land has returned to farming and is fast becoming known for the small life-style farms that are being formed around the old settlement.

For more information about the Judgeford area, see the history of the old Belmont Coach Road which has been used for different purposes over the years.

Continue to History of Whitby or return to Pauatahanui, Judgeford and Whitby.