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An hour from Wellington on the other side of the Rimutaka hills is the small town of Greytown. Greytown owes its existence to the energy and initiative of early settlers in Wellington who were looking for small affordable portions of land to farm and to the assistance of the Governor, Sir George Grey.This was acknowledged by the settlers who named the town Greytown in his honour.
The Small Farms Association was set up in 1853. Each purchaser would have a town section of 1 acre, costing 1 pound and a 40 acre farm block nearby for which they were to pay 10 shillings an acre. The layout of Greytown with its long Main Street, dates from the original survey in 1853,when 120 one acre sections, 60 on either side of the main road were surveyed by W Corbett. This makes Greytown the first planned inland town in New Zealand.
In late March 1854 the first party of six intrepid souls, including one woman, their possessions carried by 4 bullocks crossed the Rimutakas on foot and arrived to camp near Cobblestones A small memorial shelter marks the spot today.They immediately set to work to build shelters and small cottages.Within five years more substantial buildings,shops, hotels and larger houses were built. Fire was a continuing hazard but enough remains today to give a strong Victorian flavour to the Main Street.
The current inhabitants of the town are increasingly proud of their heritage. Old buildings have been sensitively upgraded and put to new purposes... cafes, craft shops, week-end cottages and homes of Wellington commuters. Today Greytown is an attractive and thriving community.
Cobblestones Wairarapa's Early Settlers Museum Once Hastwell's Coaching Stables, dating back to 1857. The Museum Project was initiated in 1969 by the Greytown Jaycees with assistance from the Wairarapa Horsedrawn Society. Since then many early buildings of note, all with an interesting history, have been moved to Cobblestones from other parts of the Wairarapa. The first Methodist Church built by Hart Udy in 1865 from timber sawn at his Matarawa mill just north of the Waiohine River, and the original Greytown Hospital, the first one in the Wairarapa, built in 1875 are now part of the complex.