Fountaine plaque unveiled in Woodville

Sixty people, including descendants of Thomas Fountaine, known as the Father of Woodville, gathered recently to commemorate his gifting of Fountaine Square to the town in 1896 as part of a ten-year programme to bring the history of Woodville to its people. 

Fountaine Square plaque unveiling

Thomas Fountaine came to Woodville in 1874 and took over the contract for road construction and bridges between Woodville and the Manawatu River. He acquired land and opened up the first store in the area, eventually establishing a farm at Otawhao. He became the first Road Board chairman, postmaster and a church warden.

In 1896 he donated two acres in the centre of Woodville for a park, which later became Fountaine Square.

At the event unveiling a plaque in the Square, Paula McCool, on behalf of the Woodville Art and History Society, said a new plaque was part of the Society’s ten-year programme to bring the history of Woodville to its people.

Tararua District Mayor, Tracey Collis, commended this commitment and the foresight of Fountaine for donating the square to Woodville which has been subsequently developed into a beautiful site with a rotunda, Anzac Memorial, playground and trees.

Fountaine Square is listed by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga as a historic area.

Speaking about his great uncle Thomas, Ian Fountaine said he had been a very hardworking and generous man. In addition to the square, he had donated school prizes, a pool table to commemorate King George V’s coronation and ordered three month’s wages to for all his employees on his death in 1935.

The plaque was unveiled by Ian Fountaine and his wife Helen.

- David Watt