WHITTON and RITCH -Surname Studies and people from the Island of GRAEMSAY, Orkney

George Clark Clouston

George Clark Clouston

Male 1874 - 1965  (91 years)

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  • Name George Clark Clouston 
    Born 1 Feb 1874  Stennes, Orkney Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 12 Apr 1965  New Plymouth, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I16857  My Relatives
    Last Modified 16 Oct 2019 

    Father James Clouston,   b. 5 Sep 1841, Stennis, Orkney Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Sep 1894, Stennis, Orkney Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 53 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother Mary Lyon,   b. 12 Sep 1844, Stromness, Orkney Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 Mar 1935, Morningside Hospital, Edinburgh Buried Stenness Graveyard Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 90 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Married 24 Mar 1864  Stromness, Orkney Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F6071  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Maud Halligan,   b. 1881, Wanganui, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 1938  (Age > 58 years) 
    Married 9 Nov 1904  Wanganui, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. Living
    Last Modified 16 Oct 2019 
    Family ID F6130  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • at 1881 census at Whithall, Stenness
      Emigrated to NZ on the "Maori" arried Wellington 15-2-1897

      in April 1911, George Clark Clouston arrived. When he retired he had been running the Opunake police district for 27 years — then became mayor and ran the town for another seven.

      He was born in the Orkney Islands in 1874 and served in the Leith Police Force for two years, his conduct giving "entire satisfaction" according to his testimonial. He had worked as a farm worker and with the herring fishing fleet from the age of 14 until he joined the police at 20. And, after migrating to New Zealand in 1896 he worked at various jobs before joining the New Zealand police in 1899. Clouston was stationed at Wanganui for seven years and Normanby from February 1907.

      In April 1911 came his transfer to Opunake. For the first 17 years of his time in the town, Clouston was also the clerk of the Magistrate’s Court, and the collector of agricultural statistics.

      On his retirement in November 1938, numerous functions were held to mark the occasion, including three civic tributes, a mock court and a special function to honour Mrs. Maude Clouston. A Scots publication, recording the events, wrote:

      "A native of Stenness and brother of Mr. James Clouston, Whitehall, Mr. Clouston is 65 years of age. Educated under the late Mr. Magnus Spence, Mr. Clouston worked at farming, and at the herring fishing from Stronness for a few seasons. In his early twenties he joined the Police Force in Leith, and after serving two years there migrated to New Zealand forty years ago. Joining the police there, he served faithfully and well as the following references amply prove, retiring with honour and dignity, carrying with him the goodwill of the entire community and a wallet containing no less than £154."

      At one retirement function, which proved too big for St Patrick’s Hall, the mayor, Mr. A. J. Brennan, pointed out that over 50 years Opunake had had only three policemen on permanent duty there. Constable Clouston’s tact and ability had been largely responsible for his district being free of crime, while his "eminent fairness" in dealing with all classes of the community had been a particular feature of his service. One speaker said Clouston seemed too young to retire, "if the reported incident of a recent sprint from the cliff-top to apprehend an offender was correct".

      A speaker on behalf of the district’s Maori community also paid tribute to the constable’s tact. Clouston had not treated the Maori any different from the Pakeha, and he had the virtue of appearing sightless when necessary.

      Mr. Brennan told one gathering that many citizens had grown up with Constable Clouston as the local policeman. In their childhood, Clouston had been the bogeyman, ready to answer the summons of parents to wreak retribution for wrong-doing. As youths, they bad seen him as the representative of authority, stern and severe, ready to check any outbreak of irresponsible hooliganism. In later years the constable had assumed the position of counsellor and adviser, ever willing to consider the problems placed before him and to direct the solution.

      The illuminated scroll presented to the constable was signed by the magistrate, the mayor, the chairman of the county council and the heads of the Opunake Electric Power Board, racing club, seaside improvement society, RSA, federal band, rugby club, golf club, tennis club, bowling club, surf and lifesaving club, cricket club, athletic club and farmers union.

      Two years later in 1940, George Clouston defeated Mr. Brennan, 208 votes to 174, and became the second mayor of Opunake. During his service to the public he twice officiated at Vice-Regal visits, the first in 1921 when he was the constable, and the second as mayor in the middle of World War II, when Opunake celebrated its diamond jubilee.

      He retired as mayor in 1947, and in 1950, aged 76, was still a borough councillor. George Clouston was also the District Coroner from 1942 until 1948. He died in April 1965 aged 91, 27 years after retiring.

      Clouston’s place at the police station was taken by Constable Hugh Shields. The former Irish bricklayer expressed some trepidation in taking over Opunake after Clouston’s long service there, but in the end stayed on for 16 years himself before retiring in 1954.