JOSEPH LORETT c 1820 - 1899
Joe Lorett was a highly valued employee of the Hall brothers, and in particular of John Hall. The family understand he was a Spanish whaler who had jumped ship in Dunedin in the 1850s. He was employed by George W Hall at Ashburton Forks Station in 1859. November 21: ‘engaged Joe [Lorett] as Bullock driver, at rate of £55 per year’.
The spelling of his name varies, it is sometimes written as Lorret or Lorette. He was naturalised as a New Zealander in 1868 and in 1871 married Anne Ward, daughter of Thomas Ward a farmer in Hororata.
In the Ashburton Forks Journal, 1857 – 60,1 are 11 entries regarding Joe Lorett. Here are just a few:
1859 November 26: Joe came from Bush with load of timber (51 Posts, 15 Studs, 16 Rafters) for the Stable.
November 28: The Turtons, Demuth and Joe drove Bullocks down to the Accommodation House.
December 1: Joe came with the dray from Bush bringing 10 Wall plates, 45 Slabs, 4 posts from Boyes, 400 Shingles from Bailey.
The first recorded entry for Joe in the Rakaia Terrace Station ledger2 is in May 1864, but he is frequently mentioned in John Hall’s 1863 diary. In 1867 Joe went back to England as a sailor on the Blue Jacket and presumably to Spain to see his father. When he returned he was employed in the Mackenzie country for the Hall brothers from the end of 1867 - 69 before coming back to Rakaia Terrace Station as a ‘General Hand’.
Mackenzie Country Journal 1867- 693
Joseph Lorett, Bullock driver at the rate of 25/- per week from 27th November 1867. In 1869 there are additional entries: ‘March 10 draying wool from Takapo4 to Timaru @ 6/- per bale’ and ‘October 3 carting wire and fencing stuff from Takapo to the fencing line’.
Rakaia Terrace Station Ledger 1863 – 67 General Hand at 25/- per week from 15 May 1864. His most frequent occupation is as a bullock driver, bringing posts, rails and firewood from the bush block.
1875 Still a General Hand but he is not working here for all the year. He has a small block of land in Hororata probably along Duncans Road and near to the Hororata River.
1876 From this date until his death in 1899, Joe is recorded as being a contractor.
After Joe’s funeral John Hall had an entry in his dairy: [Joe was] one of the best men I ever knew.
1 Terrace Station archives, Group I:K
4 Now spelt Tekapo.