Dr William Edward Redman
Picton and the Sounds have always attracted a good number of 'characters', and one was Dr William Edward Redman, who arrived from London with his wife Charlotte in 1899 as ship's surgeon on the Aotea. It was common then for doctors to work their passage in this way. The Redmans first lived in Blenheim then moved to Picton in 1901.
At the time, Dr H.A.H. Claridge was the Medical Officer at Picton Hospital, but he sold his private practice to Dr Redman who was then appointed Medical Officer in 1902, at a salary of £150. Within six months he had imported Marlborough’s first car, an Oldsmobile, and he soon set a record for the journey from Picton to Blenheim: one hour. The car, known locally as the ‘Snorter’ was not at all popular (it scared the horses), and in 1904 Dr Redman imported the 2-speed Dursley Pederson cycle which now hangs in Picton Museum, for use when he visited his patients.
Picton Hospital was a flourishing concern in those days and Dr Redman soon became an important part of local society. He must also have had an appeal for the ladies, as after his wife Charlotte returned to England and died, he married Emily Robinson of Spring Creek. On her demise, her sister Ada (Matron of Picton Hospital) took up the position of Mrs Redman.
For three terms between 1903 and 1914 Dr Redman was Mayor of Picton. Later in life he was active in the Progress league and, when he retired from professional life, he and his wife retired to Spring Creek where his house still stands. He was a member of the committee preparing for the Marlborough Provincial Centennial in 1939 and the following year he was in charge of the Marlborough Court in the New Zealand Centennial Exhibition in Wellington. He died suddenly in March 1940 during the exhibition.
This story was originally written by Loreen Brehaut for the Seaport News, 2010. Updated May 2020
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Further sources - Dr William Edward Redman
- Andrews, J.L (1982) Dr William Edward Redman Journal of the Nelson and Marlborough Historical Societies, 1(2)
- Charitable institutions in Cyclopedia of New Zealand, Nelson, Marlborough & Westland (1906) Christchurch, N.Z.: Cyclopedia Company Limited