MATHESON, Dugald George 3/1278

Dugald George Matheson was born in 1888, the oldest son of John Matheson and Agnes Seay of Simons Pass in the Mckenzie Country.  (His birth was registered under the name Dougall George, but in subsequent official records he is referred to as Dugald George.)

Dugald Matheson (on the right) at Chateau Poltieres, Somme, France, in 1916

Dugald Matheson (on the right) at Chateau Poltieres, Somme, France, in 1916

Dugald was a brilliant scholar being Dux of Waimataitai School then Timaru Boys’ High School.  He became a medical doctor, gaining the highest examination marks in New Zealand and first class honours in all subjects. He then worked in Rarotonga, Hokitika and Rotorua and served overseas on war service as a Captain in the New Zealand Medical Corps in Egypt and France.  He was discharged due to illness in 1917 and married Mary Lane (known as Molly) of Sydney in the same year.

Dr Dugald Matheson and his wife Molly

Dr Dugald Matheson and his wife Molly

Dugald and Mary had two children: Dugald George Matheson, who died as an infant in 1919, and Donald Lane Matheson (1920–1982).

In about 1920 Dugald retired from the medical profession to take up farming on Roseneath Station in the Waitaki Valley, near the present Aviemore dam.  Besides farming the family worked a small coalmine on the station on the banks of the Waitaki River that provided lignite coal for the local district.  In January 1930 the men were working in the underground mine when the sounds of creaking alerted them to possible danger, so they left the mine.  Meanwhile Mary Matheson was preparing the men’s afternoon tea, and when it was 3 o’clock she took it into the mine.  It was later reported that a cry was heard as well as the sound of the mine collapsing.  Mary was trapped.  Help was sent for to the construction site of the Waitaki Dam and 100 men are said to have rushed to the scene.  They had great difficulty in excavating a way to the accident area, with debris falling before supporting timber could be got into place.  When the body was recovered the next day it was found that Mary had probably died instantly as a timber beam had fallen and crushed her as the tunnel collapsed.  She was 40 years old.  Her husband Dugald died in a car accident five years later in 1935.  They are buried together in the Matheson family plot in the Timaru cemetery.

Sources:

Dugald George Matheson, by Alan McKenzie of the Timaru Museum.
Matheson of Kintyre, by Neta Holme and updated by Elizabeth Matheson and Graeme Matheson.
Papers Past

Evening Post 22 October 1935

Evening Post 22 October 1935