16 September 1913:
Rev James Paterson, Co Convener of the Executive Committee wrote a letter to the Editor of ‘The Outlook ’ the Presbyterian Church’s newsletter:
‘As many of your readers are interested in the Iona Ladies’ College – now in course of erection at Havelock North – and have given very practical proof of their interest by contributing handsomely to the Building Fund, may I crave space in the Outlook to inform them how the work is progressing. On the 27th of last month we had a meeting of the Executive Committee at Hastings, at which I was present. We found everything going on satisfactorily: the architect’s report gave us assurance that the building was making good progress, that the contractors were taking every pains to make a thoroughly good job of it, that the clerk of works was doing his supervising duty very carefully and faithfully, and that the College would be ready by the 1st February next. We were also pleased to learn that, from the large number of applications for places already received, the College would open in its very first term with a full complement of pupils – as many, indeed as could be accommodated.
After the meeting a number of us drove out to Havelock under the guidance of Mr Hugh Campbell.
We found the good substantial brick walls up – indeed, in large part completed and roofed in.
We were particularly struck with what had been done for the grounds. Mr Campbell – whose heart and soul are in the College, and who is resolved that it shall be a joy and pride to everyone as well as a great benefit to the community – had sent one of his ploughmen with a team of horses to plough some areas around the building to prepare the soil for planting and gardening, and, in order to gain a year’s growth, had bought plants of all kinds and had them planted in the College grounds. He told me he had already got planted 80 apple trees, 20 peaches, 100 lemons, and 100 oranges – these all on the sunny aspect – with reserve for another 100 orange trees. Won’t the young girls have a jolly time when these trees grow up and their fruit is ripe! But he had also planted 100 flowering acacias – beautiful golden wattles – 600 scarlet flowering gum trees, 400 peppermint gum trees and 200 different shrubs.
Isn’t that a good beginning for beautiful surroundings of the College?