According to W R Fea (his son) David arrived in Port Chalmers with a Bible and sixpence in his pocket and in 1878 he started farming on Mr Teschmaker's Kanroo Estate with five hundred acres of leased land. Five years later he sold out to start business as a general storekeeper in Maheno. There he bought a block of land and erected a general store, a bakery and ham and bacon curing premises and for twelve years he carried on a most successful business. He married Jane Stuart Clarke and it was at Maheno that most of their children were born.
David Fea disposed of his interests and bought the Kintail Estate in the Catlins consisting of 500 acres for his sons to farm. His wife and daughters moved to the Club House Dunedin which was run as a boarding house. He left Kintail in the hands of a manager and started up a business Fea, D M and Co., Auctioneers, Valuators and Land and Estate Agents, Rattray St, Dunedin. This business established in 190I was conducted in the large premises formerly known as the Shamrock Hotel. The whole ground floor space was occupied by the main auction rooms with commercial offices both private and public leading from it. The first floor, which was approached by a broad staircase, was devoted to show rooms where the firm displayed a varied assortment of new and secondhand furniture besides a large stock of other household requisites. Weekly sales of land and general merchandise were held in the Rattray St premises and the firm also conducted large stock and land sales in the country. ( - The Cyclopaedia of new Zealand).
During David Fea's time at Maheno he was for many years member, then chairman of the local school committee and a director of the Caledonian Scoiety for nine years. On leaving the district he received a handsome presentation. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge Celtic, Dunedin, and was second Noble Grand of the Independent order of Oddfellows at Maheno.
According to WR Fea, David Fea was of a very amiable disposition and very musical, playing the violin and bagpipes as well as singing. His set of bagpipes which were played at the relief of Lucknow are now in the Early Settlers Museum in Dunedin.
About the year 1904 David bought a block of land on Pine Hill including
Dalmore House built by Mr. McGlashan. This grand homestead was on seven
acres of native and exotic bush and behind the house was the pond from
which the clay was removed to make the bricks for building Dalmore House.
|David Miller Fea on "Duncan" outside Dalmore House
Jean Clark is standing in the background with friends