“When people came from Scotland to Dunedin many had purchased land around the surrounding districts of Balclutha. Port Molyneux was the place where the settlers docked when they came to find their land. When they got there, the Maori people greeted them and showed them where inland tracks were to their fifty-acre blocks.
At left is a part of the plat for the Town of Molyneux (aka: Town of Port Molyneux) drawn in June of 1864. We have approval from the National Library of New Zealand to use the map, with credit as follows: Shanks, C. B. (Charles Barnes), 1841-1922.. Plan of part of the town of Molyneux [electronic resource] / [surveyed by] C.B. Shanks.. Ref: 834.52bje 1861. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
Whilst many of the settlers moved on inland to find their fifty-acre blocks of land, other people stayed back in the port and established the community of Port Molyneux. In the 1800's, the mouth of the Clutha River and the coastline surrounding it looked remarkably different to today. There was a large, long spit that stretched all the way across from Summerhill at Kaitangata almost right to Port Molyneux. Behind this spit was a large harbour where the river drained into the sea.
This harbour was the making of the the Port Molyneux township which, at the height of its prosperity, had two hotels, a Pilot and Customs office, several general stores, a hardware merchant, a butcher, a baker, a blacksmith, plus carpenters and other tradesmen. In addition, the town had a church (which later became the Kaka Point Church) and a school of forty pupils. By 1875, the town was considered to be well-established and growing.
Then, in 1878, a huge flood broke the banks of the spit at Summerhill and changed the course of the river and the town of Port Molyneux forever. The river mouth moved close to Summerhill, and the great harbour that was the lifeblood of the town was drained and turned into a large swamp area. After the flood, the population of the town dwindled rapidly and all that is left now is the Port Molyneux School and the Port Molyneux Hall, which was once the wharf building. The Port Molyneux Church still exists but was moved to Kaka Point in 1918.”