The Town of Zealandia is situated in the northeast corner of the R.M. of St. Andrew located on NE 34-30-13 W3. It was surveyed in 1904 by A.N. Swetman, Fred Engen and Mr. Turner and incorporated as a village in 1909.
The name Zealandia was suggested by Mr. Englebrecht who came from New Zealandia on the S.S. Zealandia. Among the first settlers were the Ed Kidd family whose son Hadden was the first white baby born in the district. In 1904 A.D., Fletcher opened a blacksmith shop in a sod shack about ½ mile from town. That same year A.N. Swetman opened a general store and post office. The mail was received once a week from Hanley with groceries arriving from Saskatoon twice a month and was brought from the Rudy Ferry which traveled the SaskatchewanRiver. Mrs. Hodgson, Swetman’s sister, was the first postmaster.
In 1909 the railroad went through, built by Canadian National Railways, on what was known as the Goose Lake Line.
In 1910 the Zealandia Board of Trade issued a brochure to attract settlers, stating ‘Zealandia is the center of the famous Goose Lake District, and is the largest and best wheat growing area in Canada.’ The brochure went on to say “the climate was undoubtedly one of the healthiest and most pleasant on earth.” It has been reported that March of 1910, 19 carloads of settlers came into town and during the week that followed 100 train cars had arrived. Land in the area was selling for $15.00 to $30.00 per acre.
The greatest period of growth for the town was 1910 to 1918. The decline of the town began in 1918 when the neighboring town of Rosetown began to draw businesses and families away from Zealandia because it had a hospital and other facilities to offer them.
In 1919 the dreaded flu epidemic was widespread and many lost their lives. However typhoid fever was the deadliest disease in the area.
The disastrous fires of 1923 and 1931 wiped out all the buildings on main street. The attempts at reconstruction never did make the town regain its former eminence, but it’s spirit is still alive and well.
Although Zealandia has suffered many setbacks, the town’s most valuable asset remains the optimistic outlook of it’s citizens. As in most small towns, the people are warm and friendly. It is a great place to bring up a family.