The Early Canterbury Runs: Containing the First, Second and Third (new) Series
*Lansdown and the Halswell Station — (Runs 4, 4a and 104)
*Lansdown and the Halswell Station
(Runs 4, 4a and 104)
These two stations were worked together for some years. Run 4 which at first included Run 4a, was of fifteen thousand acres on the Halswell river, originally taking in the country between Cooper's Knobs and Mt. Pleasant, Major Hornbrook's station on the Port Hills. The Cashmere and Hoon Hay estates were part of it. It was taken up by William Guise Brittan in September, 1851.
Brittan was Commissioner of Crown Lands to the Provincial Government, so he took Michael John Burke into partnership to work the station on thirds. Burke took up Run 104, of five thousand acres across the Halswell, in August, 1853. Run 104 followed the Halswell and then Lake Ellesmere to the mouth of the Selwyn where it joined the Springs Station. Both partners bought freehold on the runs independently.
While the whole place was worked as one it was known as the Halswell Station, and Burke's homestead was at what is now Vale Royal, lately owned by J. L. Turnbull; Charles Tripp, Frank Guinness and Charles Dudley were cadets, and W. B. Bray and Marsake had sheep there on terms.
Brittan and Burke dissolved partnership in 1860. They divided Run 4 by a line running up the valley opposite Lansdown House, through Kennedy's Bush, and on to the ridge looking into Governor's Bay, just clearing Cass's Peak. When Brittan went to live on the station he built his homestead opposite the present page 44Lansdown House just across the river. When this was burnt he re-built where the present house is. He first stocked the run with 400 ewes, and had a bad storm at lambing time, losing all but about 50 lambs. The next year the same ewes produced over 100 per cent, and the flock was afterwards worked up to over 3000. At shearing time the sheep were washed twice, at two days' interval. They were shorn in a makeshift thatched whare. In those days the butchers from Christchurch used to come and kill sheep for themselves in the station yards, and buy the mutton at sixpence a pound, leaving the skins for the owner. The run had been reduced by purchases to three thousand five hundred and ninety-three acres in 1865, and was re-numbered 100, Class II.
Brittan sold Lansdown to Sir Edward Stafford in 1870. Since then it has changed hands several times and is now only a small farm. Brittan died in Christchurch in 1876, aged 66.
Burke sold Run 104 to Thomas Hodgson Parkinson in 1868, but went on with Run 4a (his part of Brittan's) until some time after 1870.
Burke also took up Raincliff in South Canterbury. He was the first man to take a bullock dray through Burke's Pass, which is named after him. His sons afterwards had Waitohi Peaks in North Canterbury.
* Named by Brittan after the place near Bath where Beckford the author of Vathek lived.