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The Early Canterbury Runs: Containing the First, Second and Third (new) Series

Ledard — (Run 50)

(Run 50)

The next station up the Waimakariri was Ledard. Dugald Macfarlane took it up and settled on it in 1851, though some of the Provincial Run Lists give the date of the lease wrongly as 1852. Macfarlane had retired from the British Army as a lieutenant after the Battle of Waterloo. He not only fought at Waterloo but was at the Duchess of Richmond's famous ball the night before, and like the the rest of the soldiers who were there, was called away hurriedly to march with his regiment. In his haste at his lodging he could only find one boot and he fought through the battle with a boot on one foot and a dancing shoe on the other.

The first shearing was done out of doors on a drawing-room carpet which the Macfarlanes had brought page 29to New Zealand with them. They turned it upside down to shear on; their shepherd James Jeffrey shore the sheep, and their most active shed hand was the strapping Scotch maid who had come out with them. Macfarlane named the station after a sheep farm near Loch Ard where his father had lived after losing the rest of his land.

Macfarlane worked the station (which was of ten thousand acres) until 1860 when he was ruined by scab and sold out to his neighbour Richard Alfred Creyke, and thenceforward Ledard was worked as part of Racecourse Hill.

After trying farming for a time in the Kowai Forks, Macfarlane began life again as a wine merchant in Christchurch. He built the brick house at the corner of Armagh Street and Cranmer Square, where his cellars remain to this day. He died in 1881. Both his sons managed stations in Canterbury afterwards. One of them, Norman Macfarlane who is still flourishing,* has been one of my greatest helpers in writing these notes. A grandson was killed in the Great War.

* He died in Christchurch, and was buried on his 87th birthday, Feb. 25, 1931.