The Early Canterbury Runs: Containing the First, Second and Third (new) Series
Chapter 3 — Plains Stations North Of The Waimakariri
Plains Stations North Of The Waimakariri
(Run 133, afterwards re-numbered 99, Class II)
North of the Waimakariri the nearest run to the sea was a small one of five thousand acres on Kaiapoi Island. It was taken up on 15th February, 1854, by William Smith who transferred it in the same year to George Day. I am unable to identify William Smith. Day was a brother of Joseph Day, who was Harbour Master at Sumner for many years. For some years after he parted from Turner, William Smart was a partner in this run, either with Day or with one of his successors.
This run was close to Kaiapoi and contained some of the best agricultural land in New Zealand, so all the land on it except river bed and swamp was soon bought up by farmers.
By 1863 the run had been reduced to six hundred acres, and re-numbered 99, Class II. It had been transferred to W. H. Mein, an early Christchurch butcher whose shop was in Colombo Street near Cookham House, and had a boiling down and fellmongering works at Kaiapoi.
In 1865 the run had been transferred to William Coup. He transferred it in 1867 to Belcher and Fairweather who still had it in 1870 when it contained four hundred and eighty-two acres, and that is the last trace I can find of it. Belcher and Fairweather were carriers of wool and stores between Saltwater Creek and the stations in North Canterbury in the 'sixties. There are several of Belcher's descendants still living in the page 51district. Fairweather was for many years a farmer at Kaiapoi, and his widow died in 1929 in Brown's Road. Coup arrived in New Zealand in 1855 and bought land on Kaiapoi Island where Coup's Road is named after him. He was lost in the Matoaka in 1869.
(Runs 31 and 32)
Wai-iti lies on the north bank of the Waimakariri above Day's run. It originally contained eleven thousand acres altogether, and ran to the present Kaiapoi-Oxford railway.
Runs 31 and 32 were both taken up in 1852, Run 31, the country north of the Eyre, by H. C. Young and Run 32, the country between the Eyre and Waimakariri, by Captain James Row, a Cornishman. Young transferred his run to Row in the same year. When Row united the two runs, a new pasturage license was issued for both and numbered 32, and the number 31 was afterwards used for Blue Cliffs in South Canterbury. The country across the Eyre was all bought up very early.
About 1860 Row sold the station to Charles Hillyard, but kept the homestead and a few hundred acres, where he continued to live, Hillyard building a new homestead a little further up the Eyre.
In 1867 Hillyard took Horatio James Wood, who had just arrived in New Zealand from Melbourne, into partnership. In 1868 the station was taken over by the mortgagees, Francis James Garrick and the Hon. J. T. Peacock. Peacock bought Garrick's share of it in 1870.
Hillyard went to Fiji and did not return to New Zealand. Wood afterwards edited a paper called the North Canterbury Independent at Kaiapoi, and later on went to Southland where he edited another paper. He died in 1901, aged fifty-eight.
Charles Overton (afterwards of Swannanoa and of Winerslow Station), managed Wai-iti for about ten years from 1871 onwards, and in his time the flock was page 52changed from merinos to halfbreds. When the Cyclopædia of New Zealand was written Peacock had 3000 sheep running on two thousand three hundred acres of freehold. His manager at that time was Alfred Daniel Low.
After Peacock's death, his step-son J. A. McRae Peacock managed the station for the trustees until it was sold in 1907 or 1908. Peacock had been a merchant and shipowner in Sydney. He came to Canterbury about 1856, and among other activities built one of the first wharves at Lyttelton. He became one of the leading commercial men of Christchurch.
I forget who bought Wai-iti from Peacock's trustees, but Richard Dixon bought it in the winter of 1927, and according to the Pastoral Review gave £17,600 for the two thousand three hundred and thirty acres.
Run 84, between Wai-iti and Eyrewell, seems to have been part of Wai-iti for a time, but to have been sold by Hillyard to Dixon of Eyrewell, about 1866.
(Runs 83 and 93, and later 84)
Eyrewell has never changed hands except by inheritance. It lies next above Wai-iti on the Waimakariri and at one time took in the whole country between the Waimakariri and the Eyre for about nine miles. Marmaduke Dixon took up Run 83 of six thousand acres on 17th May, 1853, and Run 93 in the following July.
There was very little water on these runs before the water races were made, and Eyrewell is named after a well eighty feet deep which Dixon dug single-handed when he first settled there. I have heard that when Dixon was digging this well, he had to climb down and fill the bucket, climb the ladder again and pull up the bucket with a hand winch, empty it, and so down again. Apparently he called the station the Hermitage for the first year or two; at least that is the name given to it in a Sheep Return of 1854 when he had 3000 sheep there.page 53
Most of Eyrewell was light manuka country, so that very little freehold was bought on the run by farmers. In 1889, when the Midland Railway Company were given land as a progress payment for the railway they were building, the Eyrewell leasehold and a great deal of other government country near it, was included in their area. The Company sold the land for what it would fetch, giving the sitting tenants the first offer of it. Dixon bought his own run for 15/-an acre, and also the leasehold parts of Burnt Hill and Dagnam— runs above him on the river, whose owners did not care to make them freehold. In 1904 and 1907 his son, also called Marmaduke Dixon, bought most of the Worlingham Station and also added the Waimakariri country of that to Eyrewell. After these increases Eyrewell carried about 15,000 sheep.
The Dixons are the only people, except Moore of Glenmark, who have tried the experiment of sowing tussock seed, which they did on bare, burnt, manuka country to give shelter to finer grasses. They were great pioneers in the improvement of manuka country in various ways and spent a lot of money in cutting the scrub, crushing it down with rollers, and ploughing it in with swamp ploughs.
Marmaduke Dixon (II) died in 1918 and the station is now worked by trustees. Sales of land have brought it down in size, but it still carries about 5000 sheep.
Run 83 became Run 429, Class II, on 1st May, 1879. Run 84 was taken up by Robert Chapman on 18th May, 1853, and stocked with 250 ewes. He apparently sold it to Hillyard, and as I said in my note on Wai-iti, Hillyard transferred it to Dixon about 1866.
The first Marmaduke Dixon firmly believed that sun spots influence the weather. I have read lately that scientists have now come to the same conclusion. Dixon was a member of the Provincial Council and an enlightened worker on local bodies, and was the originator of the long straight roads in his district. Before settling in Canterbury he had been at sea. He came to New Zealand in 1849, and was so pleased with the country that he decided to come and live here, page 54although he was just due to command a ship. He finally arrived in Canterbury in 1851. He died in 1897, aged 67.
(Run 119, and later 78)
Worlingham was the next station on the Waimakariri above Eyrewell. Run 119, fourteen thousand five hundred acres of country on the Waimakariri, was taken up in August, 1853, by Thomas Kesteven, who kept it until 1867 when he sold it to Thomas James Curtis.
Kesteven was born in London in 1808. Before he came to New Zealand he had had a cloth warehouse in London in partnership with two of his brothers. After he sold Worlingham, which he named after the village near Beccles where his mother was born, he retired and lived at Fendalton where he died in 1873.
Run 78, the country on the Eyre, was taken by Robert Higgins for J. T. Murphy on 23rd February, 1852. Murphy worked this from his station on the other side of the Eyre until some time in the late 'sixties when he sold it to Curtis and it became part of Worlingham.
Curtis sold Worlingham to Joseph Pearson of Burnt Hill in 1873. I do not know anything about Curtis except that he was an American from Massachusetts and was naturalised a British subject on 1st January, 1861, and that in 1862 he was Superintendent of the Lyttelton Fire Brigade, and someone, I forget who, told me that he went to Australia after he sold his station. He seems to have always lived in Lyttelton.
Pearson did not keep Worlingham long. He made it over to his son William Fisher Pearson and Harry Brettagh. They shore about 6500 sheep there. The old homestead had been on the Waimakariri, but Brettagh and Pearson moved it over to the Eyre.
The New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Company took the station over from Brettagh and Pearson in page 551890. The company sold it to Major P. Johnson, now of Raincliff, in 1894.
In 1904 Johnson sold the country on the Waimakariri to the second Marmaduke Dixon, and the homestead and country on the Eyre to J. T. Tipping. In 1907 Tipping sold most of the country he had bought, to Dixon, but sold the homestead and a small part of the land to Thomas Izard who transferred it a year or two afterwards to G. L. le Vee.
This run of five thousand acres next above Worlingham was taken up in 1852, or early in 1853, by Crackenthorp John Wentworth Cookson. The run lists give 1854 as the rate of the original license, but Cookson told me himself that he was living there in 1853. Cookson was related to the Neave family at Home, and named his station after their place in Essex.
Dagnam was very light country and only carried about 1000 sheep. Cookson bought no freehold there. He sold the run to Joseph Pearson of Burnt Hill in 1857, and it continued to be part of Burnt Hill until Dixon bought the freehold of it in 1890.
After selling the run, Cookson went in for farming for a time. He died shortly before the 1914-18 War, in Lyttelton, where he had lived for many years in retirement.
In the run lists of the 'sixties, Miles and Co. are given as the tenants of Dagnam. They were Pearson's mortgagees. The area of the run is given as being over nine thousand acres. The smaller area given in the older lists was probably Cookson's estimate before the country was surveyed.
(Run 1, and afterwards 135)
Burnt Hill ran from the Waimakariri to the Eyre and was bounded on the east by Dagnam and the page 56Warren. It was taken up by Joseph Pearson in October, 1851. Although some twenty runs had been taken up before it, it was numbered 1 in the old run lists, because the original Run 1, which J. C. Boys had taken up near Mt. Thomas, had just been forfeited, and the number 1 was used again. Run 1 contained seven thousand four hundred acres.
Pearson had been one of Joseph Hawdon's managers in Australia, and he came over early in 1851 in charge of sheep of Hawdon's, Aitken's, and the Macdonalds', and to report on the new Golony. Besides taking up Burnt Hill for himself he took up several runs for Hawdon, and was the first man to explore the upper Waimakariri, where Lake Pearson is named after him.
In 1857 he bought Dagnam from Cookson. He did not buy the freehold of the whole of his runs when the Midland Railway Company offered it to him, but he made six or seven thousand acres freehold. This was cut up and sold by his executors about 1904, when one of the Bassetts bought the homestead block. This still belongs to Bassett. It is a nice piece of country and includes the actual hill after which the station is named. It now carries between 1500 and 2000 sheep.
View Hill, the station above Burnt Hill on the Waimakariri, brings us to the foot of the hills. It was twenty thousand and odd acres, and was taken by John Cristie Aitken in September, 1852. Pearson of Burnt Hill managed the run on shares for Aitken from 1854 till 1858. The sheep increased from 2700 in 1854 to 6000 in 1858.
Some time about 1860 Aitken sold View Hill to Captain Millton, an account of whom will be found in my notes on Birch Hill. Millton sold to Edwin Barnes Walker in 1865, and Walker sold to John Richard Gorton in 1873. In those days View Hill carried 13,000 sheep.page 57
Gorton was born in Suffolk and educated at Marlborough. Before he came to New Zealand he had spent twenty years managing and owning stations in Victoria and New South Wales.
In 1889 Gorton lost the leasehold country, but he had enough freehold left with the station to carry nearly 5000 sheep. He died in 1900 and since his death much of the land has been sold, but his son still has the homestead and land adjoining, and also the lease of the Mt. Oxford country which was originally part of Snowdale.
Aitken, who with his brother J. H. R. Aitken owned several other Canterbury runs in the early days, arrived here at the beginning of 1851 with a ship-load of cattle which he brought in partnership with Hawdon. He sold all his station property in the 'sixties and invested in town land. About 1870 he went home to England with a fortune. General F. Aitken is his son.
Before coming to New Zealand the Aitkens had had stations on the Murrumbidgee in Australia.
The Warren lay on the south bank of the Eyre, between Burnt Hill and Worlingham. It contained nearly twelve thousand acres and was taken up on 1st June, 1852, by Cookson and Bowler, who did not occupy it but sold it within about a year to Sanderson and Brayshaw. Sanderson, the managing partner, worked the Warren country from Carleton, his station on the other side of the Eyre.
In 1855 Sanderson and Brayshaw sold the Warren to Major Thomas Woolaston White who named it, and started it as a station, with his brother, Taylor White.
White had 700 sheep in 1856, and 1800 by 1858. He got into difficulties during the 'sixties, and about 1866 his agents, the Trust and Agency Company of Australasia, sold the Warren to George William Lee, though the run was not transferred to Lee's name until 1873. page 58Lee died in 1883. His executors carried on the station for his legatee, Bennet Rothes Langton of Spilsby Hall, Lincoln, England (I suppose a descendent of Dr. Samuel Johnson's friend), until May, 1912, when Robert W. Chapman bought it from them. Chapman cut it up and sold it shortly afterwards.
Cookson and Bowler, the first owners of the Warren, were speculators who took up one or two other runs in the 'fifties, always selling them after a year or two. William Bowler was a Wellington merchant to whose business Levin and Company are the successors. When the Pilgrims arrived he sent Isaac Cookson down to open a branch in Canterbury, and Cookson and Bowler became the chief merchants here during the 'fifties.
Cookson lived in the Heathcote Valley. He entertained Bishop Harper and his family at dinner there when they walked over the Bridle Path on their first arrival in Canterbury. His wife was a daughter of Sir Mathew Ridley, the famous Yorkshire sportsman.
I shall give accounts of Thomas Sanderson and George Brayshaw when I come to Greta Peaks and Waimate.
Major White had been in the 48th Bengal Native Infantry Regiment, and afterwards on the Australian gold diggings. He commanded the Militia or Volunteers in Canterbury from 1861 till 1867. He also owned the Mt. White and Sherwood Stations. He was before my time but I have been told that he had a very bad temper. After losing his money he went to live in Fiji, but was deported for raising a riot. He then became Stock Inspector in the North Island, but quarrelled with his superiors and ended his days at Lake Wakatipu.
His brother, Taylor White, left the Warren to start Mt. White Station, and after that he took up Mt. Nicholas on Lake Wakatipu. When he sold Mt. Nicholas he went to live in Hawke's Bay, where he died not long before the 1914-18 War. He was a keen field naturalist, and many papers by him are published in the Transactions of the N.Z. Institute.page 59
As well as the Warren, Lee had Wharfedale Station up the Ashley. Lee's Valley there is named after him. He was known as 'Jockey' Lee, and was a well known owner and amateur rider in the early days of racing in Canterbury.
Carleton was between the Eyre and Cust rivers, and went back to the foot of the Harewood Forest. It contained eight thousand acres and was taken up by Cookson and Bowler when they took up the Warren, on 1st June, 1852.
Cookson and Bowler sold both runs to Sanderson and Brayshaw about 1853.
Sanderson and Brayshaw seem to have sometimes called the station Mt. Plenty and sometimes Tumukai. The current name now-a-days is Starvation Hill.
Sanderson, who soon took over Brayshaw's interest, started with 257 sheep in 1854. He had 1800 in 1855. Carleton was a poor run in its native state, and I suppose it must have been fully stocked by 1857. In 1861 Sanderson sold it to Major H. J. Coote, of whom I have no particulars, except that he came out to New Zealand in 1853 as brigade-major to the troops in Wellington. In 1866 R. H. Rhodes and Robert Wilkin, the mortgagees, took the station over from Coote. Wilkin was a leading stock and station agent in Christchurch. He and Rhodes were partners in several other stations. J. H. Davison, their manager at Racecourse Hill looked after Carleton for them.
I think Rhodes and Wilkin sold the station to somebody about 1871, but had to take it back. In 1880 they sold it again to James Thomson, one of the brothers who had owned Otaio.
Thomson left the Carleton in 1885 and the station was sub-divided and sold in farms. The Homestead page 60block belongs to P. H. Thomson; the old house was about two hundred yards behind the present one.
I learn from an old stock return that this station was called Pukeriki for a time in the 'fifties. The two homesteads on it were afterwards known as Tara and the Downs, but the station as a whole was generally known as Murphy's Run.
It was about fourteen thousand acres and ran from the Eyre to the Cust below the Carleton Run. It was taken up on 17th October, 1851, by Robert Luke Higgins for John T. Murphy. Murphy was a large squatter in Australia. He sent Higgins over to Canterbury with stock to take up country as a managing partner. Murphy continued to live in Australia but came over once or twice in the 'fifties to see the station.
Higgins built his original hut on the site of the old house at Tara, which I believe is still standing. He continued as managing partner as long as Murphy lived, and after his death became his executor. In 1853 Higgins took up another run, No. 78, for Murphy. It lay south of the Eyre but was sold to T. J. Curtis in the late 'sixties and became part of Worlingham.
In the early 'sixties Murphy sent his son over to the run. When the younger Murphy married he built a separate homestead on the downs where A. R. Blunden lives. He was killed about 1870 while riding home from a mounted paper chase. His widow, who was a daughter of Dr. Moore, one of the earliest Christchurch doctors and Canterbury runholders, afterwards married R. Blunden and lived at the Downs until her death in 1918. The old house was burnt down in 1922 but has been rebuilt, and Mrs. Blunden's son still lives there.
The Murphys bought the freehold of a great deal of good land on the run. In the late 'eighties when the partnership with Higgins ended, most of the land page 61was leased to farmers, and in 1921 it was all cut up and sold except the Downs homestead farm.
This run lay between the Eyre and Cust. On the west it joined Murphy's run and on the east it was bounded by the Manderville and Rangiora Swamp. It was taken up in October, 1851, by William Kaye, a squatter from Castlemain in Australia.
Kaye's manager was Robert Chapman, who had been with him on one of his stations in Australia, and whom he took into partnership. In October, 1853, not long after Chapman arrived, Kaye sold out to him altogether and returned to Australia where he did well with several stations, and in a few years went home to England with a fortune.
Springbank was originally about twenty-three thousand acres, of which Chapman succeeded in making about fifteen thousand freehold. On his death in 1882 the station was divided among his sons, the homestead and three thousand five hundred acres going to Edward Chapman. Edward Chapman died in 1893 as the result of a shooting accident at Lochinvar. The property was carried on by his executors until 1912 when it was cut up and sold in farms. George Rutherford, who had just sold Dalethorpe, bought the homestead and thirteen hundred acres.
Although the homestead of Springbank, with most of the land, has now passed into other hands, Dennis and Robert Chapman—grandsons of the original owner —still own two thousand acres of the old freehold.
(Runs 29 and 302)
Run 29, of ten thousand acres, below the Harewood Forest between the Cust and the Ashley, was taken up on 29th May, 1852, by Thomas Ellis and Gustav page 62Gartner (sometimes called Gustav von Gartner). They also kept the Golden Fleece Hotel in Christchurch in partnership. Ellis was the son of a doctor at Birmingham where he was born. He arrived in Canterbury in 1851. In my first edition I confused him with a different Ellis, but these particulars were apparently supplied to the Cyclopædia of New Zealand by his sons so are probably correct.
Ashley Gorge seems to have been called Pukaukau in 1855, when Ellis, who bought Gartner's share that year, had 1035 sheep running on it. In May, 1859, Ellis took up Run 302 of five thousand acres between his original run and the bush. The station afterwards carried 6,000 sheep.
In 1881 Ellis let the run and sheep to Alexander Henderson, who had been his manager, and McBeath, and the Government cut up the leasehold in 1896. A few years later Ellis's executors sold the freehold (near East Oxford) to the Government who made a deferred payment settlement of it.
When Ellis let the station he went home to Birmingham where he died about 1890.
Fernside Station, after which the Fernside district is named, lay between the Ashley and Gust and ran from the eastern boundary of Ashley Gorge to within two or three miles of Rangiora. It was taken up on 28th August, 1851, by Charles Obins Torlesse. Torlesse was born in 1825 at Stoke, where his father was the parson. He first came to New Zealand in 1841 as a surveyor for the New Zealand Company under Wakefield. He returned to England in 1843, but came out again in 1848 with Captain Thomas to survey Canterbury. He was the first white man to climb Mt. Torlesse which is named after him. Besides Fernside, Torlesse owned Birch Hill Station, and a farm at Rangiora where he page 63lived. He stocked Fernside in the first year with 1400 ewes, 500 dry sheep, 20 steers and 3 horses. By 1857 he had 9000 sheep there. From 1856 till 1859, when he sold all his land and runs, Torlesse's brother Henry had a share in them. Henry Torlesse [1833-1870] was afterwards a parson in Canterbury. For a year or two in the middle 'fifties the Hon. William Reeves managed Fernside for the Torlesses and had a share in it.
Torlesse sold Fernside and Birch Hill in 1859 to Mannering and Cunningham, and went home to England. He came back to Christchurch in 1862, and started as a stock and station agent in partnership with Henry Matson. His health failed a year or two later and he again went home to England where he died in 1866.
Besides Fernside and Birch Hill, Mannering and Cunningham owned Snowdale, in my account of which I have described their careers. Cunningham was the partner who lived at Fernside. In 1866 they were ruined by scab and bad times, and George Hart of Winchmore, who was their mortgagee, took over their runs.
Fernside contained good land and lay near the settlement at Rangiora, so the land was bought up quickly in the 'sixties. It was originally of twenty thousand acres, but by 1863 had been reduced to under twelve thousand; in 1865 to under seven thousand, and in 1866 almost all the run had been bought. To give Mannering another start Hart let him have the free-hold and homestead at a low rent. Later Mannering sub-let the land to Captain Parsons and the house to C. L. Wiggins, who had been his cadet at Snowdale. Wiggins started a school there. After over sixty years of teaching, this good old man died at the age of eighty-four in 1927.
The land was gradually sold off, and what remains with the homestead now belongs to F. W. Carpenter.
Glentui lay on the foothills between the gorge of the Ashley and the Tui creek, and ran back to the Harewood Forest Reserve. It was originally a small run of five thousand acres carrying about 1400 sheep. It was taken up by H. C. H. Knowles in December. 1854.
In the 'seventies the Hon. Edward Richardson had a flax mill near the Ashley Gorge Bridge and began buying flax land out of the run. On the flax becoming unprofitable he converted the mill into a sawmill and Richardson and Company began buying up the bush land as well and stocked their cleared land with sheep, making Glentui untenable, so that in 1875 Knowles sold the station to Richardson and Company. Richardson and Company then obtained Wharfedale from G. W. H. Lee by a similar process.
In the late 'eighties Glentui and Wharfedale with 25,000 sheep passed from Richardson and Company to the Bank of New Zealand, and became the property of the Bank of New Zealand Assets Realisation Company in 1891. John O'Halloran was the company's manager. On the realisation of these properties in 1899 Glentui again became separated from Wharfedale and O'Halloran bought it. It still belongs to his family. The hills on the north side of the Tui Creek which belong to the present Glentui Station originally belonged to Birch Hill. Richardson selected this country when he was paid in land for building the first Ashley Gorge Bridge.
I have no particulars of Knowles. I learn from Who's Who in N.Z. that the Hon. Edward Richardson, C.M.G., was born in London in 1831, and arrived in New Zealand in 1861 with George Holmes. They came from Australia where they had been partners, and came over to build the Christchurch-Lyttelton tunnel. Richardson became a Member of the Provincial Council of Canterbury in 1870, Member of the House of Representatives in 1871, and Minister of page 65Public Works in 1872. He held this portfolio in several Governments. He died in 1915.
We were told as children that what we call birch trees are really beech trees, and the scientific people are still trying to bring this knowledge home to us, but I like the old name best, and still hear most people use it up country. This incorrect classification should be perpetuated by a number of well established local names. There are three Birch Hill Stations in the Island, a Birchgrove, two Birchwoods, two Birchdales, and a Birch Hollow.
This particular Birch Hill, sometimes spoken of as Birch Hill North to distinguish it from Birch Hill in the Mackenzie Country (the third Birch Hill is in Marlborough), lay on the foot-hills between the Tui Creek and the Garry, and was of seven thousand acres. It was first applied for by John Thomas Brown on 1st January, 1853, but apparently he sold it at once to Charles Obins Torlesse, as there is no record or tradition of Brown having stocked it. Torlesse was the first man to stock it and the station woolbrand is still C. O. T. In 1858 or 1859 Torlesse sold Birch Hill to Mannering and Cunningham, at the same time as Fernside, and, with Fernside and Snowdale, Birch Hill was taken over by George Hart in 1866. In 1874 Hart sold Birch Hill and Snowdale, with 40,000 sheep, to Captain W. N. Millton who had taken up the Okuku country early in the 'fifties, and wanted Birch Hill as a shearing place for it.
Before settling on shore, Millton had commanded the Zingaree, almost the earliest steamer to trade into Lyttelton. His first recorded arrival in New Zealand was in 1842 when he brought a shipload of cattle to Wellington from Australia, and in 1845 he was engaged in transporting troops from Tasmania and Norfolk Island to North Auckland for the Hone Heke page 66War. His first land venture was at Nelson where he bought what is now Anzac Park, but long known as Million's Acre.
The Birch Hill run was included in the Midland Railway area, and was made freehold in 1890. When Captain Million died in 1889 his stations were divided amongst his sons. The homestead part o£ Birch Hill belonged to Lieut-Colonel E. B. Millton, but part of Birch Hill was cut off for J. D. Millton and is now known as the Rakahuri Estate. Colonel Millton died in March, 1942, but the station is still worked by his executors. Birch Hill, besides being used as a stud sheep farm, still fulfills the purpose fills the purpose for which Captain Millton bought it— a shearing place for what is left of the Okuku country. Robert Lawrie was Million's first manager at Birch Hill, and afterwards a man named Gordon. Henry Elderton,* who is still flourishing and a mine of information on the runs in these parts, was Millton's first head shepherd. Reginald Foster and C. L. Wiggins were both cadets with Mannering and Cunningham at Birch Hill.
(Runs 73, 75 and 234)
Mt. Thomas took in the country in the fork of the Okuku and Ashley. The first man to take up a run on what afterwards became Mt. Thomas Station was John Cowell Boys who was one of Captain Thomas's surveyors, and his pasturage license was the first to be issued by the Provincial Government, and the original Run 1. This was early in 1851. But Boys did not fulfil the conditions of his lease, so the Waste Lands Board cancelled it after a year and used the Number 1 again for Pearson's run, Burnt Hill. John Thomas Brown took up another part of the Mt. Thomas country as Run 75 on 3rd September, 1851, and in January, 1852, Captain W. T. Hervey took up Run 73. Hervey page 67transferred Run 73 to Roderick McKay who transferred it to J. T. Brown on 15th May, 1854. Brown took up Run 234, five thousand acres at the back of Mt. Thomas in January, 1858. Brown was born in Norwich in 1816. He was a surveyor in England and came to New Zealand in the Midlothian in 1851.
Brown started Mt. Thomas as a cattle station in 1852, but in 1855 let it on terms to the Maude Brothers for five years.
In the 'seventies the station carried 13,000 sheep, but afterwards Walter Nicholls bought four thousand acres of the run and started the Haylands Estate, and when the Midland Railway Company offered the run for sale in 1890, the Browns would not buy it, so Nicholls did. After this Mt. Thomas carried 9000 sheep on freehold.
Herbert Brown, son of the first occupier, lived at Mt. Thomas until his death in 1928, but in 1910 sold the sheep and let nearly all the land in farms for a term of years and later on sold it. The homestead still belongs to his estate and is one of the few in Canterbury which still belong to the original family. Miss Julia Brown also owns about eight hundred acres of the original homestead block.
Loburn is the spelling which has long been used for the name of this station and for the district which is named after it, but the older spelling was Lowburn, and Macfarlane, who named it, said it was undoubtedly the right one.
Loburn lay on the north side of the Ashley and took in the downs at the back of Mt. Grey. At one time it took in most of Whiterock as well. Run 1a, of about thirteen thousand acres, was taken up by John Macfarlane in September, 1851. Macfarlane sold Loburn to Cunningham Brothers (Arthur and Charles, sons of Cunningham of Fernside) in 1862, and built a new page 68homestead at Whiterock, in my note on which I have placed an account of him. John O'Halloran, afterwards of Glentui, was his head shepherd at Loburn.
Loburn was very scrubby, and a bad place to get a clean muster, and the Cunninghams had a very bad time with scab. It was a poor run altogether, but there was some heavy land in the valleys, a good deal of which was bought in small blocks by navvies with the money they had been paid for digging the Lyttelton tunnel.
Dalgety & Co. took the station over from the Cunninghams in 1884. At that time it carried 6000 sheep, but Dalgety & Co. sold off the land bit by bit, and since their time the homestead and land with it has been through many hands. Among others, I had it myself in partnership with Hugh Reeves for a few months and we did well by further sub-dividing it. The homestead afterwards belonged to James Wotherston and then to Thomas Gibson of A. H. Turnbull & Co. I do not know what became of A. Cunningham after he left Loburn, but Charles Cunningham was afterwards a stock inspector. He died at Rangiora in the 1920's and was kind enough to tell me a good deal of the run history of the Ashley district.
(Runs 11 and 194)
This station covered all the country from the Ashley to the south branch of the Kowai, and from the sea to the foot of Mt. Grey. It is one of the oldest stations in Canterbury and was held under the New Zealand regulations before the Canterbury Settlement. It was taken up by Captain Mitchell, probably about the middle of 1850. Mitchell arrived in New Zealand in 1848. In 1850 he and Dashwood travelled overland from the Wairau to Canterbury. He started Mt. Grey as a cattle station, and went back to India in October, 1850. Ward in his diary published in the Press of 14th February, 1925, speaks of Mitchell having a house and page 69cows at Mt. Grey in January, 1851. Mitchell died about the.end of 1851 and his representatives sold his station in April, 1852, to Major Edward Maurice O'Connell for £400 without the cattle, which were taken at valuation and brought the total price for the station and cattle up to about £2000. O'Connell belonged to the 99th Regiment and had been Brigade-major to the Commander of the troops in Wellington. He came to Lyttelton in the schooner Twins in April, 1852, so did not waste much time in buying a station. At the time of Governors FitzRoy and Hobson, a Lieut.-General Sir Maurice O'Connell was in command of the troops in New South Wales and I take it Major O'Connell was his son.
On 1st January, 1852, Pasturage License 11, for ten thousand acres, was issued to O'Connell under the Canterbury Land Regulations. O'Connell died about the year 1855, but his widow went on with the station. She was a great dairy farmer and milked 50 cows there in 1856. Thomas Dodd and his wife worked her dairy for her. They afterwards lived at Saltwater Creek and later at Waikari where they were famous for their cheeses. In June, 1857, Mrs O'Connell took up Run 194, of five thousand acres. Her first manager was George Douglas of Broomfield Station, who had come out with Captain Mitchell. After him her son Maurice managed the station till it was sold.
Mrs O'Connell died in October, 1870, and in 1871 her executors sold Mt. Grey to Archdeacon Matthias and Charles Ensor. Ensor bought the Archdeacon's share in 1881. Before buying Mt. Grey they had owned Rollesby Station at Burke's Pass together.
When Ensor first went to Mt. Grey the land on the plain was being bought out of the run every day, but he secured what he could. In 1890 he bought the freehold of the balance from the Midland Railway Company. He was in his time a great merino breeder. He died in 1900 and Mt. Grey was divided amongst his sons. C. H. Ensor got the homestead block of five thousand acres which he afterwards sold to H. A. page 70Knight and Henry Cotterill. Since Knight and Cotterill's time the land has been sold piece by piece, so that the homestead is now only a farm carrying less than 1000 sheep. It belongs to J. Fleming.
(Runs 28, 71 and 257)
Broomfield is another station which has never changed hands except by inheritance. It originally took in all the country between the north and south branches of the Kowai and included the actual mountain called Mt. Grey. Mt. Grey, Mt. Hutt and Mt. Cook stations were all named after mountains which lay outside their own boundaries.
George Douglas first applied for a run on 5th May, 1851. He described it as 'in the neighbourhood of Mr Dean's run and the Waipara River.' This is rather indefinite even for those days, but may possibly have been meant for part of Broomfield. I cannot find any trace of it being allotted to him. The first country he took up on Broomfield was Run 71, of six or seven thousand acres some distance up the Kowai. He took this up in January, 1852. Earlier in the same month Donald Hankinson took up Run 28, of ten thousand acres in the actual fork of the Kowai. This he sold to Douglas after a year or so. Douglas took up the rest of Broomfield, Run 257, in May, 1858.
I have not been able to find out much about Hankinson. He was a brother-in-law of the Knights of Tekau and Steventon and afterwards had a run at Lake Te Anau. He represented Riverton in Parliament from 1866 to 1870.
Douglas, who as I said, managed Mt. Grey as well as Broomfield, registered his brand G.D. on the 25th January, 1854. It was the second brand ever registered in Canterbury, the first was registered for 'Lowburn' by John Macfarlane on 14th January. In a Stock Inspector's report for November, 1858, Douglas is stated to have had 4600 sheep on his twenty-two page 71thousand acres. The sheep were clean (of scab) but some sheep from Glenmark had joined them five days before the inspection. Douglas came of an Irish family of Scotch descent, his ancestor having been a soldier in Cromwell's Army whom Cromwell rewarded with a grant of land in Ireland. George Douglas was born in Baltinglas, County Wicklow, about 1825 and was brought up as a farmer. In 1849 Captain Mitchell persuaded him to come to New Zealand with him to take up land and settle, and they arrived in Sydney later in the year in the ship Raymond. They came on to New Zealand in the Lady Nugent and made an exploring trip overland with Dashwood from Nelson to Canterbury, where they arrived about the middle of 1850. On Mitchell's return to India, Douglas managed Mt. Grey and on Mitchell's death he took up Broomfield for himself. His first camp was at what is now Dalbeg on the south bank of the Kowai at the foot of Mt. Grey. Here he built his first house but it was burned down in 1857, when he moved to the present homestead site of Broomfield. At first he worked both Broomfield and Mt. Grey as cattle stations.
Douglas died in March, 1873, and since then Broomfield has been carried on by his trustees. They lost the leasehold country in 1889. For some years, about the time of the South African War, the station and sheep were leased to William Buss of Rangiora.
Double Corner And Mt. Brown
(Runs 8, 76 and 107)
Double Corner took in the whole low country between the North Kowai and the Waipara, and included what was afterwards Mt. Brown Station. Like the Mt. Grey Station, Double Corner was named after a natural feature outside its own boundaries. The cape called the Double Corner is on Teviotdale, across the Waipara.
Double Corner is another station that was taken up before the Canterbury settlement. I cannot find the page 72exact date, but Charles Hunter Brown took up the first part of it early in 1850, under license from the New Zealand Government. He was settled there in January, 1851, when Ward's diary was written.
Hunter Brown was one of the ablest and most successful of the early runholders. He contributed a very good chapter on 'Starting a station' to Archdeacon Paul's book. He was educated as a civil engineer and arrived in Dunedin 1849 in the Mariner. He took up Double Corner on the advice of Caverhill of Motunau. He brought with him the seeds of the she-oaks growing at Teviotdale and Seadown and of the white gum, which is the oldest gum tree in Canterbury, at the site of the old Double Corner homestead. Hunter Brown was one of those who met Godley when he arrived in Canterbury and showed him over part of the plains.
After Hunter Brown sold Double Corner he joined FitzGerald and Percy Cox in the firm called Brown, Cox and Company which owned the Springs and Longbeach stations. When these were sold he did very well by investing his money in Christchurch property. He travelled extensively in Palestine and elsewhere, and represented Cheviot in one Parliament but was afterwards defeated by Weld. He lived for many years in Nelson where he died in 1908. His choice of Double Corner as a run was a wise one. Waitt in his Progress of Canterbury says that 'Brown's run is not to be equalled in the whole Canterbury Block for its compactness and also superior herbage.'
Hunter Brown took out a license from the Canterbury Association for Run 8 in September, 1851, and took up two more runs, Numbers 76 and 107 in March and August, 1853, respectively.
Percy Cox who was afterwards a partner in the Springs and Longbeach, and owner of Mt. Somers, was a cadet with Hunter Brown from 1854 till 1856, and George Draper, a brother of Mrs J. E. FitzGerald, was also a cadet there. They had a certain amount of scab at Double Corner but it did not get very bad. Hunter page 73Brown sold Double Corner to Marchant and Polhill (known as Marchant and Co.) at the end of 1856 for £4500.
Marchant, the managing partner for the new owners, was an Australian, and went back to Australia when he sold Double Corner. Polhill afterwards had Lake Heron on the Upper Rakaia, from which he also supervised Double Hill for Joseph Palmer. There is an account of him under Upper Lake Heron. Samuel Coleman, afterwards at Wharfedale, was manager at Double Corner under Marchant.
Marchant and Co. transferred Double Corner to Thomas Hood Hood in 1863. I can find nothing about Hood but I think he was only a banker or agent for the station as he seems to have transferred Runs 76 and 167 to Bosville Place and John Innes at once, and these two runs became the Mt. Brown Station. John Innes became sole owner of Mt. Brown in 1877, and took his brother James Innes into partnership. They bought the freehold of the whole run from the Midland Railway Company in 1890. Soon afterwards John Innes returned to Scotland where he inherited a baronetcy, and dying unmarried, was succeeded by James Innes, who sold Mt. Brown about 1898 to William Buss of Rangiora and also returned to Scotland where he died in 1919. Buss sold Mt. Brown to A. W. Byrch (his family are the present owners of Motunau) and Byrch sold it to William Nicholls of Belfast. Since James Innes's time the station has been much subdivided. The homestead and two thousand acres belonged to I. Croft in 1924, when this note was written.
To return to Double Corner itself (Run 8), Hood seems to have sold it almost at once to Levin Alexander Graeme Walker (nicknamed 'Lag' Walker from his initials), but kept the lease in his own name until 1866, when it was transferred to Frank Courage. The run at that time included the present Glasnevin and Stockgrove estates. The homestead was on the south bank of the Waipara close to the sea.
Frank Courage (father of the present owner of (Sea-page 74down) arrived in New Zealand with his wife in the City of Paris in 1861, and seems to have bought an interest in Double Corner soon afterwards, but bought freehold on the run independently. He afterwards bought out Hood and Walker's interest and lived at Double Corner until 1872, when he bought Seadown (which itself had been part of Double Corner) from Mrs Carter and went to live there, and he and his son have always called the place Seadown. The old name Double Corner dropped out of use, but E. L. Wyles, who now owns the old Double Corner site, has revived the name for his farm.
Mrs Courage wrote a very amusing book on her early colonial experiences. It is now difficult to get a copy of it.
The Maori name for Double Corner seems to have been Mimimoto or Mimiomoko, at least that is what it is called in a stock return of 1854 when Brown had 1500 sheep there.
* Died in April, 1930.