The Early Canterbury Runs: Containing the First, Second and Third (new) Series
Homebrook — (Run 100)
This run of ten thousand acres was taken up on 1st August, 1853, by Thomas Rowley, who transferred it almost at once to a man named Twiggs, of whom I cannot find out anything except that he was drowned in the Rakaia in the very early days and that his representatives sold the station to Charles Joseph Bridge in 1854.
Homebrook ran from the Rakaia back to the great swamp and was bounded on the west by Oakleigh. It ran to the sea at a point a mile or two from the mouth of Lake Ellesmere.
Bridge came from Liverpool where he had been on the stock exchange. Charles Hastings Bridge, the surveyor, is his son.
The freehold was bought early and quickly. By 1863 half the run had gone and by 1865 there were only sixty acres left. Bridge, however, secured a fine freehold property of fourteen or fifteen hundred acres himself. The town of Southbridge was part of it which he cut up and sold.
Bridge, who lived at Opawa until 1862, took Gladstone Baines as manager and partner. At first they worked Homebrook as a cattle station, but later on carried sheep as well. Baines did not stay very long in New Zealand but sold his share back to Bridge and returned to England. Bridge lived at the station himself from 1862 until his death in 1876, but in 1871 he let all the land, except fifty acres round the homestead, to Charles Bourn.
Bourn built himself a second homestead but used Bridge's station buildings. In 1881 his lease passed to J. R. Campbell, a one time part owner of Mesopotamia, who continued as tenant until 1900. Then the property was sub-divided and let in four farms until 1917, when it was sold to the Government for soldier settlement; thus the property was sixty-three years in the Bridge family.
The original homestead is near Jollie's Road, Trig 8 page 92being on a little hillock in the garden.
While on his only visit to New Zealand (in 1868) Lord Lyttelton, chief of the founders of Canterbury, stayed with Bridge at Homebrook. He spoke very feelingly of the hardships and discomforts of station life in the pamphlet he wrote when he got home describing the progress of Canterbury.