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

The Point — (Run 33)

page 199

The Point
(Run 33)

The Point, ten thousand acres, lay on the Rakaia River above the Terrace Station. It was taken up on 15th May, 1852, by John, Paul, and Michael Studholme, in John Studholme's name. Soon afterwards the Studholmes bought the Terrace Station at Hororata, and they worked the Point from there, with a man named Watts as their overseer. When they sold it about 1862 to Henry Phillips of Rockwood, the only improvements on it were a shepherd's hut and a set of sheep yards. The hut was half a mile nearer the Rakaia than the present homestead, and was near the swamp where the road turns up towards Lake Coleridge. T. A. Phillips had spent a year as a cadet on the Studholmes' Waimate Station, and when he returned in 1866 his father sent him to take charge of the Point. He slept one night in the old hut, but was driven out by rats, and pitched a tent on the present homestead site, and lived in it till he had built a hut for himself.

He and his people had not had time to do much in the way of making their new home comfortable before the 1867 winter came. The reader may remember that the snowstorm of July and August, 1867, was one of the worst recorded in Canterbury and ruined several good squatters. Happily it did not ruin the owner of page 200the Point, but here is a description of the storm from their station diary (on 29th July there had been a wet sou'-wester): —

July 30th—'Heavy snow a fool to it. A foot deep at sundown …'

July 21st—'A fearful day, wind like an extra sharpened double-bladed superfine razor. Snow drifted six feet in places—average 18 inches. No wood to be got, or barely enough to cook with.'

August 1st—'Rain, sleet, hail, snow, etc., etc. No fire all day, go to bed at intervals. No tobacco, no water, limited supply of grub.'

August 2nd—'Same as yesterday, but more so …. There was more snow in the next few days, but the weather was clearing by degrees. On Sunday, 4th, 'An exhausted swagger came at midday, who says that he had been out since Monday with no tucker and most of the time in the snow.' They got out as far as the Rakaia terrace that afternoon and 'found the sheep in better plight than expected.'

However, through snowstorms and bad times, the Phillips family held on to the Point and Rockwood until after Henry Phillips's death, when his son, T. A. Phillips, sold Rockwood and concentrated on the Point.

When the Government leases were put up to auction in 1889, Phillips lost the lease of his run, but he was able to make it freehold before the new tenant had entered into possession.

In 1911, Phillips sold the greater part of his country to George Gerard, of Snowdon, who put a water-race through it, and sold it in blocks. The Point is now only about six hundred acres, and is let to Miss Richards. It was about the last of the country houses where the old-fashioned tradition of open-house hospitality was maintained.

Henry Phillips had a farm called St. Martins near Christchurch, which has given its name to a suburb, and Phillipstown is also named after the family.