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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]


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Cust is on the northern railway line, between Rangiora and Oxford, and thirty-two miles from Christchurch. It has a fortnightly market, which is conducted by the North Canterbury Co-operative Association, and has yards with accommodation for all kinds of stock. The township has a railway station, which stands 419 feet above the level of the sea; also a post and telegraph office, a public library, a town hall, an Oddfellows' hall, Anglican and Presbyterian churches, two general stores, a hotel, and a public school, and there are schools also at Stoke and Summerhill. Amongst the local tradesmen there are two bakers, two blacksmiths, two carpenters and undertakers, a butcher, a clothier, and a saddler; and two flour mills do a good trade in gristing for the neighbourhood. The district originally belonged to the Fernside run, owned by Messrs Cunningham and Mannering, but the purely pastoral interests had in time to give way to closer settlement. Cust derives its name from one of the original promoters of the Canterbury Association, namely, Sir Edward Cust, of Leasowe Castle, England, who presented the local church with a bell, Mrs. R. Chapman giving the bell-tower. The land of the district is undulating, and the original settlers had much difficulty in getting their produce to market in the early days. To mend matters in that connection, the road boards applied themselves with great earnestness to form the roads and erect temporary bridges. Amongst the members who helped in this way were Messrs R. N. Higgins, J. Tipping, J. Collier, D. McVicar, W. Anderson, Thomas Conway, T. B. Howson, and J. B. Dickenson. Cust district now has a population of about 750 persons, and its valuation under the road board is close upon £150,000. Originally the district extended from the Ashley to the Waimakariri, but about the year 1870 it was reduced in size by the creation of what is now known as the West Eyreton district. Visitors to Cust are charmed with the scenery of the district; indeed, the low downs covered with well-kept farms and homesteads, with the beautiful background of Mount Thomas and the dense bush of Birch Hill, make up one of the finest landscapes in Canterbury.

The Cust Road District lies between the Oxford, Rangiora, and Mandeville road district, and the West Eyreton and Ashley districts. It embraces about fifty square miles of agricultural and pastoral country. The capital ratable value of the district is £179,559, on which a rate of 3-8ths of a penny in the £ is levied, and the revenue for the year 1901–2 was £726 19s 7d. Mr. R. Kingsbury is chairman, and Mr. Thomas O'Farrell, clerk of the Board, which has an office in the township of Cust, where it holds monthly meetings.

The Post Office at Cust was established in 1864. It is situated on the premises of Mr. Stephen Early, and is in a central position, in the main street. Daily mails are received and despatched at the office.

Mr. Stephen Early, who has held the position of Postmaster at Cust since 1866, was born in 1840, at Ringwood, Hampshire, England, and educated and brought up as a builder by his father. He arrived in Lyttelton on St. Patrick's Day, 1860, by the ship “Clontarf,” and was for about three years in business with his father in Christchurch. On settling in Cust in 1864, he began business as a general storekeeper, and as a baker and undertaker. He carried on the store for about eighteen years, and has since confined his operations to the building and undertaking lines. Mr. Early's commodious premises include a fine workshop with the necessary plant. In the early days he served as a member of the Cust Road Board, and was a member of the first school committee, on which he served for a number of years, and was one of the founders of the local literary institute. He is still a member of the cemetery board. Mr. Early is a member at the Order of Oddfellows, in which he has passed all the chairs, and was one of the founders of the local lodge, and also of that at Oxford. He was married, in 1862, to a daughter of Mr. J. Wayland, of Stoke-by-Nayland, Suffolk, England, and has four sons and five daughters.

The Cust Railway Station And Telegraph Office is on the Rangiora-Oxford branch railway line. The building, which is of wood and iron, contains a public ticket lobby, ladies' waiting room, and stationmaster's office, and there is a large goods shed. Two passenger trains pass the station three days in the week, and four on the other three days.

Mr. H. A. Wright, Stationmaster, who also acts as Telegraphist, and Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, was appointed to his present position in 1896.

Public School, Cust . This school dates from about 1872. It contains three class rooms and three large porches, and stands on part of a section of three acres of land. There is accommodation for 180 pupils; in 1902 the number on the roll was seventy-two, with an average attendance of sixty. There is a large playground surrounded with well-grown shelter trees; also a two-storey school residence, with five good rooms. The headmaster, Mr Henry Henderson, is helped by an assistant mistress.

St. James' Anglican Church, Cust, is a wood and iron building, which has accommodation for 150 worshippers. It stands on a narrow strip of land between the railway line and the main road. A Sunday school connected with the church is conducted in a separate building, and is attended by forty children, who are in charge of five teachers. The vicarage is a comfortable six-roomed residence, situated not far from the church. Services are conducted twice every Sunday, and the vicar also holds services periodically at West Eyreton and Mount Thomas. The vicar, the Rev. A. S. Fox, has been in charge of the district since 1897.

The Cust Literary Institute was founded in 1873, and the hall which it occupies was built two years later. The hall has seating accommodation for 400 people, and the library, which contains 700 volumes, is kept in a separate room. There are about thirty subscribers. The affairs of the institution are managed by the president, Mr. E. W. Cooper, and a committee of eight, with Mr. A. D. Hassall, J.P., as secretary.

Mr. Alfred Daniel Hassall, Secretary to the Cust Literary Institute, was born in Kaiapoi, in 1858, and established his present business in 1879. He was a member of the local licensing committees for several years, and was made a Justice of the Peace in 1898. Mr. Hassall was married, in 1882, to a daughter of the late Mr. J. Willis, of Christchurch, and has three daughters.

Cust Hotel (J. Brosnahan, Proprietor), This comfortable hotel was established in 1863, and became known as the half-way house between Rangiora and Oxford. It contains twenty-five rooms, of which twelve are well-furnished bedrooms and four sittingrooms. There is a billiard-room, also stabling page 485 and secure well-watered paddocks for horses and travelling stock. The hotel is a favourite resting-place for tourists, commercial travellers, and other visitors, whose comforts are well looked after by Mr. and Mrs. Brosnahan.

Mr. Brosnahan, the Proprietor of the Cust Hotel, was born in Ireland in 1871, and received his education at Temuka. In his early years he followed farming. He has taken an active part in local athletic sports, and has been a prize-winner on several occasions. Mr. Brosnahan was married in 1895 to Miss Hoare, and has one daughter.

Mr. and Mrs J. Brosnahan.

Mr. and Mrs J. Brosnahan.

McCullough, David Thomas, Butcher and Farmer, Cust. This business was established by Mr. T. B. Houston, conducted by Mr. McLaren for eighteen years, and acquired by the present proprietor in 1901. Mr. McCullough farms 120 acres of land in the district. He was born in Belfast, Ireland, and came to Lyttelton by the ship “Mystery” with his parents. For about twelve months he found employment in the North Island, and was in the Cust district at the time of the great flood in 1868. Mr. McCullough began farming on his own account in 1880. For six years he served as a director of the North Canterbury Co-operative Society. He was married, in 1888, to a daughter of the late Mr A. Ramsay, of Cust, and has two sons.

Cooper, Edmund Watts, Storekeeper, Cust. This business was established in 1879 by the proprietor, in conjunction with Mr C. Thompson, of Carleton. The premises which are freehold, consist of a wood and iron building, of one storey, containing two shops and a residence behind. The departments include clothing, boots, and hardware. Mr. Cooper was born in South Australia in 1858, and came to New Zealand when six years of age. He was educated at the local school, under Mr. J. Dobson, and was brought up to mercantile life. Mr. Cooper has taken considerable interest in the welfare of the Cust district, and has been president of the local literary institute since 1891. He has been associated with the Cust Lodge of Oddfellows for many years, and has passed all the chairs. Two of Mr. Cooper's sons went to South Africa as members of New Zealand Contingents. Mr. Cooper was married, in 1881, to a daughter of Mr. D. Garrett, of Cust, and has three sons and two daughters.

Mr. and Mrs E. W. Cooper.

Mr. and Mrs E. W. Cooper.

Tolputt and Clarke, photo. Mr. and Mrs E. Allison.

Tolputt and Clarke, photo.
Mr. and Mrs E. Allison.


Allison, Edward, Farmer and Threshing Machine Proprietor, Cust. Mr. Allison was born in Lancashire, England, in 1844, and was brought up to country life. Till 1866 he was a farm servant. In that year he came to Lyttelton by the ship “Blue Jacket,” and found employment at shearing and other farm work in the Cust district, for several years. About 1870 he commenced his experience in connection with threshing machines. Within a short time he had an interest in a machine, and soon afterwards became proprietor of a complete plant, which he has worked successfully for many years. Mr. Allison resides on a section of fifty acres of freehold land, which he farms. He was married, in 1881, to a daughter of Mr. J. Worgan, of Lyttelton, and has three daughters and two sons.

Anderson, William, Farmer, Cust. This old settler was born at Dairy, Ayrshire, in 1843, and worked on his father's farm at Towuhead, Lanarkshire, till the age of twenty, when he resolved to try his fortune in New Zealand, and sailed in the ship “Sebastopol” for Canterbury. He landed at Lyttelton on the 24th of May, 1863, after a voyage of 126 days. He worked for the provincial government on road formation and repairing, then joined the late Mr. Seabright in a contract for delivering telegraph poles along the line from Riccarton to the Rangitata river. They encountered many hardships and dangers from storms and floods, having on one occasion to retreat from their camp, cross the river, and make for Riccarton, after losing a quantity of their stores and material. Mr. Anderson settled in the Cust district in 1864, where he gradually increased his lands to 1000 acres. He was for several years a member of the road board, and chairman for about three years. At one time he had a very severe illness, which page 486 paralysed one side, but he still continued doing service for the district and was chairman of the Stoke School Committee for about twelve years until failing health necessitated his retirement. He was married in 1862 to Miss Baxter and has six sons and four daughters; four sons are farming on their own account at Rakaia, Mason's Flat, and North Loburn.

Atkinson, R. D., Farmer, Farleigh Estate, Cust. Mr. Atkinson was born in Essex, England, and was educated at Repton. He was intended for the Church, but came to the Colony in the s.s “Jonic” and settled on his uncle's stations “Brochenhurst” and “Eskhead” for a number of years. The Farleigh property comprises 600 acres and was purchased in 1800. It is devoted chiefly to the raising and fattening of sheep for which the land is admirably adapted, being noted for its crops of turnips and rape. The proprietor's favourite sheep are Shropshires, of which he has a stud flock of the celebrated Mac Lean strain. He obtains an average of ninety-eight per cent of lambs. The property carries about 1500 sheep, besides a small herd of Ayrshire cattle. Mr. Atkinson is a member of the Agricultural and Pastoral Association and has been class-steward for a number of years; as a volunteer officer he is referred to in the Military Section of this volume. Mr. Atkinson owns a trotting stock, which he has run with success. He was married, in 1891, to Miss Cowe, of Edinburgh, and has one daughter.

Fairweather, Frank Ernest, Farmer, “Pleasant View,” Summerhill, Cust. Mr. Fairweather was born in Kaiapoi in 1869, and educated there and at Eyreton. He was brought up to agricultural and pastoral life, and worked in connection with his father's estates till he was twenty-four years of age. In 1893 he took over on his own account the estate which he now owns. “Pleasant View” consists of 630 acres of rich, rolling downs, beautifully situated, and well watered with never failing springs. It was, when in its native state, covered with heavy flax, manuka scrub, cabbage trees, and tussocks. The land grows heavy crops of oats, grass seed, turnips, and rape, and the estate carries, besides horses and cattle, 1100 sheep, principally breeding ewes, whose lambs, except the half-bred ewe lambs, are all sold fat. The percentage of lambs for the past ten years has averaged 100 per cent., and has been up to 115 per cent. Mr. Fairweather's sheep are half-and, three-quarter bred Romneys, with sufficient Merino ewes to keep up the half-bred flock. A small stud flock of Romney Marsh is kept. The Romney cross is most suitable on account of the heavy nature of the soil, as sheep of that strain are almost immune from foot rot, and grow a good fleece of clean bright wool. Mr. Fairweather is a member and class steward of the Northern Agricultural and Pastoral Association; a member of the Summerhill school committee, treasurer of the local branch of the Farmers' Union, and a trooper in the Cust Mounted Rifles; and for the past four years he has been a manager, of the Cust Presbyterian church. He was married, in 1895, to Miss Gardner, second daughter of the late Mr. G. G. Gardner, of Cleveland, Cust, and has one daughter and two sons.

Tolputt and Clarke, photo. Mr. and Mrs F. E. Fairweather.

Tolputt and Clarke, photo.
Mr. and Mrs F. E. Fairweather.

Hunter, Adam, Farmer, Willow Farm, Cust. Mr. Hunter was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, in 1840, and is the son of a farmer. His education was finished at Ayr Academy. He had seven years' experience in mercantile life, before coming to Port Chalmers in the ship “Christian McCausland” in 1871. For the first seven years of his residence in New Zealand he was engaged in dairyfarming on Banks' Peninsula, and was afterwards at Springston for three years. Subsequently he was for a time in the North Island. In 1882 he acquired the first portion of his estate in the West Eyreton and Cust districts, and now farms 265 acres of freehold land. Before leaving Scotland Mr. Hunter served for six years in the Ayr Yeomanry Cavalry. He has been a member of the West Eyreton Road Board since 1888, and is now chairman, and has served as a member and as chairman of the Cust Licensing Committee. Since 1893 he has been chairman of the Cust and West Eyreton Cemetery Board. Mr. Hunter was married, in 1869, to a daughter of the late Mr. D. Caldwell, of Blackbyers Farm, Ayr, Scotland, and has four daughters surviving.

Standish and Preece, photo. Mr. and Mrs a. Hunter.

Standish and Preece, photo.
Mr. and Mrs a. Hunter.

Jones, David, Farmer, “The Wattles,” Terrace Road, Cust Valley, Cust. Mr. Jones page 487 was born in South Wales, England, in 1835. He has always been engaged in outdoor pursuits, and landed in Lyttelton by the ship “Cameo” on the 12th of July, 1859. Before settling in the district he resided for a time at Port Levy, Pigeon Bay, and Stonyhurst, and also made a trip to the goldfields of New South Wales and Victoria. He also occupied the position of gardener at Mount Grey station for twelve years. In 1864 Mr. Jones bought the first portion of his land in the Cust Valley, and settled on it in 1875. He was married, in 1867, to a daughter of Mr. McKiernan, of County Cavan, Ireland, and has six sons and one daughter.

Tolputt and Clarke, photo. Mr. and Mrs D. Jones.

Tolputt and Clarke, photo.
Mr. and Mrs D. Jones.

Maitland Vale. This property, consisting of 620 acres, was originally obtained from the Crown in 1864 by the late Mr. Thomas Conway, when the land was in its native state covered with flax and scrub. It is now in thorough cultivation and subdivided into suitable paddocks. In the early days, farming was started under great difficulties; Mr. Conway paid £50 for his first yoke of working bullocks, and £20 for his first cow.

Mr. W. F. Conway, son of the late Mr. Thomas Conway, and present owner of Maitland Vale, was born in 1852 in London, where he was educated. He came to Dunedin in 1862 in the ship “Scoresby,” and lived for twelve months in Christchurch before settling at Maitland Vale. He carries on a system of mixed farming, but gives most of his attention to breeding and fattening sheep for the export trade. He grows fine crops of turnips and rape for feed. His favourite breed of sheep is the English Leicester and their crosses. Mr. Conway has been a member of the Cust Road Board and school committee. He was married in 1883 to Miss Childs, and has four sons and two daughters.

Pawsey, Benjamin Smith, Farmer, “Wattle Grove,” Cust Valley, Cust. Mr. Pawsey was born at Haughley, Suffolk, England, in 1846, and was brought up to out-door pursuits. He landed in Lyttelton in 1859 by the ship “Clontarf,” and after three years in Christchurch removed to Balcairn, where he found employment until 1870 on the farm of his father, Mr. J. R. Pawsey. Since that year Mr. Pawsey has farmed on his own account in the Cust Valley, and has brought his fine property of 250 acres of freehold land from its natural condition to its present high state of cultivation. He was married, in 1869, to a daughtter of Mr. R. Evans, of Rangiora, and has two sons and six daughters.

Tolpult and Clarke, photo. Mr. and Mrs B. S. Pawsey.

Tolpult and Clarke, photo.
Mr. and Mrs B. S. Pawsey.

Roberts, George Henry, Farmer, Evenley Farm, Cust. Mr. Roberts was born in 1866, in the Cust district, where he was educated and brought up to country life. Since 1898 he has been farming on his own account. His property consists of 228 acres, of which forty-one are leasehold. Since 1901 Mr. Roberts has served as a member of the Cust Road Board. As a volunteer he is connected with the Cust Mounted Rifles, which he joined in 1900. Mr. Roberts was married, in 1900, to a daughter of the late Mr. Dohrmann, of Bennetts, and has one daughter.

Tolputt and Clarke, photo. Mr. and Mrs G. H. Roberts and Child.

Tolputt and Clarke, photo.
Mr. and Mrs G. H. Roberts and Child.

Smith, John, Farmer, Totara Farm, Cust. Mr. Smith was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in 1841, and followed farming. In 1863 he left for Port Chalmers in the ship “City of Dunedin.” He engaged in farm work for some time, and joined the “rush” to the West Coast goldfields. He then went to the Otago diggings, where he remained for six years. On coming to Canterbury, Mr. Smith went to Rangiora, where he followed farm work for some time, and finally settled in the Cust district in 1872. His farm consists of 180 acres of freehold and 320 acres of leasehold land. He has been a member of the West Eyreton Road Board since 1882. His youngest son was killed in South Africa whilst fighting with the Seventh New Zealand Contingent. Mr Smith was married, in 1868, to a daughter of the late Mr. H. Stark, of Flaxton. Mrs. Smith died in 1896, leaving four sons and four daughters. Mr. Smith was married, in 1897, to the widow of the late Mr. A. McCracken, of Rangiora.

Tolputt and Clarke, photo. Mr. and Mrs J. Smith.

Tolputt and Clarke, photo.
Mr. and Mrs J. Smith.

Smith, Samuel, Farmer, Cust Valley, Cust. Mr. Smith is the son of Mr. William Smith, farmer, of West Eyroton, and was born at West Eyreton in 1870. He was brought up to country life, and worked on his father's page 488 farm until 1898, when he settled in the Cust Valley. He farms 451 acres of land, and gives his attention chiefly to sheep-breeding. Mr. Smith was married, in December, 1898, to the only daughter of the late Mr. A. Prebbles, of Cust, and has one son.

Webster, James, Farmer, “Mountain View,” North Moeraki Downs, Cust. Mr. Webster was born in Forfarshire, Scotland in 1834. He has always been engaged in outdoor pursuits, and came to Lyttelton in the ship “Cameo” in 1859. For some time he was employed in gardening, and became forester on the Riccarton estate, where he remained for sixteen years. Having acquired land, soon after landing, at North Moeraki Downs, he settled on his property in 1876. Mr. Webster owns sixty-seven acres where he lesides, and has another property of ninety-three years at Summerhill. For several years he acted as commissioner for the Stoke school. He was married, in 1858, before leaving Scotland, to a daughter of the late Mr. J. Ramsay, of Tayport, Fifeshire, Scotland, and has four sons and three daughters surviving; there are also twelve grandchildren.

Tolputt and Clarke, photo. Mr. and Mrs J. Webster.

Tolputt and Clarke, photo.
Mr. and Mrs J. Webster.

Old Colonists.

Mr. George Glegg Gardner, sometime of Cust, was born at Deal, Kent, England, in 1845. As a lad he went to sea, and rose to the position of third mate. In this capacity he arrived at Lyttelton by the ship “Sebastopol” in 1863. On leaving his vessel Mr. Gardner took a position in the Customhouse at Lyttelton, where he remained for three years. He was married in March, 1866, to a daughter of the late Mr. James McKinley, of Hamilton, Scotland. Having acquired land at Cust, Mr. and Mrs Gardner encountered the great flood of 1868. and the timber for their house, then in transit, was washed out to sea from Kaiapoi. Besides farming between two and three hundred acres, which he reclaimed from the wilderness, Mr. Gardner built a flour mill in 1882. The farm (since increased to over 400 acres) and the mill are still worked by Mr. Gardner's sons. Mr. Gardner also took great interest in public affairs, and served on the Cust Road Board and other local bodies. He died on the 5th of February, 1885, leaving six sons and four daughters.

Mr. Alexander Garland, sometime of “Bankhead,” Cust, was born in Perthshire, Scotland, in 1829. He was brought up to a country life, and landed at Lyttelton by the ship “Mystery,” in March, 1859. Having leased Mr. T. S. Duncan's farm and stock at Decanter Bay, Banks' Peninsula, he spent his first four years in New Zealand at that place, and made cheese. On removing to Heathcote, Mr. Garland bought a property, and also commenced carting, but continued that business only one year. In 1864 he settled on land which he had previously bought at Cust, where his property, which he called “Bank-head,” consisted of 275 acres of fertile land. Mr. Garland took great interest in the advancement of his district, served on the local school committee, and was prominent in connection with the erection of the Presbyterian church. His services as a judge were frequently in demand in connection with local shows. Shortly before leaving the Old Land, Mr. Garland was married to a daughter of the late Mr. J. Blackwood, farmer, of Barn Hill, Perthshire. On his death, in 1881, he left four sons and six daughters. Mrs. Garland still survives her husband.

Mr. Andrew Peebles, sometime of Cust Valley, Cust, was the son of the late Mr. Peter Peebles, of North Moeraki Downs. He was born in 1841, in Scotland, and came out to Lyttelton in 1862 by the ship “Queen of the Mersey.” Two years later he bought the first fifty acres of his property, which he owned up to the time of his death in 1898, when he had 255 acres. During his lifetime he saw his land brought into a high state of cultivation. Mr. Peebles was a member of the Presbyterian church, and was prominent as an office-bearer. He was married, in 1866, to a daughter of Mr. D. Robertson, of Arbroath, Scotland, and left one daughter. Mrs. Peebles came to the colony by the ship “Blue Jacket” in 1866.

The late Mr. A. Peebles.

The late Mr. A. Peebles.

Mr. John Ruddenklau, sometime of Cust, was born in Germany in 1834. After leaving school he went to London, and was in commercial occupations for over three years. He came to the Colony in 1856 in the ship “Joseph Fletcher” and took up his first section of fifty acres of land at Rangiora in 1858. Afterwards he purchased 200 acres of unimproved Crown lands in 1863, at the Cust, where he settled in the following year, and soon brought the land under cultivation, growing good grain crops. Mr. Ruddenklau threshed as much as sixty bushels of rye-grass to the acre, and sold it at six and seven shillings per bushel. He prospered well, and increased his possessions to 2170 acres. Mr. Ruddenklau took an active share in local affairs and was a member of the road board for some time, and also interested himself in school and church matters. He was married in 1859 to Miss Watt, and had four sons and two daughters. The sons are all followers of their late father's occupation.

The late Mr. J. Ruddenklau.

The late Mr. J. Ruddenklau.