The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]
“Hamilton,” Waipara. This property, which is leased by Mr. R. F. Croft, a well-known settler, comprises 2763 acres, and originally formed part of the Teviotdale run. It was taken up by the present proprietor in its unimproved state, since which it has been surface-sown in grass and partly brought under cultivation. A substantial house, wool-shed, and out-buildings, with garden, orchard, shelter plantations, and all necessary boundary and sub-division fences, have been erected. There are also ample sheep-yards and a good concrete dip. Mr. Croft first stocked his land with Merino ewes, which he crossed with English Leicester page 545 rams, and their progeny are found well adapted for his class of country.
Mr. Croft, proprietor of Hamilton Estate, was born in 1839 in the North Riding of Yorkshire, where he was educated, and trained on his father's farm and sheep-walk. He came to the Colony in the ship “African” in 1862, landing at Auckland. After a stay of six months in the northern city, he removed to Hawke's Bay, where he was shepherd on sheep stations for some time. His next move was to the Otago goldfields for eighteen months. He finally came to Canterbury, and settled at Ashley, where he entered into the butchering business and took a farm for breeding and fattening his own sheep. Mr. Croft built the first concretedip in the Colony, in 1870. He was a member of the Ashley Road Board for two terms and of the Kowai Road Board for one term, and was member and chairman of the Ashley School Committee. Mr. Croft was primarily instrumental in planting willows on the north bank of the Ashley river for protective purposes, and was very active in collecting money to defray the cost of the work. He takes a warm interest in church affairs, and was a vestry-man and church-warden for many years. Mr. Croft was married in 1865 to Miss Graham, and has two sons and four daughters.
Little, John, Farmer, “Montserrat,” near Waipara. Mr. Little was born in 1838 in the parish of Temple, Midlothian, Scotland; he was educated at Peebles, and brought up to farming. Emigrating to Otago in 1858 in the ship “Strathfeldsey,” he entered the employment of the Hon. M. Holmes, who gave him the charge of one of his stations, and with whom he remained for thirty years. He came to “Montserrat” in 1890. This property contains 6000 acres on which he has made extensive and substantial improvements in tree-planting, fencing, cropping, and permanent pastures. Kentucky blue grass has been largely sown where the land is poor and not fit for cropping. The great feature of “Montserrat” is the Border-Leicester stud flock, which was established in 1890 with twenty pure-bred ewes and one ram presented by the Hon. M. Holmes; these were supplemented by selections from the best colonial and English breeders, including Lord Polwarth, from whom three ewes and one ram were imported in 1893. The flock has made its mark as prize winners of late years, carrying off twelve champions, thirty-eight first, twenty-eight second, and nine third prizes. Mr. Little was married in 1867 to Miss Campbell, and has eleven sons and two daughters.
Mr. J. Little.