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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]


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Culverden, the centre of a wealthy sheepfarming country, is in the Pahau riding of the county of Amuri, and its railway station is the present (1903) northern terminus of the Hurunui-Bluff section of the New Zealand railways. The township is sixty-nine miles north of Christchurch, and the railway station stands 567 feet above the level of the sea. It contains a general store, a bakery, a saddler's shop, wheelwright's shop, and a blacksmith's shop, a hotel, and a police station. Culverden has a resident medical man, a public school, and a Presbyterian church. It is the starting place for coaches for Hanmer Hot Springs, and for Waiau and Kaikoura. Twenty-five acres of land in the township are devoted to the Amuri saleyards, where many large sales are held, as many as 126,000 sheep having been yarded for one day's sale. Sheep are brought from Springfield in the south, and from as far north as Nelson and Blenheim. The population of the settlement at the census of 1901 was eighty-seven, and twenty-five persons were returned as residing at Culverden sheep station, which adjoins the settlement. The township has a post, telegraph and money order office, a town hall, courthouse, and a drill hall for the Amuri Mounted Rifles. Culverden is the headquarters of the Amuri County Council, and of the Hurunui Rabbit Board.

Amuri County Council; Mr. D. Rutherford (chairman) and Mr. Caleb Smith (clerk and treasurer). The area of the county is 2362 square miles and the population about 1200. The total capital value of ratable property is about £648,000 on which there is a general rate of 1/2d in the £; and special rates of 3/4d, seven-sixteenths of a penny, and five-sixteenths of a penny in the £ have been levied for interest on loans. The total revenue amounts to about £2800. The county is divided into four ridings, Pahau, Waiau, Hanmer, and Rotherham.

Councillor Ralph Anderson Chaffey, Member of the Amuri County Council, was born in Somerset, England in 1856. He was educated for the Army but came to New Zealand in 1878. He landed at Lyttelton, and went to North Otago as manager for Mr. W. H. Teschemaker, on Kauroo Hill station, which he managed until 1897, when he took charge of Highfield station in the Amuri district. Mr. Chaffey has always taken a prominent part in volunteering, and in 1885 raised the North Otago Hussars, of which he was captain until 1897, when he was transferred to Canterbury, where he initiated the Amuri Mounted Rifles. He was csptain of that corps, and in 1901, was made major of the 2nd Battalion of the North Canterbury Mounted Rifles. Since 1899 Major Chaffey has served as a member of the Amuri County Council, and while in Otago he was for seventeen years a member of the North Otago Agricultural and Pastoral Association, of which he was president for two years. He has always taken a great interest in football, cricket and boxing. Major Chaffey was married, in 1889, to a daughter of the late Mr. Frederick Le Cren, of Timaru. This lady died in 1890. In 1897 he was married to a daughter of Dr. Webster, of Balruddery, near Oamaru, and has one son and one daughter by this union.

Councillor Alexander Macfarlane has been a member of the Amuri County Council since 1893. He was born in Rangiora, in 1863, and educated at Lincoln Agricultural College. Mr. Macfarlane was on Lyndon station for seven years, and then took over his present property. He was married, in 1897, to a daughter of the late Mr. G. W. McRae, of the Glens of Tekoa.

Councillor J. McArthur, of the Amuri County Council, was born in Argyleshire, Scotland. When quite a boy he went to Australia and engaged in pastoral pursuits for fourteen years. In 1869 Mr McArthur came to Wellington, visited Auckland, and finally settled in Amuri, where he acquired his present station. He took over the management of “St. Helen's” in 1895, and is working it in conjunction with “St. James's.” Mr. McArthur was for twelve years a member of the Amuri Road Board, and has been a member of the Amuri County Council since 1899, and chairman of the Hanmer school committee since 1896. Since settling in Amuri, he has taken several trips to Australia. He was married, in 1890, to a daughter of Mr. McArthur, of South Melbourne, and has one son.

Mr. Caleb Smith, for fifteen years Clerk of the Kaikoura County Council, was appointed Clerk of the Amuri County Council, at the end of 1902, to succeed Mr. A. J. O'Malley, resigned.

Mr. A. J. O'Malley, formerly Clerk, Inspector of Works, Treasurer, Returning Officer, and Dog Registrar to the Amuri County Council, was born in Christchurch in 1870, and was educated at the High School there. He joined the Government Survey department under Mr. F. S. Smith, in 1886, and subsequently served under Mr. D. I. Barron, and whilst in the service Mr. O'Malley acquired valuable knowledge of surveying and engineering, which afterwards became of great assistance to him. In 1890, he entered the service of the Amuri County Council as assistant clerk under his father, and on the retirement of the latter in 1894, was promoted to his various appointments. Mr. O'Malley has always taken an active part in local athletic sports, and on several occasions has acted as handicapper, secretary, and treasurer. He was secretary of the Amuri Cricket Club, a member of the Amuri Turf Club, and also a sergeant in the Amuri Mounted Rifles. Mr. O'Malley resigned his offices under the Amuri County Council in the latter part of 1902.

Culverden Raiway Station is at present the northern terminus of the Hurunui-Bluff section of New Zealand railways. The building is of wood and iron, and contains the stationmaster's office, and two waiting-rooms, besides the postal and telegraph page 590 department. There is also an engine shed and a large goods shed. The station dates from 1886, the year the line was opened to Culverden. Daily trains arrive and depart; and extra trains run on Wednesday to meet the requirements of sheepfarmers attending the Christchurch sales. Wool, flax, cattle and sheep are loaded at the station, and it is considered that more stock are despatched from Culverden than from any other station on the northern line.

Mr. Robert J. Connell, Stationmaster at Culverden, was born at Lyttelton in 1867. He joined the railway service in Christchurch, and was in charge of Rangitata for ten years prior to 1902, when he was transferred to Culverden. Mr. Connell was married, in 1892, to a daughter of the late Mr. R. Guy, of Temuka, and has two sens.

The Presbyterian Church, Culverden, is centrally situated in the township, and was erected in 1891. For some years previously services were held in the district. The church is still (1902) under the charge of the Rev. W. R. Campbell, B.A., new of Hanmer, but the intention is to have a resident minister for the Waiau and Culverden district.

Little, Charles Thomas (Bach. Med. and Bach. Surg. Univ. N.Z., 1893), Physician and Surgeon, Culverden.

Shipton, Henry C., Merchant, Culverden. Mr. Shipton was born in Liverpool, England, and was brought up in his native city in a corn merchant's office, in which he served for five years as an apprentice, and for two years as clerk. In 1878 he started a grocery and provision business in Warrington, but after carrying it on for five years, returned to his former office. He subsequently set out for New Zealand, and on arriving in Canterbury found employment at the Lincoln flourmills; but soon after went back to England, where, however, he stayed only a short time. After returning to New Zealand, he worked a flourmill on his own account at Culverden for five years. In 1891 he took over his present business of coal, timber, and produce merchant. Mr. Shipton was married, in 1898, to a daughter of the late Mr. John Simpson, of Scotland, and Hewitt's Road, Merivale, Christchurch, and has one son.

Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo. Mr. H. C. Shipton.

Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo.
Mr. H. C. Shipton.

Hare, W. E., General Blacksmith and Wheelwright, Culverden. Mr. Hare was born in 1860 in Lyttelton, where he was educated. He established his present business in 1887, soon after the railway was opened, and was among the first to settle on Culverden Flat. In 1874 he went to the Hurunui, where he learned his trade, and remained for thirteen years. Mr. Hare was married in 1886 to the fourth daughter of Mr. Isaac [gap — reason: illegible], of Gloucestershire, and has two daughters.

Mr. W. E. Hare.

Mr. W. E. Hare.


Kawarra Station (W. Macfarlane, proprietor), Culverden. This property comprises 26,000 acres of freehold, and is situated in the Amuri district, bounded by “St. Leonard's” and Cheviot, with the Hurunui river on its southern boundary. It formerly formed part of “St. Leonard's,” and was bought by the late Mr. John Macfarlane in 1877. The present proprietor was appointed manager in the same year, and under his supervision great improvements have been made. The whole property is subdivided into numerous blocks, by about seventy miles of fencing, including a substantial rabbit-proof boundary fence, as well as several interior subdivision rabbit fences. About 2500 acres are sown in English grass. For the purpose of ornamentation, shelter, and firewood, Mr. Macfarlane grew fifty acres of plantation, and his homestead now abounds with well grown trees. The station lies in two counties, and the boundary of Cheviot and Amuri runs through its centre. The whole station is worked from two homesteads—that on the Cheviot side being a working homestead; at the Amuri homestead there is a substantial and elaborate building well situated, in ornamental plantations, with the necessary working buildings close by. There are about 18,000 Merino and half-bred sheep on the station, and Mr. Macfarlane keeps a Merino stud flock, which is well known throughout the colony.

Mr. Walter Macfarlane, Proprietor of “Kawarra,” is referred to elsewhere as a member of the Cheviot County Council.

St. Leonard's Estate, Culverden. When Mr. J. H. Davison first settled on St. Leonard's in 1868, he found that there was little natural timber and determined to supply this want; therefore with great care and judgment he selected plants of the hard woods of Europe and America, as well as fourteen different varieties of pines. His plantations cover 200 acres and possess a present and future value which it would be hard to over-estimate. In 1877, Messrs. Rhodes and Wilkin, the owners of “St. Leonard's,” dissolved partnership and 96,000 acres were sold; Mr. Davison and the late Mr. R. Wilkin, becoming joint proprietors of the homestead and 28,000 acres of land. Ten years later Mr. Davison acquired Mr. Wilkin'e interest. The “St. Leonard's” estate comprises 28,000 acres of freehold land and carries nearly one sheep to the acre, besides a small herd of cattle. The flock consists of Merinos and Border-Leicester crosses, the proprietor having been one of the first to breed this variety; and as long ago as 1869 he commenced to boil down his surplus stock.

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Mr. J. H. Davison, J.P., Proprietor of St. Leonard's Station, Culverden, was born in South Australia in 1841 and was educated at St. Peter's College, Adelaide, where he gained a scholarship. He was brought up on cattle and sheep stations in South Australia, and crossed over to New Zealand in 1863 to manage the Levels station for Mr. Rhodes, retaining that position till the station was sold to the New Zealand Land Company. Subsequently, he managed “Race Course Hill” till it changed hands. Mr. Davison took an active part as member and chairman of the Amuri Road Board before it was merged into the County Council, and has been a member of the County Council for fully twenty years. He was married in 1881 to Miss Oliver, of Hawke's Bay, and has four daughters and four sons.

Old Colonists.

Mr. George W. McRae was born in 1838, in County Clare, Ireland, and came out to Nelson in 1849 with his parents. After leaving school he went to live on his father's station, which consisted of about 50,000 acres, and was situated on the north bank of the Hurunui river. The property has long been known by the picturesque name of the “Glens of Tekoa,” and for the high-class character of the improvements which have been made from the outset. The mansion house, which was erected in 1865, is of brick with a slated roof, and the grounds, tastefully laid out, are planted with trees and shrubs from every clime and country. Of the original leasehold, 22,530 acres of the best of the land have been converted into freehold, and surfacesown with carefully selected grasses, which give the best results. The station was first stocked with Merino sheep, and many years ago Mr. McRae established a small stud flock, with which he won many honours at the metropolitan and the northern shows. He also bred horses, which not only won honours in the show ring, but carried his colours frequently to the front on the racecourse. Greyhounds bred by him won three cups, and a large number of minor prizes. Mr. McRae who was a Justice of the Peace, was chairman of the Amuri County Council and Road Board, of the Hurunui Rabbit Board, of the Council of the Agricultural and Pastoral Association, the Hurunui and Culverden Racing Clubs, and the Canterbury and Northern Coursing Clubs. He died on the 13th of September, 1897, and is buried at Waiau. Mr. McRae was married, in 1868, to Miss Moore and left two sons and five daughters

Glens of Tekoa.

Glens of Tekoa.

The late Mr. G. W. McRae.

The late Mr. G. W. McRae.

Mr. John O'Malley was born in Galway, West of Ireland, and came to Lyttelton in May, 1861, by the ship “Rhea Sylvia.” He joined the Papal army in 1860, and fought at the siege of Spolato in September of that year. After a forty-eight hours' engagement the fort capitulated, and Mr. O'Malley, with the Papal troops, was confined in Genoa for six weeks. He received and now holds a medal from the Roman Government for bravery in action. After working for Sir Cracroft Wilson for a year, he entered the Armed Constabulary in Canterbury, and served under Mr. W. J. W. Hamilton for two years, when he joined the Dunedin force in 1863, under Commissioner St. John Branigan. Mr. O'Malley left the service in 1868 and went into the building trade in Christchurch, and was afterwards foreman of works for the city council for four years. He was overseer for the Amuri Road Board for fifteen months, and subsequently held a similar position under the Spreydon Road Board, of which he also became clerk. On his resignation. Mr. O'Malley was re-appointed to his old position on the Amuri Road Board, and on that body being merged in the Amuri County Council, he was appointed clerk and overseer to the council, from which he retired after eleven years' service, in favour of his son, when he applied for and was appointed to the position of clerk, overseer, and rate collector to the Geraldine Road Board. Whilst he was at Geraldine Mr. O'Malley was a member of the Geraldine Town Board. He now resides at Waiau, and is a trustee for the Waiau cemetery, and chairman of the Waiau Domain Board. He is a member of the Order of Foresters. Mr. O'Malley was married in Dunedin in 1865, and has three sons and two daughters.

Mr. O'Malley, Son, and Grandson.

Mr. O'Malley, Son, and Grandson.