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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]


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Waiau is a picturesque little township in the Waiau riding of the Ashley county, eighty-four miles from Christchurch, and fifteen miles from Culverden. It hes on the north side of the river Waiau, to the eastward of Mason river. The settlement has a hotel, post, telegraph, and money order office, two stores, two churches, public school, library and reading-room. There are also two coach stations and a saddler's and a blacksmith's shop. Sheepfarming and flax-milling are the most prominent industries of the district, which has daily coach communication with Culverden, and thrice a week with Kaikoura. Waiau has 153 inhabitants.

The Waiau Post And Telegraph Office was originally established in Waiau before the completion of the railway line to Culverden, and was conducted in a portion of the residence of the postmaster. When the railway was completed in 1886, the buildings previously used as a police station and courthouse were removed to the present site. The building is of wood and iron, and contains the postmaster's office, public office, and battery and telegraph room, as well as three rooms at the back. It is one of the main testing stations in the circuit between Christchurch and Wellington, and has five wires running through it. Mails are received and despatched daily.

Mr. Bateman Missen, Postmaster at Waiau, was born at Kaiwarra, Wellington, in 1865. He was educated at Akaroa, entered the telegraph service in 1880, and held appointments at various places, before entering on his present position at Waiau. He was married in 1894, in a daughter of the late Mr A. Normanby, of Blenheim, and has one son and two daughters.

The Public School, Waiau, was established in the seventies, and until 1883 was conducted in a wood and iron building which is now used as a library. The school contains one class room and a porch, and has accommodation for seventy-two children. There are fifty-three names on the roll, and the average attendance is forty-six. Two acres and a half of land, bordered with shelter trees, are attached to the school.

Mr. Thomas Meldrum Marr, Teacher in charge of Waiau school, was born in Melbourne, in 1863. He was educated and served his pupil teachership at Hokitika. From 1878 to 1884 be taught in the East Christchurch school. In 1884 he received his present appointment as teacher at Waiau, but eight years later removed to Balcairn, whence he returned to Waiau after five years. Mr. Marr was married, in 1888, to a daughter of the late Mr. J. Richards, of New Brighton, and has two daughters.

The Presbyterian Church, Waiau, was erected in 1888, and has seating accommodation for 120 adults. Occasional services were first held in the district in the local courthouse in 1864. About the year 1874 the services became more regular, and soon afterwards a small church, with an acre of ground, was presented by the late Mr. G. Rutherford, of “Leslie Hills,” and a manse was built on five acres of land given by the late Mr. Caverhill, of “Highfield.” Since the erection of the present building the old church has been used as a Sunday school. Pending the appointment of a resident minister, the church is under the charge of the Rev. Mr. Campbell, who resides at Hanmer.

The Church Of Our Lady Of The Rosary was erected at Waiau in the year 1900, and stands on part of a section of a quarter of an acre in extent. It is of wood and iron, and has accommodation for 120 worshippers. Monthly services are conducted by the Rev. Father Price, of Hawarden.

Junction Hotel (T. Holmes, proprietor), Upper Waiau Ferry. This hotel was established in 1872, and was conducted by Mr. A. Munson until 1885, when it passed into the hands of the present proprietor. It contains sixteen rooms, two sitting-rooms, and post and telegraph office. There are good stables, and paddocks for horses and travelling stock. In former years there was a ferry over the Waiau river there on the road connecting Canterbury with Nelson, and the West Coast; but since 1887, there has been a fine bridge across the gorge, with a span of 300 feet, and at a height of 118 feet above the river.

Mr. Thomas Holmes, Proprietor of the Junction Hotel, was born in England, in 1828, and brought up to farming. He came to New Zealand in 1856, in the ship “Cres-well” (Capt. Russell), and engaged in farm work in the Nelson district. He also went to the Collingwood diggings, where he was fairly successful, but returned to farm work. In 1860 he came with a flock of sheep from Blenheim to Hanmer Plains, and was one of the, first to drive sheep through Jollie's Pass. Mr. Holmes began sheepfarming on the Boyle run of 10,000 acres leasehold, and carried it on until he had to kill 5000 of his flock on account of scab. He then bought cattle; but sold out some time afterwards, and for seven years was dealing in fat stock on the West Coast. On returning to Amuri, he engaged in road work, and was first overseer for the Amuri Road Board. He was also ferry-keeper, and in 1885 bought his present business. Mr. Holmes was for some time a member of the Amuri Road Board. He was married, in 1886, to the widow of the late Mr. John Pugh, and has one son.

Mr. T. Holmes.

Mr. T. Holmes.

Coakley, John, Storekeeper, Waiau. This business was established in 1873, by Mr. Dennis Coakley, and was taken over in 1883 by the present proprietor, and his brother Cornelius, who has since died. The shop has a double front with a storeroom upstairs, as well as a detached storeroom, and Mr. Coakley's residence adjoins it. There is a large stock of general merchandise, including drapery, jewellery, saddlery, ironmongery, etc. Mr. Coakley holds agencies for the Alliance and National Mutual Insurance Companies, and for the daily and weekly Christchurch papers. When first taken up, this business was small, but has been very largely increased by the present proprietor, who delivers goods with a trap, within a radius of twenty miles, and with a pack horse, to places nearly 100 miles page 595 further north. Mr. Coakley was born in 1854, in Cork, Ireland, where he was educated, and had experience on his father's farm. In 1870 he came to Lyttelton in the ship “Siberia,” and for four years engaged in shepherding at “Cheviot Hills.” He was for some years fence contracting on several stations in Amuri. Later he went to the Ashburton district, and began farming on 300 acres, but sold out after twelve months, and acquired his present business at Waiau. In 1899 Mr. Coakley bought 920 acres of the Lyndon estate, before the Government took over the block. He is working it as a sheep farm, and has made improvements by clearing, fencing and ploughing. Mr. Coakley has served in the Amuri County Council for three years, and has been a member of the Waiau school committee since 1887, and twice chairman. He was also a member of the licensing committee before the boundary was altered, and is a member of the Waiau racing committee. Mr. Coakley was married, in 1882, to a daughter of Mr. P. Delahunt, of Papanui, and has six sons and five daughters.

Standish and Preece, photo. Mr. J. Coakley.

Standish and Preece, photo.
Mr. J. Coakley.


Cloudy Range Station, which is situated in the Amuri county, adjoins “Highfield,” and bounds the Clarance and Conway rivers. It is Crown land, and comprises 23,400 acres. “Cloudy Range” was formerly a part of “Higfield,” which was taken up in the fifties by the late Mr. L. Lee, and afterwards became the property of Mr. H. Wharton, who from 1884 worked “Cloudy Range” as a separate station, until the lease expired in 1897. In the same year it was balloted for, and fell to the lot of Mr. A. W. Lyford. It is all pastoral land, about 400 acres being ploughable, and has the usual station buildings with sheep yards and dip, and a woolshed for twelve shearers. The present proprietor runs a flock of about 7000 three-quarter and half-bred sheep.

Mr. Adolphus William Lyford, Proprietor of Cloudy Range Station, was born in Nelson in 1857. He received his education at Kekerangu, where he remained until eighteen years of age, when he went as a shepherd to “Highfield.” For many years Mr. Lyford was head shepherd on that station, and in 1897 took over his present property. He has been a member of the Waiau school committee, and for two years was secretary of the Amuri Presbyterian Church committee, of which he is still a member. Mr. Lyford was married, in 1890, to a daughter of the late Mr. G. H. Sharpe, of Northcote Road, Papanui, and has one son and one daughter.

Highfield Estate, which comprises 57,000 acres of freehold, and 2700 acres of leasehold land, is situated in Amuri county. It adjoins Waiau township, and has the Mason river as its western boundary. It was first taken up in the fifties by the late Mr. L. Lee; and some time afterwards became the property of Messrs Dry, Meredith, and Tabart, by whom it was in turn, sold out to the late Mr. J. S. Caverhill. In 1876 “Highfield” became the property of Mr. Henry Wharton, who, in 1884, formed a company by taking Messrs Frank and James Northcote into partnership. The whole property has been much improved, and is thoroughly subdivided by fences, and also has a rabbit-proof boundary fence. The hemestead, which is within two miles of Waiau township, is well planted, and has large and convenient stables and outbuildings, as well as one of the largest woolsheds in Canterbury, with Burgon machines for twenty-four shearers. About 5000 acres have been cultivated, and sown in English grass, and there are sixty acres of plantations. The stock comprises 40,000 Merino and half-bred sheep, 500 head of cattle, and 100 horses. [After the foregoing article was linotyped, “Highfield” was, in a manner, broken up. The Government bought 32,700 acres for closer settlement; Messrs F. and J. Northcote bought 16,000 acres; and 9,000 acres were retained by Mr. Henry Wharton. The stock of the estate, as originally constituted, was sold at the end of March, 1903.]

Mr. R. A. Chaffey, Manager of “Highfield,” is referred to in the Military Section of this volume as Major Chaffey, in command of the 2nd Battalion of North Canterbury Mounted Rifles, and is also referred to as a member of the Amuri County Council.

Montrose Station (W. O. Rutherford, proprietor), Waiau. This station is situated on the south bank of the river Waiau, and adjoins the Balmoral and Culverden stations. It comprises nearly 42,000 acres of freehold, and 3800 acres of leasehold, and was acquired by Mr. Rutherford in 1876. Originally it was owned by the late Sir David Munro, for some time Speaker of the House of Representatives. The homestead, which is erected on well planted and laid out grounds, was built by the present proprietor, who has also erected about forty miles of fencing, and grown about twenty acres of plantations. The station carries about 20,000 Merino and half-bred sheep.

Mr. William O. Rutherford, Proprietor of “Montrose,” was born in New South Wales, and educated at Adelaide. When fifteen years of age he came to Canterbury with his parents, who settled in 1860 at Leslie Hills station, which was his father's property. Mr. Rutherford managed “Leslie Hills” until he took over “Montrose” in 1876. He was a member of the Amuri Read Board before the Amuri County Council was constituted, and has been a member of the Hurunui Rabbit Board since 1890, and it chairman since 1896. Mr. Rutherford was married, in 1876, to Miss Godfrey, daughter of the late Mr. Godfrey, of Nelson, and has five sons and one daughter.

Major R. A. Chaffey and Staff of Amuri Mounted Rifles.

Major R. A. Chaffey and Staff of Amuri Mounted Rifles.

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Rutherford, Walter, Farmer, “Sherwood,” Amuri. Mr. Rotherford was born in Roxburghshire, Scotland, in 1833. He arrived in Australia in 1852, and had experience on the goldfields there. Subsequently he drove sheep for the Adelaide market, and came to New Zealand in 1859 with a shipment of 500 Merinos, 200 of which were driven by him to Leslie Hills station, and formed the first portion of its celebrated flock. Mr. Rutherford found employment at Leslie Hills until settling at “Sherwood.” He was for some years a member of the Amuri County Council. In 1869 he married a daughter of the late Mr. Low, of Warwickshire, England, and has two sons and three daughters.

Woodbank And Hopefield Stations (R. L. Acton-Adams, proprietor), Waiau. These stations are situated north of the Waiau river, having the river as a boundary for about twenty-six miles, and they take in the western half of Hanmer Plains. “Woodbank” comprises 9000 acres of freehold and was acquired from the late Mr. Robinson in 1858, by the late Mr. Atkinson, who left it to his son Mr. William Atkinson, who sold his interest in 1887 to Mr. William Acton-Adams. It has been improved by a homestead, fencing, and about fifteen miles of drains. “Hopefield” is all pastoral land, and comprises 40,000 acres of leasehold, having many high peaks including Mira Mira, and Mount Captain, 6660feet in height. The run was taken up about the year 1860 by Messrs Fowler and Young, and has since passed into the hands of the present proprietor. Both stations are worked together, and the stock consists of 12,000 half-bred sheep, 100 head of cattle, and fifty horses.

Mr. Reginald L. Acton-Adams, Proprietor of Woodbank and Hopefield Stations, was born at Nelson, in 1872. He went to England, where he attended school, and after returning to New Zealand studied at Nelson College, Christ's College, and Lincoln Agricultural College, and obtained the highest certificate at the last institution. Mr. Adams has always engaged in pastoral pursuits, and was for some time managing Salop Downs, near Christchurch. Subsequently he managed Molesworth and Tarndale stations, until taking over his present property. He was a member of the Christchurch Hunt Club for some time, and has been a member of the Brackenfield Hunt Club since 1896. Mr. Acton-Adams was married in January, 1903, to the third daughter of Mr James Dilworth, of Puni, Pukekohe, Auckland.

Standish and Preece, photo. Mr. R. L. Acton-Adams.

Standish and Preece, photo.
Mr. R. L. Acton-Adams.