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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]



Flaxton extends from the flag station of its name on the northern railway to the Wetheral station on the Eyreton-Bennett's branch, a distance of probably five or six miles. The flag station is sixteen miles from Christchurch, and four miles from Rangiora, and is only twelve feet above sea level. Wetheral station is eighteen miles from Christchurch, and thirty-nine feet above sea level. Flaxton is a rich agricultural district in the centre of what was once known as the Rangiora swamp. Plans for the drainage of this swamp, of 4000 acres, were prepared by Mr. E. Bray, C.E., and the first two miles of main drain were cut about 1860. Two years later another two and a half miles were added, and also several branch drains. These drains have had the effect of drying the land, and lowering the level of the ground in places by as much as eight feet. The first settlers were Mr. James Sealey and Messrs N. and H. Ellis, who were followed, in 1862, by Mr. P. C. Threlkeld. Shortly before these settlers appeared on the scene, Messrs P. Pawsey, James Clark, Samuel Burrell, R. Duffel, and George Clist were settled on the higher bank of the Ohoka creek; and Mr. James Wylde, C.E., lived in the centre of the Ohoka bush. In 1865 a church was erected, principally through the exertions of Canon Dudley. The Flaxton school district has now two schools attended by 120 scholars. There are also two churches, and a public library which is said to be second to no country library in Canterbury. Flaxton has a daily mail service, and there is a flour mill at Wetheral station. In the earlier years of the settlement the settlers were actual prisoners during the winter months; now the district is served by two lines of railway and five railway stations.

The Post Office, Flaxton, is situated at the corner of the Rangiora and Kaiapoi roads. It has been established many years, and a daily mail is received and despatched.

Mr. George Thomas Hopkins, Postmaster at Flaxton, was born at Saltwater Creek in 1866. He is a blacksmith by trade, and bought his present business at Flaxton in 1892. Mr. Hopkins was married, in that year, to a daughter of Mr. T. Stevenson, of Kaiapoi, and has four sons and two daughters.

The Main School, Flaxton, is situated near Wetheral railway station, at Ohoka. It serves that district, and was originally established on the site of the Flaxton side school, whence it was removed about 1877. The grounds consist of about three acres, and the school, which is built of wood and iron, contains two class rooms and two porches, with accommodation for 150 children. There are eighty-one names on the roll, and the average attendance is sixty. The staff consists of a headmaster and mistress. A good playground surrounds the school, and there is a substantial two-storied residence.

Mr. Henry Bussell, Headmaster of the Flaxton Main School, was born in London, in 1852 He arrived in Wellington in 1874, by the ship “Douglas,” and served under the Education Board of Westland at Greenstone, and after coming to Canterbury was at Wainui, Akaroa, for three years, and also for a similar term at Sedgemere. In page 455 1888 he was appointed to Ohoka. Mr. Bussell was married, in 1873, to Miss Heffernonn, of London, who died in 1891, leaving five son and three daughters.

The Side School, Flaxton, which was founded many years ago, was the principal school in the district till the main school was established at Wetheral railway station in 1877. Its grounds are about an acre in extent, and the building, which is of wood and iron, contains a class room and a porch, with accommodation for forty children. There are twenty-eight names on the roll, and the average attendance is twenty-four. There is a four-roomed residence, which is occupied by the caretaker.

Miss Sara Frances Hiatt, Mistress in charge of the Flaxton Side School, was born in Herefordshire, England. Having arrived with her parents in the colony, she qualified as a teacher at Kaiapoi, prior to being appointed mistress at Flaxton.

Chatterton, John Vine, Farmer, Flaxton. Mr. Chatterton was born in Spalding, Lincolnshire, England, in 1846. As a youth he went to sea, sailing with two of his uncles (named Vine), who were sea captains, and others. In 1864 he joined the London Fire Brigade, stationed at Watling Street. In December, 1871, he left the Fire Brigade, and was married the following day to a daughter of the late Mr. W. Parrett, carpenter, of Devonshire, England. Six weeks afterwards Mr. and Mrs Chatterton sailed for New Zealand in the ship “Dover Castle.” in 1878 Mr. Chatterton began farming in the Flaxton district, where he has remained ever since, except for a trip Home in 1889. He was for four years on the Flaxton main school committee, and was chairman for three years He is a member of the Wesleyan Church, and has held nearly every office in connection with it in the Rangiora circuit Mr. Chatterton was recently presented with a handsome illuminated testimonial, framed with the portraits of himself, the teachers, and the school, in recognition of his having completed a quarter of a century as superintendent of the Southbrook Sunday school. He has a family of six sons and one daughter.

Standish and Preece, photo. Mr. J. V. Chatterton.

Standish and Preece, photo.
Mr. J. V. Chatterton.

Dickhoff, Henry, Farmer, Easter-brook Road, Flaxton. Mr. Dickhoff was born in 1841 in the province of Hanover, Germany. He was brought up to a country life, and left his native land in 1859 for London, where he lived for four years, and then sailed for Auckland by the ship “Queen of Beauty.” As the native troubles were then very prominent, he left immediately for Canterbury, where he worked in various places for two years, when he purchased fifty acres of land in the Flaxton district. On the outbreak of the West Coast diggings, Mr. Dickhoff went to the Buller district, and was more or less successful as a miner for a period of eleven years. After taking a trip to the Fatherland, he settled on his land at Flaxton. Mr. Dickhoff was married in Germany, in 1878, to a daughter of Mr. H. Wahlers, of Hanover, and has three sons and two daughters surviving. Mrs Dickhoff died in October, 1894.

Tolputt and Clarke, photo. Mr. H. Dickhoff.

Tolputt and Clarke, photo.
Mr. H. Dickhoff.

Fayen, Herman, Farmer, Easterbrook Road, Flaxton. Mr. Fayen was born in 1836 in Hanover, Germany, and has always been engaged in country pursuits. He landed in Victoria in 1857, and after a short sojourn at Sandhurst, he came to New Zealand, and was interested in the goldfields of Otago and the West Coast for a short time. Ultimately he settled in the Flaxton district, and has for many years been engaged in mixed farming.

“The Grange” (De Renzie Mathias, manager), Flaxton. Mr. De Renzie Mathias is a son of Mr. V. W. Mathias, and a grandson of the late Archdeacon Mathias He was born in Kirwee, at the residence of the late Colonel Brett, in 1875, and was educated at Mr. Cook's school, Christchurch. Besides managing the farm for his father, he is also an inventor, and has invented a potato-sorter, which has been tried successfully at several places, and is likely to come into general use. He is also interested in several other inventions, including a potate-planter and a noiseless ram. Mr. Mathias takes a great interest in music and painting, and is very proficient in both these arts. He is also an athlete of repute, and for one hundred yards or a half-mile sprint, there are few in the district who can distance him.

Tolputt and Clarke, photo. Mr. H. Fayen.

Tolputt and Clarke, photo.
Mr. H. Fayen.

Kelcher, William, Farmer, Main Drain Road, Flaxton, Mr. Kelcher was born
Mr. W. Kelcher.

Mr. W. Kelcher.

page 456 at Helmton, Northamptonshire, England, in 1838, and was brought up to country life. In 1856 he came to Nelson by the ship “Emma Colvin.” Two years later he had some novel experiences in travelling overland, partly on foot and partly on horseback, from Nelson to the Hon. W. Robinson's station at Cheviot, before any tracks were opened. After being employed for about three years at Cheviot, he went gold-seeking in Nelson, at Gabriel's Gully, and at other places in Otago. At the end of two years he settled at Fernside, and soon afterwards bought his farm in the Rangiora Swamp, where he works 160 acres. Since 1882, Mr. Kelcher has been a member of the Bangiora and Mandeville Drainage Board. He was married, in 1869, to a daughter of the late Mr. Alexander Gow, of Fernside. This lady died in 1888, leaving three daughters and two sons. In 1890 Mr. Kelcher married a daughter of Mr. T. Barnes, of Kaiapoi Island.

Mulcock, Edward, Farmer, “Peverel Place,” Flaxton, Mr. Mulcock was born at Hatfield Peverels, Essex, England, in 1857, and was educated at Great Baddow Grammar School. He came to New Zealand in 1860, after being in business for three years in Australia. Coming from an old farming stock, Mr. Mulcock struck out in that direction, and in stock-dealing. At different times he has brought large quantities of stock from the Nelson and Marlborough districts. His farm is one of the best and most complete in the district, and has all been reclaimed from very rough swamp land. Mr. Mulcock is chairman of the Mandeville River Board, having been a member of the board since its formation, and has taken a prominent interest in educational and church matters, being a member of the Anglican synod. He was married in 1861 to a daughter of Mr. Charles Thompson, of Cambridge, England, and has seven sons and eight daughters, all born in the Colony. Three of his sons are settled on farms at Waimate, and amongst them have 1800 acres of first-class land.

Mr. E. Mulcock.

Mr. E. Mulcock.

Threlkeld, Philip C., “Inglewood,” Flaxton. Mr. Threlkeld was born at Milburn, Westmorland, England, in 1832. Hisfather, the Rev. Philip Threlkeld, with his father, also the Rev. Philip, together, held the living for the greater part of a century. Mr. Philip C Threlkeld was educated partly by his father, and afterwards at the grammar school of Penrith. After a few years spent in Sunderland, he sailed for the Canterbury settlement, New Zealand, in 1854. For two years he stayed with his countryman, Sir Michael le Fleming who, in partnership with Mr. Robert Jackson, owned the run extending from the site of the present town of Sheffield to Mount Torlesse and Otarama. Then Mr. Threlkeld acted as overseer for Mr. R. H. Rhodes for nearly six years, on his Purau estate. In 1862 he wen' on to land that he had bought in the Rangiora swamp, well so-named at that time, for Mr Threlkeld states that there would be little exaggeration in saying that the land was knee deep in water. Mr. Threlkeld started breeding with a good selection of Shorthorn cattle, and in 1865 visited England and purchased the nucleus of his since celebrated English Leicester flock, so well known in every part of New Zealand and also in Australia. The prizes obtained by the Inglewood flock and herd number over one thousand, including very many champions, and the prize tickets would cover a space 30 or 40 feet square. The stud flock, including those under the charge of Mr. P. C. Threlkeld, junior, at “The Terraces,” Methven, numbers 2000 breeding ewes. Mr. Threlkeld married, in 1867, a daughter of Mr. Thomas Cholmondeley, of Vale Royal, and has a family of five sons and three daughters.

Mr. Arthur Campbell, sometime of Flaxton, was born in Armagh, Ireland, in 1837 and arrived in Lyttelton in the ship “Greenock” in the early part of 1860. He was engaged by Mr. Leslie Lee to go to Nelson, and drove for the whole journey in a bullock dray, occupying several days and nights. After being with Mr. Lee for about twelve months, he tried his luck at the Otago diggings, but soon after returned again to Nelson and finally left for Canterbury, taking up about fifty acres of Government land where Flaxton now stands, which at that time was all bush. At the time of page 457 his death Mr. Campbell was worth £1200 in personalty, and owned five different farms in the district, which are now carried on by his widow. He was married before coming to New Zealand, and had a family of three children.

Mr. John Stevenson was one of the early settlers who took up land in the Rangiora Swamp. He was born at Paisley, Scotland, in 1835, and brought up to country life. Mr. Stevenson came out to New Zealand in 1862, and lived to see his land brought from swamp and flax to a state of cultivation. He served for a number of years as a member of the Mandeville and Rangiora Road Board, and was also a member of the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Society. Mr. Stevenson was married, in 1861, to a daughter of the late Mr. John Boyd, of Ayrshire, Scotland, who afterwards lived for some sixteen years with his son-in-law and daughter in New Zealand. Mr. Stevenson died in 1885, leaving five sons and five daughters, but one daughter has since died.

The Late Mr. J. Stevenson.

The Late Mr. J. Stevenson.

Mrs J. Stevenson's Homestead, Flaxton.

Mrs J. Stevenson's Homestead, Flaxton.