The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]
Southbridge, in the county of Selwyn, is in the neighbourhood of the sea, Lake Ellesmere, and the Rakaia river. It is thirty-one miles from Christchurch, and is the terminus of the Christchurch-Southbridge branch railway. Wheat-growing, sheepfarming and pig-rearing are carried on extensively on the rich lands of the district, and the township is noted for its industrial enterprise. It has implement works, flour mills, a bank, stores, a post, telegraph, and money order office, a savings bank, other Government offices, a newspaper, a public library, two hotels and an excellent public school, a courthouse and police station; three churches—Episcopalian, Presbyterian, and Wesleyan; and the public-spirited town board has erected a first-rate swimming bath. The nearness of Lake Ellesmere, swarming with ducks and fish, makes Southbridge a favourite resort with anglers and sportsmen. Southbridge is constituted as a town district for the purposes of local government, and has a population of about 500 persons.
Constable William Pool, in charge of the Southbridge district, Clerk to the Magistrate's Court, Bailiff, Inspector of Factories, and Labour Agent, joined the Otago police in 1875, during the last year of the Provincial Government. He served first under Inspector Weldon at Queenstown, and was successively at Cromwell, Clyde, Roxburgh, and Kaitangata, and for two years he served on the gold escort from Queenstown to Dunedin, via Naseby. He had experience with all sorts of crime during his time on the goldfields, and on one occasion he had three cases of murder on hand, and was the first policeman in the colony to have official communication with the notorious Donnelly, alias Butler, now serving a long term of imprisonment in Victoria. Mr. Pool was born in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, in 1854, and came to New Zealand in 1874. He was married in Queenstown, in 1878, to Miss Smith, and has three sons and three daughters.
Constable W. Pool.
Southbridge Railway Station. —The railway was opened to Southbridge on the 30th of July, 1875. The chief freights inwards consist of merchandise, coal, and timber; and outwards, of grain, wool, potatoes and live stock, chiefly sheep and pigs.
Mr. W. H. Alderton, Stationmaster at Southbridge, joined the railway department at Christchurch in September, 1874. During the same year he was transferred to Addington, and was appointed stationmaster at Balcairn on the 3rd of November, 1875; Hornby Junction, on the 14th of March, 1879; Doyleston, on the 31st of January, 1883; Temuka, on the 10th of April, 1883; and at Southbridge, on the 8th of February, 1895. Mr. Alderton was born in Norfolk, England, in 1838, and educated at Middleton. He joined the army in 1855, and served in the 1st Royal Scots Regiment for ten years. In November, 1865, he entered the service of the North London Railway Company, with which he remained till 1874, when he came to New Zealand by the ship “Carisbrook Castle.” Mr. Alder ton married Miss Ingle, in 1871, and has one daughter.
St. James' Anglican Church, Southbridge. This church has accommodation for 250 worshippers. It possesses a good pipe organ and a well trained choir, and the interior decorations are very beautiful. Adjoining the church there is a large parish room, which is used as a Sunday school room and social hall. The vicar holds weekly services at All Saints, Killinchy, St. Thomas', Dunsandel, and St. Mark's, Sedgemere.
The Rev. H. H. S. Hamilton, B.A., Vicar of Southbridge, was born in 1846, in Yorkshire, England, and was primarily educated at a private school. He studied at page 709 St. John's College, Cambridge, where he obtained his B.A. degree in 1871. Mr. Hamilton was ordained deacon in 1871, by the Bishop of Durham, and priest in 1872 by the Bishop of Ripon. His first appointment was that of curate at Berwick-on-Tweed, where he remained for one year, and was afterwards curate at Bradford for three years, and for one year in Lincolnshire. Mr. Hamilton came to New Zealand, in 1876, and was for three years vicar of Cust, and for the three years thereafter, of Hokitika. He held the position of locum tenens for six months at Gisborne, previous to his appointment at Banks' Peninsula, where he was vicar for eleven years. He was also vicar for seven years and a half in the Hororata-Malvern district, and received his present appointment in 1902. Mr. Hamilton is married, and has four sons and one daughter.
Rev. H. H. S. Hamilton, Mrs Hamilton and Daughter.
The Presbyterian Church, Southbridge, is a fine wooden building, plain outside, but rather handsome in its internal appearance. It has seating accommodation for about 200 worshippers. The manse, which is only a short distance from the church, is a commodious villa, and stands in large and well laid out grounds. There is a well attended Sunday school in connection with the church.
The Rev. Robert Winchester Jackson, Minister in charge of St. John's Presbyterian Church, Southbridge was born at Galashiels, Selkirkshire, Scotland. He was educated at the public school of his native town, and studied for the church at the Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities. His first call was to Bell's Hill, Lanarkshire, where he remained five years, and for fourteen years afterwards he ministered at Falkirk. Mr. Jackson was then commissioned by the Church of Scotland to come to New Zealand, and previous to his departure for the colony was presented with many valuable gifts by his friends and parishioners. After arriving in New Zealand, Mr. Jackson, with Mrs Jackson and their two children, travelled through the colony for about six months. He then received a call to enter on the charge at Whangarei, but also shortly afterwards received another from Southbridge, which he accepted in preference to the other.
Rev. R. W. Jackson, Mrs Jackson and Family.
Withers, Thomas John, M.D. and Master in Surgery, Queen's University, Ireland; Southbridge. Dr Withers was born in County Down, Ireland, and educated at the Royal Academical Institution, Belfast. He studied for his profession at the Queen's College, Belfast, the Royal College of Surgeons, and the Rotunda, Dublin, and obtained his degree in 1877. In 1880 he went to Belfast, where he practised for two years in the fever hospital for acute and infectious diseases, and he also practised for two years at Comber. Dr Withers came to New Zealand in 1885, when he began the practice of his profession at Southbridge. He has been a Justice of the Peace for some years, surgeon-captain in the Ellesmere Rifles, a member of the Southbridge school committee; and chairman of the Town Board. As a Freemason he is a Past Master of the Southbridge Lodge and Past Deacon of the New Zealand Grand Lodge. Dr Withers has been president of the Leeston Cyoling Club since its inception; and is sessions clerk of the Southbridge Presbyterian church.
Webster, Robert, General Blacksmith and Implement Maker, Southbridge.—Mr Webster was born at Montrose, Forfarshire, Scotland, in 1849, and educated at Arbroath. He came to New Zealand in the ship “Canterbury,” in 1864, and two years later he went to Southbridge, where he learned his trade. Subsequently he was, for five years, with Messrs P. and D. Duncan. In 1877 he purchased his present business, which was established in 1865. Mr. Webster has been a member of the Southbridge Town Board ever since it was constituted in 1885, and has been chairman for ten years. He has also been a member of the school committee for twenty years, and chairman for two years. He became a Freemason in 1874. Mr. Webster was married, in 1875, to Miss Kitchen, and has three sons and one daughter.
Mr. R. Webster.
Royal Hotel (R. Parker Hill, proprietor), Southbridge. This hotel was established in 1870. It contains thirty-six rooms, of which twenty-two are well furnished bedrooms. The large, well-ventilated dining-room, has chairs for forty persons; there are four sitting-rooms and two bar parlours, and one billiard-room fitted up with one of Thurston's tables; and there are hot and cold water baths The hotel has a good six-stalled stable, three loose-boxes, and a large trap shed, with three well-watered and secure paddocks, and a large garden and orchard. In addition to commercial travellers, tourists, and the numerous country settlers who come and go, the sports men who visit the Rakaia and the creeks running into Lake Ellesmere, all patronise the “Royal” at Southbridge.
Mr. R. Parker Hill, the Proprietor, was born in 1846, at Lenton, near Nottingham, England, and came to New Zealand with his parents, in the ship “Roman Emperor,” in 1860. After obtaining some commercial experience he owned a business, which he afterwards disposed of in order to try his luck on the Auckland and Wakamarina goldfields. He worked in the Lucknow and Long-drive claim, and secured as much as seventeen ounces of gold for four hours' work; and he also did a good deal of prospecting at the head of the Rakaia river, under the late Mr. W. F. Warner, of Christchurch. Mr. Hill was the first to organise coursing in New Zealand, and he was very successful in that sport. Amongst dogs owned and bred by him were “Ridley,” page 710 “Champagne Charlie,” “Bordeaux,” “Waitangi,” and “Peeress.” Mr. Hill has also taken an active part in cricket, and has on more than one occasion been captain of his team. He is a member of the Southbridge Town Board, treasurer to the library committee, deputy superintendent of the fire brigade, and he is a Freemason and a Druid. Mr. Hill has had considerable experience in hotel management, as he was in business with his father in 1863 in the Albion Hotel, Lyttelton. In 1873, he entered into business on his own account, first in the Lower Selwyn Hotel, and subsequently at the British Hotel, Christchurch. He retired temporarily on account of ill-health, but on recovery, he reentered the trade in 1892. Mr. Hill was married, in 1871, to Miss Collier, daughter of Mr. John Collier of Moeraki Downs, and has two daughters. He is referred to in the Military section of this volume as Lieutenant of the Ellesmere Mounted Rifles.
Scott and Co. (William Scott), Grain Merchants, Southbridge. Mr. Scott is a son of Mr. Samuel Scott, who was living in Lyttelton previous to the arrival of the pioneer ships. He was born, at Little Rakaia, in 1869—one of a family of twenty-five, of whom fifteen are now living—was educated at his native place, and brought up to farming. In 1894 he acquired the business carried on by Mr. C. H. Willis, of Southbridge, and has ever since conducted it with marked success. Mr. Scott has not yet taken any part in the public affairs of Southbridge, as, so far, his time has been fully occupied in looking after his large and increasing business.
Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo.
Mr. W. Scott.
Andrew, William Bale, Farmer, “Drumroslin,” Southbridge. Mr. Andrew is the third son of Mr. W. B. Andrew, of Greenpark, and was brought up to farming under the experienced tutelage of his father. He was at first in partnership with his brother, Mr. P. J. Andrew, under the title of Andrew Bros., but in 1896 he purchased his present fine estate of 418 acres, formerly belonging to Mr. Graham, and known as some of the picked land of the district. Mr. Andrew is a well known breeder of pure bred Shropshire sheep, and also carries on mixed farming. He is a member of the Southbridge Town Board, and of the Canterbury and Ellesmere Agricultural and Pastoral Associations, and was for some time a member of the Southbridge school committee. He married Miss Pannett, second daughter of Mr. H. Pannett, of Springston, and has two sons and one daughter.
Mr. and Mrs W. B. Andrew.
Baxter, George, Farmer, Moville Farm, Southbridge. Mr. Baxter was born at Moville, a fashionable watering place, on Lough Foyle, Ireland, in 1837. He was brought up to farming, went to America at the age of nineteen, and for five years he was engaged in farming in Wisconsin, on the Upper Mississippi. He then returned to his native land, whence, after a residence of a few months, he sailed for New Zealand by the ship “Shalamar,” and landed at Auckland in 1862. From Auckland he went to Dunedin, and from Dunedin he came to Canterbury, which seemed to him to offer better opportunities to a colonist. He followed various occupations, such as making roads, contracting, and clearing the Halswell river, and was very successful in his undertakings. Towards the end of 1863 he purchased 260 acres of his present fine farm. He has a handsome homestead in brick and stone, and has named his property after his birthplace. When he bought his land it was in its native state, and he was the third pioneer of the district, which was then known as Cabbage-tree Flat. At first he carried on large contracts in conjunction with his farming operations, but after a while he devoted his whole energy to the improvement of his farm. Mr. Baxter has added to his farm by judicious purchase, and the estate now consists of 2000 acres, which he uses chiefly in sheepfarming. Originally he grew wheat largely, and was one of the first exporters of wheat to the English market, to which he shipped through the Leeston Farmers' Club Mr. Baxter owns a fine herd of Shorthorn cattle, and is a member of the Ellesmere Agricultural and Pastoral Associations. He married Miss Watson, and of a family of eleven sons, eight are now alive.
Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo.
Mr. G. Baxter.
Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo.
Mr. W. M. Gabbie
Howson, Thomas Bell, Farmer, Sedgemere, Southbridge. Mr. Howson, who is a son of the late Mr. John Howson, a prosperous farmer at Southwait, England, was born in the parish of Skelton, Cumberland, England, in March, 1839. At the age of twenty-one he arrived in New Zealand by the ship “Harwood,” in command of Captain Forsyth, and landed at Lyttelton, in December, 1860. Mr. Howson began his colonial life by working as a farm hand, and he afterwards worked as a bushman, at Kaiapoi. Having saved sufficient capital to begin farming on his own account, he bought 170 acres of land at Cust, and farmed it until 1882, when he sold his property. He then bought 550 acres of land at Sedgemere in the Ellesmere district, and subsequently added to it by buying 182 acres of the well known Inwood property, and leasing about 193 acres on the Taumutu lagoon. He has thus in all 930 acres, on which he conducts large operations in sheepfarming and general farming. Mr. Howson has had his share of the vicissitudes and hardships, which too often fall to the lot of the farmer, especially in pioneer days. He was nearly ruined on two occasions; first, when his entire crop was totally destroyed by a hail storm in 1879, after other severe adversities, and, again, in 1895, when 195 acres were totally destroyed by hail within a week of harvest. In spite of these disasters Mr. Howson determined to succeed, and his present prosperity is the result of his perseverance. He takes an intelligent interest in all affairs relating to his district, and to general politics. In 1867 he married a daughter of Mr. John Free, a pioneer colonist of Cust and Christchurch, who arrived in the colony by the ship “Randolph”; and there is a family of five sons and seven daughters.
Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo.
Mr. T. B. Howson.
Hurst, Charles, Sheepfarmer, Oakleigh Estate, Southbridge. Mr. Hurst was born at Wakefield, Yorkshire, in 1828, and came out to Victoria in 1849, in the ship “Condor.” He engaged in station life for twelve months, having first visited South Australia. On the breaking out of the goldfields he tried his luck with fair success, but soon returned to the run on which he had formerly served, and subsequently became its manager. It was a property of 35,000 acres, and carried 42,000 sheep and 1600 head of cattle. The owner, Mr. J. G. Ware, became Mr. Hurst's brother-in-law, and Mr Hurst continued to manage the station until he left for New Zealand in 1857, in the schooner “Taranaki.” Shortly after his arrival here, Mr. Hurst bought Valetta run from Mr. Lockhart; it consisted of 14,000 acres and carried 9000 Merino sheep. In 1866 he bought “Oakleigh” from Mr. Fereday, and disposed of “Valetta” to Mr. W. C. Walker, now Minister of Education in the Colony, “Oakleigh” comprises 5200 acres of freehold land, of which 3300 acres are sown with artificial grasses. The improvements comprise 2700 chains of live fences, 1300 chains of substantial wire fencing, a good two-storey dwellinghouse, shrubbery, over sixty acres of plantations, a garden, an orchard, and all the necessary outbuildings. The flock at “Oakleigh” originally consisted of Merinos but in 1871 Mr. Hurst began to cross their with Mr. Every McLean's rams, and in 1872 he sold his first halfbreds at 18s. 6d. a head. Mr. Hurst was chairman of the first road board in the Upper Ashburton district. He has twice visited the Old Country, and travelled on the first occasion by the Panama route. Mr. Hurst has been twice married; firstly, in 1858, to Miss Ware, by whom he had one daughter, and secondly, in 1867, to Miss Brodie.
Mr. C. Hurst.
Inwood, William, Farmer, Southbridge. Mr. Inwood was born in England, in 1833, and came to New Zealand with his parents, in 1850. For a time he acted as manager for his father, and on the sale of the City Mill, about the beginning of 1862, removed to Southbridge with his brother James to start farming, and improve the property his father had purchased. The land was then in its native state, covered with rough vegetation and water; a perfect wilderness, without roads or fences. All this was gradually changed, and after building a house, Mr. Inwood erected a flour mill, with which he carried on a prosperous business for a number of years. Owing, however, to a decreasing supply of water and other causes, Mr. Inwood has ceased to work his mill, and concentrates his attention on his large farming interests. Mr. Inwood always took a leading part in the affairs of his district, until his impaired hearing necessitated his retirement from public bodies.
Mr. and Mrs W. Lochhead.
McMillan, David, Farmer “Beachcroft,” Southbridge. Mr. McMillan arrived in New Zealand by the ship “Rose of Sharon” in 1857, and devoted himself successfully to agricultural and pastoral pursuits. About 1874 he became a member of the local school committee and road board, and was for sometime chairman of these bodies. On the passing of the Counties Act in 1876, he was elected to a seat on the Selwyn County Council, and continued a member for twenty years, during eleven of which he was chairman. Mr McMillan was elected to the House of Representatives for Coleridge at the general elction in 1881, and sat for that constituency during two parliaments. He was appointed a member of the Canterbury Land Board in 1883, but resigned in 1900, on account of absence while visiting Scotland and other countries. Mr. McMillan is a member of the Canterbury Plantation Board, and was for some time a member of the Lyttelton Harbour Board. He was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1884. Mr. McMillan has been for many years a member of the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association, and was president for the year 1897. He is also a member of the Ellesmere Agricultural and Pastoral Association, of which he was president in 1894, and is on the Board of Governors of Canterbury Agricultural College, Lincoln, with which he was connected as a member of the Board of Advice when the College was under the control of the Canterbury College Board of Governors.
Ruddock, Edward, Sheepfarmer, “Fieldmont,” Southbridge. Mr. Ruddock was born in Armagh, Ireland, in 1839. He arrived in New Zealand by the ship “Sebastopol” in 1863. After some time spent in looking round Canterbury he received the appointment of manager of Beechcroft estate, Southbridge, for Mr. Jollie, then Provincial Secretary, with whom he remained until 1867. Mr. Ruddock then purchased his present property of 366 acres, then partly in tussock and in its wild natural state. By draining, fencing, and other improvements, Mr Ruddock soon altered the appearance of the place. Subsequently he leased two other areas of 477 and 391 acres respectively, and now carries on large operations in sheepfarming, as well as in mixed farming. He has given much attention to the breeding of Shorthorn cattle, and has obtained several first prizes at various shows. Mr. Ruddock was for some time a prominent and active member of the Ellesmere Road Board, but ill health has compelled him not to seek re-election. He has been a member of the Ellesmere Agricultural and Pastoral Association, and a successful prize-taker in draught horses. Mr. Ruddock is a member of the New Zealand Farmers' Co-operative Association, and a large shareholder in that institution. Mr. Ruddock was married in Ireland, and of a family of nine children, four sons and four daughters are alive.
Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo.
Mr. E. Ruddock.
Storry, Andrew, Sheepfarmer, “Crofthead,” Southbridge. Mr. Storry is a native of Whitburn parish, Linlithgowshire, Scotland. He was born in 1821, and is the second son of Mr. James Storry, of “Northfield.” After farming for a number of years, he decided to try a colonial life, and sold his farm “East Longridge.” He came to New Zealand in 1864, in the ship “Aboukir,” and landed at Port Chalmers, but afterwards removed to Marlborough, where he passed twelve months. Mr. Storry took up the main portion of his present farm in 1865, part from the Crown and part secondhand, but all in its native state of tussock and cabbage trees. He has always carried on a mixed system of farming, growing grain and grazing a number of sheep and cattle. English Leicester rams and halfbred or crossbred ewes are in favour as the stock from which to raise fat lambs for the export trade. Mr. Storry has also a number of Polled Angus cattle, which he finds well adapted for his farm. In early days Mr. Storry took an active interest in getting a school established in the district, and the cemetery board organised, also the River Board of Conservators, and the Ellesmere Agricultural and Pastoral Association; but of recent years he has not taken much part in district affairs. He has always taken an active interest in the Presbyterian church. Mr. Storry was married to Janet, third daughter of Mr. John Wilson, “Townhead,” Carluke, Lanarkshire, and has two sons and three daughters.
Mr. A. Storry.
Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo.
Mr. C. H. Willis.
Mr. John Cowan, sometime of Southbridge, was one of the pioneers of the district. He was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, in 1834, and came to New Zealand in 1862. Mr. Cowan owned a coach service between Christchurch and Leeston. The business was subject to many risks, and even dangers, of which, unfortunately, Mr. Cowan had too much practical proof. On one occasion his coach was capsized in the Selwyn river, and he himself was saved only through the personal exertions of another man, named Smith, who risked his own life in the endeavour. Though thus saved from drowning, the wetting and exposure which Mr. Cowan then underwent led to an affection of the lungs, which ere long caused his death, which occurred in 1871. He was survived by Mrs Cowan, who died two years and a half later, and by three sons and two daughters. In 1891 the eldest daughter died, and in 1892 the youngest son also died, thus leaving two sons and one daughter, who became Mrs W. Lochhead.
Mr. William Gabbie, sometime of “Mount Pleasant,” Little Rakaia, Southbridge, was born in County Down, Ireland, in 1837. After his arrival in Canterbury he was for a short time engaged in farming at Kaiapoi, and later on settled at Little Rakaia, where he bought about 120 acres, to which he afterwards added, and had one of the finest farms in the district. During his lfietime Mr. Gabbie was a successful breeder of a splendid strain of pedigree Shorthorns, and also of blood, draught and hack horses, for which he obtained numerous silver cups and other prizes at the agricultural and pastoral shows. He was one of the original members of the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association, and was for years a member of the Little Rakaia school committee, of which he was chairman for several years. Mr. Gabbie was twice married and had, by his first wife, one son and three daughters, and three children were born of the second union He died in 1901, after a long illness.
The late Mr. W. Gabbie.
Mr. James Inwood, sometime of “Waikewi,” Southbridge, was the son of Mr. D. Inwood, of Fendalton, and was born at Windlesham, Surrey. England, in 1840. In company with his father and brothers he came to New Zealand in 1850 by the ship “Sir George Seymour,” and was brought up to the business of flour milling. About 1864 he settled at Southbridge to assist in improving the large estate which his father had bought in that district. The property was then totally unimproved swamp, in tussock, without a house, without fences, and without roads. But with energy and perseverance, Mr. Inwood soon changed its appearance, and converted it into one of the finest blocks of land in the district. It became celebrated for its luxuriant crops, and for fattening sheep and cattle, and the land is now in the highest state of cultivation. Mr. Inwood took a keen interest in local affairs, and in the politics of the day. He was a churchwarden of the Southbridge Anglican church, with which he had been actively connected for many years. Mr. Inwood was a member of the Canterbury and Leeston Agricultural and Pastoral Associations, and took numerous prizes for sheep at the various shows. He was also a member of the New Zealand Farmers' Co-operative Association, and had in many ways helped on the prosperity of his district. Mr. Inwood was married, and had a family of three sons. He died at “Waikewi” on the 29th of January, 1903.