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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]

Charing Cross

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Charing Cross.

Charing Cross is a farming district, about twenty-six miles west by road from Christchurch. Relies of Maori habitation have frequently been discovered in the neighbourhood, though no approximate date can be assigned to the arrival of the natives in the district or to their departure from it. The earliest European settlers were Messrs Riordan and Shipley, who arrived in the district about 1879, and were soon followed by others. Charing Cross was originally covered with wild tussocks, but is now dotted with well-ordered farms, and numerous intersecting roads. The district is devoted chiefly to sheep grazing and grain growing, and contains many extensive and well managed estates. It possesses a public school, a blacksmith's shop, and a post office, with a daily mail service. The nearest railway stations are Kirwee and Norwood.


Dent, Charles, Farmer, Charing Cross. Mr. Dent was born at Nettleton, Lincolnshire, England, in 1827, and educated at a private school. He worked for his father till reaching the age of fourteen, when he left home to work for others. For about thirty-four years he was engaged in ploughing and other farm work in Lincolnshire, and in 1875 he sailed for New Zealand. His ship, the “Duke of Edinburgh,” put in to Lyttelton, where he and other passengers were transferred to a small coastal steamer, which conveyed them to Timaru. He remained there only a month, and then removed to Arowhenua, where he farmed till 1880. In that year he took up land at Charing Cross, a few miles from his present holding, and farmed it for about three years, but removed in 1883 to his present property. Mr. Dent's farm consists of two sections of 416 and 200 acres respectively, and he devotes himself chiefly to sheepfarming and agriculture. He was married, in 1851, to Miss Eliza Caunt, of Switderly, Lincolnshire, England, and has a surviving family of two sons and three daughters.

Shipley, Burton, Pine Farm, Charing Cross. Mr. Shipley was born at Foston, Yorkshire, England, in 1837, and is a son of the late Mr. William Shipley, a farmer, of Foston. He was educated at private schools in his native village, and was afterwards engaged at farm work in the neighbourhood. In 1866 he sailed for New Zealand, and, shortly after landing, went as shepherd on a farm near the Rakaia Gorge. Then he spent about six years upon various farms at Templeton, and later on took up property at West Melton, where he farmed for five years. He was for two years shearing sheep and driving threshing machines, and, in 1875, went to Courtenay as manager of an estate for Colonel Brett. Mr. Shipley held that position for four years, but resigned it in 1879 to take up land at Charing Cross, of which he was one of the earliest settlers. His property, known as Pine Farm, was taken up in sections, and broken in from its rough native state. Its area is upwards of 900 acres; it is highly improved, and is devoted chiefly to sheep grazing and grain growing. Mr. Shipley has been married twice. His first wife died in 1868, leaving one son. In 1873 he married Miss Thompson, formerly of the North of Ireland, and of this marriage, there are three sons and seven daughters.

Smith, Moulds, Farmer, Charing Cross. Mr. Smith was born in Flixbro, Lincolnshire, England, in 1851, and is a son of Mr. George Belton Smith, a blacksmith, of Flixbro. He was educated at a private school, and commenced farming at an early age. In 1872 he obtained employment at the iron smelting works, at Frodingham, Lincolnshire, and remained there for about three years. The following three years were spent in employment of various kinds, and, in 1878, he sailed for New Zealand, calling first at Port Chalmers, and finally landing at Lyttelton. Shortly after his arrival he made his way to Greendale, and was there employed a few months on Mr. George Rudd's estate. In 1879 he took up land at Charing Cross, where he is now the proprietor of a farm consisting of 220 acres of freehold and 200 acres of leasehold. Mr. Smith has for upwards of fourteen years been a member of the local school committee, of which he was for several years chairman. He is also a member of the Courtenay branch of the Canterbury Farmers' Union. Mr. Smith takes a considerable interest in church work, and is a member of the Primitive Methodist church, at Greendale. In 1874 he married Miss Mary Hairsine, of Broomfleet, Yorkshire, and has six sons and six daughters.

Standish and Preece, photo.Mr. M. Smith.

Standish and Preece, photo.
Mr. M. Smith.

Tara” (Edward Meredith, manager), Charing Cross. This farm comprises 989 acres, and was formerly a portion of the late Mr. Peter Clinton's estate. It was bought in 1899 by Mr. Richard Meredith, of the Cust long one of the Canterbury members of the House of Representatives, and was managed by his eldest son until 1902, when it was taken over by its present manager. “Tara” is intersected by several public roads, and is further subdivided by gorse hedges. Some of the larger paddocks are sheltered from the cold winds, and considerably ornamented, by clumps of well chosen evergreens. The soil is fertile, and is especially adapted for crop growing and sheep grazing. One paddock, of upwards of 100 acres of oats, yielded fifty-seven bushels per acre at the harvest of 1903, and the average return per acre for the same grain is about fifty bushels. Of sheep a large number are reared annually upon the estate; chiefly English Leicesters.

Mr. Edward Meredith is the second son of Mr. Richard Meredith, of the Cust. He was born at Fernside, Rangiora, in 1874, and educated at the Cust public school, of which his father was then headmaster. On leaving school he was trained as a farmer, and was afterwards engaged, until 1902, in the management of his father's property at the Cust. Mr. Meredith is a member of the local school committee and of the Courtenay Agricultural and Pastoral Association. He was married in June, 1902, to Mary, daughter of Mr. W. Anderson, of “Clydesgrove,” Cust.