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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]



Darfield is an extensive farming district, situated thirty miles west of Christchurch, near the junction of the branch railway lines from Whitecliffs and Springfield. The land is held chiefly in moderate sized blocks, though there are some extensive stations in the neighbourhood, and the principal occupations of the people are sheepfarming and grain growing. Monthly sales are held in the village, and are well attended by the local farmers. A large water-race from the Kowai river brings an ample supply of good water to the district, and smaller races again divert it over the farms. The village of Darfield is a scattered one. It has four churches, representing the Catholic, English, Presbyterian and Wesleyan bodies; a public school, with a high school department, and a Catholic convent; and also a hotel, a courthouse, several general stores, and a blacksmith's shop. Mails are received and despatched twice daily, and there is a post and telegraph office, with other branches of the public service, at the railway station.

Darfield School. This school was opened on the 19th of February, 1883, with nine boys and nine girls, and Mr. A. C. Augur, M.A., was the first master. The school stands on a triangular piece of ground comprising three acres, of which one-quarter of an acre is allotted to the master, who has a comfortable dwellinghouse of six rooms. Close to the school there is a railway junction, whence trains run to Springfield and Whitecliffs. The school has gone on steadily increasing, and in 1902 it had two teachers—a master and a mistress, and there were ninety-three children on the roll. Mr. Withell, the present master, has fitted up the school with two museums, one of which is the property of the school committee, and the other that of the master, who has also made a number of valuable maps and diagrams, which are valuable adjuncts in the teaching of geography. For these maps and diagrams Mr. Withell has been highly complimented by the Board and all the Board's inspectors. The school museum has been much benefited by contributions from Sir John Hall.

Mr. C. W. Withell was born in York-shire, England, in 1858. He began his education at Brookside, Canterbury, and finished at Canterbury College, where he passed the teachers' examination; he gained an E and a D certificate and now holds a D3. His first school was at Summerhill, Cust, where he taught for four years. he moved to Darfield in 1892. Mr. Withell was married, in 1887, to Miss Douds, and has one son and four daughters.

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Howard, James, M.R.C.S. Eng., L.R.C.P. Irel., Darfield. Dr. Howard was born in 1845, at Dukinfield, Cheshire, England, where his father carried on business as a general merchant. He gained his primary education at the hands of private tutors, and afterwards went to Manchester, where he continued his studies at Owen's College and the Manchester School of Medicine. He gained the diploma of member of the Royal College of Surgeons, England, in 1867, and in the following year commenced the practice of his profession in South Lancashire, where he continued to study, taking, in 1872, the diploma of licenciate of the Royal College of Physicians, Ireland. In 1878 he removed into York-shire, where he practised his profession till he left for New Zealand in 1896. On landing in Wellington, Dr. Howard went to Blackball, near Greymouth, and there carried on a practice for four years, during which he held the post of medical officer to the Blackball Medical Association. In 1900 he came to Canterbury and settled at Sheffield, but in 1901, he removed to Darfield, where he has since practised his profession. Dr. Howard is surgeon-captain in the Malvern Mounted Rifles, and is also surgeon to the Oddfellows' Lodge at Sheffield and the Foresters' Lodge at Courtenay. He was married before leaving the Old Country, and has one son.

The Darfield Hotel, Darfield, is situated on a acre of land, two or three chains distant from the railway line, and was opened in the early eighties, to meet the requirements of a rapidly rising district, and an increasing traffic. It is a wooden building of two stories with a wide balcony extending round two sides, and overlooks the railway station and the eastern portion of the town ship. There are seventeen rooms in the hotel, inclusive of a commodious dining room, two sitting rooms, and a large smoke room. The bedrooms, thirteen in number, are neatly arranged and well kept, and the table is supplied with care and skill. There is good accommodation for horses and vehicles, and a paddock of about eight acres, on the opposite side of the road, is rented by the proprietor, who keeps several cows for the supply of milk and butter for the table. The Darfield Hotel has become a popular resting place for commerical travellers, and has gained a reputation for quietness and respectibility.

Mr. J. G. King, formerly Proprietor of the Darfield Hotel, was born in 1863, in Christ-church, where he was educated. He passed his early years with his parents at the Hurunui and Waiau hotels, and subsequently served in some of the best hotels in Christ-church, including Coker's and the “Royal.” Mr. King was married, in 1894, to Mrs Prince, and has one son.

Whall, James, Blacksmith and Machinist, Darfield. Mr. Whall is the son of Mr. John Whall, formerly of Darfield. He was born at St. Albans, Christchurch, in 1875, and educated partly at the public school there; and afterwards at Darfield. On leaving school he spent two years or more at farming, and afterwards at the bakery trade. Subsequently he went to Christchurch, where he gained some knowledge of engineering and fitting. Later on he returned to Darfield and learned the blacksmithing trade with his father. In 1898 he went to work at the Hutt, Wellington, but in the following year he leased his father's business for lowing year he leased his father's business for a term. This he conducted for about eighteen months on his own account, but, in 1901, he entered into partnership with Mr. William Willstead. Mr. Whall is a member of the Oddfellows' Lodge at Glentunnel, and was formerly a member of the Darfield school committee. He was married, in 1899, to Miss Mary Ann Scrimshaw, of Trentham, near Wellington, and has two sons and one daughter.

Mr. J. Whall.

Mr. J. Whall.

Darfield Roller Flour Mill (J. Moffat, proprietor), Darfield. This mill was established in 1887 as a stone mill, but was subsequently fitted up with the most approved rollers. It is driven by water power supplied by the Selwyn County Council's water race, and does a good grist trade, the annual output being about 700 tons.

Mr. J. Moffat, the Proprietor, was born in Cumberland, England, in 1854, and learned his trade amongst relations, several of whom were millers. He came to New Zealand in 1871, by the ship “Merope,” which made the run from land to land in sixty-eight days; and he resided with his uncle at Lincoln for a number of years. He was married, in 1876, to Miss Gaskill, and has five sons and three daughters.


Bangor Estate, Hawkins, near Darfield. This property is a portion of an extensive run taken up in the early days by a company, which had its headquarters in Belfast, Ireland. Mr. Ward, sent by the company from Ireland, managed the property for five or six years, and Mr. Hill then took charge. Two years later the estate was bought by Mr. George Holmes, who supervised the construction of the Lyttelton tunnel, and at his death, some years after, the property was left to his brother, Mr. John Holmes, then in the service of the Canadian Government, as a surveyor. He immediately sailed for New Zealand to take charge of his new possession, and when he died, in 1879, Bangor estate was taken over by his son, Mr. John Holmes, the present proprietor. “Bangor” contains about 5000 acres of good agricultural and pastoral country, and is fenced, subdivided, and well improved. Sheep grazing and grain growing are carried on extensively. About 7000 sheep are kept constantly on the property, and about 3000 lambs are annually sent to the freezing works. Up-wards of 1000 acres are yearly under cultivation; 400 acres are devoted to the production of rape and turnips, and 600 or 700 acres to oats and wheat. The homestead residence is near the railway line, and is surrounded by a plantation, which covers an area of about 200 acres. The farm houses are well built, and are about a quarter of a mile from the private residence. Mr. Holmes, who takes a keen interest in horse racing, owns several race horses, and has a private track on the property.

Mr. John Alexander Holmes, Proprietor of Bangor estate, is a son of the late John Hofmes. He was born in Canada in 1865, and was educated in New Zealand, first at the Nelson College, Nelson, and afterwards at the Boys' High School, Christchurch. On completing his education, he went to the bangor estate, where he has since resided, taking an active part in the supervision of the property. Mr. Holmes is a member of the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association, and also of the Courtenay Road Board. He was married in Christchurch to Miss Loughrey, of Melbourne, and has four children.

Broadgate Estate, Darfield, was originally taken up by Mr. Helmore, of Christcurch, from whom it was bought by the late Mr. Peter Clinton, who broke up the land page 742 and farmed the property for many years. The homestead is situated about a mile to the north of the Darfield railway station, and part of the estate, which comprises over 1900 acres, extends into the Kimberley district. It is subdivided into many large paddocks, well fenced, and supplied with water-races, and large clumps of shelter trees have been advantageously planted. The crops return an average yield of about forty bushels of oats and twenty-five of wheat to the acre. Rape and turnips are also extensively grown and large numbers of half-bred and cross-bred sheep are annually raised and fattened. Mr. William Reed, the present proprietor, bought the freehold of the estate in July, 1898, from Mr. Peter Clinton. The homestead is a substantial building, surrounded by a large garden, and several large and well equipped outbuildings stand in the adjoining yard.

Mr. William Reed, Proprietor of the Broadgate estate, was born at Morchard-Bishop, Devonshire, England, in 1846. He was brought up as a mechanic, and came out to the colony by the ship “Zealandia,” which arrived at Lyttelton in 1870. Mr. Reed first went to Woodend, and soon afterwards bought land at Carleton, near Oxford. Subsquently he started in business as a wheelwright and blacksmith at Saltwater Creek, where he worked successfully for two years. Then he returned to Carleton and farmed his property there for overt twenty years. His Carleton farm, which contains about 900 acres, is now carried on by his son. Mr. Reed's extensive farming operations have left him little time for public affairs, but he has served as a member of the Oxford Road Board. he was married in the Old Country, and Mrs Reed, who died in 1902, left a family of two sons and three daughters.

Standish and Preece. Photo.Mr. W. Reed.

Standish and Preece. Photo.
Mr. W. Reed.

“Churchlea” (Daniel Mulholland, proprietor), Darfield. The name of this estate was suggested by the fact that the homestead upon it faces the two principal churches of Darfield, which stand close to one another in the sough-western part of the village. The oldest section of “Churchlea” was formerly a portion of the Racecourse Hill run, and was taken up by its present owner in 1886. Mr. Mulholland has steadily increased the area of his property by the purchase of neighbouring sections, and now has 1050 acres. The estate is ring-fenced, and is subdivided by gorse hedges into paddocks of about sixty acres each. Plantations of bluegums, stretching in belts across the property, serve the double purpose of affording shelter and supplying fencing material. The homestead is situated on the north side of one of these plantations, and the residence, a pretty and convenient dwelling of a modern design, faces the village of Darfield. The estate is well and systematically worked, and is devoted chiefly to sheep. Mr. Mulholland keeps a flock of about 400 purebred Shropshires for stud purposes, and also has a flock of about 500 half-breds. In addition to these, about 1000 wethers are bought annually and fattened on the property. The progeny of Mr. Mulholland's purebred flock find a ready sale in the neighbourhood. Grain is cultivated to the extent of about 250 acres, annually, oats and wheat being the chief crops. Turnips and rape are also cultivated for the sheep, and to this purpose Mr. Mulholland devotes about 230 acres.

Mr. Daniel Mulholland, Proprietor of “Churchlea,” was born in County Antrim, Ireland, in 1856, and educated at the village of Crumlan. At the age of thirteen he went to Scotland, where he worked for five years at the coal mines, in Lanarkshire. In 1875 he left Scotland for New Zealand. he landed in Port Chalmers, worked for one year as a farm hand in Otago, and in 1877 joined his brother in the blacksmithing trade at Christchurch. Two years later he went to Banks' Peninsula, under engagement to work for Mr. John Holmes, for whom, after a short interval spent in business in Christchurch, he subsequently worked as head shepherd on the Bangor station, until 1886. Mr. Mulholland is a member of the Canterbury and Courtenay Agricultural and Pastoral Associations, of the Darfield branch of the New Zealand Farmers' Union, and of the local school committee. He married Miss Frances Horrell, formerly of Devonshire, England, and has three sons and one daughter.

Standish and Preece, Photo.Mr. D. Mulholland.

Standish and Preece, Photo.
Mr. D. Mulholland.

Candy, Henry, Farmer, Darfield. Mr. Candy is a son of Mr. Charles Benjamin Candy, an old Canterbury colonist, and was born at Halswell in 1869. He was trained to agriculture on his father's farm, and subsequently started on his own account in Taranaki, where he farmed successfully for seven years. In 1902 he bought his present property from Mr. W. Clinton. His farm contains 511 acres, and is situated about a mile to the north of the Darfield railway station. It is all good agricultural land, and returns an average of about forty bushels of oats to the acre. Mr. Candy also runs a large number of sheep, chiefly crossbreds, on his property. The homestead has the usual out-buildings, and the residence, which faces the Kimberley road, is fronted with a large garden, and surrounded by a belt of trees. Mr. Candy married a daughter of Mr. John Sharp, of Lincoln, and has a family of one son and one daughter.

Evergreendale Estate (Peter Clinton, sometime proprietor), Darfield. Mr. Clinton was born in West Meath, Ireland, in 1834, and followed farming during his early years. In 1849 he emigrated to South Australia in the ship “Caterina,” but remained there only one year, and went to Victoria in 1850. He was at Ballarat when the first gold was discovered. After being seven years in Victoria Black and white photograph of a road through hill country page 743 his eyesight began to give way, and as he was advised to try a colder climate, he came to New Zealand in 1858. He landed in Auckland, and resided there till the Maori trouble broke out, when he came to Canterbury and resided at Lincoln for a number of years. Mr Clinton took up land near Greendale, and gradually extended his area till he had 1000 acres. He then disposed of his property at Lincoln, and went to live at what is now called “Evergreendale,” where he had 4500 acres. Mr. Clinton also owned another property of 2500 acres at Darfield. Mr. Clinton cropped a good deal during the early years of his experience, and in fair seasons he reaped thirty bushels of wheat and forty bushels of oats to the acre; but the estate is now devoted chiefly to the production of wool and mutton, and contributes extensively to the export meat trade. Mr. Clinton was always very successful with his horses whenever he exhibited at the local show.

The Late Mr. P. Clinton, Mrs Clinton and Two Grandchildren.

The Late Mr. P. Clinton, Mrs Clinton and Two Grandchildren.

Mr. W. F. Clinton, of “Evergreendale,” was born in Victoria in 1856, and came to New Zealand with his parents when he was a child. He was brought up on his father's property and soon began to as sist in the management of the estate, on which he has made many improvements, and has erected sheepyards on plans devised by himself. Mr. W. F. Clinton has another farm of his own, and he works his land on approved commercial principles. he was married, in 1884, to Miss Bruce, and has three sons and four daughters.

“Ferndale” (John Olave Redfern, proprietor), Darfield. This is a property of 400 acres, and was set apart in the early days as an educational reserve. It has been held for many years on lease by private farmers. Mr. Hofmes of Bangor estate, being the first to work it. Mr. Redfern acquired the property in 1898, and has since devoted it to sheep and crops. Between 200 and 500 sheep are kept on the farm, and a considerable number are fattened annually and disposed of at local markets. Oats, wheat, turnips and rape are grown extensively.

Mr. John Olave Redfern, Proprietor of “Ferndale,” was born at St. John's Wood, London, in 1866. When four years of age he was brought to Canterbury, and was educated in Christchurch. He afterwards joined his parents, who were then farming at Springfield, and was there trained to farm work. On the death of his father in 1891, he took over the farm and for three years conducted it on his own account. He eventually sold the property, and, in 1893, became manager of the Rakata Island estate at Southbridge. This position he held till 1898, when he resigned to take up “Ferndale.” Mr. Redfern is a member of the Darfield branch of the New Zealand Farmers' Union. In 1899 he married Miss Evelyn Prince, of Darfield, and has one daughter.

Goss, John Horace, Farmer, Darfield. Mr. Goss was born in Christchurch in 1880, and educated at Mr. Charles Cook's school. After leaving school he spent three years in his father's business in Christchurch, and then turned his attention to farming, first on Ranks' Peninsula, and afterwards at Greendale. In 1900 Mr. Goss entered the agricultural college at Lincoln, with a view to gaining a knowledge of the science of farming. He remained there for two years, and, in 1902, commenced farming at Darfield. His property comprises 600 acres of medium agricultural land, and is well adapted for raising fat lambs for the English market. Sheep are kept and crops are cultivated extensively. Upwards of 500 breeding ewes are kept, besides a number which are fattened annually for the local markets. About one-third of the land is continuously under cultivation, oats, turnips, and rape being the chief crops. Mr. Goss takes a keen interest in all matters pertaining to farming, and is a member of the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association.

Lowerfield” (F. C. Candy, proprietor), Darfield. This farm comprises 506 acres, divided almost equally between freehold and leasehold property. It originally formed a portion of a large run taken up in the carly days, but had for many years been farmed by Mr. William Long, who sold it in 1902 to its present owner. “Lowerfield” is well fenced and is divided into twelve paddocks It is devoted chiefly to sheep grazing and grain growing. About 500 breeding ewes are constantly stocked, and Mr. Candy annually sells a large number of fat lambs, as well as a varying number of sheep bought at local sales and fattened upon the property. About 150 acres are sown in wheat and oats, which yield good returns.

Mr. Frederick Chapman Candy, of “Lowerfield,” was born in Swansea, South Wales, in 1856, and landed at Lyttelton, in company with his parents, in 1860. He received a public school education at Halswell, where his father gained considerable note as a highly successful cheesemaker. After leaving school he assisted his father in farming, and, in 1880, entered into partnership and commenced farming at Kyle. There he remained till 1882, and subsequently spent about nine years contracting in various parts of Canterbury. In 1891 he went to Taranaki, where he took up a leasehold property, and carried on dairy farming for eleven years While he was in Taranaki Mr. Candy was one of the promoters, and subsequently a director, of what is now one of the largest dairy factories in the province, and was also an active member of many public bodies. Mr. Candy was married, in 1881, to Miss Boot, of Christchurch, who died in March, 1903, leaving two sons and two daughters.

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Riversleigh (Messrs Reid Brothers, proprietors), Darfield. This farm is situated about two miles from the Darfield village, and was taken up by its present owners in 1888. The area of the property is 210 acres of first class quality, and “Riversleigh” is known throughout New Zealand for its purebred sheep of the English Leicester and Corriedale breeds. In 1898 the proprietors began to exhibit English Leicesters at the Christchurch show, and in that year they won, for rams, first and Champion prizes and a silver medal; in 1899, the gold medal; in 1900, first, second, and third prizes; in 1901, first prize and the gold medal; and in 1902 they had similar success. Grain is grown upon the property, and yields good crops. Turnips, mangolds and potatoes are also grown, and give excellent results.

Mr. Robert Reid, J.P., Senior Proprietor of Riversleigh farm, is a son of Mr. Robert Reid, one of the founders of the leather industry, at Beith, in Ayrshire, Scotland. He was born in Beith in 1856, was educated primarily there, and after serving his time as an apprentice at law in his native town, was afterwards employed as a law clerk in Dumbarton and Glasgow, where he attended the law classes at the University. In 1883 he landed at Lyttelton in company with his brother, and gained his first colonial experience at farming under Mr. James Gough, at Greendale and Kinwee. Mr. Reid subsequently travelled about the province gathering experience. In 1887 he visited Scotland, but returned again in the following year, when he entered into partnership with his brother to take up “Riversleigh.” Mr. Reid is vice-president of the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association, and is a member of committee, and a past president of the Courtenay Agricultural and Pastoral Association. He is a member of the Council of the New Zealand Sheep-breeders' Association, and has frequently been appointed a judge of sheep, cattle, and horses at shows in various parts of the colony. Mr. Reid is also the chairman of the Darfield Domain Board.

Standish and Preece, photo.Mr. R. Reid.

Standish and Preece, photo.
Mr. R. Reid.

Waireka Estate, near Darfield. This estate was first taken up in the early days, has passed through several hands, and was acquired by its present owner in November, 1901. “Waireka” is 2570 acres in extent, is fenced and subdivided, and carries between 4000 and 5000 sheep. Turnips and rape are grown extensively for sheep, and large crops of oats are also grown. There are about 150 acres of plantation, consisting of clumps in various parts of the estate. The residence is a two-storey building, and stands in the middle of one of the clumps of trees. There is probably no residence in west Canterbury with more attractive surroundings. The grounds are well laid out, and an orchard in full bearing occupies a considerable area to the rear. Just behind the orchard, and hidden in foliage, there is a small lake with an islet, in the centre, covered with green underwood. The outbuildings are conveniently and substantially built.

Mr. William Broughton, Proprietor of Waireka estate, is a son of the late Mr. John Broughton, who is fully noticed in the Old Colonists' section of this volume. He was born in Christchurch, in 1855, and educated, primarily, under his father, and afterwards at Christ's College, Christchurch. Subsequently he was engaged in various local offices until November, 1901, when he retired from city life to take charge of the Waireka estate. Mr. Broughton takes a deep interest in religious work, and holds service weekly in the public school at Homebush. He is chairman of the Homebush school committee. In 1878 he married Miss Goss, daughter of the late Mr. James Goss, of Christchurch, and has three sons.

The late Mr. J. Broughton and his Friend Mr. W. A. Cox.

The late Mr. J. Broughton and his Friend Mr. W. A. Cox.

Standish and Preece, photo.Mr. W. Broughton

Standish and Preece, photo.
Mr. W. Broughton

Old Colonists.

Mr. John Holmes, sometime of Bangor estate, was born in County Longford, Ireland, in 1828. He was educated and trained as a civil engineer and surveyor, and as a young man went to Canada, where he spent many years as a surveyor in the Government service, and was afterwards a member of the Canadian Parliament. In 1878 he came to Canterbury to take charge of “Bangor,” and died in 1879.

The late Mr. J. Holmes.

The late Mr. J. Holmes.

Mr. John Whall, who for many years was identified with the blacksmithing trade page 745 in Darfield, is a native of Sussex, England, and was born in the village of Lindfield in 1845. He was educated at a public school, and at the age of fourteen joined the navy. After about ten or twelve years of naval service he obtained his discharge, and subsequently spent a few years trading along the coast of Queensland. Early in the seventies he visited New Zealand, where he decided to settle, after making several trips between the colony and Australia. He took up the blacksmithing trade, of which he had obtained a thorough knowledge whilst in the navy, and gained his first colonial experience as a tradesman at Doyleston. Subsequently he held the position of foreman blacksmith at Longbeach, Ashburton, where he remained for five or six years. He afterwards worked at his trade for a short time at Amberley and in 1884 he established a business on his own account at Darfield. This he conducted till 1901, when, having leased the business to his son, he sailed for England. On his way back he landed in Australia, where he is now (1903) engaged at his trade, near Sydney, New South Wales. Mr. Whall has a family of three sons and two daughters.

Mr. and Mrs J. Whall.

Mr. and Mrs J. Whall.