The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]
Castle Hill Station is situated near the West Coast Road, twenty miles west of Springfield. It is an old estate, was worked by Messrs Eyre Brothers—who put up the homestead and made other improvements—for about thirty years, and was taken over by its present proprietor, Mr. John McKenzie, in April, 1901. It has an area of 34,670 acres, comprising 33,800 acres leasehold, and 870 acres freehold, and is enclosed for the most part by rivers and mountains; the remainder of the boundary has sheep-proof fences “Castle Hill” is intersected by several rivers, which provide an ample supply of good water. It possesses some picturesque mountain scenery, the highest peak, situated near its south-western boundary, rising to a height of about 7500 feet. There are two dwelling houses on the property; one, the residence of the proprietor, the other, that of his manager. The former is a wooden building, prettily situated on an eminence overlooking the Castle Hill Hotel, and is surrounded by native bush; the latter, a five-roomed cottage, built of Castle Hill white stone, stands about page 774 two miles to the eastward. The station is devoted entirely to sheep, and the standard flock numbers upwards of 6000.
Mr. John McKenzie, Proprietor of Castle Hill station, is a native of Invernessshire, Scotland. He is the eldest son of Mr. Donald McKenzie, of Alford Forest, was born in 1870, and came to New Zealand with his parents in 1879. After being educated at the public school at Alford Forest, he worked on the Mesopotamia station, Rangitata Gorge, where he was a shepherd for thirteen years, and left in 1901 to take up “Castle Hill.” Mr. McKenzie has occupied a seat on the Upper Waimakariri Road Board for about two years. He was married in August, 1901, to Miss Chapman, of Alford Forest, and has one daughter.
Dobbin, Sydney Herbert, Springfield Farm, Springfield. Mr. Dobbin is a son of Mr. Henry Dobbin, of Felixstowe, Suffolk, England, and was born in 1875. He was educated at St. Paul's School, London, and his earlier years were spent in banks in England. He came to New Zealand in 1894. Shortly afterwards he went to Coolgardie, in West Australia, but returned to New Zealand in eighteen months. After gaining experience in the colonial modes of farming, the bought a farm which formed a portion of the original Mount Hutt station property, but sold it after working it successfully for several years. In 1903, in conjunction with his brother, he bought the well known Springfield Farm. This is one of the early selections in the district, and contains about 700 acres of rich land, on which Mr. Dobbin carries on a prosperous system of general farming. Mr. Dobbin is chairman of the Malvern Road Board. He married Miss Stephens, of Prebble, Scotland.
Mr. S. H. Dobbin.
Dorman, William McCullough, Farmer, Drumbo Farm, Springfield. Mr. Dorman was born at Drumbo, County Down, Ireland, in 1836. He came to Auckland in 1863 by the ship “Telegraph” and was in employment for about one year at Papakura, Attracted by glowing reports of the discoveries of gold on the West Coast, he landed in Hokitika at the beginning of the “rush,” when the town consisted of a few calico tents. After about nine months of considerable success, he removed to Christchurch, where he was employed for some time by the late Mr. William Wilson. About 1870 Mr. Dorman removed to Springfield. At first he bought a farm forming a portion of the Mount Torlesse run, but afterwards purchased his present property of 340 acres. The land was then in its native tussock state, but is now in thorough cultivation, and yields large returns of oats. Mr. Dorman also leases 378 acres at Annat, where he fattens lambs and sheep. He was for some years a member of the Springfield school committee, and has always page 775 taken a prominent part in the management of the local Presbyterian church. Mr. Dorman is a shareholder in the Sheffield Saleyards Company, and a Freemason of old standing, having joined the Order before he left Ireland. He married Miss Fullarton, and of a family of nine, two sons and two daughters are married.
Grasmere Station is situated thirty-four miles west of Springfield, near the West Coast road. It is a rugged area, for the most part of mountain peaks and deep valleys, and is 14,950 acres in extent; 14,000 acres leasehold, and 950 acres freehold. “Grasmere” is bounded on the north by the Waimakariri river, on the north-west by the Cass river, and on its remaining sides by mountain ranges. Many of the mountain peaks are snowcapped for several months in the year, and these with the valleys give it a romantic aspect. The pretty little lake, known as “Grasmere,” and situated about a mile from the homestead, has much scenic beauty. It is overhung on one side by native bush, is protected from almost every wind, and its clear waters teem with trout. The Grasmere station was first taken up in the early days. It was worked for many years by Mr. Charles Dalgety, who built the present homestead, and did much to improve the station generally. Mr. John Sim held it for five years, 1898–1903, and then disposed of it to Mr. S. E. Rutherford. The standard flock of sheep numbers about 7000. Grain also is grown on the level country near the lake, about 150 acres being annually under cultivation.
Mr. Sealy Edmund Rutherford, Proprietor of Grasmere station, was born in 1879, and is the third son of the late Mr. Robert Rutherford, of Mount Nessing station, South Canterbury. He was educated primarily by private tutors at “Mount Nessing” and then spent several years at farm work. Later on he attended Warwick House school, Christchurch, under Mr. Charles Cook. In 1895 he went to work for his uncle—Mr. Duncan Rutherford—on the Leslie Hills station. After remaining there four years he entered into partnership with his two eldest brothers to take up The Lakes station, in the Waikari district. The partnership was dissolved in 1903, when Mr. Rutherford acquired “Grasmere.” Mr. Rutherford is a member of the Upper Waimakariri Road Board.
Grasmere Homestead. Mr. S. E. Rutherford, Proprietor.
Keane, Michael, Farmer, Springfield Mr. Keane was born in County Clare, Ireland, in 1838, and in early life followed farming pursuits. He went out to South Australia in the ship “Eastcott” in 1859, and resided there for six years, after which he came to New Zealand in the early days of the West Coast diggings, where he worked with success for twelve years. Mr. Keane purchased the Otira Gorge Hotel in 1878, and was there for seven years, when he disposed of his interest and purchased the Springfield Hotel in 1885. Latterly he has devoted himself to farming. He was married in 1865 to Miss Cassidy, and has four sons and five daughters living.
Mr. M. Keane.
Milliken, John, Sheepfarmer, Springfield. Mr. Milliken was born in County Antrim, Ireland, where he followed farming. He came to New Zealand in 1881, accompanied by his wife, and for the first year after his arrival was employed by Captain Walker, at West Melton. Mr. Milliken moved to Springfield in 1882, and has since carried on a prosperous business as a contractor and carrier. The carrying branch consists chiefly in taking wool from the large back stations on the West Coast roads, and he employs three five-horse teams. Shortly after his arrival in Springfield he bought the farm surrounding his homestead, and has carried on farming with his other operations. His success was so great that Mr. Milliken has bought the Brookdale station, consisting of 20,200 acres leasehold, and 3000 acres of freehold, and carrying 10,000 sheep. Owing to the great demand on his time in looking after his large business concerns he has not been identified with any of the local bodies except the Upper Waimakariri Road Board, of which he has been a member for some years. Mr. Milliken married previous to leaving Ireland, and there is a family of twelve children.
Mount Torlesse Station lies at the foot of Mount Torlesse. It consists of 11,000 acres freehold and 5500 acres leasehold, and carries about 10,000 Merino sheep. The station is bounded by the Waimakariri on the east, on the north and west by the Southern Alps, and on the south by a portion of the Kowai river. It was named after the Rev. C. M. Torlesse, a member of the original committee of the Canterbury Association, and was first taken up as a run by Mr. Pater, who was succeeded in the ownership by Mr. Curry. After passing through various other hands it was bought in 1901 by Mr. George Leslie Rutherford. The homestead is surrounded by a large area of well preserved native bush, and stands near the banks of the Little Kowai river. There are large shearing sheds and other outbuildings, and the shearing is done by ten shearing machines. The whole estate shows signs of thorough management.
Mr. George Leslie Rutherford is the only son of Mr. George Rutherford, of Dalethorpe, where he was born. He was educated at Mr. Cook's school, and afterwards spent four years on his father's station at High Peak, where he obtained an extensive knowledge of sheepfarming. In 1901 he bought “Mount Torlesse.” Mr. Rutherford takes an interest in racing and horse breeding, and in athletic and other sports. He is a life member of the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association, a member of the Oxford Racing Club, the Kowai Pass Domain Board, and the Christchurch Hunt Club, and has been a member of the Malvern Mounted Rifles for a considerable period.
Thorndale Farm (Hamilton McIlraith, proprietor), Springfield. Mr. McIlraith was born at Killinchy, County Down, Ireland, in 1839, and was brought up to farming. In 1862 he left for Melbourne, and came to New Zealand in the following year. After visiting the Otago goldfields, he removed to Canterbury in 1863, and was for some time employed by Mr. Rickman, of Rangiora. In conjunction with his brother, the late Mr. James McIlraith, he afterwards bought a farm in the Ellesmere district, where he farmed for four years. He then sold his interest in the farm to his brother, and removed to Springfield, where he bought his present farm of 400 acres. The land was then in its native state, but Mr. McIlraith's practical knowledge has converted it into one of the finest farms in the district. Mr. McIlraith was for twelve years a member of the Malvern Road Board, and was on the Springfield school committee for a number of years. He is a member of the Cemetery and Domain Board, also of the Farmers' Union, and a shareholder in the Sheffield Saleyards Company. Mr. McIlraith married Miss Atkinson, daughter of the late Mr. Thomas Atkinson, one of the pioneers of Russell's Flat, and of a family of eleven children, ten are now alive.