The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]
Willowbridge is a rich agricultural district, originally part of the Waimate estate owned by the Messrs Studholme, and sold by them in 1899. It is about three miles and a half south of Studholme, six from Waimate, and three from the seaside. When the land was sold to the present settlers, the top price was paid for one unimproved block, which brought £33 10s per acre. The soil of the district is, however, exceptionally fertile, and it is no uncommon thing for the farmers to obtain yields of seventy bushels of wheat per acre, and twenty tons of potatoes. The local railway station is 103 miles from Dunedin, and 127 from Christchurch. Willowbridge is in the Deep Creek riding of the Waimate county, and the population at the census of 1901 was set down at fifty-five. The Hannaton public school and Nukuroa Methodist church are within two or three miles of the settlement. The original willow bridge, from which the district takes its name, is still (1903) in existence.
Fletcher Brothers, (William Fletcher and Thomas Edwin Fletcher), Farmers, Willowbridge. These brothers hold 555 acres of some of the richest land in the Willowbridge district. They acquired 142 acres of their estate in 1896, and have since increased it to its present area. The land is said to have yielded 120 bushels of oats, and between eighty and ninety bushels of barley to the acre, in 1902.
Mr. William Fletcher was born in Devonshire, England, where he was educated and brought up to an outdoor life. He was employed on his father's property at Home for some time, and arrived at Port Chalmers by the s.s. “Rimutaka” in 1886. Mr. Fletcher was with Mr. John Grigg at Longbeach for about ten years, and with his brother settled at Willowbridge in 1893. He has spent four years in Canada, and has also travelled over the greater portion of England, yet he avers that in all his experience he never met with finer land than that at Willowbridge. Mr. Fletcher is attached to the Ashburton Ledge of Freemasons.
Hayman, Thomas, Farmer, Willowbridge. Mr. Hayman was born in 1838, at Ware, Somersetshire, England, and was brought up to country life. He arrived in Melbourne in May, 1861, by the ship “Ivanhoe,” and two years later crossed to New Zealand and settled in Canterbury. Mr. Hayman was farming in the Cust district for twelve years, and in Ashburton till 1897, when he settled at Willowbridge. While in the Asburton district he served for a good many years as a member of the Willowby school committee. Mr. Hayman was married, in 1858, to a daughter of the late Mr. Henry Kingsbury, of Somersetshire, England. His wife died in 1891, leaving nine sons and seven daughters. In 1898 Mr. Hayman married the widow of the late Mr. Archibald Moore, of Ellesmere. Mrs Hayman had a family of three sons and three daughters by her former marriage. Her father, the late Mr. Edward James Cappell, of Nelson, came to New Zealand with his wife in 1852. Mrs Cappell, aged 88, was living with her daughter at Willowbridge at Christmas, 1902.
Mr. and Mrs T. Hayman.
Hayman, William Henry, Farmer and Threshing Mill Proprietor, Willowbridge. Mr. Hayman was born in the Cust district, North Canterbury, in 1871, and was page 1086 brought up to country life, first on his father's farm, and subsequently at Ashburton. In 1897 he settled in the Willowbridge district on thirty-three acres of freehold, and purchased his milling plant in 1901. Since the inception of the Studholme Mounted Rifles Mr. Hayman has been a member of the corps. He married the second daughter of Mr. B. Low, of Willowbridge, and has two sons and one daughter.
Mr. And Mrs W. H. Hayman.
Lindsay, William, Farmer, Willowbridge. Mr. Lindsay owns 158 acres of freehold in the rich farming district of Willowbridge. He was born in Christchurch in 1872, and is a son of Mr. David Lindsay, an old colonist. He was educated at Otaio, and was brought up to country life there, and at Makikihi. Till 1898 he worked with his father, and then took up his present farm. Mr. Lindsay has been attached to the Studholme Mounted Rifles since 1900. He takes an interest' in athletics, and excelled for many years in the jumping and weight-throwing competitions at Waimate, Timaru and Oamaru. He was beaten only once during eight or ten years in pole vaulting, and holds records for the pole jump at Waimate and Timaru. Mr. Lindsay likes shooting, and in 1902, he secured sixty-eight points out of a possible seventy, at 600 and 700 yards, at the South Canterbury Rifle meeting.
Mr. W. Lindsay.
Oates, Thomas John, Farmer, Willowbridge. Mr. Oates was born in Cornwall, England, in 1854, and was brought up to engineering and mining. In 1876 he left England and went to California, where he was very successful at the gold mines. A year later he came to New Zealand, and was unfortunate, in speculations in the Thames district, where he lost his money. After farming for a short time at Ashley he went to Lyttelton, where he assisted in erecting the pumping machinery for the docks, and remained for a year. Then he went to Queensland and engaged in goldmining again for two years, and while there had a very narrow escape from death while working in a deep shaft. A fall of earth of many tons just grazed the ledge on which Mr. Oates was standing. From Queensland he went to the Zeehan silver mines in Tasmania, and a year later returned to New Zealand. After a chequered career he started farming at 117 acres. In 1886 he was married to Mrs Catherine Williams, of Cornwall, and they have a family of one son and one daughter.
Mr. T. J. Oates.
Roberts, William John, Farmer. Willowbridge. Mr. Roberts was born in 1868, at Cust, where he attended school, and was brought up to country life. After working the home farm for a number of years with his brothers he acquired 104 acres of the Willowbridge Estate in 1896. He has been a member of the Studholme Mounted Rifles since 1900. Mr. Roberts is fond of outdoor sports.
Mr. W. J. Roberts and Miss A. J. Roberts.
Willowbridge Estate. Part of this estate was first owned by Mr Buchanan, and subsequently by Mr. Studholme, and was purchased by Mr. Addinell, of West Eyreton, at a sale. The estate comprises 800 acres of some of the richest land in Canterbury, and very heavy crops of roots and grain have been grown on it. A large mill dam, with weeping willows on its edge, is within a stone's throw of the house, and adds the charm of idyllic ideality to the place in summertime. Wild duck frequent the pond in great numbers.
Mr. Herbert Edward McGowan, Manager of Willowbridge Estate, was born at Eyrewood Farm, West Eyreton, in 1870. He is a nephew of Mr. Addinell, of West Eyreton, and was brought up on his uncle's farm. In 1890, he went to Willowbridge to manage the estate. Mr. McGowan is an elder of the Waimate Presbyterian Church, a member of the Waimate Lodge of Foresters, an honorary life member of the Studholme Mounted Rifles, a member of the Waimate Agricultural and Pastoral Association, and a member of and successful prizewinner in the Waimate Horticultural and Floral Society. He was married, in 1893, to a daughter of the late Mr Cochrane, of Waimate, and has one son and one daughter.
The Public School at Hannaton was established in 1894 soon after the village settlement, from which it gets its name, was founded. It serves for the settlers of Willowbridge and Studholme, as well as for the settlement of Hannaton, which is known as Nukuroa by the Lands Department. The school building is of wood and iron, and has accommodation for a hundred children. There are seventy names on the roll, and the average attendance is sixty-three. The master is helped by an assistant mistress. A school-house of four rooms adjoins the main building, which stands on an elevated flat, and has a glebe of an acre and a half.
Mr. James Walsh, Master of Hannaton Public school was born at Milton, Otago, in 1871. He was educated at Balclutha, where he served his apprenticeship as a pupil-teacher, and was a year at the Normal Training College, Dunedin. Before removing to Canterbury, he was four years in charge at Gibbston, under the Southland Education Board, and has been at the Hannaton school since 1896. Mr. Walsh married a daughter of Mr. Peter Paxton, of Dunedin, and has one son.
The Nukuroa Wesleyan Church stands on an elevated position in the settlement of Hannaton at Studholme. It was erected in 1899, is of wood and iron, and has seats for 150 adults. Services are held twice every Sunday by the minister at Waimate. The church stands on a quarter of an acre of land.