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The Early Canterbury Runs: Containing the First, Second and Third (new) Series

Esk Head — (Runs 305 and 485)

Esk Head
(Runs 305 and 485)

Christopher Edward Dampier took up these two runs, of about thirty thousand acres altogether, in May, 1859, and November, 1863 respectively. The country lies between the south branch of the Hurunui and the Seaward Creek, and runs back to the dividing range. It is another Canterbury station which has page 280never changed hands except by inheritance.

Dampier was solicitor to the Canterbury Association, and arrived in New Zealand with the documents of the Association just before the First Four Ships. During the early 'sixties he lived near Saltwater Creek. Money (the author of Knocking About ) stayed with him there and says he was the head of one of the oldest families in England, but was even more impressed by the wonderful cooking of his wife and daughter.

His son, Croslegh Dampier, who had been educated in England, came to New Zealand in 1858, and took over the management of Esk Head as soon as he had learned the business. C. E. Dampier made the station over to his son in 1870. The son took the name of a maternal uncle, John Crossley, of Scaitcliffe, Lancashire, in 1866. When C. D. Crossley died he left Esk Head to his son, Harry Dampier Crossley, the present owner, but left Angus Kennedy, who had been his manager for very many years, a half-share for life.

Until quite lately there was no road into Esk Head except a pack track, and for very many years the sheep were brought out and shorn at Stoneroyd, a freehold farm at the Waitohi Gorge.

For a time in the late 'sixties the leases were in the names of Dampier, Allen, and Atkinson. Allen and Atkinson were sons-in-law of the first owner, so I suppose he either took them into partnership for a time or left them a share which Dampier Crossley afterwards bought out. Anyhow Esk Head has never left the first owner's family.