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

Glenmark — (Runs 46, 47 and 61, N.Z.R., afterwards re-numbered Runs 525, 528 and 527; also Run 246)

(Runs 46, 47 and 61, N.Z.R., afterwards re-numbered Runs 525, 528 and 527; also Run 246)

Glenmark was probably the most valuable station in Canterbury. Roughly speaking it ran from the east side of the Omihi Valley to the west side of the Weka Pass, and included the Doctor's Hills and the Deans, page 272and it ran from the Hurunui to the Waipara. The freehold and leasehold covered a hundred and fifty thousand acres. At one time it contained eighty-one thousand acres of freehold and carried 90,000 sheep.

Robert Waitt first applied for most of Glenmark when he took up Teviotdale, but he took D. M. Laurie, his partner and manager of his business in town, and Mark Pringle Stoddart into partnership to work the inland part of his country as a separate station. Their new homestead (on the present site) was called Glenmark, after Mark Stoddart, who was the managing partner. I gave some account of Stoddart in my notes on the Terrace Station.

In 1854, before they had started their new station, G. H. Moore came over from Tasmania and bought the freehold of 'all those fine plains which were in my squatting lease, as well as part of Sidey's and Caverhill's—altogether he bought 58,000 acres—and made his selection so well that many thousand acres on my run became useless to me and now form part of his extensive run.' (Letter from Waitt to Captain Thomas.)

The part he bought out of Sidey's run was, I suppose, the country between the Waikari and the Hurunui. That of Caverhill's was the Motunau Black Hills. (When Moore began selling land G. B. Starky bought the block and formed the Spye Estate of it.) Moore also bought some thousands of acres on Dr. Hodgkinson's run.

As this country lay outside the Canterbury Block, Moore was able to buy the land at the New Zealand Government's price—10/-an acre. He did not buy the land altogether on his own behalf. He had been a cadet on one of Kermode's stations in Tasmania and married Kermode's daughter, so Kermode sent him to Canterbury to buy land for them both in partnership. Kermode persuaded Dr Lillie, a retired Presbyterian minister, also from Tasmania, to join the firm, which was known as Kermode and Moore. Dr Lillie lived in Christchurch until his death in 1866. When Moore bought this land, people thought it could never be made to pay, even at 10/-an acre, as all waste lands page 273could then be rented at from a farthing to three farthings an acre.

Time proved Moore to be right, however. I suppose when he died his was the largest fortune that had ever been made in New Zealand.

Glenmark was one of the last runs in Canterbury to be clean of scab. In 1864 alone the fines amounted to £2400.

Moore bought out both his partners' interests sometime early in the 'seventies. Malicious people said that he had kept his country scabby so that he could buy out his partners cheaply. I do not think there was any truth in the yarn.

Like most men who have made large fortunes up country, he has been accused of being frightfully mean, and many stories about him are current—mostly against him. Two people wrote books (anonymously) on purpose to run him down. He was careful to see that he got twenty shillings' worth of every pound he spent, but he could be extremely kind and his word was his bond, and on various occasions when parts of his run were resumed for settlement, he showed the new settlers great consideration and kindness as soon as he was sure of them. He once promised to supply a contractor with a certain amount of horse feed cheaply while the job lasted. When he was told that the contractor had bargained for more feed than necessary, and was selling what he didn't use at a profit, Moore said: 'Well, it was in the bargain. He has a perfect right to,' and went on supplying him with the full quantity.

Moore was a Manxman, and registered the three legs, which is the emblem of the Isle of Man, as his brand, and very neat it looked on the sheep.

The management of the station was old fashioned. I think single drafting gates came into general use in Canterbury about 1868 and double gates some eight or ten years later, but for many years after this all the sheep at Glenmark were hand-drafted. George McMillan, of Mesopotamia, told me that he once asked Moore why he didn't put race gates into his yards. page 274Moore said, 'I don't like shepherds who are too lazy to lift sheep over a rail.' McMillan himself had a fondness for hand-drafting. He thought it knocked the sheep about less than putting them through a race, and to the day of his death thought nothing of hand-drafting a mob of three or four thousand.

Except Eyrewell, Glenmark is the only place in Canterbury I have heard of where they tried to get English grass paddocks back into native pasture by sowing tussock seed.

In later days, Moore went blind, and lived in Park Terrace in Christchurch, where he died in 1905 at the age of ninety-three.

Moore began selling off the land about 1900 and continued doing so until his death. After his death his daughter, Mrs Townend, kept the station until 1915, when she cut up and sold all her land except a few acres round the homestead. At that time the station carried 15,000 sheep. T. S. Johnson, afterwards owner of the Potts and Hossack stations, was her manager during her whole ownership. During Moore's lifetime the first manager I can hear of was Mills, an early manager of Purau and afterwards clerk of the Heathcote Road Board, who was there in 1865. Thomas Dowling also managed there for a time, but the best known was perhaps Martin, who was there for very many years. McLean, who was at Glenmark in 1890, was the son of the Auckland English-Leicester breeder, and another was Arthur Wachsman who afterwards joined Dalgety and Co., and is now in the North Island.

I take the liberty of quoting part of a letter which E. Speechly wrote to the Press after my note on Glenmark first appeared … whilst I was at Glenmark [1865] we had bales of tobacco leaf. The men had a two-bladed chaffcutter to cut it up small, and they sneezed their heads off from the dust of the tobacco. It was then boiled and used for sheep dip to eradicate scab. As to the number of sheep on the station at that date, it was 92,000, and I remember well the queer sight just before the sheep were turned out after shearing. They covered in a close mass a hill 500 feet high, page 275and looked from a distance like a mass of maggots on a piece of rotten meat, continually on the move. It was the first, and I suppose the last, time that I shall see 92,000 sheep in one mob.'