The Early Canterbury Runs: Containing the First, Second and Third (new) Series
Anama — (Originally Run 8, N.Z.R., afterwards re-numbered 401 under Canterbury Regulations)
(Originally Run 8, N.Z.R., afterwards re-numbered 401 under Canterbury Regulations)
Anama lay partly on the plains. It ran from the south bank of the Ashburton to the south branch of the Hinds. The eastern boundary was near Mayfield, where Anama, Shepherd's Bush, Cracroft, and Valetta all met at a corner post. Anama took in the front range of hills, now known as Peter's Range, and ran back to the Blue Duck Creek, where it joined Mt. Possession. It was taken up by George Gawler Russell, to whom the Waste Lands Commission allotted the license on October 2nd, 1854.
Russell and his friend and neighbour, Rogers of Maronan, were 'prophets' —Australian squatters who came over to Canterbury soon after the settlement was started. Rogers lived with Russell for some time and they looked after their sheep and let comfort and appearance take care of themselves. John Barton Acland spent a night at Russell's station in September, 1855, and recorded in his diary: 'Russell and Rogers, with Seward and an Irish shepherd are living, and have been living for twelve months, in a large woolshed without doors, windows, or chimneys, built with manuka poles and thatched top and sides with ti-tree [cabbage tree leaves]. The fire is made in the middle page 284of the floor, and at night a blanket is hung up to serve as a door. It is a wonder why some people will make themselves so needlessly uncomfortable.'
Russell named the station Gawler Downs. He had 2700 sheep there in 1855 and 4000 in 1858, having apparently sold a thousand or two in the meantime.
Russell was born near Mallow in Ireland in 1827. He died in Christchurch in 1860 and his sister, Mrs O'Connell of Mt. Grey who was his executress, sold the run and stock soon afterwards to George Alexander Anstey, to whom she transferred the lease on March 20th, 1861. Anstey was another old Australian squatter. He did not keep the run long. He sold it to W. S. Peter in 1862 at 30/-a head for the sheep. There were then about 17,000 on the country, and they were scabby at the time. Anstey's manager was a man named Slater, whose wife was thrown from her horse and dogcart and killed where the present Anama stockyard is.
Russell was a son of Major William Russell who had a station called the Cow Pastures in New South Wales. Besides G. Russell, and John of the Lakes Station, another brother came to New Zealand but did not stay long, though while he was here he succeeded in catching Mackenzie the sheep stealer at Ashburton after one of his escapes. He shot him through the leg.
About the time he sold Anama, Anstey bought Mt. Parnassus on the Waiau from Jollie and Lee. Slater was an uncle to Colonel H. Slater, and the father of Llewellyn Slater, afterwards a well known Christchurch surveyor.
William Spence Peter came out to New South Wales in 1838. He joined two others in a station, but they failed. Peter then joined a Government party which was exploring and surveying the coast of South Australia and, getting further funds from his father, took up a run where Port Lincoln is now. He went back to New South Wales and bought sheep which he drove overland to his new run. These must have been one of the first mobs brought overland to South Australia. Peter sold his first run and either took up or bought another about a hundred and twenty miles north of page 285 Adelaide. This he sold in the late 'fifties—only about six months before the rich Burra Burra copper mine was discovered on the run. After a visit to England, Peter came down to New Zealand (which he had previously visited) and bought Anstey's run which he named Anama after the Hawkers' Anama station in South Australia, where he had met and married his wife.
Peter was a member of the Legislative Council from 1868 until he died in 1891, aged 73. Anama originally contained over forty thousand acres, nineteen thousand of which Peter made freehold. The station carried over 20,000 sheep. In 1877 E. G. Wright was paid with land orders for some public work, and selected the Gawler Downs on Anama, about ten thousand acres of the run. Part of this is now Arthur Grigg's beautiful little property, Surrey Hills.
Peter's executors carried on the station from his death until 1898, but sold a certain amount of the land to the Government for closer settlement. In 1898 they divided the station up among the family, Charles Peter getting the homestead block. Charles Peter's executors sold this in 1929, but Frank Peter still owns the old leasehold country* and his share of the freehold which makes a very nice station. The Anama homestead now belongs to J. Quantock and carries 2500 sheep.
Duncan McDonald was an early overseer of Peter's at Anama. He was afterwards ferryman at the Rakaia Gorge. After him came John Bonifant, who left to go and manage Wakaki Station on the Wairoa for Peter and Joseph Palmer. Bonifant afterwards came back to Canterbury and bought a farm on the Wakanui Creek. His son, the English Leicester breeder, still owns it.
The next overseer was Arthur Barton, a son of the man from whom Peter had bought the sheep which he overlanded to South Australia. While Barton was at Anama, there was a drought in New South Wales, and Barton's brother advised him to scrape up any money page 286he could, come home, and buy a run. Barton did so, and made a fortune out of the station he bought, and afterwards became a director of several important companies in New South Wales.
Willie O'Connell, from Mt. Grey, was the next overseer, then one of the Pitts, then K. B. Bain (afterwards a well known lamb buyer), and after him Peter appointed his eldest son, E. H. J. Peter, as manager. E. H. J. Peter was accidentally killed in 1887, while going to inspect a property in Hawke's Bay, and from then Frank Peter managed the station until it was subdivided. William Rutherford was Peter's first shepherd, and stayed at Anama until he died nearly thirty years afterwards. He was only in three billets in his life—one in Scotland, a year with the Boags at Fendalton, and at Anama.
Another shepherd McAuley, could only speak Gaelic when he arrived, but he soon picked up enough English to get on with. He was a first-rate man. One morning before breakfast the manager was walking down to the stable to see the shepherds, and a friend of the Peters from Scotland who was staying at Anama happened to go with him. As soon as McAuley caught sight of the visitor he disappeared, and could not be found all day. The manager found him in the hut late that night, and asked him what in the world he had been doing. 'Iss he gone?' asked McAuley nervously. 'Who?' asked the manager. 'T'at shentleman, Mr Brown; he iss after me!' 'Nonsense, man; he's never heard of you. Why should he be after you? 'McAuley said that one night he had been poaching in Brown's loch in Scotland and that Brown and his water bailiff had chased him. McAuley had the faster boat, but it was getting near daylight, so he ran ashore, picked up a stone, and 'kilt ta water bailey,' as he said, and left for New Zealand. 'Now ta shentleman has come here after me.' The manager asked Brown about it. Brown roared with laughter. The water bailiff had only been stunned.
Allan Kennedy was with Frank Peter for eleven years page 287—until he leased his land to Nosworthy, which he did for some years. One day Kennedy and another shepherd stuck up a boar on the run, and Kennedy offered to show the other how to kill wild boars. He picked up a rock, went up to the boar, and brought the rock down on his head. The boar charged between Kennedy's legs and ripped him badly in both thighs.
In 1858 a tussock fire lit at Anama travelled right to the sea at Coldstream.
* He sold his leasehold in 1931 to Leo Palmer Chapman, a grandson of the owner of Acton, and has since sold the freehold.