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

Milton — (Run 51)

(Run 51)

Next below Hill and Bray's run on the Selwyn, came Milton, ten thousand acres. It joined Racecourse Hill just at the junction of the Hawkins and Selwyn. It was taken up in September, 1852, by A. Lake who did not work the place long himself. He let the run with the sheep to a man named King, who took one of the Staces into partnership. Letting runs with the sheep either at a definite rent or 'on thirds' (a third of the money for wool and surplus stock) was a common custom during the first twenty-five years of the settlement.

After Lake's death J. T. Ford took the station on lease from his widow. The rent for the whole station, run and sheep, was £900 a year. Ford bought Mrs Lake out altogether in 1876, and in 1880 sold the freehold and pre-emptive rights to William Strange, the draper, but without the sheep.

The land here is light, and the farmers did not begin buying it until 1874, but when they did begin they bought it quickly. In eighteen months nearly all the run except the pre-emptives had gone.

Strange sold Milton to a syndicate in 1898 or 1899. It was, I think, the first of the large freeholds to be bought by speculators for sub-division. The homestead was where the old Main South Road crossed the Selwyn, and Lake was compelled by the conditions of his lease to put up travellers. He delegated this duty to one Parleby who built there, and a year or two later got a license for his accommodation house, which he sold to Giggs. 'Giggs's' was a famous stopping place for travellers in the old days. Sir Charles Bowen page 38told me they often used to leave Christchurch very late at night, and ride to Giggs's for a few hours' sleep, so as to get a good start down the South Road next morning.

It was at Milton that Mackenzie the notorious sheep stealer was re-captured after his second escape from Lyttelton Gaol. In the 'eighties sheep sales were held at Milton for the convenience of neighbouring stations.