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

Fernside — (Run 2)

(Run 2)

Fernside Station, after which the Fernside district is named, lay between the Ashley and Gust and ran from the eastern boundary of Ashley Gorge to within two or three miles of Rangiora. It was taken up on 28th August, 1851, by Charles Obins Torlesse. Torlesse was born in 1825 at Stoke, where his father was the parson. He first came to New Zealand in 1841 as a surveyor for the New Zealand Company under Wakefield. He returned to England in 1843, but came out again in 1848 with Captain Thomas to survey Canterbury. He was the first white man to climb Mt. Torlesse which is named after him. Besides Fernside, Torlesse owned Birch Hill Station, and a farm at Rangiora where he page 63lived. He stocked Fernside in the first year with 1400 ewes, 500 dry sheep, 20 steers and 3 horses. By 1857 he had 9000 sheep there. From 1856 till 1859, when he sold all his land and runs, Torlesse's brother Henry had a share in them. Henry Torlesse [1833-1870] was afterwards a parson in Canterbury. For a year or two in the middle 'fifties the Hon. William Reeves managed Fernside for the Torlesses and had a share in it.

Torlesse sold Fernside and Birch Hill in 1859 to Mannering and Cunningham, and went home to England. He came back to Christchurch in 1862, and started as a stock and station agent in partnership with Henry Matson. His health failed a year or two later and he again went home to England where he died in 1866.

Besides Fernside and Birch Hill, Mannering and Cunningham owned Snowdale, in my account of which I have described their careers. Cunningham was the partner who lived at Fernside. In 1866 they were ruined by scab and bad times, and George Hart of Winchmore, who was their mortgagee, took over their runs.

Fernside contained good land and lay near the settlement at Rangiora, so the land was bought up quickly in the 'sixties. It was originally of twenty thousand acres, but by 1863 had been reduced to under twelve thousand; in 1865 to under seven thousand, and in 1866 almost all the run had been bought. To give Mannering another start Hart let him have the free-hold and homestead at a low rent. Later Mannering sub-let the land to Captain Parsons and the house to C. L. Wiggins, who had been his cadet at Snowdale. Wiggins started a school there. After over sixty years of teaching, this good old man died at the age of eighty-four in 1927.

The land was gradually sold off, and what remains with the homestead now belongs to F. W. Carpenter.