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

Broomfield — (Runs 28, 71 and 257)

(Runs 28, 71 and 257)

Broomfield is another station which has never changed hands except by inheritance. It originally took in all the country between the north and south branches of the Kowai and included the actual mountain called Mt. Grey. Mt. Grey, Mt. Hutt and Mt. Cook stations were all named after mountains which lay outside their own boundaries.

George Douglas first applied for a run on 5th May, 1851. He described it as 'in the neighbourhood of Mr Dean's run and the Waipara River.' This is rather indefinite even for those days, but may possibly have been meant for part of Broomfield. I cannot find any trace of it being allotted to him. The first country he took up on Broomfield was Run 71, of six or seven thousand acres some distance up the Kowai. He took this up in January, 1852. Earlier in the same month Donald Hankinson took up Run 28, of ten thousand acres in the actual fork of the Kowai. This he sold to Douglas after a year or so. Douglas took up the rest of Broomfield, Run 257, in May, 1858.

I have not been able to find out much about Hankinson. He was a brother-in-law of the Knights of Tekau and Steventon and afterwards had a run at Lake Te Anau. He represented Riverton in Parliament from 1866 to 1870.

Douglas, who as I said, managed Mt. Grey as well as Broomfield, registered his brand G.D. on the 25th January, 1854. It was the second brand ever registered in Canterbury, the first was registered for 'Lowburn' by John Macfarlane on 14th January. In a Stock Inspector's report for November, 1858, Douglas is stated to have had 4600 sheep on his twenty-two page 71thousand acres. The sheep were clean (of scab) but some sheep from Glenmark had joined them five days before the inspection. Douglas came of an Irish family of Scotch descent, his ancestor having been a soldier in Cromwell's Army whom Cromwell rewarded with a grant of land in Ireland. George Douglas was born in Baltinglas, County Wicklow, about 1825 and was brought up as a farmer. In 1849 Captain Mitchell persuaded him to come to New Zealand with him to take up land and settle, and they arrived in Sydney later in the year in the ship Raymond. They came on to New Zealand in the Lady Nugent and made an exploring trip overland with Dashwood from Nelson to Canterbury, where they arrived about the middle of 1850. On Mitchell's return to India, Douglas managed Mt. Grey and on Mitchell's death he took up Broomfield for himself. His first camp was at what is now Dalbeg on the south bank of the Kowai at the foot of Mt. Grey. Here he built his first house but it was burned down in 1857, when he moved to the present homestead site of Broomfield. At first he worked both Broomfield and Mt. Grey as cattle stations.

Douglas died in March, 1873, and since then Broomfield has been carried on by his trustees. They lost the leasehold country in 1889. For some years, about the time of the South African War, the station and sheep were leased to William Buss of Rangiora.