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

Chapter 4 — Plains Stations Between the Selwyn and Rakaia Rivers

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Chapter 4
Plains Stations Between the Selwyn and Rakaia Rivers

Note.Chapters IV and V were originally published in August and September, 1924, and the accounts of runs and people in them are only brought down to that date except where otherwise stated.

Malvern Hills
(Run 24)

Between the Selwyn and Rakaia lay some of the earliest runs selected by the Canterbury Pilgrims. On the foothills south of the Selwyn, opposite Homebush, Sir Thomas Tancred and his brother, Henry John Tancred, took up ten thousand acres in Henry Tancred's name in January, 1852. The eastern boundary ran along the present road from the Coalgate Bridge to the Hororata Church. This run was known as the Malvern Hills Station. Nearly half of it was poor scrubby country and it included the Wairiri swamp of a thousand acres. It was rather a poor run altogether.

Henry Tancred, who lived at the station and managed it, had been an officer in the Austrian Army before he came to NewZealand. He was a keen politician and during his first year as head of the Provincial Executive Government (1853-4) John Hayhurst, who had been his shepherd and afterwards rented the Ashburton Station from Sir Thomas Tancred, managed Malvern Hills. During Henry Tancred's second term as head of the executive (1855-7) his next shepherd, a man named Laing, was manager. G. A. E. Ross of Waireka was Tancred's cadet when he first started the station, and J. B. Acland of Mt. Peel was a cadet in 1855. Acland was long remembered there for his fond-page 76ness for digging into mounds which he thought might be Maori graves. He told me he remembered Tancred giving him two pieces of advice. The first was about choosing a site for a station homestead on a new run. The three most important points, Tancred said, were first, handiness to water, second, handiness to firewood, and thirdly to be sure to make your garden where the cabbage trees were thick, because cabbage trees only grow thick on good land. Tancred's other piece of advice was that no gentleman should ever do hard work with one of his men, because either the man went slow so as not to shame his employer, or the employer knocked himself up trying to get full work out of the man.

About 1858 Henry Tancred sold his share of the station to Bishop Harper, who like many parsons in those days of small stipends, had to invest in station property to live, though when there was more money for stipends I believe he put a stop to parsons farming.

Sir Thomas and the Bishop appointed Charles Harper, the Bishop's son, manager, and he was soon afterwards succeeded by his brother, George (after wards Sir George) Harper, who a year or two later, took the run and the sheep on lease in partnership with another brother, the Archdeacon. Their rent to the owners was £700 a year. At that time the Archdeacon was vicar of a parish known as the Southern Stations which included all the stations between the Waimakariri and the Rakaia, and he made Malvern Hills his headquarters. He told me an amusing story of his returning to the station one afternoon to find neither man nor dog at home nor any mutton. He had to run down a sheep and kill it before he could have anything but dry bread to eat for supper. I daresay killing the sheep gave him more trouble than running it down, as he had been head of the school at Eton and was a good athlete. J. S. Monck was a cadet with George Harper for a year or two in the early 'sixties. He afterwards had a run at Lake Coleridge.

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In 1865 the first wire fence on the hills in this part of Canterbury was put up as a boundary between Malvern Hills and Rockwood.

Harper Brothers' lease ended in April, 1866, and the owners sold the station to John Hamilton Ward, for the Canterbury Investment Co., the owners of Bangor. George Harper and his head shepherd Robert Munro drove the balance of the wethers over Browning's Pass to the West Coast where they sold them to the butchers. Munro then took charge of Ward's sheep on both Bangor and Malvern Hills, living at Malvern Hills until 1871. In August, 1866, Harper went home to prepare for his long and honurable career at the law.

I shall give fuller accounts of Sir Thomas Tancred and Charles Harper when I write of Raukapuka and Lake Coleridge. Henry Tancred was in the Legislative Council and was a minister in the Governments of Sir Edward Stafford and Domett. He was also Chancellor of the New Zealand University until his death in 1884. The Bishop's life has been written by the Rev. H. Purchas, and the Archdeacon's Letters have been published.

Robert Munro gave up sheep and became a grocer in Christchurch, and lived until 1926. He had a splendid memory and was invaluable to me when I collected notes on the Selwyn Runs.

Ward sold Malvern Hills early in the 'seventies to Charles Barker, a man who earned himself an unkind nickname by his habit of buying freehold on his friends' runs. From Barker, Malvern Hills passed into the hands of Charles Clark who after working the station for about a year, subdivided it and sold the homestead with twelve hundred acres to Walter Black, and the front part to J. H. R. Aitken, who built the homestead on the Hororata-Coalgate Road, and named it Glendore. Tancred and Harper's homestead was on the property which belonged to Mrs. Dunlop, but further up the gully than the present house. It is a pretty place surrounded by birch trees and bush and for its associations Mrs Dunlop always hoped to make it a page 78reserve in memory of Bishop Harper.

The Terrace Station
(Runs 17 and 20)

The two runs which were included in the Terrace Station both ran from the Hororata to the Rakaia; the western boundary lay roughly along the foot of the hills and the eastern boundary ran along the road from Hororata to Te Pirita, still known as Boundary Road.

Run 17, of ten thousand acres, was taken up in November, 1852, by Sanderson and Brayshaw. There is a large single gum tree on the river bed of W. J. Inche's present property which marks the site of their original hut. Run 20, of twenty thousand acres, was taken up in August, 1851, by Mark Pringle Stoddart. His homestead was below the river terrace, opposite Highbank, hence the present name of the station, which was originally the Rakaia Terrace Station. Stoddart was a 'shagroon' who came over from Australia with sheep in 1851 and was one of the first party to explore Lake Coleridge. He also wrote some of the Canterbury Rhymes. The place he chose for his homestead is still about the windiest place in Canterbury, and Stoddart's spirited verses describe the winds there in his day. He was the father of Miss Stoddart, the artist.

In 1853 Sanderson and Brayshaw sold their run to the Studholme brothers, afterwards of Waimate (under which I give a fuller account of their enterprises). The Studholmes had already taken up the Point Station nearby. They built a new homestead where it is now, at the other end of the run near Hororata. John Studholme was the brother who managed this run, which they called Hororata in their time.

In April 1853 Stoddart sold his run, which he called the Rakaia Terrace, to John (afterwards Sir John) Hall, for £2750 which included 1870 sheep and lambs, and the horses, improvements, stores and sundries. Hall worked the run in partnership with his brothers T. W. and J. W. Hall.

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I have read their diary for the first year the Halls were at the station and give rather a long summary of it, as accounts of station management in the 'fifties are rare. Before he sold the run Stoddart had built a hut and temporary woolshed near the Rakaia, but the Halls put up new more permanent buildings, of slabs tatched with toe toe. The huts were plastered inside with clay.

Scab having lately shewn itself in the neighbourhood, they kept the sheep in hand and penned them at night in the hurdle yards which often blew down. Except for the shepherds, the men's chief work was cutting and carting in timber, firewood and toe toe. Until it became scarce they used driftwood from the riverbed for firewood.

Unlike most early runholders the Halls used horses in their drays when they first went up to their station, but they brought up a team of bullocks before very long. They always washed the bullocks' necks in brine before and after work. The bullocks were grazed before work and until dark after it, but at night were kept in a small paddock from which they often broke out and were a bother to find again, as in all station diaries of the 'fifties, there is continual mention in this of hunting for lost stock and of neighbours coming in search of theirs. There was also continual borrowing and lending of tea, sugar and flour between stations.

The Halls made a garden as soon as they came, they even grew tomatoes. They also grew a little wheat and barley for home use.

There were many wild pigs near the hills, and like all runholders in the 'fifties the Halls were much bothered by wild dogs. I don't know whether these dogs were descended from Maori dogs or from pre-Adamite settlers' dogs gone wild. The Halls had a lot of bother from a dog they often saw near Woolshed Hill but could never shoot or run down. One of their men had a lurcher or pig dog called Emperor. He suggested setting Emperor on to the wild dog, so the Halls took him out. They could not find the wild dog for page 80some time, however Emperor picked up the scent and gave chase. When he caught up to the wild dog, however, instead of tackling it he made friends and the two trotted off together and Emperor didn't come home till next morning, so they concluded that the wild dog must be a bitch, as she proved to be some weeks afterwards when they got her with poison.

Their first lambing began in June and a very poor lambing it proved, but another mob which began lambing in March did much better. In old days many people preferred an autumn or winter lambing to a spring one. They said the lamb lived on its mother's milk while it was young and was ready to wean in the spring when there was plenty of grass. Other people used to lamb all the year round, and the best hill sheepman I ever knew told me he would do it again if he were starting to breed up a flock on a new run from a small mob of ewes.

The Halls started with about 1100 ewes and 500 dry sheep and by the next winter the flock had increased to 2000. They washed the sheep before shearing in a pool in the river, and dipped them twice during the year in water in which tobacco had been boiled. Of course the sheep were all merinos. They only cut 10 bales to the thousand, but in those days of spade pressing a bale might weigh anything up to 700 lbs. I daresay the sheep cut about 4 lbs. of washed wool a head.

John Hall, the owner, lived in Christchurch, and his brothers Thomas and George looked after the station, but he came up often and when he came worked as hard as anyone, and was always the effective manager.

In June 1855 Hall let the run for 7 years to Henry Phillips of Rockwood and T. H. Potts. The rent was £100 a year, without the sheep; he put the sheep out on terms with Dixon at Eyrewell and Sanderson at Carleton. I think Hall took back the station before the lease was up and soon afterwards bought the Studholmes' country and joined it to his own. He moved over to their homestead, but used the name by which page 81his old run had been known, and Hororata became the name of an adjoining station.

Hall's first manager was John W. Buller, who remained with him until November 1869 when J. E. Fountain, who had been his overseer for some years, succeeded him. Buller then went to Wanganui where he fell off his horse and broke his neck. He often had accidents as he was a stout man and used to go to sleep on horseback.

Fountain was manager until his death in 1901. After Fountain came W. Pitt and then Duncan Frazer, the well known pigeon shot. Three bullock teams were employed on the station until 1868, when two of them were sent to Hall's Mackenzie Country station. The last time a bullock team is mentioned in the diary is in December 1870, when it was carting firewood. They first used longwool rams in 1874.

The first mention of destroying rabbits is on 15th September, 1881, when they poisoned them with wheat. In December 1882 they had a nor'-west storm while shearing and afterwards counted 992 sheep killed off shears by the cold. In 1898 A. D. Dobson laid out the races which still water the station.

Joseph Lorette, a Spaniard and an old whaler, deserves mention as a most versatile station hand. He worked for many years at the Terrace both for wages and by contract, and before he came to the Terrace had driven bullocks for the Halls at their Mackenzie Country stations in the 'fifties. The diary speaks of him being employed at shepherding, mustering, driving sheep and cattle, bullock driving, wagoning (with a six-horse team), ploughing, working drills and tilters, building stocks, killing pigs, fencing, and indeed every skilled job about the station, including cooking. Thomas Ward came to the station as a boy in June 1873 and stayed there until October 1932, which must surely be a record for length of continuous employment on one station.

Sir John Hall is remembered for his ability in local, provincial and New Zealand politics and administra-page 82tion; he was also a successful squatter and is erroneously supposed to have invented the 'grid-iron' system of land buying. He secured the whole freehold of his run and as early as 1878 only 8,000 of his 23,000 sheep are entered in the return as depasturing on leasehold. He was the pioneer of tree planting on a large scale in Mid-Canterbury. In 1907, a few months before his death, in his eighty-third year, he sold twenty thousand acres of his land to a syndicate for sub-division, but left his sons, Wilfred and Godfrey, fine freehold properties there. Godfrey Hall has the old homestead.

The Hororata Station
(Runs 67 and 96)

This station of seventeen thousand acres ran from the Hororata to the Rakaia and was bounded on the west by the Terrace Station. Sanderson and Brayshaw took up Run 67 (the Rakaia end), I think at the same time as they took up their part of the Terrace Station. Justin Aylmer and Spencer Perceval took up Run 96 (the Hororata end) in August, 1853, and bought Run 96 from Sanderson and Brayshaw shortly afterwards. Perceval had interests in other stations and it was Aylmer who looked after Hororata. In 1859 John Cordy, an ex-farmer from Suffolk, bought Hororata from Aylmer and Perceval. I have written an account of Perceval in my note on Easedale Nook. Aylmer became warden of the Goldfields in Otago and was afterwards for many years magistrate at Akaroa where he died in the 'eighties.

Cordy was a well known character in the old days, and known as 'Honest John.' He was born in 1805 and arrived in Canterbury with his wife and two children in the Travancore early in 1851. His first venture was a small run near the Bridle Path (it afterwards became part of Mt. Pleasant) where he grazed newly landed sheep for their owners, and bought and sold stock on commission. He afterwards managed page 83Homebush cattle station for a time and ran a dairy farm there. Old hands said that when he first came over the Bridle Path he met a Maori, and neither knew what to make of the other, but Cordy tried to put things right by shouting 'I'm honest John Cordy from Suffolk. Is it peace or war? Is it peace or war?'

Cordy made several thousand acres of his run freehold. He died in 1886. His executors carried on the station until 1898, when they sold it to F. J. Savill with 6000 sheep for £13,000, some two thousand acres on the Rakaia having been previously sold to Wason of Corwar. Savill made most of the remainder of the run freehold and sold the station to William Cunningham for £26,000 in 1904. Two well known sheepmen of last century managed Hororata for Savill at different times while he was in England—'Baltic Jack' Allen and Peter Grant.

Savill afterwards had many other stations, including Mt. Possession, Craigieburn, and Mt. White. He still [1945] has St. Helens, and is the biggest owner of sheep in Canterbury, but lives mostly in England.

Cunningham did not keep Hororata long, and since his time it has changed hands several times, each owner selling off some of the land.

In 1919 H. M. Reeves bought the homestead and, besides fattening sheep and growing wheat, did well there with a thoroughbred stud. He died in 1934, but the farm still belongs to his family. There are only about three hundred and fifty acres of it left, but a combination of shade, shelter, and strong sound land, makes it one of the nicest farms in Canterbury.

It was at Hororata that I wrote most of this book, and I had the bad luck to be working at it there in 1924 when the house was burnt to the ground and notes which I had been thirty years collecting went up in smoke.

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(Runs 19, 43, 60-1-2-3-4 and 137)

This station which remained in the hands of the Bealey family for something like 60 years was taken up in seven runs of forty thousand acres in all, by John and Samuel Bealey. They took up Run 19 in May, 1852, and the other runs before the end of August, 1854. John Cordy seems to have discovered unlicensed country between the Hororata and Selwyn, and was allotted Run 137 of five thousand acres there on 1st April, 1854, but the Bealeys bought him out almost at once and Run 137 was merged in their other runs. On a survey, one of Westenra's Camla runs was found to intersect the Bealeys' country but an exchange made both stations continuous. Haldon took in all the country between the Selwyn and Hororata below a line from Coalgate Bridge to Hororata Church. On the south side of the Hororata it marched with Aylmer and Perceval's run and followed the Rakaia down to the present railway bridge. The Mead settlement and Ardlui and Newstead Estates were all part of Haldon.

In February, 1878, John Bealey sold his interest to Samuel Bealey.

Samuel Bealey came to Canterbury in 1851, just after having taken his degree at Cambridge. He was the third superintendent of the Province. Like all the other superintendents he was a fine type of scholarly gentleman, but he was less of an idealist and politician than the others and succeeded better than any of them in his private affairs, to which he paid more attention. He died in England in May, 1909. John Bealey also was a member of the Provincial Council.

Samuel Bealey did not live much at Haldon and after his term as superintendent returned to England and afterwards paid only occasional visits to New Zealand.

From 1864 to 1869 he let the station to John Tucker Ford. At that time the run was divided into three large paddocks, one on the Rakaia, one on the Hororata, and one between the Hororata and the Selwyn. page 85It was Ford who named the station Haldon.

In 1862 when the Plains began to be broken up, Dr. Knyvett and Williams, his partner, rented three hundred acres of Bealey's run for cropping. Dr. Knyvett, who gave up station life for medicine in 1875, was out here in 1923 as a ship's surgeon and told me that when ploughing along the Selwyn he constantly ploughed up moa bones and moa stones. From the end of Ford's lease in 1869 until Nowell Bealey (Samuel's son) took charge, sometime in the 'nineties, Alick McIlraith was the manager.

Andrew Beattie, now of Hororata, was head shepherd and afterwards manager for about 30 years until the place was sold. In the early days the agricultural work was done by contract by a man named Sandrey and in later times by L. Derrett.

The Bealey brothers (sons of Samuel) cut up Haldon and sold it in 1910. At the end the station consisted of about seven thousand acres of freehold and carried 6000 sheep. The outstation and freehold on the Rakaia had been sold to the Government in 1902. It is called the Mead Settlement.

James Clucas bought the homestead block and lived there until 1928, when he sold it to his brother, the present owner.

The boundary gateway where the South Road passed from Camla to Haldon was just below the present Bankside Railway Station. Middle-aged country people can remember the days when dogs were chained at gateways on the roads to keep the sheep from passing through. The dog at this one reared a lamb. During a howling sou'-wester a motherless lamb took shelter by the dog's kennel and the dog, for reasons of his own, let him stay there and made friends with him. Merino sheep naturally keep well away from a dog's kennel, so there was always plenty of grass for the lamb, who thrived and stayed with the dog till he was a fourtooth, when the dog turned savage and had to be destroyed.

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(Runs 46, 47 and 94)

Camla lay on the Selwyn below Haldon, which also bounded it towards the Rakaia. It ran down the Selwyn to about the present main south railway and contained nearly thirty thousand acres. Runs 46 and 47 which were the lower or eastern part of Camla were allotted to Rowland Campion on 11th June, 1852. While he worked these runs he called his station Kensal or Kensal Green. Parker Westenra applied for a run west of Campion's which was allotted to him as Run 94 on 29th July, 1853. He was acting for his father, Captain Richard Westenra, who also had a run called Kakahu in South Canterbury and he disliked his sons crossing the rivers when travelling up and down to it, so he exchanged it with Campion for Kensal Green about the end of 1854. For a few years he called the whole place Kensal Green, but eventually called it Camla after a property in Ireland belonging to his kinsman Lord Rossmore. He had only 670 sheep there in 1855, but the sheep from the Kakahu had not yet arrived.

On the 23rd February, 1852, Henry Phillips and the Rev. Joseph Twigger were allotted a run on the Selwyn which they stocked with 630 ewes, 170 wethers and 2 brood mares. Unfortunately in the Waste Lands Board's manuscript record no number is shown for this run, but Phillips or one of his sons was still living there in the autumn of 1856. I imagine that Westenra bought it from Phillips in 1858 and that on the resurvey of Haldon and Camla which I spoke of, the area was distributed among Runs 46, 47 and 94. Anyhow it disappears from the maps about that time.

On Captain Westenra's death Camla passed to his sons Richard, Parker and Warner, known as Westenra Brothers. The present brand Z was registered in 1854. The original homestead was right on the Selwyn riverbed, which was then a beautiful flat with creeks running through it and full of native game, but all this was washed away in the 'sixty-eight flood, which also page 87drowned 3000 Camla sheep, some of them stud sheep just imported from Australia. The house was then re-built on the site of the present one, but the old woolshed remains where it was, and must be one of the oldest standing in Canterbury.

Camla has never changed hands. It now belongs to Derrick Warner Westenra, a grandson of the original owner. It is only a farm now, but until about 1910, when Derrick Westenra bought out the other beneficiaries, it was a station carrying nearly 7000 sheep on eight thousand five hundred acres of freehold and fifteen hundred of leasehold. The Fyvie settlement was part of the freehold. I have given an account of Campion in my description of Kakahu, and of Phillips in my description of the Point. I do not know anything about the Rev. Joseph Twigger, except that he gave the Twigger estate at Addington to the Church.

(Run 108)

Heslerton was below the Bealey's country on the Rakaia and joined Camla on the plain about halfway across to the Selwyn. It contained nearly twenty thousand acres and was taken up in August, 1853, by Richard Hilton, a brother-in-law of the Westenras. In 1857 Hilton sold it for £1,200 without the stock to a man named Brown, and in 1858, Brown sold it to Benjamin Dowling with 1450 sheep (a mixed lot, including lambs) for £4,500. In 1855 and 1856 Thomas Kinnersley Adams had the station on terms from Hilton. Dowling resold to C. F. Knyvett very soon after he bought the station. Hilton's homestead was on the Rakaia two or three miles below the present railway bridge where one or two large blue-gums still mark the spot, but when Knyvett bought the place he was afraid of the homestead being flooded out so built a new one on the present site. He also changed the old name of it, Jellalabad, to Heslerton, after his father's page 88place in England. Knyvett was drowned, and about 1870 Edward Lee, his executor, sold Heslerton to Cecil Augustus FitzRoy (who had been a cadet at Mesopotamia) and Thomas Dyke Acland (who had been a cadet at Mt. Peel). FitzRoy and Acland's head shepherd was John Mackenzie, who lived at Halswell until sometime in the 1920's. Until his retirement some years ago he was one of the best known sheep drivers in Canterbury.

FitzRoy and Acland had not had the station more than seven years before John Johnstone Loe bought two thousand acres of freehold in the middle of the run which made it unworkable, so they sold the station to him altogether. After Loe's death Heslerton passed into the hands of the Bank of New South Wales who sold it to a syndicate by whom it was cut up and sold in 1908. At that time it consisted of eleven thousand four hundred acres of freehold. For a time from 1887 onwards the Bank leased the station to Phineas Roberts who ran a flock of Silesian merinos there. After Roberts left, James Balfour managed it for some years. The homestead block now belongs to James Spence.

Richard Hilton settled near Geraldine when he left Heslerton. The village of Hilton there is named after him. I know nothing of Brown except that I learnt from a letter written at the time that he bought and sold the place. Dowling was an Australian who afterwards had Buccleugh Station near Mt. Somers. Adams had originally intended to go into the Army but came to New Zealand in 1853 instead. He left Heslerton to start the Opawa Station near Albury which he and the Rev. J. Raven had taken up in partnership. After he left Opawa, he succeeded Sir William Congreve as stock inspector. He died in Christchurch in 1863, aged 32. Congreve, by the way, left New Zealand for Fiji soon after he lost his job and no one seems to have heard of him again, so that to this day it is uncertain whether his baronetcy is extinct or not. FitzRoy was in the House of Representatives for some years. He was also starter for the Canterbury Jockey Club. He died in Hawke's Bay not many years ago. Acland was page 89my father, but I remember nothing about him as a squatter, as he sold Heslerton before I was a year old. I think he was fonder of farming than of sheep and he had a great prejudice against deep ploughing. I remember he used to say that if God Almighty had meant the sub-soil to be on the top, He would have put it there. After he gave up farming he became a land agent in Christchurch where he died in 1892, aged 45. Dr. Knyvett was shepherd to his brother at Heslerton.

(Run 101)

Oakleigh, the next run on the Rakaia below Heslerton, was taken up in August, 1853, by the Rev. J. Raven, a relation of Hilton's. The run was of twenty thousand acres and went back to the great swamp. About 1855 Raven leased Oakleigh with the sheep to Edward Chapman who also owned Acton Station on the other side of the Rakaia, and about 1858 he sold it with about 2500 sheep to Edwin H. Fereday. Raven afterwards bought Ravenswood, a freehold of eleven hundred acres near Woodend.

Raven was born at Croydon in 1821. His father was a stock broker. J. Raven was educated at Shrewsbury School and Caius College, Cambridge. He rowed for Cambridge against Oxford in 1844—the lightest man (8st. 13lbs.) who ever rowed in either boat. He was ordained and was vicar of Broughton Ashly for four years before coming to Canterbury in 1851. I believe he came out understanding he was to be a Canon of the Cathedral, but finding that the Cathedral only existed on paper, took his own line of combining farming with part-time duty. He took to colonial life at once. He became competent to do all the practical work with stock and was soon considered as a man whose opinion on farming and station property was worth having. He imported his own sheep from Aus-page 90tralia and he and T. K. Adams, his manager, started off one day with a shepherd, John Walker, from Lyttelton to take a newly landed mob to Oakleigh. They left Walker to watch them a night on the Bridle Path and went back to sleep at Lyttelton. It came on to rain so Walker moved the sheep down the hill to shelter and got 70 of them tooted.

Early in 1864 Raven returned with his family to England where he held livings until 1872 when his wife having died, he and six daughters came to New Zealand again. During this visit he bought more land here. He stayed a year and a-half then went back to England, being wrecked in the S.S. Tartar on the way. He died at Worthing in Sussex in August, 1886. His first wife, a sister of Dean Hole, wrote several of the Canterbury Rhymes.

Fereday also had Racecourse Hill Station on the Waimakariri, and as I said when writing of Racecourse Hill, the strain of riding backwards and forwards over the dreary plain between the two stations was too much for him. He, or his executors, sold Oakleigh to Charles Hurst in 1866. Hurst was a Yorkshire man who had managed a station in Victoria from 1849 till 1857, when he came to New Zealand. He also owned Valetta on the Ashburton.

In 1871 Hurst began to change the flock from merino to halfbred, and for a few years he let Oakleigh with the sheep to Thomas Dowling, a relation of his.

In 1900 Hurst sold the station with 4000 sheep to Dowling, and Dowling sold it early in 1910 to E. A. Broughton who began selling the land in 1927. In 1929 he sold the homestead and about two thousand two hundred acres, carrying 2000 ewes, to the Canterbury Seed Company. In January 1945 the company sold about eight hundred acres of their land, and in April 1945 A. Nimmo, of Dunedin, bought the rest of it.

At one time Fereday tried rabbit breeding on a small island in the Rakaia, without much success financially.

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(Run 100)

This run of ten thousand acres was taken up on 1st August, 1853, by Thomas Rowley, who transferred it almost at once to a man named Twiggs, of whom I cannot find out anything except that he was drowned in the Rakaia in the very early days and that his representatives sold the station to Charles Joseph Bridge in 1854.

Homebrook ran from the Rakaia back to the great swamp and was bounded on the west by Oakleigh. It ran to the sea at a point a mile or two from the mouth of Lake Ellesmere.

Bridge came from Liverpool where he had been on the stock exchange. Charles Hastings Bridge, the surveyor, is his son.

The freehold was bought early and quickly. By 1863 half the run had gone and by 1865 there were only sixty acres left. Bridge, however, secured a fine freehold property of fourteen or fifteen hundred acres himself. The town of Southbridge was part of it which he cut up and sold.

Bridge, who lived at Opawa until 1862, took Gladstone Baines as manager and partner. At first they worked Homebrook as a cattle station, but later on carried sheep as well. Baines did not stay very long in New Zealand but sold his share back to Bridge and returned to England. Bridge lived at the station himself from 1862 until his death in 1876, but in 1871 he let all the land, except fifty acres round the homestead, to Charles Bourn.

Bourn built himself a second homestead but used Bridge's station buildings. In 1881 his lease passed to J. R. Campbell, a one time part owner of Mesopotamia, who continued as tenant until 1900. Then the property was sub-divided and let in four farms until 1917, when it was sold to the Government for soldier settlement; thus the property was sixty-three years in the Bridge family.

The original homestead is near Jollie's Road, Trig 8 page 92being on a little hillock in the garden.

While on his only visit to New Zealand (in 1868) Lord Lyttelton, chief of the founders of Canterbury, stayed with Bridge at Homebrook. He spoke very feelingly of the hardships and discomforts of station life in the pamphlet he wrote when he got home describing the progress of Canterbury.

(Run 105)

This was a small cattle station of five thousand acres in the corner formed by the north bank of the Rakaia and the sea. It was bounded on the other two sides by Homebrook. For a short time the Rakaia Island belonged to it. I have not been able to find the early records of it. It was taken up by a man named Brittin, whom I cannot identify. He was probably D. A. or J. D. Brittin, who registered a brand between them in 1854. Anyhow he sold the run to Moses Cryer in 1854. Cryer came to Nelson from Gloucestershire in the 'forties and was afterwards a butcher in Lyttelton. He died at Waterford in 1895, aged 90.

The freehold was bought up early, so that in 1862 it became Run 94, Class II., and by 1866 there were only eight hundred and sixty acres of the run left. Cryer however secured a nice little freehold property out of it himself, most of which still belongs to Miss Sarah Cryer, his daughter.

Cryer was about the first squatter in these parts to make himself a comfortable homestead and his kindness and hospitality were long remembered by his neighbours.

Price's Station
(Runs 79 and 432)

Run 79, of five thousand acres, lay along the sea coast between the lake mouth and Homebrook. It was page 93taken up by Joseph Price in May, 1853. Price started a dairy station and by March, 1855, he was milking thirty cows and making sixty pounds of cheese a day. In March, 1862, Price took up Run 432, another five thousand acres of the lake floor in front of him.

In 1866 he sold his station to his neighbour, Richard Taylor of Birdling's Brook. Taylor abandoned what was left of the leasehold in 1870.

I cannot find out where the homestead was. Price was chief mate of a whaler called the Harriet in the 'thirties and in the 'forties was a shore whaler at Ikoraki. I shall say more about him when I come to the Peninsula runs.

Birdling's Brook
(Runs 80 and 427)

Run 80, originally of seven thousand five hundred acres, was taken up by William Birdling in May, 1853. It lay between Lake Ellesmere and Washbourn's run which it joined at Boggy Creek, which runs through Doyleston. On the south-west it joined Price's and Oakleigh. In February, 1862, Birdling took up another five thousand acres of lake flats, Run 427. He sold the station to Richard Taylor about 1863 and in 1866 Taylor also bought Price's station. Taylor made a fair amount of the run freehold and sometime in the 'seventies he cut up his land and sold it. In 1865 Run 80 became Run 142, Class II.

McLaughlin bought the homestead and his son J. McLaughlin has it still.

I shall give an account of Birdling when I come to his other station at Birdling's Flat. I cannot find out much about Taylor. He lived in Christchurch and had a brewery where the Normal School is now. In Tales of Banks Peninsula it is said that the notorious Caton had a share in this station with him.

Taylor's manager was 'Old Tom' Millet. His real designation was E. W. Millet, but he was always called page 94'Old Tom' because of his favourite beverage. He was a fine looking man who had seen better days, and after leaving Birdling's Brook he kept the livery stable in the old market place, afterwards called the Rink Stables.

Harman And Davie's Station
(Runs 53, 82 and 426)

Harman and Davie's station lay in the angle between Lake Ellesmere and the south bank of the Selwyn. The homestead was in the bend of the river a couple of miles below Washbourn's.

Run 53 was taken by the Hon. James Stewart Wortley in October, 1852, and stocked with 500 breeding ewes. He sold it to Harman and Davie in June, 1853. Harman and Davie had taken up Run 82 a month before. Their stock on Run 82 was 41 head of breeding cattle.

In 1862 they took up Run 426 on the lake foreshore.

Harman and Davie made several thousand acres of their run freehold, most of which they cut up and sold at the end of the 'seventies. Davie, however, retained a thousand or more acres which his executors sold not long before the 1914-1918 War.

James Stewart Wortley was afterwards one of the partners who started Hawkeswood Station north of the Waiau. He did not stay very long in New Zealand. R. J. S. Harman was one of the leading early settlers. He went to England and was Immigration Agent for the Canterbury Association from 1853 to 1857. He was one of the original partners in the firm of Harman and Stevens and died in Christchurch on 27th November, 1902.

Cyrus Davie came out as a surveyor and succeeded Cass as chief surveyor of the province for a short time. In 1850 he booked his passage in the Randolph (one of the first four ships) and sent his luggage on board but missed her, so was given a passage on the Sir George Seymour which sailed the next day. On the voyage out the Randolph and Sir George Seymour met page 95in mid-ocean and Davie was transferred to his proper ship. In the second half of the voyage the Randolph beat Sir George Seymour by nearly a day, so that Davie made the passage from England to New Zealand two days faster than anyone else in the fleet, and I believe his record was unbeaten for several years. He died in June 1871, aged 50.

Washbourn's Station
(Run 122. It afterwards became Run 132, Class II)

In the early days this had no name and was known as Washbourn's Station, but the homestead and remaining freehold, about nine hundred acres, have been named the Bungalow in later years. The run was originally of over five thousand acres. It lay on the south side of the Selwyn above Harman and Davie's.

It was taken up in 1853 by Henry John Washbourn, a Gloucester man. His wife had died in England and he came to Canterbury by the Sir George Seymour with a family of young children. He bought a fifty acre section from the Canterbury Association before he left England, and when he got here he selected it on the west side of Hagley Park between the old Plough Inn and the present Addington Workshops. He took the two hundred and fifty acre pre-emptive right, to which this section entitled him, on the pastoral run on the Selwyn.

Washbourn lived on his Riccarton farm and his son managed the station for him. The country on his run was mostly flax-covered dry swamp in those days, rideable but with very boggy creeks. The whole leasehold had been bought up before 1878. In the early days it was worked as a cattle station. Washbourn died in 1898 or 1899 and left the property in trust for his grandchildren to whom it still belongs. So this is another original station which has never changed hands. I think most of the family now spell their name Washbourne but the original owner, and, I am told, his forefathers, spelt it without the e.

page 96

(Run 81. Afterwards re-numbered 168, Class II)

This run, originally of between six and seven thousand acres, lay on the Selwyn between Washbourn's country and Camla. It was taken up in May, 1853, by the Rev. O. Mathias and R. J. S. Harman. They stocked it with 50 head of breeding cattle. Mathias and Harman had probably been authorised to invest money in Canterbury for the Hon. Robert Daly, or else they sold it to him within a year or two. Daly never came to New Zealand and as long as the station lasted Harman and Stevens were his agents, but he named it himself and so gave the name to a large district. The first manager was J. Madison who had been a sailor. He married a daughter of Washbourn. After him came E. Johnston. W. D. Lawrence, who died in 1933, aged 94, was a cadet there in 1864 and afterwards managed the station for many years until it was sold.

In 1877 Harman and Stevens cut up and sold the four thousand acres of freehold which they bought on behalf of Daly. J. Sowden bought the homestead and about six hundred acres, to which he added more land from time to time. He held it for many years. It was afterwards the property of David Jones, the chairman of the Meat Producers' Board and Member of Parliament.

Robert Daly (1818-1892) was the son of the first, and father of the last, Lord Daly of Dunsandel. He held important offices under the Lord Lieutenants of Ireland and his son was private secretary to Lord Beaconsfield. J. R. Godley's mother was a Miss Daly which probably accounts for the family investing in Canterbury.