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

Lagmhor* — (Run 38 N.Z.R.)

(Run 38 N.Z.R.)

Lagmhor ran from the Ashburton to the Hinds, and from Longbeach to Westerfield. It originally contained forty-six thousand acres. It was first taken up by C. C. Haslewood of Coringa in 1854, but he did not fulfil the conditions of his lease and the McLean brothers contested his rights and were given a new license for the country early in 1855. The McLean brothers were Allan, John and Robertson, the owners of Ashfield. As time went on they made thirty thousand acres of the run freehold.

In the 'fifties the manager was T. McLean and for a time the station was apparently called Glenfawin. There were 1050 sheep there at the beginning of 1855 and they had increased to 4500 by 1858. In 1898 there were just under 20,000.

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Robertson McLean retired from the firm after a few years. When John and Allan dissolved partnership in 1880 the Hon. John McLean took Lagmhor and Waitaki Plains, and Allan, Waikakahi.

In the 'fifties a man employed at shearing told John McLean about some beautiful country he had seen in the south, so McLean went exploring as soon as shearing was finished and took up the country the man had told him about. This was Morven Hills. McLean wasn't sure whether it was in Canterbury or Otago, so he applied for it in both provinces.

Laghmor was very much intersected by roads, and there was a good deal of settlement about it and a lot of travelling sheep. A good many station sheep used to disappear. The McLeans were the last men in the world to lose sheep if they could prevent it. They erected all their fences with nine wires four inches apart from top to bottom, so that when kept tight a woodhen could hardly get through them. You can see these fences on all their old stations, at least at Lagmhor, Waikakahi, and Waitaki Plains. I do not remember noticing them at Morven Hills, but that was sold earlier. There were three hundred and fifty miles of wire fences on Lagmhor besides a hundred and fifty of gorse and hawthorn.

Only one of the shepherds at Lagmhor lived at the homestead. The others were in cottages dotted about the run, one near Hinds, one at Tinwald, one opposite Maronan, and so on.

In his later years John McLean lived at Redcastle, near Oamaru, and Donald McLean, a relation of his and one of the early patrons of trotting, managed Lagmhor. Donald McLean was a great athlete. One of his feats was to turn a newly shorn merino wether loose and run him down on the open plain. He could put two barrels side by side and take a standing jump out of one into the other. At ' smoke-oh ' he used to take a standing jump over a bale of wool and then Brucksaw, the 'pannikin boss' (head general hand), used to carry it out of the shed page 120single-handed. McLean would then challenge the shearers to find any two men who could do the same. He never had any difficulty in getting shearers and shed hands. As many as 150 would turn up on the chance of a job when Lagmhor was an open shed.

In 1899, some years before his death, John McLean made the station over to his nephew, George A. M. Buckley. After a year or two Buckley began selling off the land; he sold the homestead and the last four or five thousand acres in 1913. In its last days it carried 11,000 sheep and Harry Ford, a brother to J. T. Ford, was the manager.

Buckley now lives in England. He commanded a battalion of infantry with distinction during the 1914-18 War. He also went down to the Antarctic with one of the expeditions, and nearly lost his life in a horrible way. He was being sent from one ship to another and it was too rough to use a boat, so they decided to haul him across on a rope. Luckily they sent a live sheep across to see that the tackle would work properly, for when the sheep was half way across it was torn to pieces by the sea birds.

When the last of Lagmhor was sold James Low bought the homestead. It belongs now to V. W. Wright.

* This spelling has been questioned but the McLeans and their men spelt it so.