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

Winchmore — (Run 124)

page 109

(Run 124)

Winchmore was the next station below Springfield on the north bank of the Ashburton. It was of twenty thousand acres and was taken up by George Hart in October, 1853. Hart came to New Zealand in 1843, and sat in the Wellington Provincial Council and was also a member of the House of Representatives. He named the station after Winchmore Hill (now known as Golder's Hill), his father's place near London. He did very well in New Zealand. At one time he owned Fernside and several other stations in North Canterbury.

For many years during the 'sixties and 'seventies Hart let Winchmore with the sheep to his brother-in-law, Robert Park. Park had been chief surveyor for the Wellington Provincial Government, but left their service because of a disagreement he had with Dr Featherston about the price to be charged for waste land. It was then that he took Winchmore. He used to go surveying for the Canterbury Provincial Government in winter, and in summer looked after Winchmore, where he died.

Hart made nearly ten thousand acres of the Winchmore run freehold. He died in 1895, but his family kept most of the station until 1905, when the remaining seven thousand acres were cut up and sold by his executors. The land brought a good price, £15/10/-an acre.

Hart's first overseer was a man named Bland; after him Duncan Cameron was appointed manager, and from 1864 until 1905 the manager was Matthew Stitt. Stitt first came to Winchmore as a shearer, and Park made him head shepherd. When Cameron left, Park made him manager, and when Park's lease expired Hart kept him on.