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

Raincliff — (Run 29 N.Z.R.; in March 1857 re-numbered 157 and 157A)

(Run 29 N.Z.R.; in March 1857 re-numbered 157 and 157A)

Raincliff, in the fork of the Opihi and Opuha, is stated in Col. Campbell's list to have been allotted to Michael John Burke (also of Halswell Station, near Christchurch), on 27th September, 1853, and was then supposed to contain twenty-five thousand acres.

At the re-numbering of the South Canterbury runs, which occurred when the Canterbury Government took over their administration in 1854, Burke's run was said to be thirty-four thousand five hundred acres. By that time he had already got stock on it, and also page 171worked Captain Westenra's adjoining run '(afterwards Campion's Kakahu Station) on thirds.

Burke sold Raindiff, which he knew as South Downs, for £5500, on 9th January, 1858, with 2000 sheep, to William Kirk Purnell and Aurelius Purnell. By that time the area was supposed to be fifty thousand acres, and there was for a time a doubt whether it did not include Ashwick, the station above it. Burke had bought six hundred acres of freehold on the run at 10/-an acre. The Purnells named their run after a place near Scarborough, which had belonged to their father. One of them lost his life in snow at Sherwood Downs.

The Purnells sold out to Packe Brothers in May, 1868. Packe Brothers bought most of the run freehold, so that by 1878 only 2000 sheep out of 16,000 were run on leasehold.

In 1881 the Packes sold the station to Henry Hoare (one of the London bankers) who, by ploughing, had raised the carrying capacity to over 30,000 sheep in 1890. He also did some of the finest planting in South Canterbury. Sometime during the 'nineties the place passed into possession of his brothers, A. and C. Hoare, by whom it was sold to the New Zealand Trust and Loan Company in 1898.

The company cut it up and sold it in 1901, when the homestead and 2000 acres were bought by Arthur Hope, better known as the owner of Richmond. It afterwards belonged to another old Mackenzie Country squatter—Simon Mackenzie, and now belongs to Major Johnson, formerly of Worlingham and Mt. Torlesse.

Several people well known in the pastoral world managed the place at various times: E. G. Stericker (a great explorer of runs in the early days, and part owner of Sawdon) for the Purnells and Packes; Robert Mac-kay (Double Hill and Opuha Gorge), for the Hoares; William Frederick Allen (' Baltic Jack '), and W. T. Richards (Fourpeaks), for the Trust and Loan; and J. M. H. Tripp for Arthur Hope.

Of the early owners, Burke was the same who owned Halswell Station. I know nothing further about the Purnells. One of the Packes was Lieut.-Colonel George page 172Packe, late of H.M. 23rd Fusiliers, who commanded the Canterbury Forces from 1868 until his death at Riccarton in October, 1882. He and his brother were also land agents in Christchurch during the 'seventies. The station diary for 1868 is still at Raincliff. Robb, after whom Robb's Hut on the Opuha is named, was a shepherd there then, and the diary mentions that he and another shepherd ' found the snow-plough to answer very well ' that winter. It is much the earliest record of a snow-plough that I have come across.