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

Craigieburn — (Runs 200, 217 and 248)

(Runs 200, 217 and 248)

This run, which originally covered the country between Broken River and Craigieburn Creek, was taken up by Joseph Hawdon. He took up Run 200 of twenty-two thousand acres between Sloven's and Winding Creek, on 16th July, 1857. He took up the other two runs, of nearly twenty thousand acres altogether, in the October and February following. He was an old Australian squatter and brought one of his managers, Joseph Pearson, afterwards of Burnt Hill, over with him. He sent Pearson up the Waimakariri to explore. According to the custom of those days, Pearson burnt the country as he went, and, though he was away longer than they expected, Hawdon could see from the plains the smoke of his fires in the Upper Waimakariri, and knew that he was at work. When he returned, Hawdon applied for the country on his page 217recommendation. Besides Craigieburn, Hawdon took up Grasmere and Riversdale.

Hawdon, in his younger days in Australia, was a famous pioneer and explorer himself. Besides exploring and taking up a lot of country over there, he took the first mob of cattle from New South Wales to Adelaide by way of the Murray. Hawdon was born at Walkerfield, Durham, in 1813. He was in the Legislative Council here from 1866 till his death, but I believe never took his seat. He died in Christchurch in 1871.

J. S. Caverhill, another Australian who came to New Zealand, also claimed to have brought the first mob from Sydney to Adelaide. He was accompanied by one black, and landed all the cattle except one; but he may have travelled by a different way.

Craigieburn has had more than its share of tragedies. One gentleman who came out at the time of the Duke of Edinburgh's visit was staying there and accidentally shot himself in the dining room.

The West Coast Road ran for miles through the run, and when the diggers were streaming over to the goldfields, they gave a great deal of trouble by sheep and fowl-stealing, and demanding food at all times of the day. One of them ordered the Craigieburn cook to cook him some food at once, drawing a knive to enforce his order. The cook took up his gun and ordered him off, but the man rushed him and the cook shot him dead.

Another digger was murdered on his way back from the Coast, and buried in Buchanan's Creek, which is now called Murderer's, or Blackball Creek. There was a travelling stock reserve there, and it was in the hut belonging to it that the man was murdered. Enys, of Castle Hill, the nearest Justice of the Peace, dug him up, and held an inquest on him, but they never found the murderer, nor even the victim's name, except that he was known as Jem. Some Chinamen with whom he travelled were suspected.

A more cheerful story is that a digger fell between some rocks and broke his leg. He held it out and got page 218his mate to chop it off with an axe, and then with a stick walked on nearly as well as ever, the amputated limb having been a wooden one.

Hawdon sold Craigieburn (together with Riversdale) to Michael Scot Campbell and Robert Hume Campbell in March, 1867.

Robert H. Campbell bought M. S. Campbell's share in 1871, and another cousin, Douglas Campbell, bought an interest in the station. Douglas Campbell's wife was one of the survivors of the Blue Jacket when she was burned at sea. In 1872 R. H. Campbell returned to Scotland and Reginald Foster of Avoca took over the management, but left in 1873 when he was appointed a stock inspector. While he was at Craigieburn the wool of all the neighbouring stations was scoured there by a man named Bewley. In 1881 the N.Z. Loan and Mercantile took Craigieburn over from the Campbells, and sold it two years later to Jones and Stronach. In the early 'nineties, Augustus Stronach went out of the firm and Jones took Edmund James into partnership, and in 1904 James bought Jones's share. For many years James managed Hakataramea Downs for the Loan and Mercantile Company. In 1906 James sold Craigieburn to F. J. Savill, the present owner of St. Helens. "Manson managed it for Savill the whole time he had it.

In Savill's time the West Coast railway was brought through the run, and he built a new homestead on the railway line. (The old homestead is at Lake Pearson on the West Coast Road.)

In 1917, when the leases of the Canterbury College reserves were put up to auction, Craigieburn was divided in three blocks. Studholme and McAlpine got the lease of the (new) homestead block, and James Milliken, who got the other two, lives at the old Craigieburn homestead on Lake Pearson, which is now called Flock Hill. In 1927 McAlpine bought Studholme's interest in the station.