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

Castle Hill — (Runs 205, 205a, 294., 399, and Class II 153)

page 219

Castle Hill
(Runs 205, 205a, 294., 399, and Class II 153)

CastJe Hill, which lies on the West Coast Road behind Mt. Torlesse, and begins near Lake Lyndon, was taken up in two runs (205 and 205a), of twenty-five thousand acres in all, by Porter Brothers in June, 1858.

In February, 1859, Porter Brothers took up another five thousand acres—Run 294, and a final five thousand acres—Run 399, in March, 1861. The Porters named their station after the striking limestone rocks there. The three-Porters were sons of David Charles Porter, a London landowner. He came to New Zealand intending to stay if he liked the country. He stayed a short time and went up to the station, but being a man who liked his comforts and plenty of hunting and shooting, soon went back to England. One of the brothers was Alfred who managed and afterwards rented Rokeby from Wemyss in the 'fifties. His daughter married Dan O'Brien, the first owner of Carbine. Another was Joshua Charles, a lawyer who afterwards practised in Kaiapoi and Christchurch, and the third, when the station was sold returned to his profession of civil engineer and surveyor, in Wanganui. A grandson of David Charles lately managed the Bank of New Zealand in Christchurch but has now been promoted.

In October, 1864, the Porters sold Castle Hill to John and Charles Enys.

The Enys brothers were of the good old-fashioned type of squatters who spent a good deal of time away from the station, and one or the other was generally in England. Charles Enys, one of the best shots who ever came to New Zealand, died about 1890, not long before the station was sold.

John Davis Gilbert Enys was born in 1837 and came to New Zealand in 1861. For a short time he owned Orari Gorge in South Canterbury, but sold it back to Tripp in 1863 or 1864. He was a keen field naturalist and was the earliest authority on New Zealand moths and butterflies. He gave the font in the Cathedral. It page 220is made of Castle Hill stone.

In 1890, having inherited Enys Place, his family property near Falmouth in Cornwall, he sold Castle Hill and went Home, where he died in 1912. They have a diary at Enys Place, kept by the Enys of Queen Elizabeth's time, with the entry: 'To-day we saw the Armada go up Channel.'

The new owner of Castle Hill was Augustus Stronach, who kept it until 1897, when it was bought by H. von Haast, a son of the geologist. Haast went out of Castle Hill in about two years, when it was sold by Enys's agents to Lewis Mathias. Mathias did very well with the place, and sold it in April, 1901, to John McKenzie, who had been head shepherd at Mesopotamia for some years.

McKenzie sold in 1908 to Millikin Brothers, who sold it to the present owners, W. B. Clarkson and Co., in 1920. Robert Blakeley managed it for them till his death in 1929 when his son Robert, the present manager, succeeded him.

The original homestead of Castle Hill was in the angle of the Porter River and Spring Creek. Enys built a new house (which he called Trelissick) on the site of William Izard's present country cottage, but had his woolshed on the Porter, and had a farming homestead where the present owners have now concern trated the whole of the station buildings. This farm was let by the Enyses, first to George O'Malley, and afterwards to John Milliken. O'Malley and Milliken used to grow oats there for Cassidy's coach horses, and also did the carting to the Coast in the old wagon days.

Castle Hill must have been on one of the old Maori tracks to the Coast. Lewis Mathias found a lot of pieces of greenstone, with traces of Maori working, at the foot of some rocks at the back of the present homestead.