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

[Mt. Torlesse]

Mt. Torlesse Station takes in the north and east sides of the mountain after which it is named. It was origi-nally in two stations: Run 210, nominally of six thou-sand acres, was, as I said, originally part of Easedale Nook, and was started as a separate station by Joseph Longden about the end of the 'fifties. Longden left England in 1850 in the Barbara Gordon. For a short time he had a store in Lyttelton, in partnership with his cousin, James Le Cren. He had sheep on terms at Easedale Nook in the middle 'fifties. He went home to England with his wife and family in 1859 and died there in 1864.

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Run 277, nominally five thousand acres, lying beyond Paterson's Creek, was under different ownership.

Longden did not keep Mt. Torlesse very long, though the leases remained in his name for many years. He sold the station to E. Curry in 1862.

Curry had been a banker before coming to New Zealand, but he knew how to take care of his station.

Peter Grant, one of the old West Coast drovers and dealers, told me that one night he lost 500 wethers on Curry's run, and had to spend the next few weeks with his man mustering the wild country at the back of it. He got all his own sheep, together with some hundreds of Curry's stragglers and a good many wild sheep, and suggested that Curry should pay him something. 'Ah, but look at the tucker you've eaten here,' said Curry. For some years he kept the famous Traducer at the station.

Curry sold Mt. Torlesse in February, 1868, to John Karslake Karslake and Thomas Anson, who had just sold Waireka. Curry then retired and lived in Christchurch, where he died at a great age. He was the father of C. E. Curry, the stipendiary steward.

George Paterson, who had taken up Run 277 in October, 1858, sold it to Karslake and Anson about 1870, and the two places became one. Karslake and Anson sold some time in the middle 70's to J. and J. Brett (sons of Colonel Brett, of Kirwee). The Bretts sold to Duncan and Dugald Matheson.

Karslake was the brother or nephew of a distinguished English Q.C. who became Attorney-General. J. K. Karslake represented Coleridge, in Parliament here but resigned after a year. When he and Anson sold Mt. Torlesse he sailed for England, but was drowned on the voyage. Anson afterwards had the Desert Station at Courtenay.

The N.Z. Loan and Mercantile took Mt. Torlesse over from the Mathesons in 1883, and kept it until 1901, when G. L. Rutherford, a son of the owner of Dalethorpe, bought it. In the Loan Company's time the woolshed was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. During the whole time the company page 234owned Mt. Torlesse, Thomas Douglas was the manager both of it and of Brookdale. When these stations were sold he went to manage Mt. White for the company.

In 1904 Rutherford sold Mt. Torlesse to Major P. H. Johnson, who made it over to his son, the present owner, in 1926.

In the early days Mt. Torlesse was a great place for hunting wild cattle and pigs; Lady Barker describes an expedition after wild cattle there in the 'sixties. The Kowai Bush (called Cambridge until about 1870) was also full of kakas and native pigeons. Mt. Torlesse (the actual mountain—not the station) was named after C. O. Torlesse, one of Captain Thomas's surveyors, who was the first man to climb it. Miss Torlesse in her Bygone Days says that the Maori name was Otarama, but other people say it was Tawera. I do not know which is right.

Paterson, who took up Run 270, had been Millton's first manager at View Hill. In 1929 Colonel E. B. Millton was kind enough to write the following account of him for me.