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

Lochinvar — (Runs 288, 284, 309 and 310)

(Runs 288, 284, 309 and 310)

Lochinvar is bounded on the north by the Dampier Range, where it joins Esk Head; on the east by the Puketeraki Range, and on the west by a branch of the Poulter River.

It was taken up in 1858 and 1859 by William Thomson. His son, John James Thomson, who I may say has done more than any other man living to help me write these notes, was one of four who took the first cattle in to stock it in 1860. There was no known track up there in those days, so they followed the bed of the Esk River from the junction of the Esk and Waimakariri. They were two and a half days taking the cattle from the Avoca to the station. Richard Taylor afterwards bought these cattle. Taylor was a brewer who also owned Birdling's Brook Station on Lake Ellesmere. When the cattle were brought out J. J. Thomson delivered them on the station. This time they brought them over Puketeraki and one of the men was frost-bitten. Thomson's manager was a Canadian but I do not know his name.

Thomson was an auctioneer in the 'fifties and founder and proprietor of the Canterbury Standard, and was a member of the Provincial Council. He came to page 241New Zealand in 1853 and died at Papanui in 1866, aged forty-nine.

While Thomson owned Lochinvar, Charles Edward Fooks had a share in it. Fooks also had a run near Papanui, and for a time held one of the Longbeach runs. He was the son of Charles Bergent Fooks and was born at Weymouth in Dorsetshire in 1829. He was a civil engineer and came to Lyttelton in the ship Steadfast in 1851. He was on the Canterbury Association's survey staff for a time, and also practised as an architect. After he lost most of his money at farming he returned to his profession and practised it until his death in Ashburton in 1907. It was he who laid out the first water-races in Canterbury for Reed at Westerfield. His son is now clerk and engineer to the Ashburton County Council.

Until the 'seventies the leases of Lochinvar were held in the name of the Bank of New Zealand, so that I cannot find the dates when the station changed hands. About 1861 Thomson sold to a man named Benley who resold it almost at once to W. S. Moorhouse and R. M. Morten. In October, 1863, Moorhouse sold his half to Sir Cracroft Wilson, and not long after that Morten and Wilson sold to a Frenchman named Mallet. Mallet did no good with it, but he sold it before long to James Cochran, a brother of John Cochran of Mt. White, and went back to France where his father owned a bank.

Moorhouse was, of course, the Superintendent of Canterbury. I have described Sir Cracroft and R. M. Morten when writing about their other stations. I know nothing about Benley except that John James Thomson told me his father sold him the run.

I think about 1880 Mt. White and Lochinvar were both taken over by the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile from the Cochrans, and the two stations were worked together for many years.

The Loan and Mercantile sold them to F. J. Savill in 1902, and he sold to Studholme and McAlpine about 1910. The lease of Lochinvar ran out during the 1914 page 24218 War, and Studholme and McAlpine held other pastoral runs, so could not renew it. After being unoccupied for some time, the country was taken up again by James O'Malley, who had the Bealey Hotel in the coaching days. O'Malley sold to the present owner, A. R. Turnbull, in 1920.

When Turnbull bought it there were no buildings on it, and only a pack track to it, so he resorted to the old way of pit-sawing timber from the bush to build his house. I should think this will be the last pit-saw to be used in Canterbury.

In Cochran's time some unoccupied country on a branch of the Poulter (now called Cox's Poulter) was taken up by J. W. M. Cox, a Dundee man, who built a hut and ran a few head of cattle there. He took his wife and children there to live, but as it is miles by pack-track from the nearest neighbour, and about as snowy as country can be, he soon gave it up. There are still wild cattle on this part of Lochinvar, which are supposed to be descended from Cox's cattle. It was while out after them that Edward Chapman was fatally shot.

Cox had formerly been with J. S. Caverhill on one of his stations, and also managed Broomfield and Teviotdale. He afterwards became a butcher at Waikari, and at one time kept the Weka Pass hotel.

About forty years ago a bush fire came over the Puketeraki Range from Lee's Valley, and crossing the Esk, burnt a lot of bush on Lochinvar. In those 'days the Lochinvar sheep were taken to Mt. White for shearing, and many of them had their hoofs burnt off by the hot ashes.

A great deal of the bush on the run has now been reserved by the Forestry Department.