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

Riversdale — (Runs 216Aand 218)

(Runs 216Aand 218)

Riversdale, the top station on the north bank of the Waimakariri, lies between the north branch of the Poulter River and the Bealey. It runs back to the National Park and the unoccupied country on the main range. It was taken up in two runs of fifteen thousand acres altogether by Joseph Hawdon in October, 1857. Joseph Pearson explored the Upper Waimakariri for him, and he took up Riversdale at the same time as Grasmere and Craigieburn across the river.

Riversdale has very little history of its own. It has never been worked as a separate station. Until 1881 it page 245was worked from Craigieburn, then for a time with Cora Lynn, and since then it has been worked with Mt. White.

Hawdon sold both Riversdale and Craigieburn to Michael Scott Campbell and Robert Hume Campbell on 16th March, 1867, and Robert Campbell very soon bought his cousin out. Another cousin, Douglas Campbell, joined him in Craigieburn and Riversdale, but his name does not appear in the records.

I wrote about Hawdon when I wrote about his other runs, but forgot one thing. He had been a great explorer and" squatter in Australia and a very successful squatter in New Zealand. He made a fortune. I once asked his son, Arthur Hawdon, whether his knowledge of stock was as great as his experience would lead one to expect. His son said he had not much knowledge but plenty of prejudices. When he came to the yards he used to insist on all the 'snipe-nosed' sheep being culled; by 'snipe-nosed' he meant what we now call 'clean-faced.'

In 1881 the N.Z. Loan and Mercantile Company took over Craigieburn and Riversdale from the Campbells and sold Riversdale to T. W. Bruce, of Cora Lynn. Both Bruce's stations fell back into the company's hands about 1890. At that time the company also owned Mt. White, and since then Riversdale has always been worked with it. The old woolshed has been pulled down, and the only building on the place now is a mustering hut.

There is some ploughable land on the run, and as it is close to the West Coast Road, at different times attempts have been made to farm it. A swamp was drained and a dairy started, and oats were grown for the coach horses, but both enterprises failed.