The Early Canterbury Runs: Containing the First, Second and Third (new) Series
Chapter 9 — Hill Stations Between the Waimakariri and Waipara Rivers
Hill Stations Between the Waimakariri and Waipara Rivers
The accounts of stations in this chapter have not been brought past December, 1928, except where it is specially stated.
(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.
(Runs 219, 271, 303 and 30 4)
Mt. White takes in the country in the fork of the Esk and Poulter rivers. Run 219 was taken up by E. C. page 243Minchin in October, 1857. He took up Run 271 in August, 1858, and he or one of his sons took up 303 and 304—five thousand acres on both sides of the Poulter-in May, 1859. Part of the run was taken up in 1857 by J. C. Aitken, whom the Minchins bought out. I think Minchin sold the station to Major Thomas Woolaston White in April, 1860. A new license was given then to White and immediately transferred by him back to Minchin, no doubt as security for the purchase money. The Minchins' homestead was up the Poulter about six miles above its junction with the Waimakariri. White built a new homestead at Lake Letitia, a beautiful mountain lake which White named after his wife. It is now a sanctuary for native birds and there are still black teal and crested grebes there, and it is about the only place in Canterbury, except one or two on Banks Peninsula, where woodhens are not yet (1930) extinct. They are always about the yards and buildings and come to the house for scraps.
White lived at his other station, the Warren. His brothers, Taylor and John, worked Mt. White which I am told was named after Major White.
Sometime during the late 'sixties White failed, and Minchin took the station back and resold it in May, 1870, with 18,000 sheep, to John Moore Cochran and Gray. I do not know who Gray was but he sold his interest to Cochran in 1875.
I have given accounts of the Whites in my note on the Warren. Minchin lived mostly in Christchurch. He built a large house near where St. Saviour's at Shirley is now. He and his wife returned to England during the 'eighties, and he died there. His sons William and John looked after his stations. William afterwards had a farm at Waddington which he named Westwood, and died in Christchurch in December, 1889. John left New Zealand in the 'seventies and I believe made a fortune.
Cochran died at the station, and in 1885 the Loan and Mercantile took over Mt. White from his executors.page 244
J. M. Cochran came of an old Army family in the north of Ireland. He was the son of Major Cochran and was born about 1834. He came to New Zealand in the 'sixties. His brother James, of Lochinvar, was a cadet at Mt. White. The two Cochrans and Douglas Campbell of Craigieburn all married sisters.
At that time, or soon afterwards, the Loan Company took over from different owners all the runs at the head of the Waimakariri-Cora Lynn, Riversdale, Mt. White, and Lochinvar. They held them until 1902, when they sold them to F. J. Savill Savill sold Mt. White and Riversdale to Studholme and McAlpine about 1910. Studholme and McAlpine sold Mt. White and Riversdale to the present owners, D. C. and R. T. Turnbull, of Timaru, in 1924.
The Loan Company's manager was Thomas Douglas. He had previously managed Brookdale and Mt. Torlesse for them. Savill's managers were A. Dunbar and N. Carney. The present manager is J. G. Thompson.
For many years, in the Company's days, they went in extensively for horse breeding at Mt. White, and the old Tram Company used to buy an annual draft. Many of these horses were greys, and their old drivers still remember the Coronet (Mt. White) brand.
(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.
(Runs 234A, 235 and 346)
Snowdale ran from the Whistler across the Kingsdown Range and back to Mt. White, and Lochinvar, page 246and it took in Oxford Hill above the Harewood Forest. It joined Woodstock at the end of the Puketeraki Range.
Runs 234a and 235, of about twenty-five thousand acres altogether, were taken up in January and August, 1858, but I do not know by whom. In 1859 Mannering and Cunningham put the first stock on them, and as they built the first hut there and Mrs Mannering named the station, they were probably the original owners.
Run 346, next the Devil's Den, was taken up by Bartrum and Caton in March, 1860. I do not know who Bartrum was, but I suppose Caton was the same who took up part of Mesopotamia and quarrelled with Samuel Butler. Bartrum and Caton abandoned their country in 1866, and it was afterwards stocked by the Snowdale people.
I wrote about Mannering and Cunningham when I described their other stations, but since then I have seen a most interesting journal of Mannering's, which he left for his children. His ups and downs were typical of the struggles of the early settlers.
Mannering was born in London in 1836. As he was a very delicate boy he was partly educated in Switzerland, and when he was sixteen his father sent him out to South Australia with a friend called Young, who intended to settle there with his wife and family.
Young, after refusing to give £3000 for a cattle station in New South Wales, which was sold two years afterwards for £50,000, met Captain Dashwood, who had done a good deal of exploring in Nelson in the earliest days of the province, and bought a run in New Zealand from him. This run was of two hundred and fifty thousand acres and took in the whole country between the Waiau and Hurunui that lies above Cheviot; the better half of the Amuri.
Young and his party came across to Nelson in a ninety-ton schooner called the Comet. There were several other passengers and 28 horses, all packed like sardines, but they had fine weather and a good pas-page 247sage, which took twelve days. Only one of the horses died, and when they got to Nelson they slung the others overboard and let them swim ashore. The horses had cost three or four pounds a head in Australia, and were worth twenty-five to thirty a head at Nelson. Young had brought his money, 3000 sovereigns, in two boxes, which he and Mannering shouldered and carried up to the bank. The Nelson people were poor but hospitable, and were delighted to see so much money brought into their town.
Young bought 1500 sheep and sent Mannering overland with them to his run. He had two Scotch shepherds, a 'capital bushman,' three packhorses, and four or five dogs. Young went round to Lyttelton by sea.
It took Mannering and the sheep eight weeks to do their journey of two hundred and forty miles. They came by Jollie's Pass and the Hanmer Plains. The springs there had not yet been discovered. This was one of the first mobs to travel that way and one of the shepherds often had to go ahead to find openings in the scrub and crossings over rivers.
When they got to the run, the shepherds went back to Nelson, taking most of the tucker and two horses. Young did not meet Mannering and his mate with their stores, but Mannering found Mason living at Horsley Down looking after his own run and Sidey's, and Mason gave him enough to carry on with.
As Young did not turn up, after about a month Mannering made his way to Christchurch. There was no track for the first forty miles, but at last he struck Mt. Grey, where Mrs O'Connell treated him kindly and pointed out the Rangiora Bush to him. The only house at Rangiora in those days was Charles Torlesse's. He crossed the Waimakariri in a Maori canoe and swam his horse behind it. When he came to the Styx (then of course called the Sticks, from the sticks set up to mark the ford) he found a road to Christchurch formed, but not shingled.
This was in 1852 when a few wooden buildings (mostly in Colombo Street) were all there was of page 248Christchurch, except survey pegs. There was still no sign of Young, so Mannering got another horse, a packsaddle, and what stores he wanted, on credit from Isaac Cookson, the leading Christchurch merchant of those days, and went back to his job. This was a good performance for a boy of seventeen.
Young did not get to the station till fifteen months afterwards, when he promptly let it with the sheep. He could not fulfil the stocking conditions of his lease, and had to surrender St. Leonard's to Duppa, and other parts of his run to other people.
In the meantime, Mannering went on looking after the station, learning as he went. He and his mate lived the first six months in a tent, where the Culverden homestead is now; then they built themselves a cob hut. They had a lot of trouble with wild dogs, and often lost their sheep altogether. 'Fortunately merinos are very gregarious. When you find one, you find the lot.' They lived on tea, mutton, and damper, and kept count of the time by using one tin plate a day and washing the whole six on Sunday. They only lost count once or twice during the fifteen months they stayed there. Their only visitors were neighbours looking for stray horses or cattle.
They had to dip the sheep in tobacco water for scab.
When Young let the run, Mannering spent a year or more in Nelson and then, at the age of nineteen, went home to England. He married and came back to New Zealand in 1857. Young had suggested his renting what was left of the run (which was afterwards called Culverden), but before Mannering got to New Zealand, decided to sell it altogether. After looking round for about a year, Mannering joined Cunningham, and they bought Birch Hill and Fernside stations and either bought or took up Snowdale. Cunningham looked after Fernside and Mannering lived at Birch Hill, from which he worked Snowdale as a wether station.
He cut a bush track on the line of an old Maori one, to take sheep in and out by. This track crossed Blow-page 249hard, a hill which most people think was named after the winds there. It wasn't. It was named because an old shepherd pointed to it and said, 'My word, that hill makes you blow hard.'
There were some very bad bush fires and autumn tussock fires at Snowdale in the old days.
When the West Coast diggings started, Mannering took several drafts of fat wethers there from Snowdale, going by Browning's Pass. The first two or three drafts paid well, but the fourth got snowed in on the Pass, and those that reached the Coast were so poor when they got there that the owners lost a lot of money. On the journey, they used to leave their horses at the foot of the Pass and do the last two or three days on foot. Returning from his last trip, Mannering rode his horse from Browning's Pass to Birch Hill-eighty-four miles-in fourteen hours, swimming the Waimakariri on the way.
In 1866 Mannering and Cunningham were ruined by scab and other misfortunes, and George Hart, of Winchmore, who was their mortgagee, took over all their stations. Hart kept Snowdale and Birch Hill until 1874, when he sold them, with about 18,000 sheep to Captain Millton.
On Million's death his stations were divided amongst his sons, and Snowdale came to J. D. Millton, who sold it to Ensor Brothers, of Mt. Grey, in 1903. C. H. Ensor, who had bought his brother's interests in Snowdale, sold it in 1915 to R. O. Duncan. The lease ran out in 1917, but as times were uncertain, the Government as an act of grace, extended Duncan's lease till 1919, so that instead of selling his sheep in 1917 he lost a great many of them in the 1918 snowstorm—one of the worst on record.
In 1919 the Government, resumed Snowdale and subdivided it. The only homestead was a hut and yards.
The homestead block now belongs to A. C. Witty, a son of the Hon. George Witty. After losing his runs, I think Cunningham lived at his sons' station, Loburn. Hart let the homestead at Fernside back on easy terms page 250to Mannering, who made another start, this time going in for mixed farming. Weathering the '68 flood (he happened to be in Christchurch and rowed a boat right into the Clarendon Hotel), hailstorms, droughts, and low prices, he did well, and bought a good deal of land very advantageously, and lived to be seventy-five.
I gave some account of Hart and Captain Millton when I wrote about Winchmore and Birch Hill.
The Okuku Country
The Okuku Country, twenty thousand acres, lay behind Whiterock, from which the Okuku River separated it. It took in Block Hill, and ran back to a wild piece of unoccupied bush country called the Devil's Den, which bounds Esk Head, the Virginia, Snowdale, Lochinvar, and Mt. White.
It included a piece of country (called Elderton's Downs) between that and the Okuku River.
It was taken up by Captain W. Millton in December, 1857. He and George Paterson, his manager at View Hill, explored it together, and showed very good judgment in taking it rather than Snowdale, which, perhaps, looks more attractive in summer. At that time Captain Millton owned View Hill, and tried to work the Okuku from there, but could find no practicable way to take sheep from one to the other, so he leased the Okuku Country to Mannering and Cunningham, the owners of Birch Hill and other stations.
In 1874 he bought Birch Hill as a shearing place for the Okuku sheep, and since then Okuku has been worked as a part of Birch Hill.
It was in the Midland Railway area and when the company sold their land in 1889 the whole of the Okuku Downs was made freehold. Since then about half the country has been sold, but what remains of it still belongs to Colonel E. B. Millton, a son of the page 251original owner. It was one of the only twelve stations in Canterbury which has never changed hands except by inheritance.
Robert Laurie and James Gordon were early managers for Captain Millton, and Henry Elderton and Donald Fraser (after whom places on the run are named) were early shepherds there.
Mannering and Cunningham's overseer was John O'Halloran, afterwards manager and finally owner of Glentui.
(Runs 127, 165, 166 and 168)
Whiterock was bounded on the north by the south branch of the Waipara and ran to the top of The Brothers. It was bounded by Mt. Grey on the east, the Okuku River on the west, and Loburn on the south.
Runs 165, 166 and 168 were taken up in August, 1957, by John Macfarlane. He had taken up Loburn in 1851 and worked Whiterock as part of it until he sold Loburn in 1862, when he built a homestead at Whiterock.
A man called Young took up Run 127 (Mt. Karetu, the part of Whiterock adjoining Mt. Brown), in November, 1853, and had 1200 sheep there in 1858. He sold his run and sheep to Macfarlane about 1860. I have not been able to find out who he was or anything about him.
John Macfarlane came out to New Zealand in the early 'forties, and soon afterwards went to the Wairarapa, but was driven out by the Maoris in 1850 and came down to Canterbury. He landed at the Heathcote from a whale boat about a fortnight before the arrival of the First Four Ships, which he saw from the top of Scarborough Hill.
Macfarlane lived at Coldstream near Rangiora. His first manager at Whiterock was John Robinson. Robinson had been a shepherd at Esk Head and was sup-page 252posed to have walked from there to Lyttelton and back to Christchurch in twenty-four hours, making only one stop—at Saltwater Creek, where he drank a pint of whisky. Owing to the scrub there, scab was very bad at Loburn and Whiterock in the 'sixties. Macfarlane was fined £1000 on one occasion and £1500 on another. In June, 1868, Mallock and Lance of Horsley Down claimed £500 from him for contaminating 21,000 of their sheep, but Macfarlane got this reduced by arbitration to £275. Robinson dipped the sheep in arsenic, and besides killing several hundred of them with it, nearly killed the shepherds as well. He left in 1869, and fell off the pier at Dunedin and was drowned. He was succeeded as manager by Alexander McLean, who stayed about five years, during which he cleared the scab. He used to dress the infected sheep with spirits of tar and tobacco, and then dip the whole flock a month later with sulphur and tobacco.
After this time, Macfarlane used Whiterock as a wether station and took the wethers on to Coldstream where he fattened them for the Coast.
For a time, in the 'sixties, Macfarlane let the run and sheep to his brother Malcolm (who was afterwards drowned in the Rakaia), and John Mann, but owing to scab they did no good and John Macfarlane took the run back some time before 1867, when he had 18,000 sheep there.
In 1882 Walter Nicholls, who at that time owned Haylands, bought Whiterock from Macfarlane, and in 1889, when the Midland Railway Company sold their land, made the whole run freehold.
In 1904 or 1905, after Nicholls's death, his executors sold Whiterock to G. D. Greenwood of Teviotdale. Greenwood made a lot of money by cutting it up. He sold the homestead block to C. H. Ensor, who sold off the land in smaller blocks. The Whiterock house was burnt down during Ensor's time, but the old station woolshed is still used by the Whiterock Shearing Company.
Macfarlane's last manager was Miles Campbell, one page 253of the compilers of the Cyclopaedia of New Zealand, who stayed on until about 1889 with Nicholls, when he was succeeded for a short time by W. B. Scott. William Macintosh, one of the best sheep men in Canterbury, succeeded Scott, and managed Whiterock until it was cut up by Greenwood.
Amongst the old station hands must be mentioned Henry Elderton, of Amberley,* who, as I said before. was the best authority I know on the history of the hill stations between the Hurunui and the Waimakariri Rivers.
(Runs 21, 169 and 170)
Wharfedale took in all the flat country, about ten thousand acres, between the Ashley River and the Whistler; and all the hill country in Lees Valley facing north and west, from Oxford Hill to within two miles of the Okuku. The eastern boundary was the Harewood Forest Reserve. A small run, later known as 'O' Halloran's Country,' joined the northern end of Wharfdale and was for many years worked with it.
Run 21, of twenty-three thousand seven hundred acres, was taken up in May, 1856, by Lee Brothers, who named the station after Wharfedale in Yorkshire. In April, 1857, they took up Runs 169 and 170, each of five thousand acres.
George William Henry Lee was the chief partner and bought out his brother soon after the station was started. He lived on his other station, the Warren, and in his time the Wharfedale sheep were always shorn at the Warren. He was a keen racing man, and in his younger days a good horseman, and was generally known as 'Jockey' Lee. Samuel Coleman was his manager at Wharfedale. In those days the only way in was over Blowhard, and in bad winters all communication was cut off for two or three months. page 254Nevertheless Coleman took his wife and young family in there to live, and some of his children were born there. Wharfedale was used as a cattle station until the late 'sixties.
Lee thought he had the whole of the Upper Ashley Valley to himself, but in 1876 or 1877 the Honourable Edward Richardson—possibly in partnership with H. de Bourbel, who lived up there as supervisor—began applying for small sections of the run, and crowding sheep on to them, so that Lee had either to starve his stock or go to the expense of fencing. I have already described Richardson's driving Knowles out of Glentui by attacking him in the same way. Lee sold Wharfedale to Richardson, and for many years afterwards the station was worked as part of Glentui.
When Richardson and Co. bought Wharfedale they extended the Glentui Forest Road by a pack track (Richardson's Track) to join the Blowhard, and so brought Wharfedale within easy reach of Glentui, where the sheep (fully 26,000) were shorn. The owners went in for a progressive policy and had a dray, plough and chaffcutter hauled by bullocks and horses and men to Blowhard, and lowered into the valley. They bought a great deal of freehold and grew oats and turnips there. One cultivated part is still called 'De Bourbel's,' but has been corrupted to 'Debobbles' in the course of years—at least that is how the present occupier brands his wool.
At some time in the late 'eighties, the Bank of New Zealand took both Wharfedale and Glentui over from Richardson. In 1891 the Bank handed them over with other stations to the Bank of New Zealand Assets Realisation Board. The Bank sold Wharfedale and Glentui in 1899, when John O'Halloran, their manager, bought Glentui. W. Vincent bought Wharfedale and held it until 1906, when he sold to Hugh Ensor, with about 6000 sheep.
De Bourbel, Richardson's supervisor, had been a subaltern in a Hussar Regiment and fought in the Crimea. He missed the Charge of the Light Brigade page 255as he was in bed with a sprained ankle. After Richardson's collapse, he started as a stock agent in Christchurch but did no good, and went to Tauranga where he died in very poor circumstances sometime after 1900. In his Canterbury days he was always very smartly dressed and was sometimes called Count de Bourbel. It was probably a genuine title, as I see there is a noble French family of the name which was naturalized in England in 1797.
Ensor kept the station until the Crown leases expired in 1917, when the Government bought back the freehold sections, pooled them with the leasehold, and subdivided the whole amongst returned soldiers.
The old homestead, which during the past seventy years has given rest and shelter to many a weary traveller, now belongs to W. B. Starky.
(Runs 109, 260 and 270, afterwards all joined and re-numbered 653)
I can only give a sketchy account of Woodstock as since my notes were burned I have never met anyone who knew it well in the early days.
Woodstock lay on the north bank of the Waimakariri above View Hill. It was bounded by the Waimakariri on the south and west, and by the Harewood Forest on the east and north. The homestead is close to the cliffs overlooking the gorge and was a wild, romantic-looking place in the early days. A good deal of the Harewood Forest was included in the run. The Puketeraki Range, at the western end of Woodstock, runs down in spurs to the Waimakariri. The leading spur drops to an open saddle at the source of the Townshend River, by which stray sheep passed be tween Woodstock and Snowdale.
Woodstock was originally three separate stations. Run 109 was allotted to George Matson on 1st August, 1853, and he transferred it to Captain James Row on 5th September, 1854. In June, 1855, Row transferred page 256it to Robert Chapman. I do not know how long Chapman kept it. He still had it in September, 1856.
Run 260 was apparently allotted to John W. Smart in May, 1858. On 1st May, 1860, G. F. Day took over the leases of both Runs 109 and 260, after which they were always one station. The next record I can find of Woodstock is in 1865 when it belonged to Ekersley, Welsh and Wilson, known as Wilson and Company.
Run 270 was taken up by David Kinnebrook in August, 1858. His country began on the Waimakariri three miles above the gorge. Kinnebrook died about 1864 and his executors sold his run to W. Foster in 1866.
Also in 1866, Wilson and Co. sold their station to James Drummond Macpherson. In March, 1869, Matheson's Agency took it over from Macpherson, and Matheson's must have bought or taken over Foster's station soon afterwards, as in November, 1872, the licenses for all three runs were cancelled and a new one (No. 653) issued which included them all in one.
On 29th August, 1878, Matheson's Agency sold Woodstock to George, Henry and Francis Ffitch (Ffitch and Sons) from whom it passed to the National Mortgage and Agency Company in 1885. In the late 'eighties the National Mortgage sold it to R. and W. McKay (McKay and Co.). W. McKay died in 1901, and in 1902 the station was offered at auction when R. O. Dixon, the present owner, bought it.
After the 1914-18 War the Government resumed about half the Woodstock country and settled a returned soldier on it.
Of the early owners I cannot identify Matson or Smart. Row was the owner of Wai-iti and Chapman was the owner of Springbank. G. F. Day may have been the owner of the run on Kaiapoi Island. I know nothing of W. Foster. Ekersley is not a common name so this is probably the man who once had a brewery at Kaiapoi. Wilson was a shepherd at Broomfield after leaving Woodstock. He designed the yards there about 1866. I know nothing of their partner Welsh.
* He died in April, 1930.