The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]
Canterbury was from the first a colony founded under very exceptional conditions. As far back as 1837 the New Zealand Association had been formed to colonise these islands, and its work was inspired lamely by the enthusiasm and energy of one man—Edward Gibbon Wake field. The active process of settlement was begun in 1839 with the departure of the “Tory” for New Zealand. By the close of 1841 Captain Arthur Wakefield arrived to found the Nelson settlement; and his brother, Colonel Wakefield, the New Zealand Company's agent, was anxious for him to go south and occupy the land round Port Cooper, as Lyttelton Harbour Was then called. But this choice was overruled by Governor Hobson. As time went on other settlements were projected: and in 1847 Mr. Tuckett, the New Zealand Company's Nelson surveyor, came south to examine the country on behalf of a Scotch colonising association. Unfortunately he found the plains near the sea swamped by the overflow of Lake Ellesmere, and he went on his way towards Otago, declaring this part of the country unfit for colonisation. It was thus by a series of accidents that the great plains east and south of Banks' Peninsula were left vacant for the advent of the Canterbury Pilgrim Fathers.
While pursuing his crusade on behalf of systematic colonisation in New Zealand, Edward Gibbon Wakefield had met John Robert Godley; and these two enthusiasts sketched the plan of settlement, of which the most important details have been stated. The locality first fixed on was the Wairarapa Valley. But several circumstances, notably the good account of the Canterbury Plains submitted to Colonel Wakefield; by Captain Daniel and Mr. George Duppa, in 1841, induced the promoters to change their purpose. An important determining factor was the letter sent in 1847 to the agent of the Association in London by the Brothers Deans, already for some years settlers on the plains. By the middle of 1848, a charter of self government had been granted to the embryo colony, and the first surveyor to the Association, Captain Thomas, was then despatched with a number of assistants to construct roads and prepare the way as far as possible for the first shipment of colonists.
At last the time came when the great project was to be put into execution. In July, 1850, the intending colonists, who had arranged to leave England as soon as possible after Mr. Godley's departure, elected a Council to administer the affairs of the Society of Canterbury Colonists. The names of the members, nearly all of whom played an important part in Canterbury history, are worth recording: W. G. Brittan, LieutenantColonel Campbell, J. E. Fitzgerald, G. Lee, C. Maunsell, H. Phillips, J. Watts Russell, H. Sewell, H. J. Tancred, J. Townsend, Felix Wakefield, and E. R. Ward. The places of Mr. Lee and Mr. Sewell were taken later by Mr. Cholmondeley and Dr. Savage. This Council acted on behalf of the Colonists's Association till they left England. Among other matters they named the town at Port Cooper or Port Victoria, Lyttelton, after the able and public spirited Chairman of the Association. The name Christchurch, as the name of the Cathedral Church of Canterbury, and also of the famous University College, was retained for the town which was to be the site of the chief church and college in the settlement. By May it was announced that two ships had already been taken up. The fares were: Chief cabin £42, intermediate £25, and steerage £15. By September, everything was ready for the start. The “Times,” in commenting on the farewell banquet given to the colonists on board one of the vessels, observes: “Half a century hence, some of that company may be dwelling in the midst of thickly peopled countries, surrounded by their children and grandchildren, and venerated as the founders of cities and the soared links between England and her colonial offspring.” About 600 of the “assisted” colonists or emigrants were entertained at a dinner at Gravesend before the departure. At last the “first four ships,” now so famed in colonial records, cleared from Plymouth, On the 7th of September, the “Charlotte Jane,” 720 tons, left with 125 passengers, followed in a few hours by the “Randolph,” 761 tons, with 220 passengers. At midnight, on the 7th of September, the “Cressy,” 720 tons, sailed with 155 passengers, and next day the “Sir George Seymour,” 850 tons, weighed anchor, with 227 passengers. There were thus considerably over 700 passengers in the first small fleet despatched by the Association.
When Mr. Godley reached Lyttelton in April, 1850, he confessed himself astonished at the progress already made in the settlement. “I was perfectly astounded,” he writes, “with what I saw. One might have supposed that the country had been colonised for years, so settled and busy was the look of the port.” A jetty, immigration barracks, several substantial houses, two hotels, and a good road met the view of strangers approaching from the sea. “Certainly,” he adds, “no body of settlers ever found so much done to smooth their path as ours will find.” When the “four ships” arrived the colonists had little reason to complain. The “Sir George Seymour,” “Randolph,” “Charlotte Jane” sighted Stewart's Island all on the same day; ninety-four days out from Plymouth. In November, 1850, the “Phœbe Dunbar” brought word to Lyttelton that the “four ships” had left England, and might soon be expected. At last, on the 16th of December, a day for ever memorable in the history of the colony, the first three ships sailed into Port Victoria. It was a lovely summer's day, and the enthusiasm and joy of the Pilgrim Fathers was boundless. “When we entered,” wrote one of them, “and sailed, as it were, into the bosom of the encircling hills, who was there who did not feel at the time that he could have gone through the fatigues of the whole voyage, if it were only to enjoy the keen and pure gratification, and the lifelong memories of those few last days.” The “Cressy” did not arrive till the 27th of December, having been delayed by bad weather; but on the whole the first colonists reached Canterbury with but little hardships, and saw their new home for the first time under very favourable conditions.
At this time it must be remembered that Lyttelton was the only township in the new colony. There were two houses on the Canterbury Plains, and the farm of the Deans Brothers at Riccarton, with its heavy crops and luxuriant orchard, served as a strong contrast to the boundless tract of treeless, uncultivated land around. When Mr. Warren Adams visited the settlement in 1851–2, he was astonished and delighted at the appearance of Lyttelton. “Wide streets, neat houses, shops, stores, hotels, coffee rooms, emigration barracks, a neat seawall, and an excellent and convenient jetty with vessels discharging their cargoes upon it, met our view; whilst a momentary ray of sunshine lit up the shingled roofs and the green hills in the background, until the whole place seemed to break into a triumphant smile at our surprise.” But the first view of Christchurch, or rather of its site, was of a very different nature. “The mountains in the distance were completely hidden by the thick rain; and the dreary swampy plain, which formed the foreground beneath our feet, might extend for aught we could see, over the whole island. The few small woe begone houses, which met our view increased rather than diminished the desolate appearance of the landscape.” But the author of “A Spring in the Canterbury Settlement” did not make fair allowance for the difference produced by the weather. For the first six weeks after the “four ships” arrived, the settlers enjoyed a typical New Zealand summer. They camped in tents or built V huts of raupo and flax. As fresh batches of immigrants appeared the barracks had to be cleared out for their accommodation, and before substantial dwellings could be raised a large proportion of the newly arrived populace was practically camped in the open at Lyttelton and Christchurch. An eye witness writes of their first experience of a “sou'-wester”; “The weather changed very suddenly, and a boisterous wind with a deluge of rain found many quite unprepared to withstand it. Tents were seen in every stage of collapse, blankets, toi-toi, and fern careering madly through the air, and the houseless seeking and finding shelter wherever a good Samaritan could take them in.” The appearance of Christchurch at this time was certainly not inviting. The only means of communication by land with the Port was the Bridle Track over the hills; and across this rocky and precipitous path and through the swamps that fringed the Heathcote and the Avon, the pioneers had to carry their household goods to the allotments that they had chosen on the plains. The heaviest part of the cargoes could be page 69 transhipped into small boats which came up the river from the Estuary as far as “The Bricks,” the old landing place near the present Barbadoes Street Bridge. But the banks of the stream were densely covered with flax and toi-toi, fern, and raupo, and even this means of carriage was very expensive and slow. Early in 1852 Mr. Adams and his friends lost their way in the swamps and wandered about for a long time disconsolately, trying to find the new city. One of the best known and bravest of the Pilgrim Fathers used to tell with glee how he was once, early in 1851, hailed by a man struggling through the high scrub in Cathedral Square, and indignantly demanding to be shown the way to Christchurch. But already there were conveniences and comforts which those who came before the settlement—the Deans, the Hays, the Sinclairs, and the Akaroa pioneers—had never enjoyed. Some of the newcomers were disheartened by the strange life and the hardships which at first faced them on every hand. “They landed,” says Archdeacon Paul in his “Letters from Canterbury,” and found the vaunted Canterbury Plains little better than a howling wilderness. Their welcome was sung perhaps by the terrible south-west wind, with its driving rain or sleet: the rickety sheds in which they sought shelter admitted the rain which splashed on their faces as they lay in bed; and some of them soon discovered that those who came out with little or no capital either in the form of money or a pair of strong arms, and a hopeful contented spirit, might be ruined in a colony even more rapidly than at home.” But, as might be expected of men and women who had come 14,000 miles to make new homes in a strange land, most of the Pilgrims were prepared to face hardships and even find amusements in the discomforts inseparable from such primitive forms of existence. Mr. Ebenezer Hay in the early days used to carry from forty pounds to seventy pounds of butter every week from Pigeon Bay to Akaroa on his back. returning the same day over thirty miles of mountainous bush track; and this little fact is typical of the sturdy resolution of the first colonists and the way in which they faced the difficulties of their life. When William Deans welcomed his family and his friends to the first house ever built on the plains, and some of the fathers and mothers forcing their way through the thick scrub with their children on their shoulders, complained of the roughness of the path, he laughingly consoled them by assuring them that some day they would have railways, and drive over the plains in carriages. Nothing but a strong confidence in the future could have upheld the men and women of those days in the struggle which they had to face. The women even more than the men had to contend with daily trials and difficulties such as their descendants can hardly realise now; and they bore them no less bravely. Writing of Mrs Gedley, Mr. J. E. Fitzgerald says: “It was not an enviable position for a lady who had always lived amidst the luxuries that accompany wealth and the gentle courtesies that surrounded birth, to submit to the discomfort and inconvenience inseparable from the founding of a new settlement. Those who knew Mrs Godley never heard her utter a complaint or pretend to despise the tasks in which she had to engage. She, like her husband, could understand how the little offices of daily life become sanctified and ennobled by the name of duty. She, too, believed in the nobility of work; and what her hand found to do she did with all her might. She left us the example how it is possible in the midst of harassing cares and unwonted discomfort to be gentle and serene and cheerful and uniformly courteous to all, and how little it needs of wordly wealth to create the purest type of an English home upon the shores of a scarcely inhabited island.” These words might have been written of many another woman among the founders of the settlement; and they aptly illustrate the spirit in which our pioneers set about their great work.
The City of Christchurch was completely surveyed by the time that the first “four ships” arrived. This work had been carried out by Mr. Edward Jollie, under the supervision of Captain Thomas, who had been sent out by the Canterbury Association to prepare the way for the settlers. Lyttelton was surveyed by Mr. Jollie in August, 1849, and Simmer in October. The survey of Christchurch was begun early in 1850. Mr. Jollie lived near “The Bricks,” the old landing place on the Avon, and with six men soon had the work well under way. Some of the streets were to have been as wide as the belts, to allow of a row of trees being planted along the centre; but Captain Thomas afterwards removed this feature of the plan. The city proper was a little over a mile square: and the rectangular arrangement of the streets was pleasantly diversified by the terraces following the course of the river. By March, 1850, the map of Christchurch was finished, and a copy was sent to the Association in London. The only English names in use on the plains so far were those adopted by William and John Deans page 70 when they first settled in the bush above Christchurch. They had called their homestead, the Maori Potoringamotn, by the Scotch name of Riccarton, after their home in Scotland; and the Te Onepoto, the stream running from Riccarton to the sea, was named by them the Avon, not, as is frequently assumed after the English and Welsh streams, but from a little river flowing into the Clyde between Ayr and Lanark, near their grandfather's ancestral property. The choice of Christchurch as the name for the capital city has already been recorded. The selection of names for the streets and squares was dictated to some extent by the strong clerical element in the Association. Here is Mr. Jollie's account of the naming of the streets: “Thomas with his gold spectacles on and a peerage in his hand, read out a name that he fancied, and if he thought it sounded well, and I also thought so, it was written in on the map. I have been often asked why so few English titles were given to Christchurch. The explanation is this. The Lyttelton map was the first that was finished, and the first dealt with. Sumner followed. The result was that these two towns had used up most of the tip-top English titles; and for Christchurch, which came last, there was scarcely anything left but Ireland and the colonies.”
Except the areas chosen as sites for the chief town and seaport, all the land in the settlement was from the first thrown open to purchasers. Priority of selection was naturally reserved for the “first body of colonists,” consisting of those who applied for land before the 25th of August, 1850. To this “first body” land was sold in order of applicacation. The second portion of the “first body” of colonists consisted of those who made application for land at the Land Office in the colony before the 12th of August, 1851. Each of the “first body” of colonists was entitled to receive, for £150, two land orders: one for a rural section of fifty acres, the other for a half-acre town allotment in the capital (Lyttelton), or a quarter acre in any seaport town. The total quantity of land purchased by the first body of colonists was, however, not to exceed 101,000 acres. But with respect to land thrown open for pasturage, these “first” colonists were to receive a pre-emptive right, entitling them to purchase any portion of the land, not less than fifty acres in area, which they had previously leased, and which the Association should desire to sell.
Apart from these original purchasers, anyone might buy rural land in blocks of not less than fifty acres at £3 per acre; town land, in Lyttelton, in halfacre sections at £24 per allotment, and in other towns, after April, 1850, in quarter-acre sections at £12 per allotment. In addition to this, everyone of the “first body of colonists,” as above defined, was entitled to a pasturage license at the rate of five acres of pasture for each acre of rural land in his possession for an annual rent of 16s 8d per 100 acres, and so long as any land remained unsold it was open for lease as pasture at the rate of £1 per annum for 100 acres. As soon as the land was thrown open for selection a good deal of speculation began in town sections. It should be remembered that, though Christchurch had been surveyed, there was considerable doubt as to whether the distance from the sea and the difficulty of carriage would not render the site useless for a capital; and Lyttelton was regarded as the most likely metropolis. The land purchasers who arrived by the first three ships, four days after reaching land, agreed that Christchurch was the most suitable locality, and Mr. Godley accordingly declared it the site for the capital. On the 31st of December, after the arrival of the “Cressy,” the land purchasers constituted a Council, and proceeded to represent their views on all matters of general interest to Mr. Godley. Within a month after the arrival of the Pilgrims the printing press which they had brought with them was utilised, and the “Lyttelton Times” was published for the first time on the 11th of January, 1851. In the first issue it is stated that the quarter-acre section chosen for the college site had already let for £100 a year, and land along Norwich Quay was actually letting at 15s per foot frontage. By the 8th of March, rural sections to the extent of 3000 acres had been marked off and possession given to the owners. On the 28th of April, fifteen sections of rural land each a quarter-acre in extent, were put up for auction, and fourteen sold at an average price of £10. This meant that about three acres and a half of rural land paid almost the full price (£150) for the fifty acres rural allotment without counting the town section attached. The first auction sale of town lots in Lyttelton and Christchurch on behalf of the Association was held in April, 1851. Most of the Christchurch lots sold at the upset price of £24 or more, according to position; and one section was run as high as £40. For Lyttelton land there was much more competition; many of the lots fetching from two to three times the upset price. During the same month some rural sections were sold at £8 per quarteracre, though at some distance from Christchurch. On the whole, the “Lyttelton Times” considered that these sections had sold well, but not extravagantly, and that there were few indications of that spirit of gambling which is generally injurious to young settlements.
It has been acutely remarked that it would have been a great misfortune for Canterbury to have been founded twelve months later. By the end of 1851, the wealth and the energy of Australia was turned almost wholly in the direction of gold. But before the diggings “broke out,” numbers of Australian capitalists had cast longing eyes upon the splendid pastoral country between the Hurunui and the Rangitata, free as it was from the alternate droughts and floods which squatters had to fear in Victoria and New South Wales. Just before the discovery of gold, stations in Australia were not infrequently sold at a price computed at the rate of 4d to 6d per sheep, with station buildings and all appurtenances thrown in. The accounts of Canterbury given by Mr. Joseph Hawdon in the Sydney and Melbourne papers roused great interest. Many squatters and others came over to Canterbury; a large trade with Lyttelton in horses, cattle, and sheep grew up, and by 1851 there was a great deal of Australian capital ready and anxious for investment in Canterbury sheep land. A difficulty at once arose, which is perhaps best described in the words of Mr. J. E. Fitzgerald in his “Memoir of Godley.” “The original regulations of the Canterbury Association contemplated the occupation of the land under lease as a privilege attaching solely to the purchasers of land. No sooner had the settlers landed than colonists from Australia began to arrive with their flocks and herds and to claim runs on which to depasture their stock after the usual Australian manner. Mr. Godley felt at once that a great practical difficulty had arisen. He had no power to grant these runs, but he plainly saw that it page 71 would be ruinous to the interests of the new born settlement to drive away the capital and the colonial intelligence and experience which was being imported from the neighbouring colonies. He took upon himself at once to reverse the regulations of the Association and to establish new ones applicable to the circumstances of the colony. There had been established a society consisting of all the land purchasers which formed at starting something like a representative body of the resident colonists. Mr. Godley submitted to the Land Purchasers' Society a set of regulations for squatting: undertaking to put them in force and guaranteeing the assent of the Association at Home to their provisions. The resolutions were moved by Mr. Fitzgerald, and carried. The terms upon which the runs were to be held for pastoral purposes were fixed to the satisfaction of the Australian squatters who had recently arrived; capital and stock continued to flow in: and the ruin which was inevitable had the agent rigidly adhered to his instructions, was averted.” It was remarked by Mr. William Deans, of Riccarton, that Mr. Godley's action really saved the colony: and the correctness of the agent's judgment and the fairness of his measures are proved by the fact that the pastoral system he established has been maintained almost unaltered to the present day.
The little town grew apace; the bushes near Riccarton and Papanui were gradually cleared, though the fragment still preserved on the Deans estate is a cherished relic of the early days. In 1851 a new arrival described the town as “simply a site chosen for a township, partly swamp and broken ground, mostly covered with raupo, native flax, and tutu.” The few buildings were prominent landmarks: Mr. Brittan's on the site of the present Clarendon Hotel, Dr. Barker's nearly opposite, and the Lands Office where the Municipal Buildings now stand. But the swamps were being drained and the roads levelled and metalled, though the Papanui Road, by which the Maoris came down to market from Kaiapoi, was for long little better than a dry watercourse, almost impassable in bad weather. In the early fifties the weekly market was always held in Cathedral Square on the present Post Office site. St. Michael's Church was built, and the organ—the first in New Zealand—came out in 1851. The first wooden house put up in Christchurch was brought down by Mr. George Gould from Auckland, and erected in February, 1851. Gradually the whare and V hut stage of civilisation passed away and the capital began to look like a town. Even amidst the hardships of such a life the colonists found room for amusement. In 1851, on the very first anniversary day of the province, athletic sports and races were held in Hagley Park, and a grand ball was given in the evening. On the 1st of January, 1852, the first regatta was held in Lyttelton, which was still as large and as populous as Christchurch. A school—the nucleus of Christ's College—had been started almost as soon as the “four ships” arrived; and a library had been opened a few weeks later. In 1851 the horseferry was established over the Heathcote. In 1852 a ferry over the Waimakariri opened the way to the northern district; and the first bridge was built across the Avon, By 1852 there were 3400 Europeans and 200 natives in Canterbury, with 50,000 sheep and 3000 cattle. Lyttelton, with 170 houses, held 580 people, and Christchurch, with 200 houses, had 600 inhabitants.
So far there had been hardly any attempt at local government. The Land Purchasers, standing for the colonists, represented their views to Mr. Godley, and he, on behalf of the Canterbury Association, administered government to the best of his ability. One of the first difficulties he had to face was the dis content of the colonists who found that the educational facilities promised had not yet been provided, through lack of funds. But with characteristic skill he managed to turn this ill feeling to account by encouraging them to subscribe towards churches and schools. Financial difficulties were at first serious, as the Central Government was in the habit of drawing largely upon the settlements. The attitude of the authorities was by no means conciliating. Auckland and Wellington from the first regarded Canterbury as rather an “exclusive” and “aristocratic” settlement; and in 1851 Sir George Grey, at Wellington, made a vigorous attack upon the land system of the association as prohibiting poor men from becoming landowners. However, many difficulties were removed when, in 1852, the Imperial Parliament passed a Constitution Act giving New Zealand self government; and the Central Government then gave each of the provinces control and disposal of all unsold lands within their borders subject only to the debt of £280,000 due to the New Zealand Company. The position of the Provincial Government in its relation to the General Government has already been indicated. As far as Canterbury was concerned, the establishment of the Provincial Council meant the deposition of the Association which had founded the settlement. Its work was done; and the authority of Mr. Godley came to an end. His character and the nature of his work have been well described by one who himself played no small part in the early history of the province. “From the 16th of December, 1850, to the 22nd of December, 1852, when Mr. Godley sailed for England, he was in all but name, the Governor of the settlement which he had originated and formed. Such a career is not granted to many in this life. Most men are but the agents to carry out the schemes of others; it was given to Mr. Godley to carry out his own designs. What he was amongst us during the first two years of the settlement, some of us remember, and most of us know by tradition; not with coffers full and facilities abundant, but in poverty of funds, amid great difficulties, amid much discomfort, amid the disappointment of many sanguine expectations, and the ill-concealed hostility of a government which appeared vexed at the additional trouble imposed upon it by the founding of a new colony within its jurisdiction, Mr Godley guided the infant fortunes of Canterbury in the full and entire conviction of the result which must one day come.” The largest and most enthusiastic gathering yet held in the colony met in Hagley Park to bid him farewell: and the statue in Cathedral Square will hand down to future generations the reverence and affection with which the “Pilgrims” regarded the founder of Canterbury. “He ruled with no rod of iron, but,” says the writer already quoted, “thanks to his special personality, no ruler with unlimited force and resources behind him could have secured more implicit obedience to his behests or compelled a faith so unbounded.”
But though Mr. Godley had gone and the Canterbury Association was defunct, the colony followed in the footsteps of its founders. The Provincial Council of 1853 reduced the price of land to £2 per acre; but Canterbury made a firm stand against the “cheap land” doctrine preached by no one so enthusiastically as by Sir George Grey. Wakefield and Godley, who had drafted the plan of settlement, both understood the evils resulting from the purchase of huge blocks of cheap land by speculators in unoccupied countries; and their followers had no intention of affording another instance of the value of the “unearned increment.” Sir George Grey, by proclamation in 1853, arbitrarily reduced the price of waste lands throughout page 73 the colony to 5s and 10s per acre. Of course this could not affect the values inside the Canterbury block—betweeen Double Corner, on the Waipara, and the Ashburton; but Mr. Henry Sewell, acting on behalf of Canterbury, got a judgment of the Supreme Court declaring such sales invalid. In spite of this, large purchases were made at these figures. Mr. G. H. Moore bought the Glenmark estate beyond the Weka Pass—28,000 acres—at 10s per acre, and the land is not yet broken up for settlement. “Ready-Money” Robinson bought a large block in the Amuri (then Nelson province), which cost him in discounted scrip about 2s 6d per acre; and this Cheviot estate cost the present Government about a quarter of a million to acquire it for small farms. The determination of the Provincial Councils to maintain the land within their boundaries at Wakefield's “sufficient price,” effectually prevented Canterbury from falling a prey to enterprising “land sharks.” At the same time the price did not prohibit valuable colonists from settling on the land. Between 1853 and 1858 the land revenue rose as high as £96,000 per annum; by 1873 it had reached to £650,000. This huge revenue was the grand source of Canterbury's early prosperity, and when the land funds were merged in the general colonial finances by the abolition of the provinces, the whole of New Zealand reaped a most substantial gain from the discretion and foresight of the founders of Canterbury.
Some idea of the rapid progress made by the province can be gained from the pamphlet on Canterbury published in 1862 by Mr. H. Selfe, then immigration officer for the province in London. In 1861 the Kaiapoi district, favoured by the Waimakariri river trade, rose into importance, and when Mr. Selfe wrote Kaiapoi and Saltwater Creek on the Ashley were already the centres of well cultivated districts. Heathcote had become the regular port of discharge from Lyttelton, and the trade at the steam wharf on the Ferry Road had assumed large dimensions; though the Ferrymead line, the first railroad in Canterbury, along the banks of the Heathcote, was not opened till 1863. In 1862, Christchurch itself had about 2000 inhabitants. Mr. Selfe dwells with enthusiasm upon its architectural splendurs: the Provincial Council Chamber, the Supreme Court, immigration barracks, banks, club, college, warehouses. There were breweries, flourmills, a pottery, an iron foundry, many well filled shops, and a large body of professional men; “and all this had grown up from nothing in ten years.” When the Provincial Council had lowered the price of land from £3 to £2 per acre, it had ceased to apply a fixed part of the land revenue to educational and ecclesiastical purposes. But it had then voted £10,000 for the building of churches and schools, and for some years had applied at least £2500 annually to the same purpose. During its second session the Council voted £10,000 for immigration, £1000 for local steam navigation, and £2500 for public works. In 1855 Christ's College was incorporated, and was established on its present site in 1857. The great advances made in educational institutions, and the careful provision for the future of education in the province have already been described. But long before this the city and the province had made great strides in industrial development. One of the pioneers of Canterbury industry, Mr. John Anderson, came out in the Sir George Seymour, and began with a little blacksmith's forge at “The Bricks,” where the boats from Lyttelton discharged. To give an idea of the conditions under which work had then to be carried on, it may be enough to mention that Mr. Anderson often walked over to Lyttelton after his day's work was done and brought back the iron that he needed for the next day. After a time he purchased the section on which Anderson's foundry now stands; there his first imported engine was set up in 1857. From that time onward the history of the firm is closely connected with the growth of engineering and mechanical industries throughout the colony. Mr. W. D. Wood, who arrived in the “Randolph,” early turned his attention to milling, and in 1856 he erected in “Windmill Road” (Antigua Street) the first flourmill in the settlement. By 1860 the venture had turned out so well that Mr. Wood was able to erect a larger mill on the Avon, near Riccarton. Both the original windmill and the Riccarton mill were for many years well-known landmarks in the growing city. In 1854 the foundation of “Dunstable House”—now known throughout New Zealand as Ballantyne's—was laid by an energetic tradeswoman, Mrs Clarkson, with a stock-in-trade of cotton and straw hats. One of the largest and most successful hardware houses in New Zealand was opened in 1856 by Mr. E. Reece, whose son, now head of the firm, worthily filled the mayoral chair in the Jubilee year of the province. In every sense, and in all forms of commercial growth, the development of the young settlement was remarkably rapid; yet the foundation on which its prosperity was based—the agricultural and pastoral industries—was sure and enduring.page 74
Amid the active development of the natural resources of Canterbury, the province has had little occasion to regret the absence of one industry which has frequently determined the destiny of a new land for good or evil. There is very little mining in Canterbury. Efforts have been made to locate gold reefs in the upper reaches of the great rivers; but though the gold has been found the country is unworkably rough and no “rush” of consequence has taken place. The separation of Westland from Canterbury followed close upon the gold discoveries on the Coast, and was, on the whole, beneficial to both sides of the island. The only mineral of any importance worked in Canterbury is coal. Indications of coal were found by the surveyors as early as 1851 and 1852, when laying out the Plains; Dr. von Haast, with his characteristic enterprise, urged that certain deposits which he had found should be utilised for industrial purposes. Canterbury coal was first practically tested in 1861 by Mr. John Anderson, who proved at his foundry that it was of considerable value for steam raising and welding. But though large quantities have been found, the high hopes of the discoverers of Canterbury's only form of mineral wealth have never been realised. Probably it has been better so. Canterbury has never suffered from the danger and the demoralising excitement of a mining boom: and her growth, steady and ceaseless, has been based firmly upon her agricultural and pastoral resources, the surest foundation of national wealth.
In the meantime the population of the little colony was fast increasingDuring the first year of settlement, and up to October, 1852, there arrived in Lyttelton altogether twenty vessels, bringing colonists under the auspices of the Association. The last vessel, the “Minerva,” reached New Zealand in May 1853; and the total number of colonists thus brought out was about 3400. By the end of 1852 there were fully 4000 people living in the province. The development of the country districts proceeded along with the growth of the town. When the first census was taken in 1854, there were over 800 acres sown in wheat, and 800 in oats. There were 600 horses, and cattle, and 100,000 sheep upon the plains and in the Peninsula. The value of the wool clip in the 1853–54 season was £14,000. In 1853 the shipping inwards to Port Victoria (Lyttelton) and Akaroa totalled about 7500 tons; and the exports from the province were already valued at about £3300. The total import duties paid in 1853 at Lyttelton and Akaroa were nearly £6000. By 1855 the value of the wool clip was £30,000. The exports for that year were valued at £42,700, and the imports at £96,000; the relative increase of exports being most noteworthy. The import duties at Lyttelton came to £8800; and the produce alone exported from Lyttelton was worth £32,000. A very few years sufficed to make a big difference in these figures. By 1860 there were about 700,000 sheep in Canterbury. The value of imports for that year was £300,000; exports £210,000. The ordinary revenue for the year was £41,000, and the territorial revenue, derived from sale and lease of lands, was £65,000. So early as 1858 it was calculated that Canterbury raised a revenue seven times as large per head as that raised by the inhabitants of England.
By the Constitution Act of New Zealand, passed in 1852, it was provided that all the privileges and powers of the Canterbury Association should pass to the Superintendent and Provincial Council then to be constituted. Mr. Godley was urged by the colonists to accept the position of Superintendent; but he declined, and two years after the foundation of the settlement the colonists gathered in Hagley Park to bid their leader farewell. Fifty years later, on that very spot, 50,000 of the people of Canterbury met to speed on their way a band of young colonial soldiers going forth to battle for the land from which their fathers came. A short time before his death, in 1862, Mr. Godley, in a report upon the defences of the colonies, had advised military co-operation between them and the Mother Country; but not even he had foreseen in how few years the great fruition of his toils would come. Yet from the first he displayed a grasp of affairs and an almost intuitive perception of the drift of events that amounted to political genius. Before Canterbury was founded he wrote to Mr. Gladstone: “The one thing the colonies will not stand is being governed from Downing Street,” He always strongly advocated local self government; and though he had opposed Sir George Grey's Constitution Act because of the mistaken land policy which it involved, he gladly accepted the provincial system which superseded his own authority and that of the Association which he represented. From the outset the impulse towards self government exercised a powerful influence over the colonists; yet, in fact, the tendency of provincialism, in many ways admirable, was to limit the outlook and circumscribe the interests of each province within its own narrow bounds. But Canterbury was supremely fortunate in possessing among her founders a large proportion of men well fitted by experience of life, social standing, education, and public spirit, to assist in her development, and discharge public duties successfully. What has been written of the life and character of the early colonists sufficiently indicates the spirit in which they took up the public responsibilities that fell to their lot.
This does not profess to be a history of Canterbury, and it is impossible within limited space to do more than glance at the further advances made by the province and its capital. It was not till 1862 that Christchurch elected its first municipal council. Even then it was thought that the scheme for municipal government was premature, and several of the candidates while agreeing to stand, publicly denounced the measure in vigorous terms. It was remarked (in the “Press” of the 1st of March, 1862) that the proceedings at the election were marked by great good humour and kindly feeling. The first city council consisted of: J. Hall, J. Anderson, Grosrenor Miles, William Wilson, W. D. Barnard, E. Reece, J. Barrett, H. E. Alport, George Gould; and Mr. (now Sir John) Hall was elected chairman of the Council, or mayor. Almost all these names are well known in connection with the early history of the province; and the first city council did much to promote the policy of municipal development which has gradually transformed the swampy banks of the Avon into the site of a well built and thriving city. The need for easy communication with the rest of the province was from the first urgent, and the struggle for roads and the railway has been told in its proper place. The construction of the Lyttelton tunnel and the extension of the main line north and south of Christchurch between 1860 and 1876, assured the prosperity of the province and its capital. The drainage of Christchurch, expensive as it seemed, page 75 was an absolutely necessary work, boldly undertaken and thoroughly executed. The present condition of the city, its healthiness, cleanliness, and prosperity are most largely due to the effective working of the principle of local self government, illustrated in the original constitution of the colony, and adapted through many changes but with complete success to the development and management of its chief city.
The growth of the settlement outside the immediate neighbourhood of the capital was at first slow and irregular. South Canterbury had a long and eventful history before it was regularly connected by road and rail with the metropolis of the north. Curiously enough, the pioneer of civilisation in the south was that very “man named Rhodes” whom Mr. Godlev found located at Puran as cattle dealer and market gardener when he first reached Lyttelton. Encouraged by the reports of the whalers who came up the coast, the three brothers—W. B. Rhodes, R. H. Rhodes, and G. H. Rhodes—each applied for 50,000 acres, taking in the country from the Opihi on the north to the Pareora on the south and eastward from the Te Ngawae to the sea. Mr. George Rhodes settled a little later on the Levels Estate. Major Hornbrook, another pioneer, took up 30,000 acres, on what was later known as the Arowhenua Estate, between the Opihi and the Temuka. Other names famous in Canterbury history are found among these early settlers: Innes, Jollie, A. Cox, W. Macdonald, V. Pyke, Thomas King, Burke, and Studholme. In this way all the land from the hills to the sea, between the Rangitata and the Waitaki, was taken up for pasturage. But very little land was at first bought. Of the first fifty purchasers, who took up altogether only 1500 acres, thirtythree chose bush sections—only 1000 acres in all; and this, though the price of Crown lands, outside the Canterbury Association block, was only 10s per acre, till 1854. The Rhodes Brothers bought as a rural section the spot on which the town of Timaru now stands.
In 1864 the Timaru “Herald” was first published. At that time the town contained 150 houses and 1500 inhabitants. In 1865 it was constituted a town district, and in 1868 a borough with Mr. S. Hewlings as the first mayor, and Mr. E. H. Lough, the present holder of the office, as town clerk. Meantime agriculture was rapidly advancing. In 1867 the first successful shipment of wheat was made to England; though it was not till 1878 that a ship took a full wheat cargo from Timaru to London. That same year was rendered even more memorable by the completion of the ChristchurchDunedin railway line, for which the first sod had been turned at Timaru in 1871
The establishment of the Agricultural and Pastoral Association at Timaru in 1866 did much for the development of the country's resources; though the terrible floods of 1868—a year of evil memory to North Canterbury as well— inflicted serious damage. The demand for better means of communication had led to a bitter struggle with the north in 1867; and a cry for separation was raised. Through the intervention of the General Government the difficulty was arranged, and the Board of Works then created, did splendid service for South Canterbury until the destruction of the provincial system in 1876. The constant expansion of the settlement caused a demand for better harbour accommodation. In 1875 Sir John Coode reported upon the possibilities of an artificial harbour, and the Provincial Council voted £100,000 towards the scheme. The breakwater was begun in 1878; and the terrible wrecks and loss of life in May, 1882, emphasised the need for better protection for shipping. About £200,000 have now been spent on harbour works, with the result that the exports from Timaru in 1899 were valued at nearly £1,000,000 sterling. The Timaru Woollen Mill and flourmills are page 76 equal to anything of their kind in the colony. The Smithfield Refrigerating Works in 1899 sent away nearly half a million carcases. In the same year nearly 450,000 bushels of grain, and 14,000 tons of flour and meal were shipped away. South Canterbury contains a great deal of the best pasture, the finest agricultural land, the most magnificent scenery, and some of the most flourishing townships in New Zealand; and no part of Canterbury can show a better record for the few years that have elapsed since the settlement of the district.
North Canterbury has had a history perhaps less eventful but no less prosperous than that of the south. The first settler to navigate the Waimakariri, Mr. A. Rhodes, is still living : t Leithfield. He came down from Wellington in 1845, to bring the Greenwoods and the Prebbles—names still honoured on the plains—to Canterbury. In 1848, under the direction of Captain Thomas, he sailed up the Waimakariri with stores for the surveyors, Messrs Torlesse, Boys, and Cass. When the “four ships” arrived the early settlers soon made their way to the northern district, attracted by the timber, as well as the fertility of the soil. By 1855, thirtythree freeholds had been acquired in and around Kaiapoi, seventeen in the Rangiora district, and six at Woodend— the area ranging from fifty to 200 acres. Large areas of pastoral land were also leased on a seven years' tenure from the Association. As early as 1852, Clifford and Weld held 60,000 acres, Greenwood 60,000, Moore and Kermode 70,000, north of the Waipara. Between the Ashley and the Waimakariri were located C. O. Torlesse, R. Chapman, R. L. Higgins, J. C. Cookson, Crosbie Ward, M. Dixon, J. Pearson, and many others, who did good work for the province in the days of its youth. Many of these bought the freehold of their runs, when these properties were thrown open to purchase. In country so favourable to the health and increase of sheep, the wool industry soon became impoortant.
Communication with other centres was as usual a serious difficulty. There is a tradition that in 1854 a bullock dray and team of eight was lost in a boghole on the North Road; and though this may be an exaggeration, it suggests the condition of country roads at that time. Coming down from Kaiapoi to Christchurch, early settlers crossed one large creek on flax-stick rafts; hence its name of “Sticks,” altered now to the classical form of “Styx.” Ferries were established over the Waimakariri in 1852; and the river trade with Lyttelton and the North Island was already beginning to be important. The first family—that of Mr. Baker—settled on the present site of Kaiapoi in 1855; and in 1858 the first wheat was grown in the district—on land ploughed and harrowed with bullocks, cut with a reaping hook, and threshed with a flail. Gradually the Church bush and the Pa bush were cleared, and the swamps were drained. In 1864, when Mr. William White had built his famous bridge over the Waimakariri a few miles south of Kaiapoi, “Cobb and Co.” ran a line of coaches as far north as Hurunui. Messrs Sansom and Lee bought these out, and for some years the North Road as far as Leithfield was a famous coaching line. But the railroad reached Kaiapoi in 1872, Rangiora in the same year, and Amberley in 1876; and so the old order of things passed away.
The importance of Kaiapoi as a township dates from 1853. The value of its shipping trade has already been discussed; and when the river was superseded by the railway line, the town, which had been a seaport, became a manufacturing centre. The timber trade, in which Mr. Isaac Wilson took a prominent part, sustained the fortunes of the town for some time. Kaiapoi became a borough in 1868, and the work done in laying out and improving the town is a just source of pride to the municipal authorities. Two fine bridges give an air of distinction to the place; and its prosperity is largely bound up in the success of the Woollen Factory, the name of which is favourably known throughout the Australasian colonies, and even on the other side of the globe. The Kaiapoi Woollen Company was floated in 1878 with a capital of £15,000, which has gradually been increased to £200,000. Its Kaiapoi mills cover fourteen acres of ground, and employ 400 operatives. The chief offices and warehouses are in Christchurch, where over 550 hands are employed. The weekly wage sheet totals over £1000. Since its commencement the company has paid £130,000 in dividends, and has spent about half a million sterling for raw material. The Kaiapoi Woollen Company is thus a success of which the town, the province, and the colony may alike be proud.
Rangiora, the rival centre of the northern district, has had a history somewhat similar to that of Kaiapoi. Messrs Torlesse, Boys, Hamilton, and Crosbie Ward all took up land near the Ashley soon after the settlement was formed. The swamps were for long a hindrance to the development of the country; but the early colonists thought little of a walk to Christ church and back —forty-two miles—within the day. Before 1860, as at Kaiapoi, the timber industry provided support for the settlers. In 1878 the settlement became a borough, and can now boast improvements and municipal advantages surpassed by no town of its size in New Zealand. The roads and paths, the public gardens and bicycle track, the lamps and Fire Brigade, and Library, are all worthy of a city of many times 2000 inhabitants. The surrounding country is splendid land for both agricultural and pastoral purposes. Wheat has produced 100 bushels per acre on the drained swamps; and the stock sales of Rangiora are famous throughout the province. Timber mills, flour mills, and flaxmills have all proved valuable investments; and the Northern Agricultural and Pastoral Association, founded in 1866, has done a great deal for the farmers in the locality. The Waimakariri-Ashley Water Supply Board has laid down 400 miles of races at a cost of £20,000, and the district well deserves its title, the “garden of Canterbury.”
The middle of the province for many years lagged behind the north and south. The fertile district of Ellesmere was, as late as 1860, a desolate swamp intersected by creeks, and haunted by weka and pukaki. The first settler—Mr. J. Deal—camped on the site of Southbridge in 1861. Gradually the swamps were drained, the scrub and flax were cleared away, and all over the district townships sprang into existence. The names of Laurence Desborough and Walter Spring, to those who know the country, sum up the early history of South bridge, as the name of J. J. Lee covers the growth of Leeston. In no part of New Zealand has the influence of individual colonists upon the growth of the country been more plainly manifested. The mere names of the townships—Leeston, Doyleston, Prebbleton, Springston—suggest the almost patriarchal authority exercised in the early days by the pioneers of civilisation in those desolate wastes. And these little towns are worthy monuments to the patient and courageous industry and foresight of their founders. No district in New Zealand can show finer examples of the colonial country town where the benefits of social life are combined with the advantages of agricultural or pastoral pursuits. The ratable value of the district has risen from £135,000 in 1868 to nearly £1,325,000 at the present time. Leeston has a famous stock market, four fine churches, the best cycle track, and one of the best public sheep dips in the colony. South bridge and Doyleston each has a large swimming bath. Libraries have been established at Southbridge, Leeston, Brookside, Killinchy, Doyleston, and Dunsandel. The Central Dairy Company has creameries at Doyleston, Brookside, Lakeside, and Springston. Most of these townships have the usual complement of engineering and wood working establishments. The amount of industrial activity in the towns themselves is no less remarkable than the energy displayed in pastoral and agricultural work in the district around them. The bridging of the Selwyn, near the lake, in 1899, and the opening of the culvert from the lake to the sea will do much to improve the Lakeside district from the agricultural standpoint. The Ellesmere Agricultural and Pastoral Association has done a great deal for the staple industries of the country side. Four large flour mills are kept constantly at work, and between Selwyn and Rakaia at least twenty-five complete threshing outfits are to be found. A striking testimony to the prosperity of the district and the social comfort enjoyed by the settlers is to be found in the imposing and often luxurious country houses scattered among these towns. The homesteads of Mr. G. Rhodes, at Ellesmere, Mr. W. Nixon, at Killinchy, Mr. J. Boag, at Brookside, Mr. D. McMillan, at Southbridge, Mr. Gardner, at Irwell, speak volumes for the advantages enjoyed by settlers in this part of the province, and would astonish those benighted Britishers who cling to Mr. J. H. Froude's monstrously absurd dictum, that there is no successful small farming in New Zealand. Apart from all its towns, Canterbury might well afford to rest its claim to success as a colony upon the Eilesmere and North Canterbury country districts.
There is still another region of Canterbury of which the development has been, in rapidity and success, even more striking still. The land between “the two rivers”—the Rakaia, on the north, and the Rangitata, on the south—comprises what is known collectively as Ashburton. The settlement in this part of the province is only thirty years old. It is true that runs had been taken up for pastoral purposes early in the history of the province. Mr. Hayhurst, at Temuka, the brothers McLean, at Laghmor, Mr. Peter, at Mount Somers, were followed in time by Messrs Gould and Cameron, Mr. John Grigg, at Longbeach, E. S. Coster and Gordon Holmes. In 1858 the first accommodation house along the Christchurch-Timaru coach road was built near the old Hakatere (Ashburton) Ford. But it was not till the land fever of 1877–80 that the district really began to “boom.” In 1871 there were about thirty settlers living at Ashburton township. Mr. Alfred Saunders built a mill on the Wakanui Creek in 1872, bringing timber from Little River and even from Nelson, and paying labourers 10s and 12s a day. By 1878 the township became a borough. The great majority of the town sections page 78 were bought at prices considerably above the Government upset price of £12 per quarter-acre. The situation of Ashburton as “half-way house” between Christchurch and Timaru, from the first assured its importance. A share of the land fund enabled the Borough Council to provide a good water supply for the growing township to construct and ornament a beautiful domain, and to equip the place with many of the most modern conveniences usually to be found only in larger cities. The County Council has irrigated 600,000 acres of the once-barren tussock land with 1300 miles of water-races and channels. About 86,000,000 gallons of water are thus distributed every twenty-four hours; and land once wortless is rapidly becoming as valuable as any in the colony. Mr. John Grigg's famous farm at Longbeach has been described by competent authorities as “the best farm in the world,” but there are several others in the district not far behind it in productiveness. At the present time Ashburton grows about one-third of the wheat raised in New Zealand; and the central township with its 2300 inhabitants, woollen factory, flour mills, freezing works, and grain stores, its four banks, and its three newspapers, is a product of thirty years' growth of which Canterbury may well be proud.
The “A. and P.,” as it is usually called, was formed early in 1863. The chairman of the committee which first organised the Association was Mr. Robert Wilkin; and among the promoters may be mentioned J. Palmer (treasurer), Joseph Brittan (vice-president), S. Bealey, J. Cooke, D. Graham, L. Higgins, C. Newton, J. Ollivier, E. Templar, H. Wash bourne, Sir J. Cracroft Wilson, and W. Wilson. In 1863 an exhibition, or experimental show, was held. It was a great success; and as most of the prize-winners returned the amounts awarded to them, the committee was able to hand over about £250 to the Society which was then formed. Ever since, the Agricultural and Pastoral Association of Canterbury has been a great power for good in the land. The annual show, to which a special day in the Christchurch November “Carnival Week” is always dedicated, was for many years held in what used to be called distinctively “the Show Grounds” —now Sydenham Park—in Colombo Road south. The present grounds on Lincoln Road, Addington, are among the largest and finest of the kind in New Zealand; and the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Show is still probably the best display to be seen in these colonies of all things interesting and valuable to the farmer and the pastororalist. page 79 It is annually attended by from 20,000 to 30,000 visitors, a large majority being country folk, who regard the Show as the greatest function and the pleasantest reunion of the whole year.
Much of the commercial activity of Canterbury may be justly credited to the enterprise of the New Zealand Shipping Company. It was founded in 1872 with a capital of £100,000, since increased to £800,000. The original directors—J. L. Coster, George Gould, W. Reeves, R. H. Rhodes, John Anderson, R. Cobb, and the Hon. J. T. Peacock— well represented the capital and commercial acumen of Canterbury thirty years ago. The company was formed to break the shipping monopoly that checked the development of colonial commerce. From 1877 to 1882 the company carried over 20,000 immigrants and other passengers in chartered vessels. In 1882 the company entered into a contract with the New Zealand Government to maintain a monthly direct steam service with England; and the arrival of the “British King” in 1883 inaugurated a new era of colonial expansion. Five large mail steamers were soon built, but with the increase in volume of the frozen meat and dairy trades, these have been superseded by others of still greater capacity, running up to nearly 8000 tons register. No single factor has done more to promote the prosperity of Canterbury than the establishment of regular and efficient steam service with Great Britain.
No sketch of Canterbury history, however brief, could be deemed complete without some reference to what is perhaps the most important of all her industries, the frozen meat trade. The Canterbury (Belfast) Frozen Meat Company was incorporated in 1882, the conveners of the first meeting being Messrs John Grigg, John Tinline, and J. Macfarlane. The company's works were at once built at Belfast, seven miles north of Christchurch, and the first shipment went to England in 1883 in the New Zealand Shipping Company's first direct steamer, the “British King.” To give an idea of the expansion of the trade since then it may be sufficient to mention that the capacity of the “British King” was 6200 carcases; while now-adays many steamers, carry over 100,000 carcases, in addition to general cargo. The works were opened with an output of 250 sheep a day, and a storage capacity of 10,000. Now, the capacity of the Belfast Works is 5500 carcases per day, with storage for 90,000; while the Fairfield (Ashburton) Works, held by the same company, can kill 2000 sheep a day, and store 40,000 carcases. For the first year's work, the wages paid amounted to £4000; but the annual wages bill is now about £37,000. In 1883 about 58,000 sheep and sixty-one cattle were put through Belfast; in 1898 about 520,000 sheep and lambs and 1000 cattle went through Belfast, and 170,000 sheep and lambs through Fairfield. A large business is done in preserved meats, manures, tallow, and olio; and in 1899 about 6400 bales of wool were placed on the London market. The original directors were John Grigg, F. Banks, W. Chrystall, John Cooke, and J. T. Ford; and it is largely owing to their energy, and that of the secretary, Mr. F. Waymouth, that the company has paid large dividends ever since its formation.
The history of the Christchurch Meat Company is an even better illustration of the enormous value of Canterbury's natural resources. It was started in 1889; and the chief efforts of the company have always been devoted to the utilisation of “by products,” and to the accommodation of the small sheep farmers. Starting with a capital of £33,000, it has grown till its subscribed stock is valued at £140,000, and the combined works handle over one million carcases per annum. The Christchurch Company's Works, at Islington, can put through 9000 sheep a day, and have a storage of 140,000; the works at Smithfield (Timaru) can put through 6000 daily, and store 120,000; the works at Picton can put through 2000 daily, and store 35,000. The daily freezing capacity of all the twentyfive refrigerating works for both islands of New Zealand, amounts to 52,700; and of these, the Christchurch Company's works can account for 17,000, or about one-third of the whole. The company's business is stated to consist in “the killing and freezing of cattle, sheep, lambs, and pork, the killing and preserving of beef and mutton, the manufacture of tallow and olio, patent fertilisers, glue, and gelatine, the fellmongering of skins, and the curing of pelts, all of these being prepared for export.” On such a subject independent testimony from outsiders is always valuable; and the following extract from the “Australasian” of the 10th of June, 1899, on the subject of the Christchurch Meat Company, may serve to give some idea of the importance of this industry to Canterbury, and, indeed, to the whole colony: “The thing that most of all arrested attention was the manner in which all refuse, even to the last shred, is utilised in the manufacture of byproducts. The words ‘waste’ and ‘refuse’ are absolutely unknown. Everything is the raw material for some useful commodity, and it is said that it is largely out of these by-products that the profit is made. Several qualities of tallow are turned out, fertilisers of a high quality are made from the blood, bones, and other materials; the very cuttings from the pelts are made into a first-class glue which is rapidly displacing the best Russian in the local market. The casks are all made by machinery on the works from local timber, as are the thousands of packing cases used annually for the sheeps' tongues and other preserved meats. There is even a department with cutting and sewing machines and a printing press, where bags for the frozen sheep are made, and brands printed on them. The company's direct wages bill is £53,000 a year. Its output last year (1898) was just under one million sheep and lambs, 9000 bales of wool, 7000 casks of tallow, and 4000 tons of fertilisers. The railway bill for last season's operations amounted to £22,000. Workmen are provided with comfortable homes, which they may rent or purchase from the company. There is a recreation hall for the use of themselves and their families, and a lending library, with a good stock of standard works. If all this were done by the Government, it would be blazoned from one end of the world to the other, but as a mere matter of ordinary business it passes unnoticed. It is an object lesson which gives us at a glance, the whole secret of New Zealand's prosperity,” To these observations the following extract from the Jubilee number of the Christchurch “Weekly Press” may be fitly appended: “In none of the other colonies has the frozen meat industry been so successfully developed as in New Zealand, and no part of this colony has come up to Canterbury in the volume or quality of its meat, for she sends away fully onehalf of the annual output, and her mutton and lamb still stand at the head of the weekly market quotations. What the position of New Zealand, and particularly page 80 of Canterbury, would have been without the frozen meat industry it is difficulty to realise. We are basking in prosperity, now that we can turn off a large quantity of ‘Prime Canterbury’ from the plains; but there is no doubt that farmers would have had to face very hard times, if not an intense struggle for existence, if they had been compelled to go on in the old method of growing wheat, oats, and wool.”
Newspapers are among the most important factors in social and civic development; and with respect to its newspaper press Canterbury has been singularly fortunate. Among the multifarious details carried in the first four ships, an important place was assigned to the printing press. The Canterbury Association had arranged with Mr. Ingram Shrimpton, of Oxford, to send out all the necessaries for printing a paper, promising, at the same time, to subscribe for 1000 copies per week for a year. Mr. John Shrimpton brought out the plant in the “Charlotte Jane.” Immediately on their arrival the colonists erected a printing house at Lyttelton, and the first number of the “Lyttelton Times” was produced on the 11th of January, 1851. The first editor of the paper was Mr. J. E. Fitzgerald, whose name has figured so largely in the history of the colony; and his sub-editor was Mr. (afterwards the Rev.) Frances Knowles. The first few numbers of the paper created considerable interest in England as a remarkable proof of the energy and vitality of the new colony, and were most appreciatively noticed by the London “Times.” Mr. Fitzgerald was soon succeeded by Mr. Birch, who conducted the paper with great ability. Mr. Ingram Shrimpton came out to the colony in 1854, and took charge of the paper for a year. At first the “Lyttelton Times” was an eight-paged weekly, but in August, 1854, it became bi-weekly; and in March, 1856, the eight pages were increased to twelve. In July, 1856, Mr. Shrimpton sold the paper to Messrs C. C. Bowen and Crosbie Ward for £5000—a sum that was in itself a sufficient indication of the rapid progress and brilliant prospects of the young settlement. Under Mr. Crosbie Ward, one of the best journalists ever known in these colonies, the size of the paper was again enlarged. In 1861, Mr. Bowen sold out his interest to Messrs W. Reeves, W. J. W. Hamilton, and T. W. Maude, and on the death of Mr. Crosbie Ward, Mr. Reeves took the editorial chair. In 1863 the office was removed to Christchurch, where the paper has since been issued; and in 1865 the paper, then tri-weekly, became a daily. Throughout its long career the “Times” has fought for the best interests of the colonists; and its efforts on behalf of the public works system, the Midland Railway, the education system, and its long struggle for the preservation of the provinces, all made a deep and enduring impression in the history of the colony.
The “Press” was founded in May, 1861. “A private company of gentlemen,” says the “Review of Reviews,” for July, 1893, “alarmed at what they regarded as the reckless policy of the party led by the late Mr. Moorhouse in Canterbury, whose advocacy of the great tunnel scheme and other energetic measures at so early a stage in the history of the province, was deemed dangerous, determined to found a newspaper to counteract his influence.” This may not be quite a fair way of putting the objects of the promoters; but the “Press” did, from its initiation, represent the party opposed to the “forward” public works policy. The gentlemen chiefly concerned in the establishment of the “Press” were Mr. Fitzgerald, Mr. Watts Russell, of Ham, Mr. Henry Lance, Mr. H. J. Tancred, Rev. W. J. Raven, of Woodend, and Mr. R. J. S. Harman. They were in favour of the reasonable and gradual development of the country, but opposed to anything like reckless borrowing. The first editor was Mr. G. S. Sale, now Professor Sale, of Otago University. As he expresses it, “the paper was intended to furnish an organ in which the more cautious party in provincial politics, led by Mr. J. E. Fitzgerald, might express their opinions in opposition to the more audacious views of the go-ahead and borrowing politicians headed by the Superintendent, Mr. W. S. Moorhouse.” Its motto was “No plunging”; and it was well for the province that so able a journalistic organ took up the gospel of caution and economy so early in its history. Some important contributors were Dean Jacobs, Mr. Joseph Brittan, Mr. Colbone-Veel, and Samuel Butler— author of “Erehwon,” the ablest satire of the Victorian era—then living on a station near the head of the Rangitata. Between 1861 and 1878 the paper was edited by Mr. Colborne-Veel, who was succeeded by the late lamented Mr. J. S. Guthrie. The “Press” holds the honour of being the first daily paper published in Canterbury, and came out as such on the 17th of March, 1863.
It would be difficult to express in a few words the material outcome of all the marvellous growth and development briefly sketched in these pages. Perhaps no more striking presentation of the facts of the case could be found than the following comparative list of Canterbury's resources and products in her infancy and in her Jubilee year:
|Land in Wheat||…||807||182,914|
|Land in Oats||…||802||138,715|
|Land in Barley||…||287||18,389|
|Land in Potatoes||…||364||12,484|
|Land under Cultivation||…||2,260||2,408,906|
Proofs of the marvellous productiveness of the soil have already been cited. During the year ending the 30th of June, 1900, the province exported frozen sheep to a total weight of 90,218,513 pounds, and wool to a weight of 35,294,315 pounds. The exports included about £50,000 worth of dairy produce, £45,000 worth of grass and clever seed, £65,000 of leather, £30,000 of malt, £20,000 of potatoes. Over 10,000 operatives were in the same year employed in Canterbury's 1083 registered factories, the capital value of land, building, and plant for factory purposes was about £1,500,000, and the total product was valued at £3,000,000 per annum. It has been well stated, that “taking account of meat, wool, wheat, oats, and other natural productions, it may be said that Canterbury feeds and clothes not less than a million people. It is very much to be doubted if any district in the world of the same area and population can make so good a showing.” When it is remembered that all this is the work of fifty years, the record is not only amazing in itself, but supremely assuring as a prophecy of the progress and sound prosperity of Canterbury's future.