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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]


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The district of Styx adjoins Papanui on the south and Belfast on the north. It is named after the river Styx, which crosses the main north road five miles from Christchurch, though the journey by rail is seven miles from the city to the Styx railway station. Some of the richest and most fertile land in New Zealand lies along the banks of the Styx. The district is closely settled, and well cultivated, and the crops are chiefly of onions, potatoes, and oats for horse feed. A considerable amount of fruit is also grown in the district. The Styx Apple Company has a very fine orchard of thirty-six acres, thirty-four of which are taken up with full bearing apple and pear trees, the first of which were planted by Mr. G. S. Hickman, as early as 1877. There is a very fine specially constructed brick cool store at the orchard, capable of holding ten thousand cases; also a cider house with all the necessary plant for extracting the juice and manufacturing cider. Towards the sea the soil becomes lighter, and is chiefly used for grazing purposes. Dairy farms are numerous, but there are also some sheep farms.

Gifkins, William, Woolscourer and Fellmonger, North Road, Styx. Mr. Gifkins is a native of Hertfordshire, England, where he was educated. He came to New Zealand in the ship Celestial Queen,” landed at Dunedin in the year 1868, and learned his business with Mr. W. Rutherford, at the Burnside Fellmongery, Green Island, Otago. Then he removed to Canterbury, and erected woolscouring plants in several parts of the province, first at Alford station, in the Ashburton district, and afterwards at Double Hill, Mount Hutt, Acheron, Lake Heron, Lake Coleridge, and Glenthorne. In 1882 he bought the property where he now resides and commenced his present business, which has steadily increased. The property contains about eleven and a half acres, and the buildings consist of a sorting shed, 72 feet by 36 feet, a scouring shed 60 feet by 24 feet, and a packing shed, 60 feet by 50 feet. The buildings contam all the necessary appliances for the successful treatment of wool and skins, and the machinery includes a thoroughly up-to-date wool press, and a wool scouring machine designed by the proprietor, and manufactured by Messrs Booth and Macdonald, Christchurch. Mr. Gifkins is well known in Masonic circles. He was initiated in the Lodge of Concord in 1890, under the New Zealand Constitution, and was the first New Zealand initiate to obtain the Master's chair, in which ne was installed in 1893, and was re-eleoted the following year. In 1896 he was elected to the office of Assistant Grand Secretary; he received the appointment of Junior Grand Warden in 1897, and in 1900 was appointed Provincial Grand Master for the district of Canterbury. He is a member of the Albert Edward Royal Arch Chapter, was also one of the founders of the Canterbury Rose Croix Chapter, and in 1896 was elected to the office of Most Wise, and received the degree of Prince of Memphis 32–94 degree. He holds the office of Deputy Grand Representative of the Grand Mystic Temple Council General 32degree, also Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, United States of America. Mr. Gifkins takes considerable interest in local affairs, and was for some time chairman of the Papanui school committee.

Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo Mr. W. Gifkins.

Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo
Mr. W. Gifkins.

Harris, Edward, Farmer, Radcliff Road, Styx. Mr. Harris is a native of Canterbury, and a son of the late Mr. Stephen Harris, who arrived in New Zealand, in 1851, and shortly afterwards purchased 100 acres of first-class land on the south side of the river Styx, and subsequently acquired another 100 acres. Mr. Harris, senior, who was well known throughout the district for many years, left five sons and five daughters. Mr. Edward Harris now farms, on the banks of the river, twenty-six acres of land which has yielded some very heavy crops, chiefly oats, peas, wheat, and root crops. Latterly dairying has come much into favour in the district, and Mr. Harris has, with others, turned his attention towards this industry, and has obtained a herd of very suitable cattle. Mr. Harris is married, and has four sons and one daughter.

Mr. E. Harris.

Mr. E. Harris.

Inch, William John, Farmer, Styx. Mr. Inch is a native of Cornwall, England, and came to New Zealand with his parents in the sailing ship “Crusader,” in 1874. The family first settled at Oxford, where Mr. Inch, senior, was engaged on railway work on the Cust-to-Oxford line; after which he took up land there and farmed it, until his death in 1899. Mr. W. J. Inch purchased his present farm of fourteen acres of first-class loamy land in 1892, and has since cultivated it successfully, growing cereal and root crops in rotation. He also rents ten acres of excellent grazing land. Mr. Inch is married and has four children.

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Morris, Joseph, Farmer, North Road, Styx. Mr. Morris was born in Woodend, Canterbury, and was educated at the public school. His father, Mr. John Morris, on whose farm he was brought up, arrived in Christchurch when it was a mere village. After working for his father for eight years, and for five with his brother, Mr. Morris purchased his present farm of twenty-one acres, in the year 1900. The land, which is very rich, is well cultivated, and yields large crops of cereals and potatoes, onions and mangolds. The dwellinghouse at the North Road is pleasantly situated within a small plantation. Mr. Morris is a member of the Foresters' Lodge at Belfast, and is at present (July, 1902) its secretary. He has passed through all the chairs, and now holds a Past Chief Ranger's certificate.

Standish and Preece, photo. Mr. J. Morris.

Standish and Preece, photo.
Mr. J. Morris.

Heathcote Valley, from the Bridle Path.

Heathcote Valley, from the Bridle Path.