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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]


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Balcairn, which is in the Kowai riding of the county of Ashley, is a sheep district, thirty miles from Christchurch, and four miles from Amberley. The flag station stands 123 feet above sea level. There is a post office, which receives a daily mail. The Kowai cemetery is situated on the Leithfield Road, about a mile out of the settlement. Balcairn is the headquarters of the Kowai Road Board, which has jurisdiction throughout the district. The population at the census of 1901 was 218.

The Kowai Road District is a portion of the county of Ashley, and was constituted in 1864. It extends from the Waipara river on the north, to the river Ashley on the south, and from a line taken from the trig pole on Mount Grey to the Ashley township on the west, to the sea coast on the east. The total area is about 140 square miles, and there are 753 ratable properties owned by 659 ratepayers. The capital value of the district in 1901 was £523,279, and included 540 dwellings. The rate levied is 5-8ths of a penny in the £. It produces £1326, to which has to be added £314 Government subsidy, and £216 from other scources, making, in all, a total revenue for 1901 of £1856. For the same period the expenditure on public works was £1755, and £238 was paid over on contributions for hospital and charitable aid. At the close of the year the balance sheet showed cash assets of £802, and liabilities amounting to £376. The members of the Board for 1902 were: Messrs G. A. Wornall (chairman), J. Mathers. G. A. McLean, D. Gorrie, J. Vallance; with Mr. G. S. Hickman as sole officer of the Board. The Board's offices are at Balcairn, near the railway station, and consist of a meeting room and office, with a substantial residence and outbuildings, erceted on a Government reserve of twenty acres.

Mr. George Sayce Hickman, Clerk, Treasurer and Surveyor to the Kowai Road Board, was born in Herefordshire, England, in 1858, and educated in his native place. In 1878 he came to Lyttelton by the ship “Rangitikei.” He settled for a time in Christchurch, but afterwards became clerk of works in connection with the Malvern Water Race. Two years later he returned to Christchurch, and became connected with the Drainage Board, and subsequently with the Selwyn County Council. He was clerk to the Avon Road Board, and, later, to the Ashley Road Board for some time before being appointed, in 1896, to his present position. Mr. Hickman takes great interest in poultry farming, and his son Cyril has charge of 800 birds, comprising Houdans, white and brown Leghorns, gold and silver Wyandotts, Indian game, Orpingtons, Langshans, bronze Turkeys, Aylesbury and Pekin ducks. He has a 240-egg incubator, and has been very sucessful as a prize-winner at shows. Mr. Hiekman was married, in 1885, to a daughter of the late Mr. B. Monk, of Kaiapoi, and has two daughters and three sons.

Kowai Pass School. The Kowai Pass School, in the county of Selwyn, has an average attendance of about seventy pupils. Mr. J. E. Glanville, the headmaster, is assisted by Miss Julia O'Shaughnessey.

St. John's Anglican Church, Balcairn, was built in 1900. It is of wood and shingles, has acommodation for sixty-five adults, and services are held fortnightly, the vicar of Leithfield being in charge.

Jackson, Albert Edward, Farrier and General Blacksmith, Balacairn. Mr. Jackson was born at Papanui in 1873. He was also educated there, and learned his trade at Sheffield. For a few years he was employed on Mr. McLean's estate at Waikakahi. During the South African war he enlisted in the Third New Zealand Contingent, served for fifteen months, and returned to the colony in June, 1901. He then settled at Balcairn, and acquired his present business, which was established about the year 1880 by Mr. W. B. Reid. The shop stands on the front of a quarter-acre freehold section.

Clarke, photo. Mr. A. E. Jackmanson.

Clarke, photo.
Mr. A. E. Jackman [sic: son].


Bruere, Graham Augustus, Farmer, “Stanwell,” Balcairn. Mr. Bruere was born at Sefton in March, 1876, and educated at Mount Grey Downs school. He was brought up to country life by his father, the late Mr. Graham Bruere, and has managed his father's estate since February, 1902. As an Oddfellow he is attached to the Loyal Leithfield Lodge. He also holds a seat on the Balacairn school committee. Mr. Bruce was married, on the 5th of September, 1900, to a daughter of Mr. Ashby, of Blacairn.

Tolputt, photo. Mr. G. A. Bruere.

Tolputt, photo.
Mr. G. A. Bruere.

Dennis, Charles, Farmer, Racecourse Farm, Blacairn. Mr. Dennis was born in Colchester, Essex, England, in 1844, and was brought up to farming. He arrived in Lyttelton by the ship “Light Brigade” in 1868, and was farming in the Malvern district for seven years. In 1875 he bought 316 acres at Balcairn, and has transformed the land from its natural condition to a high state of cultivation. It takes its name as Racecurse page 529 Farm from the fact that for a number of vears it was used for a racecourse. Mr. Dennis was married to a daughter of Mr. Robert Brydon, of Leithfield, and has two sons and six daughters.

Clarke, photo. Mr. and Mrs C. Dennis.

Clarke, photo.
Mr. and Mrs C. Dennis.

Evans, T. H., Farmer, Balcairn, near Amberley. Mr. Evans is a native of Westbury, Shropshire, where he was born in 1838, was educated there, and spent his early years on his father's farm. He came out to Australia in 1864, and after a short stay in Melbourne and Sydney, crossed over to the West Coast of the Middle Island, where he spent two years as a storckeeper and gold-miner. Mr. Evans and his party spent much time in prospecting the Grey river and its tributaries, where they discovered valuable coal, and where rich gold has since been found. Crossing the ranges to Christchurch in 1867, Mr. Evans managed a station for one year. He afterwards purchased the livery stables of Mr. E. G. Wright, and the City Hotel at Leithfield. Selling out at Leithfield, he visited the Auckland golfields, and in 1872 went via Honolulu to San Francisco, through America to England and Ireland, returning to the Colony in 1874 Mr. Evans purchased at Balcairn, the farm which is now known as the “model farm,” which in 1878–9 gained the first prize as the best kept farm in the district. Having disposed of his property in 1883, he purchased “Numburnholme,” another farm in the same neighbourhood, which gained the second prize in a similar competition. Mr. Evans has been a member of the Kowal Road Board and Domain Board for many years; he is a member of the cemetery board and school committee, and is a vestryman of many years' standing. He was married in 1886 to Mrs Gilchrist.

Fleming, John, Farmer, “Summerlea,” Balcairn. Mr. Fleming was born in Cumberland, England, in 1865, and being the son of a farmer was brought up to outdoor life. He arrived at Lyttelton in 1885 by the s.s. “Doric,” and settled at Brookside, where he found employment in farm work for five years. After removing to Balcairn Mr. Fleming bought forty-two acres, on which he settled, and has since increased his property to 142 acres. His homestead was burnt down in March, 1902, and a new building has been erected on the section of the property nearest to the Kowai river. Mr. Fleming has about 150 sheep, and milks nearly twenty cows, and, having his own separator, produces a good deal of butter, which is sent to market every week. He was married, in 1889, to a daughter of Mr. R. Moor, of Brookside, and has five sons and two daughters.

Clarke, photo. Mr. and Mrs J. Fleming.

Clarke, photo.
Mr. and Mrs J. Fleming.

Hanna, John, Farmer, “Littleover,” Balcairn. Mr. Hanna was born in 1870, in Sefton, where he was educated, and brought up to country life. He has farmed on his own account since 1896; his present property consists of 200 acres of freehold and 140 acres of leasehold land. Mr Hanna is a member of the Balcairn school committee, and holds office as Junior Deacon of the Amberley Masonic Lodge, No. 2007, English Constitution. As an Oddfellow he is connected with the Loyal Leithfield Lodge; and he is a steward of the Rangiora Racing Club, and a member of the Amberley Steeplechase Club. He was married, in June, in 1895, to a daughter of Mr. H. Fuller, of Balcairn, and has two daughters.

Mount Grey Estate, Balcairn. This property was owned by the late Mr. Charles Ensor, who bought it in 1873, when it was chiefly all leasehold, but the freehold now comprises 12,000 acres.

Mr. Gilbert Hutcheson, Shepherd at Mount Grey, first entered on his duties at the station on the 14th of August, 1863. There were then no roads in that part of the country, but only tracks, along which the haulage was all done by bullocks. The sheep were all Merinos, and the first Romneys were brought to the district in 1865 by Mr. (afterwards Sir Frederick) Weld. Leicesters were introduced in 1870, and were very popular for a time, but the Shropshires are now rapidly supplanting them. Turnips were first raised at “Mount Grey” in 1870, and £3 an acre was offered for the crop. Mr. Hutcheson was page 530 born on the 21th of November, 1838, in Ayrshire, Scotland, and since his youth he has followed pastoral pursuits. He came to New Zealand in the ship “Chariot of Fame.” In 1866 he was married to Miss Rouse, and has five sons and five daughters.

Moore, James Clarke, Farmer, “Willow Bank,” Balcairn. Mr. Moore was born in County Down, Ireland, in 1839, and was employed on his father's property prior to coming to New Zealand in 1860, by the ship “Roman Emperor.” Mr. Moore settled in the Balcairn district in 1861, and seven years later acquired “Willow Bank,” then in its natural condition. He has served as a member of the Balcairn school committee. Mr. Moore was married, in 1883, to a daughter of the late Mr. O'Donnell, of County Fermanagh, Ireland, and has two sons and one daughter.

Clarke, photo. Mr. and Mrs J. C. Moore.

Clarke, photo.
Mr. and Mrs J. C. Moore.

Pawsey, John Robert, Settler, “Oak Farm,” Balcairn. Mr. Pawsey, who is one of the earliest settlers in the district, was born in 1826 in Haughley, Suffolk, where he was educated and brought up to an agricultural life. He came to the Colony in 1859 in the ship “Clontarf” and entered the service of Mr. W. D. Wood, of Christchurch, with whom he stayed for four years. Subsequently he was in partnership for three months with Mr. Leith, after whom Leith-field is named. Mr. Pawsey bought “Oak Farm” in 1863 and has resided there ever since, having considerably added to his first purchase. “Oak Farm” contains about 700 acres; grain and root crops are raised and a fine flock of Cotswold sheep is kept. Mr. Pawsey has recently purchased another property in the Upper Waipara district containing 8200 acres, which is stocked with Merino sheep. The out-buildings on “Oak Farm” are of concrete and iron, and the plant includes one of Fowler's portable engines, together with the latest machinery for sowing and harvesting. In the early days, Mr. Pawsey served as a member of the road board, but having had the misfortune to lose one of his legs, he can only get about with difficulty. He was married in 1864 to Miss Simpson, and has five sons.

Sutherland, George, Farmer, Fox's Farm, Balcairn. Mr. Sutherland was born in Sutherlandshire, Scotland, in 1834. He was brought up to farming, and came to Lyttelton in 1862 in the ship “Mersey” For a year he was engaged in general farm work at Horseshoe Lake, near Christchurch, and was afterwards at many other places in the district, including “Coldstream,” Rangiora, where he remained five years. After being at Sefton for one year, he finally started for himself on seventy-five acres of freehold at Balcairn, where he carries on dairy farming. Mr. Sutherland served fourteen years on the Balcairn school committee, and was for four years a director of the Sefton Dairy Factory. He was married, in 1858, to a daughter of the late Mr. Roderick Jack, of Morayshire. Scotland, and has two sons and five daughters.

Tolputt, photo. Mr. and Mrs G. Sutherland.

Tolputt, photo.
Mr. and Mrs G. Sutherland.

Wagner, Alfred James, Farmer, “The Pines.” Balcairn. Mr. Wagner was born in Invercargill in 1870, and educated at the Boys' High School. Christchurch, where he was successful in winning the Challenge Cup for the largest number of points at the sports in 1882. He served as a volunteer in the Hokitika cadets. His present property was formerly known as the “Model Farm,” and consists of 100 acres of freehold. In addition to this he works 1100 acres at Weka Pass, on which he has 1000 sheep. Mr. Wagner was brought up to country life in the Lincoln and Hororata districts, and has farmed on his own account since 1893. Before that date he was for several years in Australia. At the Melbourne Exhibition of 1898 he was in charge of the Wolesley Sheep Shearing Company's exhibits. He had four years' experience on sheep stations in New South Wales and Queensland, and after returning to New Zealand was in charge of the shearing operations at Balmoral station for two seasons. As a Freemason Mr. Wagner is attached to the Amberley Lodge, 2007, English Constitution. He is also a member of the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association.

Old Colonists.

Mr. Graham Bruere, sometime of Balcairn, was born in Bombay, India, and was the eldest son of Judge Bruere. He was taken to England when three years old and educated at Westminster. On leaving college, he studied law, but the confinement was unfavourable to his health, and he joined the army, in which he served for one year in Ireland. Finally he made a choice of New Zealand, and came out to Auckland in the ship “Blue Jacket. He purchased a large run, which he disposed of in 1859, when he came to Canterbury and settled near Sefton, where he took up land in its native state. The land is still in possession of the family. When it was first settled roads were few and far between, and bridges were almost unknown. Mr. Bruere removed to Balcairn in 1892, and increased his area to about 1600 acres. He was for many years chairman of the road board and a member of the school committee. Mr. Bruere was married, in 1874, to Miss Goss, and died at Balcairn on the 28th of April, 1896. He left six sons and five daughters.

The late Mr. G. Bruere.

The late Mr. G. Bruere.

Mr. John Lister, sometime of Balcairn, was born in 1833 at Worksop, Nottinghamshire, where he was educated. He came out to the Colony in the ship “Clontarf” in 1862, and settled at Balcairn page 531 soon afterwards. The country was then in its native state, covered with fiax and toitoi; there were no roads or bridges, and haulage was done by bullocks. Mr. Lister took up Crown land and settled on the banks of the Kowai river. He was a churchwarden for many years and taught in the Sunday school, was a member of the school committee, and always ready to help in any good cause or assist a neighbour. He died in July, 1897, leaving a widow with three sons and four daughters.

The late Mr. J. Lister and Mrs Lister.

The late Mr. J. Lister and Mrs Lister.

Mr. George May was born in Bristol, England, in 1830. As a youth he served in the Royal Navy in the Mediterranean, during Garibaldi's war, and afterwards joined a Chilian man-of-war, and was present at some engagements between the Chilian and Peruvian troops. After residing about six years in the United States of America, Mr. May came to Lyttelton by the ship “Sebastopol,” in 1861, and settled in the Balcairn district, where he has since had his home. His employments have been varied, for he has worked as a painter, sailmaker, sawyer, bridge builder and farmer. Though about seventy-three years of ago, Mr. May is strong and hearty, and still able to carry a full bag of wheat. He owns a number of properties in the Balcairn district.