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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]



Glentunnel is a flag-station thirty-nine miles west from Christchurch, on the branch railway line to Whitecliffs. The district embraces a wide valley, traversed by the Upper Selwyn river, and is said to have obtained its name from the fact that in the early days of settlement a tunnel was excavated through the hills on the northern side; hence the glen of the tunnel, or Glentunnel. Being of a broken nature, the district is taken up in large areas, and sheepfarming is carried on extensively. The pottery works and coalmining industry, the latter of which is capable of further development, have given rise to a considerable township. The village has a hotel, a public school, a town hall, and several places of business, and there are also representative lodges of Oddfellows. Glentunnel possesses a twice-a-day mail service by rail with Christchurch, and there is a post and telegraph office, with other branches of the public service, at one of the local stores.

The Public School at Glentunnel was established in the early seventies, and at first had only one room. But the attendance increased with the growth of the district, and another room and a porch were added to the building, which is of wood on a concrete foundation, and has accommodation for 120 pupils. The headmaster's residence is of two stories, and is about a chain from the school; the two buildings stand on a reserve several acres in extent. In April, 1903, there were about ninety names on the school roll, and the average attendance was about seventy. The headmaster is assisted by a mistress.

Mr. Frank Benjamin, Headmster of the Glentunnel public school, was born at Templeton, Canterbury, in 1876, and is the fifth son of Mr. Charles Benjamin, a farmer, of Templeton. He gained his early education at the Templeton public school, where he passed the entrance examination for the teaching profession; and after spending the usual term as a pupil-teacher, he entered the Normal School, Christchurch, and there gained the D certificate. He subsequently became a relieving teacher, and as such, taught at schools in various parts of the North Canterbury district. Towards the close of 1900 he was appointed headmaster of the Glentunnel school. Mr. Benjamin is secretary and treasurer of the Glentunnel Library Committee, captain of the local cricket and football clubs, and secretary of the Glentunnel sports committee. In Christchurch he is a member of the Pioneer Cycling and Athletic Club, the Canterbury, College Amateur Athletic Club, the Harriers' Athletic Club, and the Merivale Football Club. He has represented Canterbury College against the Dunedin University in football, and was one of those selected to represent the Canterbury College at the Annual University Tournament, held in Auckland, in April, 1903. For page 754 many years he has taken a prominent part in athletic sports in Christchurch, and for several years was winner of the sprint championship.

The Homebush Colliery (John Deans, proprietor), Glentunnel. This colliery is situated in the hills on the north side of the Glentunnel valley. It was opened over thirty years ago by the late Mr. James McIlwraith, who was at that time manager of the Homebush station, and has been worked continuously ever since. The seam now being excavated will provide work for about fifty years, and there are other seams in the vicinity. The coal obtained is a superior class of brown coal of a non-bituminous nature, and is very suitable for household purposes. Upwards of twenty-five men are employed constantly and the total output, per annum, amounts to about 10,000 tons, all of which finds a ready sale within the province. The colliery is about a mile and a half from the main railway, and rails are laid up the hillside, on which the coal is trucked down to the Glentunnel flag station, whence it is conveyed to the markets.

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

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

Mr. John Comrie Compbell, Manager of the Homebush Colliery, is a native of Lanarkshire, Scotland. He was born in 1842, and educated at a private school at the Clarkston village. At the early age of eight years he commenced to work at the coal mines, first, at the Simpson Pit, and afterwards at Chapel Hall. In 1859 he joined the 7th Regiment, and sailed to India as a soldier. Shortly afterwards he left India for New Zealand and landed at Auckland. For eighteen months he worked on the goldfields in Otago, and then assisted in opening up the coal mines at Green Island and Fairfield, near Dunedin. He then commenced a colliery of his own, and worked it for a while. Mr. Campbell was afterwards manager of the Walton park Colliery, at Fairfield, for four years; of the Saddle Hill Colliery, for Messrs Christie Brothers, for eight years; of the Allandale Colliery Company's collieries, at Shag point, near Palmerston South, for nine years; of the Burnweil Colliery, at Lovell's Flat, for one year; and of other collieries in the neighbourhood of Bannockburn and Cromwell for a few years. He was then recommended by Mr. R. B. Denniston, mining engineer, of Dunedin, to Mr. John Deans, by whom he was immediately engaged to take charge of the Homebush Colliery, which he has since conducted with great success. Mr Campbell was married, in 1864, to Miss McLachlan, daughter of Mr. Peter McLachlan, of Saddle Hill, Otago. This lady died in March, 1902, leaving, alive, one son and six daughters.

Tomlinson, photo.Mr. J. C. Campbell.

Tomlinson, photo.
Mr. J. C. Campbell.

The Homebush Brick, Pipe, And Terra-Cotta Works (John Deans, proprietor), Glentunnel. This industry was established in 1870, after it had been ascertained that clay of a suitable nature abounded in the neighbourhood. For about sixteen years operations were confined to the manufacture of bricks, but in 1886 the making of drain pipes for agricultural purposes was added, and two years later terra-cotta work, pottery and other branches of the industry. The clay is brought by means of trucks from the surrounding hills, and the articles, when manufactured, are sent in trucks along a branch line to the Glentunnel flag station, whence they are taken by rail to the city depot, 81 South Belt, Christchurch, or to where else required. The factory is a commodious brick building with an iron roof, and contains three drying sheds, two machine sheds, an engine and a boiler house, and a repairing shop. It possesses two kilns capable, respectively, of holding 16,000 and 24,000 bricks, and new machinery of a modern make is being introduced. With abundance of buff, red and fire clays of high quality near at hand, machinery of a most efficient and up-to-date order, good coal supplied by the Homebush colliery, and railway communication, the Homebush Brick, Pipe and Terra-cotta works are in a particularly favourable position to compete success fully with other works in the colony. About fifteen men are employed constantly in the establishment, and the annual output amounts to about £3000 worth. All the classes of goods manufactured are known for their fine finish and durability, and find a ready sale in the market.

Mr. Lawrence Lord, Manager of the Homebush Brick, Pipe, and Terra-cotta Works, was born in February, 1854, at Padiham, near Burnley, in Lancashire, England. He was educated at the Wesleyan church school in his native village, and at the age of twelve was apprenticed to engineering under his father, who was head engineer at the Rosegrove Cotton Mills, Burnley. After serving his apprenticeship, he continued to work there till 1883, when he sailed for New Zealand. He landed at Dunedin, whence he removed to Lyttelton. For more than a year he was engaged in engine-driving in and around Christchurch, and was about six months with Messrs Lucas and Sons, engineers, Kilmore Street. He was then appointed head engineer of Messrs Ford and Ogden's Pottery Works at Whitecliffs, and resigned that position four years later to take up a similar position at the Homebush Brick, Pipe and Terra-cotta Works, of which he was appointed manager in 1892. Mr. Lord is a member of the local school committee, of the Domain Board, and of the Oddfellows' Lodge. He is married and has two sons.

Mr. L. Lord.

Mr. L. Lord.


Hassendean,” Glentunnel. This estate was taken up in the early days by Dr. Turn bull, and was subsequently held by Mr. R. M. Cotton, and later on, by Mr. Fletcher. It occupies a large portion of the Wairiki valley, and derives is name from the geographical aspects of the property, the word “Hassendean” meaning, in the Scottish page 755 dialect, a place of hills and valleys. The estate is 1400 acres in extent, is well fenced and subdivided, and laid down in good grasses and clover. It embraces several hundred acres of rich and well drained swamp land, the remainder being good sheep grazing country. Cattle rearing and sheep grazing are carried on extensively, and the property is capable of carrying between two and three sheep to the acre. The dwelling house is well built, and is prettily situated on an eminence near the main road; and the outbuildings are of a convenient type. Various metals have been discovered in the hills, including coal, which is thought to exist in paying quantities.

Mr. J. H. Wallace, Proprietor of “Hassendean,” is the third son of Mr. James Wallace of Papatoitoi, Auckland. He was born at Papatoitoi, and educated at the Church of England grammar school. Afterwards he was engaged as a clerk in the city of Auckland, and came to Canterbury in 1889. For seven years he acted as overseer on the Terrace station; in 1897 he purchased the Rockwood run, and two years later bought “Hassendean.”

Riversleigh Estate (Alexander McIlwraith, proprietor), Glentunnel. This estate is situated on the banks of the Upper Selwyn, between Glentunnel and Whitecliffs, and embraces a large part of the Glentunnel valley, together with a considerable area of hilly country towards the west. It is about 1600 acres in extent; and is well fenced and subdivided into convenient paddocks, and carries a flock of about 2000 sheep. Turnips and rape are grown extensively for feed.

Mr. Thomas Ford, Manager of “Riversleigh,” was born in County Galway, Ireland, in 1858, and educated at the National school, at the village of Clanfart. He assisted his father in farming until 1875, and was then for five years engaged as a ploughman upon neighbouring estates. In 1880 Mr. Ford sailed by the ship “Westland” for New Zealand, and landed at Lyttelton. His first colonial experience was gained at Riccarton, where he ploughed some paddocks for the late Mr. John Miln. This, however, occupied but a few weeks, and he then left for Southbridge, where he found employment as a ploughman till 1893. In that year he took up a position on the Homebush station, near Coalgate, and worked there for about two years. In the early part of 1896 he returned to Southbridge, and about two months later was appointed manager of “Riversleigh.” Mr. Ford was married, in 1891, to Miss Sellers, of Southbridge.

Mr. and Mrs T. Ford

Mr. and Mrs T. Ford

Rockwood Run (T. H. and C. F. Overton, proprietors), Glentunnel. This estate is a portion of a much larger property taken up in the early days, and known by the same name. It has passed through several hands, and was taken over by its present owners in March, 1903. “Rockwood” has an area of 7100 acres, and, being very broken, is well adapted for sheep grazing. The Brockley coal mine—well known for the quality of its output—is situated near the eastern boundary, and there are said to be other seams in the neighbourhood. There are about 200 acres of native bush still standing on the property, and a river which, further on, runs into the Selwyn, affords an ample supply of excellent water.

Mr. Thomas Henry Overton, the Senior Owner of Rockwood run, is the eldest son of Mr. Henry Overton, of Fendalton, Christchurch. He was born in the Ellesmere district in 1876, and educated at Warwick House, Christchurch, under Mr. Charles Cook. Shortly after leaving school he went to New South Wales, where he spent a year on different stations. On returning to New Zealand he joined his father at Kirwee, where he continued to work until 1899. In 1890 Mr. Overton visited England, and again in 1899. Immediately on his return from the later trip, he enlisted for service in South Africa, having formerly taken a keen interest in volunteering as a member of the Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry. He was made a sergeant before leaving New Zealand, and served as such under Colonel Craddock, of the Second Contingent, and gained promotion on the field to the rank of subaltern. When the Second Contingent returned in May, 1901, he was transferred to the Sixth Contingent, with which he served till within a few weeks of its return. Mr. Overton has for many years been a member of the Canterbury Amateur Athletic Club and has taken a prominent part at many championship meetings. He represented New Zealand in the Australasian Championship athletic meeting held in Sydney in 1897, and in the following year he represented Canterbury at the New Zealand Championship meeting held at Wanganui.

Standish and Preece, photo.Mr. T. H. Overton.

Standish and Preece, photo.
Mr. T. H. Overton.

Mr. Charles Fitzroy Overton, Junior Partner in the ownership of Rockwood run, is the second son of Mr. Charles Overton, and was born in August, 1881, at Prebbleton. He was educated at Christ's College, Christchurch, and in 1899 turned his attention to farming. After travelling through the colony and gaining valuable experience in different districts, he entered into partnership with his cousin to take up the Rockwood run in March, 1903. Since his early school days Mr. Overton has taken an active interest in athletics. He represented Christ's College in football and cricket in many inter-collegiate matches, and holds the college record for high jumping. As a member of the Canterbury Amateur Athletic Club he representel the province at the New Zealand Championship meeting held at Dunedin in 1899.

Tara Ghur Estate (C. T. Dudley, proprietor), Glentunnel. In the early days of the district “Tara Ghur” was a portion of the Glendore run, and was afterwards acquired by General Davidson, who worked it till his death in 1901 when it passed into the hands of Mr. Dudley. It contains an area of 850 acres, of which about 740 acres are hilly country, with about 110 acres of level agricultural land in the Valley. The estate is well suited for sheep, but cattle also are kept, and crops are grown to a limited extent.

Mr. Charles Thornton Dudley, J. P., Proprietor of “Tara Ghur,” is the second son of the late Archdeacon B. W. Dudley, of Rangiora, and formerly of Lyttelton. He was born in 1843 in Sussex, England, and arrived in Lyttelton, in company with his parents in 1850, by the ship “Cressy.” Mr. Dudley was educated at Christ's College, Christchurch, under Dean Jacobs, the first headmaster, and commenced farm work as a cadet on Messrs Brittan and Burke's Landsdown estate, which then consisted of 10,000 acres, hill and flat. In 1866 he commenced farming on his own account by buying the “Ravensworth” property in the Leeston district and five years later accepted an appointment as manager of the Burnham estate. He held that position for five years, and resigned in 1876 to take up property at Irwell. Mr. Dudley subsequently bought the Riversdale estate of about 3000 acres, originally part of the Longbeach estate, at Ashburton. After farming there for about five years he removed to “Selma,” which he took up temporarily and worked; it was an estate of page 756 4000 acres. Mr. Dudley then rented Sandhills run, near New Brighton, and at the same time commmenced business in Christchurch. At the end of 1901, he gave up business in Christchurch, and his property at New Brighton, to take over “Tara Ghur.” He is a life member of the Ellesmere Agricultural and Pastoral Association. Whilst in Ashburton he was president for one year of the Ashburton Agricultural and Pastoral Association, and one of the original founders and directors of the Tinwald Saleyards Company. He was the first to import Hampshire Down sheep to Canterbury. Mr. Dudley married Miss Woodman, and has, alive, a family of two sons and three daughters.

The Venerable Archdeacon Dudley. Benjamin Wooley Dudley was born in Staffordshire, England, at the end of the year 1805, and consequently was eighty-six years old at the time of his death, which took place on the 28th of August, 1892. He graduated at Cambridge, where he took his B.A., and afterwards his M.A. degree. For some years he ministered in England, and held a curacy at Earnley, and afterwards at Ticehurst. He left England, on the formation of a Church of England settlement in New Zealand, as chaplain of the “Cressy,” one of the historical first four ships, in 1850, and was afterwards the first Incumbent of Lyttelton, where he invested his money and remained for eight years, when, on account of his wife's health, he visited Auckland for a short period. On his return he was transferred to Rangiora, where he remained during the rest of his life. In Rangiora the Archdeacon's ministrations were highly valued, as they deserved to be, for his energy in the cause of the church was untiring, and the only limited to his liberality was his means. He gave four acres as a site for the church and parsonage. Through his exertions the church was enlarged considerably, and afterwards removed to make room for the erection of the handsome building which took its place. To the cost of all this the Archdeacon and his family contributed largely. Archdeacon Dudley was personally the most liberal contributor towards the erection of a parsonage, and his latest effort was the building of a substantial schoolroom, which cost £750, and it was almost free of debt at the time of his death. Besides his work for the good of the church, the poor in the district had in him an unfailing friend. He was always ready to assist those in trouble or distress, and it was well known that during his later years he was wont to complain that his means prevented him doing all he wished, and common report credited him with having given largely of his substance to objects of bene-velence. In addition to these works of charity, Archdeacon Dudley endowed the Dampier Bay church with £250 per annum, and founded Divinity Scholarships at Christ's College. In 1866 he was made Rural Dean and Canon, and, in 1876, in recognition of his many services to the Church, was appointed Archdeacon of Rangiora. About four years and a half before his death Archdeacon Dudley resigned the incumbency of Rangiora, and retired to his private residence, “Earnley.” But he could not remain long idle, and volunteered his services to Fernside and St. Stephen's Maori Pa, and continued the work up to the very day of his death. As a matter of fact, he was preparing for a drive of six miles to take the morning service, when the attack which proved fatal to his heart seized him. His chief characteristic, activity in his work, thus remained with him to the very last, and, as the Bishop afterwards publicly said of him, his whole life had been an example of largeheartedness. In England Archdeacon Dudley married Mary Thornton, who died at Rangiora in 1865. He again married, and at his death left a widow, three sons and one daughter. Of his sons, the eldest, Archdeacon B. T. Dudley, of Auckland, died in April, 1901; the Rev. H. T. Dudley, M.A. Oxon, is still vicar of Whitechurch, Glossop, England; and the second son, Mr. C. T. Dudley, formerly a member of the firm of Acland, Dudley and Co., Christchurch, resides on his property “Tara Ghur,” at Glentunnel. Miss F. T. Dudley resided with her father at Rangiora, where she was his right hand in all church work. She continues to live at “Earnley,” which remains, as of old, a centre of well-doing on the lines of her father's life.

The Ven. Archdeacon Dudley.

The Ven. Archdeacon Dudley.

Old Colonists.

Mr. Alexander Colville, sometime of Glentunnel, was the pioneer settler of the Wairere Valley, and was born in Fife, Scotland, in 1830. He came to New Zealand, in the ship “Brechin Castle,” in 1865, and landed at Port Chalmers. After visiting the Wakamarina diggings, where he spent only a short time, he made a tour over the country, looking for a home, and his choice fell on the Wairere Valley, where he purchased 100 acres, and afterwards extended his area to 300 acres. At first the land was covered with flax and water, but he set to work and drained it thoroughly, which was no easy task. He stocked the place with cattle as a means of consolidating the swamp so long submerged in or saturated with water. Mr. Colville's success brought him a number of neighbours, who purchased all the remaining Crown land, but he had, as he deserved, the cream of the valley in his well cultivated farm, stocked with well-conditioned sheep and cattle. The improvements on Mr. Colville's farm were of a permanent nature, and the homestead was well sheltered by forest trees. Mr. Colville always took an active part in road board affairs, and in the local school committee. He was married, in 1889, to Miss Nicholl, and had two sons and one daughter. Mr. Colville died a few years ago.

The late Mr. A. Colville.

The late Mr. A. Colville.

Major General A. G. Davidson, sometime of Glentunnel, was a native of Sutherlandshire, Scotland, and a cadet of the Davidsons of Tulloch, in Ross-shire. He was born in 1825, and entered the army in 1841, when he joined the 29th Madras Native Infantry. After serving for thirty-six years in India under Sir Henry Lawrence and other distinguished leaders, General Davidson retired in 1877, when he came direct to New Zealand, and resided successively at Wellington, Nelson, Blenheim, and Christchurch. In 1883 he purchased an estate situated on the southeast of the Wairere Valley, a few miles from Glentunnel, and built a substantial house of brick and iron, and made other extensive improvements. The residence commands a view of the whole of the Wairere Valley. General Davidson was married, in 1851, to Miss Graham, daughter of Dr. J. M. Graham, of Cupar, Fifeshire, Scotland, and had three sons and five daughters. He died at Glentunnel in 1901.

Mr. James Wallace was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, in 1833, and arrived in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1842. He was educated page 757 at private schools in Auckland, and served all through the Maori war. In 1850 he took up land at Papatoitoi, and holds the same land to the present day; he also bought property in the Ellesmere district, Canterbury. Mr. Wallace has taken a prominent part in the establishment and development of most of the important industries in Auckland, and is a member of many public bodies. At seventy years he is hale and hearty, and is a typical specimen of that hardy band of pioneers, who cleared the way for the present generation, and faced the many dangers and difficulties of the early days in the North Island.