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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]


Springfield is a prosperous district forty-four miles by rail from Christchurch. It is 1200 feet above sea level, and is one of the healthiest places in New Zealand. The Midland railway now (1903) extends, on the Springfield side, to Staircase Gully. Springfield township has a fine up-to-date hotel, several good stores, a public school, and an Anglican church, and several blacksmiths' shops. Settlement in the district began about 1860, and the first to take up land on the banks of the Kowai were the late Mr. Gillanders and Mr. Say. The first hotel was built by the late Mr. Willis, and the first store by Mr. Henry Williamson. The discovery of gold on the West Coast, with the consequent traffic, gave an impetus to the growth of the township, but it was not until the advent of the Springfield Coal and Pottery Company that the place assumed the appearance of a genuine township. It was at first known as Kowai Pass, but on the extension of the railway from Sheffield to Springfield, it was renamed Springfield by the postal authorities, to prevent confusion with the Kowai road district at Amberley. Crops of oats in the distict average about forty bushels per acre, and the farms are all supplied with water-races. The country is intersected by good roads, formed and maintained by the Malvern Road Board. Springfield has a post office and a money order office, and there is a daily mail from Christchuch.

Cooper, William, Baker, Springfield. Mr. Cooper was born in Wellington, and was educated at the public schools there and in Rangitikei, to which place his parents removed in 1856. Owing to the disturbed page 772 state of native affairs, the family returned to Wellington, where Mr. Cooper helped his father in his business, and subsequently learned the baking trade. In 1884 he removed to Springfield, where he has since worked at his calling. Mr. Cooper is secretary for the Kowai Pass Jockey Club and Athletic Sports Club, and has on several occasions acted as judge. He is a member of several friendly societies. His father, the late Mr. Thomas Cooper, who was born in Somersetshire, came out in the ship “Oriental” in 1842, and established the first cordial manufactory in Wellington. Mr. Cooper, senior, went to the goldfields of Victoria in 1852, meeting with varied success for three years, when he returned to New Zealand. He died in 1867.

Mr. W. Cooper.

Mr. W. Cooper.

Springfield Hotel (W. J. Cloudesley, proprietor), Springfield. This hotel is situated at Springfield, forty-four miles from Christchurch. It is a large handsome building, with spacious well furnished dining, commercial, and private sitting rooms, airy bedrooms, and bathrooms with hot and cold water. The house stands at an altitude of 1200 feet above sea level, near the fort of Mount Torlesse, which towers to a further height of 6000 feet. The air is remarkably pure and invigorating, and medical men recommend Springfield to persons in search of health and requiring relaxation from business. The scenery of the West Coast road and the Waimakariri Gorge is within a few miles of the hotel, and is accessible by good roads. Beautiful pieces of natural bush are dotted around the district, which abounds in ideal places for picnics. Large livery stables adjoin the hotel, and coaches, waggonettes, saddle horses, or buggies can be obtained at a moment's notice. The hotel, which was erected about 1862, was at first a small unpretentious accommodation house, but the growing traffic to the West Coast, coupled with the reputation of the place as a health resort, led to successive enlargements, and the present building contains about forty rooms, supplied with every modern luxury and comfort, and the table is supplied with all that is best in season. The bar, which is supplied with the choicest wines, spirits, and cigars, is away from the new portion of the hotel. The domestic arrangements are under the superintendence of Mrs Cloudesley, whose attention to the comfort and convenience of her numerous guests, has earned for her the gratitude and respect of tourists from various parts of the world.

Springfield Hotel.

Springfield Hotel.

Mr. W. J. Cloudesley, Proprietor of the Springfield Hotel, was born in Gloucestershire, England, educated in his native place, and followed mining in his early days. In 1877 he came to New Zealand, accompanied by his wife and infant son, in the ship “Wanganui,” to Canterbury. He was for some time employed in the Wairarapa, but returned to Canterbury in 1879. Mr. Cloudesley then entered his present line of business as manager of the Cass Hotel. At the end of eighteen months he bought the Castle Hill Hotel, then a small accommodation house, but the reputation of the place as a health resort attracted so many visitors that Mr. Cloudesley erected the present fine stone building, containing twenty-eight rooms. After fourteen prosperous years he leased the Castle Hill Hotel to a tenant, and bought the Springfield Hotel, which has grown in popularity under his ownership. During his residence at Castle Hill, Mr. Cloudesley acquired one of the most valuable coal mines in Canterbury, and it only awaits the completion of the Midland railway to Broken river, to develop into an extensive industry. The property consists of 1000 acres, and the coal, of which there is practically an unlimited quantity, has been proved by the Government analyst to equal the celebrated Westport coal. The mine lies at a distance of thirteen miles from Springfield, and at a short distance from the route of the Midland railway. Mr. Cloudesley owns and works a coal mine on his property, only fifteen chains from the hotel. With this coal he supplies his own hotel, and also does an extensive local business. In 1901 he erected close to the hotel, a fine hall capable of accommodating about 500 people, with a large stage and dressing rooms. Mr. Cloudesley is a member of Christchurch Masonic Lodge. He is a shareholder in the Sheffield Saleyards Company, and in the Central Dairy Company. Mr. Cloudesley has been greatly helped in business by his only son, who is a musician of ability.

Hoglund, John, General Storekeeper, Springfield. Mr. Hoglund established his business in 1886, and has successfully created an extensive trade. The premises are very spacious and contain a large stock of every description of goods to meet all the requirements of a wide country connection, from the proverbial needle to the equally proverbial anchor. Mr. Hoglund is a native of Sweden, and was born in 1853, received his education at public schools, and was trained for a baker. He came to the Colony in 1879 in the ship “Boyne,” as ship's baker, but could find no employment at his trade until a year later, when he obtained work with Mr. Williamson, of Springfield, in whose service he remained for a few years. Carried away by the glowing accounts of the Queensland goldfields, he went to that Colony, but met page 773 with failure; then went to Melbourne, South Sea Islands, New Guinea, etc., eventually making his way back to New Zealand, and found work with his old employer at his trade, and subsequently established his present business. He also carries on a farm of 160 acres. Mr. Hoglund was married in 1887 to Miss Joyce, daughter of Mr. J. B. Joyce, and has one son and five daughters.

Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo.Mr. J. Hoglund.

Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo.
Mr. J. Hoglund.

The West Coast Coaches (Cassidy and Co., proprietors), Springfield. The overland mail service between Christchurch and Hokitika was begun in 1865 by Cobb and Co. At first part of the journey was done by coach, and part by pack horses, but the present road was opened through on the 8th of March, 1866; and Mr. Knox drove the first coach to the West Coast. The first owner of the service was Mr. Le Cole, who, after three years, sold it to Messrs Mitchell and Burton, and it was acquired by the present proprietor in 1873. The first coaches were constructed to carry eight passengers, six inside and two outside, and they ran twice a week. Now, however, each coach carries fourteen passengers, as well as numerous heavy mail bags, and occasionally three coaches are required for the work. Passengers leave Christchurch at eight o'clock in the morning; reach Springfield by rail at 11.15; stay at Springfield for luncheon; leave by coach at 12.30; arrive at the Bealey at 7.30 p.m. The Bealey is left early next morning, Otira Gorge reached before or about noon, and the journey to the coast is ended in the afternoon. The scenery through which the coach passes is classed by competent judges with the best in the world, and consists of mountain gorges, high snow-clad peaks, forests of primeval vastness and perennial beauty, rivers, mountain torrents, and high waterfalls. The hotels where the coaches call are most comfortable, and passengers can be supplied with every desirable refreshment. This journey to the West Coast has long been a favourite one with tourists, and is likely to continue so on account of the unequalled beauty and romantic wildness of the scenery by the way.

Porter's Pass.

Porter's Pass.