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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]

Old Colonists

Old Colonists.

Mr. Robert Bell, sometime of Manymore Farm, Hook, was born in Londonderry, Ireland, in 1847, and came to New Zealand in the ship “Star of England” in 1864. After a successful time on the goldfields Mr. Bell went to Temuka, where he was engaged cropping for eight years. He then went to Makikihi, and was engaged in the construction of the main line of railway, and was present when the Otago and Canterbury sections met and were joined on the Waitaki Plains. Mr. Bell bought 200 acres of Government land at the Hook, and started farming. His area was afterwards increased to 450 acres of freehold, and 820 acres of leasehold. When he first settled in the district no roads had been formed in it or trees planted, and the country was so rough that it was a great feat to go to Makikihi in one day. Mr. Bell kept about 2000 sheep, and his wheat crops averaged thirty bushels per acre. In 1897 he took a trip Home to visit his native place, and was present at the Jubilee celebrations in London. In 1879, he married Miss McKay, of Sutherlandshire, Scotland, who was a child passenger in the ship “Strathallan,” which came out in 1859, and they had five sons and two daughters. Mr. Bell died on the 13th of February, 1903.

Mr. Gordon Gunn, sometime of Upper Hook, was born in 1840, in Caithnessshire, Scotland, and was early trained to pastoral pursuits. He came out in the ship “Royal Stuart” in 1861. For a year he worked on Mr. John Deans' station on the Malvern Hills, and then went to Lake Coleridge, where he was engaged in shepherding for about eighteen months. He then went to the Mackenzie Country with Messrs Dark Brothers, with whom he remained for two years. After this he went droving, and in that capacity travelled over the whole of Canterbury and Otago. He sometimes had to paddle across the Waitaki and other rivers in an open box, and make his horse swim behind. About 1879 he went to the Upper Hook and took up his farm, Gordon Bush, which he cleared, and used chiefly for grazing purposes. Mr. Gunn died in the year 1900.

Mr. Thomas Smith, sometime of Alford Farm, Hook, was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in 1836, and was a passenger in the “Dover Castle,” which arrived page 1059 in Melbourne in 1860. After a short experience of goldmining and farming in Victoria, he came to New Zealand in 1862, and went to the Otago goldfields. After remaining there a year he went to Cheviot, and worked for Mr. Robinson for nine years, during which he was engaged in erecting wire fences. Then he removed to Makikihi, and had charge of a threshing mill. In 1873 he bought 192 acres of Government land at the Hook, where he afterwards owned 455 acres of freehold. Mr. Smith was a devoted angler, and his early experience in the Old Country in that pastime stood him in good stead in New Zealand, as he had catches of thirty and forty fish at various times. He was a member of the Wainono Drainage Board, Waimate Acclimatisation Society, Waimate Agricultural and Pastoral Association, and the Waimate Caledonian Society. Mr. Smith was married to Miss Patton, of Perthshire, in 1880, and had two sons and two daughters. He died in 1902.

The late Mr. T. Smith and Mrs Smith.

The late Mr. T. Smith and Mrs Smith.