South Canterbury, New Zealand lies in the centre of the South Island bounded by the Rangitata River to the north and Waitaki River to the south and stretching from the east coast to the Southern Alps where Mount Cook dominates the range. The 5,276 square miles or 3,504,640 acres of land changes from plain to downland to foothills and mountains. The Mackenzie Basin has three large lakes; Ohau, Pukaki and Tekapo that are all part of the Waitaki River catchment and contributes to the supply of water which provides electric power for the South Island. Discover the Waitaki Hydro Scheme (June 2). Industries include grain growing and sheep. The port of Timaru is a central multipurpose bulk handling facility. The foothills - Four Peaks, Hunter Hills, the hills behind Fairlie and the Two Thumb Range are often dusted with snow. Refresh page to view the images above - four of the photos are views on the opposite side of Four Peaks, the Fairlie Basin, looking back towards Four Peaks from Middle Rd, Sherwood Downs and a painting of the run "Ribbonwood" on the Two Thumb Range, Sherwood Downs, Fairlie.
Timaru - one of New
Zealand's best kept secrets.
Through the eyes of a
part one - the port.
part two - Caroline Bay
part three - CBD
Hint: Construct your entry off line, do spell check, then cut and paste.
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1940 Vol. 2
Photos of the month:
Timaru Herald, 14 January 1909, Page 4 The
The plough does not appear to have been much in favour with the early settlers, doubtless because they found plenty to do in the perfecting of the arrangements for carrying on the pastoral industry. At all events the "Timaru Herald," in its first issue, June 11th, 1864, had the following:— "Until the present season very little attention has been paid to agricultural farming in and about Timaru. In fact we may say that there has been literally no farming. Certainly we have a few farms about Arowhenua and the Waimate, and also a very limited number near Timaru, but the supplies from these farms are not sufficient for one third of the population of Timaru alone. A glance at the imports will convince our readers that we are almost entirely supplied with farm produce from Lyttelton and Dunedin." A little later in the year the "Herald" recorded that the area of land in cultivation was 900 acres, and that "Several thousand bushels of oats have been imported, and the district supplied 500 bushels. The price is now 6s, and oats have scarcely ever been lower than 5s. Flour last week was £30 per ton, cash."
The first farm in South Canterbury was probably Neal's,
just north of Temuka between the Main Road and the river.
Mr Neal came down
from Christchurch early in 1859, bringing with him draught horses,
implements, seed, and dairy cows, and as a member of the household a youth
of 16, George Levens, who has been ever since and still is well known in
that district. Mr Levens had been a carpenter's apprentice, and this
training made him very useful in the erection of Neal's house. He took as
readily to horse as to hammer and plane, taking the first load of wood drawn
by horses into Timaru, and becoming a first-prize ploughman when ploughing
matches were, instituted.
Mr Neal brought the first threshing machine into the district, a 3-horse "coffee-pot" power, with small iron thresher that packed with the powerbox on a pair of wheels for transport, and a separate winnower. The terms were 1s per bushel, pay and feed all hands (10) and feed the horses (6 or 8), and the average output was about 100 bushels a day, so that threshing cost about 2s a bushel. That, however, would be cheaper than threshing with the flail and winnowing with a breeze or a "fanner." In 1866 Mr E. Pilbrow, of Temuka, brought in the first steam thresher and combine, and his terms were "All hands found, grain dressed, bagged and weighed, 1s per bushel; or if farmer finds coal and extra hands (i.e., all but driver and feeder) 9d per bushel." Mr Sealey states, in the paper already quoted, that the district from Temuka to the Waihi Bush was settled before 1870, because, like some settled districts in North Canterbury, not because there were no runs there, but because the land being nearly all level and nearly all of good quality, the squatters found it impossible to "spot" it so as to prevent farmers buying it, as was done with the downs land. Prior to 1870 there were very few farmers south of the Selwyn except around Temuka and Winchester.
A threshing machine at Temuka 1861 photographed by an unknown photographer. This machine came from the Heathcote wharf and was landed at Timaru by whaleboat and was worked at Riccarton before it was taken to Temuka. This was the first painted photograph in South Canterbury, taken by a travelling photographer. (Information from back of file print, source not recorded) ATL
In 1865 Agriculture, with a capital A, was formally recognised in the organisation of the Timaru Agricultural and Pastoral Association. This title must have been at the time either adopted or prophetic, as there was nothing in the conditions of the district at the time to suggest the inclusion of the word " Agricultural." The first show of the Association was held in that year, with 112 entries of all kinds, a number that was considered "extremely large." The runholders lived somewhat solitary lives, miles apart, and were glad of any valid excuse for assembling for friendly intercourse. The Show provided one of the best and most popular of these excuses, and whether held at Timaru, Waimate, or Fairlie, the "Show" still maintains its pre-eminence as the rural holiday of the year. The literary and prophetic recognition of Agriculture was followed by the fact. The whole of the available country having been taken up under pastoral leases, newcomers must perforce turn their attention to farming for grain, the high price ruling for all kinds of farm produce was a good incentive, and in 1867 the estimated yield of wheat was 64,000 bushels, and of oats 91,000.
Philosophy of life by Sir Hugh Walpole: "If I look
forward to a paradise in this world I know it will be a world in which every
man, woman, and child is in some way or another engaged in some kind of
creation, the creation which it is meant to do—whether it is ploughing a
field, making a pudding, building up a business, or writing a poem. That is
where perfection lies."
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