Welcome to the South Canterbury GenWeb, the place to be. 
 A NZ GenWeb Project.
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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 visitor.
part one - the port.
part two - Caroline Bay
part three - CBD

   Add input regarding migration in and out of the area.      Why did the settlers select South Canterbury to settle? Hint: Construct your entry off line, do spell check, then cut and paste.


Also check out Directories, Electoral Rolls, and Sheepowner Returns as they are images. 

Mailing Lists
, Boards & Archives etc. 

NZ Mailing List: A closed mailing list for anyone with a genealogical or historical interest in New Zealand. All subject lines include "[NZ]" and so easily filtered to a special folder  for reading.  Usually I am not subscribed but do browse the Archives daily and subscribe when I want to contribute.  Approx. 15 messages daily. Replies may be made in the public forum or in private, depending on the nature (public interest) of the reply.  email for posting, only use if you are subscribed. 

Message Board: GEDCOM files and pictures can be attached, .JPG or .GIF format to a message. Maybe you have unidentified photos you would like to upload so that others might view and possibly identify or decipher the place, people, medal, signature, passenger list, etc. If you have a photo of an ancestor's headstone upload it when posting an obituary for that individual. New Zealand mailing lists

Hint: use Google to search Papers Past e.g. copy & paste "T. Thompson" 1882 -"l=mi" site:http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz into Google
Genealogy sites
NZ BDMs online. Look under stillbirths for DOB. Some of them are late registrations and others probably reregistrations in the name of the adoptive parents for adopted children, not ordinary late registrations.
Ancestry NZ BMD records from the fiche
Australian BMD Index
Archways for WWI service records AABK as the Agency, 1914 1919 for years and Held at Wgtn. Probate items. Transcribe reference numbers correctly! NZ BoundNZ Bound Google books 
more genealogy sites World Connect

New Zealand GenForum

 *RootsWeb mailing listsearch engine
19th Cent. NZ Artists Una Platts
Search sites ebay New Zealand ebay time
Google.co.NZ If a link is broken use
Tools Map NZ Top Wises 1912 Everyplace in NZ Cenotaph Database + Cemeteries   Te Papa
Newspapers & News New Zealand Newspapers
display Timaru Herald Deaths

Timaru Herald 1864 -1920 

  Trove, AUS
Community newspapers
One News
Pictorial Collections South Canterbury Museum online database - rate rolls. Pioneer Hall was built in 1966.  
Heritage Images
AKL Libraries
Christchurch City Libraries
Hocken Snapshot
Archives & Manuscripts Combined Collections of Unpublished manuscripts and pictures collections in the ATL
1854 to 1950
1940 Vol. 2
Ka Kohika 
Search billions of records on Ancestry.com

THE MOUNTAIN SIGNAL - Special thanks to the volunteers and visitors who help make this site grow and bloom!! Cheers, Olwyn

Be sure that your family is represented - send me an email with your information or corrections. Please email me if you have enjoyed visiting or if you found the site useful or interesting.  

Photos of the month:

Timaru Herald, 14 January 1909, Page 4 The Ploughman Appears.
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.

Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand  Reference Number : 1/2-020121-F
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."

Please email me any photographs and old postcard images of South Canterbury for the site! Thanks.  Adopt a cemetery in South Canterbury.

forecast & tides

My viewers know more than I do.  We are very interested in what you know. We want to help you share.  volunteer: There are many opportunities for people to become involved in the GenWeb Project which is dedicated to making genealogical information available online for free.  South Canterbury war memorial transcriptions, cemetery listings, electoral rolls, Wises Directory information, school reunion announcements are areas where you can get involved. Does not take any special skills other than the desire to help others.  Also looking for volunteers to do lookups in genealogical material.  If anyone knows of information sources for South Canterbury or if you want to volunteer to help with lookups etc., please send me an email . I am looking for three more photos on South Canterbury scenes, buildings, events etc. with similar dimensions.  Images welcomed.

Keeping Internet Genealogy Free. If you have an interest in South Canterbury this site will be a good starting place.  My mission is to provide local history and family history scholars information to help facilitate research.  If you would like to contribute information to these pages, please email me.

NZGenWeb Regional Projects are dedicated to the free exchange of public - domain records via the internet. Volunteer's are still needed to adopt other NZ regions.



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The South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project has no affiliation with any commercial enterprise. This site may be freely linked to but not duplicated in any fashion without my consent except for private study. ©1998 - 2014 Olwyn Whitehouse