Geraldine County, South Canterbury, New Zealand

Corriedales on Galwey's. Over looking Sherwood Downs - winter 2007.
"We have plenty of feed on hand and the stock are in good nick. We're used to it I suppose."

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Otago Witness, 3 November 1892, Page 7
That sheep know their shepherd (writes The Press' South Canterbury correspondent) is wonderfully instanced in the case of Mr T. Orr, of Waitohi Flat, and the flocks that he owns. Whatever his method, it is a fact that with him dogs are at a discount, for his sheep not only come at his call, but follow him (even to destruction) when he demands. It was a rather amusing sight, on Monday last, at Temuka, to see Mr Orr leading a splendid line of exhibition sheep to the railway station, where they were to be trucked for the Timaru Show. They simply followed him like a pack of beagles, only with a more sedate pace. When he has in the ordinary course of business to submit them for competition in the saleyard, it is a matter of perfect indifference to him if they get "boxed" with other mobs, for when he has been notified of his pen he has no difficulty in calling his sheep into them. This was noticeable upon one occasion at Pleasant Point, when a small line brought over for sale were mixed - with a big lot of similar sheep. Mr Orr penned all his without the drafting race. On another occasion, at the same yards, he caused a good deal of amusement by bringing over a special pet recently shorn, but upon whose bulky carcass were left in neatly trimmed wool the words, "Vote for Rhodes." It is possible the latter's substantial majority is partly due to the unconscious canvass of such a substantial type of our island's property. Joking apart, however, Mr Orr goes to work in a very practical way. When he first embarked upon the career of a breeder he took a good deal of care in the matter of selection, and further marked his breeding ewes with a zinc or tin label. The weight of wool these sheep clipped from year to year was carefully noted, and only the best sheep were kept. The progeny of these were naturally good sheep, possessed of even characteristics, and consequently those for sale are readily sought for. Receiving as they do a good deal of personal attention in the winter months it is not perhaps surprising that they follow their shepherd so well. It can only be a stern recognition of the law of nature, or perhaps of agricultural economy, that permits their breeder ever to part with them.

The annual sheep returns in the AJHR after 1879 are the best guide to the approximate dates of changes of ownership.

Sheepowner Returns fir Geraldine 1879 - 1880 - 1881 
Waimate County Sheepowners Returns
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Sheep numbers totalled 39.7 million at 30 June 2003. This is the first time in two decades that sheep numbers have not declined. The number of sheep in New Zealand peaked at 70.3 million in 1982 and had since declined to 39.5 million in 2002.

Otago Witness May 6 1908 pg63
As a rule 1000 acres of land offer a sustenance for 100 sheep or 33 horned cattle.

Timaru Herald 25th February 1896
From the Flock Book.
Council of the New Zealand Sheep Breeder's Association was formed on May 28th 1894.
Flocks introduced to New Zealand.
1852 Merinos
1857 Cheviots
1859 Border Leicesters
1862 Lincolns
1865 English Leicesters
1870 Cotswolds
1876 Romney Marsh
1881 Hampshire Downs
1886 Southdowns
1894 Wensleydale

South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project

The Farming of New Zealand; The People and the Land is published by Penguin, $65. 2006. by Gordon McLauchlan
"No one of my generation in any walk of life could possibly have escaped the knowledge that New Zealand earned its living in the world by selling wool, meat, dairy produce and apples and pears. You didn't just learn it at school, it pressed on your life. The seas of grass lapped into the suburbs, straggling around sagging wire fences. We played football after school among the sheep's tollies and the cowpats. If cuts on arms and legs sometimes swelled with pus, stinging hot poultices drew the poison out. I feel a great unease now as some of the finest grassland in the world recedes, yielding to urban subdivisions and their barren, monotonous houses that will one day spawn barren, monotonous children."

Otago Witness, 5 August 1882, Page 15
We sold consignments as follows : Fat Pigs:
On account of the New Zealand Meat Preserving Company (Limited), 25 at 41 to 44s
Mr Thomas Orr (Temuka), 46 at 15s to 25s ;
Mr Daniel Coll, Waitohi Flat, 49 at 12s to 29s per head.

The only legal requirement regarding sheep numbers, today, is to keep your accountant updated at the end of the year for valuations and tax.

Te Moana