“THE ANNUAL SHEEP RETURNS for the year ended 30th April, 1895″.
This is just the South Canterbury farmers. Every known sheep-farmer is listed in the AJHR under Sheepowners returns from 1878 onward, geographically from north to south, by county. Each entry records the farmer’s name, address and the number of sheep run by that particular farmer. The government was collecting this data apart from the useful statistical fact that there are 2,008,983 sheep “depastured” in South Canterbury, New Zealand as at 30th April 1894. Farmers were levied a sheep tax which was payable at the local post office. ”The Stock Act 1893″ which allowed the sheep tax levy was a sweeping reform of the agricultural sector that also ensured the annual dipping of sheep, compulsory tagging or branding of all stock, and the implementation of disease control and animal welfare measures. Significant penalties were imposed on farmers who failed to comply.
Timaru Herald, 22 September 1898, Page 2
At the Magistrates Court, Fairlie, on Monday, the 19th last, before Messrs James Wilson and Allan McLean, J.Ps., Frank Dickson, manager of Rollesby Station, was charged on the information of Stock Inspector Deem with failing to brand lambs under section 57 of the Stock Act, 1893. Defendant pleaded guilty, and the Bench stated that failing to brand was a threat encouragement to sheep-stealing, but as it was the first case of the kind heard in this court, and the inspector did not press for a heavy penalty, they would inflict a nominal fine of 3d per head, and hoped it would be a warning to others not to neglect branding, as they would be inclined to deal severely with any future cases coming before them.
Last summer lambs - Springbrook- south of Timaru. Kip the black eye dog is to the left.
THE ANNUAL SHEEP RETURNS FOR THE YEAR
ENDED 30th APRIL, 1895.
Presented to both Houses of the General Assembly by Command of His Excellency. NEW ZEALAND.
—Return of all Sheepowners, and Number of Sheep and Lambs, on 30th April, 1894, and 30th April, 1895; showing the County in which Owners reside and their Sheep are depastured, so far as the information is supplied in the Schedule B furnished by Sheepowners under section 47 of The Stock Act, 1893. I—H. 23.
The annual sheep returns in the AJHR after 1878 are the best guide to the approximate dates of changes of ownership.