WASHDYKE is said to have obtained its name from the fact to had a convenient natural place for sheep-dipping, and that in the early days the flocks of the original Levels estate, of which it originally formed part, were periodically dipped there. Formerly the district was notable for the large boiling down establishment, which was owned by the New Zealand Meat Company, and at one time employed seventy or eighty men. This establishment was closed in the middle eighties, and two wool scouring works have taken its place. Washdyke was also one of the first places where regular sales of stock were held in South Canterbury. The position being central, sale yards were erected, and are still used periodically. A large shearing shed was built for the season of 1902. The local railway station, Washdyke Junction, which is also the post and telegraph office, is within three miles of Timaru, ninety-seven miles from Christchurch and 134 from Dunedin, and stands at an elevation of eleven feet above the sea. The village has a hotel, a smithy, and a number of cottages. The local school serves for the children resident on some portions of the Seadown, Temuka, and Pleasant Point roads, which all branch off towards their respective localities at Washdyke. Religious services are regularly held in the school building. About a mile from Washdyke, towards Timaru, are situated the Smithfield Freezing Works, which give employment to a large number of men. At the census of 1901 the village of Washdyke had a population of 175.
THE WASHDYKE STATION was established upon the opening of the branch line to Fairlie. Six trains arrive and depart daily. The buildings are of usual type, and contain a ladies waiting room, a public lobby, and post, telegraph and railway offices, combined. The station was a double passenger platform.
Mr. SAMUEL DALE, Stationmaster and Postmaster at Washdyke, was born in Port Chalmers, in 1870. He entered the railway service in 1885, and was stationed at Dunedin, Carversham, Albury, and Purakanui respectively. Having gained leave of absence he went to South Africa with the Sixth Contingent and came back unhurt. He was appointed to his present position in May, 1902.
THE WASHDYKE PUBLIC SCHOOL was established in the seventies. The building is of wood and iron, and contains two class rooms and two porches with accommodation for from eighty to ninety children. There is a roll number of fifty-six and the average attendance is forty-four. The school stands upon two acres of land; the schoolhouse of six rooms occupies a portion of this land and there is a small playground.
Mr. NICHOLAS MULLER. Master of the Washdyke Public School, was born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1852. He was educated at Altona, and came to Lyttleton in the ship "St. Leonard's" in 1872. After serving as assistant master at Timaru for fourteen years, he received his present appointment in 1887, Mr. Muller was married, in 1881, to a Miss Mansfield, of Timaru, and has three sons and two daughters.
DONCASTER HOTEL (Mrs. Charlotte Dale, Proprietress), Washdyke. This house dates from 1854. The present building of wood contains eighteen bedrooms, three sitting rooms, kitchen, and bar, and a dinning room which will seats twenty guests. There is a large iron stable with stalls and loose boxes, which as the hotel is so near the Timaru racecourse, are very useful at race times.
MR WILLIAM DALE, sometime proprietor of the Doncaster hotel, was born in Doncaster, England, in 1838, and came to New Zealand, with Mr. George Rhodes, and settled in the Timaru district. He was at the West Coast diggings for a short time, and conducted a cab and express business in Timaru for a number of years. In 1882 Mr. Dale acquired the Doncaster Hotel, where he remained up to the time of his death. He was very fond of sporting generally, and was particularly interested in angling. Mr. Dale married in 1879, a daughter of the late Mr. T. Timpson, of Richmond, Surrey, England, and at his death left two sons and three daughters.
SOUTH CANTERBURY FELLMONGERY AND WOOL-SCOURING WORKS (Arthur Palmer proprietor), Washdyke. This area of five or six acres of land attached to these works, was the original site of the well-known boiling down works at Washdyke. Mr. Palmer is a cash buyer of wool and skins, and an exporter of pelts and wool. He was born in Victoria in 1866, and at the age of two years accompanied his father, Mr. A. Palmer, to Canterbury. He learned his trade in his father's works at Woolston, and leased the South Canterbury fellmongery early in 1901. Mr. Palmer has been a member of the Waimataitai school committee, and has served in the Timaru Naval brigade for three years. He was married in 1888, to a daughter of Mr. Bockmann, of North Canterbury, and has three daughters and one son.
KING AND FLETCHER (George King and George Fletcher), Chaff-cutters and Strawpressers, Washdyke. This firm dates from 1867, and owns a traction engine, two chuff-cutters and a press. These machines are worked throughout the district. The firm leases eighty acres of land at Washdyke.
Mr. GEORGE FLETCHER of the firm King and Fletcher, was born at Saltwater Creek, South Canterbury, in 1867, and has been always engaged in country life. Before joining his partner in the present firm he was in the employment of Mr. William King. Mr. Fletcher is a member of Oddfellows, and has been a member of the Washdyke school committee since 1898. He was married, in October, 1898 to a daughter of Mr. G. Cox. of Timaru, and has one son.
DAVIE, ROBERT, Farmer, Dalmuir Farm, Washdyke. Mr. Davie was born at Dalmuir, Dumbartonshire, Scotland, in October, 1839, and gained experience of farming before coming to Port Chalmers by the troopship "Peter Denny," in 1865. He spent a few months at Taieri, but in 11866 went to Oamaru, where for about nine years he was farm contracting and cropping. About the end of 1874 he removed to the Timaru district, and for a year or two found employment in cropping at Levels. In 1876 Mr. Davie purchased Dalmuir Farm, of 367 acres. There are some splendid plantations on the property, and and many other improvements have been made. Mr Davie was married on the 28th of January, 1879, to a daughter of the late Mr. Peter Cousin, of Dunfermline, Fifeshire, Scotland. His wife died on the 21st of August, 1902, leaving four sons and three daughters.
STOCKER, THOMAS HEAD, Farmer. Devon Farm, Washdyke. Mr. Stocker was born in Devonshire, England, in 1838, and was brought up to country life. He arrived at Lyttelton in 1866 by the ship "Blue Jacket," and settled in North Canterbury, where he was farming, chiefly on his own account at Rangiora, Leeston, and Halswell. In 1879 Mr. Stocker removed to the Timaru district, and bought Devon Farm, which is sixty-four acres in extent, and where he has since resided. He has served on the Halswell and Washdyke school committees. Mr. Stocker is a member of the South Canterbury Farmers Co-operative Association. He was married, in 1866, to a daughter of the late Mr. Thomas Harris, of Devonshire, England, and has six sons and four daughters.
Reference: Cyclopedia of New Zealand, Canterbury edition. Vol. 3 pages 928-929. Published 1903