CHAPTER I. ARRIVAL AT LYTTELTON; CADET AT THE SPRINGS; DROVING TO DUNEDIN; MORE DROVING.
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ARRIVAL AT LYTTELTON; CADET AT THE SPRINGS; DROVING TO DUNEDIN; MORE DROVING.
January 11th, 1862-July 3rd, 1862.
11th January. I was the first on shore from the Matoaka on Monday morning. Mr Acland and I went all over Lyttelton to get a room for Mrs Acland and were successful. Two bob for going on shore and two more back so I only went once packing up my things in the evening. This morning I went on shore to see Mr Acland and just missed him. Not a horse to be had at any price owing to the Ch.Ch. races so I could not go to Mr FitzGerald, he, I hear, was at the races so I should have missed him. Returned and sent some boxes to Ch.Ch. by steamer. The harbour is very fine. I will say more in time.
12th. The first thing Packe and I started for Ch.Ch. on foot. We called on the Bishop where I dined at one and then walked on to Mr FitzGerald [at the "Springs"] between 18-20 miles the other side of Ch.Ch. making about 30 miles the first day and the most part of that over rough country with nothing to guide you. I did not lose my way fortunately and when I got there Mr Fitz was in Ch.Ch. however Mrs Fitz was very kind indeed and I had a good tea and a good bed and the next day I was quite well again.
13th. In the morning I went out with two young fellows to work at some oats, a Mr Gore and Mr Craig the latter is six feet five without his boots and looks as good tempered as possible. Mr Fitz came back in the afternoon and I had a long talk with him and he asked me all about my future prospects and my own wishes and what I thought of the place and all sorts of things and then said, bring your boxes to Ch.Ch and I will send for them. You may be sure I was very glad to hear that.
14th. He is going to dissolve partnership [with Mr P. Cox] soon and then he will make further arrangements with me. Friday I walked back to Ch.Ch and went to the Harpers [Bishops Court] to see Mr Acland and he was delighted to hear that I was to go to the Springs, he thought me a most fortunate fellow, there are many fellows here that cannot get employed at any price that is to say as a gentleman. I then walked back to the ship to pack up my things in the birth making altogether about 40 miles.
15th. In the morning I went on shore to get my money trans-
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ferred to Ch.Ch Bank but the Captain had so many things to do in the morning that it was twelve o'clock before we landed at which hour the Bank closes. I engaged a man to take my boxes to Ch.Ch for 30s. There are as Mrs Selwin said a great many scamps here, who think it quite fair game to do newcomers as they call it.
17th. I landed all my things but the saddle box which I could not get at. I took a horse at Ch.Ch because I did not feel up to the walk that morning for which I gave 15/-. I opened one of my boxes and found all the things quite safe from wet. I took a bed at the Gloucester House for a night with Pattisson and O'Brien it being too wet to go on to Mr Fitzgerald. The great event of the day being "Mrs Acland of a son." They are quite well. Mr Acland delighted.
18th. Very misty in the morning finished my packing the reason of my packing being that Mr FitzGerald has not room now for more than one or two boxes so I have put the things I want together. I have transferred my money from Lyttleton to Ch.Ch.
19th. After expecting Mr FitzGerald from Monday I determined to walk to the Springs if he did not come down before two o'clock. Accordingly at three I started. O'Brien a relation of Mr Fitz came with me and we reached the Springs about seven looking like drowned rats.
22nd. Very fine, I saw the cheesemaking, cow milking and sundry other things. We milk about forty every day. I do not know the number of horses and oxen on the run. They roam over miles of country and are as wild as if they had never seen a man and many very savage.
23rd. Evening service in the house with singing and a sermon read by Mr Fitz.
24th. Mr Gore and little Willie Fitz who is only 9 rides over the rough ground with his stockwhip and cuts at the cattle in a most surprising manner. Went out to get an ox to kill as the larder was empty and after riding about twelve miles succeeded in bringing in the animal with about twenty others. It is almost impossible to bring in one animal by itself.
25th. Mr Fitzgerald shot the ox in the morning and then Gore and myself and one of the men skinned and cut up the animal, which took us all the day.
26th. Gore and myself drove to Ch.Ch and did a great many commissions for Mrs Fitz and brought up some of our things. We drove a young horse and when we were coming home going over one of the Ch.Ch bridges the horse started and broke the traces
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Arrival at Lyttelton--Droving to Dunedin.
and caused some excitement, the cart being the most extraordinary in New Z. The wheels are over seven feet in diameter.
27th. Fine. Working at the Springs and I went in much to the amusement of the others who had all been in before.
3rd March. Rain off and on all day mending the fowlyard in the morning. Five of us went out on the run to bring in stray cattle which were to be sold by auction the next day and out of 150 there were only 14 left [behind] we drove them up about ten miles at a sharp gallop. It is as good as fox hunting.
4th. Rather damp. About sixty people came to the auction from all parts thinking there was to be a large auction because the sale had been advertised in all the papers and were in a great rage much to Mr Fitzs amusement--his object being to clear the run of stray cattle. One farmer came up three days journey with lots of money and two men to drive the cattle back and went back without any.
5th. Warm and dry. Draper, Mrs Fitzs brother and also a partner a very good fellow and I went out mending the fences and took our grub with us. Gore came back from down South all right, all the horses crossed the rivers in safety.
6th. Very hot and dry. Draper, myself and a man called Tennant rode to Ch.Ch and posted the letters for England and just for something to do I asked if there was a letter for Chudleigh; the man turned over a great thing and produced yours and Mrs Sawles letter to my great delight two people had asked before but the P. man thought they said Chumley which is a common name here we went about 35 miles that day.
7th. Draper and I went out on the run to count some of the cattle and to drive others to another ground. I rode a young horse that was partly broken in about seven months ago and then sent up here to Draper to ride on the run to make it quiet for he is the best stock driver in the Colony but not having time it has been with the young horses ever since. I was the first person that mounted it. I have been on it every day since Monday.
8th. Very hot Draper and I were in the saddle all day, we took a cow to a Mr Russell's about sixteen miles off [Ilam.] The Animal gave us a tremendous dance it went over every fence it came to and coming back I went to look for one of my long boots that came out of my swag on Thursday night in the dark in Mr Burton's farmyard about ten miles from the Springs and to my great joy found my boot.
10th. Hot, in the saddle from 11 in the morning till 8 at
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night hard rideing all the time driving bullocks to a place near Ch.Ch.
11th. Very hot. Branding bulls all the morning very hard work indeed.
12th. Draper and I went to Ch.Ch and I got my saddle which consisted of saddle and bridal, no saddle cloth no spur nor breast plate which I think were ordered. What I have is very good.
13th. Hot. Draper, Mr Fitz, little Willie and myself were on the run all day cutting out bullocks we succeeded in yarding about 60. It is very hard to cut out so many; they all give you a good gallop to cut out and many you cannot cut out at all for they rush at you at full gallop and you have to be very quick to keep your horse from being tossed. When they are hot and savage they do not care for the stockwhip.
14th. The same work and the same people with the exception of Willie who was so tired he could not come so Amy took his place which is to ride up and down between the bullocks that have been cut out and the old mob which is very tiring as the animals put their heads at all points of the cumpas and go off at various paces. Draper and I leave at cockcrow tomorrow for the Southern station [later called Longbeach].
15th. Hot. Started early with about 193 head of cattle and notwithstanding some had been fasting for two days they gave us an amount of trouble for several hours. We crossed the Selwin at mid-day very well and then sat on the grass and had some bread and meat and in half an hour were on the road again and reached the great river the Racia at seven where we halted for the night.
16th. Very hot. Very improperly and as it was unavoidably Sunday we started three miles up the river to get the river in a broader place and in two hours had crossed. The bed is two miles across, the water a mile but split up into many branches. The water is melted snow; it is thick and foamey and roars along at the rate of twelve miles per hour over large boulders, quicksands, shingle and stumps of trees. You cross at the head of a rapid and thoug low it reaches my knees. A hot wind in a few hours raise it ten or twelve feet at which times no boat could live a minuit on it. That night we reached the Ashburton. Monday morning we crossed the Ashburton a large river and often impassable but nothing after the Racia and that night we reached the Southern Station the bite [or entrance] runs like a corkscrew between two unfathomable swamps that cannot be passed and many people that
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Arrival at Lyttelton--Droving to Dunedin.
have been taken in and out four and five times cannot get thro now. Four miles the other side is the house of HardeCastle [the manager]. Tuesday we took a morning ride over the station.
19th. Damp and misty the poor horses had a days rest. This station is a very good one there are about nine hundred cattle here and a number of horses. Hardecastle his wife and children live here in perfect quietness they have cows, sheep, pigs, Ducks and hens all very tame they are about ten miles from the nearest house.
20th. Dry in the morning and evening, wet at noon. We left the Longbeach Station and I took particular note of every object that serves as a guide to enable me to know the way in again, but everything is so much alike here it is very doubtful if I shall remember for every change of the atmosphere quite alters the appearance of the country and in a few hours reached the Ashburton where we slept at a very nice accommodation house.
21st. Very fine. We left early and crossed the Racia by one [crossing]. The water was as low as it could be only wet our feet (we lost one cow in a quicksand going down). We dined and went on to a Mr Harmon's station and stayed the night. There are four Cadets learning sheepfarming. I shall be on a sheep station soon, Mr Fitzgerald says that is the best place for me.
22nd. Fine. We went on an adjoining run to bring one of our stray horses home and succeeded after some trouble and came home through our own run where we found a calf ill which we killed and left for the cats and pigs there are a good many of both about, the dogs killed a cat a few minutes before we found the calf. We were home by two and had some dinner.
23rd. Wet. Evening service.
24th. Damp raining. Clearing the Springs of water cresses. These things are the cause of a great deal of trouble, they stop up the river and drains and make the water overflow the land that had been reclaimed at a great expense, one years growth will cover a still river so thickly that you could walk across.
25th. Fine. We killed a calf in the morning to get rhenit etc., etc. In the afternoon Draper and I went to a hop at F. Olliviers Esq. of Ch.Ch. It was very respectable but not select commenced at nine and ended at five on Wednesday morning; the supper was very good.
26th. Very fine. At one o'clock I thought it time to get up so I roused Draper and we got up and had breakfast, finished our commissions and called at the post to get my letters and to my
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great disappointment found I had none; this is two mails and no news from home. It is reported that the last mails to and from England are lost, if so then goes the longest letter I ever wrote and the one I most longed for to Davey's locker.
27th. Fine. Took a letter to Ch.Ch for Mr Fitz and stayed there one hour rideing up and down from one place to another was back again in four hours, thirty-two miles on a blood mare called Fayaway, worked at hay all the afternoon and in the evening brought in the savagest bullock on the run with little trouble. We drove the mob in and when they came to the gate he was so pressed in from behinde that he could not turn.
28th. Doubtfull in the morning and tremendous rain from the S. W. all day. By six in the morning we had brought down the bullock with two balls in his head and by eight he was cut up. I soaped my saddle and brushed up all my horse gear it being too wet to go out for the day.
29th. Fine. Did some ditch and banking in the morning and gardening in the afternoon and received yours and Brothers letters dated the 14th of Jan. and you say it is the third you have sent and it is the second I have received, it is nearly certain that one mail has gone below. The letter was at Lyttelton after all.
30th. Fine. Went to the Harman's.
31st. Fine. Came back from Harmans. Mr Fitz went to Ch.Ch in his circulating medium with three horses and brought up some friends and did not upset them. Gardening, etc. etc.
1st. Ap. Hot. Carrying hay all the day, had a nice swim in the Springs which we often do have "we" stands for Draper and myself.
2nd. Very wet all day. Mr Acland and Packe came here on their way to Town from some place and dined. Milked six cows in the evening. I am getting a dab at this work and am much improved with the stockwhip. I can crack it well enough but the thing is to be able to cut up your beast. An old Australian will cut a rat in two at full gallop and take the sight away from a bullock.
3rd. Wet in the morning. In the afternoon I drove Mr and Mrs Tancred and Major Richmond to Ch.Ch in the circulating medium. The horse backed at every bank we came to but owing to my superior driving there was no accident. I drank tea and spent the evening with them at the Laday's Club, a very nice house indeed. There is also a gentleman's club here. I slept at an Hotel. The lost English mail came in to-day to everyones astonishment.
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Arrival at Lyttelton--Droving to Dunedin.
4th. Fine. Took a walk before breakfast and after I had a great many things to do for Mrs F. G. who says I am an excellent person for commissions of every sort. I called at the Gressons for Amy and by half past six got to the Springs when a stranger walked in with something growing on his upper lip which turned out to be John Enys. He had heard of my departing in a few days and had come up to see me. He is very much stronger than he was and looks so.
5th. Fine with slight shower. John and I rode and Draper drove to Ch.Ch. We had to get all the things for the journey. I have not mentioned a great event of Friday while at the Post Office getting my letters I met J. B. J. alias Woodward doing the same thing. I was never gladder to see a fellow in my life, poor old J.B.J. was in extacies and overwhelemed me with questions about Brother. He is doing very well here. We got home before Sunday morning.
7th. The bull cracked the ring in his nose but fortunately he was hooded before and could not make straight shots at anyone. We had to throw several long roapes over his body and lash him to the stockyard and put a temporary ring in. He was not the least cowed till his nose was fastened; Charlie the horse was also very high spirited all the day but he is always delightfully good tempered. In the afternoon we brought in a bullock to make beef of.
8th. Doubtfull all day, very hard rain in the evening. By daylight Draper and I were up, my gun with a bullet brought down the fated bullock and in a short time he was ready to be salted. In the afternoon one of the men being absent I milked seven of his cows for him; the men are always glad of my help at milking. I am getting quite a dab. I shot the ducks for Mrs F. G. They are very numerous both the grey and paradice, the latter is a very handsome bird.
9th. Rain all day. Cleaning my saddle, getting ready for our journey [taking cattle to Dunedin for the goldfields in Central Otago].
10th. Shower. Crossed the Selwin in the dark, drove the horses before us. They swam, the water reached my waste over the back of a 15 hand horse. My dress was leather coat and legings etc. with two shirts, socks and pocket handkerchiefs, tooth brush, comb and that is all, one flannel draw-on Guernsey. I changed my things at Harmans station where we were to cut out cattle.
11th. Raw and dry. Parleby's first day. Five of us started
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well mounted and after a deal of trouble got a small mob into the yards 19 of which we selected and it took us the rest of the day to draft them, the yards were one foot of liquid mud and the animals were as savage as they could be and we were covered in mud in no time.
12th. Cold and dry. After a tremendous day over ground on the banks of Lake Ellesmere covered with flax and toe-toe grass seven feet high with a network of holes one or two feet deep we got twelve bullocks and the horses were quite finished.
13th. Dry and cold. Started with 36 head. They galloped some six miles before we could pull them up. One cow rushed out of the mob and died. Several became tired and savage and I, in the innocence of my heart cought one large white bullock a cut on the nose to make him go on. In an instant his horns came on the horses sides with a thud that nearly capsised the horse and quite Master Edward; I recovered my legs some ten yards off and instead of making off prepared to give fight with my whip but fortunately the animal was held by two steady dogs till I recovered my pony. The beast was quite unmanageable so we left him. All is well that ends well. It took five over an hour to yard them that night.
14th. Very cold day. Left with 32 (left 1 at Vincents his own) head, they crossed the Racia full gallop the water came up over my saddle. Jones brought the horses as far as the river and then we drove them on before the cattle. The cattle were so wild we had to ride before instead of behind. One bullock not strong enough to swim the river was swept down and probably drowned. Bulky the dog lost us in the river but he knows his way home.
Parleby came round by the ford with the packmare, reached the Ashburton in good time.
15th. Dry in the day. Reached the Long Beach empty hut where we cooked our tea. Hardecastle came down with two meals. Draper and I coiled ourselves together in our blankets in full costume minus coats and slept like tops, an odd cat, an old hen were the only domestic animals in the house when we came, the next morning about twenty tame pigs came grunting all round the house. So we fed them to make them come again. Reached Long Beach with 32 head 29 fat and 1 our own.
16th. Cold. Breakfast before daylight, cutting out till 4 o'clock when we drove five miles along the sea shore, jamed the cattle in a bite and pitched our tent, boiled some of my cocoa made a good tea and tossed for watches. Draper had the first from 9-12
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Arrival at Lyttelton--Droving to Dunedin.
then Parleby and I tossed. I was fortunate. I had the morning watch from 3-6 when we beat to quarters when I had made breakfast the duty of morning watch. Hard frost all night, very cold, my First Camp Out.
17th. Very warm in the day. Washed in the stream and packed up our bed which consisted of my waterproof sheet on the grass with three blankets above us not too much for the inside of a thin calico tent. Draper and I slept together. The cattle had strayed so far up the bite that it took us the whole day to collect them. We stuck dummies up this night which answered well. It was my first watch tonight so I was on constant duty from 3 in the morning till 12 at night, nine hours in the saddle. We have no dinner when on the camp.
18th. Hot. Left the camp early and after much difficulty crossed the Rangitata above Grey and Scots [Coldstream], the creek was so full of quick-sands that we could hardly cross. We reached our camp just after dark with a cold misty rain about one mile the south side of the Orari, a river of good size but no strength. There was only wood enough to make one panakin of tea. My middle watch. All at once I heard in the distance a crash. It was the unmistakeable sound of cattle swimming the stream. It was too dark to follow so we turned in till morning.
19th. Cloudy. I stayed with the tent and stuffed my saddle cloth. Draper and Parleby went after the cattle and by 3 p. m. brought back 78 head which I took charge of and drove to a paddock, the others were found too late to bring up. Slept at the Accommodation House.
20th. Heavy rain. I watched the mob and they came up with the rest 1 hour before sunset. We worked till our whips parted from their handles and it was so dark we could not see an inch so we left them outside and returned like drowned ratts.
21st. Rain. The cattle as we expected had gone back to their own place. We followed them and by twelve had found them all and drove them over the Timooka and camped them on a triangle formerly the junction of the Timooka and Opihi by the Arowhenua Bush. There are mourays [Maoris] here and two kikes or villages. They keep their goods on an ornamental flat table elevated some twenty feet on two or more legs about one foot in diameter. You cannot get on the top without a ladder which was made of flax.
22nd. Fine. The cattle had crossed the river twice and a deep lagoon that made my knees wet though I knelt on my saddle.
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We found them in a place called the Slushy creek a place where Draper lost fourty cattle for many months on his last journey. We had them all in the mob and they led the way there. We called them the fourty thieves. Draper swam them over the river at the junction. He followed them on his horse swimming still water. I took 6 stray ones over the ford. The water reached my knees.
23rd. Fine. The whole day collecting them. They had broken down the fence and escaped in the night, jambed them between two swamps and the sea and came back to Arowhenua to sleep. Sold old Dunford for £15. Saw three of my ship-mates.
24th. Fine. Solde 8 bullocks to Mr Hornebrook and 1 to Gibson. Drove the mob 8 miles on over the Washdyke [near Timaru] one of the best camps on the road but it would not prevent our cattle from crossing and it took us a long time to head them back again. It was hard froast before we could pitch our tent. Had tea at an A. C. [Accommodation House]. The dogs slept in our arms and we all shook together all night. Sold Mr Butler two bullocks at £15 per head.
25th. Fine. Before sunrise we were mounted and after our beasts, everything hard froasen, the hills covered with snow. By eleven we found 40 beasts, returned to breakfast. My pony's back was so bad I could not ride any more to-day so I stayed with the tent and washed some things in the dyke. The others followed their tracks back to the Slushy creek but returned without them. Slept in a young farmers hut, nine of us in one room, the only one, left the tent in charge of the dogs.
26th. Had a cup of tea and a cake of damper and were some miles on our roade before the sun was up, brought them up to a lagoon tonight, the lake on one side the sea on the other. This lake is about 100 yards broad and 5 miles long. We camped on one end and the people near the place told us the cattle could not pass the end of the bar below. But they could as we founde to our cost.
27th. Draper and I had to cross the lake up to our ribbs for horses. I took two horses for provisions. We had nothing left. They went along the shore 12 miles and founde 19 animals. We all met at the tent at the same time with glum faces, fryed the mutton I had brought, ate some bread, the only thing we had had for the day except one of my boxes of sardians and retired to our blankets.
28th. Fine. Started with the sun and after following the tracks for a long time came upon the whole herd camped. We put them to the right about and by three reached our last nights camp.
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Arrival at Lyttelton--Droving to Dunedin.
We collected firewood and had tea. All hands walked centry all night in this order. The bar [was] bounded on one side by the lake, on the other by the sea. The end the cattle tryed to force [was] by the tent by the side of the lake [and] by a large fire by which I brewed tea every watch. 40 yards [on] was another fire. Here ended my beat. Draper's began, went to another fire and to the sea. At the other end were 2 dogs, 2 fires and Parleby. They tried to pass us through the sea and through the lake and some to push through the fires but we drove them back with firebrands and so stumped them for the first time since we left home. Served the last tea at 4 1/2 and then took the tethered horse, and went back 2 miles to a patch of grass for the horses. Iron froast all night and so we walked till morning.
29th. Drove on 5 miles and had breakfast, picked up 25 that got jamed by a swamp on the 25th and yarded the cattle in Mr Belfields yard. Draper and I slept in his house, a nice man and house, quite a gentleman, Parleby went to the Timaru A. C. Timaru a township by the sea, the steamers call there. It has a good neighbourhood and will be a large place.
30th. Rain. Drove through Timaru to Pareora, put them in a paddock, had tea at an A. C., pitched our tent in harde rain and wind, 1 corner peg pulled up and was instantly replaced. We held on to the poles insid but the wind had increased by a black S. W. and all at once our tent went with a bound clean away. The rain and wind howled and hissed like great guns. We took the blankets and valisses and started for the A. C. and after some time founde ourselves at the old tent again by falling over the poles. We made a fresh start and after going croppers into holes of water we found a fence which brought us up to the house where we turned into blanketts and slept like mice.
1st May. Showers. Collected the driping things that had been blown before the S. W. drove along the track till the cattle were frightened into swamps by some roadmen. They went four miles before we could head them which we did on the banks of a lagoon. All we could do was to keep their heads in the right direction and follow constantly wading through black slush knee deep and draging our horses after us expecting to see them disappear every minute. By good luck we reached deep creek.
2nd. Cold and dry. Slept in wet blankets all night. In driving the mob out of the bite one white bullock jumped into the creek and struggled over. In a minute half the mob were in. We pushed our horses in and prevented the others from going in.
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If they had 3 out of 4 would have been smothered. It took us an hour to get them out save one we sold for £7/10/- [which] was pulled out by a team of bullocks. Passed the Why maty maty [Waimate] bush and crossed the Why Hoah and camped by Pykes Point, a stormy night rather cold.
3rd. Showers. Came to the banks of the Whytangi [now Waitaki]. Stuck our tent inside an A. C. minus roof it being too late to cross the river. This is the worst and most rapid river in New Zealand. Young Gryphis was drowned a few days ago crossing cattle. Neither man nor horse have been found yet. A black S. W. came on, lasted nearly an hour and then subsided.
4th. Crossed the Whytangi in two streams, they meet 200 yards below in a boil where we nearly lost one dod [dog]. The cattle swam, our horses could not have stood much more of it. It is a snow river looks milky before it rises. We went 9 miles beyond and camped.
5th. Very hot. We drove them from the banks of the Whytangi where they had returned in the night to two miles beyond their former camp which place we should have reached last night but for the darkness. Draper and I roade on to Womaru [Oamaru] five miles on to get provisions. We returned, cooked our tea, looked at the cattle and went to bed. Another mob of cattle came up behind us but could not cross the creak because of our cattle so some of his cattle went back 20 miles in the night.
6th. Fine. Had breakfast at 10 minutes to four, drove through Womaru and 20 miles beyond it to Otopope where one of my shipmates live, Fenwic. It is a very pretty place by the side of a wood, nice undulating country, a pretty little river and a view of the sea. Fenwic asked Draper and I to stay with them on our way back. We ran out of mutton here and bought half a sheep for which we payed 10d. a lb, rather an odd thing for a station owner.
7th. Rain. Fenwic came to our camp in the morning to see us start but we lost two animals here which took us some time to find and as it was a very comfortable camp we did not move on to-day, washed some clothes and ourselves in the river, lost my watch-key, a very awkward thing as mine was the only watch and I could not get a key till I got to Dunedin without I was fortunate enough to drop on someone that had lost his watch.
8th. Fine. Started at four, left the lame heifer, drove along the beach for several miles [to Moeraki], passed some enormous boulders. I noticed six particularly in a line about 1 inch apart
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Arrival at Lyttelton--Droving to Dunedin.
over 6 ft. in diameter composed of a honeycomb of quartz filled up with a soft slatey substance. Others like a snowball made on a road made with a coating of flint, some had been hollowed out by the sea the quartz remaining and making a basin full of water, very pretty. I took a specimen. We camped by the side of the sea, very cold.
9th. Fine. Draper called at the Cuni A. C. [Kakanui] yesterday for some bread and founde a letter from Mr F. G. telling us to take the cattle up the Shag valley to Hammilton and Waynes run till the market was higher, so we tryed to cross the horse range "a range of high hills" by a pass of our own but failed so we took the right one and after many difficulties reached the Shag Valey and camped. Nothing but one loaf of bread left, could hardly get firewood enough to boil one billy full of tea. Met some mourays who told us of the new digins.
10th. Fine, hot. Draper and I washed all over in the river. After looking a long time for one bullock that was missing we came on without him when about half a mile the other side of the river we found Old Ugly that being his name and when we disturbed him he looked like old Floss when she is turned out for the night; the old fellow was lame so he often went ahead to steal a march on us, went off in search of grub and founde it.
11th. Fine, cold. Reached the station this night, had evening service.
12th. Dry, cold. Slept in a house and in a bed, had a knife and forke and plate to eat on and several other things that I was not accustomed to. The mourays account of the digins was right; they are eight miles up the river. The digers pass in such numbers that Hamilton Wayne are obliged to keep a cook to cook for them. The Otago police are coming up now. They are men picked for strength and courage, most of them are gentlemen's sons, they carry a revolver and life preserver and ride splendid horses.
13th. Fine. Sold a cow to H. & W. and helped to kill it. Left the station for Dunedin. Draper and I we crossed the Shag river 4 times and Pleasant river 5 times over hilly country with wood and water. The moon had risen an hour before we reached Joe Beals AC. at Waikawuwaik [Waikouaite] which is built at the edge of a beuutiful bush with a fine view of the sea and coast and mountains peaked with snow and the 30 miles of hills over which we are to go tomorrow. Most people go by water.
14th. Fine. Started early on our journey over the Blueskin Hills for many miles. We had to go up, up, down, down, down,
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constantly dismountin and draging our horses through a swamp or up and down some stiff bit. We went down a bit in course of making. The impenetrable bush riseing hundreds of feet and slopeing hundreds. Tree firns growing thick feet over our heads and a lovely view of the blue-skin bay before us we road through the clear water of the bay for three quarters of a mile, the water reaching our kneee-pads, then we went through a narrow strip of bush, the opening just wide enough to let one man and horse through, the horse sinking up to his knees in mud at every step. We now commenced our ascent of the hill, we went up for a tremendous time and then suddenly turned down into the bush and commenced the decent of the farfamed steps. We got off, tyed up the bridles and drove the terefied Horses from step to step. They often slid down backwards till they were brought up by coming against a rock or tree or going into mud up to the girths and there they would stand till we started them again. They looked in such a stew we could not help laughing. We at last got to the Bridle track which we followed to the top of the hill where the view is most grande and a fine moon added to the grandeur. Behind us were endless valeys full of trees and mountains tipped with snow, before us the sea, on our right hand some thousands of feet below us and six miles by the track we saw well the lights of Dunedin with bush fires all about, on our left, eight miles of harbour right under our feet with the forest reaching to the waters edge. I shall never forget the grandeur of that view so still and lofty you appeared to be looking from another world. This is the second moonlight scene that only wanted Brother to make it quite perfect. The other was a cairn in Luxillian in old Cornwall, the one spot of the earth to us. I could write for ever and not say enough about it so I will stop. We reached the Albion Hotel that night and our good horses were right glad to rest.
15th. Road to Silverstream to look for the horse Waverley that Draper left here last time but every inquiry was useless. Dunedin is larger than Ch.Ch. There is a continual dinn of miners, carts, horses, houses building, roads making, steamers and all sorts of things. We went to the Theatre, the play was called Flowers of the Forest, not bad for New Zealand.
16th. Rain. Made several attempts to see Rattry but failed, went over the Harbour with Aylmer a friend of Drapers, and a most beautiful harbour it is, surrounded by lofty mountains with wood to the waters edge. The boats are let here at 5/- per hour. We went to hear Thatcher a commic singer and very personal, he
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Arrival at Lyttelton--Droving to Dunedin.
brings in Judge Gresson as Old Gregson, he is a very clever fellow but he wants a thrashing, Madame Vitelli his wife sings very well. They are coming to Ch.Ch.
17th. Fine. We succeeded in seeing Rattray at last so we start tomorrow. The gold escort and police here are about the finest body of men I ever saw. They both have a nice dress with the exception of the helmet which I do not like.
18th. Snow. We waited and waited all the morning for it to stop to start but it continued to snow all day. I caught a cold from being in a room with a fire, a thing I have not done for many months.
19th. Continued snow we could not start. I sat over the fire all day and read. Draper went into the town. The Albion Hotel is situated about 1 1/2 miles up the N. E. Valey or aristocratic end of Dunedin and is consequently very quiet, a nice place for Ladies.
20th. Snow, hail, rain, thunder and lightening at intervals all day. This place is notorious for this weather all the winter and for rain all the summer. Everyone owns it to be a most detestable climate a great drawback to the place. People make money here by trade and then come to Canterbury to live.
It began to rain in the evening and continued to do so all night.
21st. Showers and hail. The rain having cleared the snow considerably we started. It snowed in our faces nearly all the way to the blue-skin bay which we reached about two and found the tide out so we had a good 1/2 mile trot. Draper went into an innocent little creak where the mud nearly came up to the top of the saddle but he got out all right. We reached Beals at Waikowaite or something like that wet up to our waists and so dark we could hardly grope our way.
22nd. Snow and rain all day, left Beals and reached Hammilton and Wains in good time, took a short cut over the flax swamp and went over the new bridges that are not quite finished over the Pleasant river and got sworn at by the workmen. It was very cold riding indeed.
23rd. Rain. Hardely any firewood at the station and a smokey chimney, no books, the place full of digers returning, the whole country being about four feet under snow and no bush within 25 miles making it quite impossible to live. The men are satisfied with the amount of gold found though it is not of a very good
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quality, too fine, not nuggetty enough to use a sluice well so they adopt the slower and surer way of cradling.
24th. Showers. Draper started to see Parleby and the cattle who are 8 miles up in the hills but did not succeed. Mr Orebell a gentleman butcher came up to see the cattle and agreed to take them all if Draper could get Rattray to alter the terms of sail a little. So he has to go to Dunedin again at which he is very savage. I shall go up to the hutt with Parleby and the cattle.
25th. Fine. Draper and Orebell left for Dunedin.
26th. Cold and dry. I went to the hutt of which Parleby was very glad. Nickle the shepherd being the only person there and they only saw each other at night by the dim light of a slush lamp. The hutt is over 1000ft. above the sea, the whole country is one mass of white, the Hill Range to the height of 4 and 5000 feet, they look very cold and grand.
Nickle is the son of the clergyman of the next parish to Killerton and knows Mr Acland. He has been on the digins all the summer the Tuapeaka.
27th. Cold and dry. Went 14 miles through the snow up and down the gullies to the cattle, counted them, set their heads the right way and came back, made some bread, boiled some mutton, had our tea, turned into our blankets and read by the light of some slush lamps which is a pot full of fat with a bit of lighted rag in the middle and soon fell asleep, the dogs at our feet, the cats at our head and if they could, would crawl under the blankets and rats everywhere.
28th. Cold and dry. Went to the cattle as usual. You find a good deal of burned wood all over the hill. The Mourays have two traditions, one is that the northern tribes burned it when at war with them, the other that they burned the country to get rid of the Moor bird whose bones have been found in vast quantities here. Nickle promised to get me a perfect set of leg bones but he did not. The whole country was wooded once, that is plain.
29th. Cold and dry. Cattle as usual. Took a spade and tin dish with us to look for gold, made a pit 6ft. deep and 4 by 3 keenly gossen. We did not go deep enough to get anything it was so cold that the mud almost went stiff when we took it out so we left and went home. I lost my pocket handkerchief somewhere.
30th. Snow. I went to the cattle by myself. Parleby had to wash, bake and boil and his horse went lame. At one time it was so ill from want of food and the cold that he took it into the hutt and fed it on the grass which serves as a mattress till he had eaten
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Arrival at Lyttelton--Droving to Dunedin.
almost all, gave it six pounds of sugar and then it had just strength enough for Nickle to lead it to the plains eight miles below where the snow had now vanished. This horse was well known by the name of Duff.
31st. Cold. Cattle as usual. Halted my thursday's journey and found my handkerchief by the old pit. Came back as soon as we could and sunk another pit in the Mount Hellen Gully but it came on dark before we could get far.
1st June. Warm. Two diggers came. One had been a shepherd here before, had been a commercial traveller and everything else and was also a great humbug.
2nd. Hot and cold. The cattle were in four mobs but they ran together as soon as they saw us. We turned off some 4 feet of the stream in the gully and worked in the old bed. The digers pronounced it a most promising place, but truly told us we should have to sink deep to get to the bottom. We got down some 7 feet below the bed. It became dark so we left off and went home. The plains are getting covered with tents. The goldfields promise to be rich.
3rd. Rain and mist. Had some trouble with the cattle in collecting them. Hunted some pigs on our way back. Went down several feet more with our pit. One of the digers helped us and he came to the conclusion we should have to paddock it which is to work it like a quarry, large at the top instead of driveing levells. This man and his mates afterwards worked it in this way but owing to some dispute they separated and gave up the pit. They got colour.
4th. Rain. Draper came back yesterday and today helped us to bring the cattle to the lower station where we found a considerable change of climate. I never felt better in my life than since I have been in the hut. We cut out several head for Wain and he is to give us ten pounds for the lame bullock when he gets him which will not be without some trouble.
5th. Fine. Parleby and I started early to look for the cattle which we found by one o'clock on the top of a hill about 2000 feet and we drove on about ten miles and camped. The ground was almost mud but the water did not come through my sheet. Draper and I slept back to back each with a dog in our arms, we are reduced to two thin blankets, it was an iron froast all night; the boots were froasted inside the tent and the very dogs chattered all night, you may think how cold it was. We had meals in a sly-grog shop.
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6th. Fine. Up with the sun, had breakfast, Draper went after our horses on the teathered horse while we did up the tent. The cattle had wandered down the river some miles in the night. We got them all and drove to Waikowait, passed droves of digers going both ways, drove the cattle round a bite of a large lagoon and went to Beals A. C. where we had a warm bed again. Met Captain Hammilton going to the station.
7th. Fine. Had four new shoes on my little moak. To our great annoyance the pack-mare went dead lame on her near fore foot by the time we had collected the cattle and cut out two for Beal it was too late to go on so we got Beals boat and pulled to the township of Waikouait. It promises to be a good place. We found Hammilton at Beals in the evening going to town again.
8th. Drove 10 miles up the snowhill to a bush and camped. Rain and sleet all night. At 2 a. m. in the morning our tent blew away for the second time as we lay with the blankets over our heads till the rain came through and then stood up with our backs to the wind till daylight when we got a cup of tea and some bread (it being our last) hoping to reach the white swamp tonight.
9th. Very cold and yet so was everything we have to our names. Had frightful work to drive them through the cutting a very steep place by the side of the bush. They pushed each other on the sides and we could hear them crash through the trees at the bottom. We thought they would all be killed at once but to our great surprise they all appeared at the foot of the hill covered in blood and Mr Draper cut one down that was hung by his horns in a supplejack. We got on twelve miles and fortunately fell in with sheep drivers who gave us something to eat and drink and we tryed to sleep in our wet blankets but could not. A foot of snow on the ground.
10th. Wind and snow. The cattle went back 5 miles in the night. We overtook them and by 9 reached the top of Snowhill. Here we had to cross four bogs and frightful places they were, then on loose stones and rocks thrown in at the crossings. The horses put their feet on the top of every stone and tryed it before they take their feet off the last. We left the cattle after crossing them and after walking two hours through snow up to our knees we reached a house. The horses could hardly move, I and my little moke were the best of all.
11th. Fine. My boots were so tight that I had to cut them up from the toes and walk through the snow in that state. However our troubles were nearly at an end, we brought the cattle
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Arrival at Lyttelton--Droving to Dunedin.
this night into Orebells paddock and reached Dunedin. I bought a pair of Dutch-built boots large enough to wear three pairs of socks in, also warranted to convey undiminished to your feet every drop of moisture that comes near them. They serve the purpose of snow shoes.
12th. Fine day, rain at night. The streats are in a frightful state of licquid mud but notwithstanding this and many other obsticles we managed to walk about the busy town full of everything, small boys wanting to clean your boots in places where one would disappear to the ankle while the other was being blackened or greased whichever you liked. Mourays wanting you to stuff 6 lbs of some fish into your pocket for want of a better place to carry it and fellows bawling the latest news from the Shag Valey diging.
13th. Rain, drafting cattle all day with Orebell and dined with him in the evening. He is a very good fellow and his wife is a very good looking lady-like person. We met a Sir Mac Ferson a Canterbury man, we had a very pleasant evening, the conversation was principally about cattle and gold. Mrs Orebell was just recoving from an illness and could not sit up so we had no music.
14th. Snowing all the day. Cutting out and drafting all day. It was very cold. There are lots of new chums at the Tamorna House where we are staying. They came out in the Black Swan and appear to have had a very bad passage, a mutinous crew and drunken officers. On the whole, glad to get on shore again.
15th. Went to the English Church twice. I almost got boged in going.
16th. Damp. Received a receipt from Orebell for 150 head. Our horses being so much down it was quite necessary for us to get fresh horses so we went in search of Moorhouse in Cavissham two miles out of town and several other places unsuccessfully when we fell across him in the streat and, after going the round of some 8 or 10 stables sattisfied ourselves and made up our minds to start tomorrow. My horse was 38£, Drapers 45£.
17th. Fine. Got some money from Rattray in the morning but owing to Moorhouse's delaying so long it was too late to starte today being two before we have squared with him.
18th. Started with our horses, 7 in all. Old Duff was still so weak that he fell down several times and could not get up of his own accord, he delays us some two hours and thereby caused us to loose our way between Blueskin and Waikouait it becoming dark while trying the short cut through the swamp.
18th. Fine. We had pulled up and made up our minds to
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camp till the moon rose when two horse men came up and taking us to be robbers passed at full gallop but one, who proved to be McFerson recognised my voice, the other was Dutch Charley. Draper's and Parlebys horses being tired, stoped at a house the other side of the swamp. I went on. Dutch Charley being drunk went at full gallop over the worst of country. In crossing a place where the water comes up, my horses not knowing the ground fell head over heels into a gully with water about five feet deep. It was some time before I could get my Dutch boots out of the stirrup irons. The horses strugled so long to get their legs that I thought they would have been drowned. This Dutch scamp would not stop for me and had it not been for M. Ferson I should have had to wander up and down all night. It was so dark his horse took him to the A. C. As it was, my coat was froazen stiff to my back before I reached the A. C. Draper came on slowly when the moon got up and reached the A. C. about twelve at night.
19th. Fine. I had my horse shod. We had a nice ride, passed Goodwood one of J. Jones places crossed the Shag Valey by the sea, crossed the horse range before dark, passed along the beach at Moracky just in time for the tide and reached the Cuni A. C. [Kakanui].
20th. Fine. Dined with Fenwic at Otapop, young Fenwic could not come back with us owing to a sprain in his back from falling downstairs. He asked me to send on his letter from the Port Post Office but I cannot do it without a written order from himself; reached Omaroo in good time.
21st. Fine. Crossed the Whytangi. We went in the boat and swam the horses. On the other side we found some 20,000 acres of burned ground. The ferrymen had great work to keep their new A. C. from being burned. They had a fine mare burned to death. We reached Smith's at the Deep Creek.
22nd. Rain. Passed Fitz's and reached Timaru.
A fellow named Walker who has a run near the Orari came as far as Young's with us where we had dinner for a change and then went on to the Orari. Maning came in the evening with a cart-load of people, Allan that had just had his hotel burned and an unfortunate young female that had been insulted by a black man African. She looked very much frightened.
24th. Misty. Draper and I went to Mount Peel Forest Station, Mr Jolly's, a most comfortable house with a fine situation. Bob Cooper his son-in-law was the only one at home. He is Drapers
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Arrival at Lyttelton--Droving to Dunedin.
great chum, a nice little fellow I think from what I have seen of him.
25th. Fine. We, that is Cooper, Draper and myself "Old Parleby had gone on to Hardecastle's" started late from the station, crossed the Rangitata in the dark which was rather a wild thing to do and slept at Wards A. C.
26th. Fine. Draper and I started early and left Cooper to come on with his drafty. We went all over the south station [Long Beach] caught tiny, Draper's pony and went on to the Ashburton which was high and rising. Cooper had been there some time.
27th. Fine. Crossed the Racia which was very low and reached home having been away ever since the 10th of April and we were neither of us sorry to get into our own beds again and live in other ways like Christians.
28th. Damp. Makeing up my accounts with Draper concerning the journey rather unsatisfactory, also hanscribing my journal no small job I can tell you. Cooper went to Ch.Ch. Draper and I have about 1000 head to drive down from the Long Beach to the Springs also horses.
30th. Drove Mrs F. G. all over Ch.Ch. in a dogcart, took my saddle to be stuffed. Drew a cheque for 50£ out of the Union Bank 38 for my horse. Received my letter of credit for 35£. Had a deal of trouble to get the horses to starte. Had to drive Mrs F. G. home. The leader has an unfortunate trick of turning round in his traces and grinning at you and if you thrash him gets quite bewildered, reached home quite safely, only broke the traces once. The wheels went in often from 1 1/2 to 2 feet deep.
1st July. Road my horse to Ch.Ch. Took my letters to the Bank. They were all right. Payed for my saddle being stuffed 6/- and 10/- for a new cloth. Called on some of my ship-mates. Draper left my watch to be cleaned No. 1021 it is in an awful state. Measured for a pair of boots at Awood's. Came back in the evening and brought Draper's poney, my horse has a cold so I let him stay in the stable all night. Mrs F. G. and the little F. G. and I are keeping house together; they have all been so kind to me.
2nd. Fine. Hot. Road to Weadons to get our swags, gave some clothes to Mrs Lowe to wash. The whole country is being fenced in and plowed up in every direction. Gave my saddle a good washing. Draper and the two Coopers came up. Mrs F. G. played and sang to us all the evening airs of all nations in as many languages so we are not always in a savage state. Hot enough to ride in your shirt.
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3rd. Dry, cold. Oiled my saddle and bridle, helped the Coopers on with some bullocks and foals for 10 miles and then went to Mr Harman's [station] where Draper and I were to help De Rensey to cut out some cattle. Two foals nocked up and were left here. D. went on to Giggse's with the Coopers and stayed there the night. Hard froast all night.