The Avondale Historical Journal
Volume 8 Issue 46
have therefore followed up this idea, and have plantedabout 150 trees – apples, pears, plums, quinces, figs,&c., in addition to gooseberries, currants, blackberries,rhubarb, &c. I have divided the land into three parks orpaddocks, as we call them, and about an acre of orchardand half an acre of garden. I have two horses forploughing and harrowing, and a spring cart, with whichI drive to Auckland once a week on market day. I shallhave to get a cart or dray, with which to take my cropsto market when they are ready, but that cannot be forsome months yet.“We have also two cows and eighteen hens. Eggs arebringing in 1s 6d per dozen just now, and that is theonly revenue I am as yet deriving. I expect one of thecows to calve in a month, however, and we shall beable to sell butter. ------ , I am glad to say, is greatlybetter; she is able to appear at breakfast, and she cooksthe dinner and tea. -------- is the henwife, and a capitalone she makes; she is also very active in the garden.-------- is the milkmaid, and is also very diligent.------ goes daily to Auckland; she is employed by thesame firm as she served in Dunedin. They are gettingup the ‘Post Office Directory,’ and her occupation is toget the names of firms and householders to form it. Itappears to me that she will have some months of it yet.----- takes care of the horses, and works them in theharrows. &c.; he also milks the cows when required. Heis very active and useful.“There is plenty of occupation for us all, and we havescarcely an idle moment the whole day. We go to bed at9 to 9.30, and rise at 7, and time seems to me to fly. Myfingers are so stiff with work that I cannot close myhands, and my back aches. Still, these are smalltroubles compared to mental ones. We sleep sound, andeat heartily, and if I only saw my way clearer I wouldbe content. Of course, I have had incessant outlay, andno returns; and if I can only turn the corner I may beable to keep the place. I am satisfied now, however, thatI bought it cheap enough, and if I have to sell it (whichGod forbid) it will bring more than I paid for it.“We all like the place, and the climate is delightful. Itmay be more pleasant just now than in the heat of sum-mer, but the finest day in May with you is but a shadowof what to-day has been here. The air has a peculiarlyexhilarating feeling, and is so clear that distant objectsseem near. As a rule, there is less dubiety as regards theweather. When the sky is cloudy the clouds are gener-ally black and heavy, and rain comes down as a rule intorrents; then all is over, and the atmosphere clears uplike magic. We occasionally have a day or two’s raintogether, but this is rare, and I have yet to see weeks of it as at home. I used often at home to read of and hearforeigners speak of our climate, and the superiority of The following account of a farmer’s life in New Zea-land is taken from a letter, dated July 12, of a gentle-man who lately purchased a farm near the town of Auckland: -“One reason that made me resolve to settle near Auck-land is the difference of climate from Dunedin. This is700 miles farther north, and therefore warmer. Youmust remember that here the north wind is warm, andthe south cold, we being on the opposite side of theequator from you. Dunedin is nearer our home climatethan Auckland. I should say it resembles the south of England, while this is more like France or Italy. This ismid-winter here, and I read that there has been severeweather around Dunedin, and skating and curling goingon. No such thing here. Occasionally we have frostynights, with ice the thickness of a penny formed in apail, but that is the most extreme cold we have had asyet.“The one thing open for any man here in unlimitedquantity is land; but I could not fancy that at my age Iwould be likely to succeed in Otago at raising wheat,which requires an establishment and capital, besides alarge farm to work. Auckland, on the other hand, fromits climate, is better adapted for fruits of all kinds,which are quite as dear as in Glasgow, strange to say. I
Farming Life in New Zealand
A letter home from a farmer somewhere nearAvondale, July 1884 …
My thanks to Society member Jack Dragicevich for pointing me in the direction of the searchable British Library newspapers database via the Auckland City Library website (under “Digital Library”). I felt in-quisitive enough one Sunday to search for Avondaleand Auckland — and found the following. Thisappeared in the Glasgow Herald on 17 November 1884, Issue 275, and I have received very kind permis-sion from the British Library to reproduce the letter here.
You’ll note the reference to the farm being 1½ miles from the Avondale township, along with the writer re- ferring to a “burn” or creek where there is a waterfallunderneath which he sits for his daily bath. The writer’sidentity remains unknown, but my guess at this point isthat he was either a purchaser of land close to theSansom property in Waterview, or perhaps purchased land once part of the Chisholm estate.
If anyone has any ideas as to who this person was, I’d be keen to know.