Balfour Diaries Excerpts



Sept 17 – Had a look around place-told men to work just as if I was not there until I see what was wanted. Repaired fence near Otukarara [Otekarara].

Sept 26 – Went to Kuri [Kuripapango] to give Birch’s men a wether. Went right around Cattle Hill and over part of Herricks run and back to Blowhard. Slept there.

Sept 27 – Cutting firewood and posts

Sept 28 – Cutting firewood and posts

Sept 29 – Cutting firewood and posts

Sept 30 – Cutting firewood and posts

Oct 1 – “Commenced making a dray road to join the Konini but I’m very much afraid I will not be able to finish it in time”

Oct 2 – All hands roadmaking.

Oct 7 – Roadmaking.

Oct 23 – Roadmaking

Oct 29 – Finished road to Konini. Distance of about 9 miles at the expense of 71.5 days one man. Cost of 20 pound. “When I commenced it on the 1st of this month, people said I was mad to attempt it as I never could do it before shearing, but perserverance [perseverance] has carried me through.

Oct 31 – Examined new road that Milne is making for us across Herricks run.

Nov 1 – Examining wool scouring place. looking around the paddock fence to see what it requires to repair it.

Nov 3 – Gathering posts and wire from fence towards Herricks boundry [boundary].

Nov 6 – Rode down to Bicknells to arrange carriage of goods for the station at 2 pound per ton.

Nov 7 – “Rode into town and ordered shearing stores. Left Napier at ¼ to 1pm. Stopped one hour at Taradale and ½ hour at Tunanui [Tuna Nui] and then got home just at dusk. Not bad work for old Captain”

Nov 10 – “Piloted pat to Konini with the dray being the first dray ever went from Incline to Konini”

Nov 11 – Commenced muster. Mustered Herricks end of Blowhard.

Nov 19 – Mustered Castle Rock flats

Nov 20 – Mustered far end of Kaweka Range. Camped at top-elevation about 6000 ft. Noted vegetation unlike other in HB. Could see Ruapahu [Ruapehu] and Tongarario [Tongariro].

Nov 21 – Mustered sheep don [down] to Kuri

Nov 22 – “Mustered Kuri into Blowhard pdk [paddock], same to Incline and settled with our sulky cook”

Nov 23 – “Left the woolscouring to Edward Melby and John Duncan at ?1d? per lb and they ercting [erecting] the staying and putting things in working order at their own expense. Intended to have filled the shed but rain came on just after noon”

Nov 25 – “Commenced shearing – had only 7 shearer[s] and they only shear 267. Fearfully dull music”

Nov 28 – Shearing

Nov 30 – “Reading and writing all day” [Sunday]

Dec 2 – Planting potatoes

Dec 3 – Shearing

Dec 9 – “Same as yesterday, but very bad with a cold. Mr  R.D. McD [MacDougall] stopped all day. He seems to be satisfied, but as he is a man of very few words I do not know if he is thoroughly satisfied”

Dec 13 – Shearing still in progress

Dec 15 – “Attending shearing. Stopped 1 sheep each for ?Jim? and Tepini for cutting”

Dec 22 – “The shearers finished all the sheep that was in. Gave each of them about £2.”

Dec 23 – “The kitchen chimney was blown down 2am. Dick Hollis and I built it up again in the afternoon”

Dec 24 – Down to Taradale.

Dec 25 – “Stopped at Dolbels untile after dinner so that I could get in behind the men to see that they all got home as I want them for mustering the peaks tomorrow. Went to the Woodthorpe Races at 4pm and saw the first horse race I ever saw. Left Woodthorpe 5 ½ pm with Hollis, Mr & Mrs Warren and Pat McMahon. Got home 9pm”

Dec 26 – Mustering

Dec 27 – Mustering

Dec 28 – Mustering

Dec 29 – Mustering

Dec 31 – Comments on how satisfied he is with the job and other things.


Jan 1 – Shearing

Jan 3 – Finished first shearing

Jan 12 – “Started out with all hands to Blowhard to commence mustering the stragglers. Fine”

Jan 17 – Saw Captain Russell about Konini cutting

Jan 19 – Rode up and met Captain Russell at Tunanui – went with him to Konini – got the men to make the road passable.

Jan 20 – Went with Peter Russell and the first load of wool that ever went down that road.

Jan 22 – Went down again with Peter and another load of wool – got upset near Shields proposed homestead.

Jan 24 – “Went to the bush for firewood. To washers and bought washed wool home. Fine.”

Jan 26 – Took 9 bales to Konini and sledged five down the hill at once in two sledges, one chained behind the other.

Jan 28 – Shearing.

Feb 22 – “Mr Shields [Sheild] left. I told him I would not hesitate to cut his fence if I wanted to get my timber drays through by the old road from Maraekako [Maraekakaho]”

Feb 23 – “Went to Konini to see about top part of road”

Feb 24 – “Some time ago Mr Shield, our new neighbour asked me if I would lend him my yards to draft in – I told him certainly – by all means draft here as much as you like for altho I am shearing I will manage it so that you can have the yards, and this afternoon his man and Milne and his men bought the sheep and I noticed them after they were about ½ drafted that 50 percent of them were lame with footrot and here they have been and infected my yards and I am in no amiable humour neither with myself, Shields or Milne. It got dark before we had finished and I made them take them all away, drafted and undrafted and now (9pm) they are still working away with them”

Feb 26 – “Went down to Woodthorpe and took delivery of 1730 5 ½ft posts and 135 7ft [Bicknel [Bicknell] to cart?]

Mar 3 – “I went down to get the woolwashers names on the census papers”

Mar 7 – “Went to BH [Blowhard] and then along the range to Herricks gate. Met Donnelly driving sheep into Patea. Bad with footrot. Camped with him at Omahaki. Windy”

Mar 8 – Cleared the road for Donnelly to Kuripaponga flat. Slept in the whare. Showery.

Mar 9 – “Helped Donnelly across the Ngaruroro”

Mar 10 – “Helped Peter to take Barnes wool to wash”

Mar 11 – At Whanawhana [Whana Whana]

Mar 12 – “Rode to Incline to tell Duncan to clear the road for Walkers sheep going to Patea (as I had got notice)”

Mar 14 – Started from Whana with 825 sheep, 350 of which had been shorn by Herrick.

Mar 20 – “Digging holes for blue gums behind kitchen. Putting the sheep I bought from Herricks across the Otukarara at [?] point.”

Apr 2 – Sowing grass seed.

Apr 4 – “McIntosh came for me to go to Pukititri [Puketitiri]”

Apr 5 – “McIntosh and I rode to Pakitutu [Pakaututu] to see about a boundary fence”

Apr 6 – Carswell and I exploring the Birch Range and found a place for fence

Apr 7 – “Rode home to Mangawhare. I noticed a place while going to Pukititri that looked very likely for gold and examined the place coming back and the more I examined the more I was convinced of its gold bearing qualities. I had nothing to try it with but my hat and my boot. I carried some in my hat, worked it in a hollow of a rock, and panned it off with my boot, but with those rude implements I failed to raise the colour, but notwithstanding I believe there is gold there.”

Apr 20 – “Heard that Robert McDougall [MacDougall] had sold Mangawhare thereby leaving me without an employer”

Apr 21 – “Found it was correct and Kinross wished me to remain manager just as I was before”

Apr 23 – “Robert Dougall and I packed and branded R.D. McD furniture”

Apr 25 – “Dougall and I laying off Shield boundary line and burning. Tod and Morris came about some sheep that Kinross had sold them, but know nothing of the matter.”

Apr 28 – Mustered river flat to Blowhard.

Apr 30 – Mustered Herricks corner-stayed at Henares whare.

May 1 – Mustered Williams range to Blowhard.

May 4 – “Mustered Cattle hill”

May 5 – “Mustered Castlerock flats and camped at the Lakes”

May 6 – “Mustered Kuripaponga and took sheep to Blowhard”

May 7 – Drafting

May 10 – Took 6000 wethers and weaners to Mangawhare and sorted culls.

May 21 – Mustering the Kaweka

May 31 – “Wet showery day, making a theodolite”


DIARY NO 45/354  Ref 2014 Vol IV From June 1st 1874 to Nov 20th 1875


June 1 – Sowing grasseed

June 5 – In Napier. Saw ? IGA? And Sheild about Patea and other roads.

June 7 – Meets Mr W Hallet [Surveyer] [Hallett – Surveyor]

June 9 – Learnt from Mr W. Hallet how to strike an average line along a winding creek.

June 13 – “Pegged off house pdk and grounds around the house, but got fearfully hampered by my own ignorance.”

June 15 – Drawing plans of new sheepyards.

June 17 – “Helping I. McDonald to lay foundation of mens whare chimney and laying off new dray road through Manuka Flat in front of house”

June 19 – “With some men repairing road to Baracade Barricade] and commenced deviation to avoid the hill going to the wash”.

June 21 – “Came in from Blowhard, examined the way for the road through the gorge and the more I look at it the better I like it. I can see no difficulty in the way whatever.”

June 23 – “Finished track to wash. Mr Moorhouse went down, I did not see him.”

June 26 – “Omalley [O’Malley] seems alright after his 12 day spree” [Shepherd?]

June 27 – “Omalley is in the house. He came to me late last night and asked permission to sleep in the unfinished part of the house as he said they would not let him sleep in the whare (he is alone). I told him to sleep in the store and about 7am McDonald went into the store and caught him in act of cutting his throat. He did not tell me but ?Duke? told me at dark. I gave him some plaster to put on it. After dark OM made a bolt in the Manuka and we all turned out in the pouring rain to find him. Got him near Otamatihutiangi.

June 28 – OM taken to Napier.

Jul 3 – Donnelly taking sheep through to Patea.

Jul 11 – “Laid off and assisted to form a road through a swamp near comer of House pdk”

Jul 15 – Clearing water tables – seeing splitters and exploring for a new crossing on the Otukarara. Found it.”

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  • John Duncan
  • W Hallett
  • Dick Hollis
  • I McDonald
  • Robert D MacDougall
  • Pat McMahon
  • Edward Melby
  • Captain Russell
  • Peter Russell
  • Mr and Mrs Warren
  • Barnes, Bicknell, Birch, Carswell, Dolbel, Donnelly, Henare, Herrick, Kinross, McIntosh, Milne, Moorhouse, Morris, O'Malley, Sheild, Tod

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