David Innes (1830 – 1865)

I’m sure that David Innes felt a great deal of pride and achievement as he and his fiancee – Catherine Williams – and his future mother-in-law began their journey out to his sheep farm, ‘Pareora’ in South Canterbury – after all the two women had yet to see it.

He had brought the 25 000 acre farm in 1853, going halves with partner William Hyde Harris. He had become known as a very well established sheep importer and breeder – his Merino sheep taking 1st prize as the best in New Zealand at the very first Christchurch A & P Show. Seeing that Pareora was 110 miles away from Christchurch, droving sheep that far, through 5 rivers was a feat that was well recognised amongst his peers.

With his marriage now looming, he wanted his soon-to-be bride, to see her new home. Unfortunately for David, the road to marital bliss was not a smooth one.

The small party stayed over night in a accommodation house in Rakaia. Catherine had a miserable night, kept awake by fleas that bit her all over. They continued on but the crossing of the Rangitata River proved too much for Catherine. She demanded to go home and vowed that she would never make the journey south ever again.

One can guess what a crushing blow for David this was. He had poured the best part of a decade into his station. Whatever David went through that day, he still went ahead and married Catherine on the 26th January 1860. He leased out Pareora and move his life to Christchurch.

David brought a 25 acre farm he named Springfield in St Albans. The memory of the farm lives on in the naming of Springfield Road, just a block over from Innes Road. As the name indicates, a natural water spring was discovered on the land and is now situated under the Beulah Church at 140 Springfield Road.

David seemed to have settled down to his life in Christchurch – even becoming a member of the Canterbury Provincial Council. In 1865 he sold his half of Pareora and sadly lost his life to Delirium Tremens at the young age of 36. Delirium Tremens occurs after a severe drinking bout that suddenly stops and the body goes into fatal withdrawals.

That wasn’t the last sadness that Springfield would see. The next owner, Count Gerard de Lapasture would lose his wife Lilly – the Countess de Papasture – in childbirth.  She is buried in Barbadoes Street Cemetery (pictured).  He sold Springfield soon after. The last owner, John Thomas Matson – already a large land owner in Papanui –  filled the property with Llamas and Ostriches. When he died, the farm was subdivided and sold off.

*photos taken by Annette Bulovic*

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