Cantabs Of Steel

Next time you are getting a little impatient with how long the traffic lights are taking to change or moaning at the weeds growing untamed outside your window, I want you to think of these four Cantabs.

Firstly, there was Marmaduke Dixon who with his own hands, dug an 8 foot deep well on his property in West Eyreton. He had a rigged up windlass, had a bucket on a rope, all ready to go but sadly his land was completely waterless. Can you imagine how long it took him to dig for water – and now he had to go and buy it off some else!

John Studholme and his brother walked all the way from Lyttelton to Dunedin to purchase some cattle.   As it was 1853, there were no roads or bridged rivers to cross. It is believed that these brothers were amongst the first Europeans to have walked between these two cities. Upon arriving in Dunedin, and after picking out their stock, their cheque was refused. Given there was no bank in Otago yet, the cheque was useless! After a short conference, John began his walk back to Lyttelton alone, his brother remaining with the cattle. Once back in Lyttelton, he got his cheque cashed and began his walk down south, again, cash in hand.

Funny enough, walking a long distance seemed to be the common thing for the Studholme brothers. When gold was discovered in Australia in the early 1850’s, like most young men of that time, they sailed across the Tasman to try their luck. Traveling back to New Zealand none the richer, their ship was only sailing to Nelson and no further. So, they walked home from Nelson to their farm in the Selwyn!

John Anderson, who was a settler from the ‘Sir George Seymour’ – our third ship out of the First Four Ships – set himself up a blacksmith shop at ‘the bricks’, situated at the intersection of Oxford Terrace and Barbadoes Street, close to the Avon. Every evening, after working all day, he would walk from the bricks, over the Bridle Path to Lyttelton to collect the iron he would need for the following day. The trip both ways over the Bridle Path would have happened in complete darkness. This was very dangerous!
John went on to become the Mayor of Christchurch in 1869.

And Ebenezer Hay, who had traveled with his young family down to Canterbury from Wellington with the Deans, Manson, Gebbie and Sinclair families in 1843 – failed to return home from visiting his lawyer in Christchurch in 1863. As the Hay family lived in Pigeon Bay, Ebe’s return time was uncertain given that he was traveling by foot. But when the days began to sail past, the Hay family raised the alarm and poor Ebe was discovered dead near the Bridle Path, his neck broken by a fall. He had risked the walk home in the dark and had paid the price with his life!

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