Mr John Currin died early on Wednesday morning at his residence, Wakefield (writes our Wakefield correspondent), at the advanced age of 85 years. Mr Currin was one of the early settlers, arriving in Blind Bay in the ship Prince of Wales, Captain Alexander, on (Friday) 24th of December, 1842. The next day, Christmas Day, being stormy, the captain remained at anchor, not daring to attempt the channel as the Fifeshire was then upon the “Fifeshire Rock.” Sunday was spent on -board but on the Monday Captain Cross safely piloted the ship in.
Mr Currin came out with his father and mother, his two brothers and two sisters from Northampton, England. One sister had been married to Mr John Noden, who accompanied them and who was afterwards in the Wairau Massacre, but escaped. He has been dead some years but Mrs Noden, who is’ 86 years of age, still lives in Motueka. The family resided for some eighteen months” in Nelson, but Mr Currin spent, —.the early part of his time in the Wairau, where he built the first house at “Bank house” station (See below), the walls of which are still in good condition.
“While out with a survey party at Motueka the Maoris attempted to stop the work and seized upon several of the men, Mr Currin being one. As they were dragging him through the forest a Maori jumped upon a stump, brandished his tomahawk and was about to bring it down on Mr Currin head when the chief interposed and spared his life.
Mr Currin underwent all the vicissitudes of the life- of an early settler, often being hard put to find food.
He leaves a brother,. Mr Thomas Gurrin, of Wakefield and another, Mr George T. Currin,of Fitzherbert, Palmerston North, and a sister, Mrs Noden, of Motueka.
MR Currin came to Spring Grove in 1844 and took up the section on which he has lived all these years, and on which he died. His family consisted of six sons and eight daughters, seventy-five grandchildren and fortyone great grandchildren.. Mrs Currin predeceased her husband by 26 years.
Latterly his sight failed him. He was ailing only about 3 months being outside daily until a few days before his death. He is laid alongside his wife, in St John’s churchyard, Wakefield, the Rev.E. Hewlett, vicar, performing the ceremony in the presence of a number of his friends and relatives.
Currin Homestead at Spring Grove – has now been removed to Marlborough
In March 1848 Dr David Monro, with the aid of five men and with two horses to carry baggage, drove his flock of 1,000 sheep from the Nelson area via Tophouse and down the Wairau to the above run.
Dr. (later Sir) David Monro (1813–1877) was born in Edinburgh, son of Dr. Alexander Monro, Professor of Anatomy at the University of Edinburgh where David obtained his degree of M.D. He bought land scrip in England in the New Zealand Company’s settlement in 1841 and sailed for Australia to visit his brother Harry who had a sheep station in Victoria. In early January 1842 he left by the schooner Ariel a coastal trader calling at several places between Auckland and Nelson, where he arrived in March 1842. He built a timber cottage on his town acre section facing Trafalgar Square. In 1843 he was allocated his 50 acres at Waimea West. This was increased to nearly 200 acres over the next few years and named “Bearcroft”. In 1845 he married Dinah Secker (1818–1882) at the little church of St. Michael, Waimea West.
Section 1 of XII was crown granted to him in 1852 and other sections were purchased over the next twenty years without much trouble from outsiders trying to freefold sections out of the run.
Towards the end of 1868 or early 1869 Alexander Binning Monro of Valleyfield took over the management of Bankhouse for a time. It is reported that an illicit still was discovered in the manuka scrub and finally the ex-manager was charged and convicted. Such stills were not uncommon at the time.
About 1870 Monro’s eldest son, Alexander (1846–1905) took over the management of Bankhouse which he inherited on the death of his father in 1877. Alexander died in 1905 and the run was carried on by trustees and executors namely his widow, Frances Caroline nee Severn and Richard Corbett of Leefield, station manager. The widow as executrix was to manage the realty and to receive £400 a year; the residue to go towards education and maintenance of the children. The Bankhouse property was then to go to the two eldest sons as tenants in common and the rest of the estate to the other children with a clause to equalise the amounts. Despite this, in 1915, Bankhouse was cut into three parcels of land; the homestead block went to Herbert Yelverton Monro, the Marchburn block to Philip Charles Monro and owing to the early death of Henry Alexander Monro in 1916, the Craiglochart block was transfered to his widow, Edith Sylvia Monro.
The Bankhouse run which included the Homestead was of nearly 11,000 acres, but with various sales and exchanges is now of about 10,000 acres and is one of the highest valued single properties in the district, H. J. Monro married Maude Clouston and had one son and two daughters. During his time the merino flock of sheep was upgraded with the establishment of a Merino Stud No. 62 and was well thought of during the 1920′s and 30′s, but was discontinued in recent times. In 1947 his son, Alexander started taking over the management of Bankhouse.
The Marchburn area of 8081 acres was taken over by Philip Charles Monro in 1915 and in 1930 was transfered to Lewis Henry Clouston for a few PAGE 26months before being transfered to Alexander Monro, son of H. Y. Monro. For the next 30 years it was run in conjunction with Bankhouse before being transferred to John Henry Barrington Shield whose wife was a daughter of H. Y. Monro. A few years later it was turned into a farming company.
The Craiglochart area of Bankhouse, 7605 acres, was transferred by trustrees to Edith Sylvia Monro, widow of Henry Alexander Monro, at the beginning of 1917. The following year she married Thorston Frederick Kelling of Blenheim, Solicitor. In April, 1923 Craiglockhart was transferred from Mrs E. S. Kelling to Cuthbert Oliver Tate Rutherford of Hawarden, Canterbury. In 1947 the Crown took over Craiglockhart for the re-settlement of three returned servicemen who took up their respective farms in 1950. They were Henry Lumsden Tancred, Louis Arthur Laugesen on the Homestead area and Arnold Arthur Marfell.