Object #1024258 from MS-Papers-0032-0817

8 pages written 24 Sep 1861 by Archibald John McLean to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward family correspondence - Archibald John McLean (brother), Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0817 (65 digitised items). Letters written on board ship or from various ports, 1847-1858 prior to his arrival in New Zealand in mid-1858. From then on the letters are almost all written from Maraekakaho about station matters.

A transcription/translation of this document (by MD) appears below.

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Page 1 of 8. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

24 September 1861

Marekakaho

My dear Donald

Your letter of the 11th inst duly came to hand and I am pleased that my diary gaves you some satisfaction. I would be always glad to inform you of all our proceedings here for I do not see what cause of secrecy their should be between brothers if they are doing what is just to each other. Nothing is more distressing to me than to have all things connected with the place keep a secret from me when there is no cause or reason for if. God knows I do all in my power to forward the interest of the place in every possible way I can and do all I can to keep expences down. Last year the place was eaten up with people that did but very little for it. Their has been more work done by one sheepheard this year than 4 did last year and some times 5. Certainly the Otago busness required men but less would have done and the work could have been equally well performed. Their was more talk and smoking tobacco than work depend upon a tribe of usless men well never forward a station or any other place. You know the number employed at present is Archy & stock man, Malcomb sheepheard, 1 man that was cooking while Baker was away. I have kept to milch the cows and lend me a hand at various jobs about the station in gardin & for old Archy and stock boy work the bullocks as they please and when they pleased as they consider and say I have nothing to do with them therefore for the sake of piece I leave them alone altho it grieves me to the heart to see so little done by them. I was oblidged to take the dray to the bush last week to haul out some of the timber that was split for us their. The natives have put a pah their and are living their and

Page 2 of 8. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

they are going to be a great pest to us. Their dogs have killed a number of Oliver and Ormond's sheep also 4 s[h]eep of ours since they came their. I have done all I could among them and they are now afraid and keeping the dogs tyed in fear I will shoot or poison them. They also burned about 200 of our posts in the bush but not wilfully so I must get all the timber we have split taken out or we may lose it all as they are burning all round it. They say they will take every care. Ormond got all his out and I will get all ours out next week. I will have to employ Walker for taking it out of the bush as our own dray is not strong enough for that work. I supose you will let us know when Alex comes down about dividing the padock. We cannot well do without that and if the stuff was on the ground I could put it up myself with another man. The diggings is making a great stir in this place and every one that can is going. I am afraid it will make labour high and sheep shearing I fear will be 30/- per 100. I think we could get the natives that time at the bush to shear for 20/-. Mr Lowry our neighbour and one of the best of them has taken a great liking to me since we got acquent and sent me several invitations to go to see him. I went the other day and he just had got a box of all kind of forest English tree. Sends pines, oaks, ealms, ash etc etc and kindly gave me a large quantity and so did Mr Smith and if they will only grow they will make up for any that may die of the Auckland plants and fear for all my trouble a number will die. There is nothing like rising them myself. Lowrey came over with me to see our improvements and he stayed two nights. He was very agreeable. He is making a splendid place of his place. He has in one year got 300 acres under grass and fenced in with ditch and bank and wire with small posts on top. I was

Page 3 of 8. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

surprised to see so much done but his man keeps the plow always going late and early. I took him over the hill and showed him the grass I sowed and raked in last year. It is really doing well. I have been sowing some this month as often as I could find time. I never go out without having some with me and to see it now spreading gaves me great heart and if I had one man with me in the season doing nothing else I do believe it would pay better than any thing I could do baring planting blue gums. They of course will be valuable in time and was I once to get 5 acres of them planted I would then be content. All the seeds I want from you is blue gum so send it by Alex if this should overtake him. Big John came here today and told us you were all well,. A quick trip. I wish my trees came down as quick if so their would not be many deaths among them. We still have a great many callers but nothing like former times for I send numbers of them away. I see no good in keeping an oppen house for all the country. They will only laugh at our folly in the end were we to do so. It has been done long enough. I bought tea and sugar to put by the shearing as I was afraid it would get higher. I told you the price of the tea in one of my former letters. The sugar was good and will coast on the station including freight about 8d. I will send you all the accounts when I will get them and what money I have paid for wages out of Riches ballance. I hope you and Alex have come to some proper arrangement about the expences and money matters if not it will be a source of great grief to me. I supose there is no use to expect you down till Governor Grey will come. We will not have much of a lambing at this time perhaps about 600 but the sheep are doing well. We

Page 4 of 8. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

ought to get them fire branded this year. If I was you I would make it a condition with Alex if he is to remain here to do so. It might have been all done last year if attention was payed when their was so many idlers about. How does Oliver & Smith manage with less hands than we had just because they work and pay attention to their work. I do not like to be at a place where work is only half done all through neglect and lasyness. Some people make great work about looking after stock. I do not see any difficulty. All it requires is attention and care. Any one that will employ his time looking after a station will soon reap the benifet for his employer that he can afford to reward him according to his works. A station is not a place for any idleness for the work is never done. I do wish you were staying here for a few months and you would see for yourself. Both the Kates are very good house keepers. I do not think they can be fat [?] in New Zealand. Big John was gaving us fine accounts of Douglas. Poor little fellow I wish he was for a month or two with his aunts. I believe Judge Johnston & Mr Strang are coming with this steamer if so we will have to be a little gay. I supose you will gave all your oppinion of the Maorie plains to Alexander. If there is any chance of the law being legal we are first in the market

Page 5 of 8. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

and should not lose any time in securing them by hook or by crook. There is no use for us to let our living slip away from us without a strugal. Sheep on thirds if wanted can be got plenty. I was offered 2000. I s[h]ould take them as Mr Lowrey said look at Tuke on the best run in the country and commenced without a sheep and now he has 2000 and sold 1000. All his own, all that is wanted is country and we should not let the plains go if we can get all the old boundaries. What is £252 a year when you can save nearly one half of it in sheepherds. My dear brother do not be blind to your own interest and mine for if you do not want them I can manage them myself and make money out of them with sheep on thirds. Alex told me he did not want them whatever he may say when he has seen you. I will take them all in my name, or between Alex & me, so that you will be clear of all censure. I will not say any more but will begin last month diary. All here join me in love and affection to you all.


Your affectionate brother
A J McLean

Thursday 1
Went to the port with cart for the trees. Met Alex & Catherine at the fut of the plain coming home. All well. Left the bullocks plowing padock. 1 man digging ground for trees.

Friday 2
Got to the port and picked up the trees ready for coming home. Found them in a very carless state in Mr Fitzgerrald's yard after him promising to see to them.

Saturday 3
Left the port with the trees for home. Got to Omahu and stayed there all night.

Sunday 4th
Got home with the cart and found them all well at home but Alex complains of a cold.

Monday 5
Very cold. Self and man planting out trees out in a good place. Put the gig together. Did not find the bullocks.

Tuesday 6
Employed plowing. Self & man planting out trees. Planted 50 pines and 30 oaks. Baker cook went to the doctor. Jack cooking in his place. Sending the bullocks after fire wood. Self and man planting trees. Planted 60 blue gums & 60 oaks.

Page 6 of 8. View high-resolution image

English (MD)


Thursday 8
Bullocks plowing in the padock. Self and man planting trees. Planted 50 oaks and 50 pines.

Friday
Very stormy cold weather. The bullocks plowing. Self and man planting trees.

Saturday 10th
Strong SW wind with snow. Employed plowing. Self planting out forest trees. Bought a barrel of herring from Smith exchange for meat.

Sunday 11
Cold weather and a fine clear sky. Alex still complaining.

Monday 12
Employed plowing with bullocks. Self and man digging. Nelson shingling stable lean-two

Tuesday 13
Fine weather. Employed old Archibald stock boy threashing out hay for seed. Man digging ground for trees. Self went to Alex on Maorie busness. Baker sick.

Wednesday 14
Fine weather. Threashing hay. Went to the pah with Alex and brother Alex.

Thursday 15
Left the pa and went to Alexander's and came home with sister Catherine. Found all well.

Friday 16
Fine weather. Employed threashing out hay. Self and man digging gardin ground for trees. Alex not home.

Saturday 17
Heavey rain all day. Employed within doors picking potatoes.

Sunday 18
Heavey rain all day. Alex not come home.

Monday 19
Fine weather. 2 men threashing hay. Self harrowing in grass seed.

Tuesday 20
Employed threashing hay. Self sowing grass seed & harrowing it. 1 man digging. Alex not come home.

Wednesday 21
Employed self harrowing with Blutcher and sowing grass seed. The boy after the bullocks but did not find them. Six came home.

Thursday 22
Harrowing in with the horse and rolling ground with the bullocks. Killed 1 Poverty Bay steer. 513lb

Friday 23
Employed as yesterday. 1 man digging. Planted 50 blue gums

Saturday 24
Fine weather. Bulocks after fire wood. Self planting trees & grafting fruit trees.

Sunday 25
Dark dull weather. Got the most of the horses in. They look well.

Page 7 of 8. View high-resolution image

English (MD)


Monday 26th
Heavey rain and cold weather. Employed indoors.

Tuesday 27
SW wind & cold. Employed about the horses. Sheep commenced to lamb. Found the pigs eating lambs killed. 4 bones. Self making out accounts.

Wednesday 28
Fine weather. The Maorie chiefs at the station trying to make a settlement for the rent. Employed the bullocks harrowing grass seed.

Thursday 29
Fine weather. Employed the bullock as yesterday. The natives did not come to any deffinate terms.

Friday
Fine weather. Employed sowing and harrowing in grass seed. Self grafting. Alex left for the port and Auckland.

Page 8 of 8. View high-resolution image

English (MD)


Saturday 31st
Employed harrowing & sowing grass seed. Self sowing seed on the hills.

So ends this month.
A J McL

The meares will be commencing to fold now. When will you come down. I am very busy with my gardin and other things.
A J McL

English (MD)

24 September 1861

Marekakaho

My dear Donald

Your letter of the 11th inst duly came to hand and I am pleased that my diary gaves you some satisfaction. I would be always glad to inform you of all our proceedings here for I do not see what cause of secrecy their should be between brothers if they are doing what is just to each other. Nothing is more distressing to me than to have all things connected with the place keep a secret from me when there is no cause or reason for if. God knows I do all in my power to forward the interest of the place in every possible way I can and do all I can to keep expences down. Last year the place was eaten up with people that did but very little for it. Their has been more work done by one sheepheard this year than 4 did last year and some times 5. Certainly the Otago busness required men but less would have done and the work could have been equally well performed. Their was more talk and smoking tobacco than work depend upon a tribe of usless men well never forward a station or any other place. You know the number employed at present is Archy & stock man, Malcomb sheepheard, 1 man that was cooking while Baker was away. I have kept to milch the cows and lend me a hand at various jobs about the station in gardin & for old Archy and stock boy work the bullocks as they please and when they pleased as they consider and say I have nothing to do with them therefore for the sake of piece I leave them alone altho it grieves me to the heart to see so little done by them. I was oblidged to take the dray to the bush last week to haul out some of the timber that was split for us their. The natives have put a pah their and are living their and they are going to be a great pest to us. Their dogs have killed a number of Oliver and Ormond's sheep also 4 s[h]eep of ours since they came their. I have done all I could among them and they are now afraid and keeping the dogs tyed in fear I will shoot or poison them. They also burned about 200 of our posts in the bush but not wilfully so I must get all the timber we have split taken out or we may lose it all as they are burning all round it. They say they will take every care. Ormond got all his out and I will get all ours out next week. I will have to employ Walker for taking it out of the bush as our own dray is not strong enough for that work. I supose you will let us know when Alex comes down about dividing the padock. We cannot well do without that and if the stuff was on the ground I could put it up myself with another man. The diggings is making a great stir in this place and every one that can is going. I am afraid it will make labour high and sheep shearing I fear will be 30/- per 100. I think we could get the natives that time at the bush to shear for 20/-. Mr Lowry our neighbour and one of the best of them has taken a great liking to me since we got acquent and sent me several invitations to go to see him. I went the other day and he just had got a box of all kind of forest English tree. Sends pines, oaks, ealms, ash etc etc and kindly gave me a large quantity and so did Mr Smith and if they will only grow they will make up for any that may die of the Auckland plants and fear for all my trouble a number will die. There is nothing like rising them myself. Lowrey came over with me to see our improvements and he stayed two nights. He was very agreeable. He is making a splendid place of his place. He has in one year got 300 acres under grass and fenced in with ditch and bank and wire with small posts on top. I was surprised to see so much done but his man keeps the plow always going late and early. I took him over the hill and showed him the grass I sowed and raked in last year. It is really doing well. I have been sowing some this month as often as I could find time. I never go out without having some with me and to see it now spreading gaves me great heart and if I had one man with me in the season doing nothing else I do believe it would pay better than any thing I could do baring planting blue gums. They of course will be valuable in time and was I once to get 5 acres of them planted I would then be content. All the seeds I want from you is blue gum so send it by Alex if this should overtake him. Big John came here today and told us you were all well,. A quick trip. I wish my trees came down as quick if so their would not be many deaths among them. We still have a great many callers but nothing like former times for I send numbers of them away. I see no good in keeping an oppen house for all the country. They will only laugh at our folly in the end were we to do so. It has been done long enough. I bought tea and sugar to put by the shearing as I was afraid it would get higher. I told you the price of the tea in one of my former letters. The sugar was good and will coast on the station including freight about 8d. I will send you all the accounts when I will get them and what money I have paid for wages out of Riches ballance. I hope you and Alex have come to some proper arrangement about the expences and money matters if not it will be a source of great grief to me. I supose there is no use to expect you down till Governor Grey will come. We will not have much of a lambing at this time perhaps about 600 but the sheep are doing well. We ought to get them fire branded this year. If I was you I would make it a condition with Alex if he is to remain here to do so. It might have been all done last year if attention was payed when their was so many idlers about. How does Oliver & Smith manage with less hands than we had just because they work and pay attention to their work. I do not like to be at a place where work is only half done all through neglect and lasyness. Some people make great work about looking after stock. I do not see any difficulty. All it requires is attention and care. Any one that will employ his time looking after a station will soon reap the benifet for his employer that he can afford to reward him according to his works. A station is not a place for any idleness for the work is never done. I do wish you were staying here for a few months and you would see for yourself. Both the Kates are very good house keepers. I do not think they can be fat [?] in New Zealand. Big John was gaving us fine accounts of Douglas. Poor little fellow I wish he was for a month or two with his aunts. I believe Judge Johnston & Mr Strang are coming with this steamer if so we will have to be a little gay. I supose you will gave all your oppinion of the Maorie plains to Alexander. If there is any chance of the law being legal we are first in the market and should not lose any time in securing them by hook or by crook. There is no use for us to let our living slip away from us without a strugal. Sheep on thirds if wanted can be got plenty. I was offered 2000. I s[h]ould take them as Mr Lowrey said look at Tuke on the best run in the country and commenced without a sheep and now he has 2000 and sold 1000. All his own, all that is wanted is country and we should not let the plains go if we can get all the old boundaries. What is £252 a year when you can save nearly one half of it in sheepherds. My dear brother do not be blind to your own interest and mine for if you do not want them I can manage them myself and make money out of them with sheep on thirds. Alex told me he did not want them whatever he may say when he has seen you. I will take them all in my name, or between Alex & me, so that you will be clear of all censure. I will not say any more but will begin last month diary. All here join me in love and affection to you all.


Your affectionate brother
A J McLean

Thursday 1
Went to the port with cart for the trees. Met Alex & Catherine at the fut of the plain coming home. All well. Left the bullocks plowing padock. 1 man digging ground for trees.

Friday 2
Got to the port and picked up the trees ready for coming home. Found them in a very carless state in Mr Fitzgerrald's yard after him promising to see to them.

Saturday 3
Left the port with the trees for home. Got to Omahu and stayed there all night.

Sunday 4th
Got home with the cart and found them all well at home but Alex complains of a cold.

Monday 5
Very cold. Self and man planting out trees out in a good place. Put the gig together. Did not find the bullocks.

Tuesday 6
Employed plowing. Self & man planting out trees. Planted 50 pines and 30 oaks. Baker cook went to the doctor. Jack cooking in his place. Sending the bullocks after fire wood. Self and man planting trees. Planted 60 blue gums & 60 oaks.

Thursday 8
Bullocks plowing in the padock. Self and man planting trees. Planted 50 oaks and 50 pines.

Friday
Very stormy cold weather. The bullocks plowing. Self and man planting trees.

Saturday 10th
Strong SW wind with snow. Employed plowing. Self planting out forest trees. Bought a barrel of herring from Smith exchange for meat.

Sunday 11
Cold weather and a fine clear sky. Alex still complaining.

Monday 12
Employed plowing with bullocks. Self and man digging. Nelson shingling stable lean-two

Tuesday 13
Fine weather. Employed old Archibald stock boy threashing out hay for seed. Man digging ground for trees. Self went to Alex on Maorie busness. Baker sick.

Wednesday 14
Fine weather. Threashing hay. Went to the pah with Alex and brother Alex.

Thursday 15
Left the pa and went to Alexander's and came home with sister Catherine. Found all well.

Friday 16
Fine weather. Employed threashing out hay. Self and man digging gardin ground for trees. Alex not home.

Saturday 17
Heavey rain all day. Employed within doors picking potatoes.

Sunday 18
Heavey rain all day. Alex not come home.

Monday 19
Fine weather. 2 men threashing hay. Self harrowing in grass seed.

Tuesday 20
Employed threashing hay. Self sowing grass seed & harrowing it. 1 man digging. Alex not come home.

Wednesday 21
Employed self harrowing with Blutcher and sowing grass seed. The boy after the bullocks but did not find them. Six came home.

Thursday 22
Harrowing in with the horse and rolling ground with the bullocks. Killed 1 Poverty Bay steer. 513lb

Friday 23
Employed as yesterday. 1 man digging. Planted 50 blue gums

Saturday 24
Fine weather. Bulocks after fire wood. Self planting trees & grafting fruit trees.

Sunday 25
Dark dull weather. Got the most of the horses in. They look well.

Monday 26th
Heavey rain and cold weather. Employed indoors.

Tuesday 27
SW wind & cold. Employed about the horses. Sheep commenced to lamb. Found the pigs eating lambs killed. 4 bones. Self making out accounts.

Wednesday 28
Fine weather. The Maorie chiefs at the station trying to make a settlement for the rent. Employed the bullocks harrowing grass seed.

Thursday 29
Fine weather. Employed the bullock as yesterday. The natives did not come to any deffinate terms.

Friday
Fine weather. Employed sowing and harrowing in grass seed. Self grafting. Alex left for the port and Auckland.

Saturday 31st
Employed harrowing & sowing grass seed. Self sowing seed on the hills.

So ends this month.
A J McL

The meares will be commencing to fold now. When will you come down. I am very busy with my gardin and other things.
A J McL

Part of:
Inward family correspondence - Archibald John McLean (brother), Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0817 (65 digitised items)
Series 9 Inwards family letters, Reference Number Series 9 Inwards family letters (1204 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)

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