This article was provided by Jenny Day, Christchurch, New Zealand
While researching the Addington Cemetery on the Christchurch City Council website recently I found this entry. I think that perhaps you may find it of interest, a lot of which I was previously unaware.McLEAN
Allan McLEAN was born about 1822. He was one of the children of Mary McLEAN and Alexander McLEAN, a farmer-fisherman who lived on and drowned off Laghmor, a town on the Inner Hebridean Island of Coll.
In 1840 the widow brought her family to Australia where the brothers, John, Allan and Robertson prospered as carriers, merchants and gold-buyers. In 1852 they took up a run near Christchurch. Robertson returned to Scotland. John and Allan had runs in Canterbury and Otago. Laghmor was near Ashburton. Morven Hills in the Lindis Pass, Otago (named after the Scottish mainland which lies near the Island of Coll) was a place where 135, 184 sheep were shorn in the peak season. In 1866 the McLEANS acquired Waikakahi near Waimate.
Eventually the partnership broke up. John went to Redcastle, near Oamaru (now the site of St. Kevin’s College); while Allan remained at Waikakahi. In the 1882 Return of the freeholders of New Zealand John’s properties were valued at 210,426 pounds while Allan’s were valued at 200,000 pounds. In 1895 Allan had 69,000 sheep, while 40 four-horse teams ploughed in a block of 8000 acres. A homestead, ‘the Valley’, was surrounded by beautiful gardens.
Allan often wore a bow tie, white socks and a plum-coloured suit. He travelled about in a white wagonette, the ‘Yankee Express’. He was generous to the poor and had a large bunk-house especially for swagmen.
In 1899 the Liberal Government, in its policy of ‘breaking-up-the-big-estates’ and distributing them to small farmers, purchased the Waikakahi run of 48,000 acres for about 320,000 pounds. It was the second largest Liberal Government purchase in Canterbury, the largest being at Cheviot.
The Cheviot purchase was undertaken with the blessing of the trustees of William ‘Ready Money’ ROBINSON. AllanMcLEAN reluctantly left his land and never returned. He purchased a five acre property with frontages on Manchester and Colombo Streets, Christchurch, and had R. W. ENGLAND draw up plans for a 23,000 square feet three-storey Kauri-built Jacobean-style house. It was considered the largest wooden residence in New Zealand. This was ‘Holly Lea’, holly being the McLEAN’s plant badge.
In 1904 McLEAN made his will and, two years later, added a codicil. He died at Holly Lea on 12 November 1907. The will includes the following:
Elsewhere McLEAN wrote:
Emily was McLEAN’s long-standing housekeeper. She was to ‘have the use, occupation and enjoyment’ of Holly Lea ‘during her life if she shall so long remain a widow’ and also an annuity of three thousand pounds. Should Emily remarry, she was to have an annuity of but five hundred pounds.
McLEAN also established the McLean’s Institute. The Board of Governors was to include the Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops, the minister at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian church, the Mayor of Christchurch, other dignitaries and ‘two women’. The Holly Lea property was eventually to become a home for
The board of governors was to have absolute power over who should be admitted to and expelled from the institution except that they could not admit people who had been in receipt of Charitable Aid Board moneys or of the Old Age Pension which had been introduced in 1898.
The people who had lived at Holly Lea now live on a site in Fendalton. In older death certificates the Fendalton site may be called ‘Quamby’. Kin who are buried at Addington include Allan’s mother, Mary, 84, who died at Waikakahi on 12 July 1871; a sister, Mary, who died on 8 July 1875; another sister, Alexandrine, 70, ‘relict of George BUCKLEY’, who died on 31 July 1902; and John McLEAN, 84, who died on 15 July 1902. The body of the Redcastle ‘wool king was brought up from North Otago for burial.
In Oamaru, in 1884, a grand post office was erected beside its 1864 Lilliputian predecessor. A clock tower was provided but no clock. On 17 September 1903 St. J. McLean BUCKLEY of Redcastle presented a clock and chimes in memory of his uncle and benefactor, John McLEAN.