History

Methven
In 1869 Mr Robert Patton bought land and gave Methven its name after his hometown of Methven in Scotland.
when the first settlers arrived, Methven was situated on an open tussock covered plain exposed to the elements.

Mt. Hutt Road Board Office
This was built in 1879 as the venue for the construction of the roading and the administration of the district - later carried on by the Ashburton County Council and now used by the Methven Caledonian

Pipe Band Society as their clubrooms.

Methven Hotel
Robert Paton built the first Hotel in 1880.  Some years later part of it was demolished.  The present Hotel was built in 1918 and is internationally known as "The Blue Pub".

Canterbury Hotel
In 1883 Mr William Rouse built the Hotel and commenced trading. It was destroyed by fire in 1922 and replaced by the present building.

Railway
Construction of a branch line from Rakaia to Methven commenced in 1878 and operated until 1976, servicing the farming community.  The land has been developed into a recreational area with public amenities.

Methven Public Library
This was built in 1883 for the price of 387 pounds and 10 shillings.  The land being donated by Mr Duncan Cameron of 'Clunes'.  The first books were purchased by in August 1880 for 25 pounds.  A

large sum of money was donated by the family of Mr Hugh Anderson, an Englishman lost on Pudding
Hill.
The Library is open on a regular basis.

Anglican Church (All Saints)
Mr John Grigg of Longbeach who owned 200 acres of land in Methven transferred one road to the Church Property Trustees as a gift for the Church site.
A small Church built in 1880 was destroyed by a nor'west wind in 1884.  The present church built in 1880 at Sherwood was transported by two traction engines in 1884 to the present site, taking six

weeks due to strong north west winds.

Roman Catholic Church(Of The Holy Family)
The first Church situated on the corner of McKerrow and Blackford Streets was dedicated in
1888.  This Church was shifted to the present site in 1912 on 10 acres of the and purchased from the Nee Estate.  The Convent was built in 1913 and the present Church in 1963.

Presbyterian Church (St. Johns)
Corner of South Belt and Jackson Streets
Methven was part of the Springburn parish until 1904.
The first Manse was built on land donated by Duncan Cameron and still remains today on Highway 77.  The first Church was built in 1901 and was replaced by the present modern Church in 1988.

The Methodist Church
Was built in 1012 on McMillan Street.  Service were disconnected in 1985 and the Church is now privately owned.

Methven Domain
Situated on Chertsey Road.  Sports available include Croquet, Tennis, Bowls, Rugby, Cricket, Squash, Hockey and Netball.

Methven Cemetery
Situated below the Domain on Chertsey Road.  Headstones date back to 1887.

The Methven Sale Yards
The first stock was sold in 1888.  A company was formed in 1897 and Ewe, Lamb and Calf fairs are

held annually.

Methven Agricultural and Pastoral Association (Barkers Road)
Founded in 1911.  Th first show was held in the Domain in 1912.  From 1920 - 1928 the venue was

the racecourse, until 1929 when the present showgrounds came into use.  The Administration building, incorporating camping ground facilities was opened in 1975.

Methven Trotting Club
The Methven Racing Club commenced meetings at the Mt. Harding racecourse in 1915.   Prior to this picnic-style gatherings were held.  The Trotting Club was formed in 1919 and the first non-betting meeting was held in 1920. October 1927 was the first totalisator meeting with an eight race

programme.  Now days three race meetings are held each year.

Memorial Arch
Built in 1930.  Situated in McDonald street.  Built to commemorate those who fell in the First
World War.  Each year wreaths are laid in rememberance on Anzac Day, April 25th.

'Holmes Bequest'
Is the name given to the two acre triangle of land which was at one time part of John Holmes' "Viewmount" property.  It was bequeathed in 1907 for the benefit of the people of Methven and Mount Hutt Riding.  Approval was obtained in 1952 to allow the Mt. Hutt Memorial Hall to be built on the Reserve.  The Mt. Hutt Memorial Hall was built with community funding in 1956 to commemorate those who fell in the Second World War.

Peace Oaks
Six memorial Oak Tress were planted in the town in July 1919. A plaque was placed at the foot of

each tree by the 1979 Centennial Committee.

Methven Museum
Located on Bank Street.  It was originally built in 1917 as the Methven Agricultural and
Pastoral Association meetings hall.  The Methven Historical Society was formed in 1974.

Methven House
Situated in Morgan Street.  It was formally the Maternity Hospital, closed in 1970.   Re-opened in
1977 as Methven House, a  home for the aged.

The Centennial Column
This was designed by Miles Warren, commandingly situated in the Square, and was erected to
mark the first 100 years of settlement for Methven and Mt. Hutt Riding.  It symbolised the importance

of the humble plough in breaking the land for the production of sheep and grain that
gave the district its early prosperity.

Mt. Hutt (Maori Name 'Opuke')
Named after John Hutt (1795 - 1880) who was the first Chairman of the Canterbury
Association.  The height of Mt. Hutt is 2170 metres.

Mt. Hutt Flora
The alpine plants of New Zealand are very special in that, of the 600 species, 94% grow only on our

New Zealand mountains and of these 130 species of these grow on Mt. Hutt.   Perhaps the strangest of all these is the vegetable Sheep Raoulia Eximia, unlike most Raoulias, which are commonly called scab weeds, forms over many years huge grey mounds which look exactly like sheep lying on the hill sides.  Some special plants grow on the huge shingle slopes - all nine species belong to different families -
and the loveliest of these is the member of the buttercup family; Ranunculus Haasti, which has blue-
grey fleshy leaves and beautiful shining yellow flowers.
There are Gentians, all white, a tiny 'blue-bell', a blue orchid, plants with sharp dagger-like leaves and

of course the mountain daisies or Celmisias.  There are 10 different kinds on Mt. Hutt all with white
daisy flowers but varying from plants with large green leafy leaves to those with tiny needle-like leaves or rosettes of grey leaves which form huge cushions.
It is fortunate that Mt. Hutt is so accessible and it is possible to see so many interesting plants growing

in their natural habitat.

Bryan's Ferry and Accommodation House
The first accommodation house on the Rakaia Gorge was opened by John Bryan in 1851.   It was built

f bush timber on the north side of the river and burnt down in 1874.  he also ran a ferry service on the north side of the river, one for passengers and a larger one to carry sheep across.  The walkway
passes this site.

McLennans Bush
Situated on the lower slopes of Mt. Hutt at the end of the ski-field road. Named after Alexander

(Stumpy) McLennan, head shepherd and later manager of the Blackford Run, who built a house and retired there in 1902 after losing both feet in a blizzard while droving sheep over the Mathias Pass.
Several bush walks commence from this area.

Springfield
Springfield originally comprised 21,000 acres.  The homestead was built in 1880 by Duncan Cameron (who was regarded as the farther of farming in the district) and situated on the
Ashburton-Methvn highway.  Now surrounded by mature trees, little of it can be seen today.  In 1894 5,500 acres of wheat was grown and 1200 acres of oats.  One hundred men were employed yearly and two hundred men during the harvest.  Cameron was the pioneer of the early water race system.  The frozen meat industry was assisted in its infancy when he guaranteed to supply sheep for 12 - 18

months ahead.  Prior to his death in 1908 Cameron had started to sell of his estate and many of today's farms were once part of the Springfild Estate. (C. Classification).

Thompson's Track
Thompson's Track, now a tar-sealed road which runs diagonally towards Mt. Somers from
Rakaia, began as a bullock wagon track, pioneered by George Thompson.
News of the track spread quickly - a more direct route across the plains had been found.   The

Thompson family built their home alongside the track and in 1865 a licence was granted for an Accommodation House.  This was to be a stopover for those travelling through, bringing timber from Alford Forest, wool wagons from the sheep runs and settlers looking for land.
The Thompson's Track bridge over the North Branch of the Ashburton River was opened in
1969.


Highbank Settlement
Highbank is situated on the southern banks of the Rakaia River, approximately 10 kms form Methven. Messers G.W. and F.W. Hall bagen farming the 29,000 acre property in 1853 and in 1896 the land was balloted out into smaller farms.  At one time the Highbank Village boasted a Store, School and Church.  Today the School building serves as the local community hall.

Rakaia Gorge Bridges
The Bollman Truss Bridge was built in 1880 - 1882 was names after a United States Railway Engineer who patented its design in 1852.  Featuring non-symmetrical truss beams jointed to vertical members
to aid construction, this bridge is an interesting example of 19th century engineergin.  Only one other bridge of this type has survived and that is in the United States.
The wooden bridge was built in 1884 and was replaced in 1945 by the present concrete one.
An excellent walkway commences on the north side of the river.

High Country Stations
On the south side of the Rakaia River in the head-waters along Blackford Road 60 kms lies the Double Hill Station, one of the original runs in the valley - the lease taken up in 1863.  It encompassed Glenfalloch, Manuka Point and Glenrock Stations in its earlier days.  Some of the buildings still show
the hand-adzed timbers from the surrounding bush that were used in those early days.
The first herd of deer in New Zealand was shipped from England in 1887 and liberated on Manuka
Point.  One of the managers of Double Hill was a Scottish shepherd, Robert McKay, who was the
father of Jessi McKay, later to become well known in the literary world and also was a suffragette of some renown.
The remains of the cottage can still be viewed.

Coal Mining
Coal has been mined at various times along the banks of the river and the exposed seams in the gorge have been worked privately.
Also on the Double Hills Run is the Glenariffe Salmon Research Station established in 1865.

Mt. Hutt Station
The well known Mt. Hutt Sheep Station situated on Highway 72 comprising 8,000 acres now combines tourism with deer and sheep farming.  The "Homestead" was built in 1880.

Cheese Factory
In the 1890's Donald McLean ran a cheese factory on the corner of Blackford Road and Highway 72.  It later became a woolshed, then married couples quarters.

Single Tree at Alford Forest
A solitary Matai tree was used by the Maoris as a landmark and campsite.   Blown down in 1954 a piece of the tree has been preserved in the wall erected at the site. A seedling was planted during the Springburn District Centenary in 1976.  A Teko Teko looks down and protects the site.

Awa Awa Rata Reserve (Valley of Rata)
This reserve comprises 10 acres of McLennans Bush which has been developed as a Rododendron Park and picnic area.

Highbank Power Station
Building commenced in 1939 and was completed in 1945.  Water from the Rangitata River 65 kms
away was diverted by channel across country to Highbank, discharging into the Rakaia river after
passing through the Power Station.  Transmission lines cross the river to Hororata sun station where it joins the national grid.  The Power Station still operates but the village built in 1940 for hydro
employees was dismantled in 1989.

Concrete Pipe
A large concrete pipe on the County Council property, South Belt, is a reminder of a gigantic
undertaking in 1937 to take water for irrigation and power generation from the Rangitata Gorge 65 kms to the
Rakaia river.  720 of these pipes, weighing 28 tonnes were manufactured in Surrey Hills.  They were used to siphon the water around the hills where the land was unstable. This pipe was transported to
the Methven Public Works camp and used as a store room.

Mt. Hutt Ski Field
The Methven Lions Club in 1969 investigated the possibility of a ski-field on Mt. HuttThe Hood Alpine Highway was established  in 1970.   The Mt. Hutt Ski Field Development Company was formed in 1972.
Now well known Internationally.  Taken over by a public company in 1980.   Snow making equipment installed in 1990.