Into the Unknown

Here are some snippets from a book by L.G.D. Acland called “The Early Canterbury Runs,” and is about the founding of agriculture and High-Country sheep and cattle stations in the South Island of New Zealand, and is a most interesting book, which starts around 1830, and covers the basic next 100 years, and was written decades ago, and we quote bits here for you.  Our first story is about the High Country Station called “Snowdale” near ‘Cheviot,’ in North Canterbury, and this station started out in 1859 at about 25,000 acres of barren scrub land and tussock, just abandoned back country, and it was later expanded amalgamated and combined in with neighboring stations to make a mega station.  Mr. Young, and his companion Mr. Mannering, who is just 16-year-old at the time, set out from England about 1852, via South Australia, finding nothing suitable there, they set sail for NZ with stock and supplies, we pick up the story on page 250.  Quote; “Young and his party came across to Nelson (at the top of the South Island) in a 90-ton schooner called the Comet.  There were several other passengers and twenty-eight horses, all packed like sardines, but they had fine weather and a good passage, which took only twelve days.  Only one of the horses died, and when they got to Nelson, they slung the others overboard and let them swim ashore (no wharfs in these early pioneering days.)  The Horses had cost £3 or £4 a head in Australia, and were worth £25 to £30 each at Nelson.  Young had bought his money, 3000 sovereigns, in two boxes, which he and Mannering shouldered and carried up to the bank.  The Nelson people were poor but hospitable, and were delighted to see so much money brought into their town.

Young brought 1500 sheep and sent Mannering (then only 16 years old) overland with them through the unchartered mountains to his run.  He had two Scottish shepherds, a ‘capital bushman’, three pack horses and four or five dogs.  Young went round to Lyttelton by sea.  It took Mannering and the sheep eight weeks to complete their journey of 240 miles into uncharted territory.  They came through the rugged mountains by Jollies Pass and the Hanmer plains.  The hot springs there had not yet been discovered.  This was one of the first mobs to travel that way and one of the shepherds often had to go ahead to find openings in the scrub and crossing over rivers.”  Travelling to an unknown place, out there somewhere.

Genesis 11:31-32 “And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.  And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.  Genesis 12:1 “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee:”  Just like our other story, Abram was to press through into the unknown, into unchartered territory, to journey to a place that he knew not, but with flocks, herds, and with little ones, one does not cover much distance per day, so we have many months of travel before the end destination is finally accomplished, and when they finally arrived, they lived in tents camping all the time, and so did successive generations live, by camping.  Mr. Mannering arrived at ‘Snowdale’ in 1852 to nothing, wide open spaces, towering mountains, tussock, scrub and silence, well accept for the sound of sheep, dogs and horses, they started living in a tent, which often was nothing more than a double bed sized woolen blanket pulled over a rope between sticks, and then they started making a sturdy hut from cob, made from clay and tussock grass stomped together, and this is stacked on top of each other handful, smoothed off and now you have a sturdy wall a couple of feet thick and thatched with local reeds and they lived on tea, mutton and damper.

Quote; “On Mount Hutt run five of us [Shepherds] ate 100 lb of meat a week, or about 87 sixty-pound wethers per annum.  At that time we had no potatoes or other vegetables.  When these came our meat consumption went down to about 50 lb per week.” P317.  Quote; “Around 1870, around those days’ musterers were paid six shillings a day, and harvesters ten, the bullock driver twenty-five shillings a week and general hands and the cook one pound.  The cook had to kill and work the garden.  In 1869 the shepherds had their wages reduced from £75 to £65 a year.  Fat weathers fetched only six shillings a head in those days [P176]

Israel did the ‘Exodus’ from Egypt to ‘The Promised Land’ and their about 2-year journey, stretched to 40 years through sin and unfaithfulness, and only two adults who ever left Egypt, ever stepped into the promised land, Joshua and Caleb.  They journeyed onwards and tenting, not sure of where to go, except to follow the directing of the fiery-cloudy pillar.  God fed them ‘Manna’ each morning, fresh, double on Friday so that on Sabbath, they could stay home and rest.  Now considering what it was like in the back country in around 1911, where the shop was an unbelievable distance away over two-wheel rutted tracks in the tussock, fording the many streams and rivers, here is the annual supplies for ‘Simons Hill’ Station. Quote; “Six 200lb [90-kilogran] sacks of flour, twelve 56lb [25-kilogram] bags of sugar, a 50lb [22 kilogram] chest of tea, rice, oatmeal, salt etc.  All in 25lb [11 kilogram] bags and smaller goods and tinned products all worked out proportionately. From P146 of Mary Hobbs book ‘High Country Stations of the Mackenzie.’  And then all this had to be hauled by bullock cart back into the rugged mountains, no roads, just head back there somewhere, how so very easy is life today, just pull out your phone and in no time at all, the doorbell rings and there is fresh hot food, just as you ordered.

Hebrews 11:9-10 “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as [in] a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker [is] God.”  Gods Kids are also journeying through the un-known of this current world, heading for the ‘Promised Land’ facing the un-known, troubles and trials at every side, just like the pioneers, we just need to keep our hand in Gods, use scripture as our map, the Holy Spirit as our compass, and we will at last arrive safely after our journeyings, “Into the Un-known.” 

So what happened to youthful Mr. Mannering, well due to failing to comply with the purchase agreements, after a couple of years it was sold out from under them, Mannering returned to England, married, and returned and at 19 years old, he teamed up with Mr. Cunningham, and together they bought the following Stations, Birch Hill, Fernside, and Snowdale as well, so in all they had some 52,000 acres in three titles.  Abram left Ur, a technologically advanced area for a high mountainous land right on the ‘Trade Routes’ of the world.  Caleb and Joshua ‘Exodused’ from Egypt to Canaan all three cases launched by faith into the un-known.  Our day-by-day walk is also ‘Into the Un-Know,’ we need to just trust in God, we know what it took to feed a High Country Station for one year, but God fed a few million people for 40 years, let us put God in control, to follow his guiding and direction, and he will always bring you through to the journeys end, home to his place, just keep on following daily, for God never loses a single sheep or lamb.