Creekside recognised as century farm

Descendants of Robert Young, of Creekside farm, attending a New Zealand Century Farm awards dinner in Lawrence recently are (from left) Sam Young, Stacey Young, Nicola McGrouther, Melissa Clease, Robert Young, Gladys Davidson, Joan Bisset and NZ First lis
Descendants of Robert Young, of Creekside farm, attending a New Zealand Century Farm awards dinner in Lawrence recently are (from left) Sam Young, Stacey Young, Nicola McGrouther, Melissa Clease, Robert Young, Gladys Davidson, Joan Bisset and NZ First list MP Mark Patterson, who presented the award. Photo: Supplied
A Gore farm that has been owned by the same family for 142 years has recently been given a New Zealand Century Farm award.

An awards dinner was held in Lawrence recently.

The 610ha Creekside farm is owned by Robert and Stacey Young.

Mr Young said his great-grandfather Robert bought the farm in 1876.

''He came here to 200acres (80ha) of tussock when they were breaking up the Otakarama run ... for settlement.

''There was nothing: no fences, no road, no buildings. It was just very much bare land,'' Mr Young said.

His great-grandfather did not have to pay for the land upfront.

''They bought it under hire purchase initially ... but you had to stock it within a year and then you had 10 years to pay for it and then once you paid for it, you got title.''

Dairy cows provided the main income for the farm until 1914.

''There was a little dairy factory at Pukerau.''

After World War 1 there was a shortage of people to milk cows, so sheep and cattle became the main source of income.

''They still milked some cows when my father was a kid in the '30s.''

Over time, his great-grandfather bought more land.

''By the time he finished farming [1918] he had 1200 acres [485ha], but he came here with nothing.

''He worked his way over on a ship when he was 18, in about 1865, and he worked on the Taieri [plains] to build up enough money to get started.''

In 1997, Mr Young took over farming Creekside from his father, Jim.

To be recognised by the award, eligible families apply by submitting their farm history, together with copies of related photographs and supporting documents.

The records are then archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington.

Mr Young's sisters Melissa Clease, of Christchurch, and Nicola McGrouther, of Harington Point, persuaded him to apply.

''Between them, they wrote up the family history and did the research.''

Mr Young was now the fourth generation to farm the land.

''It gives you a certain attachment to the land ... a sense of history.''

sandy.eggleston@alliedpress.co.nz

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