Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chisholm's swamp?

I wrote in this earlier post how it appeared that Chisholm and Alfred Buckland had a business relationship, at least as far as farm stock was concerned. Well, today while continuing with a wee project of mine at Land Information NZ (taking a photographic record of land info for the Parish of Titirangi -- which includes Avondale and Waterview) I spotted Chisholm's name on a land title index for Alloments 89, 90, 91 and 92 (217 acres total), which he sold by mortgage to Alfred Buckland in September 1858 for £400. This is a tad confusing, as Buckland was the one listed as having the original Crown Grant over the land. In March 1863, it all came to a conclusion, confusing or not: William Greenwood from Matakana had purchased equity of redemption over one of the mortgages that appeared on the deeds index between 1858 and then, and so claimed title from Robert Chisholm, who duly conveyed it. The Greenwood family were to own the land until 1895.

Trouble was -- these allotments were right next to and downstream from what is now present-day Winstone Reserve at Mount Roskill, one of the volcanoes (the others are the Three Kings set of volcanoes) which give rise to Auckland's longest waterway flowing completely within the boundaries of the modern city: Oakley Creek. Only, in Chisholm's time, and even down to the early 20th century, much of his lands there (between Richardson Road, May Road and Stoddard Road) would have been Oakley Swamp rather than the tamed, channelled waterway it is in that area today. So how on earth did Buckland, Chisholm and even Greenwood hope to profit from this? Perhaps, some swamp drainage was hoped for. Hard to say this far away from when all the deals were going down.

Of course, just out of interest, this is also the area where State Highway 20 today is being built, right through almost the middle of those allotments.

I'd also, in this update, like to thank Audrey Barney very much for her email to me today. I sent her a link for the original post, and she responded reminding me to add that our puzzling, most enigmatic Robert Chisholm, a "flesher" in Edinburgh (literally, "a cutter up of meat", as Audrey says), somehow managed to raise a family, retire with money, sail to Australasia, and engage in the land schemes he did with capital from who-knows-where ... and lied, as well, about his age on the passenger list (he stated he was 46, when in reality he was 57 at the time).

One thing is certain: the more that is discovered about Robert Chisholm (even a hint of familial connection with Sir Walter Scott!) -- the more questions inevitably arise.

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