Upper Rangitata Cemetery aka Mesopotamia Station Cemetery, N.Z.


 Look for the Upper Rangitata Cemetery sign down the track. There is no Dr Sinclair's Grave sign.

Places to go. Doc info.

Dr Sinclair’s Grave Reserve (4 hectares) is found on the flats of the Rangitata River. It has been signed posted by DOC. Take the right fork at the Y intersection just before the Mesopotamia Station buildings and it heads across the flat towards Bush Stream car park and toilet and the Te Araroa Trail access. The road is a bit rough so drive slow. ¾ of the way is another track going off to the right to the Rangitata River and Sinclair's grave, walk the last 500m. The Sinclair grave is inside the rabbit proof fenced Upper Rangitata Cemetery, at the back, easily missed, as it is flat, and surrounded by matagouri but unmistakable. Unable to readable the inscription. Photos taken 23rd March 2016. 12 headstones for 15 people. There is no headstone for McKay. Tenure - open folder

No longer a lonely grave.  

Press, 5 September 1931, Page 14 By L. G. D. Acland
The following interesting extracts are from a letter about the old days at Mesopotamia which Murdoch McDonald, who was George McRae's, nephew and cadet has sent me:— As you are aware Dr. Sinclair's grave this was never lost, but is well known to everyone who has worked on Mesopotamia, and has a good tombstone on top suitably inscribed. What is not generally known, however, is that alongside it is another grave which has no tombstone — that of a man named McKay who met his death at Boss's Cutting in a tragic manner. McKay worked on Anama station, and one Sunday rode up to Boss's Hut to see his sweetheart, who was a daughter of the boundary-keeper there. He tethered his horse at some distance from the house and on leaving for home, while saying good-bye to the girl, he pulled the tether up and the horse, taking fright at something, wheeled round and got the rope round McKay's body. McKay was dragged down the cutting and his brains dashed out at the roadside.
    "A man called Searle who was building the Iron Stable at Mesopotamia for the Campbell's, chopped his foot off with the adze and bled to death.
    "Jason's Creek is called after Jason Davis who got frost-bitten in the feet when cutting firewood' there, and when they got him down country his legs had to be amputated at the knees and he walked on the stumps for many years, however, and on one occasion he was taken for the Devil by a nervy a woman who met him in the dark on a lonely road near Darfield.
    "Another shepherd called Gillman whom I knew well, was killed at Grilling Camp (on Mesopotamia) by a rock falling on his head from a precipice under which he was walking. Hugh Urquhart was killed on the Forks going over a precipice, shortly afterwards.

Dr. Sinclair's gravestone inscription.
In Memory
of
Andrew Sinclair M.D.
Late Secretary to the
general Government
of New Zealand under
the Administration of
Sir George Grey
He was drowned crossing the Rangitata on 1 April 1861. 


 The view from the cemetery part of the Two Thumb Range up Bush Stream. The Thumbs out of sight, far right.  In Canterbury foothills the shrub it is known as the mountain wineberry. This sub-alpine plant, Aristotelia fruticosa, a multi branched shrub, 3 to 6' in height.


And a little further back. Grey scrub was an ancient native plant community that consisted of a variety of small-leaved, highly branched shrubs such as matagouri, mingimingi and olearias, as well as wiry climbing plants that scramble over and through the shrubs. These valuable plant communities are part of Canterbury's natural heritage and are the home for a diverse range of native plants and animals, including native lizards, birds, moths and other invertebrates. Grey scrub also helps prevent erosion, maintain catchment water yields and can provide valuable shelter for stock.

 
Malcolm Velvin Prouting 1917-1981
Thelma Marjorie Prouting 1915 -2004 nee Gifkins

 
Peter Prouting died 1980 aged 23.


Francis William Gifkins born 1891. Died 1970.
Maggie Vallance Gifkins born 1889. Died 1984.

 
Esperance Ayers 1918-1980
Hector James Ayers 1915-1992

 
Alexander Burnaby Curtis died 1990 aged 79.
In the hills we loved.


Margaret Kathleen Cookson 1920-2007.
Allan Mclean Cookson 1913-2003.
Back in the hills he loved.

 
Peter Joseph Loffhagen 1954 -2007.
"gone fishing..."
 

Vance Alexander Hannah 1931-1987
Accidently killed jet boating at Lake Coleridge. Returned to the Rangitata, his favourite place. 


Christopher Michael Newman A.P.S.N.Z. (Ulysses) 1941 -2011 


In memory of Rex Allan Underhill 1921-1993. A Friend of Mesopotamia.

Press, 17 November 1945, Page 6 MESOPOTAMIA BRINGS £27,000 PURCHASE BY PRESENT MANAGER
The sale price of Mesopotamia station, Rangitata Gorge, as a going concern was £27,000, and the purchaser was Mr Malcolm Velvin Prouting, who has been manager of the station for some time. The sale of the freehold block, containing the station buildings, by Sir William Nosworthy to Mr Prouting for £6355 has been passed, without opposition; by the Canterbury Rural Land Sales Committee. The price was far below the Government valuation. The block, which is of 2069 acres, was sold in 1917 for £26,400. The Rural Land Sales Committee was not concerned at this stage with any part of the transaction except the transfer of the freehold. The remainder of the station, which has a total of 99,130 acres, is Crown leasehold and Canterbury Agricultural College leasehold. The latter of 37,911 acres, comes up for renewal next year and, if the Canterbury Agricultural College Board of Governors approves of Mr Prouting as a lessee, it will make application for consent to a new lease of its portion of the station.

South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project