James Robert DENNISTOUN
An Alpinist and RAF Observer
Lieutenant James Robert DENNISTOUN
Regiment/Service: Royal Flying Corps 23rd Sqdn.
Secondary Regiment: North Irish Horse
Birth: 07 MAR 1883 Peel Forest, Canterbury, New Zealand
Date of Death: 09 AUG 1916, Austria
Burial: Niederzwehren Cemetery at Kassel in Hessen
Additional information: Son of George James and Emily (Russell) Dennistoun, of Peel Forest, Timaru, New Zealand. He was a brother to Barbara and George.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead. Church windows.
At the outbreak of war he worked his way to England as a deck hand on a steamer and obtained a commission in the the North Irish Horse. He went to the front in November 1915 and for some months was intelligence officer to a division. Then he joined the Royal Flying Corps. Photo of Jim in uniform. On a bombing sortie over Germany, Dennistoun was observer and bomb thrower in a biplane being flown by his cousin, Herbert Russell, when their plane was shot and went down in flames behind enemy lines. Russell was able to flatten the plane out enough to avoid a nose dive. Both were thrown out on landing. Jim died as a prisoner of war at Ohrdruf, Central Germany, on 9 August, from the effects of wounds. A doctor dressed their wounds and they were taken to hospital. Dennistoun was seriously wounded and had two operations. He was told that if his third was successful, he would recover. One of the nurses, Lili Eidam, spoke English and, sympathetic and kind-hearted, took notes while Dennistoun dictated and wrote to his mother. One of the nurses, Lili Eidam, spoke English and, sympathetic and kind-hearted, took notes while Dennistoun dictated and wrote to his mother. On August 9, 1916, he had the third operation at a hospital at Ohrdruf. Afterwards he became suddenly weak and died. Russell survived.
"Four Peaks" homestead. Photographer: J. Waddington, 1979.
Jim was born at Peel Forrest and educated in Wanganui and at Malvern College. He was a member of Captain R.F. Scott's Antarctic expedition in 1910-11. He had been invited by Lieutenant Harry Pennell of the Royal Navy, a visitor to Peel Forest, who happened to mention he wanted someone to take charge of the mules. Pennell could offer no pay, but the adventure was enough for Dennistoun. He later went into sheep farming near Lumsden but sold the property in April, 1914. He was also an enthusiastic mountaineer and ascended many peaks of the Southern Alps, including Mt Cook, and several of which have never before been ascended. He was first to climb Mt D'Archiac (2875m). An unnamed peak (2315m) opposite Mt D'Archiac was named in tribute to him. There is also a pass and a glacier. Jim, walked the Milford Track before climbing Mitre Peak in March 1911. He also climbed, alone, Mitre Peak in Milford Sound which before that time had been considered inaccessible. He was a member of the Alpine Club.
His brother, Jim was the elder son of Lieutenant Commander George James DENNISTOUN, D.S.O., R.N., was on active service. [Auckland Weekly News 26.10.1916] p.17 of Peel Forest, Canterbury.
1901 England Census: Age Birthplace; Census place; Occupation. James Dennistouwn 18 New Zealand British Subject Worcestershire Malvern Student
Evening Post, 31 January 1914, Page 6 LONG HIGH-LEVEL JOURNEY
CLAIM OF ALPINE CLIMBERS. (By Telegraph.— Press ASSOCIATION.)
OAMARU, This Day.
Messrs. J. D. Dennistoun ,and Sydney King (members of the English Alpine Club), and Lieut. G. Dennistoun, have returned after an interesting journey over the icefields on the eastern slopes of the Southern Alps. The party made its way from the head waters of the Rangitata across several glaciers down to Malte Brunn hut, thence to the Hermitage, having crossed St. Winifred, Godley, Classen, and Tasman Glaciers. They claim that theirs was the longest high-level journey yet made in New Zealand. During the earlier portion of the trip, while traversing from the Winifred to the Godley Glaciers, a new pass about 7000 feet was discovered. The party named it Terra Nova.
First Ascent of Mitre Peak. James was in the Antarctica when this was published in the newspaper, Otago Witness 7 Feb. 1912.
The Peaks and Passes of J.R.D. From the Notebooks and Letters of James Robert Dennistoun: by Guy Mannering (Edit.). The author, Geraldine 1999. 264p, photos and sketch maps. Pictorial end papers and panorama and postcard in front end pocket. Dust wrapper. Arranged and illustrated by Guy Mannering with assistance of Joanna Martin, a niece of J.R.D. Climbing in the Southern Alps. Geraldine, NZ., 1999. 264pp. Sepia photographs. Dustjacket by Ben Woollcombe. With illustrations and maps, the writings of Jim Dennistoun, recounting the adventures he had, especially in the mountains of Southern New Zealand. Guy Mannering whose father, also named Guy, was a friend and climbing companion of Dennistoun, compiled the book using letters, diaries, photographs and notebook entries held by Dennistoun families through three generations.
Timaru Herald 19 March 2012
George Dennistoun, Sr. (1847 - 1921)
He served as a midshipman in the Royal Navy before settling in New Zealand. He purchased Haldon Station in 1868 with two partners. Ten years later he returned to England and married Emily Russell. He and other partners purchased Peel Forest Station. When the partners sold their interest he was left with a large mortgage and he sold the lower country. When the Government auctioned the leases he was outbid by William Postlethwaite. The Estate became approximately its present size in 1914. George and Emily travelled to the United Kingdom on a 'short visit' but stayed on when World War One broke out and he died there in 1921. George took an active role in the community and was chairman of the Scotsburn Domain Board and the Mt Peel Road Board, acting as chairman. He was a member of the Geraldine County Council for twenty years. He helped raising of money and arrange for the building and for the Peel Forest Church and raise money for the the building. Emily and George had three children. Two born in New Zealand and one in England.
Hawke's Bay Herald, 20 January 1880, Page 2 Marriage
Dennistoun — Russell — On the 27th November, at St. Bartholomew's, Hyde, Winchester, by the Rev. Stephen Bridge, uncle of the bride, assisted by the Rev. Humbart, vicar, George James Dennistoun, Esq., Peel Forest, Canterbury, New Zealand, to Emily, youngest daughter of Lieut.- Colonel A. Hamilton Russell, late of 58th Regt, and of Hawke's Bay, New Zealand. (also in The Pall Mall Gazette (London, England), Thursday, December 4, 1879)
Press, 25 May 1921, Page 2 THE LATE MR GEORGE J. DENNISTOUN.
By the death at Torquay (England) on May 4th, of Mr G. J. New Zealand, and more especially South Canterbury, has suffered the loss of one of its well-known and respected citizen. Born in the Old Land seventy three years ago, in his early life he served for a time in the Royal Navy. Coming out to New Zealand, he, in partnership with the late Mr purchased from the late Mr Teschemaker the Haldon run, in the Mackenzie Country. About forty-two ago Peel Forest run was acquired from the late Mr Edward Cooper, Mr Dennistoun then having as partners Messrs George Gray Russell, Cunningham Smith, and H. J. LeCren. Some twenty years later Mr Dennistoun bought the sole interest in the run, and for, years Peel Forest, to which he greatly attached, was his New Zealand home. Mr Dennistoun always took and active interest in anything connected with the welfare of the district, taking his full share in all public duties. For many years he was a member of the Scotsburn Domain and Mount Peel Boards and acted as chairman. He sat on the Geraldine County Council for twenty years, in the last seven he acted as chairman, following Mr J. Talbot, resigning in 1914. Mr Dennistoun took a keen interest in Church affairs, being a lay reader and member of the vestry for a long period, and was largely due to his and his partners efforts that the church at Peel Forest was built and the grounds kept in such good order. About forty-two years ago Mr Dennistoun took a trip to England and where he married the daughter of the late Colonel Russell and sister of the late Sir William Russell. Returning, to New Zealand, he lived for a time at the cottage near the station woolshed, going later to reside at Peel Forest House, where his eldest child and only daughter was born. During a long residence in the district his help, assistance, and advice were tendered to-his neighbours, and otherswho sought his counsel, it given in cheery manner, marked a strong bent of common sense of sound justice. Those who enjoyed Dennistoun's friendship will never forget his get his unfailing courtesy and the true hospitality of an ideal host. Mr Dennistoun is survived by his widow, one daughter, Miss Dennistoun, his youngest son, Commander Denniston, R.N., D.S.O. The elder son, Lieutenant J. K. Dennistoun, died of wounds a prisoner of war Germany.
Press 6 April 1937 Page 2 MRS EMILY DENNISTOUN
The death of Mrs Emily Dennistoun, which occurred at Winchester, in England, on March 29, at the age of 85, removes a personality well known in the Geraldine district 25 years ago. Mrs Dennistoun was a daughter of Colonel Russell, who first came to New Zealand with his regiment and fought in the Maori War. He retired from the Army, acquiring property in Hawke's Bay, where he resided for many years. One of his sons was Sir William Russell, well known in politics in New Zealand in the 'nineties. Miss Emily Russell, as Mrs Dennistoun then was, married Mr George James Dennistoun in England in 1879, and came to New Zealand with her husband, settling at Peel Forest, where she resided for 35 years. She was for years a very familiar figure at Peel Forest, taking an active interest in the church and Sunday school and social work in the district, her husband being lay reader in the church. She was specially known for her kindness and consideration to the sick and those in need. She and her husband went to England in 1914, shortly before war broke out, where he subsequently died. Mr Dennistoun was one of the early settlers in the Mackenzie Country, acquiring Haldon Station about 1868. About 1876 he, together with Messrs G. C. Russell, H. J. Le Cren. and Cunningham Smith, acquired Peel Forest, ultimately becoming the sole owner of the property, and Mr and Mrs Dennistoun lived there until they went to England in 1914. They had three children. James, the eldest, served during the war, first in the North Irish Horse, and then in the Royal Flying Corps. His aeroplane was shot down by the Germans, and he died of wounds in Germany in1917. A daughter, Barbara, died in 1925. Commander George Hamilton Dennistoun, D.S.O, has resided at Peel Forest for many years. Commander Dennistoun served with distinction in Africa during the war, and received the D.S.O. Major-General Sir Andrew Russell, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., of Hastings, is her nephew. Mrs Dennistoun had numerous friends, and her death removes a link with the past. Her hospitality for many years at Peel Forest was proverbial, and is still remembered by many of the older generation. Commander George Dennistoun, who is now in England, arrived there on March 28, the day before his mother died.
George Hamilton Dennistoun (1884-1977)
Manager of Peel Forest Estate, Geraldine. Commanding Officer on HMNZS Tamaki in Dec. 1944. Captain G. H. Dennistoun, DSO, OBE, RN (retd); born 23 Sep 1884, Torquay, Devon, England; entered RN 1899; transport officer, SS Tahiti (Main Body, 1 NZEF) 1914; Senior Naval Officer, Lake Nyasa Gunboat Flotilla (Central Africa), 1915–18; retired 1922; HMNZS Tamaki, 20 January 1941–46. The wooden steamer Onewa of 75 tons was purchased and was renamed Tamaki was used for use in transporting men and stores to the the Devonport base. George was the younger brother of James. George married Beatrice Pyne d/o FH Pyne, one of the founders of Pyne Gould Guinness, now Pyne Gould Corporation and PGGW. George retired from the Royal Navy and came to Mt. Peel, NZ as manager and their children grew up at Peel Forest. George H. Dennistoun died 16 June 1977 Timaru and is buried at Mt. Peel. Dennistoun Road and Dennistoun Bush, Peel Forest is named after the family. Mt Peel was in the Dennistoun family from 1880 to 1987. George received his D.S.O. after a battle with a German gunboat on Lake Nyasa. Daughter is Johanna.
WEEKLY NEWS 1st October 1914 Marriage
DENNISTOUN - PYNE
19 September 1914 at residence of Mr & Mrs F H Pyne, Bealey Ave, Christchurch, Beatrice Pyne to Lt George Dennistoun, R.M., s/o Mr & Mrs G. Dennistoun of Peel Forest, presently in England. Lt Dennistoun has been ordered home to join his ship and will be travelling on the Athenic with the Canterbury Expeditionary Force. Miss Jocelyn Pyne, the bride's youngest sister, was bridesmaid.
Evening Post, October 1914, Page 6
SHIPPING News of Wellington Departures
October 7 — Wahine, s.s., 4435 tons, Aldweil, for Lyttelton. Passengers— Saloon: Lieut.-Commander Dennistoun.
Evening Post, 21 September 1914, Page 9
On Saturday, at St. Luke's Church Christchurch, Miss Beatrix Pyne, second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. F. H. Pyne, was married to Lieutenant-Commander G. Dennistoun, R.N., second son of Mr. and Mrs. Dennistoun, of Peel Forest. The wedding gown was of white brocade, beautifully draped with Brussels lace, and a, wreath of orange-blossoms and a veil of Honiton lace were worn. The bouquet was of white roses, orchids, and lilies of the valley. The bride's sister, Miss Jocelyn Pyne, was bridesmaid, and wore white silk muslin, and a white hat with yellow ribbon. The bridegroom, who was in uniform, was supported by his brother, Mr. J. Dennistoun. The wedding ceremony was performed by Dean Harper, assisted by the Rev. F. N. Taylor, Vicar. Mrs. F. H. Pyne was robed in fine blue serge, black hat adorned with cream ostrich plume. Mrs. M. Pyne wore a smart frock of dark blue serge, and a hat of blue moire adorned with bunch of flowers. After the wedding breakfast the bride and bridegroom left on a short wedding tour, Mrs. Dennistoun wearing grey whipcord and a white hat wreathed with white lilac, and lined with pink.
Timaru Herald, 26 September 1914, Page 3
The guests present included
Mr and Mrs G. Buchanan (Ashburton)
Mr and Mrs Walter Empson (Mount Peel)
Mr and Mrs John Grigg (Longbeach)
Mrs Jack Ormond
Mrs Cyril Williams (Hawke's Bay)
Miss Sinclair Thompson (Geraldine)
Mr. Mrs, and Miss Boyle
Mr and Mrs R. M. Macdonald, and Miss Macdonald
Mr and Mrs H. A. Knight and the Misses Knight (3) (Racecourse Hill)
Dr and Mrs Palmer
Dr and Mrs Hugh Acland
Mr and Mrs H. D. Acland
Mrs Wigram, Miss Wigram
Miss M. Ross
Mr and Mrs Godby
Mrs Gould, and the Misses Gould (2)
Dr and Mrs Palmer
Mr and Mrs Beauchamp Lane
Mrs and Miss Rolleston
Mrs George Rhodes
and several of the bridegroom's brother officers, who, like him appeared in uniform. Mr and Mrs G. Dennistoun parents of the bridegroom, are at present in England.
Evening Post, 30 September 1914, Page 8 PLUCKY RESCUE
A plucky rescue of a seaman who fell overboard from the Karamea was made by Lieutenant-Commander Dennistoun, of the transport Tahiti. The man who was rescued was painting ship, and after leading the stage attempted to reach the deck, but missed his footing and fell into the water. Quartermaster Jones, of the Karamea, also saw the man fall and dived in for him at the same time as Lieutenant-Commander Dennistoun. Together the two got a line round the man in the water, and he was hauled aboard exhausted. The pluck of the two rescuers was warmly applauded by onlookers.
Evening Post, 1 October 1914, Page 9
SAILORS' FRIEND SOCIETY
Another concert of the class always provided at the Sailors' Friend Society Institute was given last evening by Mr. Proctor before an appreciative audience. Mr. Jainea Moore (missioner) presided, and seats on the platform were occupied by Chaplain Taylor and Lieutenant Deassly. ; Those who took part in the vocal, orchestral, and instrumental items (Misses Edna Colley, Sparrow, Dodds, F. Colley, and Messrs. Proctor (2), Tansley, Walker, A. Moore, Statters, Curtis, Parkin, and Jones] were heartily thanked at the close of the evening. During the evening the following resolution relating to the rescue in the j harbour on Thursday (which will be forwarded to Lieutenant Dennistoun and Quartermaster Jones) was carried with cheers : " We, the sailors, firemen, stewards, and friends in the port of Wellington, desire to place on record our ' high admiration of your splendid bravery shown when you so promptly and pluckily sought to save Seaman Donnelly, A.B. when he was in imminent danger of drowning from the s.s. Karamea in our harbour."
Lawrence Dobre Russell
Rank Last Held: Second Lieutenant
Date of Death: 2 September 1916
Age at Death: 18
Cause of Death: Died of wounds
Cemetery: Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-l'Abbe, Somme, France
Youngest son of Herbert H. and Rachel Russell nee Baunbridge, of New Zealand and Torquay. Born in England but emigrated to New Zealand as a child. Brother of Francis Gerald Russell, who died on 28 January 1917 while flying with 21 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps.
Francis Gerald Russell
Rank Last Held: Second Lieutenant
Serial No.: 13/736
Date of Death: 28 January 1917
Age at Death: 28
Cause of Death: Killed in action.
Cemetery Name: A.I.F. Burial Ground, Flers, Somme, France.
Son of Herbert H. Russell and Rachel (nee Dennistoun) Russell, of New Zealand and Torquay.
Brother of Second Lieutenant Lawrence Dobre Russell who also served with the Royal Flying Corps and who died on 2 September 1916 of wounds received on August 26th. Served with the NZEF prior to transferring to the RFA, he had earlier been wounded on 8 March 1916 while flying as an Observer with 7 Squadron, RFC.
Herbert Russell and James Robert Dennistoun were 1st cousins. Herbert's father and James's mother were brother and sister. i.e. Emily Dennistoun (James's mother) was born Emily Russell. James was born at Peel Forest.
Star 8 April 1907, Page 3
Sir William Russell will leave Christchurch to-morrow for Peel Forest, where he will visit his sister, Mrs Denniston. He will stay there for about a fortnight, and will then return to Christchurch on his way back to Hawke's Bay.
Terra Nova - British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13
Terra Nova is Latin for new land. From 1906 - 1909 Terra Nova an ex whaler returned to sealing with Bowring Brothers and in November 1909 she was sold to the Admiralty for Scott's second, ill-fated, Antarctic expedition. She was re-registered as a yacht and flew the White Ensign as Scott was a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron. Apparently she was not in very good condition by 1910 and probably as a result she was registered as a yacht to avoid too close a scrutiny by the Board of Trade who might have pronounced her unseaworthy. Bowring Brothers gave a donation to the expedition of £500." "Figurehead of British Antarctic Expedition Ship "Terra Nova" in which Captain Scott and other members of the Expedition, sailed on the 15th June 1910, from the port of Cardiff. Presented to the Cardiff Corporation by Frederick Charles Bowring , Esq, J.P. of Liverpool. 8th. Dec. 1913. The expedition led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott sailed in the Terra Nova from Port Chalmers for Antarctica on 28 November 1910. Lloyds Register of Yachts (1913) lists the Terra Nova as being owned by the Executors of the late Captain Sir R F Scott RN CVO.
The Dennistoun Glacier ( 71°11'S, 168°00'E) is a glacier, 80 km (50 mi) long, draining the northern slopes of Mounts Black Prince, Royalist and Adam in the Admiralty Mountains of Victoria Land, Antarctic. It flows northwest between the Lyttelton Range and Dunedin Range, turning east on rounding the latter range to enter the sea south of Cape Scott. The coastal extremity of the glacier was charted in 1911-12 by the Northern Party, led by Victor Lindsay Arbuthnot Campbell, of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-13. The glacier is named after James R. Dennistoun, New Zealand alpinist who was in charge of the mules on board the Terra Nova on her way to Antarctica. James kept a journal on board the Terra Nova. Dates covered December 1911-April 1912. James was a holder of the Arctic Medal & Medal of the Royal Geographical Society. Before 1968 the Polar Medal which was originally instituted in 1857 as the Arctic Medal was awarded to all who participated in any Polar expedition endorsed by the government of any of the Commonwealth Realms.
Corporal William McDONALD, of the Canterbury Infantry Battalion, reported wounded, is 22 yrs (sic)[?] of age. He accompanied both of the late Captain SCOTT's expeditions to the Antarctic, on the last occasion being a member of the boat complement of the Terra Nova. Coming back to NZ he secured a position in the NZ Customs Dept and was stationed at Lyttelton. The day he left NZ for the front he was married to a Scottish lady. Corporal McDonald went away with the third reinforcements as a corporal but sacrificed his stripes in order to get away with the main body when the landing upon the Gallipoli Peninsula was made and he has been in the fighting right up to the present, winning back his stripes on the field. [AWN 26.08.1915]
Press, 3 October 1908, Page 7
GLISSADING ON FOUR PEAKS. (By J.R.D.)
A few weeks ago a friend and I climbed Mount Peel with Mr J. E. Mannering, one of the pioneers of true alpine climbing in New Zealand, and a member of the English Alpine Club. We enjoyed the climb so much that we decided to tackle Mount Four Peaks as soon as we could. The peak we chose was the one next to the Blue Mountain and due south of it, as it is easier to get. at and interesting than the others from a climbing point of view. It is 4800ft high. Miss Esther and Miss Doris Barker were very anxious to go with us, but unfortunately Mr Mannering could not accompany us this time, so we decided it would be safer to explore, the route before taking them. This we did, and to our satisfaction found that the difficulties were not too great, and, moreover, that the glissading on the way down was very good, far better than on Mount Peel. Miss Barker had tasted the joys of glissading at Mount Cook, so she quite made up her mind to got to the top, simply for the joy of coming down again. We, therefore, decided not to put off any longer, but to make the ascent the following Sunday. We got away from "Waihi" at 7 a.m., after so much noise in waking each other, getting breakfast, etc., that I fear all the other members of the household had been reviling all mountaineers and ourselves in particular for some two hours. The party was made up as follows: —Miss Esther Barker, Miss Doris Barker, Roland Barker, Gerard Russell, and myself. It was a cloudy morning, but the clouds were not heavy, and we quite hoped for a glorious day. We had a two hours' ride up the Waihi river before we could begin to climb. There is a road at first, and we pushed along as fast as we could here; then it narrows to a bridletrack, used by the Orari musterers, winding its way through patches of bush and along the side of the hills above the river. The snow in places was deep on the track, our horses sinking above their knees into it, and one of the party afforded much merriment by falling off where the snow was deepest, having broken his girth. He couldn't have found a softer place. Leaving the horses in the yard at the Waihi hut we set off at once up a leading spur, running right up to the top from the hut. At first the snow was only in patches, and was very soft; however, we soon got above this, and found it much better than we had expected. In places, of course, we went in pretty deep, up to our knees sometimes, or even deeper, but the snow was either soft or quite hard; so there was none of that horrid jar experienced when the crust lets you through when you least expect it. After climbing for about an hour, with frequent short intervals "to see if the horses were still safe in the yard" —which sounds better than "having a rest"—we noticed that the snow suddenly became very hard, our boots making no impression on it at all, and if we had been on the steep face to our left it would have been a case of cutting steps the whole way across. As it was, on the top of the ridge we had to be careful not to slip, as there would have been no way of stopping ourselves; However, the ridge was a wide one, so there was really no danger. The hard condition of the snow made us rather anxious about our glissading on the descent, as it was far too steep to allow of even attempting it unless it was a good deal softer down the gully to our right than it was here. All up this ridge there are odd patches of rock, and when the snow was soft we made for the rocks when we could, as they were much easier climbing than the soft snow. We had our lunch on one of these patches of rock, about two-thirds up, and it was good, too. We heard a kea down below us while we were resting; and the snow and rock all round us arid the plaintive cry of the kea made me think I was back at Mount Cook with all its joys. There are very few of these birds in the front hills now, and we were quite surprised to see him. There is something very fascinating to me in the cry of a kea or the call of a Paradise duck to his mate. They seem to accentuate the hugeness of the mountains and the wide spaces of the great river-beds, which make you feel so small and solitary. As we started on again, the clouds which had been hanging about all the morning settled down, and everything was enveloped in fog. It was not very thick, and we knew the way, so it did not matter, and we hoped to get above it. On we went, toiling upwards, and finding this part of the climb rather monotonous, seeing nothing, and longing for the top to appear through the mist. This it soon did, and at 11.30 we kicked steps up a very steep crest of snow, and stood on the top. What a truly alpine sight, peaks all round showing through the fog, now thick, now thin; while down below black rocks stood out amongst the snow and fog, all merged in a dull white. We got a glorious view of Fox's Peak and the Ashwick country, still very white, and some high mountains beyond—at the head of Lake Tekapo, I think. Everything else was in cloud, although we ourselves were in bright warm sunshine. On a clear day the view from Four Peaks is good, but nothing, like Mount Peel, which has such an extensive view. Of course, you get a very extensive panorama of the plains, but the western peak of Four Peaks hides a good deal, and you are not high enough to see Mount Cook or any of the main range— I hope I am right in this. Then to the north-east Mount Peel and the Blue Mountain hide all the glorious view of the almost unknown mountains at the head of the Godley, Rangitata, and Rakaia. The clouds promised to lift, so we decided to wait till noon, as it was quite warm; our toes, however, were very cold, so we knelt in a row on the ridge with our toes in space, as someone said this made them warm. The snow on top was very hard, and must have been a great death, as not a sign of a rock showed through anywhere, it fell sheer away towards the Waihi, the way we had come, but was more gradual on the opposite side. At 12 the fog was thicker than ever, so we decided to be off. The idea of sitting down and glissading into the unseen depths was rather alarming. However, we knew the way and what lay before us, and although very steep, we could see that it would be possible to keep control, as the snow was soft enough to allow us to dig in our heels when getting out of hand and so check the pace if it became too hot. In making the descent we first meant to glissade down a gully, or couloir, leading down from the very peak on which we stood, and being to the left of the spur by which we had climbed as you look down. It was so steep that we decided lit would not be safe for the ladies to go alone, so we set off in the following order. Miss Doris and Russell went first, in the approved tandem fashion, it being easier to steer this way, the man going in front and regulating the pace, etc. Away they went slowly at first, but, as they gained faster and faster, till they disappeared in the fog. The last we heard of them was a very emphatic "Awfully decent?", I suppose in answer to a question from Russell as to how the lady was enjoying it. It was, indeed, eery seeing them disappear from view and hear the hiss of the snow as they sped onward long after we had completely lost sight of them. Roland went next by himself, and then Miss Barker and myself set off. We passed Roland in no time, fairly whizzing down in the track made by the others, and getting decidedly out of hand once, we soon shot out below thoe fog, and in a surprisingly short time were down with the others, some rocks and stones barring our further progress down this gully. However, could not complain, having come 800ft or 900ft in a few minutes. We had to sidle over the spur up which we had toiled a few hours before, in order to reach the snow on its shady, side, and so glissade down into the gully below, and follow it down till, we reached the grassy spurs leading to the hut. Here the snow was harder, and as we had now gained confidence, down we shot at a tremendous speed ending in a heap in the soft snow at the bottom, with snow down our necks and in our eyes and mouths, but this only added to the fun. We then prospected for another place, and finding one almost perpendicular with good soft snow at the bottom and about 250 ft high, decided that this was perfection. Down we went in the same order as before. The pace was terrific, as about half the slope was quite hard, and one shot over it at an incredible speed. Many were the spills, and we all seemed to arrive at the bottom in different attitude each time, in clouds of snow, and with various expressions of alarm on our faces. The most amusing was when one member of the party with a lady behind him, after shooting over the hard snow at break-neck speed, suddenly struck a patch of soft snow, and, unable to keep his feet up, they shot into the snow so deep that it stopped them dead. The lady shot clean over his head, dashing on alone, and he following after, turning a complete somersault, and then whizzing on after her in a tangled sort of tremendous applause from, the others. This was such a good place, and so very exciting, that we toiled up time after time for the joy of coming down again. We found other good places, too, but none of them quite came up to this particular one. During our descent we noticed many blue streaks down the snow. There was a good deal of mystery about them. Someone said they had boon made with a "blue-bag"—they were just; that colour—while another suggested "blue bags." At last we decided it was time to go on, as we were drenched to the skin and getting rather weary. The ride home in our wet clothes was the worst part of the expedition, but it was soon over, and hot baths and a large tea awaited us at "Waihi," and how we enjoyed them. Why those who live close the mountains do not go glissading whenever they can I cannot imagine. It is one of the most thrilling and exciting sports I know, and, nothing but a good strong pair of trousers is needed as an outfit. Even the famous "Waihi" cannot hold a candle to a really good glissade and that is saying a good deal.
Evening Post, 2 October 1909, Page 9
Native birds, writes a correspondent of the Lyttelton Times, are plentiful at Peel Forest, and during a recent visit to the bush grey warblers, tomtits, fantails, wrens, makomakos, and kingfishers were frequently seen, while occasionally a tui was also noticed. The bellbirds are singing very sweetly at this season of the year, and in the evening the morepork's cry could be heard. Native pigeons are to be seen at times, but kakas have not come to the forest for several years. The scenic reserves of some 480 acres recently set aside by the Government contain some splendid virgin bush, which, however, is suffering owing to cattle being allowed to run in it. Steps should be taken to fence off all that part of the reserve which is virgin bush, as nowhere else in Canterbury is there a forest containing so many representatives of native trees. Some of the totara trees are very fine, one measuring 27ft in circumference about three feet from the ground. Several of the native trees are in blossom at this season, and there are some magnificent specimens of the lemon tree (pittosporum eugeniodes). Kowhai are in full bloom, and the fuchsia trees are nearly so, while the ivy trees (nothopanax) are covered with their purplish berries. It is not generally known that all scenic reserves are also birds' sanctuaries, and that a heavy penalty is provided for any person taking firearms into them.
South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project
Evening Post, 31 May 1939, Page 14
Mr. and Mrs. J. Mowbray Tripp, Silverton, Geraldine, entertained at a five o'clock party at their home to celebrate the coming of age of their second son David, states the Christchurch "Star-Sun." Many friends motored to Silverton for the occasion. The health of the guest of honour was proposed by Commander George Dennistoun, Mount Peel. Later many of the guests were entertained at a buffet dinner and dance. Among those present were Commander and Mrs. George Dennistoun, Mr. and Mrs. Harold Elworthy, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Elworthy, Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Grigg, Mr. and Mrs. K. H. Hargreaves, Mr. and Mrs. C. Burdon, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Acland, Mr. and Mrs. C, J. Kerr, Mr. and Mrs. L. F. Williams; Mesdames Stopford, Sinclair, Thomson, Hamilton Sinclair Thomson, G. Macdonald, Basil Unwin, Norman Hope, Rowland Guinness, Wyn Davidson, C. J. Kerr Polhill; Misses Sylvia Scott, Jane Orford. Rachel Rolleston, Juliet and Rachel Kain, Patsie Harper, Margaret McLean (Dunedin), Mary Norris, P. Orbell, Cotterill, Polhill, E. L. J. Davies, Aker, Hodges, Margaret Macdonald, Cara Pinckney; Commander D. Boyle; Messrs. Alister Macdonald, Andrew Hope, Gilbert Grigg, Jack Polhill, Captain McKergow, Messrs. Charles Miller, L. and G. Chapman, Stephen Scott (Christchurch), J. Stone-Wigg, John Rolleston, George Kain, John Reid, David Barker, Peter Foute, L. Batchelor (Dunedin), and Peter Finch.