Hardcastle's Hammer, Timaru - a pretty photo!

He sought truth for it's own sake.

John Hardcastle, an amateur geologist, who was self educated, equipped himself with a rich store of knowledge, of which he made full use to the end of his days. He formulated original theories about the formation of the landscape. In 1889 he recognised that the Timaru loess (clay) deposits indicated several periods of past glacial climates. This was decades before the theory was accepted elsewhere in the world.

Star 3 October 1890, Page 4
An ordinary meeting of the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury was held in the Public Library last evening. There was a moderate attendance, the President, Mr J. T. Meeson, in the chair. The Secretary read a paper by Mr J. Hardcastle, of Timaru, on "The Loess of Timaru as a Climate Register." He stated his conclusion that the loess is a formation of dust belonging to the second glacier period, and certain bands, which mark pauses in the process of deposition, are interpreted as registers of considerable variation of climate within that period. Professor Hutton criticised the paper, and considered that the conclusions were unwarranted. Mr Dobson said he had been pretty well acquainted with Timaru, and did not recognise the place geologically from Mr Hardcastle's description.

Crepuscular rays at sunset along the coastal walkway near Dashing Rocks, Timaru, Nov. 2011


Papers Past Ashburton Guardian, 23 July 1908, Page 2
Mr John Hardcastle, well known throughout Canterbury as a member of the literary staff of the Timaru Herald, has sent us a pamphlet that contains a series of tersely-written and informing articles, which he modestly calls "Notes on the Geology "of South Canterbury." But modesty is as a rule, characteristic of scientist's and, of men imbued or touched with the scientific spirit, and Mr Hardcastle, without affectation, justifies this honcurable tradition.
    Mr Hardcastle has arranged his matter under twenty-five captions, the first of which is "The Mountain Rocks" and the last "The Human Period"; and, as he says, his articles are the fruit "mainly of personal observations made in odd days of leisure during a quarter of a century, aided by much reading of geological writings, very little of which, however, had reference to South Canterbury. The method of treatment is unusual. Geological writers, as a rule, divide the subject according to changes in the life forms preserved as fossils; but in Mr Hardcastle's notes changes of climate and of land and sea have been adopted as the lines of demarcation; hence no knowledge of fossils is required to enable the reader to follow the story as worked out" by Mr Hardcastle, whose method —combined with his practical experience as a journalist—has enabled him to avoid the cumbrousness that is  frequently found in connection with the treatment of scientific subjects. As a specimen of Mr Hardcastle's method, and manner, and matter, we quote a paragraph from his article on "The Mountain Rocks": "The whole of our ranges are formed, of materials that were once loose and incoherent, sand and mud, shifted about by rivers and seas—chiefly by rivers and smaller streams. The rocks were therefore originally laid down flat, as sea-beds; lake-beds, and river plains, and probably when in that condition were at no great elevation above sea level. The soft water-laid deposits were-afterwards consolidated by loading and by lateral pressures, were cemented by infiltrations and chemical processes, and subsequently, by the enormous forces that are operative within the earth's crust, were squeezed and folded, and crushed and broken, and uplifted into ridges that in the Alps rose many thousands of feet above sea level and above the surrounding land. In many places strata that were laid down flat have been broken and tilted, so that they are now standing on edge. The Alps and other ranges are only remnants of the original folds, after frost and thaw, flowing water and flowing ice, and other destructive agencies have acted upon them for an immeasurable period of time. It is quite likely that as much material has been removed— worn away—from our mountains as they now contain, for in many cases the tops of ridges of the present day were the bottoms of the original, folds. It is bewildering to try to, grasp the fact, but a fact it is, that the whole of the materials of the earth's crust accessible to observation in South Canterbury have been shifted many times since the earth was formed. Some of the materials may have travelled long distances; some of the rocks have certainly been made and re-made many times over. And to-day the Alps and lesser eminences are being slowly worn down and drifted away on fresh journeys, to be formed into new rocks once more. Whence came all the sand and mud that went to make up our mountain rocks originally, still remains to be discovered. Sir Julius Von Haast believed that some of it, at all events, came from a land now submerged beneath the sea to the eastward; unless, indeed, the Chatham Islands are a remnant of it."
    With this as a foretaste, many of those who read this notice should become sympathetic and appreciative, readers of Mr Hardcastle's very unpretentious, yet very interesting booklet, which is on sale at Ashburton bookshops.

Pamphlet Collection Auckland War Memorial Museum Library.
Author/Creator: Hardcastle, John, d.1927
Title: Notes on the geology of South Canterbury / by J. Hardcastle
Publisher: Timaru, N.Z. : Timaru Herald Company, Printers, 1908
Physical Description: 62p. ; 23cm.  Note: Reprinted from the Timaru Herald.
Subject: Geology - New Zealand - Canterbury

Otago Witness 5 August 1908, Page 87
By J. Hardcastle. (Reprinted from the Timaru Herald.) Timaru: The Herald Co. (Ltd.) Dunedin R. J. Stark and Co. (Is.)
The study of field geology is a fine, health-giving pursuit — none more so ; — and it can be followed up anywhere on land and by anybody having time and intelligence enough, both being undoubtedly required in those taking to this fascinating branch of scientific study. Much time and exceedingly keen intelligence have been given and exercised by Mr J. Hardcastle in his reading of " the great stone book " of the South Canterbury region. Mr Hardcastle's researches, speculations, and conclusions are embodied in a bulky pamphlet entitled "Notes on the Geology of South Canterbury," and the whole is the outcome of the author's holiday hobbying during a period of 25 years. The articles originally appeared in the Timaru Herald, and, being reproduced from the original newspaper type, the contained matter is by no means so well set out as it deserved to be. That, however, does not alter the fact that the whole, of these six and-twenty chapters are rich in interest, pleasantly and clearly written, and well calculated to arouse and stimulate the observing and reasoning faculties of the thoughtful reader. There is an element of novelty in the author's method of treatment in that he does not, as is usual, divide the subject according to changes in the life-forms preserved as fossils in the rocks. Instead, we find that in these notes "changes of climate and of land and sea have been adopted as the lines of demarcation ; hence no knowledge of fossils is required to enable the reader to follow the story as here worked out." It is truly a wonderful story of far-reaching change and wonderful metamorphosis that has here been transcribed with surpassing patience by one whom we may call, without offence, a king hobbyist. For the greater part the author's observations have been confined to the more recent formations, but in an introductory paper a good account of the old. rocks has been summarised. Along with his first-hand studies, Mr Hardcastle has read extensively in geological literature, and the fruit of this is seen in frequent cultured allusions to this or that authority, to geological theorisings, analogous instances, and so on. His views, too, are fresh, modern, and free from faddery, while his remarks upon the probable aboriginal inhabitants of New Zealand, former land extension, climatic alterations, volcanic action, the ages of ice, the moa, etc., are expressed with moderation and imbued with common sense. The work deserves to have been turned out in proper book form, with maps and diagrams, but even in the plain garb it wears it should be in possession of every Nature-lover in the Dominion. Dinornis.

Along the coastal walkway near Dashing Rocks, Timaru, Nov. 2011. Note the old lava stream from Mt. Horrible met the sea.

Hardcastle in print

Timaru Herald  8 June 2022

Timaru Herald, 10 October 1873, Page 1
A meeting of the Geraldine School Committee, was held on Wednesday evening last, in the schoolroom. Present Dr Fish (Chairman), Messrs Megson aud Sherratt. A letter was read from Mr John Hardcastle, in which he tendered his resignation as schoolmaster, the sole reason for so doing being "that he was going to give up his profession as a schoolmaster." After some conversation with Mr Hardcastle, it was resolved "That this committee accept the resignation of Mr Hardcastle as schoolmaster with regret." It was resolved -"That the chairman inform the Board of Education of the matter."  

Clutha Leader, 3 March 1882, Page 6
On dit that Mr Herbert Belfield has disposed of his interest in the Timaru Herald to a company, but still retains a large share in the venture. Mr Wakefield, who will also be a large shareholder in the company, is to occupy the editorial chair, and Mr J. Hardcastle, late editor of the South Canterbury Times goes back to his old love, the Herald, vice Mr Geo. Collins, who has left the latter journal.

John Hardcastle 1918  "Herald"— Applied Classics
Beneath the rule of men entirely great,
The pen is mightier than the sword.
Lord Lytton.

Grey River Argus, 19 November 1898, Page 1
The following letter which appears in the current issue of the Mines Record is probably well worth consideration and is at least of sufficient local importance to warrant reprinting "Sir, I have on two occasions written to the people of Westland urging that there must exist in the northern part of their district, buried beneath the marine deposit, the blue reef the local representative of the quartz gravels which are so rich in gold in Otago and Nelson, and that these gravels should be; sought; for as deep leads. They do not seem to have grasped the idea yet.... I know that it is difficult to convey novel ideas through the medium of print convincingly, but here the problem is so simple, the data so clear, that it needs no great sweat of intellect to arrive at the conclusion that, on a reasonable estimate of the probabilities there ought to be a little Klondyke" beneath the blue reef of North Westland I am, &c,
John Hardcastle. Timaru, Oct 1st, 1897.

Timaru Herald, 30 May 1896, Page 2
The ordinary fortnightly meeting of the Wesleyan Mutual Improvement Society was. held on Thursday, evening. There was a good attendance, and the president, Rev. C. E. Beecroft occupied the chair. Routine business including five nominations for membership having been disposed of, the chairman announced that the business for that evening was a paper by Mr J. Hardcastle on "geology" and he was sure that the audience would extend a hearty welcome to that gentleman for so kindly  acceding to the request made to deliver the address. He had much pleasure in introducing Mr Hardcastle. The lecturer commenced by explaining that geology may be described as historical physical geography, and that the difficulties it presents are due to the fact that the climates of the earth have varied greatly. The changes which have occurred in South Canterbury were described m order, beginning with the first Opal Age, when the coal beds of the West Coast and of Otago were formed, and this was said to be also the Gold Age, when the alluvial gold was being set free by chemical decomposition of the rocks. Then came a Marine Age, when most of the country was let down beneath the sea followed by an uplift and a second Coal Age, when the Albury and some other brown coals of Canterbury were formed. So far the climate had been hot, as shown by the luxuriant vegetation of the land, and the coral reefs of the marine age which formed the limestones. Then came an age of frost, when the mountains were broken down, and the shingle plains were spread out by the rivers. A long warm period followed allowing the plains to become good agricultural country on which the earliest known moas lived. During this period the Mount Horrible and Geraldine volcanoes ; poured out their lava sheets. Again the climate became cold and a true Glacial Period set in, which buried the mountains under ice, and a local glacier flowing from Mount Misery carved the west and south sides of Mount Horrible into "horrible" steepness. More shingle was spread over the plains, but it did not reach the present coast at all points, and some of the best agricultural land— Longbeach for instance—was stated to be unburied areas of the older plains. The Glacial Period came to an end, and the last geological incident mentioned was the smoothing of the surface of the rough river laid plains by "Noah's flood." At the conclusion Mr R. Orwin moved, and Mr Blackwood seconded a hearty vote of thanks to the lecturer, which was carried by acclamation. The meeting was then closed in the usual way.

New Zealand Free Lance, 14 July 1900, Page 3
Ernest Hardcastle, who looks after the agricultural department of Christchurch Press, and is therefore Bissett's rival, was even less obtrusive than the latter. Hardcastle is a young man for the position he occupies, but has already made his mark in a particularly dry department of a journalist's work. He has taken a course of Agricultural College at Lincoln, in order to qualify for his special work, and, like his elder brother John (editor of the South Canterbury Times, Timaru) has quite a scientific bent of mind. John Hardcastle is a geologist in his spare moments, and carries as many stones in his coat pockets as Sir James Hector. It may be mentioned that Ernest Hardcastle recently won the second prize in an essay competition on "Farming as applied to Cheviot," promoted by the Cheviot Farmers' Association.

 In June 1919 John Hardcastle was the night-editor of the "Herald" but once a he was a reporter.
The "old days" were the days when Hardcastle was a news gather. 

On the Cause of Volcanic Action [1886]
The Tarawera Eruption
[1887] A criticism
On a Stereoscopic Aspect of the Moon
[1887] pdf
On the Drift in South Canterbury
[1890] pdf
On Glacier-motion
[1890] pdf
On the Timaru Loess as a Climate Register
[1890] pdf
Origin of the Loess Deposit of the Timaru Plateau
Notes on the Geology of South Canterbury
/ by J. Hardcastle. Timaru [N.Z.] : Timaru Herald Co., Printers, 1908. 62p
Lunar theories : a heliocentric suggestion : is it new? / by J. Hardcastle. Timaru, N.Z. : Timaru Herald Print, [1917]
Timaru Main School jubilee, 8th October 1874, 8th October 1924 : sketch of school history : reminiscences of former teachers : messages of congratulation. Souvenir of the jubilee of the Main School, Timaru, Oct. 1924. Publisher: Timaru Herald 95 p. An elementary school. Other Contributor: Hardcastle, J.
John Hardcastle : 1891-1991 : one hundred years of loess stratigraphy. [Leicester, England] : Centre for Loess Research and Documentation, [1988]

Handing back the keys

NZ Truth 2 September 1922, Page 1
Forty years ago Mr John Hardcastle entered the office of the Timaru "Herald" as a junior member of the staff. This week he handed back the office keys, worn smooth, with many turnings, but gladly will, he be welcomed should he drop in as he passes. Forty years of service, given loyally, thoroughly and willingly, have earned for him that welcome. The Hardcastles are well-known in Canterbury, for the old people, Mr and Mrs Edward [sic: Thomas] Hardcastle, were among the first of those who broke new ground in the tussock land round Geraldine in the very early days, with headquarters at Castlewood, the name of which still survives, though the old homestead lands have long ago, been divided up. John Hardcastle received the education of the day, readin', 'ritln' and 'rithmetic, but having sampled the R's he thirsted for the alphabet. There were no schools in the district not till he opened the first at Woodbury years later and farm work filled the day. No matter, a bookrest may be fitted to a plough, but if the alphabet was mastered the thesaurus of science had scarcely been opened. Australia boasted a library at Melbourne, and to Australia John Hardcastle went to work by day and to browse upon the text books, he sought when the day's work was done. Back in New Zealand again, he tried his luck on the West Coast diggings, an inquirer and a worker both. Then back to Geraldine and the school at Woodbury. He is still remembered by many a Woodbury man as The Schoolmaster, to the disadvantage of schoolmasters of to-day. Journalism made a call, as it also made to a brother, Mr E. Hardcastle, for many years with the Christchurch "Press,", and now enjoying a rest as Mayor of Geraldine, and later to three sons, one in Auckland and two in Wellington, and since that day, with the exception of a short period at Napier, Mr John Hardcastle has been in the same office, as reader, reporter, sub-editor, editor of the now extinct South Canterbury "Times," and for a time Editor of the "Herald." The book of science is large and is writ small, and his retirement on well earned superannuation finds him with years, many, we hope, of quiet inquiry before him. His has been an unselfish and loyal life; he has helped many, in journalism and out, directly and by kindly example. We join with his very many friends in the wish:.- Long may his holiday be pleasant. 

Obituary - he came out to N.Z. in 1858
Born in 1847 in Beverley, East Yorkshire s/o Thomas & Caroline Hardcastle nee Hebb

Evening Post, 13 June 1927, Page 8
There died in Timaru last night Mr. John Hardcastle, one of New Zealand's veteran journalists. He was eighty years of age, but was well and active and the end came suddenly and unexpectedly. He came to New Zealand at the age of eleven with his father, the late Thomas Hardcastle, who acquired "Castlewood," a well-known property at Pleasant Valley, near Geraldine. Lacking modern opportunity for acquiring education easily Mr Hardcastle studied independently and assiduously and equipped himself with a rich store of knowledge, of which he made full use to the end of his days. After a varied life, part of which was spent as a schoolmaster in Geraldine; he joined the staff of the "Timaru Herald" in 1879, and with a brief break during which he was employed by a Napier paper, he served the "Timaru Herald for over forty years. He retired in September, 1922, when the proprietors and staff and the paper itself paid a unusually fine tribute to his work and character. As reporter he became intimately acquainted with the history of South Canterbury and later as editor of the "South Canterbury Times" - many years defunct - and sub-editor of the 'Herald' he helped maintain a high standard of journalism in the town. Notwithstanding the arduous work which a newspaper demanded - far more arduous than the newer generation of pressmen is apt to realise - Mr Hardcastle was able to do a vast amount of other work, and he was an active student of science and philosophy. He was an ardent geologist and made a close study of the geology of South Canterbury in particular. This work fully occupied the closing years of his life, and he offered a fine example of the value of congenial occupation in maintaining the the spirit of youth in an aged body, and the ability to maintain unimpaired a multitude of friendships among and old and young. The family consists of Mrs. Hardcastle, three sons and two daughter. The sons are Harry, John, and Alan, all journalists; and the daughters are Mrs A.H. Squire (Waitohi) and Mrs. T. P. Wooding, jun. (Rangitata). 

Auckland Star, 14 June 1927, Page 5
The death at Timaru on Sunday, of Mr. John Hardcastle, aged 80 years, removes one of the veteran Pressmen of New Zealand. He joined the staff of the Timaru "Herald" as a render and junior reporter in 1870, and retired in 1022. Mr. Hardcastle was born in Yorkshire, and came to New Zealand with his father, the late Mr. Thomas Hardcastle, one of the earliest settlers in the Geraldine district. Mr. John Hardcastle worked for some years on his father's farm, and then had a turn hunting for gold on the Otago and Westland fields. Later he qualified at Christchureh and Melbourne for the teaching profession. While at Temuka he assisted a friend with the Temuka "Lender," and eventually took charge of both the literary and business side of that journal, until he joined the staff of the Timaru "Herald." Five years later Mr. Hard| castle joined the staff of a newly started paper at Napier, hut as it only I lasted a few years he returned to the Timaru "Herald" in 1888. Mr. Hardcastle, prior to joining the Press, was at one time cradling for gold on the Molyneaux. Later he was for a short while running a threshing mill in North Canterbury. After he had started school teaching, he spent six months in Melbourne studying, and another six in a Victorian forest living in a hut ant earning his living at bushwhacking. Apart from his journalistic work, Mr. Hardcastle devoted much time to scientific studies, being particularly interested in the geology of South Canterbury. He was blessed with physical and mental vigour until his death, which occurred suddenly. He is survived by Mrs. Hardcastle, three sons (who are journalists) and two daughters.

Evening Post, 10 July 1935, Page 18 MR. E. HARDCASTLE
Mr. E. Hardcastle, a veteran journalist and an authority on agricultural science, died at his home at Cashmere, Christchurch, yesterday morning, in his 75th year. Born at Longbeach, he was the fifth son of Mr. Thomas Hardcastle, of Castlewood, Pleasant Valley, one of the pioneer farmers of South Canterbury. Early in his career he showed a literary bent, leading to an appointment to the reporting staff of the Christchurch "Press" about 1882. His agricultural upbringing gave him a flair for sheep husbandry and pastoral science, and he was made agricultural editor of the "Weekly Press," and established arid carried on its farming features. His judgment on all questions affecting stock was sound and much valued, and it was he who established the system of recording transactions at the Addington market which has been a notable feature of the Christchurch daily papers. He was a frequent contributor to agricultural journals overseas, and was at one time New Zealand correspondent of the "Pastoral Review," the well known Australian authority on stock. On his retirement from the "Weekly Press" in 1919, Mr. Hardcastle took up a small farm at Geraldine and entered the public life of the district, serving terms as Mayor of the borough and as a member of the South Canterbury Hospital Board. With advancing years he decided to dispose of his property, and returned to journalism in Christchurch as agricultural editor of the "Lyttelton Times," a position which he relinquished three years ago. Mr. Hardcastle was at one time a keen deerstalker, making frequent expeditions to the Dingle country of Otago, and was recognised as an authority on New Zealand's sporting resources in that respect. He is survived by his widow, who was formerly Miss Barbara Boswell, of Geraldine.

John Hardcastle m. Rose Mundy in NZ on 27 October 1882
1. Henry Hardcastle b: 6 July 1883 in Timaru
2. Hester Cecilia Hardcastle b: abt. 1885 in Napier [Albert Henry Squire b. 29 June 1887 Upper Washdyke m. Daisy Hardcastle in 16 Aug.1920 at St. Mary's Timaru. His parents were Henry and Martha Rebecca Squire nee Ford. Albert died June 1971. Daisy was cremated 8 Jan. 1973, Timaru]
3. Catherine Hardcastle b: abt. 1887, d. at the age of three months
4. John Marryatt Hardcastle b: 5 Feb. 1889 in Timaru m. Alice Helena BURNETT b: abt. 1889 in Invercargill. John was editor for the NZ Herald.
5. Alan Arthur Hardcastle b: abt. 1892 in Timaru d. 26 Sept. 1978, buried Karori. m. Sophia Josephine Maud FINDLAY b: abt 1900
6. Dorothy Clare Hardcastle b: abt. 1896 in NZ m. Thomas Percival Wooding in 1925

Otago Daily Times 2 December 1912, Page 4
HARDCASTLE - BURNETT - On November 12, 1912, at St. Mary's Church, Mornington, by the Ven. Archdeacon Neild, John Marryatt, second son of John Hardcastle, Timaru, to Alice Helena (Lal), younger daughter of George Burnett, Dunedin.

John Hardcastle was born in Sep. 1846 in Beverley, East Yorkshire, ENG. He was buried at the Timaru Cemetery on Wednesday 15 June 1927 with the Rev. Hughes officiating. His wife Rose Keturah Hardcastle nee Mundy c: 30 Sep. 1824 in Leven, East Yorkshire, ENG died 16th April 1952 aged 89 years. On their headstone is written -  He sought truth for it's own sake.

Sunrise from Moore St. Timaru 25th Nov. 2011

The Canterbury Coast

Bradshaw, Margaret A. Beneath our feet: the geology of Canterbury. Christchurch: Canterbury Museum, 1985.