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Fitzgerald's Town

the Lincoln Flour mill,

the Lincoln Flour mill, dearly beloved husband of Agnes Maber, aged 57 years (suddenly). His death certificate records the coroner’s verdict as death by heart failure and his headstone can be found in the Lincoln cemetery where he and his wife are buried. Another version 28 has it that a Mr Woods who was installing new machinery at the mill went for a walk one night and did not return. Although it was thought that he may have fallen into the mill pond and drowned, his body was not recovered. A search of press accounts, electoral rolls, and of coroners’ reports and inquests has failed to confirm the truth, or otherwise, of this story, and for the present it is best regarded as “not proven”. The mill operated for another twelve years, but despite the installation of new machinery could not compete with electrically powered mills and finally closed in 1920 when some of the equipment was transferred by Thomas Hewton, the last manager of the mill, to his garage on Gerald St, and now Challenge! Lincoln. The mill, the mill house, and the dam have long since disappeared, although some timbering related to the mill is still visible behind the Ryelands subdivision. Much of Mr. Moffat’s land is now developed for housing and the Selwyn District Council purchased the Lincoln Country Club buildings erected on part of it when changing social habits forced the club to close its building. Like most of his contemporaries Mr. Moffat played his part in the village and surrounding district although business interests took much of his time. He was responsible for draining a large area of swampland east of the mill, and supported the drive to have the Southbridge railway line run from Hornby through Prebbleton, Lincoln and Springston, rather than from Rolleston as was originally planned. To this end he opened his mill to an official party investigating the merits of the new route to demonstrate just how important wheat was to the district. He supported Mr. Arklie’s application for a wine and beer licence, at one time was auditor for the school committee, supported the local library, and for a short period was People’s Warden for the Anglican parish before St Stephen’s was built. Although the Southern Provinces Almanac records a shoemaker and a butcher among the tradesmen at the end of the first decade we have little or no information about either. In 1869 the butcher, Joseph Haydon, was granted a licence to operate a slaughterhouse near the corner of the Lincoln - Tai Tapu Road and Ellesmere Road by the Provincial Government, but nothing else is known of this. Of the 19 th century butchers we know most about John Muir, an Australian, who 30

worked from his cottage in Market Square. In 1882 John Muir bought the cottage for 375 pounds from William Arthur Murray, then clerk and surveyor of Springs Road Board, who had purchased the section in 1875 for 20 pounds and built his cottage on it. Mr. Muir not only lived in the cottage with his wife and large family (six of his nine children were born there), but he also converted one of the two front rooms into a butcher’s shop. He removed the window, enlarged the gap and constructed a counter from which he sold his meat to the locals who had to avoid the carcases hanging from the veranda. He apparently slaughtered his animals at yards near the junction of Ellesmere Road and the Lincoln - Tai Tapu Road which may have been those built by Mr. Haydon thirteen years earlier, and those indicated on the map in Penney’s book “Lake Ellesmere to Te Pirita”. Mrs. Muir worked hard in her small home without any of the facilities we enjoy today. Her early death has sometimes been attributed to the shock of a major earthquake which shook Canterbury in 1888. 10. John Muir the Lincoln butcher, outside his shop, now preserved and relocated as Liffey Cottage 31

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