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Fitzgerald's Town

25. The two possible

25. The two possible routes for the proposed Rolleston Southbridge line. Drawn by Wayne Kay, based on NZTopo50-BX23 76

However, there was increasing pressure to build the line through the Lincoln and Prebbleton districts from Racecourse Station, later known as Hornby Station. This preference was endorsed by a public meeting in Prebbleton 12 at which it was emphasised that most farmers in the area were willing to give land or to sell cheaply in order to further the proposal. It was argued that the line would then pass through some of the most fertile land in the area and thus eliminate carriage through the less productive land between Springston and Rolleston. In June, a committee including such well known men as A.C. Knight MPC, J.N. Tosswill, A.P. O’Callaghan, James Gammack, and W.H. Peryman, met with W. Pember Reeves, the resident minister, to discuss the proposed diversion 13 . The land through which the line would pass produced thousands of bushels of wheat, barley and oats, had a rateable value of about 23,000 pounds involving 472 holdings, and was home to an estimated population of 2,000. The cost would not be excessive for if the line passed north of Lincoln there would be no need for a bridge, and the largest culvert would be no more than 2 ft. long. If the line passed south of Lincoln the L1 river would need to be bridged, but it could be straightened and channels cut through two lagoons for about 1,000 pounds. The minister thought that the matter was one of cost and so for favourable consideration the landowners would need to meet the government “in a liberal spirit”. A week later Reeves, accompanied by Messrs Selby Tancred, J.N. Tosswill, and J.S. Bruce, Springs Road District Surveyor, visited Lincoln to examine the proposed route 14 . It was obvious that there were no engineering difficulties and Reeves was delighted with the fertile country through which they passed, a startling contrast to the arid Rolleston plains. The party visited Moffat’s mill at Lincoln and was surprised by its size and the business done. Of the two possible routes it was thought that the southern one would be chosen to pass through Tod’s farm and past the mill and so meet the interests of settlers living east of Lincoln at Tai Tapu and at Little River. Surveys would begin immediately! Finally, in September 1872, the central government introduced a bill to alter the Southbridge line so that it would run from Racecourse through Prebbleton and Lincoln rather than from Rolleston. In March 1873 15 the matter was formalised by Government Proclamation, and authority to build a branch line from Rolleston to Southbridge was revoked in favour of a branch line from at, or near, the Racecourse Station. The first schedule of the proclamation noted that the line was to pass through the Templeton, Spreydon, Lincoln, Springs and Ellesmere Road Districts, and would 77

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