John and Charles Enys: Castle Hill Runholders 1864-1891

Author(s): Abrahamson, Jenny

NZ History

John and Charles Enys: Castle Hill Runholders (1864-1891) records the story of two Cornish brothers who ran the Castle Hill sheep run for more than 25 years in the late 19th century. Extracts from letters by both brothers and paintings by Charles that they sent to their family at Enys in Cornwell give a fascinating insight into a lost way of life. This book records the story of these neglected pioneers who painted and wrote about their adventures. The paintings by Charles Enys now mainly in the National Library of Australia are matched by photographs taken John O'Malley of today's Castle Hill. Historic photographs complement the paintings (some of which Charles painted using photographs). Other John O'Malley photographs feature the stunning scenery of Castle Hill. Pioneer sheep farmers, John and Charles Enys, enjoyed an adventurous life. While at times busy mustering and shearing they also hunted, fished, rode, went boating. As well they explored the hills and valleys collecting interesting specimens of rocks, fossils, moa bones, plants and insects. This book tells of the importance of John Enys in the early Canterbury settlement. He served on many committees, including the Selwyn County Council and the Canterbury Provincial Council. He shared an interest in nature with Julius von Haast, and was involved in founding of Canterbury Museum and the public library. He was a great collector of species and wrote academic papers about them. Charles sketched images of the views around their home and neighbouring homesteads, such as Craigieburn, Grasmere, Cora Lynn and Mt White. His paintings included landscape features such as waterfalls, mountains, rivers, lakes and the limestone rocks characteristic of Castle Hill. Unpublished letters from Enys and Porter family members add to the story.


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Jenny Abrahamson worked at the University of Canterbury library for over 20 years. After graduating from the University of Canterbury, she worked as a scientist at the DSIR for 7 years, before spending time at home raising 3 children. This is her first book. Jenny Abrahamson has been visiting Castle Hill basin all her life, staying at Enys, a typical home-built New Zealand bach on the original site of the Enys brothers' Trelissick home. John O'Malley (FNZIPP) has been a professional photographer for the last seven years. He was one of the photographers for On a Saturday Night: Community Halls of Small town New Zealand (CUP). His main awards are The Kodak International Salon/George Eastman Medal in 1993 (he is the only New Zealander to have won this award) and various NZIPP Iris Awards in all categories. He has a holiday home at Castle Hill.

General Fields

  • : 9781927167311
  • : Wily Publications
  • : Wily Publications
  • : 0.15
  • : 250mm X 250mm
  • : New Zealand
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Abrahamson, Jenny
  • : Paperback
  • : 240
  • : 200 colour paintings and photo9graphs