Leefield Station Shearers' Quarters
1219 Waihopai Valley Road, Waihopai Valley, Blenheim
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 2
Private/No Public Access
25th November 1982
Extent of List Entry
Extent includes part of the land described as Lot 1 DP 409463 (CT 434625), Marlborough Land District and the building known as Leefield Station Shearers’ Quarters thereon. Refer to the extent map tabled at the Rārangi Kōrero Committee meeting on 6 September 2017.
Lot 1 DP 409463 (CT 434625), Marlborough Land District
The property known as Leefield, in the Waihopai Valley, is of historic significance as a very early settler run dating from the 1840s. The run was taken up by the Hon Constantine Dillon, one of the earliest European settlers in the Waimea district of Nelson and later appointed Civil and Military Secretary to Governor Sir George Grey and Commissioner of Crown Lands and Land Claims in Nelson.
Dillon arrived in Nelson with his wife on the George Fyfe in December 1842 and within four days had moved out to his section 68 at Waimea West. By 1848 surveyors had completed survey of formal settlement of the Wairau and the New Zealand Company settlers were invited to select the rural areas which they desired. The selection took place in Nelson at the end of March 1848 and sheep owners drove their flocks to Wairau. Originally the Leefield run comprised 20,240 hectares (50,000 acres), being bounded on the north by the Wairau River, the west by the Waihopai River, the east by the Omaka River and the snow-clad mountains, Horrible and Ferny Gair, to the south.
The Station Stables and Looseboxes are of a simple, timber construction with the Stables having a hayloft, fed by an external first floor door. The Shearers’ Quarters is a single storey building, constructed in stone. A timber addition has been added to the western end of this building.
It is not clear when it was first named Leefield, but it had become known as such by the 1860s. From the mid-1840s the run was stocked with Australian merinos. In 1851 Dillon granted himself a depasturing license for cattle for his run ‘no 1, Waihopai and Omaka’.
Many of the early settlers in the Wairau and Awatere, including Dillon himself, were absentee pastoralists who placed managers and shepherds in charge of their runs and only paid visits a few times a year. Dillon and his family based themselves in Nelson and Nelson’s Waimea Basin, and although he would have visited his run, it is likely that he never actually lived at the station himself. Eventually Constantine’s son Phillip Gerald Dillon took over the ownership of the property, though like his father, Phillip Dillon at least initially was not directly involved in the running of the property. He did not actually appear at Leefield until the 1870s. After Phillip’s death in 1890, R Corbett became the manager and built up a merino stud of about 14,000 head of sheep. The management eventually passed to Phillip’s son, Frank. Following Frank Dillon’s death in 1938, the land was subdivided into three for Dillon’s three sons. Patrick (Pat) Dillon retained the homestead block. Patrick’s son Paddy and his family took over the farm in the late 1960s. In 1989 Paddy Dillon and his family sold Leefield, following subdivision the land containing the, Stables, Shearers’ Quarters and Loose Boxes was taken up by Leefield Vineyards.
16th June 2017
Report Written By
Robyn Burgess and Blyss Wagstaff
Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.
A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Central Region Office of Heritage New Zealand.