Cashmere Drains Historic Area

Cashmere, Christchurch

  • Cashmere Drains Historic Area. Plan of Historic Area from registration report..
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Date: 15/09/2000.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Area Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7482 Date Entered 15th September 2000


Extent of List Entry

The area comprises Cashmere Stream, Cashmere Valley Drain and Ballintine's Drain representing the Cashmere Drainage System.

City/District Council

Christchurch City


Canterbury Region

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. This report includes text from the original Historic Place Assessment Under Section 23 Criteria considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.


The Cashmere Stream and the Cashmere Valley and Ballintine's drains flowing into it were part of a system devised by Sir John Cracroft Wilson to drain his Cashmere Estate at the foot of Christchurch's Worsley's Road Spur in the early 1860s.

Cracroft Wilson purchased the estate, including a large area of swamp, soon after he arrived in Christchurch in 1854. After another stint in the Indian Civil Service he returned to Christchurch in 1859 intent on draining the swamp for pastoral use. Almost immediately he set to work canalising and straightening the Cashmere Stream as the main drainage channel. He also organised the digging of ditches emptying into the stream. Two of these, the Cashmere Valley drain and Ballintine's drain, are of particular interest because they are partially lined with dressed stone.

Cracroft Wilson's friend Alfred Cox stated in his biography that: "The system adopted was not the usual mode of treating swamps and not the most economical. Cracroft Wilson was not content to drain them and allow years to pass before fitting them to the plough, he did everything at once and by himself."

In his book The Port Hills of Christchurch, Gordon Ogilvie writes: "At considerable cost and effort he drained the swamp in and adjoining Cashmere Valley and dug the Cashmere Stream doing much of the work with his own hands."

Cracroft Wilson's papers reveal that he and his two neighbours Charles Bowen and H F Cridland offered to pay 50 pounds each for a drain approximately 4 metres wide and 35m at the bottom "from Wilson's promontory through the Cashmere Swamp to the road running south and north and bordering Mr Bowen's sections 1085 and 1105." This is the main section of the Cashmere Stream running from Sutherlands Road to the confluence with the Heathcote River. The three men also petitioned the Provincial Government to give them a grant for the work.

A receipt dated 17 August 1863 reveals that Cracroft Wilson paid a total of 83 pounds 10 shillings to John Mally (sic) for digging 27 chains of the Cashmere River and 5 chains in the high ridge - presumably part of the stream which curves around the foot of Worsley's Spur. Another contract with the three Mumford brothers in 1864 to dig a ditch on Mr Chapman's land probably refers to the Ballintine's Drain.

No specific record can be found of the dressed stone lining parts of the Cashmere Valley and Ballintine's Drains. However, since the drains were dug on privately-owned land, it is very likely they were lined at the time of construction.


Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. This report includes text from the original Historic Place Assessment Under Section 23 Criteria considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

The boundaries of the Historic Area are:

- Ballintine's Drain from Sparks Road to junction with Cashmere Stream (south of

Brookford Street);

- The Cashmere Stream and banks from this junction of Ballintine's Drain to Worsley's


- The Cashmere Valley Drain from its junction with the Cashmere Stream to a point 20

metres south east from the corner of Worsley's Road and Farm Drive.

Specific features are:

I. Stone-lined sections of the Cashmere Valley and Ballintine's Drain

2. Timber-lined sections of the northern part of Ballintine's Drain.

Construction Dates

Other Information

A copy of the original report is available from the NZHPT Southern region office

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.

Historic Area Place Name

Ballintine's Drain
Cashmere Stream
Cashmere Valley Drain