Station Life in New Zealand


Read by Gail Timmerman Vaughan

(4.2 stars; 26 reviews)

Station Life in New Zealand is a collection of cheerful and interesting letters written by Lady Mary Anne Barker (nee Mary Anne Stewart) that is a New Zealand "classic". These letters are described in the Preface as "the exact account of a lady's experience of the brighter and less practical side of colonisation". The letters were written between 1865 and 1868 and cover the time of her travel with her husband (Frederick Broomie) to New Zealand and life on a colonial sheep-station at their homestead "Broomielaw", located in the Province of Canterbury, South Island of New Zealand. Although these letters are written with great humour and fine story telling, her life was marred by tragedy while in Canterbury through the illness and eventual death of her baby son.

The first four ships of settlers that colonised the Canterbury region had only arrived in 1850. Consequently, little was known about, for example, the irregular Canterbury weather patterns that would dominate the lives of Lady Barker and her husband for those three short years. She describes the regular predations of the Canterbury nor'wester (a type of Fohn wind), including its role in completely blowing away her attempts at establishing a croquet lawn, the devastating effects of snow storm that killed over half of their sheep, and of a great flood that not only flooded Christchurch but demolished her poultry and nearly drowned her husband.

Lady Mary Anne Barker was a strong horse woman and very keen for all sorts of "adventures". She describes instigating a bitterly cold late autumn overnight camping trip to the top of their nearest hill, Flagpole, followed the next morning by a serene sunrise over the Canterbury plains. In other letters, she describes her pride and enjoyment at joining and keeping up with nine men, who doubted her abilities, for long hours of walking in untracked, untamed bush with the aim of hunting wild cattle; and her joy at setting ablaze the tussock grasslands on their sheep station in spite of the risk to her eyelashes. As one of the few women in her part of Canterbury at the time, she also helped provide the neighbourhood with books to read, and baptism and schools for children. Lady Mary Anne Barker and her husband returned to England at the end of 1868. (Summary by Gail Timmerman-Vaughan) (5 hr 45 min)

Chapters

Preface and Letter I: Two months at sea--Melbourne 15:59 Read by Gail Timmerman Vaughan
Letter II: Sight-seeing in Melbourne 7:38 Read by Gail Timmerman Vaughan
Letter III: On to New Zealand 12:25 Read by Gail Timmerman Vaughan
Letter IV: First introduction to "Station life" 11:31 Read by Gail Timmerman Vaughan
Letter V: A pastoral letter 7:59 Read by Gail Timmerman Vaughan
Letter VI: Society.--houses and servants 15:16 Read by Gail Timmerman Vaughan
Letter VII: A young colonist.--the town and its neighbourhood 7:07 Read by Gail Timmerman Vaughan
Letter VIII: Pleasant days at Ilam 7:00 Read by Gail Timmerman Vaughan
Letter IX: Death in our new home--New Zealand children. 7:13 Read by Gail Timmerman Vaughan
Letter X: Our station home. 10:34 Read by Gail Timmerman Vaughan
Letter XI: Housekeeping, and other matters. 10:24 Read by Gail Timmerman Vaughan
Letter XII: My first expedition. 9:20 Read by Gail Timmerman Vaughan
Letter XIII: Bachelor hospitality.--a gale on shore. 13:06 Read by Gail Timmerman Vaughan
Letter XIV: A Christmas picnic, and other doings. 23:03 Read by Gail Timmerman Vaughan
Letter XV: Everyday station life. 14:08 Read by Gail Timmerman Vaughan
Letter XVI: A sailing excursion on Lake Coleridge 14:41 Read by Gail Timmerman Vaughan
Letter XVII: My first and last experience of "camping out." 20:35 Read by Gail Timmerman Vaughan
Letter XVIII: A journey "down south." 16:35 Read by Gail Timmerman Vaughan
Letter XIX: A Christening gathering.--the fate of Dick. 12:28 Read by Gail Timmerman Vaughan
Letter XX: the New Zealand snowstorm of 1867. 28:17 Read by Gail Timmerman Vaughan
Letter XXI: Wild cattle hunting in the Kowai Bush. 29:29 Read by Gail Timmerman Vaughan
Letter XXII: The exceeding joy of "burning." 20:27 Read by Gail Timmerman Vaughan
Letter XXIII: Concerning a great flood. 20:57 Read by Gail Timmerman Vaughan
Letter XXIV: My only fall from horseback. 9:08 Read by Gail Timmerman Vaughan
Letter XXV: How We lost our horses and had to walk home. 16:14 Read by Gail Timmerman Vaughan

Reviews

fantastic reader


(5 stars)

This is an interesting collection of letters, especially so if you like New Zealand, Australia and plucky women. These letters sound more like beautifully crafted short stories. The reader (Canadian?) must live in NZ because she has the pronunciation of the Maori place names down perfectly. Very engaging overall and I was sorry to reach the end.

if you want to feel like a wimp


(5 stars)

Listen to this book. The author experiences a horrible outbound voyage, the loss of her infant son, near starvation, etc with calmness and even good humor. At one point she breaks her shoulder after being thrown from a horse, gamely rides miles back to her home where, no doctor being within 60 miles, she consults her medical books and sets it herself! The reader is excellent

Station Life


(5 stars)

Listened to letters as I rode the bus through the south island. I saw the same terrain. Reader is superb, the author takes you back in time to the first settlers. Enjoyed tremendously.

Rugged living


(4 stars)

Really enjoyed this adventure story and seeing how life was down under in the mid.1800's. Well read by Gail Timmerman Vaughan. Thank you enjoy!


(5 stars)

I so thoroughly enjoyed this book, and what a wonderful reader! The characters were alive to me!

Unexpected Gem


(4 stars)

Well read and fascinating account of 19th century New Zealand. An unexpected gem!

author has true appreciation for nature's splendor


(4.5 stars)