Giles Family
North Canterbury, New Zealand

Traction Engines and Threshing Mills

The Water Joey, Mona Anderson - Chapter 14, Over The Waimakariri

With the introduction of the double-furrow handled plough in 1868, with reapers and binders, the grain drill, and the traction engines, the expansion of wheat farming went ahead.

An early contractor was Launcelot Giles. He arrived in Lyttelton by the ship 'Oriental' in 1856 and spent a few months in Christchurch before going over the Waimakariri and buying land at Clarkville. He was experienced with threshing machinery and early imported a plant to New Zealand. Later he bought out more modern machines and worked them for a long period.

As time went by more and more wheat was being produced on the land over the Waimakariri. Eventually, names such as Robert Reid, Holland & Giles, Richard Bowman and Ernie Bowman became well known with the threshing-mills

One of Launcelot Giles sons, Edward, who was born at Clarkville in 1857, also became a traction engine proprietor in that district. At the age of seven he began to learn to drive bullocks and four years later, while driving a bullock waggon, he had an accident and lost one of his legs.

By the time he was thirteen he had gained experience with his father's threshing machines and when he was twenty-two he bought 33 acres of freehold land at Clarkville and started a threshing machine and traction engine outfit. Not withstanding his disability of one leg, he succeeded in working his plant and threshed in various parts of the district.

Robert James Reid's Marshall engine and mill. Robert standing on the engine (c1900)

Robert James (Bob) Reid's McLaren engine and mill.

Robert James (Bob) Reid's McLaren engine, mill, whare (sleeping quarters), cook house and water joey. Robert leaning on the engine.

Note: Robert James (Bob) Reid son of Robert James Reid