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Station Life in New Zealand

Lady Barker

Book Overview: 

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.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I most anxiously watched the newspapers to see if they contained any notice of the sort, but as there has been no mention of any catastrophe, I suppose she has escaped safely. Her horse must have been quieter and better broken than they generally are. F—— says that probably it was a very old "station screw." I trust so, for her sake!

Letter VII: A young colonist.—the town and its neighbourhood.

Christchurch, March 1866. I must begin my letter this mail with a piece of domestic news, and tell you of the appearance of your small nephew, now three weeks old. The youth seems inclined to adapt himself to circumstances, and to be as sturdy and independent as colonial children generally are. All my new friends and neighbours proved most kind and friendly, and were full of good offices. Once I happened to say that I did not like the food as it was cooked at the boarding-house; and the next day, and for many days after, a. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Lady Barker provides a glimpse into 19th century colonial life in Canterbury, New Zealand. Her numerous excursions, adventures, and encounters with New Zealand's treacherous weather and wildlife are well covered which makes for an engaging read. I enjoyed how at some points Lady Barker is an extreme

This book is a very well-known New Zealand classic, originally published in 1870. Lady Barker came from England with her husband to manage a sheep station in Canterbury for three years. The account is written in the form of letters back to her sister in England. Lady Barker is a fascinating woman an

I like this. Yes, it's old writing and there are for sure places where it is problematic...in descriptions of the Maori people and in the environmental degradation, ugh. So it's old. But it's super interesting, love her descriptions of the outdoors and outdoor adventures.
I found the scene where her

I really enjoyed this book. It is a refreshing diary of an English woman who comes to NZ in the 1860s with her new husband who has already spent some years in the new “colony”. She comes with a sense of adventure and a can-do attitude which means that although she has a couple of servants, she fight

Station Life in New Zealand is a collection of letters the Lady Barker wrote to London detailing her life on a Canterbury sheep station in the 1860s, although presumably there was some editing in between as some letters seem to foreshadow the future ones.

The style is pleasant and engaging. The autho

This was a good, easy book written in an engaging style. The narrative is composed of letters sent by Lady Barker as she travelled to New Zealand and took up life with her husband on a station in Canterbury. It was nice to get a woman's perspective, as so much of what I read from early settler times

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