The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]
Rolleston is named after the late Hon. William Rolleston, the last Superintendent of Canterbury. It was originally part of Messrs Fitzgerald and Cox's sheep run, and was cut up for settlement in the early sixties. Among the first colonists at Rolleston were Messrs Levi Lowe, senior, Henry Trott, John McIlroy, Robert McIlroy, John Kelly, John Crowe, Michael Lysaght, W. P. H. Benny, R. Golloway, and Isaac Walker. Rolleston is situated on the main south railway line, fourteen miles south-west from Christchurch, and is the junction of the Springfield and Whitecliffs branch lines. The main south road, over which there is considerable traffic, runs through the district. There is a hotel opposite the railway station, a public school, and a blacksmith's shop; public saleyards and homesteads are scattered over the plains. All the land, which is of a somewhat light nature, has been put under crop, and returns an average yield of between thirty and forty bushels of oats to the acre, and from twenty to thirty bushels of wheat. Large clumps and plantations of trees have done much to modify the violence of the nor'-west gales, which were formerly very destructive. Rolleston is partly in the Courtenay road board district, and partly in the Springs road board district.
The Rolleston Public School was erected in June, 1893, and is a substantial wooden building, well-lighted and lofty. It stands in a spacious playground, in one corner of which is the schoolmaster's residence. There are forty-six scholars on the roll. The school committee consists of Messrs John Ellis (chairman), N. Newton, W. Payne, J. W. Halliday, J. Kelly, T. Harris, and D. Marshall.
Mr. Bernard O'Shaughnessy, Headmaster of the Rolleston school, is a son of an old resident of Springfield. He served as a pupil-teacher at the Kowai Pass school, and was afterwards at the Normal School, Christchurch, for two years. After acting as relieving master for some time, he was appointed master of the Rolleston school, at its opening. Mr. O'Shaughnessy holds a D certificate.