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Nelson Historical Society Journal, Volume 1, Issue 5, December 1961

The Company's Ditch

The Company's Ditch

It is recorded that Poorman's Valley Stream did not always pursue its present course. Its original course lay across (what was, in 1949) the Cawthron Institute land, past the old sawmill, then across Songer Street and the Ranui Subdivision, crossing the Main Road in the vicinity of Ryrie's Store. It then wound across Strawbridge's land, across the old racecourse, down Songer Street, through Wearing's and Chisnall's, and finally emptied itself into the main estuary on the south side of what is now known as Monaco.

It appears that the New Zealand Company brought men out to New Zealand to work on certain schemes, but owing to a depression these failed to eventuate, and in desperation the men were put to work on straightening the stream, and they dug what was known as the Company's ditch. This ditch was originally so narrow that it could easily be stepped across, and it is merely the passing of the years that has resulted in the stream bed as we know it today. As a result of these straightening operations the stream was caused to empty itself into the second estuary, as it still does, that is, on the northern side of Monaco.