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Journal of the Nelson and Marlborough Historical Societies, Volume 1, Issue 3, November 1983

Langley Dale Run No. 10 (1854)

Langley Dale Run No. 10 (1854).

This run was applied for by William Adams about 1853 and lay on the north side of the Wairau River, stretched along the river bank for 10 or 11 miles, from opposite the confluence of the Wairau and Waihopai Rivers to about the mouth of Bartletts Creek. It was said to be about 15,000 acres in extent. Most of the land was covered in heavy bush fern and scrub, while the long narrow flat near the river was largely swamp occupied by numerous wild cattle and pigs. It was named after his wife whose maiden name was Langley.

William and Martha Adams had been living at Redwood, a sheep run in the Avon Valley since 1852 and were able to build a two storey house at Langley Dale before leasing their Redwood Run to Charles Elliot in 1857 and moving to Langley Dale in September of that year.

When Marlborough became a separate province in 1859 William Adams became the first Superintendent. The capital was Picton at the time and he moved there leaving the men to run Langley Dale. After a few years he and Martha moved to Nelson where he resumed legal practice, the firm being known as Adams and Kingdon. In 1869 their third son, William, left college and came to Langley Dale to learn the running of the station and later to take over the management.

William and Martha returned to live at Langley Dale in 1872 and he died there in 1884 and was buried on the "rock" near the homestead, Martha was buried beside him when she died in 1906.

Meanwhile, William the younger was doing a very good job improving Langley Dale, clearing and developing the run, draining swamps and planting trees. By 1903 the run was carrying 7,000 sheep and 400 cattle, while a water wheel drove an electric generator and a flax mill. Until 1912 all goods to and from the station had to be carted over the Wairau ford. In 1899 a portable steam engine with thresher and chaffcutter was purchased and used until about 1925. By then the original ash had gone off the hills and when William died his son, Archibald Miles William Adams, who inherited most of Langley Dale, had to re-sow the hills with more suitable grasses. He had a difficult time keeping the run going as he also spent a lot of time on local body and community affairs.

Langley Dale was later divided into three blocks for his sons: Alistair Hamilton William Adams took over the block known as Rock Ferry, Douglas Murray William was at Langley Dale and Rae Dundas William the block to the west known as Coatbridge.