High Street Quaking


A History of Denedin's Inner Circle


  • F. R. J. Sinclair (author)


University of Otago



Publication Date

March 1996


Smith, James Chapman (36,000 sheep, Otago Gazette, 1870)

Smith was born at Carnoustie, Forfarshire in 1827. He was educated at a parish school and entered the bakery trade. His family emigrated to Nelson in 1842, where he remained for six years before going to Otago. In Otago, he formed a partnership with James Allan. They began a small bakery and trading operation and later went farming on the Taieri and Tokomairiro plains, having bought 500 sheep from John Jones.1

Smith prospered during the 1860s and was able to buy the Greenfield estate, much of which he eventually made freehold. He owed the Bank of Otago £10,000 in 1869.2 In 1875, a newspaper article mentioned that Greenfield consisted of 21,000 acres leasehold and 15,000 acres of freehold, stocked by 40,000 sheep. An area of 6,000 acres was cultivated. Some forty horses worked on the station and between fifty and eighty men were permanently employed. They consumed 200 sheep per month. The homestead was said to have the appearance of a small village.3

Smith was described by James Adam as a man who had never forgotten that he was once a Dundee apprentice.4 As an employer of labour he was reputedly exemplary and considerate.5 He died on 18 November 1903 and his Probate File (4460, Dunedin High Court) suggests that his estate realised £137,136.

Source Notes


G. Sholefield (ed.), A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, Vol. 2, p.311.


Bank of Otago, Miscellaneous Deeds, National Bank Archives.


Southern Mercury, 7 May 1875.


J. Adam, Twenty-five Years of Emigrant Life in the South of New Zealand, Edinburgh, 11876, p.91.


G. Sholefield (ed.), A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, Vol. 2, p.311.