I just received this from a friend on the early days of my town, Waipara. Fascinating.
The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]
Waipara is in the Waipara road district and in the Kowai riding of the Ashley county. The township is on the banks of the Waipara river, close to the railway traffic bridge. There is a post office at the flag railway station, mails are received and despatched daily, and there is telephonic connection with Amberley. The railway station is forty-one miles from Christchurch, and stands 231 feet above the level of the sea. Glenmark homesteud is not far away from the settlement. There is a hotel at Waipara, and coaches ply daily between the township and Cheviot. At the census of 1901 the population of the township was eighteen, at Upper Waipara twenty-five, at Waipara Downs also twenty-five, and the railway co-operative workmen numbered 163. These men were, at the date of the census, engaged on the construction of the Waipara-Cheviot branch railway, and were, in the majority of cases, living in tents.
The Waipara Post Office is conducted at the railway station. It is a building of the usual type, and is used as a residence for the postmistress, as well as for the purposes of the department. The postmistress is also in charge of the goods shed Waipara is connected by telephone with Amberley, and mails are received and despatched daily. Mrs Georgina May, postmistress at Waipara, has been in charge since 1895.
Waipara-Cheviot Railway Line. This line was begun in 1900, and has been pushed ahead by a large party of co-operative workmen. In July, 1902, about twelve miles of the formation and rails had been laid down, ballasting having been completed for ten miles; and the line was opened for traffic as far as Scargill—about fifteen miles—on the 16th of December, 1902.
Mr. John Alexander Wilson, Resident Engineer, under the Public Works Department, at Waipara, took charge of the work in 1902. He is referred to at page 150 of the Wellington volume of this Cyclopedia. Since the publication of that volume Mr. Wilson has been for three years on the Midland railway, and was for fourteen months on the North Island trunk line, before being transferred to Waipara.
Waipara Hotel (William James Alpe, proprietor). This hotel, which was established in 1883, stands at the junction of the north and Cheviot roads, and clone to the railway station. A coach leaves the hotel every day for Cheviot, and one also arrives daily from the same place. The house contains eighteen rooms, including ten bedrooms, a comfortable dining room, and suitable sitting rooms, etc. The stables and paddocks attached to the hotel are very convenient to travellers and drivers of stock.
Mr. William James Alpe, the Proprietor, was born in Auckland, in 1864. When he was ten years of age he removed with his people to Christchurch, where, after leaving school, he learned the business of a hairdresser, tobacconist, and fishing-tackle dealer. For three years and a half he had a business in High Street, and afterwards in Colombo Street North, for five years, and then for six years next the Empire Hotel, in High Street. Christchurch. In 1900, Mr. Alpe purchased the Waipara Hotel from his predecessor, Mr. A Francis. The hotel is situated on the banks of the Waipara river, and is forty-one miles distant from Christchurch by rail, and thirty-seven miles by road.
Francis, A., Coach Proprietor and Farmer, Waipara. Mr. Francis was born in Cornwall, England, in 1856, educated at the local school, and brought up on his father's farm. He came to New Zealand in 1877, in the ship “Northern Monarch,” and after farming in the Timaru district for three years, entered the service of the Hon. E. Grey, and subsequently that of Mr. Moore, of “Glenmark,” with whom he remained for seven years. In 1892 he purchased the Waipara Hotel, but sold it in 1900 to the present proprietor, Mr. W. J. Alpe. Mr. Francis's coach runs regularly between Waipara and Cheviot, leaving Waipara on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and Cheviot on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Mr. Francis was married, in 1885, to Miss Barrow, and has two sons and three daughters.