Dumgee

Current Owners: Chris & Philippa Gorman

Area (ha): 892

Dumgree is a freehold property that has been owned, since May 1977, by Chris and Philippa Gorman, previously of Canterbury. The Gormans bought Dumgree at auction from the Estate Duncan Campbell (grand nephew of Dr Thomas Renwick, the original owner). Mr Campbell, a Scottish engineer, came to NZ from Egypt in 1946 and took over the holding - previously it had been run as an estate from the time of Mrs Thomas Renwick's death in 1939.

The property had been 957ha until in the late 1980s 65ha was sold into what are now two lifestyle blocks.

In 2004 a 360,000 cu meter dam was built in Stafford Creek in a joint venture with Redwood Hill. The aim was to follow the trend and establish vineyards. The first 10 ha block of Sauvignon Blanc was planted that year. The following year three more blocks (30 ha) were planted. In 2006 as further 35 ha was established, of which 5 ha is in Pinot Noir, bring the total vineyard area to 75ha.

In 2008 Richard Gorman took over the farming of the property. The emphasis has changed to a policy of buying in replacement 2 tooth ewes and using mainly Polled Dorset Rams, the emphasis being on lamb production. He has sown a larger area of Lucerne and is putting in more summer brassicas as well as annual grasses to boost winter feed levels.

The Simmental cattle herd has been reduced to 100 cows, and fattening cattle bought in when feed conditions are favourable.

The acreage of Dumgree in 1848 was 8,499ha. In December 1912 a number of blocks were sold off mounting to approx 5059ha but part came back later and was resold after the Second World War fro soldiers' settlements. In1914 3238 ha approx was sold to the R Youngs (relatives of the Renwicks by marriage). This became Rossmore.

Dr Thomas Renwick the first owner of Dumgree took up the run in October 1848 and named it after an estate in Dumfrieshire, close to which the Renwicks had resided. The doctor lived mostly in Nelson, but took a great interest in Dumgree and had several good managers among them a Mr John Watson (21 yrs). Later a nephew, Mr Thomas Renwick took over the property (1890) but his health was poor - on his death in 1925, his wife took over. For nearly 30 years - until 1959, a Mr Pearpoint was farm manager. He was followed by Mr L Winstanley, Mr F V Stratford was head shepherd for some years.

The buildings at Dumgree are 25km from Blenheim. The historic homestead (about 100 years old) was demolished about 1973. The cottage (built 1964 0 was recently moved to the old homestead site and extensive alterations are underway. Restoration of the garden is an integral part of this long term project. There two other houses - one built 1928 and one about 1935. College pupils and other parties from Blenheim, on occasions, have visited the property to view the original station buildings including several cob ones. Teachers from Marlborough Boys' College have recently offered their expertise to restore the original cob house built and occupied in 1848.

The Cook Strait cable line (opened 1 April 1965) leaves the valley on Dumgree.

 

Lower ValleyGillian McLeod