Muller Station

Current Owners: Muller Station Ltd

Area (ha): 37507

In 1965 these properties were bought from Mr & Mrs Ian T van Asch by Muller Station Ltd, a company of Nth Canterbury shareholders, mainly the Satterthwaite Family. Mr Bary Banesemann, who had been managing for the van Aschs (from May 1962) was appointed manager, and the Bensemann family worked at the Muller until the end of May 1980. Today the properties are still owned by Muller Station Ltd but principal ownership has passed from C B Satterthwaite to Stephen W Satterthwaite who resides with his family at The Muller. Stephen took over the management in 1980 having previously been head shepherd. Steve and Mary Satterthwaite now take responsibility for Muller Station Ltd.

The Muller block is all freehold - approx 7,797 ha. Langridge consists of 2,838ha freehold and 11,493ha leasehold. Richmond Dale is all leasehold - 15,379ha.

The Muller high country lying to the sun was originally known as Fairfield. It lies on the south side of the Awatere River with Middlehurst to the east, and Molesworth to the west and 112km from Blenheim. Rabbits had for many years ravaged this area (despite constant poisoning and trapping); however with the advent of aerial poisoning in 1953 great headway was made in clearing the holding of the pest.

The flock is Merino (replacements retained). Cattle numbers have been increased from about 100 cows wintered in 1966 to total cattle numbering 1,800 in 2009. The cows are Angus and Angus Gelbvieh cross and Charolais bulls are used over the latter as terminal sires. Deer farming began in 1985 in an area of 250ha. This has now been terminated and the complex is used for running calves through the winter and the new Muller Merino Stud.

An extensive development programme was initiated in 1980 to compete with the spread of Hieracium on the winter country and about 7,500 ha have improved to date. Lucerne is grown for baleage and some young stud grazing.. About 100 ha is under cultivation, of which half is lucerne.

Dr Muller, first resident magistrate for Marlborough, held the original pastoral licence. It was subsequently bought by Mr Thomas Cawthron of Nelson who sold it to a nephew, Mr John Shirtliff in 1896.

Langridge was originally held in 1851 by Thomas Ward then by Mr W H Eyes who sold it to Munro Brothers in 1853. In 1899 it was sold again to Rudolph Walker and Edward Thompson. The holding was owned 1906 - 1916 by George Shipley; 1920 -1925 by T C Withell, and 1925 - 1953 Mrs M A Shirtliff was the owner. Richmond Dale was also purchased by Mrs Shirtliff in 1925 in partnership with Gordon Shirtliff (in both properties) until the accident which led to his death on the holding in 1928. In 1953 the complete holding was transferred to a son in law and daughter of the Shirtliffs - Mr & Mrs I van Asch.

At the Muller a cob homestead was built in 1902 - cob work done by Mr F Eyes (carpenter - Ernest Shirtliff). An earlier residence and stable of cob had previously been established (circa 1885).
The present homestead has had major renovations which still incorporate some of the original cob. There is also a school room attached to the homestead. A wooden four roomed cottage and cookhouse were built in 1953 and additions made in 1960. In 2009 the cookshop was totally rebuilt on the same site and also a new staff recreation room was built in 2008. Also the permanent shepherds' and casual shepherds' accommodation has all been replaced. In 1955 the woolshed was replaced. In 1989 a new six stand woolshed was built and night storage for 1500 full woolled ewes.. At Langridge, at the end of the last century, cob housing and a woolshed were established and yards built with stone and timber (from birch forest).

Upper ValleyGillian McLeod