Mount Algidus Station in the 1930's. A photo taken by John Pascoe. From the Making New Zealand Centennial Collection, Reference Number PAColl-3060
A River Rules My Life by Mona Anderson, published 1963 by Reed.
"THE RIVER WAS MY RUBICON" Mona Anderson
A River Rules My Life is another secondhand bookshop classic, but one I paid good money for. Mona Anderson and her popular books made the high country life famous and accessible to many. This 1963 book traces her life and the history of Mount Algidus Station way up the Wilberforce and Rakaia rivers in the 1930’s.
As a young bride, she was first taken to Algidus across the Wilberforce River by draught horses. The idiom “Crossing the Rubicon means to pass a point of no return and refers to Julius Caesars' army's crossing of the river in 49 BC, in what was considered an act of insurrection. Young Mona called the Wilberforce her Rubicon. She married having never visited where her husband Ron worked, and knew she couldn’t leave even if she hated it: there was a river in the way.
Fortunately she loved it: descriptions of station life, the seasons, the characters and the hardships are all in this book. as well as some photographs. Eventually trucks, and airplanes came along, to make crossings easier but they didn’t tame the river.
This book has taught me to respect the braided rivers we must cross and given me a respect for the life of those who made a living from thousands of sheep, on tens of thousand of acres with few roads and a massive river between them and the rest of the world. Te Araroa doesn't cross Mount Algidus Station but we will be able to see it up the valley as we cross the Rakaia to Coleridge Lodge.
There are a few mentions of whio/blue ducks in here too. Which proves they once flourished on the eastern side of the divide. Nowadays they are mostly confined to the South Island's western flanks.