Whanganui farms yield countless stories from a bygone era, but few date back as far as Cherry Bank Farm on the city boundary with Okoia.

This farm is the very essence of the rich tapestry that forms the River City's heritage.

The story began when the 53-ha property was settled by Captain Jock McGregor, Whanganui's first permanent settler, who began trading in here in 1840. He was balloted three blocks in 1841 and called the farm "Cherry Bank" after his home village, (now Cherrybank), in Perth, Scotland. He extended the farm afterwards.

After the 1920s, the farm was run by the Public Trust, then later divided into three Rehabilitation blocks for returned servicemen. It was a dairy unit from 1945 until 2011.


The property is in two titles — the main homestead, dairy shed, implement shed and cattle yards are on 53.44ha with the second title 13.02ha of bare land.

The 13ha was originally part of the Nixon property "Sedgebrook" and, after that property was subdivided, Arthur Nixon settled the block and called it "Ratanui" after a local kainga.

The bare land was purchased and added to Cherry Bank in the 1970s.

Potential buyers have the option of buying one or both titles.

The main entrance is through the large brick-lined gates at 84 Wakefield St, directly opposite the Wanganui East Club, while access via Ikitara Rd is also available.

Much of the history of Cherry Bank Farm and its Whanganui East surrounds is told in books written by Felicity Campbell, who owns the property with husband Michael Smyth.
They have retired and moved to town.

Felicity Campbell's family association with Whanganui dates from the late 1840s when Sergeant Robert Dawson Campbell and his wife Jane Taylor arrived with the 65th regiment.

Making Waves, her biography of Captain Jock McGregor, explains the settlement of Whanganui following the endeavours of this first settler. A revised second edition was completed in early 2010.

Readers had to await the arrival of her third book, Townhall, to discover more about the suburb. It deals with the townships of Gonville and Castlecliff and the Borough of Eastbrook when they were independent local authorities.

Her second book, No Epitaph, published in 2008, is in a fictionalised history format and recreates the events and causes of the Bennier tragedy of 1917 in Mangamahu following a paranormal interaction with Ethel Bennier.

All three are available through Paige's Book Gallery in Guyton St, while the Whanganui Library also stocks copies.

Cherry Bank's main 53ha title is made up of 33ha of flats, 3ha of easy contour, 16ha of north-facing easy hill and a hectare set aside for homestead and infrastructure.

The second 13ha title is rolling and easy hills. The property is well subdivided into 48 main paddocks with a mixture of conventional fencing and 2-wire electric subdivisions.

Marketed by David Cotton at For Farms, the property will be sold by tender, which close 4pm Thursday, May 24 at Bullock & Associates, Solicitors, 21 Ridgway St Wanganui.