The story of Bendigo Station, an immensely diverse property of 12,000 hectares, stretches back over 150 years. It is a story of gold, dust, wool and a recurring theme of triumph over adversity. Christina Perriam is the latest in a long line of pioneers who have called this extraordinary place home.
Now known for its merino, vineyards and historic reserves, Bendigo began in the early 1860s after the discovery of gold in Central Otago led to a region-wide gold rush. The dust – and the gold – soon settled, and Bendigo Station was created in the early 1900s.
A stillness and more sedate way of life returned to the rolling hills. Christina’s parents, John and Heather Perriam, purchased and moved onto the farm in 1979 to tackle the formidable challenge of farming the vast, high-altitude landscape.
John knew merino sheep thrived in the harsh conditions of Central Otago and the fine wool they produced was the best in the world. Soon enough, their luxury merino wool was gaining international recognition, but there was one merino in particular making headlines: Shrek the Sheep. This crafty sheep managed to avoid the muster for six years before he was found in a cave on Bendigo with a fleece weighing an outstanding 27 kilograms when he was shorn. For his 10th birthday, he was in the news again after being shorn on an iceberg off the coast of Dunedin.