Our History

The E B Millton Charitable Trust was set up in 1997, when it was formally made an incorporated Trust. Prior to this it was known as the Sunshine League of New Zealand.

History of E B Millton

Edward Bowler (Ted) Millton was born in Christchurch on 7th March 1861, to his parents William Newton Millton and Caroline Millton (nee Stockman).

He was educated at Christs College and played rugby for the Christchurch Club.

Ted represented the Canterbury provincial team, and then went on to play rugby for New Zealand in 1884, and travelled to New South Wales. He played seven of the eight games, scoring one try. He did not play in any further test matches, as New Zealand did not play its first full international until 1903.

Rugby Balls given to the players of the New Zealand XV in 1884.

His older brother William Varnham Millton played at the same time, and was Captain of the New Zealand XV (prior to be called the All Blacks).

Ted was one of seven siblings (five brothers and one sister) of which only two of his brothers, James and Fredrick went on to have children. James had one son named Eric, and Fredrick, two daughters named Gwen and Enid. 

Ted was a sheep farmer in the Oxford area, owning Okuku Hill Station located in the Lees Valley, and Birch Hill Station located at Glentui.

Ted and his wife Maude (nee Ford) did not have any children, and on his death on 11th March 1942, at the age of 81, his estate was left to the Sunshine League of New Zealand, for the establishment of the "Ford Millton Memorial Home for Children, located within the homestead at Birch Hill Station. 

The Sunshine League, set up in 1933 by Cora Wilding was well supported by doctors, academics and other specialists. Its objective was:

“The education of the people in regard to the benefits derived from a full use, especially by children, of sunlight and fresh air – Nature’s free gifts to us all.”

The home was operated from the Birch Hill Homestead, and on its closure, the terms of the Trust were amended by Court Order in 1989 to enable a distribution of funds from the Trust. As such the EB Millton Charitable Trust was established.

The Trust’s purpose as set out in the Trust rules are twofold:

  1. For the advancement and maintenance of such institutions and organisations providing for the education and health of children through the provision of either day-care or live-in facilities for the benefit of children; or
  2. Furthering the health or care of any child or children.

The Trust is a charitable trust incorporated in New Zealand under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957 and was registered on the Charities Register (Registration Number CC24517) in 2008. The Trust has charitable tax exempt status with Inland Revenue.

The Trust is expected to continue in perpetuity.

The Trustees have varied backgrounds that together provide a link with the settlor of the Trust, E B Millton, and have sufficient experience to undertake the governance duties of trustees. Where required, the trustees employ the services of external professionals to assist in the management of the Trust and an independent auditor. Trustee meetings are held on a quarterly basis. Mackay Bailey Ltd, Chartered Accountants complete all day- to-day management of the Trust.

Birch Hill Station

Birch Hill Station was owned by the Millton Family since 1874, until it was sold in 2022 to the James Family. The original owner, Captain William Millton, purchased the property when he first arrived in New Zealand.

In 1879, Edward Bowler Millton, the third son of Captain William Millton, took over the management of Birch Hill Station, in conjunction with Glenburn Station and Okuku Hill Station, located in the Lees Valley. Due to Birch Hill being closer to the Lyttleton Port, sheep were brought out from the Lees Valley properties, over the Blowhard Track to the main shearing shed to be shorn annually. Wool, which back then was the main income, was then transported via bullocks and wagons to the port for sale. E B Millton farmed the properties until his death in 1942.

Birch Hill was in the same ownership for almost 150 years.

Birch Hill Cemetery

The Birch Hill cemetery, whcih was originally located within Birch Hill Station, is now owned and overseen by the Waimakariri District Council. The cemetery was established in 1937 for the Millton and Ford families, and for people who had strong links to Birch Hill Station. It has a memorial for those men and horses who were lost in the First World War.

A new entrance and gates were generously donated by D H Smith Contracting in 2019.

Within the cemetery, there is the Birch Hill Station War Memorial, in rememberance of the men and horses who lost their lives at the Great War.

Detail of plaque on the Birch Hill Station war memorial. It reads:

‘In memory of the men of Birch Hill Station, who fought in the Great War. 1914-1918. J.T. Ford, W.J. Thompson, H.B. Brittan, P. Burke, M. Pavelka, H.D. Harris, J. Tait, A. George, M. Fitzgibbon, H. Coombes.’

Detail of plaque on the Birch Hill Station war memorial. It reads:

‘In memory of the horses of the 8th Regiment N.Z.M.R that died in the Great War 1914-1918.’

Details about the 8th (South Canterbury) Regiment New Zealand Mounted Rifles, including the meaning of the motto shown on this plaque on the memorial 'Moveo et Profitor' can be found

Meet the team at E B Millton Charitable Trust >

Contact Us

E B Millton Charitable Trust
E B Millton Charitable Trust Inc
C/- Mackay Bailey Limited
PO Box 13311, Christchurch

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