Dr Woodhouse came to farming at Blue Cliffs Station after a career in medicine and distinguished service in the Royal Army Medical Corps during which he was awarded the Military Cross (and Bar). In 1918 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for service under fire while posted to the No 9 Field Ambulance of the Guards Division.
Dr P. Randal Woodhouse returned after World War 1 to take up the position of Medical Superintendent at Wellington Hospital.
In 1922 he resigned from his position in Wellington to take on the role of manager of Blue Cliffs Station.
During his stewardship of the property many positive changes were made which are still evident today as a result of his commitment to conservation of many natural features including stands of native bush. Tussock burning to clear land for pastoral use was abandoned, trees were planted to control gorse on steeper slopes and farming operations were mechanised.
Dr Woodhouse was the first chairman of the South Canterbury Catchment Board (1944-58), later becoming president of the New Zealand Catchment Authorities Association (1956-58). On retirement his fellow board members and staff noted:
“With your keen analytical mind you have examined our problems and they have been many in the formative years of the board and your solution has invariably been the only fair and equitable one.
“Without your guiding influence there is no doubt that the board would not now occupy the position it does amongst catchment boards, nor would it have achieved so much.”
Dr Woodhouse was awarded Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation Medal in 1953 for services to farming, and was made an OBE in 1958.
Dr Woodhouse was a keen student of agricultural science and innovation. His improvements on the farm and through the catchment board set an example for sustainable management which led best practice for South Canterbury hill farmers.