BISHOPDALE – The Bishop Brothers (1820’s – 1900’s)

When Robert Bishop (1827 – 1909) stepped off the “Caroline Anges” in 1855, his future lay in an old river bed. The Maori called the area ‘Papa Kohatu’ – (place of rocks) as it was an overflow of the old Waimairi River which in turn, left the land covered in rocks and pebbles. When the last tree of Papanui Bush was felled in 1857, the little timber-based village of Papanui was forced to re-invent itself and fast!
The year 1858 was not only big for Robert Bishop but also for Papa Kohatu. The land began to be drained and Robert was joined by one of his brothers, James (1826 – 1910) who brought with him his wife Rebecca and their four sons James, Robert, William and Fredrick . Tragically Arthur also died at this time, just aged one year. The brothers brought some of the newly drained land and began to set up their future in the deeply fertile soil.
In 1859, the third Bishop brother arrived in Lyttelton; William with his wife Meddy and their two sons, Walter and Arthur.Β  Tragically Arthur also died at this time, just aged one year.Β  In 1860, James and Robert Bishop appeared in the newspaper for jury service, their address listed at lower Lincoln Road and their jobs were as gardeners. The family was also recorded living at Mt Pleasant at some point, date unknown.
When the brothers finally moved onto their land, they built a homestead where Bishopdale School is now sited. There, they opened a successful pip-fruit orchard and the area became known as Bishopsdale. The second ‘s’ has since been dropped. The section of Greers Road between Sawyer’s Arms Road and Harewood was known as Bishops Road but the name was dropped in 1948 as it was confused with Bishops Road in Papanui and St Albans.Robert and William are buried at St James Anglican Church in Harewood Road, whereas James is buried at St Paul’s Anglican Church in Papanui.

*Photos of graves taken by Annette Bulovic*

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13 Responses

  1. Donnelle says:

    I’m a direct descendant of James, on my maternal side. So great to see this info.

    • Hi Donelle πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for your comment, love to hear from the families, I am very fond on the Bishop’s story as I grew in Bishopdale πŸ˜‰ Glad you liked my article.

  2. Peter Cairns says:

    Hi Annette, James Bishop is my third Great Grandfather. It was great to see this. Just a small correction. James and family arrived at Lyttleton in 14 July 1858 on the Maori and William and family arrived Lyttleton on the Strathallan 21 January 1859. James and family sailed round to Heathcote river from Lyttleton and lived with Robert for a while on Windmill Road, now Antigua Street in a small whare he had built there.
    Thanks Peter

    • Hi Peter, thank you so much for your comment. I have done the corrections that were needed, please make sure that I have everything as it should be. I am sorry that the article is not in separated paragraphs, the website keeps pushing it all together, very frustrating.

      I am wondering if you are able to help a work colleague of mine who is also a Bishop descendant. She does not know what brother she is in line with, her mother was a Bishop and married into the Donnelly family in Christchurch I’m guessing sometime in the 1940’s, 1950’s. When I see her again, I will get more info. I would love to tell her what brother is her direct line πŸ˜‰

      • Peter Cairns says:

        Hi Annette, I would be glad to help out, My Mum Ann has done alot of Bishop research and you came down to speak to the Ashburton Family History Group a while ago. She is very involved in that. She said you were at Homebush. Robert Bishop worked there at some stage. He did alot of cobb work there.



        • Peter, I feel very stupid as I gave you the wrong last name, I am sorry. Liz is away from work this week so I promised to have my facts straight and will be back in touch next week.

          Yes, I am from Homebush and I was amused to learn that a Bishop had worked here at some stage, late 1850’s wasn’t it πŸ˜‰ What a great history!

  3. Ann Cairns says:

    Hi Annette. I also am a direct descendant of James Bishop on my Paternal line and have some information about the family.There are quite a lot of us around!

    • Hi Ann, thank you so much for your comment. I am glad there are plenty of you around, there’s nothing so grand as our settler families still making their way in Christchurch πŸ˜‰ Glad you enjoyed my article.

  4. renny bishop says:

    just watching a tv programme called dna detectives.prompted me to look up online the bishop family is surprising how much info is around. i am descended from James and Rebecca.
    Renny Bishop

  5. Jenny Bishop says:

    I am the mother of Donnelle and Roger (also TM and Scott). My father was a direct descendant of James. We moved up North (Pouto) after the war on to a rehab farm. My 11 year old grand-daughter is in the process of doing a family tree.

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