Throughout the three months at sea, Canterbury Association settlers, James Edward Fitzgerald and Dr. A.C. Barker baited each other about who would be first to step ashore from the ‘Charlotte Jane’ if she were the first ship out of the four to arrive at Lyttelton. On 16 December 1850, the ‘Charlotte Jane’ was indeed the first ship to arrive and the two friends climbed into the first long boat heading to shore.
Fitzgerald sat quietly beside the Doctor, not springing to life until reaching the jetty. Some reports say that Dr. A.C. Barker was either shoved aside or was ‘leap frogged’ over as he got to his feet by Canterbury’s future Superintendent. So Fitzgerald was the first association settler to step into the new country. It appears the Doctor held no grudge as the two were firm lifetime friends.
Pilgrims Rock at Lyttelton marks the spot where all our settlers stepped ashore. It was unveiled in 1934 by the Lyttelton District Community Arts Council. During the re-enactment ceremony, a large red flag was lowered to half-mast at the Time-Ball Station indicating a ship – the ‘Charlotte Jane’ – was approaching.
The rock was moved in 1990 to what is considered to be a more accurate location, at the land end of the jetty that was build to receive them. You may be surprised how inland this marker is. There has been some reclaiming of land as the port has developed along with having railways lines between the township and the sea.
*Photo taken of Annette Bulovic*