For years and years, the corner of James Street and Liffey Close, Lincoln was an unkempt wasteland. As time trickled on and the old timers either moved away or died, those left behind as well as the Selwyn District Council just assumed that the lot was Crown land.
In the early 1960’s, Lincoln was in the need for a Fire Station and the lot on that abandoned corner would be perfect. To everyone’s surprise, the land did not belong to the Crown but to James Edward Fitzgerald, dating back to around the 1850’s.
James Edward Fitzgerald – who served Canterbury as Superintendent 1853 to 1857 – had owned all of Lincoln once, previously called ‘The Springs’ after the many water springs in the area. In 1862, James renamed the land Lincoln and subdivided it believing the area was in the need of a rural township that could service the local farmers.
He named 4 of the new streets after himself (James, Edward, Fitz and Gerald) and 6 others after his eldest sons (William, Robert, Lyttelton, Gerald, James and Maurice).
James cut his ties with Canterbury in 1867 and moved to Wellington where he died in 1896.
Maybe he always had plans to return to Canterbury in retirement but life took a different direction. The land was taken over by the Public Works Act and the Fire Station was built – 68 years after James’ death.
*Photo taken by Annette Bulovic*