Just had to share this wonderful description of the beginnings of Linwood and Avonside written by Rosamund Rolleston, the granddaughter of a very influential Canterbury founding father – William Rolleston.
To give a very quick background check, William Rolleston was Canterbury’s last Superintendant and remembered today in the naming of Rolleston Ave, his (currently missing/under repair) statue outside the Canterbury Museum and the now fast developing township of Rolleston. His achievements are numerous – while in local government and in the political circles of Wellington he helped shape New Zealand’s education guidelines and his studies and speeches changed the handling of many troubled native affairs.
Rosamund’s great grandfather, Dr.Joseph Brittan, considered himself a failure at his attempt to enter Canterbury’s politics but even so, he kept company with some of the big names of Christchurch and was looked up to by many upcoming politicians including William Rolleston.
Joseph built his family a fine home he named Linwood – now the suburb – where he raised one of Christchurch’s most popular socialites of the era, Mary Brittan.
This homestead still graced Linwood Ave (number 36) up to the 22nd February 2011. It had to be demolished due to earthquake damage.
Mary Brittan and William Rolleston were married on the 24th May 1865.
The Brittan’s also poured their money and influence into the nearby Holy Trinity of Avonside – also destroyed in the 22nd February 2011 earthquake. In fact, the Brittan’s and Rolleston’s are buried in its graveyard.
When one thinks of the Linwood and Avonside of today, I think traffic and there’s a busyness about the suburb…
“Before clearing and cultivating his rural section on the banks of the River Avon, Joseph put aside ten acres for a house, garden and orchard. This site he named Linwood. On it he had planted an avenue of eucalyptus, a corpse of walnut and chestnuts, and at the back a large variety of fruit trees. Here is 1857 he built his permanent home…a century later the house was hemmed in by streets [Linwood Ave, Woodham Road and appropriately named Brittan Street] and bungalow houses, but in Joseph’s day it was surrounded by lawns, gardens and trees, with a carriage drive stretching from the front door to the [Avon] river.
At the gates of Linwood a cob church, built in the English tradition and encircled by a graveyard, was constructed and was the first building in Canterbury to be consecrated by Bishop Harper – a triumph for the Avonside parishioners”. – Rosamund Rolleston 1971.
Wish it still looked like this 😉
Pictured here is the Holy Trinity of Avonside with the Avon River in the foreground. I believe the buildings to the left is Linwood. Gorgeous.