On 16 December 1930, a stone memorial was built around a natural spring that the first settlers used for water – just a few metres from Settler’s Corner in Hagley Park.
Over 700 pilgrims flooded into Lyttelton between 16 and 27 December 1850 from our First Four Ships. Although many public works had occurred to get the port as ready as it could be, the Lyttelton Immigration Barracks would in no way be able to house everybody. It was so bad; some took to sleeping in barrels on the hillside, while their land orders were sorted. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that some took to the Bridle Path immediately, trickling down into Christchurch where most would admit that it was all rather disappointing.
Usually taking place around a natural water spring, many of our first families bunked down together in small camp sites to make the best start of things. Two of the most recognised sites of these first settlements are Settler’s Corner in Hagley Park and Merivale Reserve (Milford as the area was known then) on Rugby Street. Soon the tents were replaced with the well known historic V Huts. As land orders were sorted, these camp sites dissolved into history.
You can find Pilgrim’s Well along the Kate Sheppard Memorial Walk in the Botanic Gardens. It acknowledges the 80th anniversary of the arrival of the First Four Ships.
* Photo taken of Annette Bulovic*