Near the corner of Main North and Prestons Roads, stands a 29.8m tall Sequoia (sequiodendron giganteum) in silent testimony of one of the area’s first families.
Thomas Herbert Preston and his wife Elizabeth arrived aboard the ‘Cornwall’, the 18th Canterbury Association ship. They settled down in an area known as the ‘Styx’ – this term coming from the early settlers laying down sticks to mark safe routes through the surrounding swamps.
The Prestons soon got to work, making a hard living off their land. This history is acknowledged in the naming of Prestons Road – this term first appearing in Christchurch’s history in 1874. The pair also started a family, having seven children in all, three of them being sons. Family legend goes that Thomas planted three Sequoia trees, one for each of his boys during the 1860’s.
Sadly only one of these Sequoias remains – in the grounds of the ‘Redwood Hotel’ and ‘Sequoia 88’. The second remaining Sequoia (this species also known as the Wellingtonia and the Redwood) was only lost just a few years back (from 2015) when it succumbed to the pressure of a storm. In 1967 the area was renamed ‘Redwood’ as requested by the residents.
*Images courtesy of Annette Bulovic*