Teacherous Sumner Road Opened – 24th August 1857

The construction of Sumner Road had begun in 1849 under the instruction of Canterbury Association’s Chief Surveyor, Captain Joseph Thomas. When John Robert Godley arrived in April 1850, he halted the work as it was already causing the settlement to slip into debt. Where the road was stopped became known as Sticking Point or Windy Rock.

It began with the idea of being the main passage to Sumner and the city of Christchurch – the rough horse track that would become known as the ‘Bridle Path’ was quickly improved for pedestrian use.
This would be the only way to Christchurch (except by sea which was very expensive) for the next six years. Finally, after many an argument between the founding fathers, the road had been completed.

But great public fear had risen over the new treacherous road so James Edward Fitzgerald himself offered to drive it – officially opening the road and putting people concerns to rest. It would be his last service to Canterbury as its Superintendent.

He finished the trip very successfully, arriving in Lyttelton amidst a roar of applause and cheers.

For a more in depth look at the opening of Sumner Road, please check out the following link: http://www.peelingbackhistory.co.nz/the-zig-zag-sumner-road/

*image courtesy of the Otago University – http://otago.ourheritage.ac.nz

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