What An Event!!!!

I can never look at a view of our beautiful Lyttelton Harbour without looking for the ‘Charlotte Jane’ to come sailing around the corner of the heads – just like she would have done on the 16th December 1850, carrying the first of our Anglican settlers. So would have loved to have seen that historic day!

As that is never gonna happen, I could share what our Pre-Adamites (the settlers who came before the first 4 ships) saw that day. For no one was more excited about the expected ships than them:

“I don’t know how to write large enough letters for the event, in the morning a ship [The Charlotte Jane] was announced early, in sight, and then at anchor! But there is a point of rock which hides them, where they usually anchor, from our view. Some people thought it might be an English ship…and then the matter was quickly settled by my husband’s [Mr. John Godley] encountering Mr. [James Edward] Fitzgerald, who was the first to step on shore, in the road down to the jetty; so altered by a sailor’s dress, an immense straw hat, very hallow cheeks, a ferocious moustache, and I am sorry to say a lame leg, that at first he scarcely knew him, and when he did, was so overcome as hardly to know whether to laugh or cry, and I believe ended by doing both…” Charlotte Godley – wife of John Robert Godley – Founder of Christchurch.

Brothers George and Robert Rhodes, who farmed at Purau were sheep dipping when the ‘Charlotte Jane’ sailed into to Lyttelton. The brothers reported later that they let out a loud shout and a ‘whoop’ of celebration. The arrival of the settlers helped the Rhodes business boom as meat, vegetables and milk were suddenly in very high demand!!!

Ebenezar Hay and family – who had travelled south from Port Nicholson (Wellington) with William Deans, the Gebbies and Manson families in 1843– had settled at Pigeon Bay. Ebenezar and fellow Pre-Adamite settler, Thomas White, was working the land at the Hay’s farm (Annadale) while James and Tom – the eldest Hay boys – sat on a nearby stockyard fence watching.
The boys were first to notice the Charlotte Jane come into view as it passed Pigeon Bay on its way to Lyttelton and into New Zealand’s history books. They boys let out a shout; Ebenezar and Thomas were just excited as the boys, dropping their tools and climbing the fence to get a better look. They also witnessed the passing of The Randolphlater that same day!

*photo taken by Annette Bulovic*

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