First European To Travel Down The Avon Died – 1874

In 1874, Jimmy Robinson Clough, one of Canterbury’s first permanent European settlers died in his Alfred Forest cottage (pictured). It is believed that he was the first European to travel down the Ōtākaro – the Avon River.

In 1837, after spotting a beautiful Maori woman in Akaroa where his whaling ship had dropped anchor, he deserted his post and married her.

In 1840, he was not only present when the British Flag was raised at Greens Point, Akaroa; he had made the actual flagpole. This dashed French hopes of a French Colony settling there. He had also acted as a translator between the Maori and the English.

He also was the guide that led William Deans down the Ōtākaro and brought Putaringamotu (Riccarton) to William’s attention in 1841. After helping with establishing the beginnings of Riccarton Farm in 1843, Jimmy was hired as the first Manager of Homebush in 1851. Homebush is still in the ownership of the Deans.

Jimmy also planted a Black Poplar at Homebush that still grows today, believed to have been a gift from the French. It is one of the oldest introduced trees in mid-Canterbury.

For a more in depth look at Jimmy Robinson Clough, please check out the following link:

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