George Rhodes (1817 – 1864)

George Rhodes (1817 – 1864)        Died of a chill     Place of Death: Purau

Buried at Lyttelton’s Anglican Cemetery, Christchurch

The story of George Rhodes:

Photo taken by Annette Bulovic

The discovery of George Rhodes’ crypt at the Lyttelton Anglican Cemetery was to hold more than Chris and I expected…and not in a high pitched scream kind of way!

Easily the biggest grave in the cemetery, George was a man who threw his family in deep grief with his untimely death. The Rhodes brothers – William, Robert and George – had been well settled in Canterbury before the first four ships arrived. With a huge cattle run down south called ‘The Levels’ – now Timaru – and a farm across the Lyttelton Harbour at Purau, the brothers were more than just successful.

When George died after getting a bad chill – from standing up in his waist in a sheep dip at Purau for a couple days – his devastated family spared no expense to honour his memory. They funded the completion of the Christchurch Cathedral – the spire becoming known as the Rhodes Spire – and they paid for ten of the Cathedral bells in George’s honour. Sadly, the family sold/leased most of the farming land over the next months as farming without George was beyond what any of them could face.

George was buried at Lyttelton Anglican Cemetery. The entrance to his huge memorial is covered by a slab of stone brought up from The Levels, the place he felt most at home.

Damaged because of the earthquakes, the slab has slightly shifted and has been fenced off for safety since. Chris, unable to ignore this opening, stuck the camera down and took a few photos.

What came back was incredible…a sight that many of us will never get to see.

*photo taken by Chris Bulovic*

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