Godley’s Farewell Spot

On the right hand-side as you drive into the Riccarton Ave carpark of Hagley Park (by the tennis courts) sits this historical gem.

The memorial tablet acknowledges the departure of John Robert Godley from New Zealand, the founder of Canterbury in 1852. This breakfast event was set up in a spacious marquee, catered by the White Hart Hotel – the first pub/hotel in Christchurch. The Godley’s only lived in New Zealand for two years – some of that time in Wellington. While in Christchurch, they lived for a while with the Deans at Riccarton.

The Godley’s returned to London where John took up work as a columnist/essayist for a few newspapers – his topic being mostly about colonial reform. He also worked for the War Office. He died in London, surrounded by his family on the 17th November 1861, just a short 11 years after after he greeted the first four ships at Lyttelton.William Cuise Brittan arrived in Christchurch on the Sir George Seymour, one of the first four ships. He was the Commissioner of Crown Land and was in charge of the Land Office. He owned 100 acres of Papanui Bush but also had 50 acres in town, on Fitzgerald Ave, where he built ‘Englefield’. He also became a trustee of the Deans’ Estate on the death of John Deans I in 1854. He gifted Papanui with its first church, maybe St Paul’s where he is buried.
*Photo taken by Annette Bulovic*

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