The Avon River at New Brighton, between Evans Ave and Kibblewhite Street was a well known to be prone to flooding. In 1950, the Christchurch City Council made river channels (pictured here) to help drain any flood waters into the nearby sea.
The since called Naughty Boys’ Island – seen in the distance – is a 400 metre long sandbank that was once a popular place for the neighbourhood kids such as 13 year old Peter Edward Leary and 12 year old Frank Raymond Murray.
On the 28th April 1961, the two boys were playing along side the Avon near the end of Tovey Street – where I took this photo from – when they decided to build a tunnel of their own. Details are hard to come by but this tunnel collapsed while the boys were inside, both of them suffocating under the soft soil.
The place hasn’t been able to shake off the name since. The last try was in 1998 when the area was revamped. The top of Naughty Boys’ Island was taken away and planting was done to attract more birds to the area. There is now a walking track and is listed amongst the many other walkways in Christchurch.
I did a search on both boys but very little comes up. However, I found out that Peter Edward Leary was born in Invercargill and lived at 69 Lockley Ave. He was buried on the 1st May at Memorial Park .
*photo taken by Annette Bulovic*