O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree – December 1856

Miss Ann Bowen, at the age of 44, it seems, wasn’t afraid of a new adventure. She boarded the ‘Charlotte Jane’ – the Canterbury Association’s first ship with her brother and his family to start a new life in Canterbury. She was also determined to lead her own life – taking up her own land orders (50 acres in Papanui Bush) to make her own way in the world.

She became a Sunday School teacher, firstly in Dr. A.C. Barker’s V hut that sat on his land on the corner of Worcester Street and Cathedral Square and then helped to develop Sunday Schools all around the city.

I am sure the arrival of Bishop Harper (the first Bishop of Canterbury) and his family in late 1856 was a big event in Ann’s life. To help welcome the Harper family to the city, at the home of Rev. Henry Jacobs (who lived at the parsonage at St Michael and All Angels), she encouraged the Harper children to help her put up a Christmas Tree, hanging toys and decorations they had made on its branches.

This is recorded down as Christchurch’s first Christmas Tree!

For a more in depth look at the Bowen Family, please check out the following link: http://www.peelingbackhistory.co.nz/sir-charles-bowen-1830-1917/

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