On 16 December 1908, on the 58th anniversary of the arrival of the First Four Ships, the Canterbury Old Colonists Association placed a marker to acknowledge Settler’s Corner.
“Rode with Mr [John Robert] Godley over the hills to the Plains. Went first to Christchurch, where there are about 4 huts, 3 tents and a hovel or 2 – with about 25 persons in all…the [Canterbury] Association store, a surveyor’s hut are the principal buildings upon what may be some time a great city” – Edward Ward, 3 January 1851
Settler’s Corner can be found in North Hagley Park, close to the Riccarton Ave car park and the tennis courts. It’s so close to the border of the Botanic Gardens, you can hear the children playing in the paddling pool.
In 1851, some of the families from our first ships, settled in this area of Hagley Park while they sorted out their land orders and better housing was built. First there were tents and then came the historic ‘V’ huts.
Why did they choose this spot? It was close the Avon River and a natural water spring known today as the Pilgrim’s Well.
The families that camped here are the following: Bowen (Charlotte Jane), Williams (Randolph), Philpotts (Randolph), Treleavens (Castle Eden), Quaifes (Cressy), Turner (Samarang), Broughton (William Hyde), Willis (William Hyde), Denton (Sir George Seymour).
* Photo courtesy of Annette Bulovic*