John Robert Godley (1814 – 1861)

John Robert Godley was a man who everyone seemed to have an opinion about. One man would say “he was a King amongst men’ where another called him ‘a whale in a duck pond’. Both descriptions paint an image of the man who founded Christchurch. Born in Dublin in 1814, he grew up in the …

Captain Joseph Thomas (1803 – ?)

Captain Joseph Thomas is easily the most forgotten man in Christchurch’s history. Born in 1803, Joseph was educated at the Royal Military College – so naturally he spent the beginning of his working life in the Army. He served in India and the West Indies, retiring in 1830. He travelled to South America where he …

The Canterbury Plains

The view of the Canterbury Plains (the Port Cooper Plains) from the Bridle Path. The Avon River can seen clearly running through the Plains. The collection of the trees to the left would be Riccarton Bush. *image courtesy of http://www.teara.govt.nz * Alexander Turnbull Library Reference: PUBL-0001-3 Etching with hand-coloured aquatint by William Fox

The Red Rocks Of Te Ngarara – Port Levy

During the late 1820’s, not many European ships sailed into Ōhinehou (Lyttelton Harbour) and those that did carried the rough characters that were the whalers, sealers and merchants. One of these merchant ships was from the Australian firm of Cooper and Levey and its Captain was William B. Rhodes. At the time, the most populated …

The Avon River (Ōtākaro)

I can’t begin to fathom how surreal the afternoon/evening of the 16th December 1850 would have been for the Deans brothers. Especially as they may have stood in the doorway of the Deans Cottage while the shrieks and shouts of two stripped down male settlers splashed about in the Avon River – their echoes adding …