‘What A Strange Person’ – Captain Joseph Thomas

“You know what a strange person [Captain Joseph]Thomas is; and though [John Cowell] Boys and I received a handsome testimonial from him on the occasion of our discharge he has followed up the injury of disappointing us by constant snubbing and insulting conduct. However, we have restrained ourselves, taken everything quite coolly, and been careful …

THE BRIDLE PATH

The Bridle Path symbolizes a lot of different things to many different people.  As a Canterbury historian, my heart jumps in my ribcage every time I see it and I am not even a descendant of a family that walked over it 150 years ago.  My British parents and older brothers would make the same …

Sir William Fox (1812 – 1893)

After reading about Sir William Fox and getting the idea that he tended to go where the wind took him, I can’t ignore the fact that today, we do not have a clear idea of what William was really like.  The descriptions of his personality and values go from one side of the scales to …

Christchurch’s First Christmas ~ 1848

On the 27th March 1848, the day the Canterbury Association was founded, the dream that was to become Christchurch was born.  Although at the time, the Port Cooper (Canterbury) Plains was just one of the options, by the month of December, it was almost a certainty. All throughout 1848, Canterbury Association surveyors began to replace …

Thomas Cass (1817 – 1895)

Tommy Cass knew life’s ups and downs.  By the time he was surveying the 33,000 acres that would become the Deans’ future rural station of ‘Homebush’ in 1851, Tommy had earned the respect and admiration of all those around him.  You get the feeling that he walked along with a great confidence and self knowledge …

St George’s Chapel, Barbadoes Street Cemetery

Today, all that marks where the St George’s Chapel (pictured) stood in the Barbadoes (should have been spelt Barbados – a 1849 typo that wasn’t corrected) Street Cemetery is a large plaque with a grave map and an acknowledgement to all that were buried there without ceremony or marker. Barbadoes is considered to be Christchurch’s …

How Our City Streets Got Their Names

The wind whipped waving tussock of the Canterbury Plains can’t have made the surveyor’s job very easy. I can’t say whether the surveyors pushed their pegs into the ground by the use of tools or whether they just crouched down amongst the flaxy marsh and pushed them in by hand.Whatever happened, Edward Jollie and his …

What’s In A Name?

Over the years of 1848 to 1851, the poor old Canterbury Plains and the Harbour of Lyttelton seemed to hop from one foot to the other as the Chief Surveyor Captain Joseph Thomas amongst others scratched their heads over a few name options. When Captain Thomas arrived on our shores, Lyttelton was known as Port …

The Zig Zag – Sumner Road

As James Edward Fitzgerald sat in his over-sized dogcart while it was being transported across the Heathcote River by punt – he was feeling quite exhausted with Christchurch. He was fast approaching the end of his term as Superintendant and his health and temper would improve much due to that very fact. Beside and behind …