The First Burial At The Scotch (Addington) Cemetery – George McIlraith

I’m sure little George McIlraith paid little attention to the melting of the ice that had encased his older half sister Jane’s heart whenever John Deans had been in view or the subject of conversation. He would have been too far busy rumbling around Auchenflower farm to concern himself with foolish adult troubles. But George …

The Deans’ Cottage vs The Pollard Shanty

One can easily imagine the hard decision it was for Jane Deans to approve the demolition of the old Deans/Manson/Gebbie’s barn in 1897.  It was after all, the very roof where her dearly departed husband and his late brother had laid their heads to rest over 50 years earlier, when the Riccarton she so loved …

St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

On the last Sunday of October 1853, in a small carpentry shop in Cashel Street, owned by James Johnston, a small group of Scottish Presbyterian settlers gathered together.  Among them were John and Jane Deans.  Not only was this an historic day for the Anglican based Canterbury but it was a day of reflection and …

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 …

Hugh McIlraith (1836 -1904)

Grace McIlraith (nee Lyons) was only 10 years old when she came to stay at Riccarton in 1854. In the company of her parents, they had walked up to the Deans Cottage (which then faced the Avon, just a few metres from a cattle track that we know as Kahu Road today) and was met …

The Deans

William Deans (1817 – 1851)                               Drowned               Place of Death: Wellington Memorial at Barbadoes Street Cemetery * Christchurch’s First Justice of Peace. John Deans (1820 – 1854)                                   Died of T.B.            Place of Death: Riccarton Buried at Barbadoes Street Cemetery Jane Deans (1823 – 1911)                                   Died of old …

A Riccarton Ghostly Tale

When one thinks of the Austen Deans – award winning artist, mountaineer, World War II survivor – and the interesting life he crammed into 95 years, one could understand why he was the centre of a ghostly occurrence at Riccarton House that no one can really explain – even today. On the 1st December 1915, …

Sir George Seymour – the 3rd Ship

The Sir George Seymour was the third ship to dock at Lyttelton, arriving 24 hours (to the hour) after the Charlotte Jane dropped her anchor. She was though, the last of the four to leave England, carrying 227 souls to a new life. Before her journey to Lyttelton in 1850, she had a history as …