TEMPLETON & WEEDONS – Edward Merson Templar & William Weeden

The first signs of European life started to appear in Templeton and Weedons around 1860. Before that, Templeton was known as the nothern end of James Edward Fitzgerald’s sheep station, ‘The Springs’. It was named because of the many water springs on his run (where the town of Lincoln is today) and they still bubble away in the Liffey Reserve.

The term Templeton came from an early run owner, Mr. Edward Merson Templar.

It was 1859 when an accommodation house was built on the main track west. Built by Mr Main, he sold the ‘Half Way House’ to William Weeden in 1860. The following year, little cob houses began to appear; brave settlers who not only battled harsh blinding fogs in the winter but also the old Canterbury Nor’wester that would cause severe damage to their homes. If that wasn’t enough, the ground was hard and dry and only a few areas were able to produce a worthwhile crop. It was quite a relief when trees were planted across the plains which served as a buffer from both conditions.

It was the discovery of a water that became a life source for the area. Templeton became the spot where horses were watered and rested for those riding between Christchurch and the Selwyn River. With this encouraging find, William Weeden sliced up his run into 300 1/4 acre lots (and 7 streets) and put them on sale for £10 each. He sold only 4. His bad luck forced him to sell The Half Way House to William White. It was around this time that the Cobb & Co. coaches would stop and change their horses on the way to and from the West Coast.

Cobb & Co. was soon giving way to the arrival of the Railway in 1866. It was the railway company who misspelt Weedens to Weedons. It stuck. The area became Weedons officially in 1880.

One of the earliest settlers in Weedons was Mr. J.J McCelland. He eventually owned 1000 acres and gifted some of his land for a school and a church.

The Weedons Weslyan Church (Methodist) was built in 1876. The first burial in its wee cemetery was in 1877 – sadly, a 13 year old boy. The Canterbury Provincial Council set aside 58.5 acres for a cemetery but it was never used as all burials took place at the Weedons Weslyan Church.
Just to make sure though, it would be 72 years before the area was revamped into being the Weedons Domain. In 1985, the Weedons Weslyan Church was knocked down and the grounds are now known as Weedons Cemetery.

These brave early settlers are remembered in the naming of the roads – Maddisons, McCellands, Jones and Curraghs just to name a few.

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