The ‘Sir George Seymour’ Dropped Anchor at Lyttelton – 17th December 1850

On the 17th December 1850, the Canterbury Association’s third ship, Sir George Seymour, sailed into Lyttelton Harbour and dropped anchor at 10.00am. She had been at sea for 100 days and carried 227 souls. Out of the First Four Ships, she had been the last to leave England.

Before her journey to Lyttelton in 1850, she had a history as a convict ship – taking the voyage to Australia a few times over the years (1847 -1849). Lyttelton was also not her first New Zealand port – she had made the journey to Auckland too. After Lyttelton, she continued to be a passenger ship, mostly to Australia.

The Sir George Seymour and the Randolph were the only ships to view each other on the trip over in 1850. They sailed together from the 4th October to the 10th October. The Randolph passenger – Cyrus Davie – who missed his boarding time, was able to sail on the Sir George Seymour and took the opportunity to join his luggage and sleep in his own cabin on the Randolph after this historic chance meeting. He made the transfer to the Randolph in a row boat.

A passenger aboard wrote the following about the first church service held on the poop [stern deck]: ”What church could be grander than that which had a sky for its roof, the ocean for its floor, and God himself for its architect.”

In 1897, the Sir George Seymour was present at a celebration of the ships that carried early settlers to Australia and New Zealand. Another ship was also docked during these celebrations named the “Minerva’. This was the ship that carried the newly married and pregnant John and Jane Deans (who settled at Riccarton) from Scotland to Lyttelton in 1853.

For a closer look at the story of Cyrus Davie, please check out the following link:

Noted Canterbury Settlers:

William Guise Brittan – Was in charge of the Land Office. Great land owner – gifted the wood for the building of St Paul’s Anglican Church in Papanui. His earthquake damaged home ‘Englefield’ currently sits in the Red Zone.
Walpole Fendall – Remembered in the naming of Fendalton.
Rev. Henry Jacobs – The First Dean of Canterbury.
J.C. Watts-Russell – Named his estate ‘Ilam’ – now the suburb.
Henry Phillips – His farms are now the suburbs of Phillipstown and St Martins.
Daniel Inwood – Opened Christchurch’s first flour mill on Carlton Corner. Known as the Canterbury Mill, it was renamed to the Carlton Mill by the next owners.

*image courtesy of Cairnduff and Cairnduff*

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