Christchurch Gardens – Their Early History

The Old and the New 1 Christchurch people of the younger generations and strangers to the city who wander among the ordered prettinesses of the Christchurch Botanical Gardens, and pace along the pleasant winding paths between old-world blooms and old-world trees, can scarcely realise that little more than 50 years ago the place whereon all…

‘The Bricks’ and Shipping on the Avon

When Christchurch was Young Written for Ellesmere Guardian by Mr W. A. Taylor, 1944 The Avon river (Otakaro) predates its sister stream the Heathcote (Opawaho) as a navigable course to Christchurch. The first person of European blood of whom we have knowledge, to take a boat up the Avon river, was a pakeha Maori from…

Refugee and Philanthropist – Hyman Marks and the Christchurch Hospital, 1897

In Christchurch Hospital’s busy, twenty first century entrance foyer, patients, staff and visitors hurry past a distinguished man immortalised in bronze. These days, many do not have time to stop and acknowledge the Victorian gentleman’s likeness which was sculpted by William Trethewey (1892-1956) between 1920-30. However in the last decade of the nineteenth century, this man…

Hay’s – the friendly store where everything is different

The first part of the twentieth century was the heyday for the department store in New Zealand. The iconic department store, Hays, was a ‘household name’ in Christchurch from its inception in 1929 to its closure in 1982. The brainchild of James Hay, the ex-advertising manager of both Ballantynes and Beaths, he dreamed of establishing…

The Government Provincial Buildings

Christchurch has a frontier appearance about it in this photograph taken by Dr. Barker in 1860 from the tower of the Canterbury Provincial Buildings.  With little beyond the immediate streets, it certainly has an appearance of being very small and very isolated in the middle of a large swampy plain.  However, there are some semblances…

Opening of the Boating Season, Avon River

The wide stretches of the Avon River provided a suitable stretch of water for rowing to become a major sport and past time for Christchurch residents. The Canterbury Rowing Club was formed in 1861 while the Union Club began in 1864 – many of its members coming from the workers on the railway between Christchurch…

Cambridge Terrace, Worcester Street and the Avon River 1910

Here we look upon one of Christchurch’s beautiful public gardens which spans Durham Street and the River Avon. This photograph shows how carefully the city authorities went about landscaping the inner city banks of the River Avon to create a groomed English appearance. From the 1870’s, the city’s well laid out streets and picturesque public…