Replica Leper’s Cottage, Quail Island, Lyttelton Harbour: Picturing Canterbury

Replica Leper’s Cottage, Quail Island, Lyttelton Harbour. Kete Christchurch. Replica-Leper_s-Cottage-Quail-Island-31-March-2013. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

Date: 31 March 2013

Entry in the 2014 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt by Jane Rodgers.

Quail Island was proclaimed a quarantine station on 11 February 1875. The first leprosy patient was Willa Vallane, who was confined to the island in 1906. A second was admitted in 1908, with a third in 1909. By 1925 there were eight patients in residence (a ninth, George Philips, made an escape after having being certified as cured). In that year the eight patients were relocated from Quail Island to a new “leper colony” on Makogai Island in the Pacific.

Do you have any photographs of Quail Island? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Kōrerorero mai – Join the conversation

A Sandwich-board Man Advertising Dancing Shoes In Cathedral Square, Christchurch: Picturing Canterbury

A sandwich-board man advertising dancing shoes in Cathedral Square, Christchurch [1927]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 6, IMG0041.
A sandwich-board man advertising dancing shoes in Cathedral Square, Christchurch [1927].

Do you have any photographs of people working in Cathedral Square ? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Prisoners planting trees on the Hanmer Plains: Picturing Canterbury

Prisoners planting trees on the Hanmer Plains. File Reference CCL-KPCD1-IMG0090.

Prisoners planting trees on the Hanmer Plains [ca. 1904].

Between 1900 and 1901 reserve land was set aside in Hanmer Springs for planting exotic trees to supply the Christchurch market. Planting of radiata pine and Douglas fir began in 1902-1903 and prison labour was used 1903-1913. There were 25 prisoners here in 1904, most of whom had asked to serve their sentence at Hanmer. Conditions were the same as a city prison, the only difference being the men got an additional four marks a week remission for industry. See The Press, 10 Sept, 1904, p. 3; The weekly press, 24 Mar. 1909, p. 67.

Do you have any photographs of Hanmer Springs? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Prisoners Planting Trees On The Hanmer Plains

Christchurch to Lyttelton suburban Ec electric locomotive undergoing maintenance in the Addington Workshops: Picturing Canterbury

Christchurch to Lyttelton suburban Ec electric locomotive undergoing maintenance in the Addington Workshops. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0054.

Christchurch to Lyttelton suburban Ec electric locomotive undergoing maintenance in the Addington Workshops [ca. 1960].

Built between 1879-1880, the Addington railway workshops replaced an earlier railway workshop (the first in New Zealand) and continued to operate until December 1990. The New Zealand EC class locomotive was designed by English Electric in 1928 to serve the electrification of the line between Lyttelton and Christchurch. They were decommissioned in 1970.

Do you have any photographs of the Addington workshops or the EC class locomotive? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Christchurch To Lyttelton Suburban Ec Electric Locomotive Undergoing Maintenance In The Addington Workshops

Ferrymead: House and hotel

The modern Ferry Road Bridge marks the site of where a ferry service once operated to serve those settlers who, after having arrived in Lyttelton and having crossed the Port Hills via the Bridle Path, would commence the final leg of their journey to Christchurch.

When standing on the bridge, let your gaze wander along the banks of the Heathcote River until it comes to rest on a house, partially obscured by trees, with an ad hoc blend of nineteenth and early twentieth century architecture. This is 285 Bridle Path Road, or as it was once known, Ferrymead House.

Bridle Path Road 285 Distance. Kete Christchurch. Bridle_Path_Road_285_Distance. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

Although there is very little other than the house to show for it now, this was once the site of a busy cargo wharf and railway station.

In December 1851, James Townsend (d. 1866) leased a plot of one hundred and fifty acres next to the Heathcote River from Robert Godley for a period of three years. As part of this lease, Townsend was required to establish approaches to the ferry and provide a punt for the use of which he could charge tolls. In 1852 the ferry was moved further upstream to the site leased by Townsend.

Upon the site he leased, Townsend built a kitset house using the ‘best Van Dieman’s Land timber’. From an early photograph taken in December 1863 by Alfred Charles Barker we can deduce that it was similar in style to another ‘Hobart-town timber’ house, Dullatur, built in Opawa in 1852. Townsend’s house (as seen in the photograph below) faced north, with an east-west roof line and two dormers on the northern side of the first floor. Although he originally named its Greenlands, the property eventually came to be called Ferry Mead.

In July 1853 the mercantile firm of Joseph Longden and Henry Le Cren of Lyttelton advertised the house for let, describing the property as ‘one hundred acres of freehold land…situated on the Bank of the River Heathcote, where schooners can land goods at all times.’ It is possible that no one initially took up the offer, as by March 1854 Joseph Longden was still advertising the property. In October 1855 Charles Torlesse, who had married Townsend’s third daughter, Alicia, in 1851, was advertising the property for sale on behalf of Townsend.

By March 1856, John Mills, a former settler from Tasmania, was living at Ferrymead, where he sold roofing shingles which he imported from Tasmania. However, in September 1856 he sold up his stock and chattels and departed New Zealand. It is possible that the property remained in his possession, as by August 1857, Frederic Le Cren (a ferry master at the Heathcote) advertised the house for sale (or let). At this time it was described as a “desirable and convenient residence” containing six rooms and accompanied by a garden with trees, a stable, cart shed, fowl house, piggery and stock yards.  Three months later, Frederic Le Cren married Cecilia, the eldest daughter of John Mills.

By June 1859 William Reeves was the occupant. He started a carrier business between Lyttelton and Christchurch via Sumner and used the property as a stopover point between the two destinations. In August 1862 the auction firm J. Olliver and Sons advertised the house, now consisting of seven rooms, to be let, with a lease for five years.

Heathcote. Kete Christchurch. PH15-NZViews-005. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

Ferrymead Hotel

Initially the Heathcote had been used by cargo boats to bring goods further upriver to a site which later became known as Steam Wharf. In 1861 the Canterbury Provincial Council decided to build a railway line from Christchurch to the site of a proposed tunnel to Lyttelton. In 1863 this Christchurch-Heathcote railway line was extended to Ferrymead before officially opening on 28 November 1863.

Even though a former ferry operator, Thomas Hughes, had kept a house on the western side of the river known as the Heathcote Hotel, the prospect of a railway line and cargo wharf at Ferrymead offered the opportunity for a rival institution. In April 1863 Stephen “Yankee Doodle” Curtis opened a store at Ferrymead House. In that same month he applied for a license to sell liquor which was granted on the condition that he improved the house before the license renewal in the following year. By July he was referring to the building as Ferrymead Hotel.

Photograph: Ferrymead Station Christchurch Railway 1863, taken by Alfred Charles Barker. Canterbury Museum, Accession Number: 1957.13.120, CC BY-NC 4.0

The photograph taken in December by Alfred Charles Barker shows how the new settlement at Ferrymead looked. The approach to the now redundant ferry is situated in the foreground. Beyond stands a cluster of buildings, the centre of which is the Ferrymead Hotel. Next door, to the east, is the gaol and policeman’s house. Situated between the hotel and the river were the refreshment rooms and a goods shed. Just beyond this were the railway line and the cargo wharf.

In March 1866 the hotel was the site for the inquest on the body of a man, Laud, who drowned in the Heathcote River after falling overboard.

With the official opening of the Lyttelton rail tunnel in December 1867 the line to Ferrymead was eventually closed. By March 1868 the station buildings, apart from the hotel, had either been demolished or relocated. Although it was no longer on a route, the Ferrymead Hotel was still operating in 1874 as in May the licensee of the hotel, John Holman, is recorded as being charged with providing liquor after hours.

285 Bridle Path Road – Side. Kete Christchurch. Bridle_Path_Road_285_Side. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

Market gardens

In 1886 the property was purchased by the Bunting family who used the land surrounding the former hotel to grow tomatoes. During their ownership the building resumed its original role as a house.

The house underwent renovation during its ownership by Leonard and Annie Shearman (nee Bunting), fruit growers, who are recorded as residing in the Heathcote Valley by 1913. During this time, a porch was built over the main entrance which was enclosed at a later date. A box window was added to the west façade of the ground floor. Upstairs, the two north facing dormers were merged to form an unusual gable. These changes must have been made after 1906 as a painting by Florence Hammond dated from that year shows the building in its original form. A photograph dated from the 1920s, when the property was still owned by the Shearmans, shows that the structural changes made to the building were already in place.

Under the ownership of the Shearmans a museum was established behind the house which, during the 1930s and 1940s, catered to visits by school classes. The museum collection consisted of photographs and items associated with the history of Ferrymead House and its environs.

In 1971 the house and nursery were purchased by Philip Wright (1943-2015), who had an interest in horticulture. A collector of antique items, Philip Wright kept the museum and the nursery open to the public, as an advertisement from the Christchurch Star (April 15, 1976, p.21) shows. In 2008, a short documentary “The Lost Time Traveller” was filmed, which consists of interviews with Philip Wright as he takes the viewer on a tour of the property. The documentary provides some glimpses of the interior of the house, including the original staircase.

The house suffered damage during the Canterbury earthquakes and the chimney, which was already on a lean prior to the earthquakes, was later removed.

285 Bridle Path Road. Kete Christchurch. Bridle_Path_Road_285. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

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Knowlescourt, 274 Papanui Road, 4 March 2011, north facade: Picturing Canterbury

Knowlescourt, 274 Papanui Road, 4 March 2011. Kete Christchurch. Knowlescourt__274_Papanui_Road__4_March_2011___north_facade. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

The former house at 274 Papanui Road, known  as “Knowles Court” was built in 1910 for Christchurch solicitor, Thomas Gregory Russell and his wife Doris. It was designed in the Arts and Crafts architectural style by John James Collins of the firm Armson, Collins and Harman. The interior of the house was later converted into flats. Although a heritage listed building, having sustained damage during the Canterbury earthquakes, the house was demolished in 2011.

Do you have any photographs of 274 Papanui Road? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Parachutist free-falling from a Gipsy Moth over Christchurch: Picturing Canterbury

Parachutist free-falling from a Gipsy Moth over Christchurch [196-?]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0034.
The ZK-AAW was a Gypsy Moth which belonged to the Canterbury Aero Club and was used to train pilots. In 1933 it was used as a support plane for a parachute drop performed by “Scotty” Frazer. In 1935, while being flown by J.J. Busch on a return flight from Rangiora to the Wigram aerodrome, it was damaged when it crashed in Ohoka. While being repaired it was repainted with the colours of the aero club, red for the fuselage and black for the undercarriage and engine cowling. The ZK-AAW suffered further damage in 1936 when it crash landed in a paddock at Eveline and collided with a gorse hedge.

Do you have any photographs of the Canterbury Aero Club? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Parachutist Free-falling From A Gipsy Moth Over Christchurch

Mr George King who began breeding ostriches for their feathers on his Burwood property in 1893: Picturing Canterbury

Mr George King who began breeding ostriches for their feathers on his Burwood property in 1893 [189-?]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 10, IMG0059.
Mr George King who began breeding ostriches for their feathers on his Burwood property in 1893 [189-?].

George King was born in 1850 to Irish immigrant parents at Richmond, Sydney. Around 1872 he arrived in Christchurch and started the auctioneering firm Geo. King and Co. Ostrich farming is what Mr King was most well known for and ostrich farming didn’t always run smoothly. During the reproducing season when it rained, many nests became flooded and the birds drowned due to the retentive land the farm was on. Containing the birds was also a problem as most fences failed to hold them and they often ran amok onto the roads. Mr King was a good rider who kept horses and would set off after them. When a bird made a break for freedom it took a fast horse to catch up with it.

In 1907 Mr King took the birds to the International Exhibition in Hagley Park. The ostriches were sold in 1908.

Do you have any photographs of Burwood? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Mr George King Who Began Breeding Ostriches For Their Feathers On His Burwood Property In 1893

Johnson’s Fishponds, the Aquarium at 105 Clarendon Terrace, Opawa: Picturing Canterbury

Johnson’s Fishponds, the Aquarium at 105 Clarendon Terrace, Opawa [ca. 1900]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 3, IMG0038.
Johnson’s Fishponds, the Aquarium at 105 Clarendon Terrace, Opawa [ca. 1900].

In 1875 Andrew Mensal Johnson (d. 1916) established a fish hatchery and aquarium at Opawa, on the south bank of the Heathcote River, calling it Troutdale Farm. It became popular as a picnic grounds until it closed in the early 1930s. For further information about Johnson and his work see:

Do you have any photographs of Opawa? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Johnson’s Fishponds, The Aquarium At 105 Clarendon Terrace, Opawa

Riverside Neo-Georgian: The Theosophical Society Hall

Late in the afternoon of 25 July 1926, a crowd gathered at 267 Cambridge Terrace to witness the dedication of a newly erected building. Built in the Neo-Georgian style of architecture, it evoked the image of a palatial dwelling rather than that of a religious institution. At exactly 4:43pm, a time chosen for being the supposed moment when the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, gave his first sermon at a deer park in Sanarth, India, a dedication stone was unveiled which read:

“This building is dedicated to the Glory of God and to the Service of Humanity.”

Yet the building was neither a Buddhist temple nor a church, but a purpose built hall for a new movement that had arisen in the late nineteenth century, the Theosophical Society.

The Theosophical Hall, Cambridge Terrace, Christchurch [1926]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 8, IMG0085.

The Theosophical Society

The Theosophical Society was formed in New York in 1875 by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891), a Russian immigrant, who claimed to have visited Tibet and made contact with a group of secret mystics known as the ‘Masters’. In all likelihood Blavatsky had never visited Tibet (however, her grandfather was the Russian government’s appointed guardian of the Kalmyk people, descendants of Oirat Mongols who had migrated to the Volga steppe of Russia in the seventeenth century and who followed Tibetan Buddhism). Blavatsky managed to convince Henry Steel Olcott (1832-1907), one of the founding members of the New York Confederacy of Spiritualists, as to the existence of the Masters and that she was the recipient of their doctrines. Together they worked to establish a movement of which the objectives were:

To form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or colour.

To encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy and science.

To investigate unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in humanity.

Unable to establish itself on Spiritualist credentials alone, the Theosophical Society soon rebranded itself by appropriating the doctrines of Hinduism and Buddhism. To further this connection with the ancient faiths of India, the society relocated its international headquarters to Adyar, India, in 1882.

Theosophy in Christchurch

Theosophy soon became known in New Zealand through publications and visiting lecturers. Eventually the first lodge was founded in Wellington in 1888, with an Auckland lodge following in 1892.

On 13 May 1894 a meeting was held at the house of William Denne Meers, a clothing manufacturer, with the purpose of forming a Christchurch branch of the Theosophical Society. As a result, the Christchurch lodge was officially established on 28 June 1894. Without any formal premises, the society initially met in rooms at the Opera House at 214 Tuam Street. In the years that followed, the lodge was visited by prominent overseas members, including social reformer Annie Besant (1847-1933) in October 1894 and Henry Steel Olcott in September 1897.

A month after the visit by Olcott, the lodge moved to what was then 130 Lichfield Street, opposite Bennett’s corner. In mid-1900, it relocated to Hobbs’ Buildings on the north side of Cathedral Square (the present site of Tūranga). By 1906, its meetings were held at 150 Worcester Street (opposite the Federal Club). Eventually, in 1910, the lodge took up residence in Manchester Chambers at 263 Manchester Street where it remained until the Cambridge Terrace hall was established.

Sure to Rise

Thomas J. Edmonds (1858-1932) was a successful Christchurch businessman who was most famous for his baking powder and the factory which produced it (now the site of the Edmonds Factory Garden). With his wealth, he contributed to the architecture of the city, with notable examples being the Band Rotunda on Cambridge Terrace and the Radiant Hall on Kilmore Street. Although he was not a member of the Theosophical Society, his daughter Beatrice often attended the society’s meetings. When the society began fundraising for a purpose built hall in 1925, Edmonds offered his financial assistance.

Cecil Wood

The building was designed by prominent architect, Cecil W. Wood (1878-1947) who, from 1922, took an interest in Georgian architecture (one of his notable works being the residence of the Anglican Bishop of Christchurch, Bishopscourt, on Park Terrace). The tender for its construction was awarded to the building firm D. Scott and Son.

While other Theosophical Society halls in New Zealand, such as Wellington (1918) and Auckland (1922) were designed in the Classical architectural style, Wood chose Neo-Georgian for the Christchurch lodge. Constructed from brick, and rectangular in form, the building’s sparse street front was enlivened by the use of multi-paned windows and quoins. Classical elements were still included in the form an entrance framed by a triangular pediment set atop two pillars.

Within, various rooms including a library, kitchen and chapel (for use by the Liberal Catholic Church of Saint Francis) were accessed from a central hallway. At the rear of the building was the central lecture hall, which could seat up to 120 individuals (although it was originally intended to seat more). The second floor of the building eventually became the home of the Christchurch Lodge of Universal Co-masonry and the Esoteric Society.

Theosophical Hall, 267 Cambridge Terrace, 31 March 2011. Kete Christchurch. Theosophical_Hall__267_Cambridge_Terrace___31_March_2011____P3310167. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

The end

The Theosophical Society in Christchurch and the Liberal Catholic Church of Saint Francis continued to use the hall until it was damaged in the 2011 Canterbury earthquake. Despite being a heritage listed building, it was subsequently demolished in 2012. Following the demolition of the hall, the Christchurch branch of the Theosophical Society now meets at the Canterbury Workers’ Educational Association building.

Demolition of the Theosophical Hall, 23 June 2012. Kete Christchurch. Demolition_of_the_Theosophical_Hall__23_June_2012__SAM_7293. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

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