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

To tree or not to tree – Arbor Day 5 June

Have you ever wondered what librarians do on their day off? Well sometimes, we like to go to bookshops. Crazy, I know, we’re around books at work every day – what do we want with books on our day off? I guess sometimes its nice to browse from the other side of the stacks — a bit like Hermione taking Muggle Studies to look at things from the wizarding point of view.

9781447273981So the other day, when Mr K and I went into town to look at the newly re-opened Bridge of Remembrance, I couldn’t resist popping into the new Scorpio Books. The first book that caught my eye was Tidy by Emily Gravett. The wonderful peek-a-boo cover lured my into the forest (just like the lamppost lures Lucy into Narnia) where I met a badger named Pete who likes everything neat. This is a delightfully funny story about what happens when neatness is taken to the extreme. I loved the expressions on the animals’ faces, and their growing panic as Pete’s desperate attempts to keep the forest tidy start to go horribly wrong. I also love the way Gravett subtly introduces a conservation message. It’s definitely one of my latest favourite picture books.

Cover of As An Oak Tree GrowsAnother latest favourite is As An Oak Tree Grows by G. Brian Karas. I took this one home to read to the Young Lad, because it’s by the same author as The Village Garage – which is one of his favourites – and he enjoyed it even more than I expected. This simple story starts with a young Native American boy planting an acorn, and continues on through the years as the tree grows and the world changes around it. The Young Lad really enjoyed the story, and was fascinated by the facts about oak trees in the back of the book. He also thoroughly enjoyed the activity sheet and poster, and especially enjoyed poring over the illustrations to see what he could find. No matter what I said to the contrary, he insisted that the tall ships in the harbour were pirate ships! Even when I pointed out that they had white sails, not black ones or red-and-white stripes like pirate ships should have, and that they didn’t have any Jolly Roger flags, he was quite sure they were pirates. Even so, the book prompted lots of discussion about history, types of transportation, and Progress, as well as trees.

After telling you about such tree-y additions to my Favourite Picture Books list, it seems only right to let you know about the Arbor Day events that are on this weekend.

Cover of The Trees and MeFor more information, read about Arbor Day on the CCC website.

As it happens, 5 June is World Environment Day as well as Arbor Day, so in honour of the occasion, I’ve put together a booklist of kids books about trees and the environment.

Maybe I’ll even join in myself and plant a tree on my day off!

Bellbirds in the winter garden

"Wonders of the winter landscape" Book coverWinter garden are beautiful with the stark contrast of twig and berry. I am enjoying the bellbirds, fantails and wax eyes visiting my garden seeking out winter flowering shrubs. 

As the cloud level comes down and the weather cools, native birds arrive to take their luck in domestic gardens. If you’re lucky enough to have a neighbour with large trees or you have nectar rich flowering shrubs in your garden you may have had a visit. The liquid sound of bellbirds singing in Christchurch gardens is on the increase. Have you had any visit your garden? 

Investigate these books on: 

  • Attracting birds to your garden.
  • Winter gardening
  • Plants in winter
  • If you haven’t had any bellbirds visit you could take advantage of the wet ground and plant a tree or shrub with the family. Take a visit to your nearest garden centre and get the children to select their own to plant, break out the gumboots and spades and spend the weekend planting. It’s a great way to get everyone outside enjoying the garden and connecting with nature. The kids will remember the time they planted their tree or shrub and you can compare how much they’ve both grown in years to come. 

    Explore our Library Website: 

  • Sustainable living
  • Loving winter
  • Gardening
  • Autumn Gardening
  • Winter Gardening from Richard Poole 

    Mrs Beswick planting a Coronation oak in the Christchurch Domain [22 June 1911]Got a pocket sized garden? Then take advantage of Council planting programmes and connect with your local community. It is surprising how many hands make light work big planting schemes, you’ll see the rewards of your labors quicker than you think. A few years is all it has taken to make a change from paddock to park at the Halswell Quarry. 

    Christchurch has a proud tradition of public planting days we first celebrated Arbor Day on 4 August 1892. Augustus Florance waxed lyrical and advised on how Arbor Day might be even more successfully observed in the future. 

    Christchurch City Council Links: 

  • Arbor Day
  • Year of Biodiversity
  • Volunteer events including clean-ups and tree plantings.
  • Popular Parks
  • I remember my children as they got their hands dirty and planted shrubs having enormous fun and enjoying a sausage to celebrate their achievement afterward. Have you ever attended a planting day?