Our city is in the process of a major rebuilding programme. Travelling around the city requires great patience and perseverance because of the rebuild.
At the weekend, we went to look for a new shopping development and, although we found the complex, in the process of the search, we also became hopelessly entangled in detours and blocked roads and had to venture into areas that we hadn’t visited in a very long time.
That is why we happened upon this delightful spot on the Heathcote River, on its way to the sea. (This is the view down river.)
In the very beginning, when Christchurch, the city, was more a plan on a piece of paper than a reality, this spot was known as Christchurch Quay or Radley Wharf.
The new settlers from England, after months in cramped quarters at sea, arrived in the port of Lyttelton. The next part of the journey involved climbing over the Port Hills via the Bridle Path, crossing the Heathcote River, at a place called Ferrymead, and proceeding to town along a muddy pot holed road. Their belongings, the ones they couldn’t carry, came the long way round, by sea from Lyttelton to Sumner and thence to Christchurch Quay. From here their goods were taken by horse ,or dray, to Christchurch. Travelling to, and through, the city was a difficult and arduous process.
My great great grandparents, James and Amelia, arrived in Lyttelton on 16 August 1855 aboard the Caroline Agnes. They came with their three small children; Caroline, George and Fanny. My great-grandmother, Fanny, was a year old. It is possible that where I stood, to take my photos of the old Christchurch Quay, was the very place where my forbears once stood. Perhaps it was here they paused, took a deep, weary and determined breath, and negotiated their way to a new and different life. Not in Christchurch, as it turned out, because by 1856 the family was settled further north in the small settlement of Kaiapoi.
This is the view, up river, following the towpath. The Port Hills can be seen in the distance.
As I reflected on days past, the path we are on today seemed not so hard; our ancestors trod it once before. We can take courage from their successes and failures. They travel with us as our companion guides and let us know that we can tackle present and future roads. That’s enough to make me smile.