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Fitzgerald's Town

In 1849 Lincoln was

In 1849 Lincoln was selected as the name for a town to be located near the mouth of the Selwyn River by Captain Joseph Thomas, surveyor for the Canterbury Association. It was chosen to honour the Earl of Lincoln, a member of the Association and of its management committee, but it was an inappropriate site situated as it was in extensive swampland and the town was never built. Thirteen years later it was natural that FitzGerald, who was involved with the Association and with the early development of Canterbury Province, should transfer the name to his town. Sources and Notes 1. The Press. 20 June 1862. See Papers Past 2. Diary of E .J. Chudleigh, ed. J.C. Richards 1950 3. Adams, T.W. 1918. Early Lincoln. The Chronicles of a Pioneer. Canterbury Agricultural College Magazine, pp524-529. 4. Ellesmere Guardian. 11 April 1903. See Papers Past 5. See Natural Resources of Lake Ellesmere (Te Waihora) and its catchment 6. The Natural History of Canterbury 2008, Canterbury University Press 8

THE BUYING OF LINCOLN As agricultural activity moved south from Christchurch FitzGerald realised that there was a need to establish a town to service the growing rural population. To this end he acquired 44 acres, formerly part of the Springs Run, which he subdivided into nine blocks of about twenty sections each. Most were a quarter acre in area, but some, east of Robert and Lyttelton Streets, were either slightly smaller or slightly larger. The sections, all constrained within the four town belts, were offered for sale at the upset price of 12 pounds, but it was hoped that at auction they would sell for more, and that they would sell quickly. Also included in the sub-division was just over one acre reserved for the Church of England, now the site of St Stephen’s and the vicarage on opposite corners of Edward Street, and just outside the north east boundary two acres were reserved for the Presbyterian Church. It is sometimes difficult to determine when a section was first bought because the transaction was not always registered at the time of sale, an omission noted when the original purchaser wanted to sell or required a Certificate of Title. Thus FitzGerald wrote in support of an application for a certificate that he had sold the land under consideration for twelve pounds some twenty years earlier. Sometimes the original buyer could not be traced, and in such cases the land became the responsibility of the Public Trustee to dispose of under the Unclaimed Lands Act. By this process individuals were able to buy sections long after the details of the first transaction had been forgotten. Thus, Bartram and Co. bought three sections in Robert Street, William Hamilton one in North Belt and two in James Street, and John Zimmerman one in Maurice St. In all these cases the first record, usually in the 1870s, states that the original date of sale occurred at some earlier time, and here it is assumed that it occurred in about 1863. Seventy nine sections were sold during the 1860’s at an average price of 14 pounds, and a further fifty two were sold for the first time during the 1870’s at an average price of 18 pounds 15 shillings. A few were not sold until the 20 th century, and of these the most unusual was the realisation, in 1964, that the site chosen for the fire station on James Street, believed to be Crown land, had never been sold and was still owned by FitzGerald. A surprise for everyone concerned! The problems of title were solved and the land was eventually taken under the Public Works Act and vested in the name of the Chairman, Councillors and Inhabitants of Ellesmere County. 9

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