8 months ago

Selwyn Times: March 14, 2018


14 Wednesday March 14 2018 Latest Christchurch news at News Local News Now SELWYN TIMES Fire rages, homes at risk Irish have played integral part of REMEMBRANCE: A Celtic headstone at the Leeston Catholic Cemetery is evidence of the importance placed in maintaining Irish identity in Selwyn. Due to strong public interest after the Rolleston 150 th celebrations in 2015, Selwyn District councillor Jeff Bland and Wayne Stack, a historian who also works for the district council, recognised that continuing to promote local history would have long-term social and economic benefits within the district. Mr Stack will provide a series of monthly features focusing on various historic places and people who have stories that add value to the district’s heritage. Anyone with suggestions for future features can phone Wayne on 021 119 9107. This month’s feature covers Selwyn’s Irish history ON MARCH 17 Irish migrants who have made the Selwyn district their home will be celebrating St Patrick’s Day. The Irish have played an integral part in the development of the district from the earliest years of colonial settlement. Historically, Selwyn has proven to be an area of opportunity and prosperity, especially for those who could acquire and work the land. One of the earliest Irishman to seize such opportunity was James Edward Fitzgerald, whose Protestant parents hailed from County Kildare. He was one of the original settlers to arrive in Canterbury in 1850 and by 1854 had acquired the lease of a large pastoral run, known as ‘Springs.’ The homestead was situated where Lincoln University is now and the run included the area now taken up by Lincoln township and stretched to Lake Ellesmere. It was Mr Fitzgerald who established the township in 1862 and named the streets after himself and his Irish homeland. He named four of the new streets after himself (James, Edward, Fitz and Gerald) and others after his sons. He honoured his Irish heritage in naming Kildare and Leinster Terraces. He was Canterbury Provincial Superintendent in 1853-57, and as a member of the first executive council, he became arguably New Zealand’s first prime minister. Our Great history WITH WAYNE STACK He was also notable for establishing both The Press and the Lyttelton Times. However, by far the majority of Irish immigrants to settle in the district were Roman Catholic. Land was available for those who could afford to lease or buy it, and with determination and hard work, many families prospered. This was in contrast to the situation in Ireland during the 19th-century where the penal laws restricting land ownership and political freedom to Catholics resulted in Protestants, who made up only 10 per cent of the population, owning 90 per cent of the land. This, combined with a series of famines in the 1840s and 1870s, lead to mass migration of Irish families. The first wave of Irish Catholics coming to New Zealand was in the 1850s-1860s; having been attracted to the gold rushes in Otago and on the West Coast. Many had first arrived via the Australian goldfields in Victoria. An example of this is the four McEvedy brothers (James, Patrick, Thomas and Peter) from County Mayo who had immigrated to Australia in 1858. They arrived in New Zealand in 1864, first settling in Hokitika and then moving to the Southbridge area, leasing and purchasing land at Sedgemere in 1866. The family has been established in Ellesmere for over 150 years and have been prominent in farming, in establishing Catholic churches in Southbridge and Leeston, as well as the Catholic primary school at Leeston, and in local politics. Michael McEvedy was the mayor of Selwyn district for 12 years from 1995 to 2007 and his cousin, Pat, is a current councillor. Meet me Bill Tito Craftsman Book Repair Specialist Paper Plus Shop 24, the Hub Hornby Mall Fri 23, Sat 24, Sun 25 March Ph.03 344-5050 10am - 4pm each day Dont Despair Think Repair All Repairs Welcome

SELWYN TIMES Latest Christchurch news at Wednesday March 14 2018 15 Local News Now News settlement in the Selwyn district Fire rages, homes at risk Irish Catholics initially tended to settle together in clusters due to established family connections. Known as chain migration, newcomers relied on already settled family and friends to provide material assistance and work opportunities. This was certainly the case in the Selwyn district where Irish Catholic enclaves were established around Southbridge, Leeston and Killinchy, as well as the greater Darfield area. Killinchy was named after a village in County Down, Ulster, where many of the settlers in that area had migrated from, while a number of connected families who settled in Southbridge came from County Tipperary. These rural locations suited many Irish migrants who tended to settle where there was high demand for manual labour and agricultural workers. Government assisted migration promoted the second wave of Irish Catholic migration into the district, with Julius Vogel’s ‘Public Works Act’ of 1870 leading to the need for an available labour force to help build the new roads, bridges and railway lines in the area. By 1896 the local Darfield parish priest recorded that he tended to 300 Irish Catholic families ‘up and down 70 miles of a growing railway system.’ The Catholic church and schools were fundamental in fostering and maintaining religious and Irish identity, as well as a sense of community. The building of local churches and the two Catholic primary schools that were established in Leeston and Darfield were funded solely from within the communities. The first Catholic church in Leeston was a small wooden structure built in 1869 on the current site of the Ellesmere Brass Band Hall. When St John the Evangelist Church was constructed on its current High St site in 1894, the old wooden church was transferred to the new site and used as a classroom for the new convent school which was run by the Sisters of the Mission from 1895. At that time the school had 80 pupils. Two additional classrooms were later added, but the school eventually closed in 1986. The school buildings were demolished and the church lost its IRISH: St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Darfield, which replaced the original Gothicstyle church destroyed by fire in 1935. iconic steeple a result of the 2010 earthquake. St Joseph’s Catholic Church was built on donated land on O’Connell St, Southbridge, in 1878 and was renovated during the 1960s. However, it closed in 1982 and is now the Mistlewood Gallery. Darfield’s first Catholic church was the Church of the Holy Angels, which was a Gothic-style wooden structure built on two acres of donated land on Telegraph Rd in 1880. This was followed by the opening of St John’s Convent School in 1896, opposite the church on land donated by the Clinton family. The school originally began with 40 pupils and teaching was provided by the Sisters of Mercy. The school closed in 1986. In 1935 the wooden church was destroyed by fire and was replaced with the current church, St Joseph’s. Old World attitudes and prejudice was prevalent within colonial society, where religion held more significance to most people than today. Up until the 1960s mixed marriages of Protestants and Catholics was frowned upon and the dead were buried in separate locations depending on their religion. That is one reason why Leeston and Darfield have separate Catholic cemeteries. The Irish Catholics from Lincoln raised funds for their first church, Church of the Reparation, which was erected on Shands Track in 1871. It served the congregation until St Patrick’s was built on Gerald Street in 1957. Due to earthquake damage, St Patrick’s has since been demolished and Catholic mass is now held in St Stephen’s Anglican Church; something that would have been unheard of 50 years ago. GOLD CARD LUNCHES MON - FRI Come and celebrate St Patrick’s Day Saturday 17th March • Guinness • Woodfired Pizzas / Full Menu Open 7 days Coffee/Lunch/Dinner Open 11.30am Mon-Sat | Ph 03 421 6481 Sunday Breakfast from 9am West Melton Village, Weedons Ross Road Courtesy Van available Magical Park EverGreen Game! Celebrate Parks Week 2018 by playing an exciting new augmented reality game with an environmental twist — EverGreen! Available at Lincoln Domain on Meijer Drive, Lincoln from 10–25 March. Turning recycling and rubbish collection into a fun and exciting game for kids rewards them for being responsible for their environment. EverGreen encourages kids and families to get out and explore their local parks whilst learning the fundamentals of recycling. · Average playing time 30–60mins · Average distance covered 700–2000m Other games to choose from: · Augmentia – find kittens · Prehistoria – collect dinosaur eggs · Alien Scape – save aliens Download the app on Android and iPhone. See the in-game instructions. GEO A.R. games