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Illustrated Guide to Christchurch and Neighbourhood


This suburb of Christchurch was originally a portion of the Heathcote District. In the old times the Heathcote river was the port of entry for Canterbury. Here were bonded stores and wharves, which used to be thronged with steamers and lighters from Lyttelton, and sailing craft trading to the other ports of New Zealand and the Australian Colonies. Many an old settler of Canterbury well remembers the Ferry-road and its wharves. But when the tunnel was opened the scene changed; but not as some thought, who predicted that the grass would grow over the Ferry-road. The shipping has nearly deserted the Heathcote, but wool-works, fellmongeries, tanneries, and a carpet factory, and other industries have sprung up and created quite a populous and busy neighbourhood. Tramcars, to and from Christchurch, run frequently through the main street (Regent-street), and the railway from Christchurch to Lyttelton runs past the southern boundary, with a station for passengers and goods conveniently situated. The library is one of the oldest of the country ones in the province, having been established in 1863, and having lived and prospered, through hard times and good ever since. It has 1400 volumes of books, among which are to be found many of the newest publications in travels, history, science, &c. In connection with the library is a reading room, and steps are being taken to increase the accommodation of both.

This district was one of the first suburbs to avail itself of the facilities afforded by the Town District Act for locally managing its own affairs, having been formed into a District, under a Board, in August, 1882. The chairman of the first Board was page 223Mr. J. H. Hopkins, an old identity in the district, who has made his mark in it, invariably taking the lead or prominent part in. public matters. The way the district has improved under the administration of the Board speaks well for local government. Roads and pathways are well formed and kept, and concrete side channels and street lamps are amongst the improvements; a local fire brigade has been established, and local industries are nursed. Politically, the district has a history in Canterbury, the Heathcote having been considered a seat worthy of being contested for by the most noted of our public men, and on its platform we have seen Sir John Hall, Mr. Justice Williams, the Hon. George Buckley, and Messrs. Moorhouse, Fitzgerald, Rolleston, Montgomery, Ollivier, Kennaway, &c.

We give views of two establishments in Woolston, the Zealandia Carpet Factory and the Woolston Emporium, besides descriptions of others.