Edward Jollie - Reminisces 1841-1865

11. Christchurch 1861-1865

Lee and I now began to look out for an investment for our spare cash.  We decided to invest it in land, and thereupon commenced to explore and examine the waste lands around Christchurch.  We found it no easy matter to obtain two thousand acres of land, all of good quality and well watered.  It was not until we examined the Ellesmere district that we came to the conclusion that what we wanted was to be got there.

We therefore purchased two thousand acres on the streams forming the Little Rakaia River in our joint names. (1)  Afterward we divided it, Lee taking a thousand acres, which he named Brooklands and I took a thousand acres, which I named Beachcroft.  During the next year this thousand acres of mine was increased by the purchase of about two hundred and fifty acres more, so that the Beachcroft Estate eventually contained a few more than twelve hundred acres, an error in survey accounting for the difference.

(1) The acreage had originally been part of the 5,000 acre Waterford run, which had been acquired in 1854 by Moses Cryer, the Canterbury Association's Store Keeper at Lyttelton, when Jollie first came to the nascent province.

Lee immediately prepared to settle on the land, and during the summer of 1861 and 1862 he moved down with his family and took possession.  We still decided to work together in stocking our farms, so we bought sheep in common and had a common shepherd until I left Beachcroft in 1875, when I sold both sheep and farm to Lee. (1)

(1) Lee died in 1883 at the age of 61 and three years later David McMillan (1835-1904), who from 1860 to 1868 had managed the nearby Bealey brothers' Rhuddlan Estate, bought Beachcroft. On his death the property passed to his son John, who subdivided Beachcroft for sale in 1911. Situated in Jollies Road the farm is currently the property of Mr M F and Mrs J M Greenwood.

Jollie deserves a word to his memory for his interest in afforestation. He was quick to realise that the bleak Lake Ellesmere plain needed trees as shelter for stock, to supply firewood, and to reduce the effect of the fierce nor'-west winds. During his occupancy, ninety-six acres of Beachcroft were planted in trees. When this timber was milled in 1916 it was estimated to be worth £30 to £40 an acre.

Having invested in the land at Beachcroft and bought sheep to stock it with, Lee undertook to manage matters for me in New Zealand, while my wife and I took a trip to England.  We sailed from Lyttelton on the 8th of December, 1861 in the Lord Ashley bound for Sydney, New South Wales.  After calling at Wellington and Nelson we reached Sydney on the 19th of December.  Here we stayed for two or three weeks and at the beginning of January, 1862 we steamed out of Sydney Harbour, and after a pleasant passage of two days arrived at Melbourne.

While in Sydney we had booked passage for England aboard the Great Britain (1) steamship, which was advertised to leave Melbourne about the end of January.  On the 30th of that month we went on board, got comfortably settled in our cabin and sailed that evening.  Next morning we were well out at sea, steaming against a strong head wind, which did not allow us to make much progress, and this wind continuing for the next two days.  Captain Grey became impatient and having obtained the consent of the great majority of the passengers, he turned the ship round, and with a fair wind we bowled along for Cape Horn instead of the advertised route, which was the westward passage via the Cape of Good Hope.

(1) The ss Great Britain was launched in 1843. Although effectively a prototype, she continued sailing until 1886, and traveled thirty-two times around the world and nearly one million miles at sea. Abandoned in the Falkland Islands in 1937, in 1970 an ambitious salvage effort brought her home to Bristol, where today she is conserved in the dry dock where she was originally built.

The Great Britain at that time was a splendid ship and trusted to her sails more than her steam power, which was only auxiliary.  She was a full-rigged ship carrying an enormous press of sail.  Her length was 320 feet, with a breadth 52 feet.  Her screw was hoisted out of the water when the wind was sufficiently strong to send us along at seven or eight miles an hour, but at less than that it was lowered and the engines started.  The whole number of people on board was about seven hundred, comprising a hundred first-class passengers and four hundred in the second and third classes.  The remaining two hundred were sailors, stokers, stewards, etc.

Just before we sailed from Melbourne, news arrived of the forcible taking of the American Confederate Commissioners, Messrs. Mason and Hidel, from the English ship in which they were passengers, by the American ship Trent, under the command of Captain Wilkes.  In consequence the breaking out of a war between Great Britain and the United States appeared possible.

As a war would probably induce American privateers to sail for the neighbourhood of Cape Horn to look out for and capture Australian ships, richly laden with wool and gold, Captain Grey was very anxious as we approached the Cape, and kept a sharp look-out for any sail on the horizon.  Immediately on seeing one he always altered the ship’s course, so as to get out of sight as soon as possible.  It was not until we got near the equator that he ventured to approach a sailing ship sufficiently near to signal.  His gratification was great when in reply to his question, “Is there war with America” the answer was, “No.”

Altogether we had a very pleasant voyage, but longer than usual.  We had no great storms to trouble us, but a sharp look-out had to be kept for icebergs, which were in great numbers all round us for nine days before we reached the longitude of Cape Horn.  These bergs were generally very large and were sometimes too numerous around us.  Our course had to be continually altered to avoid them.  They had evidently been brought from the Antarctic region by a current which flows northward along the west coast of South America.  Our first sight of them was in South Latitude 52.45, Longitude 145.10 on the 14th February.   It was not ‘till the 22nd of February in South Latitude 55.51 and Longitude 90.38 that we saw the last of them.

Captain Grey was a very good and careful sailor and man always popular with his passengers.  He came to an unfortunate end, poor fellow, a few voyages after ours, he went into his cabin one night and was never seen again.

We arrived at Liverpool on the 8th of April, 1862.  Our arrival off the Irish Coast had been telegraphed to England the day before and became known to my people at Gateshead in time for me to receive a letter from my Aunt before leaving the ship.  On the 9th of April we were busy shopping and making our outside clothing in accordance with what we saw around us.  Leaving Carrie at Liverpool to complete her outfit, I started for Gateshead (1) on the 11th and on the afternoon of that day I once more saw my mother after an absence of more than twenty years.

(1) Gateshead is a town in North East England. It lies on the southern bank of the River Tyne, opposite Newcastle upon Tyne.

She was then living with my brother William, (1) who was in practice as a doctor in Gateshead.  My mother’s sister, Aunt Bessie, was also living with him.  I received a warm welcome from them all, and in the evening Mr. Peter Haggie, my sister Bessie’s husband, (2) drove up and took me to his house at Whickham, where I was gratified at meeting once more my sister who in our youth was always my great friend and champion, and who saved me from many a deserved beating from one or other of my brothers.

(1) Five years older than Edward, William was also born at Brampton in Cumberland.

(2) Also born at Brampton, Edward's two year older sister Elizabeth had married the 23 year-old Engineer Peter Haggie at Gateshead on the 2nd of August, 1844.

My nephews and nieces were numerous at Whickham.  The eldest was Fanny, aged then about eighteen, then Elizabeth sixteen, Peter Sinclair fourteen, Francis William twelve, Louisa nine or ten, Florence six or seven, Edward three, and the youngest, Douglas one.  A few years subsequent to my visit the family was increased by Caroline, Clara, and Charles.

At the time I now write (April, 1880) they are all alive, Fanny having married six or seven years since Mr. Arthur Chambers of Chapel Town near Sheffield, and has now three children.  Two years ago my niece Elizabeth married Dr. Lambert of Sunderland and now has one child besides five of her husband’s to take care of.  And only a month or two ago Florence married another widower, Dr. Gowans, in practice in South Shields, with a family of four boys.

After remaining a day or two with my relatives, I went to Liverpool and brought Carrie to Gateshead, at which place and at Whickham we spent a pleasant two or three weeks.  We then went to London and took lodgings at Islington near where Carrie’s sister Annie lived with her husband, Thomas Littlejohn.

Here Maggie, (1) our eldest child was born on the 11th May 1862, and soon after we moved our lodgings to Manchester Street and then to Edgeware Road.  We also took another trip to the north to show Maggie to her grandmother and other relatives and to say good-bye to them all, and as it turned out, for the last time to my mother, William and Aunt Bessie, who all died before we returned to England in 1877.

(1) Named after her paternal Grandmother, Margaret Isabel Jollie wrote a surviving account of the family’s 1877 voyage from Lyttelton to London aboard the sailing vessel Rangitiki.  Married twice, first to a Mr. Birkmeyer [Breitmeyer?] and then to Hallyburton Johnstone, a collector of ornithological specimens and Māori artifacts, of seaside Howick, near Auckland.  Though she had no children of her own, Margaret brought up the offspring of her younger brother Teddy (Edward junior). Both Margaret, who died in 1936, and her brother are buried in New Plymouth’s Te Henui Cemetery.

The latter was married to a Mr. Little when she was upwards of fifty years of age.  They had been engaged when young, and he went to the United States to push his fortunes, which must have taken a good deal of pushing, as he did not return to England until he was an elderly man.  After marrying Aunt Bessie he shortly afterward went back to America, leaving his wife living with my mother at Gateshead.

He was I understood a good deal concerned in land speculations in America, which, when the war broke out between the Northern and Southern States, involved him in troubles of various kinds.  If I recollect rightly, he returned to England, stayed with his wife for a short time, and again went to America alone.  On his next return he found that his wife had died, but it seems he did not like her place of sepulture, as he obtained the Home Secretary’s Order for her disinterment and removed her body to another resting place.  He then returned to America, but whether he is now alive or dead I do not know.

Edward Jollie circa 1880

 The last part of the above page I wrote today the 30th April, 1880 at a house we occupy in Dresden at 11 Bergstraße.

Typical Berg Strasse house circa 1880


On the last day of September 1862 we left our lodgings in London and went to Gravesend, and on the 1st of October at 6 o’clock in the morning we sailed in the Mermaid for Lyttelton with about twenty cabin passengers and three hundred emigrants on board.  On the 5th of October the Pilot left and we bade good bye once more to the shores of Old England.

We had a pleasant lot altogether of fellow cabin passengers, including Alexander Lean (1) with his wife and large family and Mr. & Mrs. Baines.  We also were fortunate in our Captain and officers.  The former, Captain Rose, was a nice fellow and a good sailor, and the Purser Mr. McQuade was very kind to Maggie.

(1) Colonel Alexander Lean (1824-1893) Pastoralist of the Mount Hutt sheep station, resident at ‘Riverlaw,’ Opawa, Christchurch, a founder of the Christchurch Orchestral Society and the Canterbury Association of Architects.

He had an old hen on board which used to roost in his cabin and lay an egg on his bed nearly every morning, which was generally cooked for Maggie’s benefit and sustenance.  Our cabin was rather small for the three of us, but I took care to have everything well arranged before starting, properly fastened down, and plenty of pegs to hang clothes upon.  Maggie had for sleeping quarters a tin bath secured to the lower bunk in which her mother slept, and I occupied the upper bunk.

Nothing alarming or very interesting occurred during our voyage.  We had the usual gales and calms, and not the usual quarrels among the passengers, and the only accident which I can recollect as having happened was the sudden death of a fine dog, which was killed by a block falling on its head from the rigging.

We arrived all safe at Lyttelton on the 26th December, 1862, having been away only a few days more than twelve months, and the next day we went over the hill to Christchurch where we took lodgings until we could find a house to suit us.   This finding of a house was a very difficult matter, and I was not for many months that we at last secured a two years’ lease of Mr. John Bealey’s (1) house and garden in Manchester and Worcester Streets, he and his family having left for England.

(1) John Bealey, J.P. (1817-1867) was the brother of Samuel Bealey, Provincial Superintendent. The Mancunian pair also farmed the two thousand acre Rhuddlan Farm at Southbridge adjacent to Jollie's Beachcroft Estate. A lawyer, John died aged fifty, leaving a wife, six children and a substantial fortune.

The house (above) occupied by the Jollies stood on the site now occupied by the former Civic Chambers in Manchester Street. The four acre garden was also bounded Worcester & Gloucester Streets and Latimer Square.

When in England we had ordered furniture for our future home and it arrived in Canterbury along with ourselves in the Mermaid.  We therefore had no trouble in getting into our house in the month of May 1863, except the unpacking of the cases.  For servants, we had Sarah and Grace, two girls who came with us from England, and who had helped to nurse Maggie on board ship.  We soon got quite comfortably settled, and I then began to prepare for moving on to our land at Ellesmere, when our lease of J. Bealey’s house should expire.

Lee, during my absence in England, had bought for me an additional two hundred and fifty acres adjoining my thousand acres and had got the whole fenced in and partly subdivided.  It was also stocked with sheep under Lee’s management and now I made a contract to have one or two of the paddocks ploughed and a garden fenced in and planted near the site which I had fixed upon for the house and homestead.  In 1864 I sent down to Beachcroft Edward Ruddock and John McCann to work there and I had a men’s house and stabling etc. erected.  At the beginning of 1865 I arranged with Mr. Early (1) to build me a house and purchased the timber and sent it down to Beachcroft. [Below]

(1) Fifty year-old Carpenter Samuel Early arrived at Lyttelton in 1860 with a wife and eleven children. In the same year that he built the Beachcroft Homestead he also constructed the Anglican Church of St James Church at Southbridge.  In 1878 Early, who was responsible for the erection in the district of many buildings, both public and private, completed the extant Southbridge Roman Catholic Church in O'Connell Street.

On the 3rd of October 1863 our second child, Caroline, (1) was born in our house in Manchester Street, and on the 30th March, 1865 our first boy was born and named Francis, (2) after his grandfather and great grandfather.

(1) Caroline Stanley Jollie (1863-1925) would marry Bob Matthews (1864-1931) at Patea in January, 1890. Captain Robert Saxton Matthews, of the 4th Contingent of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles, subsequently served with distinction in the Boer War. Their son William has two living sons in 2008.  Although most of Caroline and Bob's descendants continue to live in the Taranaki Province, they have also spread throughout the Manawatu, Hawkes Bay and Waikato districts of New Zealand.

(2) Francis (Frank) returned to England with his parents in 1877, where he was enrolled at Durham's Bellasis Grammar School. As a Lieutenant of the 20th Hussars has saw service in Egypt in the later 1880s. As a Lieutenant Colonel of the 28th Indian Light Cavalry Jollie distinguished himself in German East Africa during the First World War.  Known as Orme Jollie, his only descendant Captain Francis Ormonde Holden Jollie, who had been born at Patea in 1890, was killed in 1915 whilst serving in France with the East Surrey Regiment.

I must now enter a little into provincial politics with which for nearly ten years I took one of the leading parts. (1)

(1) In 1865 Jollie was elected to the Canterbury Provincial Legislature, representing the Heathcote district of Christchurch. He almost immediately became a member of Henry Tancred's Executive, in which he served for twelve months. 

In 1865 Mr. Samuel Bealey was Superintendent of the Canterbury Province.  He succeeded Moorhouse who had resigned for some reason, which I now forget.  Bealey was elected without opposition and naturally expected that he would receive the support of those who had elected him.

In this he soon found out that he was mistaken as the Executive Council which had been working with Moorhouse resigned at once and left poor Bealey in the Government Buildings without anyone to advise or assist him in carrying out duties with which he was unfamiliar. Though discouraged he was not however dismayed, but determined to overcome the difficulties surrounding him by depending upon his own energy.

He asked Henry J. Tancred (1) to help him in forming a Provincial Government and he promised to do so if Mr. John Hall (2) would join, and Hall having agreed, it was decided among them that Mr. W. Rolleston (3) should also if possible be secured. Rolleston was then living on a sheep station up the Rakaia [river] near Lake Coleridge, and Bealey started off by himself on horseback to ask him to take office in the Government along with Tancred and Hall.  This Rolleston agreed to, and with the addition of Mr. E. C. J. Stevens, (4) Bealey’s Executive was formed.

(1) Henry John Tancred (1816-1884). Pastoralist, Chancellor of the University of New Zealand, Member of the Provincial Council, director of public companies, Consul for Austria, Resident Magistrate, Keeper of the Public Records, Sheriff, Commissioner of Police, Councilor of the Canterbury Association, Councilor of the Society of Canterbury Colonists, Chairman of the Christchurch Colonists' Society, Secretary of Crown Lands, Postmaster General, Member of the Board of Governors of Canterbury College, President of the Canterbury Society of Arts, etc.

(2) Sir John Hall (1824-1907) Pastoralist, Premier of NZ, Magistrate, Chairman of the Christchurch City Council, Sunday School teacher, shrewd businessman, defender of the land monopoly, etc.

(3) William Rolleston (1831-1903), Public administrator, provincial superintendent and educationalist. Rolleston had many high qualifications for public life, but lacked decision of character and definiteness of purpose. Anxious to do what was right, he was more afraid of doing what was wrong.

(4) Edward Cephas John Stevens (1837-1915). Real Estate Agent, Cricketer, Chairman of the Board of The Press newspaper, Chairman of Parliament's Public Accounts Committee, Member of the North Canterbury Board of Education, Member of the Canterbury College Board of Governors, Chairman of the Board of Canterbury Agricultural College, Chairman of the Horticultural Society, Managing Director of the Permanent Investment and Loan Association of Canterbury, President of the Christchurch Club, Secretary of the Canterbury Boating Club, etc.

Hall became Secretary of Public Works, Rolleston Provincial Secretary and Tancred and Stevens members of the Executive without office.  Ross (1) was then Treasurer, but at that time it was a Government appointment, so he was not one of the Executive.

(1) George Arthur Emileus Ross (1829-1876) Pastoralist, Politician, School Master, Bankrupt, Provincial Treasurer of Canterbury.

The above-named Government continued for some time when the questions arose as to the policy of extending the railway line,which was being formed from Lyttelton to Christchurch, further south with a view to it eventually reaching Timaru.  This, for financial reasons, was I believe opposed by Rolleston when his colleagues proposed it.  At the same time he received an offer from the General Government at Wellington to undertake the Under-secretaryship of one of the chief departments.  The role required an energetic and strong-willed man to re-organise it, so he resigned his office of Provincial Secretary and accepted his Under-secretaryship at Wellington.

Mr. Rolleston’s resignation led to my being offered and my acceptance of a seat in the Executive as Provincial Secretary.  On the 16th June 1865 I was gazetted and began my new work in the Government Buildings.

At this time, there was very great excitement in Canterbury on account of the discovery of a payable goldfield on the West Coast of the Province.  A large number of Diggers were collecting there from Australia and from other parts of New Zealand.  The colonists on the east side of the mountains were very anxious that a good road should be made from Christchurch to the West Coast, so that as soon as possible they should take advantage of the golden opportunity of making their fortunes by supplying the diggers with the necessaries of life,

The unfinished memoir ends suddenly, with a comma, at this point.