Edward Jollie - Reminisces 1841-1865

Mary Jollie

Born at or near Christchurch in 1868 Mary was the fourth child of Edward and Caroline Jollie. In February, 1896 she married  Lieutenant Colonel Robert Story of the 7th Battalion King's Royal Rifles. They had three sons and a daughter. Other than that she was still alive in 1932, no other information is known about her.

Mary's reminisces of her father appeared in the Christchurch newspaper The Star on Saturday the 2nd of October, 1926.



Edward Jollie, one of the surveyors who helped to lay out Lyttelton and Christchurch before the First Four Ships arrived, has had his name inseparably linked with the province. The following notes, written at the request of the "Star," are by Mrs Story, of Story Farm, Ohaupo, Waikato, one of Edward Jollie's daughters:-

My father, Edward Jollie, came out to Wellington as a boy of seventeen, as a cadet to the New Zealand Company. The voyage took six months, in a boat of 400 tons.

The company's cadets were not expected to do any heavy work, and they were well paid, while it lasted. One called Nicholson, when out with a senior surveyor, was told to carry the chain for a short distance. This he flatly refused to do, there being a hired man with the party. On his behaviour being reported to Colonel Wakefield; the chief, all he said was, "Quite right, the young gentlemen are not to do any menial work." Times have changed.

Fresh meat was scarce, and anyone who secured a leg of Mutton, promptly gave a dinner party. Being invited to one of these my father found that he had grown so much since leaving England that the sleeves of his evening clothes reached only a little below the elbow, and the trousers corresponded. Part of his outfit consisted of a gross of night-caps, silk, Wool and cotton. They were useful all his life, as bags to keep seeds and other things in.

After the winding up of the New Zealand Company he lived in Nelson with his brother for two years. They had a small farm. Then he took up Government contracts for surveying in various parts including Canterbury and Otago. Dunedin, when he first knew it, was very like the descriptions of the wild West, revolvers and bowie knives and all. Three times he was wrecked on small voyages round the coast, but excepting for loss of property, he was none the worse.

A well known character he knew near Nelson was Jackson, the whaler. On one occasion, when they were having an afternoon game of cards, they saw the local missionary coming to call. Hastily hiding the cards, Jackson took a big Bible from the shelf, and put it on the table. Having greeted the missionary, he sat down and began to converse on what the thought were appropriate subjects. Every now and then an oath inadvertently escaped him, whereupon, drawing himself up very solemnly he would say, "The Lord forgive me!"

There was no love lost between the whalers and the missionaries, and before my father left these parts the old whaler gave him a friendly and impressive warning to "beware of those damned parsons; they have been the ruin of many a fine young man before now." This was when my father was going down to Canterbury, as the first four ships with the Canterbury Pilgrims were expected, and a party of surveyors were going there to lay out the future Lyttelton and Christchurch.

The chief was Captain Thomas, who had come out to Wellington about 1841. He had been in a British cavalry regiment. The cadets in Wellington had once saved him from arrest for debt by rolling him up in some big maps in the survey office. He was a man of strong opinions.

When helping to lay out Christchurch my father built himself a raupo whare, which was the first dwelling in that town. The younger surveyors made plans and submitted them to Captain Thomas for approval. It is to be regretted that he disapproved of the suggestion that the streets should be twice their present width.  He was sorry after, when it was too late.

Then came the question of naming the streets. They were to be called after bishoprics of the Anglican Church. They had a sort of informal council, and looking at the plan one would say,

"What about street No. 20: shall we call it after the See of Blank?"

"That will do," would say Captain Thomas, "the Bishop of Blank is a Conservative and a good fellow, so put it down."

"Then how about naming street No. 13 after the See of Dash?"

"I'll be damned if you do, the Bishop is a Radical, quite a low fellow."

So some Sees were left out, because the chief disliked the bishops. He must have had an extensive knowledge of them.

When the ships at last arrived a number of immigrants came straggling over the Port Hills, and the raupo whare had to accommodate quite a number of future notabilities for the night. But it did not take long to get the new town going.

After this my father and Mr Edward Lee had a run in Marlborough of about 30,000 acres, which they called Mount Parnassus. It was off this run that they took the 900 sheep when they found the way to Canterbury across Jollie's Pass, and so got the reward offered by the Government. He also surveyed the Mackenzie Plains; it took; three years to do. The party lived chiefly on ---- and wild pigs, which, indeed, were so tame that they never tried to escape, having apparently never seen men before. It was hot pork for meat and cold pork for bread. If anyone grumbled at the cooking, he had to take the job on himself, so very soon no complaints were made.

Bush-ranging was once attempted in Canterbury, but it did not last long, for a young fellow called Charlton got some men to join him, and they got information as to where the men were hiding - a small hut hidden in a gully. They went there after dark, and Charlton knocked at the door, and then asked for a light for his pipe. Being told to enter, his friends being just outside. He walked to the fire, which was the only light in the room. Taking up a piece of burning wood, he blew it into a bright flame. At the same time he quietly looked round the place. He saw three men lying in bunks with rifles beside them. At a given signal his comrades rushed in and each man went to a bunk, pointing his revolver at a bushranger. They had to put up their hands, and were all captured.

A curious thing happened when Dr Donald was sheriff. A murderer was to be hanged, but there was a difficulty in finding a hangman, and the sheriff began to fear that he would have to do it himself. However, a week before the date fixed, he found a man who had come up from the country, and having spent all his money in riotous living in town, was afraid to go home to his wife in a penniless state. He consented to be hangman for a certain sum. To make sure of him he was put in the lock-up. On second thoughts he began to repent of his bargain, and every day he made a demand for more pay and more beer, until his demands became outrageous. Then the sheriff went to him and told him that he knew of half a dozen men in the town of Christchurch who were only too anxious to do the job for half the pay, and he was quite at liberty to withdraw if he liked. This had the desired effect and the murderer was hanged without more trouble.

When he married, my father parted with his run, and bought a farm in the Ellesmere district, near Southbridge. Whilst the house was being built he had a house in Christchurch. He was elected to the Provincial Council, and became secretary for Public Works and Treasurer. For colleagues he had at one time or another, Sir John Hall, Mr Sefton Moorhouse, Mr Samuel Bealey, Mr Rolleston, Colonel Lean and others, and very keen they were to do all they could for the advancement of the province and the town.

The sale of land brought a good revenue, and the time came when the Provincial Government had a million Pounds to its credit. This was at the time when the Bill for abolishing the Provincial Councils was coming before Parliament. So the money had to be disposed of quickly, or it would be taken over by the Central Government, and probably spent in other parts of the country. Accordingly all sorts of public works were put in hand, and the money was used to finance them, which gave Canterbury a great start at that early date in educational facilities, railroads and so on, which could not have been done just with what was got in ordinary taxation.

At one of the elections for the Provincial Council, my father had for his opponent a fiery soldier, Colonel Brett. Being on friendly terms, to save time and money, they decided to take a hall together, wherever they went to canvass, and each to make his speech to the elecors on the same evening. The colonel, being the older man, had first innings. He began with, "Of course I know, gentlemen, that anything that I say to you will be like putting pearls before swine." This sounded a rather a fine beginning, and the audience did not take in that anything derogatory was being said about them, so they cheered, and all went well. But presently my father's turn came. His speech began with:

"My gallant and honourable friend, Colonel Brett, has just alluded to the electors of this district as swine." That, of course, was enough to end the colonel's chances.

When the Provincial Council was abolished my father lost interest in politics. He did not care to transfer his activities to Wellington, like others of his colleagues, although he was often urged to do so, as member of one or the other House. And in his later years, the only public duty he kept up was that of J.P. He was a justice of the Peace at the age of twenty-one, and did his duty in that way for nearly fifty years.