INTERESTING FACTS DEALING
WITH THE SETTLEMENT'S
FIRST THIRTY YEARS
1850 - 1880
A. SELWYN BRUCE
MY DEAR MOTHER - A PIONEER SETTLER
WHO LANDED IN LYTTELTON FROM THE
SHIP "SIR GEORGE POLLOK" IN 1851
AND WHO LIVED TO SEE THE WILDERNESS
OF CANTERBURY PLAINS BLOSSOM AS THE
ROSE, PASSING TO HER REWARD IN
OCTOBER, 1928, IN HER 95TH YEAR.
In introducing a work like Mr A. Selwyn Bruce's Reminiscences to the notice of readers, one is reminded of the reasons given by Eadmer, the secretary and biographer of St. Anselm, for choosing to write of the persons and events of his own time.
Such an account, he says, would be to the glory of God and should win the gratitude of posterity for helping it to a true understanding of the past.
But as one writer says, the truth we find in such narrations "is not always so absolute as Heaven would doubtless desire, nor is the matter often such as gains the unqualified gratitude of man." A writer of memoirs generally views the scene from one point of view or is interested in only certain aspects of 'his times. And the importance of the events and personalities he describes is apt to change with the different interests and outlook of succeeding generations. But Mr Bruce's interests have been unusually wide, and he assures us that the veracity of his material has been subjected to severe tests. The chief value of reminiscences, too, lies in this, that they recreate in the most vivid manner their age, its spirit, and its atmosphere, which formal histories often overlook.
Reviving the life of the first generations in Canterbury, the colony that in its inception and early history came nearest to the full ideal of the greatest modern thinker in colonial policy, Mr Bruce's work should make a special appeal to readers outside New Zealand as well as justify its claim to be regarded as a valuable contribution to the materials of the history of the Dominion.
Canterbury University College,
October 11, 1932.
2. Port Lyttelton 19
4. Christchurch Grows Apace 40
6. Sumner and Lyttelton 61
7. Old Identities 75
10. Round About the Town 109
11. More Old Identities 118
12. Some More Old Identities 130
13. More Old Identities 139
14. Our Public Squares 150
15. Red Letter Days 158
16. Olla Podrida 167
18. Early Horse Racing 192
AS A PAKEHA NATIVE of our garden city of Christchurch, I have far many years taken keen interest in the annals of early days, when On noble band of Pioneers, under the aegis of the Canterbury Association, left their ancestral homes and, committing their destiny into the bonds of Divine Providence, landed at Lyttelton, to develop what has proved to be one of the most satisfactory colonising schemes in the history of the British Empire.
The advantage of personal association with so many of the early settlers, combined with studious research, has resulted in the compilation of a voluminous quantity of interesting matter, most of which has been published in the Christchurch "Star."
At the earnest request of many readers of those articles, I have set myself the pleasant task of transcribing the records into the pages of this book, which I claim as somewhat unique, Inasmuch as I have had before me the idea of Immortalising the memory of many of the rank and file of our Canterbury Settlers, who after all, were the actual founders of the Province. The man in the street, whose face was familiar to everyone, but who took no part in the functioning of public affairs, but who nevertheless was the nerve and sinew in the stupendous task of developing the embryonic province, has been largely overshadowed and forgotten in the busy process of civic development, hence my desire to perpetuate his memory. And if my humble effort serves the purpose I have in view, my self-imposed task will have given me supreme satisfaction.
In addition to information gleaned from my own parents, and others, I desire to place on record my grateful appreciation of the opportunity afforded me of perusing the reminiscences of the early days, left by two of our pioneer colonists - Messrs George Hart and William Messervy - thereby enhancing the value of these pages as authentic memorials of the early vicissitudes of the Canterbury Settlement.
A. SELWYN BRUCE.