Morice Bing (1830 – 1877)
“Richmond used to be called Bingsland, and before that was called the Church Land. Mr C.B. Fooks, once Secretary of the Land Board, held long leases of a very large block and resided there. It afterwards passed to one BING, a Hungarian, and was spoken of as Bing’s land, hence BINGSLAND.”
“Mr Morice Bing sometime of Marshlands, was a native of Hungary, and arrived in Australia in 1852. He followed various callings for eight years in New South Wales, whence he came to Christchurch. Sheep grazing and wool-classing engaged his attention for three years, and he then took up 200 acres of land from the Church Property Trustees. He used this land as a cattle run for a number of years, and then sub-let it in small areas. He bought land north of the river Avon, near the Stanmore Road, and sub-divided it into building areas, ranging from a quarter of an acre to one acre. These sections sold readily, and one of the first suburban districts adjacent to Christchurch was formed out of them, and was for many years known as Bingsland.”
Richard Bedward Owen (1873 – 1948)
In newspaper reports and official documents Richard Bedward Owen was styled “Mr R B Owen”. Unofficially he was “River Bank” Owen and, sometimes, “the River Banker”.
To some he was a conservationist, to others an old-fashioned philanthropist, while his enemies styled him a busybody.
Richard established the River Improvement Fund. Business people and local government gave money, and men employed on public works were paid not a pittance but the award rate, a principle being established to which the city council would adhere even in the depths of the 1930s’ Depression.
Richard’s men strove to turn into reality the ideal of “making Christchurch beautiful”. They worked in the vicinity of Avon bridges within the city, and at Colombo Street replaced decayed structures with shrubs, a miniature waterfall and steps which gave access to the river.
Because Richard advocated the resumption of Avon River traffic, it was important to him that he see established a monument at the “Bricks”, the spot above Barbadoes Street which was the highest point reached by such traffic in the 1850s. He worked vigorously on the task and was present when an architecturally-designed cairn was unveiled in 1926.
Even as Richard laboured on these endeavours, there was developing in his mind a plan “to take in hand the river and make up for past neglect”. After much consideration, he presented his ideas to the Beautifying Association in December 1925, 75 years after the arrival of the First Four Ships. His scheme was, he said, unlike “the festivities of the present days [which] would end in smoke”. Moreover, it would have appealed to the pioneers.
Richard envisaged weirs being introduced to beautify the stream. The waterway beside Park Terrace would be a carnival area, while the Burwood-Dallington district would be blessed with a municipal golf course, zoological gardens and, below Kerrs Reach, one of the “finest regatta courses in the world”. A weir from the Spit to Shag Rock would maintain water in the Avon-Heathcote Estuary and in this aquatic playground would be found accommodation for rowboats, speedboats and seaplanes. In pioneer times, coastal craft had frequented the river; with debris removed and the channel deepened, launches and perhaps even yachts would come again. However, the best-known feature of the scheme was the proposed wide tree-lined riverside boulevard stretching from the Carlton Bridge to New Brighton.
Work was done on both sides of the Avon between the Swanns Road and Dallington bridges. Houses were moved back and their occupants looked onto a roadway and an extensive area of neatly-grassed river bank reserve. In a ceremony on 1 September 1929, politicians local and national planted 53 lime trees on the north bank between the Swanns Road bridge and Medway Street. Today the river reserves and the mature trees which overlook the water form mute testament to Richard and his navvies.
In 1929 he stated that riverside reserves were needed “as a lung right in the heart of our busy city”.
‘Rich Man, Poor Man, Environmentalist, Thief’ By Richard Greenaway
William A. Sutton (1917-2000)
“William A. Sutton was a key figure in twentieth century landscape painting in New Zealand. In the 1940s and 1950s Sutton, along with fellow Canterbury artists, such as Rita Angus, developed a distinctive interpretation of the region’s landscape. They are known as the Canterbury School.
In later decades Sutton’s vision became more abstract as he gave a new identity to the imagery of Canterbury.
As well as his passion for the landscape, William Sutton was a skilled portraitist, fine calligrapher, influential teacher and a wry social commentator.”
“W.A. Sutton, artist, teacher, printmaker, typographer, calligrapher, bookbinder, illustrator and illuminator.”
“Sutton was commissioned to design 3 stained-glass windows for the Scott Memorial Window, Christchurch Cathedral.”
“Sutton and John van der Fluit published the Templar Press from Sutton’s home in Templar Street, Richmond.”
W.A. Sutton: A Retrospective
By Neil Roberts, John Coley, Cassandra Fusco, Vickie Hearnshaw, Pat Unger