The Burkes Pass Heritage Trust - Newsletter April 03


‘Simple pleasures at Rollesby’ ,

Bruce Alexander Collection












Open Trustees and supporters meeting…..

………… the Church on Saturday the 26th April at 10.30 am.


This meeting will be an opportunity for informal discussion, sharing of ideas and hopefully  nudging a few projects forward. Anyone who is interested in contributing in any manner will be very welcome.


Elijah and Mary Smart’s Lamp

A memorial  to Elijah and Mary Smart and their family has been installed recently in St Patricks Church in the form of an elegant original lamp with a plaque in remembrance of these pioneer members of the church congregation. Their grandson Max Willetts has generously donated and installed this lamp which in earlier times hung in the family homestead at Dornie. It is delightful to think it will continue to give visitors to the church pleasure and continue the family link into the future.


Early Rollesby Photographs

A treasure trove of early domestic and farm photos taken at Rollesby have been kindly made available to the Trust by Bruce Alexander. Bruce is the great-grandson of Francis and Eugenie Hayter who made their home at Rollesby in 1883 and their family have been a huge influence in the area since. Bruce has also been a benefactor in resurveying the church grounds for us with the help of his wife Ilena and friends 2 years ago.


Thank you to The Lion Foundation

They have come up trumps and given us the finance to purchase materials for the boardwalk construction.


The Return of Cabbage Tree Flat  Made Possible

Thank you also to Trees For Canterbury  who have taken on the task of growing some South Canterbury sourced Cordyline seed  to use in our plantings. The vicinity in which Burkes Pass township is built was once known as Cabbage Tree Flat, however there is no longer any remnant of those trees left. Interestingly, for those of you who have read that intriguing and amusing book ‘Crusts’ written by Laurence Kennaway, the first run holder at Burkes Pass, he tells of creating a firebreak in 1860 to stop huge runaway scrub fires and beating out flames using the heads of cabbage trees. I guess this would be quite effective for the job but perhaps not quite as good as a smoke chaser though.


More valuable information and photos have been received about the family of William and Jane Anniss who lived in the cottage now owned by John and Jennifer Anderson and called by them Elm Tree Cottage. Thank you very much to Lorraine Curnow,  their granddaughter,from Hamilton, for passing this on to us.


Ned McGrath an old time waggonner was very familiar with Burkes Pass carting
huge loads of wool and stores with up to 10 horses in a team . He guided his
horses by voice only and did not carry reins much to the consternation of a
Timaru policeman as the team entered town.  Stories and photos have been
received from Mrs Pat Roddie, his Granddaughter



Update on The Anniss Cottage Roof

Vegetation has now been cleared from  the old cob walls and elderberry trees removed from the kitchen! A strategic tree is still holding up part of the living room so its life has been put on hold meantime. However the shape of the place is getting clearer and profiles have been set up for the posts to support the roof structure. The philosophy of this restoration is to establish a roof over the cob walls to halt further deterioration and then to repair the walls over time to a state where the walls can support the roof structure. Some of the posts used will be 4x4 posts that ultimately will become veranda supports in the same position. One day it may get to a completely closed in state with windows and doors. Watch this space.