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Old Geraldine, South Canterbury, N.Z.

Town Hall, Geraldine -same shot
Showing movie poster for 'North of the Yukon'  (March 1939 release in the USA) by front door, and bicycle leaning against wall.

Upper Talbot, St., Geraldine with the old BNZ building and Pine St. to the left. Talbot St is the main street in Geraldine.

2008: Upper Talbot St, looking north. Once it veers of to the right to go past the old Mundell building (the big round roofed one), the street becomes Waihi Terrace. This building was for many years from the early 1940s was the home of the Geraldine Transport Company, which also owned the North End Garage which was over the road. North End is still there, but the Bank of NZ in the middle was knocked over in the 1970s and there is a Shell Service Station on that site. The old Geraldine Transport building was dismantled three to four years ago as the building was becoming dangerous as the timber had rotted and the iron roof was all that was holding it up in places. There is now a business there catering mainly for tourists, with a Cafe attached. The road that goes to the left is Peel Street, and it runs down past the new Supermarket, which used to be the Canterbury Farmer Co-op.

Otago Witness 18 September 1907, Page 40
New Buildings. Geraldine has experienced a mild boom in building lately, as in addition to a good number of private dwellings recently erected, alterations have been effected at the Bank of New Zealand; a new and commodious South Canterbury Farmers' Cooperative building has been completed, and tenders are now being called for a new post office, which is badly needed, as the present building is totally unsuited for the large amount of business daily transacted. Mrs S. Mulhern has also had a very ornate and up-to-date hotel built on the site formerly occupied by the old Crown; and this fine building supplies a much-felt want in the district. The magnificent back country here is splendid asset, and the future of little inland Geraldine should be bright and prosperous. Two lines of coaches run from here daily to Orari and connect with all trains, and the travelling public is thus liberally catered for. Mesrrs N. Sherritt and Scott maintain the schedule time strictly, and this, combined with civility and attention, renders these gentlemen very popular with their patrons. Mr Sherritt also has the mail contract from Geraldine to Orari, and return, also Geraldine to Woodbury, and return.

The rounded building (mid picture left hand side) which was the Geraldine Transport depot.
It has been demolished and a huge tourist centre has replaced it.
Geraldine is booming at the moment and tourism has become it's main focus.

Geraldine  -View from Morrison's Hill. The oval roof is the livery stables of John Mundell.
Timeframes overlooking Geraldine about 1910.

Otago Witness, 30 October 1880, Page 19
Timaru, October 27th. Mundell and Co.'s auction mart and horse repository, at Geraldine, were burnt down at half-past 10 last evening. A large quantity of harness, feed, and a valuable horse belonging to Kennedy and Carter, who leased the premises, were burned. The building was insured for L300. The extra loss is estimated at L700, the lessees being uninsured.

Otago Witness, 27 January 1888, Page 17 Geraldine
January 19.— We have had our Christmas beef and plum pudding, our waits played by our volunteer brass band, have wished the "compliments of the season " almost to friends and foes alike, have seen the old year out and the new year in, have formed our annual batch of good resolutions, some of which, judging by the conduct of well-known topers, are broken already, and again we have settled down into the exceedingly even tenor of our ways at the beautiful little township. Beautiful, I say; for is not Geraldine known, far and near, as being one of the prettiest little country townships in the whole of Canterbury. Geraldine is situated about 24 miles to the north-east of Timaru, and is accessible by an excellent macadamised road which is, with the exception of two or three miles near Timaru, almost on a dead level. It can also be readied by taking the train to Orari, and thence travelling by Messrs J. Mundell and Co.'s coach a distance of five miles. Very pretty indeed does the little township look as mounted on the box of the coach beside that most genial of drivers, Bob Scott, you reach a point near enough to get a good, view of it. Directly behind the town lies the bush covered hill, and flanking it on the left are rolling downs of corn and pasture land. Close under the hill nestles the little township, its one or two church spires and its various buildings showing up clear and distinct against the dark background of native foliage. Behind all, and some 10 or 12 miles back, rise the Southern Alps, the nearer hills — blue at this time of the year — dazzling white in winter. On the right of the town, but a few yards away, runs the Waihi river, a small stream, almost dry in summer, but during the wet season rolling a good body of water to the sea. Upon entering the township one of the first things that strikes the visitor is its length. Years ago, when the bush was being worked and the sawmills were turning out thousands of feet per day, the bullock drivers and waggoners generally found that the firmest track was to be obtained close to the river's bank. Thus the road got marked off and houses were erected. The close proximity to the river on one side prevented the township going back that way, and houses were placed side by side down the main road till the town is little more than a single row of buildings of over a mile in length. Here and there a few houses have been carried back on the left-hand aide, but there is no other street running right through parallel with the main street, and the majority of the houses face the main thoroughfare. Having got over his surprise at the folly of trailing out to such an absurd length a number of buildings that would, if bunched together, have made a really compact township, and having had time to look around him, the next thing that will strike the visitor will probably be the extreme neatness and cleanliness of the main street. Two winters ago the unemployed difficulty was rather prominent in Geraldine, and the Town Board— there are two boards, a town and road board—having some funds in hand determined to strike a shilling in the £ rate, and asphalt the footpath on one side of the street. This was done, a concrete kerbing being laid at the same time. The Government subsidy of £ for £ on the amount of rates collected was obtained, and the whole work of a mile in length was carried out in a satisfactory manner, under the direction of the board's overseer. The horse-posts and lamp-posts have been painted uniform whiteness, and the streets are well kept, giving the little place an appearance quite in unison with its naturally pretty surroundings. Geraldine boasts of two banks — the New Zealand and the New South Wales, — a post office, three considerable sized hotels, a police depot, two auction rooms, large saleyards, several general stores, and other places o£ business. Over the town as a whole, however, Ichabod might be written. Eleven years ago Geraldine was in the height of its prosperity. The bush was being worked, and the whirr and hum of the sawmill was to be heard continually. The roads in the district were teeming with bullock and other waggons conveying the timber away and bringing back loads of general merchandise. The road board, which in those days was possessed of ample funds, was spending thousands of pounds annually in the construction of roads and bridges, and the place rang again with the sounds of life and activity. Now, however, all this is changed. The mills have long since ceased to work and have been burnt or pulled down. The remainder of the bush — no inconsiderable portion— is vested in the domain board and has been fenced off for a park and pleasure ground. The road board are now carefully husbanding the funds still remaining to them, and content; themselves principally with keeping in repair the really excellent roads of the district, and over the town itself has come a deadness and stagnation that contrasts most vividly with its former vitality. Geraldine, however, being the natural outlet to an extensive and rich agricultural district will always have a certain amount of business to be carried on within it, but the hey day of its youth and vigour seems to have departed, and hence forward it will, apparently, ]0g along with the steadier pace of middle life. There is much, however, in the district which calls for comment, and of which I may write more anon.  

East you may ramble. West you may roam.
You never will meet with a friend like home.
For its hearth is kind and its walls are strong
And its thoughts are with you the whole year long.

'Glovers Hotel' which was pulled down many years ago.

Geraldine from the Bush Domain. A hill at the back of Geraldine, called it Priest's Hill.

Burton Bros. photograph. A cutting. St Mary's Church, Geraldine, steeple in background.

 Burton Bros. photograph. I visited here when I first came to the colony in 1877.
This place may be taken as a fair type of the small scattered townships on the Canterbury Plains.
The largest building in the hamlet is as usual an hotel, there are no public houses or inns here, they are all styled hotels.

Acland Cutting, Peel Forest

Cooper's Creek, near Geraldine

Traffic Bridge, Geraldine over the Waihi River.

On the road do not stop the car and wait for sheep to walk past - you drive through them, they move.

The Domain Entrance, Geraldine. Today a very popular campground and gardens.
That is a in the background cabbage tree to the left.

South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project