Tuesday, May 5, 2009
2009. Heathcote River North Bank, Woolston Loop
2009. Woolston Cut Footbridge by Bamford Primary School, Christchurch. Avoca Valley, Port Hills backdrop
2009. Heathcote River, Woolston Loop downriver start by Woolston Cut, Christchurch. Avoca Valley, Port Hills backdrop
I parked my car in Gould Cres by Bamford Primary School. I crossed Woolston Cut footbridge and walked down Woolston Cut till I reached Heathcote River north bank, where waters flowed down Woolston Loop to the Pacific. I'd already walked the longer south bank of Heathcote River, Woolston Loop, and wanted to walk the north bank of Woolston Loop too.
2009. Heathcote River, Woolston Loop downriver view from Long St, Christchurch
2009. Heathcote River downriver bend on Woolston Loop by Long St, Christchurch
2009. Hazchem Sign, Long St, Woolston Loop, Christchurch
2009. Heathcote River Woolston Loop business, end of Long St, Christchurch. Avoca Valley, Port Hills backdrop
I followed Heathcote River upriver along Long St, backdropped by Heathcote Valley and Horotane Valley in the Port Hills. I passed a HAZCHEM business sign, and passed a Christchurch City Council sign:
CCC PUBLIC ACCESS
2009. Christchurch City Council Sign, Heathcote River, Woolston Loop, Christchurch
2009. Heathcote River upriver view of Farmland, Woolston Loop, Christchurch
Long St ended with businesses on my right and Heathcote River on my left. As Woolston had been an industrial area for over 100 years, I would pass many more businesses on Woolston Loop.
Native plantings on Heathcote River bank obscured businesses and river views, and trapped litter. I saw soft drink cans and booze cans, plastic bottles and polystyrene. I found a DESIGN TEAM INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE ceramic mug, which I salvaged as a souvenir.
2009. Pukekos (purple gallinule) Christchurch emblem, Heathcote River, Woolston Loop
2009. Heathcote River upriver view of Farmland, Woolston Loop, Christchurch
2009. Heathcote River upriver view of Farm Shed, Woolston Loop, Christchurch
2009. Heathcote River upriver view of Woolston Loop businesses, Christchurch
I saw pukekos, ducks and shags in the water. Ducks were nervous as it was duck shooting season. Whenever I raised my Nikon ducks flew off. A week before, non duck shooting season, ducks stayed put on the river.
2009. Heathcote River downriver view, Woolston Loop, Christchurch
2009. Illegal Dumping, Cumnor Tce side of Heathcote River, Woolston Loop, Christchurch. Ironic Car Crusher Yard one block behind
At the end of farmland, Cumnor Tce side of Heathcote River, I saw the carcass of a blue minibus dumped with a pile of tyres beside it - not there when I'd passed a week before. Views of Horotane Valley and Avoca Valley behind MANA TRANSPORT LTD made up for visual pollution.
2009. Heathcote River downriver view of Woolston Loop businesses, Christchurch. Horotane Valley & Avoca Valley, Port Hills backdrop
2009. Heathcote River upriver view of Cumnor Tce business, Woolston Loop, Christchurch
2009. Heathcote River upriver view of Cumnor Tce businesses, Woolston Loop, Christchurch
2009. Graffiti downriver view of Heathcote River, Woolston Loop, Christchurch. Mount Cavendish left. Castle Rock & The Tors, Port Hills, right
I passed riverbank shell middens. I wondered if they were ancient Maori middens or shells left by more recent settlers, at lime kilns?
2009. Shell Midden, Heathcote River, Woolston Loop, Christchurch
I passed a concrete DANGER 11000 VOLT MED CABLES sign on the riverbank, an identical sign was on the southern bank, so I assumed cables went under the river. A kayaker paddled downriver, while I examined a graffiti sprayed corrugated iron fence hiding a business. On the opposite bank, noisy trucks on Cumnor Tce lumbered past.
I crossed two wooden footbridges over ditches. A green, plastic pallet was dumped on mud amongst reeds. Someone's fishing platform? By another CCC PUBLIC ACCESS ALONG RIVER... sign I joined King Edward Tce beside Heathcote River.
2009. Wooden Footbridge over ditch, Heathcote River downriver view, Woolston Loop, Christchurch
2009. Illegal Dumping, King Edward Tce, Heathcote River, Woolston Loop, Christchurch
Litter polluted King Edward Tce, like litter I'd seen on Cumnor Tce a week before. Two more illegal dumps blocked my way along the riverbank - household junk and garden rubbish.
I thought if Christchurch City Council didn't expect people to pay for dumping their own rubbish at council depots, there'd be less illegal dumping. CCC would have more revenue-earning rubbish to recycle, as dumpers would dump at depots and ratepayers wouldn't have to pay for illegal dump collections.
2009. King Edward Tce upriver view, Heathcote River, Woolston Loop, Christchurch. Post 2010-2011 quakes the old bldg was renovated as The Tannery. My son worked at The Brewery gastropub next door
All along Woolston Loop Heathcote River water was turbid and crappy. I wondered what Environment Canterbury (ECan) was doing about Heathcote River water quality? I was loath to dip my toes, wash my face, or swim in that filthy water. I wondered what the E. coli count was?
2009. Industrial Era Info Board by Heathcote River, Rutherford St, Wooston Loop, Christchurch
By Rutherford St, I stopped to read info boards:
The opening of the railway from Lyttelton to Christchurch 1867 fuelled an era of industrial growth. The Heathcote River was replaced by the railway as the main highway of travel and trade.
Woolston Tanneries Ltd (est 1878) was one of 8 tanneries that operated in Woolston during the industrial boom. Also in the area were 2 lime kilns, 11 wool scourers, a flax mill, a glue works, a soap and candle works, an abattoir, a leather manufacturer and a carpet factory.
In the days when river traffic had priority, swing bridges... could be swivelled onto the bank to allow passage of boats. Today's bridge on Garlands Road... was designed in 1930 and reflects the Art Deco architecture influence of the time."
2009. Kayakers on Heathcote River, by Garlands Rd Bridge, Christchurch
"The river now provided a source of water and a means of transport, power and waste disposal for the heavy industries which established along its lower reaches.
Take a walk across the road to the Woolston Cemetery (est 1850) the final resting place of many figures prominent in the history of Heathcote River.
Woolston once a busy residential and commercial area, became one of the chief industrial centres of New Zealand." (CCC)
"RESTORING THE RIVER'S HEALTH
The development of heavy industry and overcrowding in Woolston last century led to severe pollution of the Heathcote River. There were no sewers - industrial effluent and household waste were channelled directly into the river.
'In 1903 4.5 million litres of industrial effluent were being discharged each day... coal smoke filled the air... turning the skyline dark and murky... (and) the Woolston area of the Heathcote River was so polluted that virtually no plants could live in it. (The Estuary: where our rivers meet the sea)'
Christchurch became known as the unhealthiest place in the country. Repeated outbreaks of diseases such as typhoid, diphtheria and dysentery in the mid 1870s, and fears of a full scale epidemic of bubonic plague provided incentive to improve standards of hygiene.
Changes were gradual and pollution of the river continued until the 1970s when industrial effluent was finally piped to the sewers for purification.
Today there is widespread appreciation of the river, as breathing space for the city and suburbs. With the efforts of the City Council and many hard working volunteers the Heathcote is beginning to regain some of its natural character." (CCC)
2009. History of Chapel of St Luke, Woolston Cemetery by Heathcote River, Woolston Loop, Christchurch
A paunchy man got out of his car and pissed by the riverside. I crossed busy Garlands Rd concrete bridge, with its Art Deco design, to Connal St where I looked at Woolston Cemetery (first burial 1852, last burial1989).
An info board described the history of the funeral Chapel of Saint Luke (1888) which was moved in 1949 from Woolston Cemetery to Jubilee Hospital when the cemetery became full. After Jubilee Hospital closed the Chapel of Saint Luke was moved in 1991 to its present position at City Mission, Hereford Street. (CCC)
2009. People Buried in Woolston Cemetery by Heathcote River, Woolston Loop, Christchurch
Another info board described people buried in Woolston Cemetery:
Politicians - Murray-Aynsley; Ollivier; Richardson.
Philanthropists - Bray; Ollivier; Cholmondeley.
Children - Milner; Monck.
Business People - Acland; Penfold; Adley; Charlesworth; Hawker; Ollivier. (CCC)
2009. Grave Plan & Notable Trees, Woolston Cemetery by Heathcote River, Woolston Loop, Christchurch
A third info board described the grave plan and notable trees in Woolston Cemetery: oak; Dutch elm; ash; limes. (CCC)
2009. Graves & Notable Trees, Woolston Cemetery by Heathcote River, Woolston Loop, Christchurch
I passed GELITA THE GELATINE GROUP, while a rancid smell of burning bones issued from the factory chimney. Another kayaker paddled downriver.
With riverside graffiti, dirty water, rubbish in the water, litter and dumping on riverbanks near Woolston Barrage, Heathcote River was stuffed.
2009. Fly Agaric, Amanita muscaria, Heathcote River, Woolston Barrage, Christchurch
At the end of Connal St, I walked on the soggy, grassy riverbank and passed riverside duplexes painted bright colours: blue, yellow, orange, green, maroon... Duplexes curved round the first / last riverbend of Woolston Loop, past reeds and ducks. I saw Radley Park on the opposite bank, and passed riverside poplars and Fly Agaric, Amanita muscaria, on my left and roadside businesses on my right, till I crossed Woolston Barrage, then returned to my car along Woolston Cut. Woolston Loop, walk time: 1.5 hours.
2009. Heathcote River Footbridges by Woolston Barrage, upriver Woolston Loop, Christchurch
Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.