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small village of Woodbury is located 8 km from Geraldine. It was
originally settled in the 1860s and at one stage was a booming
settlement with 2 pubs.
The original church was a wooden structure built and consecrated in 1879. The present church of St Thomas was completed in 1938 as a memorial to Mr. and Mrs. Charles George Tripp, pioneer settlers.
Woodbury has a small library originally built by the Tripp family as a memorial to Eleanor, and is run completely by local people. Book donations are always welcome. The library also has a small historic room Here you can learn about the early history of Woodbury and view many pictures of the early days.
It is very sobering to see so many names from such a small region.
Woodbury also has a cemetery. For information regarding burials etc, please contact the secretary, John Nichelsen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Geraldine was founded in 1854 and one of the first residents
was Samuel Hewlings, a surveyor. Hewlings married a Maori woman
called Nga Hei and their daughter was the first part European
child born in the district. To mark the occasion Hewlings
planted a totara tree in Talbot Street (opposite the police
station) which still flourishes.
The first settlers raised sheep but before long pit-sawyers came searching for supplies of good building timber and the large Raukapuka Forest was felled. The land was cultivated and produced good crops of wheat. Dairying was also an early form of farming on the cleared bush land and a small cheese factory was built in 1884. Now, there is still sheep farming, but this is slowly giving way to the expanding dairying.
The area where Geraldine is now was originally part of the area known as Talbot Forest. It was renamed FitzGerald in 1857 after the first superintendent of Canterbury, an Irishman, Edward FitzGerald. He changed the name after only 10 days to Geraldine which had Irish connections with his family. The name, Talbot Forest still lives on in several businesses in Geraldine, (Talbot Forest Cheese among others) and in the small remnant of the forest that exists just outside the town. There are many interesting walks both in the forest and along the river in Geraldine. On the river bank behind the hotel, wild hops have been found. These date back to the time when Geraldine Hotel was making its own beer.
Geraldine is set on the banks of the Waihi River and is some 90 metres above sea level. The region enjoys a moderate climate with an average rainfall of 630 mm (approx 25 inches) and an impressive total of annual sunshine hours.
For more information, visit the Geraldine website, www.gogeraldine.co.nz