Topic: Enoch Barker, 1829 - 1892. Early Christchurch resident

Topic type:

Enoch Barker 1829 - 1892 Pioneer, Government Gardener, Burwood Market Gardener and Local Identity

Enoch was born in York, England in 1829 to parents George and Ann. He trained in horticulture and worked on some of the largest private estates in England. His apprenticeship was at Chatsworth, the principle seat of the Duke of Devonshire.

He married Sarah Hall and they had two daughters, Sarah Ann, and Emily Jane.

On October 12, 1858, the family set sail for New Zealand on the Strathallan, with their passage costing fifty one pounds. Ten days into the Voyage, while passing the coast of Portugal, Sarah unfortunately died, she was only thirty six years old.

Enoch and the two girls landed in Lyttelton on 17 January 1859, along with fellow passengers Amelia Foster, and her mother Elizabeth, who had come to be with relatives in Lyttelton. Both had helped with looking after the girls on the voyage. One month after their arrival (14 February 1859), Enoch and Amelia Foster married and they lived in Lyttelton briefly before moving on to Christchurch. They purchased land at Burwood and built one of the finest houses in the area.

Amelia and Enoch went on to have seven children of their own; Louis, Amelia, Alice, Marianna, Volney, Foster, and an infant child that died at thirteen months. Amelia taught the children herself, adding in other local children until she had a small school.

Hagley Park, 1983. Christchurch City LibrariesFrom 1860 till 1867, Enoch worked for the Provincial Government as Government Gardener in charge of domains, he supervised the planting of many trees in Hagley Park and the four avenues, and he began to lay out and plant the Botanic Gardens.

On 9 July 1863, Enoch planted a Quercus Robur (common Oak) in the Botanic Gardens to commemorate the marriage of HRH Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, and HRH Alexandra, daughter of Christian IX, King of Denmark. Known as the Albert Edward Oak, it was the first tree to be planted in the gardens, and the planting date became accepted as the foundation date for the Botanic Gardens, although they were not officially established until 1864.

We have Enoch Barker to thank for the many older trees which now grace Hagley Park, the Botanic Gardens, and the four avenues.

In 1867 Enoch resigned from the Gardens as he felt that now that the gardens were established, it was time for him to spend more time with his family, and develop his Burwood property. He set up a nursery where he grew and sold trees and plants, and also established a market garden. He sold a lot of vegetables to the local pickle factory. The market garden was not without problems, the major one being that the land was swampy and bisected with drains and floodgates, and would often flood. When laying out onions to dry, storms and sudden downpours were the last thing Enoch needed as the onions would be swept away in the flood.

Enoch had always taken an active interest in local affairs and as well as belonging to several organisations, he was Director of the New Brighton Tramway Company, Clerk of the Course at Burwood Racecourse, and Director of the Pier Company

On 4 February 1868, the Waimakariri overflowed into its former channels, including those that connected with the Avon River. Flooding thus occurred around Christchurch, especially in the city centre. Water flowed about 3 feet deep in places in Market Square, now Victoria Square. It was during this flood that Enoch and several other culprits were brought before the Bench and scolded by the judge for stealing timber. The flood had washed Josiah Birch's timber down the Waimakariri and out to sea. It was then washed up on New Brighton Beach. Enoch, along with fellow locals, Henry Inwood, Caleb Selfe, and Thomas Snelling found it and hid it on their properties. Because the timber contained a flaw, and had been cut into unusual lengths Josiah was able to identify his timber, and have it returned.

Over time Enoch had become slightly lame and needed a walking Stick. He was also a regular at the Bower Hotel, but whether this contributed to his death, it is not known. Enoch accidentally drowned alongside a floodgate on the Avon River on January 17, 1892 and was buried at the Burwood All Saints Cemetery.

Barkers Road in North Beach is named after him.

Amelia continued on the land and also had a small shop. She died on March 6, 1904 and was also buried at the Burwood All Saints Cemetery.

 Sheep Grazing in Hagley Park [1910]. Christchurch City Libraries. CCL PhotoCD 4, IMG0032







A Garden Century: the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, 1863 – 1963. [Edited by M. J. Barnett, H. G. Gilpin, and L. J. Metcalf]; [Christchurch): Christchurch City Council, [1962]

Lamb, R. C. Early Christchurch: the beginnings of municipal government 1862 - 1868: a study commemorating the centenary of the Christchurch city Council. Christchurch, NZ, :lb Canterbury Public Library, c1963

Stewart, Lee. Now and Then. [Rangiora, NZ,: l bL. Stewart],2002

Discuss This Topic

There are 0 comments in this discussion.

join this discussion

Enoch Barker, 1829 - 1892. Early Christchurch resident

First Names:Enoch
Last Name:Barker
Place of Birth:York, England
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License
Enoch Barker, 1829 - 1892. Early Christchurch resident by bknlaww100 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License