Topic: Isaac Parish

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Well known Shirley Resident

Isaac Parish was a five year old when he sailed into Lyttelton with his family. They came out as assisted passengers on the Cressy, one of the first four ships, in 1850. He was born 28 September 1846 at Elsworth, in Cambridgeshire, and was the third child of Hannah and William Parish.

After spending their first year in Lyttelton, the family ventured over the hilltop to Christchurch and settled in the Ferry Road area. William bought land which was covered with cabbage trees and flax, and proceeded to clear it so that he could plant wheat that he had bought from the Maori at Rapaki. William was one of the first settlers to sow a crop of wheat.

Isaac helped his father on the farm, and also drove bullocks around Christchurch. When he was 20 years old, the world of adventure called, and he left Christchurch to try his luck on the West Coast gold fields. Isaac’s experience in gold mining was non-existent and therefore he and the friends he went with did not last long. He returned home, where his father started him up with a team of horses. He found cartage work at the Stone quarry in Hoon Hay, and then went on to carry stone for the construction of the Bank of New Zealand, and for the jail on Lincoln Road. Isaac then turned his hand to farming, buying his first farm on Ferry Road. He set up a dairy herd and sold milk. He then moved to Canal Reserve (Marshland Road), having bought swampy land from Messrs Rhodes and Withers. Here he continued to farm, and dealt extensively in stock, and buying and selling land in the area. His expertise with stock was well known and for several years he was a judge at the Christchurch, and Rangiora Shows.

He was also very community minded, serving as an elected member of the Avon Road Board, and a member of the Waimairi County Council.

After dairy farming for many years, and buying and selling farms, Isaac finally retired and went to live in Burwood.

Married twice, firstly to Martha Piper in 1866, and secondly to his former housekeeper. Mary Hay. Martha and Isaac had eight children, Alice Ada (16/3/1869), Alfred William (14/10/1872, Isaac Edward (1/3/1874), Walter (1/7/1877), Albert Henry (12/3/1879), Joseph Leonard (4/1/1882), Martha Hannah Maude (8/8/1884), and James Reuben (17/11/1889).

Isaac Parish died on 3 September 1921, aged 75, and is buried in the Burwood Cemetery. Parish Street is named after him.


Golding, Ellen. The Parish Family Tree, 2007

Hills, D.A. The Styx Story. A Study of a Christchurch River. Styx History Group, Christchurch, NZ. 2002

Hills, Dennis & Helen. Settling Near The Styx River. D.A.& H.J. Hills, Christchurch, NZ, 2006

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Isaac Parish

First Names:Isaac
Last Name:Parish
Place of Birth:Elsworth, Cambridgeshire, England