Topic: The Hebrew Congregation Buried in Linwood Cemetery

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A description of the Jewish Section in Linwood Cemetery

Wealthy members of the Canterbury Hebrew Congregation subscribed money so that, on 13th October 1864, the community could purchase a 1/4 acre of land on Hereford Street (now 377 Hereford St) approximately halfway between Fitzgerald Avenue and Stanmore Road. This was Part Rural Section 26 in the City of Christchurch. The title, a conveyance under the Deeds system, was vested in a group of four trustees as a burial ground. The original trustees were Louis Edward NATHAN, Maurice HARRIS (Block 16 Plot 81), Hyman MARKS (Block 16 Plot 91), David DAVIS and Henry MOSS. New Trustees were appointed in 1882, 1914 and 1926.

The first burial at the Hereford St Cemetery took place in 1865 and was of Sarah Elizabeth NATHAN.  There followed 34 burials in the graveyard, the last in April 1890. By that time, Linwood Cemetery had opened with a section set aside for Jewish graves which runs from the foot to part way up the hill at the eastern end of the cemetry (Blocks 16 and 19).  Jewish graves are laid out in rows facing east to west.   There are currently people buried in 318 plots in these two Blocks.

The first burial in the Jewish section of Linwood Cemetery was George Melville LOUISSON (Block 16 Plot 74) who died on 4th November 1885 after three weeks illness aged 21 years. He was very well known and his death came as "a shock".  Articled as a solcitor, he played for the East Christchurch Football Club and rowed for the Union Rowing Club.  He was the son of Cecil LOUISSON (Block 16 Plot 73) and the nephew of Councillor and later Mayor and Member of the Legislative Council, Charles LOUISSON (Block 16 Plot 31).

In 1886 there were two further burials in Block 16; those of the young infants Nellie Elizabeth MARKS who died on 13th January 1886 aged 6 months and Elizabeth Harris CARO (Block 16 Plot 72) who died on 11th June 1886 aged 2 months.  There was an average of 1-2 (and occasionally 3 or 4) burials a year in Block 16 until 1910 when there followed a slight increase.  Block 19 had its first interrment in 1910, again one person per year being buried in there initially.  This Block still has land available for burial.

"For some considerable period", the grounds at Hereford Street looked "unsightly". In 1924 the congregation decided that it should close the Hereford Street Cemetery, shift the remains of the bodies to Linwood Cemetery and sell the land. A prospective buyer paid a deposit but the community discovered that, under the terms of the conveyance, the consent of two thirds of the congregation would be necessary before the disposal of the land could take place; also, a Private Bill would have to be put through Parliament. The congregation had to refund the money. For many years thereafter the community negotiated with relatives of people buried in the grounds so that all affected might agree to the sale.

John McCullough, a local member of the Legislative Council, piloted the Canterbury Jewish Cemetery Empowering Bill through Parliament which passed its third reading on 18th August 1943. It was argued that residential settlement had grown up in the area and it was "in the public interest that the said ground be closed as a burial ground"; that the bodies be transferred to a "properly recognised burial ground"; and that the land be sold off by public auction or private contract.

Dr. Telford inspected the cemetery, being accompanied by members of the congregation and Mr. Hitchcock who lived in a house on one side of the cemetery, whose daughter occupied a property on the other, and who was the purchaser. Telford opened the graves and made several comments:

"There’s nothing there, not even a nail …. Not a trace of a long bone or a skull bone …. There are no remains to remove and rebury – you had better take some of the earth and bury that".

Hitchcock paid 500 pounds for the cemetery and, when all expenses were paid, the congregation pocketed 350 pounds.

When the content of the Jewish Cemetery had been buried in one plot at Linwood (Block 19, Plot 71), (recorded by the City Council as 2nd December 1943), a headstone was erected with the words

"Here repose the remains of the following that were removed from the Hereford Street Jewish Cemetery"

and a list follows of  the names of 16 people and the year of their death (see below).  Additional biographical information is from searching Papers Past;

Samuel COHEN died 11th June 1865.  He lived in Colombo St, Christchurch

Samuel LEVY may be also known as Simon and if so, died shortly before 3rd July 1867.  He was a pedlar.

Hannah PHILLIPS died 17th December 1868 and is noted as having lived frequently in Sydney, Australia.

David Hyam NATHAN born 9th May 1871 and died 11 days later on 20th May.

Henrietta MENDELSON died 1872.

Gertrude HERMAN was probably the daughter of Mr & Mrs I HERMANN who was born on 16th September 1873.  Mr I HERMAN was a pawnbroker.

Alice Maude NATHAN infant daughter of Mr & Mrs L. E. NATHAN a jeweller, wathcmaker and pawnbroker, who died on 1st February 1873.

Miriam Marie RAPHAEL died 14th June 1874 aged 10 months.  She lived in Madras Street.

Maud Miriam CARO died 1875.

Alfred Isaac RAPHAEL died 14th September1875 and was an early Christchurch City Councillor.

Elias HERMAN died 29th February 1876 aged 6 months 3 weeks and lived in Colombo Street North.

Jacob SCHWARTZ, Tobacconist, who lived in St Asaph Street, died on 17th June 1877 aged 69.

Emanuael PHILLIPS died 25th August 1877 aged 73 and who lived on North Town Belt.

Hyam Edward NATHAN died 19th December 1885 aged 59 and who lived at 81 Litchfield Street East.

Sarah Elizabeth NATHAN died 1888.

Mary Ann RAPHAEL died 3rd April 1890 age 51 and lived at 135 Madras Street.

At the end of the inscription are the following names of the officials of the Hebrew Congregation at the time.  They were also buried in Linwood Cemetery at the end of their lives:

Arthur ROSE, President (Block 16 Plot 114) died 29th July 1953 aged 49.  He is listed on the CCC Database as a Company Director and had lived in NZ since 1904.

Ernest FREIDLANDER, Hon. Treasurer (Block 16 Plot 151a).  A  manufacturer, he died 16th June 1946 at age 52 and had lived in NZ since 1916.

Samuel Nathan SALAS, Minister (Block 19 Plot 1). Rabbi SALAS had arrived in NZ in 1920 with his wife Saidee Gladys who had died 18 months before him and is buried in the same plot.  He died on 31st May 1958 age 69.

The memorial was restored in 1974 but has been seriously damaged in the February 2011 earthquake.


Many members of the Hebrew Congregation buried in Linwood Cemetery contributed widely to the City of Christchurch.  Click on the names to discover more about them;

Dr Emil SCHMITZ (Block 16 Plot 6) - Doctor of Law

Phineas SELIG (Block 16 Plots 21 & 22)

Charles LOUISSON (Block 16 Plot 31) - Councillor, Mayor, Member of the Legislative Council.

Ernest Loftus ROBBINS (Block 16 Plot 51A - memorial) Died at Gallipoli 26 April 1915.

Rabbi Isaac ZACHARIAH (Block 16 Plot 55) - Senior Rabbi for the NZ Hebrew Community for 36 years.

Jacob DAVIS (Block 16 Plot 60) - His body was shipped from New York where he lived, back to Christchurch.

Bernhard BALLINS (Block 16 Plot 23) One of the earliest fizzy drink manufacuters in the world.

Solomon NASHELSKI (Block 16 Plot 87)  "His life resembled more the gentle cool and nourishing dew than copiuos showers that fill the streams."

Julius JACKSON (Block 16 Plot 42) died in Lewisham Hospital whilst visiting Christchurch. Headstone erected by Wellington Jewish Social Choir.

Hyman MARKS (Block 16 Plot 91) - Philanthropist who died in 1895 and whose Trust still gives to those in need today.

Murray MARKS (Block 16 Plot 103A - memorial) RNZAF died 31 December 1943.

Harry Duncan Davis Arthur BAUCHOP (Block 16 Plot 108) Died at Larrissa, Greece on 20 April 1941.

Heinrich SUSMANN (Block 16 Plot 123) "The first fatal accident in the history of NZ skiing and the first one connected with an avalanche." (1942)

David SHANES (Block 16 Plot 151) Died in Korea serving with Royal Australian Regiment 3rd October 1953.

Dr Franz KRAL (Block 19 Plot 61 North Side)

Charles COHEN (Block 16 Plot 62) see section on The Tram.

Ernest James GRIMWOOD (Block 19 Plot 201) Served with 218 Squadron RAF in WW2.

At the end of most of the Hebrew headstone inscriptions in Linwood Cemetery are 5 characters of the Hebrew alphabet which translate as "May his soul be bound up in the bond of eternal life."  It is from the Old Testament Samuel 1 25:29.

Only two people died from influenza in the 1918 pandemic are buried in Block 16, and none in Block 19.

Ernest BALLIN, Dentist aged 37 who died on 16th November 1918 (Block 16 Plot 47)

Louisa LEVIEN, Housewife aged 51 who died on 2nd December 1918 (Block 16 Plot 78)

Click here for more about reading Hebrew Headstones.

The Canterbury Hebrew Congregation continue to control the Jewish part of the Linwood Cemetery.   The current Board of the Canterbury Hebrew Congregation ( is open to discussions about any issues including repairs and restoration in this area and should be contacted in the first instance to discuss what is being proposed.

Jewish history is not widely represented in Christchurch so Linwood Cemetery is an important heritage site for the Hebrew community.


Greenaway, Richard; Tour Guide for Linwood Cemetery;

Christchurch City Council, Conservation Plan for Linwood Cemetery; 2006

© Friends of Linwood Cemetery (2015)

Updated 26th August 2018 by Alexandra.

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The Hebrew Congregation Buried in Linwood Cemetery

Previous name :Corporation Cemetery
Suburb :Bromley
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The Hebrew Congregation Buried in Linwood Cemetery by Friends of Linwood Cemetery is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License