Jerusalem, Whanganui and maps

 I have just returned from a brief trip to Jerusalem (not the one in Israel! This one is a very small village next to the Whanganui River in New Zealand). I have written about it before (see this post). So here I will just add some photos.

I also stayed a night in Whanganui and bought the book called ‘Maps’ (UK Five Leaves Publications, 2011) at the local Saturday market. This is mainly a book of short essays about places. I haven’t finished it all yet, but it made me think of my trip in terms of maps. I have also written a post about maps before (see this post).


The Google maps show Whanganui (on the coast) and Jerusalem / Hiruharama further up the Whanganui River. We stayed at the former Sisters of Compassion Convent, dating from 1892 (a Category 1 historic building – I did the research and listing for it when I worked at Historic Places Trust!) Here is a selection of photos:

The town of Whanganui (or Wanganui) was originally named Petre by the New Zealand Company. It reverted to its original Maori name in 1854.

Here is a plan of Petre from 1850.[1] It shows a reserve next to the river for a corn market. There are still some reminders of the early settlement…

One set of my great-grandparents lived in Whanganui and my grandmother (father’s mother) grew up there. They lived at 2 Bell Street, which became 28 Bell Street when the street which was Harrison Place became part of Bell Street.

Petre plan (1850) annotated

The photos below show my great-grandparents house. Across the road is historic Tylee Cottage, but that was moved to this site in the 1980s so it wouldn’t have been there when my family lived in Bell Street. I have written various posts about this family (search on “Read family of Wanganui” or “Read”).

Their house is not there anymore – replaced by the modern flats seen in the photo below.

The Tylee House sign says it was built for John Tylee in 1853 and originally stood in Wilson St. Tylee was in charge of the Commissariat for the British troops and he used the garden at the rear as a vegetable garden for the army cooks… Hence our “Cook’s Gardens”.

I can only say that Cook’s Gardens are named as such on the 1850 Plan.

Petre plan (1850) Wilson St, Cook’s Gardens & Tylee house location

An 1848 plan gives “Cooke Gardens” (this is in the National Library collection, although there is no image online; Ref: MapColl-832.4199bje/1848/Acc.29010). An 1855 plan also in the National Library gives the name as “York Stockade”. Here is the plan, with two details – showing Wilson St; and the other showing the corner where my great-grandparents later lived (section 132).


Reference for this plan: Swainson, George Frederick, 1829-1870. Plan of the town of Whanganui; formerly named Petre [ms map]. [ca. 1855]. Ref: MapColl-os832.4199gbbd/[ca.1855]/Acc.16735. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22721929


[1] Source: Archives NZ: Plan of the Town of Petre, 1850. Title:66/21713 – Plan of the Town of Petre in the District of Wanganui [Whanganui] – Sections, blocks, boundary – scales 10 inches:1 inch, 30 links:1 inch – R. D. Park, P. S. New Zealand Company; Date: 1850; Archives reference:AAFV 997 Box 132 WT7. Found on Flickr:


2 thoughts on “Jerusalem, Whanganui and maps

  1. What is it with Aotearoa and its wandering cottages! I visited Tylee Cottage briefly when my artist friend Sonja van Kerkhoff was the Tylee Cottage Artist-in-Residence (through the Sarjeant Gallery) several years ago. But I never knew it wasn’t in its original location … one feels slightly cheated of historical integrity …


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