The Bricks site memorial

Situated on Oxford Terrace, on the banks of the Avon River, the Bricks site memorial, erected in 1926, marks an original landing site used by European settlers travelling up the river.

The Bricks memorial
The Bricks memorial. © Christchurch Star

The Bricks site and cairn is situated on the banks of the Avon/Ōtākaro River, near the intersection of Oxford Terrace and Barbadoes Street.

Located across the river from a former Ngāi Tahu kainga, by the 1840s the site was the furthest point of navigation for boats making their way up the Ōtākaro River. For this reason it was chosen as a landing point by John and William Deans, who were the first Europeans to establish a permanent settlement on the Canterbury Plains. The site received its name due to a cargo of bricks having been deposited there.

By the 1850s a wharf was erected to assist with the unloading of cargo being brought up the river to assist with the development of the Christchurch settlement. By the 1860s, the use of the Heathcote River as a cargo route had rendered it redundant.

On 9 February 1926, the Christchurch Beautifying Association approved a design prepared by Samuel Hurst Seager and Cecil Wood for a cairn to be erected on the site of The Bricks. The cairn was partially made out of bricks which had originally been unloaded at the site and used in the construction of W. Guise Brittan's house on the corner of Fitzgerald Avenue and River Road.

On 18 December 1926, prior to the unveiling, Mayor J.K. Archer placed a box in the cairn which contained the latest newspapers along with photographs of both Christchurch and the site. Although the official unveiling ceremony took place on 20 December, the inscription was still to be carved.

The wider context of "The Bricks" includes the site of Tautahi's Pa (which is commemorated in the  Cambridge Green  reserve  across  the  Avon),  the  residential  properties  across  Oxford Terrace,  which  are  the  sites  of  the  early  houses  and  businesses  which  once  clustered around the landing site, and the River Avon itself, which provided the transport artery which once supplied The Bricks.