Site of "Juhan Munna" (later "Undercliffe") 1828-1880s
Cooks River cycle path by Undercliff Bridge, Homer St, Earlwood
Unveiled by Councillor Kayee Griffin, Mayor of Canterbury on 4th May 1996.
Joshua Thorp, architect and Asistant Colonial Engineer, built himself a nine roomed stone country house on the south side of Cooks River in 1828. He called his property "Juhan Munna", an aboriginal name meaning "to go away". An aboriginal apprentice was living with the family during the 1830s. In 1840, Joshua emigrated to New Zealand, and the property was bought by Frederick Wright Unwin, who owned "Wanstead", the adjoining farm on the east. The house, renamed "Undercliff", was rented to the managers of the Canterbury Sugarworks, who preferred to live away from the factory in a more picturesque setting. Contemporary paintings show a collection of buildings in the Gothic style in a clearing with fruit trees, vines, and a fowlyard, surrounded by angophora trees. The property was bought by the solicitor, P.A. Tompson, around 1850, and he built a bridge on the site of Joshu Thorp's punt in 1854. Most of the buildings were demolished to make way for the widening of Homer Street in the 1880s.
Prepared by Canterbury City Library
Research for this panel by Lesley Muir and Brian Madden