Enjoy the unique country village atmosphere and admire the grandeur of the many historical buildings and museums. Take time to stroll the beautiful totara forests and walkways, many of them within walking distance of the township and the Geraldine Holiday Park. The domain, with its lovely, extensive rose gardens is the ideal place to bring out the picnic and this beautiful area is just across the road from the Geraldine Holiday Park.
Geraldine was discovered in the 1840s, but it wasn’t until 1854 that Samual Healings built the first bark hut in Talbot Street. He married a Maori woman Aga Hei, and the totara tree which he planted to mark the birth of his daughter still stands on the site today in Talbot Street, opposite the police station .
Sheep were quickly established in the area, together with the pit saw milling of the native bush. When the bush has been cleared, wheat crops were grown across the plains. Originally called Talbot Forest, Geraldine was renamed Fitzgerald in 1857 after the first superintendent of Canterbury, an Irishman, Edward Fitzgerald. The name was finally changed to Geraldine which was Fitzgerald’s family name in Ireland.
Geraldine became a Town Board in 1884 and a Borough in 1905. It was incorporated in the Ashburton electorate in 1908, when its hotels were closed. It remained “dry” until 1950, when the Geraldine Licensing Trust Hotel opened.
If you are interested in Geraldine’s history, it is well worth a visit to:
- The Geraldine Museum on Cox St (approximately 200 metres from the Geraldine Holiday park) where the Geraldine Historical Society have an impressive collection for public viewing
- The Geraldine Vintage Car and Machinery museum on Talbot St with a huge array of vintage vehicles on display
- For further information on Geraldine and its history visit the offical tourism site www.gogeraldine.co.nz