New Church - A Gem in a Beautiful Setting
Geraldine, a township of exceptional charms for the visitor, and the centre of a district rich in attractions, nestles at the foot of the Geraldine Downs on the banks of the willow-fringed Waihi stream.
To the resident, this quietly prosperous centre of a rich agricultural and pastoral district offers most of the amenities of town life, including splendid recreational facilities, and is a spot becoming more and more favoured by retired people for their homes. To the city dweller, it offers rest and change in the peace of a rural atmosphere, a variety of walks and motor drives in picturesque surroundings, and to the sportsman, fishing and shooting.
Within the borough boundaries, the Geraldine Native Bush Reserve covers 52 acres of the foothills bordering the township. It contains some fine native trees. Giant Totaras, white and black pines, Rimus, Ribbonwoods and a great variety of small trees and shrubs, including Fuchsia, Kowhai, and white flowering Clematis, grow in profusion in this remnant of virgin forest, which at one time clothed the greater portion of the Geraldine Downs. Tracks give access to the cool, fern-carpeted interior which offers a retreat from the hot days of summer.
Although there is not now the great variety and number of native birds there were 60 years ago, the friendly Fantails, Riflemen, Wax-eyes, Tom-tits and Wrens are there in large numbers, and the piping note of the Bell-birds and Mokos are familiar in the bird choir, and occasionally the call of the Morepork and the small Brown Owl can be heard.
In the centre of the township are two parks containing large numbers of English trees, established as a result of the foresight of early settlers, rose gardens, playing areas, swimming baths and a well equipped motor camp. The Geraldine golf course is 3 miles distant on the Orari road.
There are many beautiful localities that can be visited by car, including Peel Forest, where there is a scenic reserve of 1,000 acres of virgin forest, the Orari, Waihi, and Te Moana Gorges, and the Kakahu district. Deer stalking, mountain climbing and ice skating can be enjoyed at Rangitata Gorge, also reached by car.
On of the greatest attractions for the visitor is the large number of delightful walks he may take, each of which rewards him with delightful vistas of mountain and rural scenery. The most popular of these is the walk across the Geraldine Downs whence a wonderful view can be obtained of the Canterbury Plains, stretching from Timaru to the Port Hills, bounded on the west by a magnificent range of snow-capped mountains, and on the east by a blue ribbon of sea in the distance. On a bright day it is a panorama of increasing loveliness, for the whole plain with its large number of stately plantations has the appearance of a huge parkland.
It can be said of Geraldine as Rupert Brooke said of Granchester, "there's peace and holy quiet there." More and more people from the cities will come to find spiritual refreshment in its delightful surroundings, and with a vision of the future, the builders of the fine new Church of the Immaculate Conception, have placed a gem in a beautiful setting.
The proceeds from the sale of this Souvenir Booklet are to be devoted to paying off the debt on the building.
A working bee, consisting of a large number of energetic and willing helpers, laid drains and straightened up the grounds which will later be artistically laid out in flowers, lawns and shrubs.
When completed the church grounds will be tastefully laid out in shrubs. At the front of the building the ground has been cleared and portions of the macrocarpa hedge removed, A concrete fence, in which pillars of gradually increasing height are a feature, runs along the entrance in Peel Street on one side and Hislop Street on the other. On either side of the entrance a low concrete kerb forms the border to what will be garden plots. The whole effect, when completed should be most pleasing.