History of the Churches of Clarkville, Eyreton, Flaxton, Ohoka & Swannanoa

Methodist Church - 224 Tram Road, Clarkville

Methodists who lived in this area first met in the local school until 1896, when they obtained a building that had previously been used by the Bible Christians in North Kaiapoi.  It was shifted by Mr O Holland, using his traction engine, to a site donated by James Clothier at 224 Tram Road.  In February 1940 it was destroyed by fire, so services were again held in the school until 1946 when a military hut was purchased. This latter building was shifted in 1968 to St Augustine’s Anglican Church nearby for use as a Sunday school. Services had ceased in 1965 and the section was sold in 1968.

St Augustine’s Anglican – 8 Island Road, Clarkville

St Augustine’s is sited on what was Kaiapoi Island, the land between the south and north branches of the Waimakariri River.  The church erected about 1860 was initially referred to as School Chapel, later the Island Chapel or the 'Chapel of Ease', a chapel being a place of Christian worship other than the parish church, and a 'chapel of ease' generally referring to a subordinate Anglican Church provided for the convenience of remote parishioners.  It was closed for a time and then re-opened in 1870.  The chapel was enlarged in 1874 and became the present St Augustine’s Church. 

The Sunday school building at the rear of the church was previously the Clarkville Methodist Church situated at 224 Tram Road.  This was moved in 1968.  The bell tower was purchased from St Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Kaiapoi when that building was demolished about 1976. There is a cemetery on the site.

St Augustine’s is Category II on the Historic Places Trust Register.

Methodist Church – West side of the Eyreton Cemetery, South Eyre Road, Eyreton

The Eyreton Methodist Church was in South Eyre Road, at the western side of the present cemetery.  It was built on land donated by Marmaduke Dixon and it was opened in March 1875.

In 1961 this building was removed to Leigh Camp at Loburn for use as a Chapel for the Methodist Bible Class camps held there.  The section was sold in 2001. 

St Thomas’ Anglican – 590 South Eyre Road, Eyreton

The Eyreton settlers originally attended St Paul’s at Flaxton, but that church was not always accessible due to bad roading and flooding, so it was decided to establish a church at Eyreton.  Marmaduke Dixon donated land for a church and cemetery.  The Price Brothers were the builders and the church was dedicated on 17 February 1874.  The church was attached to the Kaiapoi Parish and was first served by the Rev. Wm W Willock. The Eyreton Cemetery is alongside the church.

St Thomas’ is on the Waimakariri District Council Heritage List.

St Paul’s Anglican – Corner of Flaxton and Hicklands Roads, Flaxton

In 1866 the Torlesse Family donated land for a church to serve the people of the Rangiora and Mandeville Swamp areas, at the junction of the then named Rangiora and Eyre Roads.  St Paul’s was consecrated on 25 March 1867 by Bishop Harper.  It served nearby settlers as well as people from Eyreton until 1875, but with poor roads and frequent floods communication was often difficult and the outcome was a decision to build at Eyreton where there was comparatively dry land and an increasing population. 

St Paul’s was still in use at Flaxton in 1920, but was demolished in 1934.  The cemetery is still at the site.

Methodist Church – 401 Whites Road, Ohoka

The Eyre settlers, led by Samuel Bradley and Isaac Wilson, built their church at 401 Whites Road in 1865. Twelve years later the church entrance was altered so that a larger addition could be built across the front, which created a 'T' shape. 

The last service in the church was in 1978, and the building was sold by auction in 1985.  The new owners converted it into a dwelling and redesigned the garden around the established trees.

St Albans Anglican – 528 Mill Road, Ohoka

St Albans was consecrated on 31 May 1882.  Robert Miller built the 130-seat church after the completion of the Vicarage.  B W Mountfort was the architect.

The vicarage was converted in 1909 to become the Te Waipounamu Maori Girls’ College, a residential school for young Maori women.  In 1926, the college moved to Christchurch and the building became a private residence. St Albans celebrated its centennial in 1982.

St Albans is named after the Roman soldier who was born at Verulamium in the latter part of the third century.  He embraced Christianity, and became a renowned teacher, subsequently suffering martyrdom for his faith.

St Albans is on the Waimakariri District Council Heritage List.


Kaiapoi Methodist Circuit and Kaiapoi Co-operating Parish Minutes.

Hide, Peter - St Albans Church, Ohoka, 1882-1982. 1982.