Author(s): Singleton, George
The publishing of Ellesmere: The Jewel in the Canterbury Crown is the culmination of many years of research and writing by its author, George Singleton. During the 1970s, he not only began collecting information himself, but also encouraged people who had historical material relating to the area, to deposit it with the Ellesmere County Council in Leeston. In this he had the council’s absolute support. In the late 1990s, George wrote up his collection of material as a Millennium Project, which was completed in 2001. Now, in 2007, after additions and editing by Selwyn District Council archivist Stephen Wright, George’s history is published for the first time. The book tells the story of Ellesmere, from pre-European times until the present day, with essays covering changes in local government, the development of education, transport infrastructure, agriculture and industry — right through to the current rapid growth of Rolleston and Lincoln. The many other aspects of Ellesmere’s story which receive detailed attention include Lake Ellesmere’s fascinating and sometimes turbulent history, the 1918 influenza epidemic, swaggers, goldmining, the Burnham Industrial School, and the Rakaia and Selwyn Huts. All Ellesmere communities, large and small, and each with its own chapter, are given expansive coverage — even some which have become little-known names, such as Wakaipa and Selwyn. With its text enlivened by the insertion of many informative maps and more than 300 high-quality historic photographs, including 15 pages in full colour, George Singleton’s book is a most important addition to the published history of the Selwyn District.