Michael Brennan Hart
The Cressy

Original information:
Michael Brennan Hart (1843-1908) was six when he migrated to Canterbury with his parents, Michael Brennan (1814-1878), a plumber, and Mary Ann (34), and brother George (1841-1911).

Upon arrival, Mary Ann, who was a matron on the Cressy, received her £5 gratuity. Because living in their V-hut at Lyttelton was expensive for the Harts, they moved to a Christchurch section. Not far from Lichfield Street, the Harts put up a tent and Michael set up what would become the White Hart Hotel on the south side of the Sumner Road (now High Street), close to the present City Mall. By November 1851, Hart had built a wooden building with stables. The White Hart was to become a popular drinking establishment.

Michael Hart Jun. was Mayor of Christchurch in 1874. Hart Street (formerly Ashbourne Place and later Henley Street) is named after Michael Hart Sen. According to records, Michael Jun. was a solicitor’s clerk articled to T. S. Duncan. In 1900 he was living in Christchurch.

Readers' response:
According to a family member, along with building the White Hart Hotel, Michael Hart Sen. also established Christchurch’s first pub. He also provided the land for the first Town Hall in Christchurch, and the family thinks he thus “bought’’ himself into office.

One of Michael’s sons, George Robert Hart, was a reporter, then editor and chief-of-staff on The Press. His other son, Frank Herbert Hart, was a journalist for the Eketahuna Gazette, an editor of the Mataura Ensign, and a sub-editor and senior reporter for The Press.1


1: Pat Churchill, unpublished family history


POSTED BY: Sanda Gwenneth Hart : September 11, 2008
Hi there, Michael Brennan Hart jun was not Mayor of Christchurch.  His father was.  His father's name was Michael Brannon Hart.  He and his wife came to New Zealand on the Cressy with two sons - Michael Hart aged 6 and George Robert aged 9.   NB It was Michael Brannon Hart (senior) who was Mayor of Christchurch and he was buried in the Barbadoes Street Cemetry.  His genealogy can be traced a long way back.  Any info about these folks, contact me Sandra Hart on (03) 384 7896