Our rich history


Bishopdale’s history is very much intertwined with that of Papanui. Papanui Bush – a rare patch of native forest – extended out towards Bishopdale and generated a thriving timber industry in the early years of European settlement. In 1857 the final tree of the 30-hectare forest had been converted into saleable wood, forcing the timber-based community to reinvent itself.

While much of the land was swampy in nature, drainage work was underway in 1858 when early settlers Robert Bishop (1827 – 1909) and his brother James (1826 – 1910) bought land and began their successful pip-fruit orchard. James brought four sons to the enterprise and in 1859 they were joined by William (1829 – 1903), the third Bishop Brother, and his family.

Three Brothers

The three Brothers built a homestead where Bishopdale School is now located and Bishopsdale (the second ‘s’ was later dropped) was up and running.

From stands of totara and ‘swarms of native pigeon’ through to ordered rows of apple and pear trees and a shopping centre developed by the Ministry of Works in the 1960s that sought to integrate commercial and community facilities, Bishopdale continued to break ground.

A New Era

Here, at Bishop Brothers Public House, where we follow over the last half-century a butcher, bookmaker, bookseller and an Italian restaurant and convivial tavern, where trees were once felled and apples ripened under a Canterbury sun, Bishop Brothers Public House will strive to make this next chapter as full of life and enjoyment as we know how.

Welcome and enjoy!