Chalk message a key to past
A chalk message unlocked the history of one red-zone house.
The Locksley Ave property on the banks of the Avon River in Dallington was home to the Cooper family for nearly 50 years.
When demolition workers arrived at the house last month to bring it down, there was a chalk message waiting for them.
Written by hand on the brick wall, the message was a key to the house's past.
It was written by Julianne Dobson while she was on a ''pilgrimage'' of the Christchurch suburbs and homes she remembered from her childhood and knew would soon be gone.
Dobson grew up in the house next door and remembers playing with the Cooper children.
''I went around places I knew from my childhood in Christchurch,'' she said.
''I couldn't believe it. Everyone has left. It was like an empty shell.
''Our old house is standing there majestically and held up well. They just stand there empty, but they are full of lots of memories from years ago.
''It made me feel sad because most of my old neighbourhood has gone now.
''It was my way of saying goodbye to the area myself and recognising the souls of the houses and how well they did against mother nature.
''There is a great sadness there, but some wonderful, wonderful memories of life by the river.''