The installation of a seating area at Craigieburn has been completed and the area will include an interpretative sign naming the area “Tanners View”. The seats made by Cargill Enterprises and installed by Delta staff, provide a welcome viewing area across the valley and are in the same place where the 1890’s photograph of Edwin Tanner was taken looking out across the Leith Valley.
Edwin Tanner arrived at Craigieburn as one of Elizabeth Rankin’s boarders and was eventually to marry her in 1879. Originally from Portsmouth, England, Tanner had travelled extensively while in the navy. He arrived in Dunedin around 1863 possibly lured here by the Otago gold rush. He worked as a surveyor’s assistant and cook on survey teams throughout Otago. His self-taught education, ability and intelligence saw him become registered as an authorised surveyor in 1870 and he later served on the Maori Hill Borough Council from 1879. Tanner was a very engaging person in the local community and he and Elizabeth made Craigieburn the social hub of the district. The image taken between 1896-1900 shows Edwin Tanner looking out from the western paddock above the quarry of Craigieburn across Fulton Road and down into the northern end of the Leith Valley. The three girls with him are unknown but could possibly be his step daughter, Elizabeth Sherriff’s children. The Leith Valley School and the Booth family dairy farm are clearly visible in the background. The alteration to the landscape is very clear in the photograph and we can only speculate about Tanner’s thoughts on those changes as he gazes out from the paddock at Craigieburn.