Rescued from the rubble: Read the first 50 years of The Press on Papers Past

Christchurch Press Co. Ltd

We are happy to bring you news of a fantastic resource. The first 50 years of The Press newspaper are now available online on Papers Past. This covers 1861 to 1915.

Material previously only available at our Central Library on microfilm will now be online and accessible to everyone. The project is a collaborative effort between Christchurch City Libraries and the National Library of New Zealand. The Press has also been part of this project, and this allows them to provide access to their archives.

Carolyn Robertson, the Libraries and Information Manager of Christchurch City Libraries says:

Bringing the record of the early years of Christchurch and Canterbury settlement into a fully searchable online collection is such a worthwhile collaboration between The Press, the National Library and ourselves. The Press is an invaluable resource for local history, including commentary and public comment on the events of the day, as well as the detail beloved by social and family historians. The newspaper contains notices of births, deaths and marriages, shipping notices, court reports, and the record of day to day events in the establishment of the Canterbury province. The newly digitised collection covers the early war years, and adds the Canterbury perspective to national events, such as the women’s suffrage campaign led by Kate Sheppard.

Go to The Press on Papers Past

Here is today’s media release from the Department of Internal Affairs, the National Library and Christchurch City Libraries:

From the very first issue in 1861 to the grim reports from the front lines of the First World War, the first 50 years of Christchurch’s iconic Press newspaper are now available on the National Library’s Papers Past website (http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz).

The project – a collaborative effort between Christchurch City Libraries (CCL) and the National Library of New Zealand – was almost derailed by the February 2011 earthquake.

“We had begun discussing this initiative with CCL, which held the only record of the early issues on microfilm, prior to the initial September earthquake. Shortly after that, when things had begun to get back on track, the February quake struck and reminded us that life is a fragile thing,” said Bill Macnaught, the National Librarian.

The Christchurch City Library building holding the public access microfilm was in the red-zone, leaving that historical archive inaccessible to the public. As the city got on with the clean-up from the catastrophe, efforts to provide access to the early issues of The Press came back up the list of priorities, and the material was prepared for digitisation from a copy held in Wellington.

“It was very important to us that we were able to do this for the people of Canterbury, and for all New Zealanders with history and interest in the province. Good access to information is critical for the development of communities, and this is one of the key things that the library sector can do to help Canterbury in its recovery,” said Bill Macnaught.

“We are delighted that this collection can now be readily accessed by Christchurch and Canterbury residents, researchers and those in the wider community with an interest in Christchurch, Lyttelton and Canterbury history,” said Carolyn Robertson, Libraries and Information Manager,  Christchurch City Libraries. “Bringing the record of the early years of Christchurch and Canterbury settlement into a fully searchable online collection is such a worthwhile collaboration between The Press, the National Library and ourselves. The Press is an invaluable resource for local history, including commentary and public comment on the events of the day, as well as the detail beloved by social and family historians. The newspaper contains notices of births, deaths and marriages, shipping notices, court reports, and the record of day to day events in the establishment of the Canterbury province. The newly digitised collection covers the early war years, and adds the Canterbury perspective to national events, such as the women’s suffrage campaign led by Kate Sheppard.”

The editions of The Press being placed on Papers Past run from 1861 to 1915, and will be brought up to 1920 later in the year.

Go to The Press on Papers Past

13 thoughts on “Rescued from the rubble: Read the first 50 years of The Press on Papers Past

  1. Greg Comfort 15 February 2012 / 11:28 am

    The is excellent, well done. I’ll be searching for signs of my ancestors in there.

    A pity The Press doesn’t do a better job of providing access to their achives themselves, particularly images.

    • Donna 15 February 2012 / 1:25 pm

      Kia ora Greg, I just amended our post to note that The Press has been part of this project, and this is a way of them contributing access to their archives.

      • Greg Comfort 20 February 2012 / 10:49 am

        That is good to hear. Hope you guys can convince them to open their photo archives one day. They seem to think the archive is a great money spinner, but it’s worthless if it’s not available to anyone other than a select few.

  2. Michelle Cook nee Chammen 15 February 2012 / 12:52 pm

    I totally agree with Greg. Thank you all for your hard work in bringing this wonderful resource online. Already found more on my ancestors.

  3. Peter Mitchell 15 February 2012 / 1:48 pm

    I’ve been doing research on an ancestor of mine and “Papers Past” has already proven to be an invaluable asset; particularly here in Canada. This is yet another open door enter for further investigation. I cannot thank you enough!

  4. Maggie 15 February 2012 / 2:07 pm

    Fantastic news! Am off to hunt for mentions of my ancestors now…

  5. Carmol 15 February 2012 / 2:47 pm

    At last some easy access to our ancestors in New Zealand

  6. Donna 15 February 2012 / 2:52 pm

    It’s great hearing your feedback and that you are getting into it straight away!

  7. Michelle 15 February 2012 / 3:30 pm

    Just found a nice long interview my great-great grandfather gave to The Press – along with about a hundred other mentions (he was extremely fond of playing cricket and attending society functions) Lots to look at – thank you 🙂

  8. Laura 16 February 2012 / 1:49 pm

    Hooray! Makes research A LOT easier, thanks everyone! Bring on the next 50 years!

  9. Genene 17 February 2012 / 1:06 pm

    Wonderful news finally! So much history now available. Thanks so much!!

  10. Carl MCKENZIE 19 February 2012 / 6:46 pm

    this is great

  11. Marco 16 June 2012 / 12:21 pm

    Found this site by accident when I typed in an address on Google, managed to find some amazing info on our neighbourhood’s history that would have been impossible to find normally.

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