Christchurch Photo Hunt 2014 – The Winners

The Christchurch Photo Hunt has produced a bumper crop of Christchurch images. Thanks to all of you who shared your wonderful historical photos and memories.

The judging took place on Thursday 20 November. The judges were Rosemary Baird and Bridgit Anderson, with the help of staff members Paul Sutherland and Sue Colyer.

Winners and highly commended entries

Two Views in Time

Waiting for Moira - Chris Andrew


Waiting for Moira Chris Andrew

Judge’s comment: A wonderfully evocative image and story of the past and present. The railway lines that crisscross Christchurch have played an important part in many peoples’ lives. I remember a similar moment from my own childhood waiting for my father to return by train from Lyttleton standing on the Moorhouse avenue over-bridge. Bridgit Anderson

Summer Sunday outings at the Waimakariri River - Merle Conaghan


Summer Sunday outings at the Waimakariri River Merle Conaghan

Judge’s comment: Classic images of a summer Sunday outing. Beautifully composed family portraits. The only real changes are in the clothing. Bridgit Anderson


Cashel Street, December 1900 - June E Blank


Cashel Street, December 1900 June E. Blank

Judge’s comment: You can feel the wind in this image! The street life and signage is fascinating. There’s a lot to observe and I particularly like the mass of muslin bunting used to decorate Cashel Street. It’s as if the two sides of the street have become the walls of a rather grand marquee. Bridgit Anderson

Ballantynes Fire - Robert Brettmeyer


Firemen at Ballantynes Fire 1947 Robert Brettmeyer

Ballantyne's Fire - Robert Brettmeyer


Ballantyne’s fire, 1947 Robert Brettmeyer

Judge’s comment: A very moving group of images of the Ballantyne’s fire. You get a real sense of the deeply distressing nature of the event from the firefighters point of view. Bridgit Anderson

Escalator in Millers Building, late 1970s - Des Pinn


Escalator in Millers Building, late 1970s Des Pinn

Judge’s comment: Any child born in the sixties will remember the endless fun and simple entertainment to be had riding the Millers department store. The perspective of the photographer, the colours, the signage and the people moving through the space captures the experience beautifully. I love the way the photographer has has chosen the moment a child is about to ascend the escalator to press the shutter. Bridgit Anderson


Railway office staff hostesses, 1958 - Mary Boyle


Railway office staff hostesses, 1958 Mary Boyle

Judge’s comment: What a joyous moment has been captured here. It’s a wonderful staff photo and a fascinating showcase of women’s 1950s fashion. Bridgit Anderson

Camping at Leithfield Beach - Valerie Allen


Camping at Leithfield Beach Valerie Allen

Judge’s comment: Camping is such a New Zealand tradition and this image from 1939/1940 captures it all. It’s delightful and from the way the photograph has been framed you can feel the families pride in their Caravan, car and the ubiquitous thermette. Bridgit Anderson

Skating In North Hagley Park - Bruce Baldwin


Skating In North Hagley Park Bruce Baldwin

Judge’s comment: Skating in North Hagley Park is not something you see everyday, so it was a pleasure to come across this image. The photographer has really captured some of the fun and excitement to be had for all. What I see as a real strength in this image are the candid moments it captures. There are people engaged in lots of different activities and you can almost hear their conversations. Bridgit Anderson

Overall collections – commended

Building the 3YA Radio Transmitter at Gebbies Pass, 1933

Gebbies Pass Radio Transmission Tower Alison Moore

Judge’s comment: A great series of images that really tell the story of the place and the people who worked there. Bridgit Anderson

Naomi Poulsen on her way to Art School

Poulsen family photographs, 1920s and 1930s Bronwyn Horgan

Judge’s comment: A wonderful family album that gives the viewer a fascinating insight into family life and the city from the 1930’s – 1950’s. The accompanying notations really expand the experience. Bridgit Anderson

Spectators and Participants in the annual Avon Bike Race

Collection from a photograph album June Boslem

Judge’s comment: Another fascinating album for those who love cycling. Bridgit Anderson

American sailors at picnic at Ashley Gorge, 1920s

Winsor Family photographs Alison Wilson

Judge’s comment: There are many fascinating historical images in this album that cover many important civic moments in the life of the city. Bridgit Anderson

Portrait of a Young Woman

Collection of glass negatives Glyn Williams

Judge’s comment: This collection is made even more interesting through it’s lack of provenance. The images have been reproduced by Glyn Williams from glass plate negatives with the people and places are largely unknown. Bridgit Anderson

Judge’s comments – Rosemary Baird

It was so much fun judging the 2014 Christchurch Hunt although it was very difficult to choose between so many incredible photos. These photos will be an amazing resource for historians, researchers and art historians and I’m very grateful to all the donors who have shared their precious family photos.

My favourite photos were those which told a story and made me curious about the events in the photo. For example, the winning photo in the people category was a  delightful display of 1950s fashion, but it also made me curious about the women’s job’s as hostesses on the railways. What would it have been like for those women to have worked in the mostly male environment of the Addington Railways? Did they wear a uniform usually or were these their usual dresses?

I also enjoyed seeing photos that were about quintessentially Christchurch events such as the commended picture of the Ballantyne’s fire – those photos brought us into the midst of the firefighters and made the event feel real and personal.

The winner of the places category was a beautiful image – not only a great visual record of Cashel street frontages (now lost to redevelopment and earthquakes) but also a record of how Cantabrians celebrated and decorated their public spaces in 1900 – it reminded me of the recent SCAPE festival. These historical photos reveal continuities as well as differences.

The albums were especially valuable as they gave broader coverage of Canterbury life from a personal perspective, and told a sustained narrative about events and places.

Previous Photo Hunts

Now to get hot and sweaty!

You have probably noticed that the weather gods have decided to let us have some warm weather at last. Naturally this turns a person’s thoughts to what they can be doing outside, be it gardening, sailing, tramping, or even firing up the barbie and opening a few cold ones as evening falls. Naturally the library has all that covered, but that’s not what we’re here for today.

Cover of Triathlon for Masters and BeyondMy personal train of thought veers towards the sweaty at this time of year – yes, I’m talking about triathlon. I’m talking about the original form of triathlon – swim, bike and run – rather than that strange hybrid: kayak, bike and run. I guess not everyone likes the swim, and I confess I don’t either, but part of the appeal must be getting out of your comfort zone, surely?

Learning another sport can be a challenge, but learning those new techniques and building up those specific muscles can be enjoyable, and you’re never too old to keep learning, right? Well, that’s what I tell myself, anyway, and there may even be a grain of truth in it. And there’s always that strange thrill of buying yourself some new sport specific gear, and let’s be honest, looking the part is half the fun.

I’ve long had a fascination with the Ironman distance races – and who wouldn’t after watching this sort of thing on Youtube.

Alas, what with working full time and having a family, I don’t think I could dedicate the time needed to survive that sort of event (and to be honest, paying the entry fee for that type of event is pretty painful if you’re on a librarian’s wage).

However, I do think I could train for a Half Ironman event, so this is the first post about that. The Half Ironman is the fastest growing distance in the triathlon world, being a little longer than ‘sprint’ or Olympic distance events, and thereby possibly more suited to older people like myself who don’t have the speed that the shorter distance events demand. A Half Ironman is a 1.9km swim, a 90 km bike ride and a 21 km run, not impossible but still a distance to be respected.

The event I have my eye on is in Ashburton, on 7th November 2015, at the marvellous Lake Hood. Yes, it’s a long time away, but that gives me time to get my poor ageing body used to all that exercise. So, you’re very welcome to come along for the ride on this one, literally if you feel the urge, and figuratively even if you don’t.

Cover of Triathlon ScienceWorking in a library as I do, I naturally had to see what resources were available to help me on my way. I’m of an age now where I qualify as a ‘Master’ athlete, so a title like Triathlon for Masters and Beyond was an obvious start. There’s also the excellent and comprehensive Triathlon Science by Joe Friel, and Triathlon by Steve Trew.

If you have a tablet or e-book reader, you could also download Trew’s book (you’ll need a password or PIN number added to your library card to be able to download e-books; if you don’t have one already, speak to your friendly local librarian or call us). Don’t be put off by the mention of tactics in that title – most new triathletes are focused on enjoying the experience, not racing.

For my part, the running is already underway – I’m a regular recreational runner anyway, so I know what I’m doing with that. The swimming and the cycling is another matter! More on those in subsequent posts.

Are you a beginning triathlete? Is getting fit one of your goals? Do leave a comment if so, it would be great to see how many people are starting this same journey.

Memories of becoming an adult reader (at the tender age of 12)

Recently The Guardian weekly invited people to write in about the books that marked their transition from Child to adult books.

One Pair of HandsMy mother and I used to go to the old Timaru Public Library on a Tuesday night. It was of a bygone era, wooden shelves and a stuffy atmosphere. The Librarians surveyed us all from the giddy heights of the issue desk – it stood like a guard’s tower in the middle of the library and I had to stand on tippy toes to get my books issued. I had quickly made my way through the children’s library, and was beside myself with excitement when my mother suggested that I could try a few adult books. 

My first excited foray was the Jalna series by Mazo De La Roche. (Jacqueline Wilson also started her adult reading with this series too, so I am in good company!) It was family saga that went on and on and on …

I then moved on the Daphne Du MaurierOn the BeachMonica Dickens, and Lynne Reid Banks with the favourite being The L Shaped room. Looking back I can see how these books have contributed to my reading style today. I still enjoy reading about family relationships, and generational series. I’m also still partial to books that deal with “issues”. (The L shaped room was about an unmarried mother – quite risqué in its day) and George Orwell’s 1984 and Nevil Shute’s On the Beach were big hits and probably gave me a taste for the dystopian novels that I enjoy. I was so concerned at the time about what would happen when we actually reached 1984 that I found it hard to sleep!

What books helped you make the link between child and adult reading? Do you still read the same sort of books like me, or were they just a passing phase?