A lesson for conscriptionists

Cover of Ripa Island A lesson for conscriptionistsWe’ve recently digitised a very interesting publication that shows a different side to military service than the one we’re used to seeing.

In 1912, military training or “drills” were compulsory for boys from 14 years of age. Refusal to attend training, even on religious grounds, was considered a serious infringement that could result in confinement at a fortress for a period of 28 days. There were other potential consequences too.

In addition to imposing a fine at the beginning of this process, the magistrate may, and frequently does, declare the offender, for any period up to ten years, ineligible to be employed in the public service, or to vote at a Parliamentary election. The Education Department also takes a hand, and deprives the boy who has not done his drills of any scholarship which he may have won.

Pretty harsh stuff for teenagers to have to contemplate.

Published in London in 1913 by the “Friends’ Peace Committee” and written by “passive resister” Samuel Veale Bracher, Ripa Island: A lesson for conscriptionists tells the story of 13 youths from Christchurch and the West Coast who refused military training and were subsequently imprisoned in Fort Jervois on Ripapa (Ripa) Island . Bracher uses the story of the Ripa martyrs as a plea against conscription in Britain.

Initially the boys are treated well and are happy to do manual work that is set them by the officer in charge, but when they refuse to clean guns and take part in military drills, and are subsequently punished with half rations they go on a hunger strike.

At about 3.15 p.m., Bombardier Moir and the other soldiers again came in, and this time we were asked if we would drill and learn semaphore signalling. Again a negative answer was given. An attempt was going to be made to force us to drill, but we were determined that it should fail. Force would have no more effect upon us than coaxing had previously. We had been offered a forty-eight hours holiday in Christchurch if we would drill. We had refused. Now we were going to be slowly starved into submission on half rations, but we would beat them; we would starve ourselves and so bring about a climax .

What follows is an interesting insight into what happens when an irrestistible force comes up against an immoveable object.

The drama unfolds very quickly with one chap succumbing to sickness very early (described later as “biliousness”) and attending his own hastily arranged court trial while unconscious.

Sergeant-Major Conley asked if Robson was to be brought in. ‘Yes,’ replied Macdonald. ‘But he can’t talk,’ protested the sergeant-major. At this moment the lieutenant lost his temper and said, ‘Bring him in! Use any force you like! ‘ A few minutes later Robson was carried in unconscious between two soldiers.

He’s subsequently accused of “malingering” yet remains floppy, pale, and unmoving for the entirety of his “trial”.

Appeals are made, an enquiry is called for, and a follow up trial is held which returns a rather different verdict.

Read the whole story online in Ripa Island: A lesson for conscriptionists.

For more information on the Ripa Island dissenters and compulsory military training for youths see:

A soldier’s diary – Edward Aubrey in the First World War

Edward Aubrey served from 10 February 1916 to 19 February 1919. He kept a diary from May 1917 to November 1917, but carried on using it until 1919 to make notes in. He tore some pages out occasionally to send home to relatives.

You can see his diary now:

Edward’s war started with embarking on the Waihora in December 1916 with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, 19th Reinforcements, New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade. Aubrey served in Egypt; and after being wounded on 5 November 1917 part of his left leg was amputated.

Collection Description World War I diary kept by Edward Herbert Aubrey (1891-1963) from May 1917 to November 1917, with brief notes from 1918 and 1919. Some pages were removed and sent to relatives. Parent Collection Description Edward Aubrey served from 10 February 1916 to 19 February 1919. He embarked on the Waihora in December 1916 with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, 19th Reinforcements, New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade. Aubrey served in Egypt; and after being wounded on 5 November 1917 part of his left leg was amputated. Edward Aubrey spent his remaining service in medical care in Egypt and then Britain. On his return to New Zealand he returned to farming in the Omarama area on land won in a ballot as part of a Returned Soldiers' initiative. Collection Location Private collection

1917 November 5 Mon
Wounded 12-30 mid day

Operated on again to have tubes put in my leg & knee fixed up a little
1917 November 13 Tues
Another operation on Nov 19th to have my leg off

His war record simply says “Lost leg”.

His diary offers a good insight into goings on of the First World War – the fighting, but also the waiting and day-to-day life (see 28 June 1917):

Nothing startling has happened here today. We have put in the time in the same old way doing some reading & writing and having some arguments.

     Collection Description World War I diary kept by Edward Herbert Aubrey (1891-1963) from May 1917 to November 1917, with brief notes from 1918 and 1919. Some pages were removed and sent to relatives.     Parent Collection Description Edward Aubrey served from 10 February 1916 to 19 February 1919. He embarked on the Waihora in December 1916 with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, 19th Reinforcements, New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade. Aubrey served in Egypt; and after being wounded on 5 November 1917 part of his left leg was amputated. Edward Aubrey spent his remaining service in medical care in Egypt and then Britain. On his return to New Zealand he returned to farming in the Omarama area on land won in a ballot as part of a Returned Soldiers' initiative.     Collection Location Private collection     File Reference CCL-Aubrey-1917-031

All the New Zealanders are being issued today with high velocity rifles & are handing in our old ones. Our regiment rode over to Khan Yunus in the morning it is a small native town on our new railway line & we have a large dump there. We got our new rifles & also new bayonets there & so should be able to do something wonderful the next battle we are in

1917 June 2 Sat
The place we left was heavily bombed today & the Yeomanry that relieved us a lost a good many horses & several men. We had an easy day today & weren’t worried with bombs or shells. Sent part of this diary back to New Zealand to-day up to May [1st] 1917

     Collection Description World War I diary kept by Edward Herbert Aubrey (1891-1963) from May 1917 to November 1917, with brief notes from 1918 and 1919. Some pages were removed and sent to relatives.     Parent Collection Description Edward Aubrey served from 10 February 1916 to 19 February 1919. He embarked on the Waihora in December 1916 with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, 19th Reinforcements, New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade. Aubrey served in Egypt; and after being wounded on 5 November 1917 part of his left leg was amputated. Edward Aubrey spent his remaining service in medical care in Egypt and then Britain. On his return to New Zealand he returned to farming in the Omarama area on land won in a ballot as part of a Returned Soldiers' initiative.     Collection Location Private collection     File Reference CCL-Aubrey-1917-116

Left Oaklands Park Hosp. on Dec 8th 1918 after being there for 8 months & 8 days

Dec 9th 1918
Went on board Ambulance Transport Ruahine at 4 pm on Dec 8th. at Lilbury Docks Thames River.
Drew out from wharf at 3 am on Dec 9th & lay in stream until 1 pm that day. so sailed from England on Dec 9th 1918 so had 10 months & 4 days in hosp. in the old country.
The sea is calm today & we are looking forward to a good trip home

Edward Aubrey spent his remaining service in medical care in Egypt and then Britain (“10 months & 4 days in hosp. in the old country). When he arrived back home in New Zealand, he returned to farming in the Omarama area on land won in a ballot as part of a Returned Soldiers’ initiative.

     Collection Description World War I diary kept by Edward Herbert Aubrey (1891-1963) from May 1917 to November 1917, with brief notes from 1918 and 1919. Some pages were removed and sent to relatives.     Parent Collection Description Edward Aubrey served from 10 February 1916 to 19 February 1919. He embarked on the Waihora in December 1916 with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, 19th Reinforcements, New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade. Aubrey served in Egypt; and after being wounded on 5 November 1917 part of his left leg was amputated. Edward Aubrey spent his remaining service in medical care in Egypt and then Britain. On his return to New Zealand he returned to farming in the Omarama area on land won in a ballot as part of a Returned Soldiers' initiative.     Collection Location Private collection     File Reference CCL-Aubrey-1917-121The last page:

the Southern Cross tonight & first time I’ve seen it since 1916 so seems as if we are getting near home again.

Sunday 5th 1919
We had a church parade today & a funeral at same time. A man named Cox died of pneumonia after four days illness
He died at 9 am today & was buried at 11 am.
He was a

I spotted a familiar address in his diary, Dover Street in St Albans – probably the address of one of his mates, and did a wee delve, and wonder if this is his wedding announcement in the Otago Daily Times (12 May 1920). Edward died in 1963.

Find out more about the First World War:

NZ Music Month 2015

Celebrate New Zealand music throughout May with Christchurch City Libraries, CHART, RDU and live gigs. NZMM launches in Christchurch on Friday 1 May 7pm at Central Library Peterborough. The gig features the legendary Martin Phillipps from The Chills performing a short solo set, along with smooth sounds from The Bats offshoot – Minisnap – featuring Kaye Woodward’s songs plus Amiria Grenell and Amy Grace as The Swan Sisters.

Sound Garden (across the road from Central Library Peterborough) will be hosting Beat in the Street before the launch gig (6 to 7pm on 1 May). Come along, bring the kids and get creative.

Explore more NZ Music Month events including jazz, sax, violin, folk, choirs, and ukulele pirates.

NZMMbrochure2015

Happy birthday, Ngaio Marsh!

Ngaio Marsh would have been 120 today. This world renowned crime writer and theatre director was born Edith Ngaio Marsh in Fendalton on 23 April 1895. Her father, a clerk, built Marton Cottage at Cashmere in 1906. This was her home for the rest of her life, although she spent significant periods in England.

Ngaio Marsh photographed during the 1940s

Ngaio Marsh photographed during the 1940s : “Ngaio in the spotlight” [194-], CCL PhotoCD 17, IMG0038

Today there is a lovely little Google image celebrating her.

Many people know of Ngaio Marsh as the crime writer. But she also enriched the cultural life of Christchurch with her devotion to theatre production and mentored young people with dramatic aspirations. Ngaio made a huge contribution to the community, and it seems appropriate her name lives on  –

For more on Ngaio Marsh:

Looking at the Anzacs

As Anzac Day approaches, we have some interesting First World War displays for you to explore:

The Changing Face of Veterans (exhibition at Upper Riccarton Library until Monday 4 May). This photographic exhibition is about New Zealand’s war veterans since the First World War – our changing perceptions of veterans, and how we remember them. It’s a collaborative community project by Rannerdale Veterans’ Care, Upper Riccarton Library, and Riccarton High School.

There is also a poppy blanket display.
ANZAC display with poppy blanket

ANZAC display with poppy blanket. Flickr Upper-Riccarton-Displays-ANZAC-Display-2015.JPG

World War One at home and at the front (exhibition at Central Library Peterborough until Sunday 24 May) – A display of uniforms, equipment, photographs, publications, badges and letters, and even gas masks – all generously loaned by Barry O’Sullivan, private collector. Read Alina’s post to get a flavour, and view the O’Sullivan collection online.

The New Brighton Boys (exhibition at New Brighton Library until the end of May)
Staff from Christchurch City Libraries, have put together a display of the stories of the 62 soldiers with strong links to New Brighton, who served and died in the First World War. The display includes stories of each soldier and some photographs. Find out more about the New Brighton Boys on Kete Christchurch.

First World War talks

We will also host a series of talks on First World War subjects:

Find out more:

‘Cracking’ Easter holiday programmes at our libraries and learning centres

Cracking holiday programmes saw many happy children having lots of fun this Easter.

Lego animation – children created fun characters for their stop-motion movies.

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Family Games Fun at Linwood – indoor bowls and badminton were great challenges for all.

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Family Games Fun at South – posed a lot of thought in outdoor chess.

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Minecraft – lots of banter, bargaining and laughter as students created and survived in the virtual world! This is always popular.

minecraft

3D Tinker Workshop – students learned 123D software design to create key rings and helicopters then delved further into 3D wire sculpting, paper craft and Hama beads. Students made badges and fridge magnets with fabulous designs.

3D Doodler Pen

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3D badges – Hama Beads

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3D papercraft

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3D Printing

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There were lots of new experiences! Cracking fun!

This week in Christchurch history (20 to 26 April)

Trigonometrical and topographical survey of the districts of Mandeville and Christchurch: shewing the trigonometrical stations, 1850 / J. Thomas, chief surveyor.
Trigonometrical and topographical survey of the districts of Mandeville and Christchurch: shewing the trigonometrical stations, 1850 / J. Thomas, chief surveyor. ATLMAPS ATL-Acc-27187

20 April 1849
Captain Thomas (in a letter to Sir George Grey) reveals that he has chosen the present site of Christchurch for the new settlement – in spite of the fact that both the Nelson and Otago colonists had rejected it in 1841 and 1844 respectively.

20 April 1938
First Inter-Dominion trotting in New Zealand held at Addington Raceway. Originally scheduled for Easter, the contest was postponed by flooding throughout the city. Further flooding after the first races delayed the finals until May 4.

21 April 1971
Court Theatre’s first production, “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie”.

22 April 1869
Visit of the Duke of Edinburgh (New Zealand’s first royal visitor).

23-24 April 1966
Visit by Queen Mother.

23 April 1895
Regular Lyttelton – Wellington Cook Strait ferry service inaugurated by “Penguin”.

25 April 1864
Canterbury Horticultural and Acclimatisation Society formed. This group introduced many animals, birds and fish to Canterbury, and helped to establish the Government Gardens, which eventually became the Botanic Gardens.

Photo: The Territorials Cross The Bridge Of Remembrance On The Way To King Edward Barracks (25 Apr. 1926).
The Territorials Cross The Bridge Of Remembrance On The Way To King Edward Barracks (25 Apr. 1926), CCL PhotoCD 3, IMG0052

25 April 1977
Bridge of Remembrance becomes a pedestrian precinct.

25 April 1981
New $16 million postal centre in Hereford Street in operation. A determined fight by civic groups had failed to prevent its siting next to the old Public Library.

26 April 1852
Christ’s College moves from Lyttelton to Christchurch.

More April events in the Christchurch chronology: a timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

Talking about Christchurch

Cover of Once in a lifetimeThe team at Freerange Press brought you one of the best books of 2014 – Once in a Lifetime: City-building after Disaster in Christchurch. Now they come bearing Talking Heads – a series of talks that explore the current state of play in Christchurch and expand upon themes and issues explored in the book.

The first discussion – Talking Heads #1 – is on the topic of asset sales. Councillor Raf Manji will be talking with one of the book’s editors James Dann.

Raf will be talking about how the council reached its decision to include selling assets as part of its response to Christchurch’s current financial situation (submissions for which close on April 28).

The talk is on Thursday 23 April 5.30pm at EPIC (96 Manchester Street, opposite Alices). James will also take questions from the floor, so you will get the chance to have your say.

Copies of the book Once in a Lifetime: City-building after Disaster in Christchurch will be available for $40.

Cycle to your library day, and cycling librarians

On Tuesday 14 April 2015 we are celebrating Cycle to your Library Day. Cycle to the library and you will get a backpack with reflective strips to carry your books (while stocks last). Show us your bicycle helmet and let us know you cycled to the library.

Cycle to your Library - FB post FINAL

Cycling is a fast, healthy and cost-effective so why not ride one to your library and celebrate with us.

Many famous minds have talked about bicycles:

Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race. H. G. Wells

My fellow cycling librarians would certainly agree. The first librarian I’d like to introduce you to bikes in all weathers.

Cyclist arriving at work
Life long cyclist arriving at work

I ride a Blue Bauer and have been cycling since the age of six. I still enjoy going for a bike ride although do not go as far afield these days. Biking is something I have always done, it keeps you fit and healthy. I keep myself safe on the road by paying attention to traffic, planning and looking ahead.

If you start young you will develop confidence, the more experienced you get the more you are likely to cycle and feel confident on the road. Getting into cycling as a young child as I did around home then taking longer bike rides to the park made it an easy natural process. The most enjoyable thing about biking is it helps me unwind and relax about the day in the evening.

Bicycles are a metaphor for life:

Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. Charles M. Schulz

Let me introduce you to somebody who I know uses all his gears.

Someone who uses all his gears
Someone who uses all his gears

I cycle to work, to meet friends, to the supermarket. As long as I’m not picking up a fridge, I’ll bike there. I used to bike from the Port Hills to Redwood and back every day, but working at Peterborough is luckily a lot closer!

I started cycling primarily because I was frustrated with changes to the bus routes and the many delays, but it also saves money. It’s healthy, cheap, great for the environment, and convenient. I confess to being a fair weather cyclist. This isn’t a big problem in dry Canterbury, however. My advice to keeping yourself safe when cycling is to repeat the cycle safe incantation three times while riding backwards on a full moon Or wear hi-vis and bright lights and remain aware of your surroundings, whichever is easier.

The best way to start out cycling is to stay on quiet roads. Get off and walk across pedestrian crossings if you’re afraid of turning across traffic and never underestimate the importance of a comfy bike seat. The most enjoyable part of cycling is riding with a tail-wind on an off-road bike path with no earthquake damage.

The journey of life is like a man riding a bicycle. We know he got on the bicycle and started to move. We know that at some point he will stop and get off. We know that if he stops moving and does not get off he will fall off. William Golding

Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle. Helen Keller – An inspiration to us all Helen Keller rode a tandem bicycle.

Short of stature, but bike of heart is our last cycling librarian:

Short of stature big of heart
Short of stature big of heart

I ride a hybrid road/mountain bike. It has front suspension and is rather comfortable to ride. It is probably too big for me but I feel more visible on the road on it. I bike everywhere! – work, university, shops, visiting, bike trails and have done since I was a child but got back into it seriously as a form of transport when I was going out to the university.

Usually I bike up to an hour a day depending on what I have scheduled that day. I would bike everyday – but some days it is almost impossible when the wind gets up and the rain starts tumbling. It is about fitness, as I enjoy it as an alternative to running. As a form of transport it is both kind on the budget and environmentally friendly. Christchurch with its flat terrain is a cycle-friendly city. I’d like to encourage others to get out and join me and to show that it is possible.

My safety tip is to be prepared to stop at all times! I make myself visible through wearing bright clothing and riding to be seen. I also use a flashing red light on my backpack even during the day. I am constantly scanning the road and footpaths ahead of me and I try to predict what people are going to do before it happens but as I said – I must be prepared to stop at all times.

The best way to start out cycling is to go out for short trips with family or friends – use designated bike tracks so that you can get used to handling the bike under different circumstances without having to worry about traffic.The best thing about cycling besides arriving safely to my destination is getting out and moving!

Library staff cycling through Christchurch town centre
Library staff cycling through Christchurch town centre, At the intersection of High, Manchester and Lichfield Streets. 1980s. Flickr Arch-52-PH-07-21

You may be surprised to know librarians have a proud tradition of biking to work. Some of us bike only when it’s a fine day. others are out in all weathers, some travel far, and others just round the corner.

How far is it to your local library? Do you bike to the library or work? Is bicycling part of your life?

For further information try our cycling pages or blog posts and Zinio cycling magazines. Search the catalogue for: Bicycle times cover

This week in Christchurch history (13 to 19 April)

13 April 1876
Visit of tightrope walker Blondin.

Lady Racing Cyclist, Lancaster Park, Christchurch [ca. 1896]
Lady Racing Cyclist, Lancaster Park, Christchurch [ca. 1896], CCL PhotoCD 1, IMG0062
13 April 1896
City hosts the first meeting of the National Council of Women.

16 April 1851
First sale of Christchurch town sections.

16 April 1974
Flooding throughout city after record rainfall – 124mm (4.89 inches) in 24 hours.

17 April 1880
First championship cycle meeting, Hagley Park.

18 April 1864
First Ferrymead (swing) bridge opens.

19 April 1873
Christchurch Golf Club formed. The first course was in Hagley Park.

19 April 1988
Proposal for 152 metre tower in Victoria Square abandoned after much public debate.

More April events in the Christchurch chronology: a timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.