This week in Christchurch history (31 August to 6 September)

31 August 1959
Princess Margaret Hospital opens.

Cashmere (later Princess Margaret) Hospital, shown under construction [1956]
Cashmere (later Princess Margaret) Hospital, shown under construction [1956], CCL PhotoCD 17, IMG0099
31 August 1974
Death of Prime Minister Norman Kirk, M.P. for Sydenham. He had earlier been M.P. for Lyttelton, and Mayor of Kaiapoi. Search our catalogue for Norman Kirk. View the DigitalNZ set The life and death of Norman Kirk.

Scene alongside the coffin of the late Prime Minister Norman Kirk, in Parliament House, Wellington, September 1974
Alongside the coffin of the late Prime Minister Norman Kirk at Parliament House, Wellington. Negatives of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: 1/4-021782-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22870322

1 September 1888
Earthquake causes damage throughout City. Cathedral spire badly damaged. View image in our collection.

4 September 2010
Cover of QuakeThe Darfield earthquake woke Canterbury at 4:35am. The magnitude 7.1. quake was centred 40km west of Christchurch.

5 September 1985
French agent Dominique Prieur convicted over the bombing of the Greenpeace ship “Rainbow Warrior”, transferred from Mt Eden Jail to Christchurch Womens Prison.

6 September 1878
Railway to Dunedin officially opens. The occasion was marked by a banquet (Star, Issue 3250, 6 September 1878, Page 3, via Papers Past).

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

This week in Christchurch history (24 to 30 August)

24 August 1857
Evans Pass road over the Port Hills opens.

25 August 1920
First flight over Cook Strait (Christchurch to Trentham) by Captain Euan Dickson in a Canterbury Aviation Company plane. Read more in Peter Aimer, ‘Aviation – Early flying feats‘, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 13-Jul-12.

Captain Euan Dickson, Mr C.H. Hewlett and Mr J.E. Moore
Captain Euan Dickson, Mr C.H. Hewlett and Mr J.E. Moore. This photograph is held at Archives New Zealand as part of the New Zealand National Airways Corporation series. Archives Reference: AEPK W2774 19953 Box 1 35 (R11174482). Flickr, Archives New Zealand Some rights reserved.

26 August 1939
Official opening of City Council’s pensioner housing project in Barnett Avenue, Sydenham; the first local body pensioner housing in New Zealand.

28 August 1890
“Great maritime strike” (the first of New Zealand’s 3 major waterfront strikes) spreads to Lyttelton.

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

This week in Christchurch history (17 to 23 August)

17 August 1903
City abattoir opens at Sockburn.

19 August 1840
Cover of French AkaroaFrench settlers land at Akaroa.

19 August 1859
Chamber of Commerce established in Lyttelton.

20 August 1984
A longterm aim of banning open fires is approved by the Christchurch City Council.

22 August 1910
Ilam homestead (on the site of the present university staff club) destroyed by fire.

Ilam House, Riccarton [ca. 1921]
Ilam House, Riccarton [ca. 1921], CCL PhotoCD 12, IMG0019
22 August 1925
Radio Broadcasting Company of N.Z. incorporated in Christchurch – the country’s first public radio company. The company became the major force in early radio, eventually owning and operating a chain of YA stations throughout the country.

3YA Christchurch Station of the Radio Broadcasting Company of New Zealand [1927]
3YA Christchurch Station of the Radio Broadcasting Company of New Zealand [1927], CCL PhotoCD 3, IMG0057
More August events in the Christchurch chronology: a timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

This week in Christchurch history (10 to 16 August)

10 August 1840
Captain Owen Stanley in HMS Britomart dashes to Akaroa and raises the British flag to proclaim sovereignty over the South Island. Read our digitised copy of Mission of the Britomart at Akaroa.

10 August 1932
Statue of Captain James Cook unveiled in Victoria Square.

11 August 1923
Christchurch Radio Society begins regular radio transmission with station 3AC.

15 August 1872
Novelist Anthony Trollope visits. Search DigitalNZ for information on his trip.

15 August 1945
V.J. (Victory over Japan) day celebrations. View more photos of V.J. Day in Christchurch.

Some of the crowd who celebrated VJ Day (14 August 1945) shown at the corner of Strowan and Normans Roads, Bryndwr [Aug. 1945]
Some of the crowd who celebrated VJ Day (14 August 1945) shown at the corner of Strowan and Normans Roads, Bryndwr [Aug. 1945], CCL Photo Collection 22, Img02312
15 August 1981
Massive demonstrations in Christchurch against rugby test between All Blacks and Springboks. See our collection of posters.

They've brought their National Sport with them. [1981]
They’ve brought their National Sport with them. [1981], CCL-Ephemera-Springbok-1981-08-15-EPH06-01
16 August 1868
Tsunami (“tidal wave”) in Lyttelton Harbour. Part of the harbour bottom was laid bare, then a wave swept in, damaging the “Novelty”. Read Bank Peninsula Impact 1868, Willem de Lange and Eileen McSaveney. ‘Tsunamis – New Zealand’s tsunami history’, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 9-Jul-13

16 August 1890
First inter-provincial soccer match held in Christchurch. Canterbury beat Wellington 2-0

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

This week in Christchurch history (3 to 9 August)

4 August 1878
Severe snowstorm over the South Island.

4 August 1923
Railway to the West Coast opens. The much delayed opening of the Otira tunnel on June 18, 1918, had prevented earlier completion of the line.

6 August 1867
Unveiling of the Godley statue in Cathedral Square New Zealand’s first public statue. However, the statue’s inscription acclaiming him ”founder of Canterbury“ is possibly over generous. Wakefield should at least share the title.

John Robert Godley statue at the Quake City exhibition, Friday 15 February 2013
John Robert Godley statue at the Quake City exhibition, Friday 15 February 2013. Flickr CCL-2013 -02-15-IMG_3592

7 August 1982
Opening of City Mall, a major new pedestrian amenity created by the closure of parts of Cashel and High Streets. The project had first been mooted in 1967.

8 August 1989
Christchurch Central MP and Deputy Prime Minister, Geoffrey Palmer appointed as Prime Minister after resignation of David Lange.  See some photos from his career on DigitalNZ.

Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer and his wife Margaret, Premier House, Wellington
Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer and his wife Margaret, Premier House, Wellington – Photograph taken by Ross Giblin. Further negatives of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: EP/1990/2349/20-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23121901

9 August 1840
Captain Langlois in the “Compte de Paris” arrives in Pigeon Bay with 63 French settlers.

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

This week in Christchurch history (27 July to 2 August)

28 July 1986
Grenadier Hotel demolished in Oxford Terrace. Formerly The Royal, it was the third hotel on this site since 1851.

Cars parked outside the Grenadier Hotel in Oxford Terrace [ca. 1960]
Cars parked outside the Grenadier Hotel in Oxford Terrace [ca. 1960], CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0049
29 July 1953
Aviation pioneer Richard W. Pearse dies in Christchurch. Pearse made one of the world’s first powered flights on or about 31 March 1902 in South Canterbury. He moved to Christchurch in 1921 and worked on his astonishing “convertiplane” over many years.

30 July 1976
7 Canterbury men in gold medal winning hockey team at the Montreal Olympics. See our page on Canterbury Olympians.

31 July 1856
By Royal Charter, Christchurch becomes New Zealand’s first city. Christchurch became New Zealand’s first city in 1856 under the terms of a royal charter. This was because it was the ‘seat’, or base, for a bishop. The Reverend Henry John Chitty Harper was consecrated, or made a bishop, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and arrived with his family in Lyttelton on 23 December 1856.

1 August 1929
“Lyttelton Times” re-named “Christchurch Times” after being taken over by Auckland interests. In fact, the paper had moved from Lyttelton to Christchurch in 1863.

1 August 1975
Severe nor-west gale causes serious damage throughout city and province. Winds gust to a record 172 kilometres per hour (107 miles per hour). Over 250 injuries in Canterbury, and many forests devastated.

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

This week in Christchurch history (20 to 26 July)

20 July 1851
First church in Christchurch opened – later dedicated as St Michael and All Angels in 1859.

Old St. Michael's Church, corner of Oxford Terrace and Lichfield Street [ca. 1861]
Old St. Michael’s Church, corner of Oxford Terrace and Lichfield Street [ca. 1861], CCL PhotoCD 10, IMG0003
23 July 1851
Pioneer William Deans among 28 lost in the wreck of the Maria in Cook Strait. Godley had tried to deprive the Deans and Hay families of their farms because he wanted only Anglicans to own land in the new settlement. The Deans brothers had sold sheep to pay the legal costs of fighting Godley’s high handed action, and William Deans was travelling to Sydney to buy replacement stock.

23 July 1857
First dramatic presentation in Canterbury, which featured Mrs Foley in “The Loan of a Lover” and “Betsy Baker” at the Lyttelton Town Hall. (see an advertisement in the 25 July 1857 Lyttelton Times).

Papers Past clipping from Page 5 Advertisements Column 2 Lyttelton Times, 25 July 1857
Papers Past clipping from Page 5 Advertisements Column 2 Lyttelton Times, 25 July 1857

24 July 1983
New Zealand’s first “test-tube” twins born at Christchurch Hospital.

26 July 1879
Canterbury Rugby Football Association (New Zealand’s first) formed. See our page on early rugby in Christchurch.

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

This week in Christchurch history (13 to 19 July)

13 July 1905
Construction of King Edward Barracks begins. The building was completed in an amazing 25 days. In the absence of a true Town Hall, it was often the venue for large concerts and civic occasions.

King Edward Barracks, corner of Cashel and Montreal Streets, Christchurch [1905]
King Edward Barracks, corner of Cashel and Montreal Streets, Christchurch [1905], CCL PhotoCD 7, IMG0067
14 July 1945
Record snowfall 280mm (11 inches) over most of city. See our page on historic snowfalls in Christchurch.

15-21 July 1979
D’oyly Carte Opera Company gives performances.

17 July 1861
Work begins on the railway to Lyttelton. Preliminary work on the tunnel had begun in January 1860, but the original contractors had withdrawn in November.

17 July 1915
First Canterbury wounded from the war return to Lyttelton on the “Willochra”.

17 July 1964
Opening of the Government Life Building in Cathedral Square. It was the city’s first “high rise glass box”. The building’s rooftop clock and temperature readings became a familiar part of the Square.

Plans:

The Post Office tower is dwarfed in this view, taken from the top of the Government Life Insurance building in the Square [Mar. 1963]
The Post Office tower is dwarfed in this view, taken from the top of the Government Life Insurance building in the Square [Mar. 1963], CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0059
19 July 1880
Lincoln College opens – the first agricultural college in the Southern Hemisphere.

19 July 1988
Jock Orr, nicknamed “The Birdman” after befriending birds in Cathedral Square, dies in Christchurch.

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

This week in Christchurch history (6 to 12 July)

6 July 1887
Heavy floods. Three young men drown in the Avon River as a result of a boating mishap.

7 July 1908
Widespread flooding in city and province.

8 July 1880
Canterbury Society of Arts formed.

The Society of Artists Gallery, corner of Armagh & Durham Streets, Christchurch [ca. 1921]
The Society of Artists Gallery, corner of Armagh & Durham Streets, Christchurch [ca. 1921], CCL PhotoCD 12, IMG0045
9 July 1863
Civic tree planting begins. Part of the day’s planting was a commemorative tree, generally regarded as the beginning of the Botanic Gardens.

10 July 1922
Hagley Park and Botanic Gardens included in city boundary.

11 July 1879
Post Office building in Cathedral Square completed.

Post Office Corner, 1963, from Cathedral spire
Post Office Corner, 1963, from Cathedral spire. Flickr, HW-08-FE-09

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

This week in Christchurch history (29 June to 5 July)

29 June 1951
First regular South Island trans-Tasman flights begin from Melbourne to Christchurch.

30 June 1849
Canterbury’s first “industrial action” – Maori road workers in Evans Pass (constructing a road across the Port Hills) go on strike as a reaction to verbal abuse and dismissals.

30 June 1975
TV2 transmission starts.

1 July 1862
New Zealand’s first telegraph in operation between Christchurch and Lyttelton.

The Post and Telegraph Office in Norwich Quay, Lyttelton [ca. 1885]
The Post and Telegraph Office in Norwich Quay, Lyttelton [ca. 1885]. The Office was built in 1876. In the background are the offices of the New Zealand Shipping Company and the shop of R. Forbes, ship chandlers. CCL PhotoCD 2, IMG0009
1 July 1865
Lyttelton Harbour breakwaters begun.

1 July 1935
Evening papers “Star” and “Sun” merge to become the “Star Sun”, ending a 6 year newspaper war, the longest and most bitter in New Zealand’s history. The “peace” agreement between the 3 companies concerned also saw the demise of the “Christchurch Times” (once the “Lyttelton Times”), the oldest daily paper in the country.

4 July 1977
Hundreds evacuated as serious flooding affects City.

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