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.

This week in Christchurch history (6 to 12 April)

6 April 1982
Premiere of “Roadshow” road safety stage show. The show was later taken on a national tour for 6 months from February 1983. It played to a total audience of over 250,000, probably the biggest of any New Zealand musical show.

7 April 1859
Canterbury Rifles organised – the first military force in the Province. It was formed as a result of the Taranaki land wars.

Photo of Lyttelton and harbour [ca. 1888]
Lyttelton and harbour [ca. 1888] Coxhead, F. A. (Frank Arnold), b. 1851, CCL PhotoCD 1, IMG0034
8 April 1883
First shipment of frozen “Canterbury lamb” leaves Lyttelton for the United Kingdom on the British King.

10-12 April 1981
Visit by Prince of Wales.

10 April 1882
Joubert and Twopenny’s New Zealand International Exhibition opens in South Hagley Park. The exhibition, complete with an educated pig and an armless lady, drew a total attendance of over 250,000 until it closed on July 15.

10 April 1965
Airport becomes New Zealand’s first jet airport with the inauguration of the first regular jet flights from Christchurch to Australia.

11 April 1968
Wahine storm (the city’s worst recorded storm) causes one death and widespread wind and flood damage.

12 April 1840
Sarah and Elizabeth lands Herriot, McGillivray, Ellis, Shaw (and wife) and McKinnon (with his wife and child) who try to establish a farm at Riccarton. They are the first European settlers on the plains.

12 April 1850
John Robert Godley, first leader of the Canterbury Association settlers, arrives with his wife in Lyttelton on Lady Nugent. He quarrels with Thomas, and departs for Wellington, not returning until November 28. (It appears that he had no intention of settling permanently in the new colony.)

Photo of statue of John  Robert Godley, Cathedral Square [ca. 1930]
The statue of John Robert Godley, Cathedral Square, pictured in the Cathedral grounds [ca. 1930], CCL PhotoCD 8, IMG0022
More April events in the Christchurch chronology: a timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

This week in Christchurch history (30 March to 5 April)

Plans for New Regent Street
Drawings & Proposed New Street connecting Armagh & Gloucester Street showing roadway & front elevation west to New Regent Street, CCCPlans New-Regent-28-4

30 March 1883
Two young boys die of exposure on the Port Hills. Monuments can still be seen near the Rapaki Track.

31 March 1863
21 Canterbury military volunteers sail north on “Phoebe” for duty in the Waikato land wars.

1 April 1932
New Regent Street opens, built on the site of the old Colosseum.

1 April 1949
Sign of the Takahe opens. This was the completion of the Summit Road developments begun by Harry Ell in 1908.

Photograph of Sign of the Takahe in the making [ca. 1927]
Sign of the Takahe in the making [ca. 1927], CCL PhotoCD 5, IMG0086
3 April 1967
Re-built Ferrymead Bridge opens.

5 April 1844
Frederick Tuckett and a party including surveyors, land at Lyttelton from the “Deborah” looking for a suitable site for a Scottish settlement in the South Island. They subsequently got lost in the swamps, so it is not surprising that their eventual choice was Otago, not Canterbury.

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

This week in Christchurch history (23 to 29 March)

Cover of The Road to the West Coast23 March 1866
Road to the West Coast officially opens.

23 March 1977
Durham Street overbridge opens.

24 March 1887
First City Council offices open. This building at the corner of Oxford Terrace and Worcester Street was designed by S. Hurst Seager. It was the first public building in Christchurch to break with the prevailing tradition of Gothic, Classic or Venetian style.

The Christchurch City Council Chambers on the north-west corner of Oxford Terrace and Worcester Street [ca. 1890]
The Christchurch City Council Chambers on the north-west corner of Oxford Terrace and Worcester Street [ca. 1890], CCL PhotoCD 3, IMG0034
25 March 1879
New Zealand’s first telephones in operation in City.

25 March 1930
New Zealand’s first country library service begins as Canterbury adult rural education scheme under the auspices of the W.E.A.

27 March 1848
Canterbury Association decides to buy land from the New Zealand Company.

27 March 1856
First wool cargo shipped to London from Lyttelton (via Auckland).

28 March 1981
New South Brighton bridge opens.

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

This week in Christchurch history (16 to 22 March)

View this photo of Dr Barker
Dr Barker gave up practising medicine after the death of his wife, Emma, in 1858 and photography became his career. With the wet-plate process, developing had to be carried out almost immediately and so he designed this four-wheeled buggy which incorporated a mobile dark-room.  CCL Photo CD 6, IMG0023

17 March 1857
First vehicle crosses the Port Hills – a spring cart pulled by bullocks negotiates the Bridle Path.

17 March 1864
Arthur’s Pass crossed by Arthur (later Sir Arthur) Dudley Dobson. He became the Christchurch City Surveyor in 1901.

18 March 1850
Jollie completes survey and plan of Christchurch.

20 March 1873
Death of pioneer doctor and photographer Dr A.C. Barker.

21 March 1848
Canterbury Association formed in London.

21 March 1864
New Zealand’s first hansom cab arrives in City.

22 March 1894
First “local option” poll fails to achieve liquor prohibition in Christchurch.

22 March 1975
3000 joggers take part in the first City-to-Surf fun run.

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

 

This week in Christchurch history (2 to 8 March)

2 March 1970
Amid mounting controversy, City Council begins construction of road deviation through Hagley Park. The work was stopped by March 7 for legal reasons, and the project was eventually scrapped.

2 March 1974
Re-built Centennial Pool opens.

3 March 1879
First Town Hall design competition. But building costs were too high and the project was abandoned in March 1882.

Photo of bust of Roald Amundsen, Flickr CCL-2012-Amundsen
Bust of Roald Amundsen, Canterbury Museum. Flickr CCL-2012-Amundsen

4 March 1977
Museum Antarctic wing opens. View our page on Antarctica and its Christchurch connections.

5 March 1863
Samuel Bealey elected third Superintendent of Canterbury.

6 March 1856
Riccarton race course established.

6 March 1914
First point to point flight in Canterbury by J. W. H. Scotland from Timaru to Christchurch. In the same year, Scotland had the dubious privilege of becoming the first pilot to crash in New Zealand.

7 March 1925
Cholmondeley Home for children (a gift of Hugh Heber Cholmondeley) opens at Governors Bay.

More March events in the Chronology.

Christchurch – this week in history (February 23 to March 1)

Mrs Hucks' Theatre Royal Café
Mrs Hucks’ Theatre Royal Café
CCL PhotoCD 16, IMG0090

February 24, 1881
First century in first class cricket scored by G. Watson for Canterbury.

February 25, 1908
Theatre Royal opens. This is the building which exists today, the third to bear the name.

February 25, 1978
New Brighton Mall opens.

February 26, 1931
Bowker Fountain in Victoria Square in operation.

February 26, 1938
Summit Road opens.

February 26, 1947
First ticketed airline flight from New Zealand – Lancastrian “City of London” flies from Harewood to Sydney.

February 27, 1964
Lyttelton road tunnel opens, New Zealand’s longest.

February 28, 1853
Provincial boundary defined by proclamation. Westland (then called West Canterbury) included as part of Canterbury.

March 1, 1851
“Isabella Hercus” arrives with settlers.

March 1, 1880
School for the Deaf (now Van Asch College) opens in Sumner. Director Gerrit van Asch introduced oral teaching methods to New Zealand.

March 1, 1930
Majestic Theatre opens – the city’s first steel frame building.

A general view of Victoria Square, Christchurch
A general view of Victoria Square, Christchurch
CCL PhotoCD 8, IMG0097

Christchurch chronology

A timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

Christchurch – this week in history (February 16 to February 23)

February 16, 1770 Captain James Cook in the “Endeavour” sights Banks “Island” (Peninsula). February 17, 1939 New Millers Department Store building (the former Civic Offices) opens. Designed by G. A. J. Hart, the building contained the South Island’s first escalator. February 18, 1982 Internationally famous writer Dame Ngaio Marsh dies at her home in Cashmere. February 19, 1873 Anglican synod decides (by a narrow margin) not to sell the present site of ChristChurch Cathedral. February 22, 1909 New “Press” building in operation in Cathedral Square. Designed by J.J. Collins and R.D. Harman, it was the city’s first ferro-concrete building. February 22, 1960 New airport terminal (designed by Paul Pascoe) opens. Photo of first house on the Canterbury Plains, Riccarton The first house on the Canterbury Plains, Riccarton [ca. 1890] Christchurch chronology A timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

This week in Christchurch history (9 to 15 February)

9 February 1917
Scott statue, sculpted by his widow, unveiled opposite the (then) Municipal Offices in Oxford Terrace.

10 February 1864
First Council artesian well drilled at the corner of Tuam and High Streets. It gushed to a height of 3 or 4 metres above ground level.

10 February 1913
News reaches Christchurch of the Scott expedition’s fate. The city’s special relationship with the expedition caused deep mourning over the tragedy.

11 February 1843
Deans, Gebbie and Manson families sail from Wellington on the “Richmond” to settle at Riccarton.

12 February 1905
Catholic Cathedral (the Basilica) opens. Designed by F. W. Petre, it is widely regarded as the finest Renaissance-style building in New Zealand.

Image of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament
Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Barbadoes Street, Christchurch [ca. 1905]
CCL PhotoCD 4, IMG0042
13 February 1951
Waterfront strike begins, with all New Zealand ports idle by February 19. As in previous strikes, Lyttelton avoided the worst of the violence and confrontations which occurred in other ports.

15 February 1840
Chiefs Tairoa, Tuhawaiki and Karetai “sell the South Island” to John Jones and W. C. Wentworth for £500.

More February events in the Chronology.

This week in Christchurch history (2 to 8 February)

2 February 1960
Burnside High School opens. For a long time it was the biggest high school in the Southern Hemisphere.

2 February 1974
Commonwealth Games end with “the greatest middle distance race of all time”. Tanzanian Filbert Bayi wins the 1500 metres in new world record time. Second was John Walker who also broke the existing record. The national records of five countries – Tanzania, Kenya, Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand – were all broken in this race.

Booklet of Canterbury Public Library opening [1982]2 February 1982
Official opening of the new Central Public Library (designed by Warren and Mahoney) in Gloucester Street. (It had opened for business on 12 January).

3 February 1915
Canterbury Battalion sustains New Zealand’s first casualties of W.W.I at Suez Canal.

3 February 1962
Peter Snell sets new world records for the half mile and 800 metres at Lancaster Park.

4-5 February 1868
Severe storm and gales. Several ships wrecked, floods throughout Canterbury. Waimakariri River overflows into the Avon causing serious flooding. Water flows a metre deep in Market Square (now Victoria Square).

6 February 1908
Stranges fire destroys buildings in High, Cashel and Lichfield Streets. Stranges Department Store was New Zealand’s biggest in the early days of the 20th century. The early morning blaze spread to the DIC, Ashby Berghs and the White Hart Hotel. Damage was over £300,000, New Zealand’s worst to that date.

Image of Strange's Hotel
Card showing W. Strange & Co. Ltd premises in 1863 and 1910, Christchurch : used to notify customers that their orders had arrived. [ca. 1910] CCL PhotoCD 4, IMG0058

More February events in the Chronology.