Safety Week – The elephant never forgets: Picturing Canterbury

Safety Week – The elephant never forgets. Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 NZ CCL-Kete-6257.

Do you have any photographs of parades in Christchurch? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

The Discovery Wall is a large interactive exhibition which allows several people to simultaneously explore images and stories of the history of the people and places of Christchurch. It is viewable on the ground floor of Tūranga, 60 Cathedral Square, Christchurch, New Zealand. Images displayed on the Wall can also be found on the Discovery Wall website.

Mafeking celebrations: Christchurch Photo Hunt 2018

October is Photo Hunt month at Christchurch City Libraries. We invite you to share any of your photos and help grow the city’s photographic archive. All entries must be received by 31 October.

Christchurch City Libraries has produced a set of four postcards promoting the competition which are available from your local library.

Mafeking celebrations. Kete Christchurch. Drayton-031b. Entry in the 2014 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

From a photograph album; photographer, Florence Drayton, 1900.

Date: 1900

Entry in the 2014 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt by June E Blank.

About Kete Christchurch

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Week in History 17-23 July – The “Monty tour” arrives in Christchurch 70 years ago

Paton, Harold Gear, 1919-2010. Winston Churchill takes the salute as New Zealand Division marches past in Tripoli, World War II. New Zealand. Department of Internal Affairs. War History Branch :Photographs. Ref: DA-02885A-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23048978

Those of us who remember a certain movie from the 1990’s may jump to particular conclusions of what the “Monty tour” may be. It actually was the 1947 tour of Australasia by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein. Born in 1887 and active in both the First and Second World Wars, he gained two nick-names; “Monty” and the “Spartan General”.

Monty commanded many New Zealand and Australian soldiers during World War Two. He was assumed command of the Eighth Army in North Africa after the failed first battle of El Alamein on the 13th August 1942. He planned and re-strategised for the next offensive at El Alamein which began on the 23rd of October that same year. This was a decisive battle for Winston Churchill’s wartime leadership and said of the two battles “At El Alamein we survived; after that we conquered.” Approximately 200,000 Allied soldiers were involved in the fighting with 4000 losing their lives and 9000 being wounded under Monty’s command in the 12 day battle.

Monty aspired to have “The capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose, and the character which inspires confidence”. Charismatic and single-minded, he was popular with the soldiers under his command as he went out of his way to meet and talk with them, but often not liked by his fellow senior offices due to his strong opinions, and particularly not with the American General George Patton. He became one of the most decorated soldiers of World War Two gaining the highest rank of Field Marshal, and was appointed as Chief of the Imperial General Staff after the war and then as Deputy Supreme Commander for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Invited by the Governments of Australia and New Zealand to visit each country, Monty was in New Zealand from the 16th to 31st of July 1947. Received with much fan-fare throughout the country, Christchurch was no exception. Arriving on the 22nd of July to reputedly one of the biggest crowds in the city’s history. People lined the streets for seven miles to catch a glimpse of Monty in his famous black beret, some had even made periscopes to get a better view. Travelling in an open air car allowed him to stand and wave as his cavalcade passed on its way to the King Edward Barracks for the official reception. Reportedly 10,000 citizens crammed themselves into the Barracks for the civic ceremony, many more remained on the surrounding streets.

Field Marshal Montgomery’s visit to Christchurch, July 1947, Albert James North, 1947. CCL-Arch978-1-040.
The “Monty Tour”, 1947 by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License. KeteChristchurch Pearce_family_photos_46. Photograph taken by Arthur Pearce while working for the Public Service Garage of one of his famous passengers Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery.

Visiting Coronation, Burwood and Christchurch Public Hospital’s, and attending a reception at the Returned Services’ Association were among the itinerary for rest of the day. He was presented with a Kaiapoi travelling rug and a carved walking stick as part of the R.S.A. Reception. He talked with returned service men and women, reminiscensing about countries and places visited during the war, including Captain Charles H. Upham, V. C. He also apologised for his incorrect dress, in that he was wearing a life membership N.Z.R.S.A. badge, even though he was still in active service, and that they had been comrades in war, they could now be comrades in peace.

In an interview with The Press, he said admiringly of the New Zealand soldier, “They have a very independent type of spirit…They will accept a loose framework of control, but you have to make it as loose as possible and you will get value by giving them full scope for their initiative.” The Press, Tuesday, July 22 1947.

Many photographers, both professional and amateur were out wanting to capture their permanent reminder of Monty. The National Film Unit was also there to capture some of his itinerary, and some of this footage can be seen in the following clip made available by Archives New Zealand through their Youtube channel:

Monty later wrote in his memoirs of the tour:

It would be difficult to find words to describe my feelings during my visit to these two Dominions, whose soldiers had fought under my command in the war. I was received everywhere with a depth of affection which seemed at all times to be genuine, warm and sincere. I knew that the warmth of the greeting was not meant for me personally but for that which I represented; it was an expression of appreciation of the bravery and devotion of duty to the men that I had commanded.
The Memoirs of Field-Marshal The Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, K.G., 1958, pg. 460.

With the passing of time and studies by various historians, Field Marshal Montgomery as a man and a commander within the British Army has come to be viewed with a certain level of contradiction and controversy. To learn more about Monty from varying perspectives including his own, his brother’s, his aide’s during WWII and historians, search our catalogue.

If you have any images you would like to contribute to a community repository of Christchurch, please visit Kete Christchurch.

More Christchurch history

To see more of what happened this week in the past, visit our Christchurch Chronology.

Photo Hunt October: Canterbury Centennial Parade Float, 1951

Canterbury Centennial Parade Float, 1951.
Entry in the 2014 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt by Merle Conaghan, Kete Christchurch PH14-142 CC-BY-NZ-SA NZ3.0

Float of the Floral Procession as part of the Canterbury Centennial held in Christchurch, February 1951.

Christchurch City Libraries has been running an annual Photo Hunt in conjunction with the city’s Heritage Week since 2008.  The 2016 Photo Hunt is running again from 1 – 31 October. During the month of October we will be posting a series of images from earlier Photo Hunts.

Enter the 2016 hunt online or at your local library.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch & Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

The elephant never forgets : Picturing Canterbury

Safety Week parade : The elephant never forgets. Kete Christchurch.

How can I tell if Christmas is coming?

I asked around the office to find out how everyone knows that Christmas is coming. The responses were:

  • Your library books are due back in December.
  • You actually read the advertising fliers that increasingly flood your letterbox.
  • The bakery has yummy fruit mince pies  to purchase.
  • Work suggests it is time to book your Christmas holidays.
  • The Christmas cake and Christmas mincemeat are made!
  • Your son leaves “What I really want for Christmas is…” lists in your wallet.
  • You get put on hold on the phone and have to listen to Christmas carols.
  • Christmas trees and Christmas lilies are for sale on the side of most roads.Photo of Santa arriving by boat at New Brighton

If you ask a kid that same question, the response might be: “Santa arrives in town just before Christmas”.

This year the New Brighton Christmas Parade will be held on Saturday 3rd December.  The parade starts at 10.30am with Santa arriving by boat. The librarians at New Brighton Library will join the parade of floats made by local community groups.

Photo of Santa floatThe Christchurch Children’s Christmas Parade Trust has worked long and hard to ensure that their annual Santa Parade could go on. So I was pleased to read that the Parade will take place at 2pm on Sunday December 4th. The proposed route for this year’s parade will be Riccarton Road from Wharenui Road to Mandeville Street. There will be  great floats and characters, clowns and music and, of course, Santa.

So forget about earthquakes and potholes for a few hours and make your way to New Brighton and Riccarton for the annual Christmas parades.

Make sure also to explore our Christmas pages and tell us how you know Christmas is coming.