5 January 1940
First echelon of Canterbury troops for World War II leave Lyttelton on “Dunera” and “Sobieski”.
6 January 1851
The first school (which became Christ’s College) opens in Lyttelton.
7 January 1844
First European child (Jeannie Manson) born at Riccarton.
8 January 1979
First women bus drivers on Transport Board buses.
10 January 1830
“Antarctic” (Captain Morrell) anchors in Lyttelton Harbour, which he names Cook’s Harbour.
10 January 1867
European birds introduced on “Matoaka” to Lyttelton. Species include pheasants, partridges, blackbirds, thrushes, linnets, skylarks, chaffinches, and starlings. The destruction of native insect eating birds by hunting and fire had caused disastrous crop infestations in Canterbury.
10 January 1887
Tramway to New Brighton completed.
26 December 1863
Opening of the Royal Princess Theatre, the city’s first true theatre. It had been the Canterbury Music Hall.
26 December 1870
First rowing regatta on the Avon. This photo shows a 1921 regatta.
26 December 1879
Serious Catholic/Protestant riot in Manchester Street.
27 December 1850
“Cressy” arrives. These 4 ships brought a total of 773 settlers. Although Cantabrians like to commemorate these “first four ships”, there were actually 8 chartered vessels which brought 1500 Canterbury Association settlers in the first few months. By the following December, 19 ships had brought over 3000 settlers.
15 December 1848 Captain Joseph Thomas, William Fox, and surveyors Cass and Torlesse arrive at the site of Lyttelton in the “Fly”. Thomas names the harbour “Port Victoria”. He and his party had been sent by the Canterbury Association to choose a site for the new colony and make the necessary preparations for the arrival of settlers in 1850.
17 December 1935
City Council decides to buy 230 hectares of land at Harewood for a city airport. The purchase was strongly criticised in many quarters as excessively large, but subsequent history has more than vindicated the decision.
8 December 1843
Greenwood brothers (James and Joseph) settle at Purau, Lyttelton Harbour.
9 December 1867
Lyttelton railway tunnel was the first in the world to be drilled through a volcano rim. It was New Zealand’s first tunnel, and at the time was described as one of the longest in the world, yet had been planned and financed by this tiny colonial settlement whose population was just over 9000, (6,647 in Christchurch and 2,510 in Lyttelton.)
10 December 1989
Sunday trading begins in Christchurch.
11 December 1979
Completion of airport international arrivals terminal, stage 1 (arrival hall).
12 December 1849
New Zealand Company agrees to reserve two and a half million acres as a site for the Canterbury settlement.
1 December 1950
Kerrs Reach cutting on the Avon River completed.
1 December 1975
Rolleston satellite town project scrapped.
2 December 1866
Moa bones discovered at Glenmark. The international sale and exchange of these helped Haast, the Canterbury Museum’s first Director, to finance the new museum.
2 December 1960 Rehua meeting house opens, the first new meeting house in the South Island for over 100 years.
3 December 1867 Canterbury Museum (New Zealand’s first) opened to public in an upstairs room in the Canterbury Provincial Government Buildings. The collection had been assembled by Julius (later Sir Julius) Von Haast.
23 November 1988
Human remains dating back to pre-European Māori settlement found while excavating for YMCA building on the corner of Hereford Street and Rolleston Avenue. Area declared tapu for 24 hours until remains removed.
24 November 1881
St Albans Borough formed.
25 November 1940
“Holmwood”, en route from the Chathams to Lyttelton, sunk by German raiders. Passengers and crew were taken aboard the German ships, and eventually made their way home 2 months later.
25 November 1980 Totem Pole placed in new location at Christchurch Airport.
26 November 1857
Opening of the first building (long since demolished) on the present Christ’s College site. The school’s original planned site was in Cathedral Square, but the land had been exchanged for the present Hagley Park site to allow room for expansion.
26 November 1910
The ill-fated second Scott expedition leaves Lyttelton on the “Terra Nova”, bound for Antarctica.
26 November 1959 Memorial Avenue (a memorial to airmen killed in W.W.II) officially opens.
28 November 1893 Women vote for the first time in parliamentary elections.
28 November 1908
Work begins on the Summit Road, the first part of Harry Ell’s obsessional dream.
28 November 1964
Opening of Cashin Quay, Lyttelton Harbour. The engineering techniques used in reclaiming this area were unique in the world.
29 November 1901
Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s first Antarctic expedition arrives at Lyttelton in “Discovery”.
29 November 1978
Concert at Q.E.II Park by rock singer David Bowie.
21 November 1865 Provincial Council buildings in Durham Street completed. The complex of buildings was architect B.W. Mountfort’s masterpiece. He had survived a professional disaster soon after arrival in New Zealand when his first building, a church in Lyttelton, had proved structurally unsound and had to be demolished.
22 November 1986
Visit by Pope John Paul II (the first head of the Catholic Church to visit New Zealand).
22 November 1987 Trans Alpine express train, designed specifically for the tourist trade, begins its daily run from Christchurch to Greymouth.