Archives: diaries and memoirs

Items from our archives including the records of local and community organisations and clubs, church archives, genealogical records, business archives, original diaries and manuscripts, as well as the papers of individuals.

Ephemera & miscelleanea

Canterbury’s demonstration on the departure of the N.Z. Rough Riders for South Africa, Hagley Park, Saturday Feb. 17, 1900.
The programme and the order of events for the farewell of the Canterbury contingent of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles held in Hagley Park.
World War One memorabilia, 1914-1924
A small collection of material, published and unpublished, relating to World War 1, collected by Oswald Norris and his family. Oswald Mark Norris served in the Canterbury Infantry Regiment, I Company, and died at Gallipoli in 1915, aged 22.

Personal correspondence, diaries, journals and memoirs

Brief diary written on board the Tintern Abbey en route from Gravesend to Christchurch, December 1874 - May 1875
A brief diary written on board the Tintern Abbey en route from Gravesend to Christchurch, December 1874 - May 1875.
Page 74 of the Burke ManuscriptBurke manuscript
A lively hand-written account of Christchurch events and personalities during the 1850s and 1860s. The text is interspersed with hundreds of cuttings from books and magazines. Many cuttings are portraits or caricatures, not always of the person described but regarded by Burke as having their characteristics.
Diary written on board the Randolph, at Opawa and at Southbridge, 1850-1865
Diary of Charles Joseph Bridge, covering his outward voyage to Lyttelton on the Randolph and early life in Canterbury at the Homebrook run, near Lake Ellesmere, from 1850-1865. The diary includes various newspaper clippings and notes on family.
The Family travel book, 1864-1902
Handwritten accounts and copies of letters recounting local and international trips and journeys mostly made in the 1870s, 1880s and 1890s by the Bridge and Griffin families. Local outings include trips to the Peninsula, Lake Ellesmere and Leeston, Hanmer Springs, Waimakariri Gorge Bridge, as well as Lake Ohau and Mount Cook. Journeys further afield include London, Melbourne and Brussels.
Fragments from the official career of John Dwyer, Superintendent of Police, 1878 to 1921
John Dwyer’s 43 year policing career began in New Zealand in Dunedin in 1878. He was associated with many notable cases throughout his career. His memoirs focus on some of these incidents, and provide insight into policing in late nineteenth and early twentieth century New Zealand.
Governors Bay, reminiscences of past and present days
Booklet compiled in 1935 which includes notes on inhabitants of Governors Bay, photographs and a souvenir booklet celebrating the 75th anniversary of St. Cuthbert’s Church.
Page in the travel journalHenry Edward Newton’s Travel journals, 1906-1951
One journal (1934-1935) is an exercise book relating the tramp to the headwaters of the Arawhata River (South Westland) and the climbing of Mount Ionia. The other journal (1930-1935) contains accounts of climbing in New Zealand, press clippings, a map and other inserts (1906-1951).
Journal of the ship Canterbury, 1851 by Edward Eade
Shipboard journal of Edward Eade, the Canterbury Association chaplain, who voyaged to Lyttelton from Gravesend on the ship Canterbury.
Initially launched as a part of our Imprints collection.
Killinchy farm diary
Handwritten diary of farm activities and expenses on a Killinchy, Canterbury farm. The diary was started by Mathew O’Brien and continued by John O’Brien after his father’s death on 5 October 1897.
Louis Elerig: Letters
Two letters recording his experiences in the fires on the steamer Wairarapa near Gisborne and at the Albion Hotel in Invercargill, 1883 and 1888.
Norfolk Island diary and other jottings, World War II, 1941-1943.
Notebook diary written by George Whitley, N.Z.E. (Corps of Royal New Zealand Engineers), who was posted to Norfolk Island during World War II. His diary begins in September 1942 and ends in April 1943.
Personal effectsO'Sullivan collection : First World War memorabilia, letters, diaries NEW - February 2014
A selection of material from the collection of Barry O'Sullivan relating to the first World War. The digital collection includes personal effects of enlisted men from Christchurch, regimental badges, diaries, letters, letterhead paper, newspapers, photographs and postcards.
Reminiscences of early days at Brookside, Canterbury, 1863 - 1939
The memoirs of Thomas Watson, written for his family, in 1939 and 1940, of his early life. Thomas Watson’ parents and family moved to the Canterbury area, Brookside (known as South Selwyn in the 1860s), to farm, in 1864.
Shipboard diary 1864, Edinburgh to Wellington by John Richardson
Unfinished diary written on board the West Australian, 12 March - 2 May 1864. The diary has song lyrics written at the front.
Two letters, both to the Town Clerk, Christchurch, 1901 and 1910
Two letters from Robert Falcon Scott to the Town Clerk of Christchurch, thanking the city for various gifts to the Antarctic expeditions.
War diary, 1915-1916 by H. H. Stephens
The World War I diary of Herbert Harold Stephens, of Sydenham, Christchurch. Entries in the diary by Herbert Stephens cover the period from August 13, 1915 to November 16th, 1916. The later entries are in the first part of the diary.
War letter and cards, 1915-1916
A small collection of material related to the World War I experience of William Brown.

Photograph Collections

'Elephant' and trainer, student capping week, Christchurch?20th Century Photographs of Albert North
The collection consists of 133 photographs, 128 of which are by North (1912-2008), and 5 by an unknown photographer. 79 of these photographs have been digitised.
Waitaki Hydro-electric Project photograph album
Photograph album compiled by L.S. Payne covering the construction of the Waitaki hydro-electric power plant; photographs taken between May 1929 and February 1933.

Organisations’ archives

Cashmere Sanatorium, 1913-1933
Two photograph albums and 70 assorted photographs of the Cashmere Sanatorium, Fresh Air School, Fresh Air Home and Coronation Hospital taken between 1913 and 1933. One photograph album inscribed to Dr. G.J. Blackmore as Christmas gift.
Catalogue of books belonging to the Canterbury Association, June 17th 1852
Catalogue of the books belonging to the Canterbury Association packed in six cases for Lyttelton, 17 June 1852, and a bill of despatch signed by J.R. Godley for six cases, plus one case, dated 16 June 1852, mounted at back of the catalogue.
Christchurch Mechanics’ Institute Archives
A collection of material relating to the early years of the Christchurch Mechanics’ Institute. The Institute was the foundation organisation of the Canterbury Public Library, later known as Christchurch City Libraries.
Minutes and other papers, 1864-1869, of the Christchurch Young Men’s Literary Association
Minute, committee and account books and papers from the Christchurch Young Men’s Literary Association collection. The Association began in 1864 as a debating society, and adjourned in 1867. The books and assets of the Association passed to the Christchurch Mechanics’ Institute.
No. 16. Photograph showing front elevation Cashel Street propertyInner city report, 1946
Photographs and hand drawn plans pulled from a report written by A.F. Stacey for the Christchurch City Council. The report documents inner city right-of-ways, and congested central city streets.
Linwood Public Library
A collection of material from the archives of the Linwood Public Library, a subscription suburban library established in 1909.
Reminiscences: early Christchurch and Canterbury, 1922
Three addresses delivered by Robert Allan, Andrew Anderson and Arthur Dudley Dobson to Rotary Club members in 1922. The focus of the talks is early Christchurch and Canterbury and the development of the settlement in the nineteenth century. Includes foreword, and comments and questions from attendees.
Society of Canterbury Colonists’ Minutes, London 1850
Minute book for the Society of Canterbury Colonists, a group established in London for the settlement of Canterbury, New Zealand. The minutes of the London meetings of the Society run from April 25th to August 15th 1850.
Special report on the Canterbury Public Library
A report by City Librarian Ron O’Reilly. Contains a brief history of the library, surveys the position and funding for the city library and the suburban libraries in 1951, and makes recommendations for the development of the city library and the development of suburban library services for Christchurch.
Waitaki Hydro-electric Project photograph album
Photograph album compiled by L.S. Payne covering the construction of the Waitaki hydro-electric power plant; photographs taken between May 1929 and February 1933.