Christchurch: a chronology

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

Go to a year between 1700 & 1989

Begin at the beginning Start here

This week in history

December 16-17, 1956
Visit by Duke of Edinburgh.
December 16, 1850
“Charlotte Jane” and “Randolph” arrive at Lyttelton.
December 16, 1851
Anniversary celebrations in Hagley Park. First organised sport, including horse races, athletics and a cricket match.
December 16, 1852
Anniversary celebrations include the first horticultural exhibition.
December 16, 1864
Foundation stone laid for Christchurch Cathedral. The weather was atrocious.
December 16, 1869
Anniversary celebrated by the first "boneshaker" bicycle race - from Latimer Square to the railway station and back.
December 16, 1872
First Interprovincial Exhibition opens.
December 16, 1905
Christchurch’s Bob Deans scores "the try that wasn’t" in Wales on the first All Black tour of the United Kingdom. The All Blacks "lost" only this game 3-0. Deans died of pneumonia in 1908, aged 24.
December 16, 1942
Construction of Sign of the Takahe taken over by City.
December 16, 1944
Reconstructed cob cottage at Ferrymead officially opens.
December 16, 1950
Harewood Airport becomes New Zealand’s first International Airport - 100 years to the day from the arrival of the first Canterbury Association settlers.
December 16, 1984
John Walker becomes the first person to run a sub four minute mile in Canterbury. He broke the record at QEII Park. February 1985, Walker broke the world record for highest number of sub four minute miles.
December 17, 1850
“Sir George Seymour” arrives.
December 17, 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.
December 17, 1979
City Council approves Neighbourhood Committee scheme.
December 18, 1929
Arrest of 2 armed youths who are responsible for dozens of cases of serious arson (and a near murder) in the previous 6 months.
December 18, 1982
"Tolaga Bay" (53,784 tonnes) becomes the largest ship ever to dock at Lyttelton.
December 18, 1987
Stage 1 of Museum restoration approved.
December 20-21, 1915
Canterbury Battalion among the last to leave Gallipoli. The battalion suffered 385 dead during the campaign.
December 20, 1877
70 kilometres (44 miles) of railway line north to Amberley converted from broad to narrow gauge in a single day by 500 men - in time for the opening of the railway station the following day.
December 20, 1955
First Antarctic flights by USN Operation Deep Freeze from Christchurch.
December 21, 1877
New Christchurch railway station opens.
December 21, 1977
New Zealand’s first closed circuit central city television traffic control system in operation for City Council.
December 22, 1885
Statue of William Moorhouse unveiled in the Botanic Gardens.