Christchurch: A Chronology to 1989

Events in April

April 1, 1903
Sydenham, Linwood and St Albans amalgamate with City to form greater Christchurch. Henry F. Wigram becomes Mayor.
April 1, 1907
Beckenham and Fisherton join City.
April 1, 1911
North Linwood added to City.
April 1, 1911
Spreydon Borough formed.
April 1, 1915
First regular supply of electricity from Lake Coleridge received in Christchurch.
April 1, 1921
Spreydon Borough joins City.
April 1, 1923
Bromley and Papanui join City.
April 1, 1932
New Regent Street opens, built on the site of the old Colosseum. (See 1908)
April 1, 1941
Huntsbury and Borough of New Brighton join City.
April 1, 1943
St Andrews Hill (Mt Pleasant) joins City.
April 1, 1945
Sumner Borough, McCormacks Bay and Hillsborough join City.
April 1, 1949
Sign of the Takahe opens. This was the completion of the Summit Road developments begun by Harry Ell in 1908.
April 1, 1955
Part of Halswell area joins City.
April 1, 1962
First City Council district planning scheme becomes operative.
April 1, 1962
Mt Pleasant Valley and Cannon estate join City from Heathcote.
April 1, 1979
Lyttelton road tunnel becomes toll-free.
April 1, 1980
Canterbury Regional Planning Authority merges with Canterbury United Council.
April 1, 1983
City Council takes over central area parking enforcement from Ministry of Transport.
April 2, 1873
First and second Town Halls destroyed by fire. It took 99 years to replace this civic amenity.
April 3, 1912
Lyttelton dredge "Manchester" leaves port for new owners in Sydney. The ship and her crew disappeared without trace during the voyage.
April 3, 1914
North Richmond joins City.
April 3, 1967
Re-built Ferrymead Bridge opens.
April 5, 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.
April 5, 1985
Visit by the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.
April 6, 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.
April 7, 1859
Canterbury Rifles organised - the first military force in the Province. It was formed as a result of the Taranaki land wars.
April 8, 1865
First issue of ”Punch in Canterbury“. It was modelled on the English magazine, but did not survive for long.
April 8, 1883
First shipment of frozen "Canterbury lamb" leaves Lyttelton for the United Kingdom on the "British King".
April 8, 1959
Billy Graham crusade draws 50,000 to Lancaster Park.
April 9, 1934
Visit by George Bernard Shaw. He gave a nationwide radio broadcast from his civic reception in Christchurch.
April 10-12, 1981
Visit by Prince of Wales.
April 10, 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.
April 10, 1965
Airport becomes New Zealand’s first jet airport with the inauguration of the first regular jet flights from Christchurch to Australia.
April 11, 1968
"Wahine" storm (the city’s worst recorded storm) causes one death and widespread wind and flood damage.
April 11, 1975
Visit by Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister of Singapore.
April 11, 1982
Waimairi becomes a District Council.
April 12, 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. (See 1841)
April 12, 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.)
April 13-14, 1983
Visit of Chinese Premier, Zhao Ziyang.
April 13, 1876
Visit of tightrope walker Blondin.
April 13, 1896
City hosts the first meeting of the National Council of Women.
April 15, 1971
Christchurch production of Jenny Mcleod’s "Earth and Sky" in Civic Theatre.
April 16, 1851
First sale of Christchurch town sections.
April 16, 1867
First traction engine imported into Canterbury by the Provincial Government. It was hoped to pull ”road trains“ of grain shipments, but trials were a failure.
April 16, 1974
Flooding throughout city after record rainfall - 124mm (4.89 inches) in 24 hours.
April 17, 1854
Formation of the Canterbury Local Steam Navigation Co.
April 17, 1880
First championship cycle meeting, Hagley Park.
April 17, 1880
Inter-city brass band contest (New Zealand’s first) and choral competition draws an audience of 2500 to the Drill Hall. The winner was the Invercargill Garrison Band.
April 17, 1983
Visit of Dr. Robert Runcie, Archbishop of Canterbury.
April 18, 1864
First Ferrymead (swing) bridge opens.
April 19, 1873
Christchurch Golf Club formed. The first course was in Hagley Park. There are now nearly 30 golf courses in and around Christchurch, making it New Zealand’s golfing capital.
April 19, 1988
Proposal for 152 metre tower in Victoria Square abandoned after much public debate.
April 20, 1849
Captain Thomas (in a letter to Sir George Grey) reveals that he has chosen the present site of Christchurch for the new settlement - in spite of the fact that both the Nelson and Otago colonists had rejected it in 1841 and 1844 respectively.
April 20, 1938
First Inter-Dominion trotting in New Zealand held at Addington Raceway. Originally scheduled for Easter, the contest was postponed by flooding throughout the city. Further flooding after the first races delayed the finals until May 4.
April 21, 1971
Court Theatre’s first production, "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie".
April 22, 1869
Visit of the Duke of Edinburgh (New Zealand’s first royal visitor).
April 22, 1970
New Teachers College opens at Ilam. Secondary division only. The completed complex was opened on October 26, 1978.
April 23-24, 1966
Visit by Queen Mother.
April 23, 1895
Regular Lyttelton - Wellington Cook Strait ferry service inaugurated by "Penguin".
April 24, 1858
Contract let for fortnightly mail service between Christchurch and Timaru.
April 25, 1850
Canterbury Association settlers meet in London.
April 25, 1854
Coal from the Malvern Hills on sale in Christchurch at £5-10s a ton.
April 25, 1864
Canterbury Horticultural and Acclimatisation Society formed. This group introduced many animals, birds and fish to Canterbury, and helped to establish the Government Gardens, which eventually became the Botanic Gardens.
April 25, 1977
Bridge of Remembrance becomes a pedestrian precinct.
April 25, 1981
New $16 million postal centre in Hereford Street in operation. A determined fight by civic groups had failed to prevent its siting next to the old Public Library.
April 26, 1852
Christ’s College moves from Lyttelton to Christchurch.
April 27, 1872
Railway north open to Kaiapoi.
April 28-29, 1983
Visit of Prince and Princess of Wales.
April 29, 1925
Rev J.K. Archer becomes Mayor of Christchurch, New Zealand’s first Labour mayor.
April 29, 1974
Cr. David Caygill, aged 25, becomes the city’s youngest ever acting Mayor (for 5 days).
April 30, 1875
New library building completed on the corner of Cambridge Terrace and Hereford Street. Designed by W.B. Armson, the building is now part of the Library Chambers.
April 30, 1971
6000 protesters march against the war in Vietnam.
April, 1843
Captain Francis Sinclair and Ebenezer Hay and family settle at Pigeon Bay, Banks Peninsula.
April, 1850
40 settlers en route to Auckland on the “Monarch” decide to remain at Akaroa.
April, 1866
City Council virtually bankrupt because of a ratepayers protest led by William Wynn-Williams. Street lights were turned off, Council workers dismissed and night soil collection cancelled.
April, 1879
Pioneer Bicycle Club formed. It later became the Pioneer Sports Club. A recent gift of $230,000 from the club assisted the construction of Pioneer Stadium in 1978.
April, 1885
"Russian scare" leads to building of gun emplacements around Lyttelton Harbour.
April, 1901
H.R. Smith begins 23 years as Town Clerk.
April, 1915
Christchurch pilot, William B. Rhodes-Moorhouse, killed in action in Europe. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, the first ever to be given to an airman.
April, 1931
First trolley buses in operation.
April, 1940
H.S. Feast begins 21 years as Town Clerk.
April, 1970
International Machine Tool Show at Canterbury Court.
April, 1981
Death in Christchurch of Mrs Agnes Lucy Whitworth, aged 108.