Christchurch: A Chronology to 1989

Events in February

February 2, 1960
Burnside High School opens. For a long time it was the biggest high school in the Southern Hemisphere.
February 2, 1974
Commonwealth Games end with "the greatest middle distance race of all time". Tanzanian Filbert Bayi wins the 1500 metres in new world record time. Second was John Walker who also broke the existing record. The national records of five countries Tanzania, Kenya, Australia, Great Britian and New Zealand - were all broken in this race.
February 2, 1982
New central Public Library (designed by Warren and Mahoney) opens in Gloucester Street.
February 3, 1915
Canterbury Battalion sustains New Zealand’s first casualties of W.W.I at Suez Canal.
February 3, 1962
Peter Snell sets new world records for the half mile and 800 metres at Lancaster Park.
February 4-14, 1971
Great Moscow Circus performs in North Hagley Park.
February 4-5, 1868
Severe storm and gales. Several ships wrecked, floods throughout Canterbury. Waimakariri River overflows into the Avon causing serious flooding. Water flows a metre deep in Market Square (now Victoria Square).
February 4, 1876
Railway south completed to Timaru.
February 4, 1907
Serious fire on the Port Hills. Victoria Park plantation destroyed.
February 6, 1866
Telegraph to the West Coast (Hokitika) opens.
February 6, 1908
Stranges fire destroys buildings in High, Cashel and Lichfield Streets. Stranges Department Store was New Zealand’s biggest in the early days of this century. The early morning blaze spread to the DIC, Ashby Berghs and the White Hart Hotel. Damage was over £300,000, New Zealand’s worst to that date.
February 6, 1914
New evening paper, the "Sun" appears. This independent paper caused a sensation in the newspaper industry because of its modern style and lavish use of illustrations.
February 7, 1851
“Castle Eden” arrives with settlers. There had been trouble on the voyage, and her crew was arrested and imprisoned for mutiny.
February 8, 1857
St Andrews Presbyterian Church opens.
February 8, 1864
George Parr’s “All England” cricket team defeats a Canterbury side.
February 8, 1870
Opening of Christchurch’s first art exhibition.
February 9, 1898
"Black Wednesday" - Canterbury skies darkened by smoke from Australian bush fires.
February 9, 1917
Scott statue, sculpted by his widow, unveiled opposite the (then) Municipal Offices in Oxford Terrace.
February 10, 1863
First sitting of the Court of Appeal.
February 10, 1864
First Council artesian well drilled at the corner of Tuam and High Streets. It gushed to a height of 3 or 4 metres above ground level.
February 10, 1913
News reaches Christchurch of the Scott expedition’s fate. The city’s special relationship with the expedition caused deep mourning over the tragedy.
February 11, 1843
Deans, Gebbie and Manson families sail from Wellington on the “Richmond” to settle at Riccarton.
February 11, 1851
Land Office opens in Christchurch on the site now occupied by the Chamber of Commerce building.
February 11, 1928
Opening of St Georges private hospital.
February 11, 1960
Mrs H.L. Garrett appointed New Zealand’s first jury forewoman.
February 12-14, 1958
Visit by Queen Mother.
February 12, 1905
Catholic Cathedral (the Basilica) opens. Designed by F.W. Petre, it is widely regarded as the finest Renaissance building in New Zealand.
February 13, 1951
Waterfront strike begins, with all New Zealand ports idle by February 19. As in previous strikes, Lyttelton avoided the worst of the violence and confrontations which occurred in other ports.
February 14, 1887
Telephone link to Dunedin opens.
February 14, 1929
Christchurch - Lyttelton railway line electrification completed.
February 14, 1987
Visit by Queen Margarethe of Denmark.
February 15, 1840
Chiefs Tairoa, Tuhawaiki and Karetai “sell the South Island” to John Jones and W.C.Wentworth for £500.
February 15, 1894
First New Zealand cricket team defeated by New South Wales at Lancaster Park.
February 15, 1921
Radio Society of Christchurch formed.
February 15, 1967
Waltham Lido Pool opens.
February 15, 1976
25,000 attend concert by pop singer Neil Diamond at Q.E.II Park.
February 16-17, 1963
Visit by the Queen and Duke of Edinbugh. The New Brighton trotting course was bought by the City and re-named Queen Elizabeth Park in her honour.
February 16, 1770
Captain James Cook in the “Endeavour” sights Banks “Island” (Peninsula).
February 16, 1883
Belfast Freezing Works (the first in the Christchurch area) begin operation.
February 16, 1935
First test match by New Zealand women cricketers played against England at Lancaster Park. (England won.)
February 16, 1981
Seattle (Washington, USA), becomes sister city.
February 16, 1988
Mr William Burton, the last surviving member of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's "Terra Nova" expedition of 1910-1913, dies in Christchurch, aged 99. See 1910.
February 16, 1989
Visit by Queen Silvia and King Carl Gustaf of Sweden.
February 17, 1908
30-metre whale stranded at Okarito. The skeleton is now on display at the Canterbury Museum.
February 17, 1939
New Millers Department Store building (now the Civic Offices) opens. Designed by G. A. J. Hart, the building contained the South Island’s first escalator.
February 18, 1982
Internationally famous writer Dame Ngaio Marsh dies at her home in Cashmere.
February 19, 1873
Anglican synod decides (by a narrow margin) not to sell the present site of Christchurch Cathedral.
February 20, 1903
Singer Madam (later Dame) Nellie Melba gives concert.
February 20, 1979
8.5 metre totara log removed from the Avon near the Barbadoes Street bridge. A remnant of the pre-Polynesian forests, it had been buried beneath the river for centuries.
February 21, 1853
Inwoods flour mill in operation in Straven Road.
February 21, 1910
Visit by Lord Kitchener.
February 21, 1949
City coat of arms granted armorial bearings.
February 21, 1972
Adelaide (Australia) becomes Christchurch’s first sister city.
February 21, 1983
Friendship link with Gansu Province (China) established under sister city programme.
February 21, 1987
Plans for 152 metre high observation/tourist tower revealed by Christchurch businessman Jamie Tulloch.
February 22, 1893
Linwood Borough formed.
February 22, 1909
New "Press" building in operation in Cathedral Square. Designed by J.J. Collins and R.D. Harman, it was the city’s first ferro-concrete building.
February 22, 1960
New airport terminal (designed by Paul Pascoe) opens.
February 22, 1965
Opening of first Pan-Pacific Arts Festival. Artists include singer Inia Te Wiata (in "Porgy and Bess") and conductor Sir Malcolm Sargent.
February 23, 1877
Lillywhite’s ”All England“ cricket team visits.
February 23, 1916
Red Cross Society (N.Z. Branch) and the Central Council of the Order of St John hold their first meeting in Christchurch.
February 24, 1881
First century in first class cricket scored by G. Watson for Canterbury.
February 25, 1908
Theatre Royal opens. This is the building which exists today, the third to bear the name.
February 25, 1948
Picton to Christchurch express derailed at Seddon. 6 people killed.
February 25, 1978
New Brighton Mall opens.
February 25, 1979
Concert by jazzman "Count" Basie and his orchestra.
February 26, 1898
First Australasian swimming championships held in City.
February 26, 1931
Bowker Fountain in Victoria Square in operation.
February 26, 1938
Summit Road opens.
February 26, 1947
First ticketed airline flight from New Zealand - Lancastrian "City of London" flies from Harewood to Sydney.
February 26, 1974
World’s biggest plane, a USN Lockheed Galaxy, lands at airport.
February 26, 1977
New Durham Street bridge over the Avon opens.
February 27, 1964
Lyttelton road tunnel opens, New Zealand’s longest.
February 28, 1853
Provincial boundary defined by proclamation. Westland (then called West Canterbury) included as part of Canterbury.
February 28, 1967
Canterbury cricket team defeats visiting Australians, the first time any New Zealand team had done so.
February 28, 1981
Visit by Mme Simone Veil, President of European Parliament.
February 28, 1986
Visit by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
February, 1851
First Avon bridge built - a footbridge at Worcester Street. It was destroyed in the 1868 flood.
February, 1865
Gold discovery on the West Coast leads to an inevitable exodus of prospectors from Christchurch.
February, 1894
High pressure water supply system in operation at Sumner.
February, 1948
Schools closed because of polio epidemic.
February, 1953
University Little Theatre destroyed by fire.
February, 1986
Radio UFM (located at University of Canterbury) becomes first station in Canterbury to be granted an FM warrant on a long term basis.
February (approx), 1833
The Otago Chief Tairoa mobilises a force of Ngai Tahu. They gather at Lyttelton Harbour, sail north, and defeat the northern tribes near the site of Blenheim. This skirmishing continued for several years.