Christchurch: A Chronology to 1989

Events in January

January 1-3, 1912
Davis Cup final (Australasia v USA) held at Lancaster Park.
January 1, 1862
New Zealand’s first rowing regatta held on Lyttelton Harbour.
January 1, 1867
Roller skating rink opens. Proprietor Richard Kohler had previously operated Kohler’s Pleasure Grounds.
January 1, 1908
Shackleton expedition sails for Antarctica in "Nimrod". A crowd estimated as high as 50,000 watched the departure - probably the largest in Lyttelton’s history.
January 1, 1913
Riccarton Borough formed.
January 1, 1932
Radio Broadcasting Company of N.Z. (owner of the YA stations) taken over by Government to form the nucleus of a State broadcasting system.
January 2, 1896
Australasian Amateur Athletic and Cycling Championships held at Lancaster Park.
January 3, 1883
Graving dock in Lyttelton Harbour officially opens.
January 4, 1876
First meeting of the Christchurch Drainage Board.
January 5, 1940
First echelon of Canterbury troops for World War II leave Lyttelton on "Dunera" and "Sobieski".
January 6, 1851
The first school (which became Christ’s College) opens in Lyttelton.
January 7, 1844
First European child (Jeannie Manson) born at Riccarton.
January 8, 1877
First trial of harvesting machines at Riccarton.
January 8, 1979
First women bus drivers on Transport Board buses.
January 9, 1871
"Park Terrace" murder. Manservant Simon Cadeno was later hanged for murdering a woman servant and injuring another.
January 10, 1830
“Antarctic” (Captain Morrell) anchors in Lyttelton Harbour, which he names Cook’s Harbour.
January 10, 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.
January 10, 1887
Tramway to New Brighton completed.
January 11, 1851
First copy of the “Lyttelton Times”, edited by J.E. FitzGerald.
January 11, 1984
A live 30cm snake is found in a driveway in Parklands. A second snake is found the following day.
January 12, 1985
The first South Island "In Vitro" baby is born at Christchurch Womens Hospital.
January 13-15, 1978
Visit by Crown Prince Reza of Iran.
January 13, 1891
First public display in New Zealand of Edison’s phonograph.
January 14, 1897
New Brighton declared a Borough.
January 14, 1898
"Great Peninsula Fire" destroys much of the bush on Banks Peninsula.
January 16, 1871
Meat preserving works opens.
January 16, 1936
Inauguration of inter-island air service by Union Airways.
January 17, 1877
Council swimming pool in the Avon River opens. Not one of the Council’s better projects - the pool was only a few hundred metres downstream from the hospital’s effluent outfall.
January 17, 1966
City Council grants charter to 2nd Battalion, RNZIR.
January 18, 1851
First bank, the Union Bank of Australia, opens at Lyttelton.
January 18, 1877
First meeting of the Lyttelton Harbour Board.
January 18, 1894
New Brighton pier opens.
January 18, 1974
Ramada Inn (now Vacation Hotel) opens.
January 19-21, 1935
Visit by the Duke of Gloucester.
January 19-22, 1954
Visit by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh (the first New Zealand visit by a reigning monarch).
January 19, 1935
River carnival on the Avon near Park Terrace.
January 19, 1983
Tornado and hailstorm strike western City. Damage severe at Halswell.
January 20, 1882
First drainage pumping station in operation. This was the beginning of New Zealand’s first sewage farm.
January 21, 1906
Hailstorm causes widespread damage.
January 21, 1951
New Zealand’s worst yachting disaster. 10 people lost when 2 yachts "Husky" and "Argo" sink in a storm during the Wellington to Christchurch centennial race. Only one of the 22 starters finished the course.
January 22, 1903
Christchurch Tramway Board (now the Christchurch Transport Board) holds its first meeting.
January 22, 1929
Death of Professor Bickerton in England. Since his sacking by the university - see 1902 - he had operated the extraordinary Pleasure Gardens at Wainoni, made fireworks, promoted patent medicines and then travelled to England to promote his "partial impact" astronomical theory.
January 24, 1865
Steam fire engine arrives, (the first in New Zealand) and is named ”Extinguisher“.
January 24, 1941
Civic reception for playwright/composer Noel Coward.
January 24, 1974
10th Commonwealth Games open at Queen Elizabeth II Park, one of the greatest sporting events in New Zealand’s history. Visitors include the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and Princess Anne. Highlight of the opening ceremony was the New Zealand Army Band’s spectacular novelty marching routine. Seen on international live TV, the idea was soon copied by bandsmen throughout the Commonwealth.
January 25, 1892
African explorer H.M. Stanley visits.
January 25, 1974
Cantabrian Richard Tayler wins 10,000 metres in games record time. This was the first live colour TV coverage of a major race. Tayler was honoured as 1974 "Sportsman of the Year', but his sports career was cut tragically short by the onset of crippling arthritis.
January 26, 1883
New Zealand Shipping Company begins direct steam service to the United Kingdom.
January 26, 1974
Christchurch students Mark Treffers and Janie Parkhouse win gold medals in Commonwealth Games swimming events.
January 27, 1860
Writer Samuel Butler arrives at Lyttelton on “Roman Emperor”. He is best remembered for the novel “Erewhon”, published after his return to England several years later.
January 27, 1873
Christchurch Domains Board constituted.
January 28, 1851
Fire destroys a large part of Riccarton (Deans) Bush.
January 29, 1875
Kaiapoi Woollen Mills founded.
January 31, 1921
New Zealand’s first regular airmail service begins between Christchurch, Ashburton and Timaru.
January/February, 1989
Various fires over Port Hills destroy vegetation and threaten property.
January, 1841
First plains settlers (Herriot and party) abandon attempts to farm near the site of Hagley Park.
January, 1852
First bees introduced into Canterbury (from Nelson).
January, 1873
New Zealand Shipping Company registered in Christchurch.
January, 1891
10 metre Maori canoe dug out of Avon.
January, 1912
Independent tribunal reports against the Estuary canal and harbour scheme. This report virtually ended many years of heated discussion and lobbying over this issue, although the idea was not finally laid to rest until the decision was made to build the road tunnel.
January, 1924
Southerly gale causes widespread damage.
January, 1946
Shops and Offices Amendment Act ends Saturday shopping, but New Brighton gains an exemption to allow Saturday trading to continue.
January, 1961
Contract let for building Christchurch - Lyttelton road tunnel.
January, 1974
Cathedral Square reconstruction as a pedestrian precinct completed. Curiously, this highly praised civic amenity has never been officially opened.
January, 1975
First New Zealand Games held at Q.E.II Park. The Oath of Amateurism was read by Christchurch athlete Val Young, who has won 28 national titles - more than anyone else, male or female.
January, 1988
Construction begins on Christchurch’s tallest building to date, the 76.3m Price Waterhouse building.
January, 1989
World Deaf Games held in Christchurch.