Christchurch: A Chronology to 1989

Events in July

July 1, 1862
New Zealand’s first telegraph in operation between Christchurch and Lyttelton.
July 1, 1865
Lyttelton Harbour breakwaters begun.
July 1, 1865
Severe thunderstorm. Man killed by lightning at Avonside.
July 1, 1935
Evening papers "Star" and "Sun" merge to become the "Star Sun", ending a 6 year newspaper war, the longest and most bitter in New Zealand’s history. The "peace" agreement between the 3 companies concerned also saw the demise of the "Christchurch Times" (once the "Lyttelton Times"), the oldest daily paper in the country.
July 1, 1985
Open road speed limit raised from 80 kph to 100 kph.
July 4, 1902
New Zealand Boxing Association formed in City.
July 4, 1977
Hundreds evacuated as serious flooding affects City.
July 6, 1887
Heavy floods. 3 young men drown in the Avon River as a result of a boating mishap.
July 7, 1908
Widespread flooding in city and province.
July 7, 1986
Heavy rain floods northern suburbs of city.
July 8, 1880
Canterbury Society of Arts formed.
July 9, 1863
Civic tree planting begins. Part of the day’s planting was a commemorative tree, generally regarded as the beginning of the Botanic Gardens.
July 10, 1922
Hagley Park and Botanic Gardens included in city boundary.
July 10, 1971
Record crowd of over 57,000 at Lancaster Park for rugby test, New Zealand v British Lions.
July 11, 1879
Post Office building in Cathedral Square completed.
July 11, 1951
Waterfront strike ends.
July 11, 1979
First meeting of the Canterbury United Council.
July 13, 1905
Construction of King Edward barracks begins. The building was completed in an amazing 25 days. In the absence of a true Town Hall, it was often the venue for large concerts and civic occasions.
July 13, 1945
Severe gales with gusts to 145 kilometres per hour (90 miles per hour).
July 14, 1945
Record snowfall 280mm (11 inches) over most of city.
July 15-21, 1979
D’oyly Carte Opera Company gives performances.
July 16, 1852
Choral classes begin in Lyttelton.
July 16, 1989
Death of John Densem, Christchurch designer and musician, who initiated this publication.
July 17, 1861
Work begins on the railway to Lyttelton. Preliminary work on the tunnel had begun in January 1860, but the original contractors had withdrawn in November.
July 17, 1915
First Canterbury wounded from the war return to Lyttelton on the "Willochra".
July 17, 1964
Opening of the Government Life Building in Cathedral Square. It was the city’s first "high rise glass box". The building’s rooftop clock and temperature readings have become a familiar part of the Square.
July 17, 1979
Visit by Princess Anne.
July 18, 1853
First meeting of the Christchurch Horticultural, Agricultural and Botanical Society.
July 18, 1903
Heavy snow in Canterbury.
July 18, 1945
Christchurch’s lowest recorded temperature -7.1 deg C. Note that this is air temperature which is recorded above ground level. Frost readings are taken on the ground and can be several degrees colder than the air temperature. Record frost was in 1872.
July 19, 1880
Lincoln College opens - the first agricultural college in the Southern Hemisphere.
July 19, 1924
New Zealand Miniature Rifle Association (now Smallbore Rifle Association) formed in Christchurch.
July 19, 1965
City Council grants charter to HMNZS "Pegasus".
July 19, 1982
City Council approves further extension of airport runway by 845 metres.
July 19, 1988
Jock Orr, nicknamed "The Birdman" after befriending birds in Cathedral Square, dies in Christchurch.
July 20, 1851
First church in Christchurch opened - later dedicated as St Michael and All Angels in 1859.
July 20, 1853
J.E. FitzGerald elected first Superintendent of the Province of Canterbury.
July 20, 1935
1st concert by violinist Yehudi Menuhin (already famous at only 17).
July 20, 1983
Record Ranfurly Shield rugby score - Canterbury defeats North Otago 88-0 at Lancaster Park.
July 21, 1987
St Michaels Church Day School - 136th anniversary.
July 22, 1918
After heavy snow - 175mm (7inches) - Christchurch experiences its coldest day on record. The temperature did not rise above 1 deg C.
July 22, 1947
Visit by Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery.
July 23, 1851
Pioneer William Deans among 28 lost in the wreck of the “Maria” in Cook Strait. Godley had tried to deprive the Deans and Hay families of their farms because he wanted only Anglicans to own land in the new settlement. The Deans brothers had sold sheep to pay the legal costs of fighting Godley’s high handed action, and William Deans was travelling to Sydney to buy replacement stock.
July 23, 1857
First dramatic presentation in Canterbury, which featured Mrs Foley in “The Loan of a Lover” and “Betsy Baker” at the Lyttelton Town Hall.
July 23, 1935
2nd concert by violinist Yehudi Menuhin (already famous at only 17).
July 23, 1987
Lotto sales start.
July 24, 1884
YMCA building opens on the site of the present Police Station.
July 24, 1983
New Zealand’s first "test-tube" twins born at Christchurch Hospital.
July 25, 1903
City Council generates Christchurch’s first public electricity from a generator driven by the municipal refuse destructor. This eventually led to the formation of the Municipal Electricity Department, which was derived from the City Engineer’s Department in 1925.
July 26, 1879
Canterbury Rugby Football Association (New Zealand’s first) formed.
July 26, 1924
Open air classrooms in use at Fendalton Primary School.
July 27, 1851
Storm wrecks 6 ships in Lyttelton Harbour.
July 27, 1893
Woolston becomes a Borough.
July 28, 1964
Rolleston Avenue trees cut down by City Council, at the request of Christ’s College Board. Intense public protest follows.
July 28, 1986
Grenadier Hotel demolished in Oxford Terrace. Formerly The Royal, it was the third hotel on this site since 1851.
July 29, 1953
Aviation pioneer Richard W. Pearse dies in Christchurch. Pearse made one of the world’s first powered flights on or about March 31, 1902 in South Canterbury. He moved to Christchurch in 1921, and worked on his astonishing "convertiplane" over many years.
July 30, 1867
”Great Canterbury snowstorm“ begins. Although no accurate records are available, this may have been heavier than the record 1945 fall. Over 500,000 sheep and cattle died in Canterbury and Otago.
July 30, 1911
Over 40,000 people brave wet, cold weather to attend the funeral of Mayor T. E. Taylor (whose 6 weeks in office is the shortest on record).
July 30, 1921
Canterbury becomes the first New Zealand provincial rugby team to defeat the Springboks.
July 30, 1976
7 Canterbury men in gold medal winning hockey team at the Montreal Olympics.
July 31, 1856
By Royal Charter, Christchurch becomes New Zealand’s first city.
July, 1862
New Zealand’s first professional boxing contest held on the banks of the Waimakariri River near Kaiapoi. Police with drawn pistols tried to stop the illegal contest, but were overwhelmed by the crowd of over 600. Subsequent legal proceedings were quietly withdrawn when it was found that the Crown Solicitor and several magistrates had been among the spectators.
July, 1867
Fire prevention ordinance specifies building materials for central city developments.
July, 1880
Industrial Exhibition opens.
July, 1907
First meeting of the Christchurch Fire Board.
July, 1927
First production in the University Drama Society’s Little Theatre. It was probably the first in New Zealand with cyclorama, dimmers and spots.
July, 1975
Chateau Commodore (now Chateau Regency) Hotel opens.