Christchurch: A Chronology to 1989

Events in October

October 1, 1857
First Christchurch Town Hall opens. This privately owned hall was built on a site in High Street which was later occupied by Stranges Department Store and then by Butterfields.
October 1, 1870
Opening of Canterbury Museum building, designed by B.W. Mountfort.
dt>October 1, 1881
New Zealand's first telephone exchange begins operation in the Chief Post Office, Cathedral Square.
October 1, 1948
City Council takes over Canterbury Public Library from University.
October 1, 1953
Over 3000 hectares of Waimairi (showgrounds area), Heathcote (Bromley area) and Estuary included in City.
October 2, 1916
Opawa joins City.
October 3, 1983
Rugby player Robbie Deans becomes highest scorer of points in 79 year history of the Ranfurly Shield with 187 points from thirteen games.
October 3, 1988
Park Royal Hotel opens in Victoria Square.
October 5, 1899
First Boer War contingent leaves Lyttelton.
October 5, 1982
Paraplegic archer Neroli Fairhall (in competition with able-bodied athletes) wins gold medal at Brisbane Commonwealth Games.
October 5, 1984
Greg Mortimer of Christchurch conquers Mt Everest without oxygen.
October 7, 1864
Opening of a 12 night season of Lyster’s Royal Italian and English Opera Company. The opera was “Lucia di Lammermoor".
October 8, 1989
Redesigned portion of Victoria Square opened.
October 9, 1962
Town Hall site chosen in Kilmore Street. Assisted by advice from visiting Professor Gordon Stephenson, the unanimously accepted proposal ended years of dispute over this choice. Other sites considered were the old public library site in Hereford Street and an area near Latimer Square. Another often debated site was Victoria Square.
October 9, 1971
Councillor N.G. Pickering ousts sitting first-term Mayor A.R. Guthrey after an intense and controversial election campaign over the issues of the Hagley Park road and the siting of the proposed Commonwealth Games facilities. This resulted in the scrapping of the park road, the abandonment of the uncompleted Centennial Pool alterations and the building of new athletic and swimming facilities at Queen Elizabeth II Park.
October 10, 1885
Life insurance fraud ("The Case of the Severed Hand") at Sumner. The perpetrator, Arthur Howard, was sentenced to 2 years prison on April 11 the following year.
October 10, 1953
The "last great air race" from London to Christchurch won by an RAF Canberra bomber.
October 11, 1988
"The Wizard" wages war against the "Tasteless tyrants of Telecom" by repainting the new blue telephone boxes traditional red.
October 11, 1989
Waitangi Tribunal Hearing of land claim by Ngai Tahu closes at Tuahiwi Marae.
October 12-14, 1981
Visit by Queen and Duke of Edinburgh.
October 12, 1939
Battery point guns in Lyttelton Harbour accidentally sink fishing boat "Dolphin". 1 man killed.
October 13, 1866
Railway south open to Rolleston.
October 13, 1986
Sir Hamish Hay begins his fifth and final term as Mayor of Christchurch.
October 14, 1989
Vicki Buck, first woman and youngest to be elected, wins Christchurch Mayoralty.
October 15, 1881
Lancaster Park opens. This privately owned development was built so that sports clubs could charge admission fees to games.
October 15, 1979
Visit by King Tupou IV and the Queen of Tonga.
October 16, 1988
Victoria Square Amphitheatre opens.
October 17, 1861
Christchurch Club building opens. Designed by B.W.Mountfort and Isaac Luck, it was probably New Zealand’s first club.
October 19, 1978
Visit by President Walter Scheel of West Germany.
October 20, 1948
"Pleasure Garden" art controversy begins when a Frances Hodgkins painting (done in about 1933) is exhibited at "the Group" show. This fierce debate on art style was joined by people throughout New Zealand. It raged for 3 years until the City Council accepted the painting as a gift on September 3, 1951.
October 20, 1987
World-wide share market crash affects Christchurch Stock Exchange .
October 22, 1863
First Agricultural and Pastoral Association show in showgrounds (which is now Sydenham Park). An “unofficial” show had been held in October, 1862.
October 22, 1985
"Elizabeth" the one tonne sea elephant dies of a viral infection on Sumner Beach. She had lived for 5 years on the City's beaches, estuary and rivers and was often found crawling up suburban streets.
October 22, 1988
Announcement of the appointment of Patricia Costigan as Christchurch's first female District Court Judge.
October 23, 1874
Canterbury Club building (designed by Frederick Strouts) inaugurated.
October 24, 1870
Disastrous fire (New Zealand’s most extensive to that date) destroys the centre of Lyttelton.
October 25, 1877
First high pressure water supply system in operation at Lyttelton.
October 25, 1986
“Qin Shihuang” (Chinese Buried Army) exhibition opens at the McDougall Art Gallery. 71,145 people visited the exhibition over a seven week period, the largest number to a paying show at the Gallery.
October 26, 1796
Whaling ship “Mermaid” sights Kaikoura Mountains.
October 26, 1863
Chamber of Commerce transfers from Lyttelton.
October 26, 1980
City Council gives land at Cuthberts Green to the trustees of new Ngā Hau E Whā National Marae.
October 26, 1982
Old library re-opens as Library Chambers (architect Don Donnithorne).
October 27, 1983
New office building on the corner of Manchester and Kilmore Streets has New Zealand’s first exterior lift.
October 28, 1882
Linwood Town Board formed.
October 28, 1978
Pioneer Sports Stadium opens. See 1879.
October 28, 1985
110 vehicles stolen over Labour Weekend in the Canterbury district. Police claim it as a record.
October 29, 1830
Te Rauparaha charters the “Elizabeth” (under the unscrupulous Captain Stewart) and sails for Akaroa.
October 29, 1877
Sydenham Borough formed.
October 29, 1891
General Booth of the Salvation Army visits.
October 30, 1857
Tunnel advocate William Sefton Moorhouse elected as the provinces’s second Superintendent. He resigned in 1863 because of personal financial mismanagement, but later served a second term of office from 1866 to 1868.
October 30, 1979
University of Canterbury gives old university site to the Arts Centre Trust Board.
October 30, 1985
Mid-Canterbury farmers slaughter 2,500 ewes in protest at the low prices they are receiving for their sheep.
October 30, 1985
Writer-in-Residence at Canterbury University, Keri Hulme wins internationally prestigious "Booker McConnell" prize for her novel "The Bone People".
October 31, 1912
Opening of Queen’s Theatre, the city’s first purposebuilt picture theatre. The building is now the M. W. Arcade.
October 31, 1913
National waterfront strike affects Lyttelton.
October 31, 1979
USN Starlifter crash lands at airport - no-one hurt.
October, 1851
“Canterbury” arrives with settlers.
October, 1854
Provincial Council decides to sell the Christchurch town reserves to help its ailing finances. Contrary to popular belief, the reserves were never intended as a “green belt”, but were to be kept in reserve until sections in the central area were sold.
October, 1894
Decision to build 45 by 10 metre swimming pool at Lancaster Park. Although the pool was equal to any in New Zealand, and hosted the 1907 Australasian swimming championships, it was never a popular success and was closed down within a few years. See 1985.
October, 1899
First car imported to the South Island by Nicholas Oates. See also 1900.
October, 1936
Christchurch team wins the first national contract bridge championship.
October, 1943
"Risingholme" bought by Sir John McKenzie and presented to the city as a public park. Early in 1949 it became a community centre, the first to be established in a large town.
October, 1965
New Brighton Pier demolished.
October, 1967
First section of Northern Motorway opens.
October, 1968
Retirement of Sir George Manning, Mayor since 1958, after a total of 34 years on the Council.
October, 1971
Last steam train leaves Christchurch.
October, 1975
Willowbank Wildlife reserve opens to public.
October, 1981
Private developer begins transformation of the old Normal School into residential apartments, ending the city’s most protracted preservation battle.
October, 1989
Dux de Lux Tavern first in Canterbury to brew beer on own premises.