Christchurch Militia List 1860

An alphabetical list of all Persons, between the ages of 18 and 60 years, residing within 15 miles from the Land Office, at Christchurch, and liable to serve as Militiamen for the year 1860-61 (ending 31st March, 1861) in the Militia District of Christchurch.

The list was extracted and transcribed from The Lyttelton Times, June 6th, 9th, 13th and 16th 1860, with columns inserted for clarity.

View Christchurch Militia List 1860 [822 Kb PDF].

What was the militia?

The militia was a compulsory 'home guard' of European settlers, which could be called out in emergency for local defence… Authorised under the provisions of the Militia Ordinance 1845 - a response to the outbreak of hostilities in the north - it embodied all able-bodied European men between the ages of eighteen and sixty, who were liable to be called out by the Governor for training or actual service within forty kilometres of their town…

The Militia Act 1858 made militiamen liable for service anywhere in their militia district, although this was later restricted to within twenty-four kilometres of the district post office. The Militia were divided into three classes according to age and marital status (with the first class consisting of single men between the ages of sixteen and forty years)… Such service was extremely unpopular, in no small part because of the economic dislocation communities suffered when the Militia were called out. The low pay of militiamen was a further disincentive…

In more secure districts… Militia service was limited to occasional drills. By 1869 only the Taranaki Militia were still on duty… Elsewhere the Militia had gradually decayed, with the most enthusiastic joining Volunteer corps… Provision for a Militia was not finally removed from the statute books until 1950.


Cover: Oxford Companion to New Zealand Military HistoryOxford Companion to New Zealand military history, edited by Ian McGibbon. Oxford University Press, 2000, pp 331-332

Explanatory Notes

In the original, the issue for June 6th listed Abbott to Edwards, James; June 9th: Edwards, Joseph to Luck; June 13th: Luke to Stanton; June 16th, Stapleforth to Zouch. The use of lower-case for street, terrace etc, and the spelling of laborer, is as the original. Occasional out-of-sequence surnames are also as in the original.

At the end of the list in the June 16th issue is:

The above list of persons liable to serve as militiamen for the above district of Christchurch, in the province of Canterbury, has been duly prepared at an adjourned meeting of Justices of the Peace residing within the said district, held this 14th day of April, 1860.
Notice is hereby given, that all objections to the above list will be heard and determined at a meeting of the Justices of the peace, on Tuesday, the 26th day of June, 1860, at the Resident Magistrate’s Court, or at any time before the 26th day of June, by the Justices who have signed the list. Any names accidentally omitted from the list will be added upon information being furnished to the Clerk to the Bench at Christchurch.
The following are the exemptions as taken from the X. and XII. Sections of the Militia Act, 1858:- The Judges of the Supreme Court, Members of the Executive Council of the Colony, Members of the General Assembly, Superintendents of Provinces, Members of Provincial Councils during Session, Clergymen, Priests, Ministers of Religion, and Catechists. Also, all persons who are afflicted by lunacy or unsoundness of mind, or deafness, blindness, or by any other disorder that may render them unfit for active service in any such Militia.

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