Great Storm of 1868: Refuge in “Arms” of Ashburton

Two years ago our District experienced the worst flooding in living memory, closely rivalled only by the April 1951 Canterbury flood event. Severe floods have occurred with moderate frequency in the past, including the February 1936 flood event, but these were not quite on this level in terms of sheer flow. On 28 May 2021,... Continue Reading →

Leonard Colville’s legacy

A few years ago, the Ashburton Museum acquired a large collection of photographs and personal records that belonged to Leonard (Len) Colville (1903-1987), a well-known Ashburton identity due to his varied hobbies and business interests. Len had strong links to early Ashburton through his father Alfred, who immigrated to New Zealand from England and arrived... Continue Reading →

Easter 1878: An unusual holiday

Stories about the Easter period from our town’s earliest daily newspaper The Evening Echo paint an interesting picture of what it was like to celebrate this centuries-old holiday in the late 1800s in New Zealand. Looking at holidays, and how they have been celebrated over the years, makes for an interesting subject of social history... Continue Reading →

Early Urban Ashburton

Ashburton as we know it has been constantly evolving ever since the construction of William Turton’s first accommodation house along the Hakatere Ashburton River in 1858. Rural has become urban, paddocks have become suburbs and buildings have been built, moved, modified and demolished. Postcard image showing early view of Ashburton west side, looking along Cameron... Continue Reading →

History of the Circus in Ashburton

The people of Ashburton District have been keen circusgoers for over a hundred years. Despite all the tweaks and changes that have shaped the art of the circus, there is still nothing quite like the Greatest Show on Earth. Some readers may remember going to the circus to see dressed-up bears, parading elephants, and big... Continue Reading →

No-license: all eyes on Ashburton

In November 1902, a vote was carried that would have a huge effect on Ashburton both socially and economically. After much debate and support from groups such as the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and the Protestant church, a majority of voters in Ashburton had supported the town’s transition to ‘no-license’. From the time when existing... Continue Reading →

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