Early Days of Ashburton Borough School

Ashburton Borough School was opened on 19 February, 1872, and was the first Government school in Ashburton. With an initial roll of 4 pupils, the school has since grown to accommodate 350 students this year, which is Ashburton Borough School's 150th jubilee. The story of Ashburton Borough School began at least 4 years earlier, in... Continue Reading →

Music, lectures and merriment: Early entertainment in the District

Entertainment was highly valued in the early days of the Ashburton District. At a time when commitments to work, farm and family were much more demanding than they often are today, relief from stress and the daily grind were appreciated greatly. Staveley Hall about 1900, during its heyday as a social and entertainment hub for... Continue Reading →

WW1: Local soldier’s P.O.W story

Personal diaries and letters, in many cases, provide us with some of the most interesting historic stories that have ever, or never, been told. Every memoir is special, but those that vividly recall events of war, adversity, triumph, failure, and hope through the eyes of someone we can easily relate to are perhaps the most... Continue Reading →

History of the Tinwald Domain

Continuing on from our last post about Tinwald, let’s now take a look at Tinwald’s popular and beloved Domain. The Tinwald Domain began as a mere suggestion made by John Grigg to the Ashburton County Council, to apply to the Government for a fifty acre recreation reserve in 1878. Fifty acres were not acquired, instead... Continue Reading →

Waterton: a township lost to time

When you come across the scant remains of a place like Waterton, you start to wonder what led to such a fate. The old cemetery on Grahams Road is the last inkling of this once a popular township, which fell prey to issues caused by a need for labourers elsewhere, as well as that classic... Continue Reading →

Anzac Day 1919 and the influenza pandemic

Ashburtonians celebrating Anzac Day in 1919 must have felt very strange – they were still feeling the aftereffects of a deadly disease outbreak. It would have been surreal for two reasons, being that the outbreak of H1N1 influenza had affected Ashburton quite severely, and that the tragedies of the Great War were still fresh in... Continue Reading →

Tools for researching the past

When it comes to researching your forebears, you can either be pleasantly surprised or sorely disappointed. Cases that fit into the latter category are more common than you would think. Many of our past relatives seem to leave great historical gaps in their wake rather than the opposite. As a matter of fact, is much... Continue Reading →

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