End of the Line

When I was a very young child living in Ireland, I had an ungodly obsession with trains. I loved everything about them – there was just some elusive appeal that drew me to anything that slid on rails and went “choo-choo”. I loved my Thomas the Tank Engine toys so much that I used to... Continue Reading →

Mount Somers Letters

Among the staff at Ashburton Museum are many volunteers who undertake various roles. Some act as receptionists, welcoming and assisting visitors with our popular programs, activities and research enquiries. Others help care for collections. A few transcribe records to provide access to fragile or interesting items that it would otherwise become damaged by use. Transcribing... Continue Reading →

Papers on Canvas

One never knows what will be donated to Ashburton Museum and last year a rather large and old piece of canvas was brought in, which contained a number of seaman’s discharge papers and letters dating from the 1860s that once belonged to Robert William Shearman. The canvas and papers turned out to be an important... Continue Reading →

Reserves have played an important part in the history of Ashburton District and were some of the first areas defined for use in early surveys. Today they are governed through the Reserves Act 1977 and continue to play an important part in land use in the Ashburton District. The establishment and management of reserves has... Continue Reading →

Many scientific practices or areas of study that were once considered progressive or novel are now considered pseudoscience and quackery - phrenology included. You may see phrenology head models and head charts occasionally in odd shops, making the notion of the practice seem a bit “hipster”, but phrenology was as dubious as it was intriguing.... Continue Reading →

  Medical records and other documents give invaluable information about how people lived at certain points in time. New Zealand’s history of public health is supported by comprehensive statistics and research, which give insight into how matters of health and disease have been handled. Bacterial infections, influenza, and poliomyelitis were top killers in the nineteenth... Continue Reading →

The highly respected Robert Galbraith was Ashburton mayor from 1915-1931. It was his misfortune to be the sitting mayor during and after The Great War. His story is linked to how the War Memorial in Baring Square came about. It is a classic story of debate, intrigue, politics, delay and money. Letters to the Editor,... Continue Reading →

Music, art and war

The many musical programmes in the Ashburton Museum’s archive would originally have been kept as a reminder of a concert attended, or perhaps for more personal reasons, such as a particular connection with a performer or an especially pleasant occasion. Today our interest in these programmes goes far beyond the bare details of what was... Continue Reading →

The mysteries of joined up writing

Do children still learn how to ‘write’?  This is a question that the team here at Ashburton Museum have pondered for a while now. While it makes sense that children become familiar with a keyboard as soon as possible, I am a little concerned writing is becoming a lost skill. Last century, when I was... Continue Reading →

There's always a gripping last week of the Tour de France, that most famous cycle race of all, yet equally thrilling was an early classic of New Zealand road racing. The Timaru to Christchurch cycle race was established in 1899, four years before the famous Tour de France. It was regarded as the greatest cycling test of... Continue Reading →

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