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 →

The Somerset Hotel

Since the late 1800s, the same name has adorned each building that has occupied the corner of East and Burnett Streets on the northern side. Have you ever wondered how Somerset House, and the adjoining Somerset Grocer café got their unique names? It’s because the site was once home to the Somerset Hotel, built in... Continue Reading →

History of Ashburton’s telephone exchanges

In a previous blog post we looked at how the telegraph network expanded into Ashburton, which changed the way many people communicated over long-distances. Newspapers, businesses and government bodies benefited greatly from the electric telegraph due to its ability to carry text-based messages at lightning speed between towns and cities. However, the telephone had one... 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 →

Early Rakaia history digitised

Between 1899 and 1922, a professional photographer by the name of Harry Alexander Palmer took a variety of interesting photos around Rakaia and the surrounding area. The Ashburton Museum acquired a number of these photographic negatives several years ago, in the form of glass plates. This image shows an ornate mantle with the background scratched... Continue Reading →

Agates: A Blast from the Past

In February, 2022 the Ashburton Museum team was hard at work developing a new exhibition on agates with the help of Malcolm Luxton from The Agate Orphanage in Tinwald. Agates are categorised as a form of chalcedony, which is a type of quartz comprised of microscopic crystals. These precious formations take shape over the course... Continue Reading →

Mourning: once an art and an industry

Mourning is typically a very personal and complicated process. We often confide in others and tell them we are grieving, but in many cases it can be hard to tell at first glance whether a person is in mourning. Apart from people wearing black during funerals and the use of black remembrance armbands by sports... Continue Reading →

Ashburton Museum through the years

The Ashburton Museum has come a long way since the Ashburton Historical Society first met on 30 October 1958. Individuals with a mutual interest in this district’s history came together with a common goal: to preserve and display materials that were deemed important to Ashburton’s past. 63 years and several Museum buildings later, the Ashburton... Continue Reading →

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