The Trials and Triumphs of Lake Coleridge Power Station

The idea to build a hydroelectric power station at Lake Coleridge came during a time when New Zealand was beginning to take electricity use seriously. During the 1880s and 1890s, growing interest in electric power led the Christchurch City Council to consider building a hydroelectric power station on the Waimakariri River. However, this never came... Continue Reading →

Gallery: Enterprising Ashburton businesses

The Ashburton District has had a long history of thriving businesses, of which there have been an impressive number and variety. Coachbuilders, factories, agents, retail stores, and many more enterprises, big and small, have played their role in supporting our local economy and communities. Let's take a look back at a selection of photographs of... Continue Reading →

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 →

Gallery: Historic houses big and small

Below you will find a selection of images from the Ashburton Museum & Historical Society Inc. collection, which showcase an interesting variety of houses from our District's past. The architectural styles, sizes, and shapes of these homes say something about the people who built them. Their ambitions, their self-perceptions, access to resources, and of course... 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 →

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 →

The Components of the Humble Kiwi Villa

Throughout the closing decades of the nineteenth century, New Zealand was undergoing rapid population growth and huge urban development. Factors such as improved transportation and an influx of steam-powered woodworking equipment gave rise to a new kind of house: the iconic villa. A family sitting on the veranda of their lonely rural villa, somewhere in... Continue Reading →

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