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 →

WW2: Memories of a local dispatch rider

Tales from WW1 and WW2 about local nurses and soldiers never fail to spark our imagination and they help us to understand their lives and the world they lived in. We are fortunate to be able to share in their highs and lows, triumphs and tragedies via their letters, diaries and photograph albums. Previous blog... Continue Reading →

No job too tough

While conducting some research for a member of the public, Senior Curator Maryann Cowan discovered the exciting legacy of yet another interesting Ashburtonian – that of Mr. James Russell Richardson.

A band in war-time

There were a few gaps in the ranks of the Ashburton Temperance Band when it joined a street parade to the Theatre Royal as a prelude to the town’s first patriotic concert on 19 August 1914 – a small sign bigger of things to come. For four years, war’s disrupting tentacles reached further and further... Continue Reading →

Remembering Soldiers

  In 1918 Ashburton’s third Anzac Day was commemorated. The Ashburton Guardian anticipated it would ‘differ slightly’ from previous celebrations. Indeed, the government had declared Anzac Day 1918 a whole day holiday. A free day meant more time for more people to be involved, and more time for more expansive demonstrations. The proposed re-introduction of... Continue Reading →

Ashburton’s first Anzac Day parade set off from the Drillshed in Burnett Street. Already the departure point of the many farewell parades for men drafted as reinforcements, the Drillshed now saw yet another procession set off. The Citizens Defence Corps Band (formerly the Temperance Band) and the Salvation Army Band, both with their own ranks... Continue Reading →

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