World War One began mid-way through 1914 and was meant to be over by Christmas. When it wasn’t, Princess Mary, daughter of King George V, was worried that the men fighting under her father's command would feel left out at Christmas. The Princess created a Christmas Fund, and with the help of thousands of ordinary... Continue Reading →

Remembering after the war

This is the final in our series of Heavens XV and reserves. Although World War One officially ended on Armistice Day, on November 11, 1918, sadly deaths were still occurring or being reported after that date. By December, Ashburton High School’s magazine began the dreadful tally of casualties. Of the 285 High School Old Boys... Continue Reading →

The King’s Cup connection

Last year, visitors to our Balls, Bullets and Boots exhibition had a rare chance to see a very important part of international rugby history. The museum was honoured to have been able to borrow The Kings Cup, recognised as the first international rugby trophy, and precursor to the famous Rugby World Cup. The large silver... Continue Reading →

Heaven’s XV Part 3

Last week we remembered and commemorated the centennial of Passchendaele through a selection of World War One soldiers and rugby players. Today we continue to meet the team, through Ashburton High School players who fell in a variety of places. While as the war progressed, France on the Western Front was still the main focus... Continue Reading →

Heaven’s XV Part 2

This post continues our series on Ashburton rugby players who also served in World War One. By the December 1916 edition of the Ashburton High School magazine, it was clear Ashburton was reeling from the aftermath of the Somme. Ten boys from the school had been killed and many pages were dedicated to the wounded... Continue Reading →

Ashburton’s Passchendaele

Thursday two weeks ago, October 12, marked the centenary of one of New Zealand’s darkest days at war. Not only one awful day, the Battle of Passchendaele was a series of Allied offenses during World War One, occurring between July 31 and November 10, 1917. The offenses were an attempt by the British Allies to... Continue Reading →

Heaven’s XV

Last year, Ashburton Museum opened a new interactive exhibition, called Balls, Bullets and Boots: From Rugby Field to Battlefield. Through video installations, ex-All Black Anton Oliver took visitors from a pre-World War One changing room, through the trenches and back home to Ashburton Station. These experiences are seen through the eyes of fifteen star players... Continue Reading →

Our Dansey brothers

A while back, Ashburton Museum staff learnt that a fantastic exhibition had been developed and was touring from the New Zealand Rugby Museum in Palmerston North. Titled, Balls, Bullets and Boots: From Rugby Field to Battlefield, it told the stories of players and coaches who also served in World War One. We wondered if any... Continue Reading →

Stella Wright … lady coach

Our Balls, Bullets & Boots exhibition last year was special for us as it came all the way to Ashburton from the New Zealand Rugby Museum in Palmerston North. It’s still a long journey by train, truck and ferry to get a container across Cook Strait and down to Ashburton. With all arrived safely, this... 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 →

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