“Strange Freak of a New Zealand Girl”

Dressed in a black cutaway coat, dark trousers and a white silk neckcloth, and sporting a Billy-Cock hat over short hair, Henry Jame Muir stood before a London magistrate in 1889 dressed in the clothes he had been arrested in. Smoothed face, tall and attractive, Muir looked very much like a respectable young man.

The Misleading Lady

From 1919 until 1963, New Zealand audiences were guaranteed ‘snappy scenes, bright singing, excellent dancing and sparkling comedy’ when attending a Stan Lawson Production.

Flipping Fried Eggs

Retired Aircraft Engineer, Corporal Colin Creighton, No. 41 Squadron, RNZAF recounts his experiences serving during the American Vietnam war.

Was Christchurch the birthplace of Mary Poppins?

Almost a century ago, the story of Mary Poppins and the Match-Man was published for the first time – in Christchurch’s afternoon newspaper, The Sun.

But how did the story of the world’s most famous nanny first find its way into a Christchurch newspaper? To answer this, we need to delve into the early life of an Australian girl, Mary Poppins’ creator, P. L. Travers.

The First Car Comes to Christchurch

A Packing Case on Wheels Local and General. Star, Issue 6789, 8 May 1900, Page 3 A weird-looking vehicle has recently been seen travelling through the streets of the city much to the amusement and astonishment of the onlookers. At first appearance it looks like an ordinary packing case placed on three wheels, the Jehu…

“Letter From New Zealand” …or Provincial Propoganda?

Dear Father and Mother, l arrived here all safe on the 23rd of September, after a splendid voyage of 94 days without a single storm. I enjoyed the voyage very much and was kindly treated by everybody, plenty to do and plenty of friends. I have nothing to say against the Government, for they looked…

“The Sick, Faint Feeling of Violent Shakes,” Jane Deans

For one of our city’s most famous early women settlers, poor health had marred not only her voyage to New Zealand but also her arrival to her new home at Riccarton. From the moment Jane Deans boarded the sailing ship at Plymouth for Canterbury in November of 1853, she suffered from motion sickness. As the voyage progressed, her sea…

The Spanish Beauty and the Beast – The Manchester St Murder

For £55, reports The Press in 1909, an Antipodean may travel to London and back via the Cape, and secure a very pleasant holiday. For boarders and employees at Alfred and May Burn’s ‘Silver Grid’ boarding house and amusement parlour, holidays in London, champagne suppers and aviation exploits are only to be read about.

The Mystery of the Severed Hand

“When the Clerk of the Court, in his quiet, matter-of-fact way, called Arthur Robert Howard, there was a hush of the murmured conversation among the crowd, and everyone looked towards the door by which prisoners enter the Court…” The Severed Hand or Severed Hand Mystery, Page 15-16, Published by Capper Press Eight miles from Christchurch…

Christchurch’s Countess – Léontine, Countess de la Pasture

To the inhabitants of colonial Nelson, Léontine, Countess de la Pasture was the epitome of Victorian refinement and manners. To her husband – Gerard Gustavus Ducarel, the fourth Marquis de la Pasture – she was his beloved Lily, a virtuous and noble woman, who not only possessed great strength but generously opened her hand and her heart to the needy.

Flax, Coffee, Tea and Chicory – the Trent Brothers’ Christchurch Empire

It is ten days before Christmas, 1877 and two brothers, Frederick and James Trent, stand expectantly before the Reverend Henry Crocker Marriott Watson at altar in St John the Baptist Church, Latimer Square, Christchurch. That week, residents in Colombo Street are being entertained in the evenings by the antics of a pet kangaroo which had escaped from the confines of somebody’s backyard. The animal had managed to alight onto Mr Mein’s small goods shop, providing great amusement to the passers-by.