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.

Tram vs Bus in 1930s Crush

The busiest intersection in the central city heaves under a rush of pedestrians, buses, trams, cyclists and private motor cars, pushing passed each other as they head for various parts of the city.

A Great Pilgrimage Over the Clouds

Imagine an event so exciting, so spectacular, that 38 trains were required travelling at 28 minute intervals to convey curious sightseers to Lyttelton in order to witness it.
The roads from Christchurch were chock-a-block with cars travelling in first gear, with many people choosing to walk over the hill roads on foot. On the morning of the 3rd January 1838…

Christchurch Gardens – Early History

“Christchurch people of the younger generations and strangers to the city who wander among the ordered prettinesses of the Christchurch Botanical Gardens, and pace along the pleasant winding paths between old-world blooms and old-world trees, can scarcely realise that little more than 50 years ago the place whereon all this beauty grows was a waste, yet so it was.”

Port Lyttelton – ‘a mean, insignificant little place’

This land-locked port of Lyttelton – called occasionally Port Cooper and sometimes Port Victoria – is the main, or rather the only, entrance to the Province of Canterbury. The surrounding hills, which are entirely volcanic, vary in height from 2000 ft, to 6000 ft, and bear, on close inspection, very palpable marks of calcination. The…

The Glenmark – Tragedy and a Fortune in Colonial Gold

“The tale of a shipwreck has for most readers a fascination unequalled by any other of the many forms of tragedy which from time to time sweep some unlucky band or section of humanity into eternity, and during last century [19th Century] shipping disasters were all too frequent around our rugged and then little-known coast….

The Oldest Building in Canterbury

“To settle what seems to be a somewhat vexed question, a representative of the Lyttelton Times yesterday made inquiries among a number of the Pilgrims with regard to the authenticity, or otherwise, of the statement that the building now being used as a residence on the South Belt, near the Southern Cross Hotel, was the earliest of the dwellings occupied by the dwellers on the plains.”

A Visit to the Suburbs and a Parting Nor’ Wester

Notes on a Christchurch Trip By Fabian Bell Part V: A Visit to Some of the Suburbs and a Parting Nor’ Wester The room in which Bishop Julius was entertained at luncheon the other day is a particularly striking one. It is in the building which was formerly (when each province had its separate Government)…

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…

Early Days in Sydenham, how the Pioneers Fared

An interesting contribution to the history of the early days of Christchurch, and especially of the district now known as Sydenham, was made by Mr Henry Ffitch, of Glandovey road, Fendalton, in a series of reminiscences related by him to a “Press” representative. “I remember very well,” said Mr Ffitch, “that part of the country…

Going Under Canvas at Sumner – 1890s

During the past year or two it has been customary for a number of parties of young men to go into camp at Sumner for the summer months, and to come up to Christchurch during business hours. Special facilities for this purpose having been offered by the Christchurch Tramway Company, the number of camps has…