The Canterbury Industrial Association Formed – 12th August 1879

On 12th August 1879, in a New Zealand first, an industrial association was set up in Canterbury. It would eventually be a branch of the New Zealand Industrial Association. The founding president was Nelson born Robert Allan (pictured).

The main aim of this association was to ‘foster and encourage’ local industries, manufacturers or those working with Canterbury’s natural resources. Whether it be a business that was already well known or a new enterprise that had a good chance to succeed, support would be showed no matter its place in society or class.

Scholarships were also given to promising students, and grants given to projects such as memorials or the construction of new buildings.

The most remembered project of the Canterbury Industrial Association was the building of the ‘Canterbury Hall’ on Manchester Street. In conjunction with the Agricultural and Pastoral Association, it was decided that an exhibition hall would be built in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the city’s First Four Ships. The ‘Canterbury Jubilee Exhibition’ was opened to the public on 1st November 1900, not only exhibiting local produce from Canterbury but from all over the country. From wool to fruit, crafts to military displays, there was much to see, 250,000 visitors taking the time to have a look.

The ‘Canterbury Hall’ was destroyed by fire in 1917. What would become known as ‘The Civic’ was built on the site and was home to the C.C.C. in 1924. Sadly, this heritage icon was lost to the earthquakes of 2011.

*Image courtesy of the Canterbury Public Library – http://christchurchcitylibraries.com*

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