Canterbury Celebrated 100 Years – 16th December 1950

On 16th December 1950, Canterbury celebrated the centennial anniversary of the arrival of the ‘Charlotte Jane’, the first of our First Four Ships – the first ship from the Canterbury Association. The celebrations and acknowledgements carried on well into 1951.

The planned celebrations were named ‘Thanksgiving for One Hundred Years of Progress’. 30,000 Cantabs surrounded the Christchurch Cathedral to attend the outdoor service led by the Geoffrey Fisher, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

This led the region into numerous celebrations. In Lyttelton, an enactment of the arrival of the ‘Charlotte Jane’ was played out – even with the use of the old flags that once signalled the sightings of ships rounding the Heads. A procession filled the streets and people filed over the Bridle Path, enjoying a much different view of the Canterbury Plains than the settlers would have had.

In Christchurch, a procession was also on the cards. Many different floats were on display from the city’s many different societies and clubs. One of the floats was a huge birthday cake gifted from the C.C.C. A wreath was also laid during a memorial service to those Cantabs who had lost their lives in the wars that New Zealand had supported.

Races were put on at Riccarton Raceway, Scottish based celebrations were held at Lancaster Park, a floating carnival delighted those beside the Avon and an amusement park and fireworks kept Hagley Park quite busy. Over forty trees were planted during this time from societies such as the ‘New Zealand Founders Society’ and the ‘Woman’s Division of Federated Farmers’, just to name a few.

It was also a time where many historical sites were recognised and books of Christchurch and our founders were printed by historical companies such as Whitcombe and Tombs (Whitcoulls) and the Pegasus Press (the Pegasus Arms).

*Image courtesy of NZ Stamps –

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