Sir Julius von Haast (1824 – 1887)

Sir Julius von Haast was born Johann Franz Haast. “…a boy in heart until the day he died…” was once said about this German geologist. Before his journey to New Zealand in 1858, Julius traveled around Europe and married Antonia Schmitt. His studies of geology and mineralogy at Bonn University unbelievably were not his reasons …

The Canterbury Museum’s Blue Whale Skeleton

Who remembers this fella? Nothing symbolises the Canterbury Museum during my childhood more than this exhibit – that and the old Cobb & Co coach! On the 17th February 1908, Canterbury Museum’s curator, Edgar R. Waite couldn’t quite believe the goss circulating around Christchurch that day. A dead whale had washed up on a beach …

William Francis Warner (1836 – 1896)

Growing up with older siblings, it was common place for my sister to get all dolled up and head out to meet with friends at Warners, the pub and hotel in Cathedral Square. Old Warners didn’t fight well against the earthquakes and is now an empty lot. The old historic icon in Cathedral Square is …

Benjamin Woolfield Mountfort

Benjamin Woolfield Mountfort (1825 – 1898)   Died of old age      Place of Death: Christchurch Benjamin was the first official Provincial Architect, designing buildings such as the Canterbury Museum, Arts Centre, Christchurch Cathedral, Addington Prison, St Peter’s Anglican Church of Papanui. Buried in the Holy Trinity of Avonside Church Cemetery, Christchurch The story of Benjamin …

Benjamin Woolfield Mountfort (1825 – 1898)

Benjamin Woolfield Mountfort stepped off the Charlotte Jane – full of ambition and cathedral-sized dreams! Born in Birmingham, England, the young Benjamin moved to London and studied architecture. Finishing his studies in 1848, he rolled up his sleeves and practised his new trade right there in London. With Emily, his wife of 18 days, his …

The Canterbury Museum Opened – 3rd December 1867

On 3 December 1867, in an upstairs room in the Canterbury Provincial Chambers, German explorer, Sir Julius von Haast put his personal collections of geological finds on display, in what would become known as the Canterbury Museum. In his role of Provincial Geologist and Surveyor General, Julius explored the great rivers of Canterbury; drawing maps …

Moa Bones Find Puts Canterbury On The World Map – 2nd December 1866

The discovery of Moa bones on 2 December 1866 not only put Canterbury on the world map but also helped Julius von Haast with the expansion of what would become the Canterbury Museum’s historic collection. With the discovery of Moa bones at Glenmark Swamp, Julius was able to trade some of the remains with overseas …