This week in Christchurch history (2 to 8 February)

2 February 1960
Burnside High School opens. For a long time it was the biggest high school in the Southern Hemisphere.

2 February 1974
Commonwealth Games end with “the greatest middle distance race of all time”. Tanzanian Filbert Bayi wins the 1500 metres in new world record time. Second was John Walker who also broke the existing record. The national records of five countries – Tanzania, Kenya, Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand – were all broken in this race.

Booklet of Canterbury Public Library opening [1982]2 February 1982
Official opening of the new Central Public Library (designed by Warren and Mahoney) in Gloucester Street. (It had opened for business on 12 January).

3 February 1915
Canterbury Battalion sustains New Zealand’s first casualties of W.W.I at Suez Canal.

3 February 1962
Peter Snell sets new world records for the half mile and 800 metres at Lancaster Park.

4-5 February 1868
Severe storm and gales. Several ships wrecked, floods throughout Canterbury. Waimakariri River overflows into the Avon causing serious flooding. Water flows a metre deep in Market Square (now Victoria Square).

6 February 1908
Stranges fire destroys buildings in High, Cashel and Lichfield Streets. Stranges Department Store was New Zealand’s biggest in the early days of this century. The early morning blaze spread to the DIC, Ashby Berghs and the White Hart Hotel. Damage was over £300,000, New Zealand’s worst to that date.

Image of Strange's Hotel
Card showing W. Strange & Co. Ltd premises in 1863 and 1910, Christchurch: used to notify customers that their orders had arrived. [ca. 1910]
CCL PhotoCD 4, IMG0058

More January events in the Christchurch chronology: a timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

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