Memories of first-quake chaos still vivid

A very different looking Dunedin in days of yore - one of the images that will be discussed by Dunedin City Council archivist Alison Breese at the Savoy tomorrow afternoon. Photo: DCC Archives
A very different looking Dunedin in days of yore - one of the images that will be discussed by Dunedin City Council archivist Alison Breese at the Savoy tomorrow afternoon. Photo: DCC Archives
I woke up suddenly just after 4.30am yesterday and remained wide awake for several minutes.

It was quite strange. Then I realised the significance. It was eight years to almost that moment since the first Canterbury earthquake - the magnitude 7.1 shake from under the Plains that kicked the whole thing off.

Our house in western Christchurch was less than 30km from the epicentre close to Charing Cross. That minute or so of powerful rolling, earthly chaos and confusion is still clear in my mind today, even years on.

Stumbling around in the dark, keeping the kids calm, filling pots and pans with water, looking for torches, batteries and candles, experiencing the first of thousands of aftershocks. It was the day history veered off on a different course and fortunes changed for the city, the region and the country.

How many of you in Otago felt that first big Canterbury quake? I'd be interested to know.

Missing toffees

A query from a workmate about Mackintosh's Toffees. What's happened to the Harrogate ones, he wants to know.

A few bags have been shared recently among the night staff here and Harrogate toffees seem to be absent without leave.

Has anyone else noticed?

Dunedin archives

Had an email from Dunedin's Ann Barsby at the Southern Heritage Trust encouraging readers interested in old Dunedin photographs to attend tomorrow afternoon's Savoy Afternoon Tea at, guess where, the Savoy.

We all have days when we feel like this. Glenda Butler of St Kilda's daffodils after the southerly blast earlier in the week. Photo: Glenda Butler
We all have days when we feel like this. Glenda Butler of St Kilda's daffodils after the southerly blast earlier in the week. Photo: Glenda Butler
Ann says Dunedin City Council archivist Alison Breese will present unusual images from the council's archives and talk about how she is sharing the city's past with a worldwide audience.

If you're interested, please ring the Savoy (03 477 4649) to book a seat for the event, which begins at 2.30pm.

Rabbit farming

Mike McCarthy of Montecillo wrote with some nuggets about Cowan & Co, the rabbit processing company we talked about last week.

''I have found a little information in my archives, Stones Directories etc, regarding Cowan & Co.

''There is mention of them applying for a lease in 1906 for a rabbit-packing shed in Riversdale.

''The 1901 Stones Directory mentions Cowan Allan, junior rabbit grader of Wickliffe Tce, Port Chalmers. The next mention is in the 1905 Stones Directory of Cowan & Co, rabbit exporters in Beach St, Port Chalmers, and 1908, '09, '11.

''But they're not mentioned in 1913 and onwards, so they were in business around the 1900-12 era.''

John Mabon, of Queenstown, agrees it ''seems a pity and a waste'' not to farm and eat rabbits.

Robin Christie, of Roxburgh, sent in this rabbit-farming photo. It shows Sam McClelland, left, and Jack Sheehy of Millers Flat inspecting rabbit carcasses before loading them on to a wagon for transport to a processing factory. Photo: Robin Christie
Robin Christie, of Roxburgh, sent in this rabbit-farming photo. It shows Sam McClelland, left, and Jack Sheehy of Millers Flat inspecting rabbit carcasses before loading them on to a wagon for transport to a processing factory. Photo: Robin Christie
''With all the recent talk about us humans being reduced to eating grasshoppers or locusts or whatever, I tend to think most Westerners would prefer rabbit as opposed to becoming insectivores.''

The big show

Anne Ibbotson (nee Hainsworth) was interested in the discussion earlier this week about the New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition held in Dunedin in 1925-26.

''My grandfather, Charles Poulter Hainsworth, was invited to come out from England to be the general manager of the Exhibition. He then went on to manage the Wellington Exhibition at a later date.

''It never ceases to amaze me how often I hear mention from older people of their vivid memories of this grand event.''

Anyone out there want to pass on some of those memories? I imagine you would have to be well into your 90s now to recall going, even as a child.

Imagine how much the tickets would cost for something like this nowadays? Hundreds of dollars possibly?

Spring photos

Keep the spring-with-a-twist images rolling in please!

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