The First Hundred - 1965


Last Modified: 18-3-2023 17:02

Mayor: Mr S. P. Harling

Councillors: Messrs D. S. Hall, C. C. Dix, R. J. France, D. C. Irving, H. E. McKinley, G. E. Marshall, F. L. Smith, G. A. Wall, G. H. Whimp, E. S. Young.


2: The Marlborough Public Relations Association organises the first Marlborough Walk —335 people of all ages walk from Picton to Blenheim. The oldest participant was the 89-year-old author Mr A. H. Reed. He was accompanied by Mr Jim Webb (81), of Blenheim. (By 1969 the number of walkers had grown to 2350.)

20: Blenheim wins the New Zealand sunshine stakes with 2408 hours of sunshine.

24: The Mayor, Mr S. P. Harling, sends a message of sympathy to Lady Churchill, of Blenheim Palace, England, on the death of Sir Winston Churchill.


"Blenheim is the friendliest and the worst signposted town I have ever encountered," said a visitor.

13: Radio 2ZE Blenheim is opened by Mr Reeves Harris, a Board member of the N.Z.B.C. Mr Alwyn Palmer is appointed station manager. The first music broadcast was the Blenheim Municipal Band playing the march "Appreciation". Two marching teams from the Marlborough Marching Association marched through town. The studio in Kinross Street was designed by Inkster & McArthur and built by L. C. Duckworth Ltd.

20: Peter Snell and Bill Baillie, New Zealand Olympic athletes, win races in the Marlborough Amateur Athletic & Cycling Club's festival meeting. They both received special invitations to attend.

24: The Council requires the Bank of New South Wales to set back its new building in Market Street six feet from the foot­path.


7: Graham Smith, of Blenheim, catches a record eel of 28 lb in the Spring Creek. It beat the previous record held by Lloyd Mawson (Taylor River, 1962).

13: Mr Allen, Minister in Charge of Police, officially opens the new Police Station. It was built by T. H. Barnes & Co. The first "customer" was a woman who spent the previous night in the cells after being arrested for being idle and disorderly.

28: It is revealed that more than 25% of the 45 million cubic feet of gas manufactured at the works is being lost.

29: Straits Air Freight Express Bristols make 45 flights in two days in an air lift of 1046 cattle to Wellington. Woodbourne is the sixth busiest airport in New Zealand.

There is fierce local opposition to a suggestion that Blenheim schools be transferred from the jurisdiction of the Wellington Education Board to the Nelson Board.


5: A public meeting called by the Mayor forms a committee (Councillor G. A. Wall, chairman) to investigate the establishing of a museum in Blenheim. There had been a museum in 1865, most of its items now being in the Canterbury Museum.

The Redwoodtown Post Office is opened with Mrs R. A. Willmot as postmistress. Mr M. Ingram was the first customer.

One of Blenheim's oldest buildings, on the corner of Alfred Street and Russell Terrace, is demolished. Its last use was as the Hasty Tasty fish and chip shop.


5: The First Blenheim Company of the Boys' Brigade celebrates its 21st anniversary. Mr F. B. Patchett had been captain since its inception.

15: Mr Ron Spring, sales manager for the Auckland Building Society, makes the first booking for the then uncompleted Cen­tennial Hall. It was for a conference of the Society's sales representatives.


5: Mrs H. Perryman plants the first of 50 silver birch trees at Oliver Park, Redwoodtown, and the Blenheim Rotary Club plants 50 flowering cherry trees in McLauchlan Street.

19: The scow Echo is laid up after many years on the Welling­ton-Blenheim cargo run. She was built in 1905 and owned by the Eckford family since 1920. A society was later formed to preserve the ship.

26: The Minister of Works, Mr Allen, opens the new Hutcheson Street Bridge. The Minister picked out Sharolyn Smith from the crowd to help him cut the ribbon.


8: The Fletcher Trust & Development Company buys 124 acres at Riverlands for development as an industrial estate.

13: The Marlborough County Council staff work in the new County building on the corner of Henry and Charles Streets. Mr C. T. Leov, chairman; Mr F. J. Betts, County clerk.

16: "We strongly oppose one-way streets and barricades in Blenheim," said Mr R. J. Poole, president of the Marlborough Retailers' Association.

18: There are no bids for Barry's Hotel in High Street at a public auction. The reserve price was £70,000. The present building was built in 1912 and extended in 1929.

18: Blenheim pedestrians walk blindly across the streets and are a disgrace to the town, stated a County councillor.


8: The Mayor and Council are re-elected unopposed for a further three-year-term.

184A window display submitted by J. E. Thomas's Ltd, of Blenheim, wins first prize in a national competition. Mr Neville Vercoe was the window dresser.

14: 400 lb of asparagus, grown by Mr Ralph Ballinger, of Blenheim, are consigned by W. Graham Hitchins Ltd, of Ren­wick, to Covent Gardens, London.

The Marlborough Arts Council discusses with the Council the  possibility of the purchase of His Majesty's Theatre as a home for the arts in Blenheim.


The Marlborough Chamber of Commerce gives its support to a suggestion that businessmen wear shorts, stockings, shirt and tie during summer.

13: The Riverlands cob cottage is opened by Miss N. McGrath, a descendant of the original owner, Charles Redwood. Members of the Marlborough Historical Society had worked for five years on its restoration. The cottage contains furniture and articles used in the days of early settlement, and has become one of the prime tourist attractions near Blenheim.

25: The Council instructs the engineer to prepare an immediate report regarding its new Council Chambers.

Blenheim gardeners wait anxiously for a "Dr Muller frost". It was an often-proved theory of Dr S. L. Muller, Marlborough's first magistrate, that a heavy frost could be expected in Blenheim up to the end of November.


16: A Marlborough Centre of the Red Cross Society is formed. Mrs B. J. Kennington, president.

Blenheim Jaycees stage Carols by Candlelight in Riverside Park.

30: The Marlborough Catchment Board's new flood detention dam on the Taylor River is opened by the Hon. P. B. Allen, Minister of Works. Board chairman was Mr E. P. Meachen.

Rates produce £179,109; building permits £768,092; population 13,500; valuation, capital £13,997,000, unimproved £3,640,000.

Cite this page

Beverley, A. (2023). The First Hundred - 1965. Retrieved April, 24, 2024, from