The First Hundred - 1966


Last Modified: 18-3-2023 17:10

Mayor: Mr S. P. Harling

Councillors: Messrs 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, L. C. Duckworth.


Fifty-seven sections are opened in a Dillon Street subdivision, priced from £775 to £850. Peaches sell at 15/- per case. First grade pinus timber £3.10.0 per 100 super feet.

A son is born to the Mayor and Mayoress, Mr and Mrs S. P. Harling. He was named Mark. Earlier Mayors who had sons while in office were Mr T. Horton (1897), Mr E. H. Penny (1905), and Mr E. S. Parker (1921).


13: The new St. Ninian's Presbyterian Church is opened and dedicated by the Moderator of the presbytery of Nelson -Marlborough, the Rev. Gordon Roe, of Kaikoura. The Rev. R. S. Miller was minister. Miss D. E. W. Rutherford had left a legacy of £3454 towards the building fund in 1962.

18: The Chamber of Commerce takes the Council to task for removing the pedestrian crossing outside the Blenheim School while the Hutcheson Street Bridge approaches are being tar sealed. The Chamber president, Mr H. M. Matson, said he was horrified at the idea and the vice-president, Mr G. C. Highet, offered to do the re-painting himself. The Council replaced the crossing.

27: Councillor G. A. Wall, deputy medical superintendent of Wairau Hospital, is selected as the Labour candidate for the Marlborough seat in the general election.


Norma Wallace, Leslie Worthington, Iris Wratt and Leonie Brooks, the Marlborough Softball Association team, win the pancake race held as part of the Marlborough Festival in Market Place.

The Council examines its finances to see if it can afford to tar seal the remaining 11/2 miles of unsealed roads in the Borough.


4: The Council buys the site of the old Police Station in Wynen Street for £7300.

21: The Marlborough Express celebrates its centenary by changing its front page from advertising to news and publishing a 48-page special historical issue. The research for this was done by an Express journalist, Mr H. R. Lightwood.

22: Blenheim experiences a sharp earthquake. There was only slight damage, but Seddon was severely shaken.

27: The Council finishes its business in good time to see the Cassius Clay - George Chuvalo world heavyweight boxing match on a television set installed in the Council for the occasion. Clay won.

27: The Council considers a plan to establish a 15-acre sports ground off Upper Maxwell Road, opposite the main entrance to the Wairau Hospital. It was later named Churchward Park.


4: Mr J. B. Glen, of Blenheim, becomes the sixth graduate to earn a Doctorate of Philosophy in chemical engineering at the University of Canterbury.

13: Canon P. W. Mann is appointed Vicar of Blenheim and Archdeacon of Marlborough.

18: There are many conferences in Blenheim. It is estimated that delegates to an Independent Order of Odd Fellows Confer­ence will consume 200 eggs, 250 lb of bacon, 200 gallons of milk, 800 loaves of bread, 260 lb of butter, 11/4 tons of meat, 1 1/2 tons of vegetables, 300 chickens, 12,600 cups of tea and coffee and smoke 21,000 cigarettes.

There is a disastrous train smash at the Dashwood Pass, between Blenheim and Seddon. The driver, Mr E. W. Eggleston, of Picton, was killed and the assistant driver, Mr A. J. McNabb, of Picton, was injured.

23: The Salvation Army Youth Hall in Wynen Street is opened by Commissioner C. Davidson, Territorial Commander for New Zealand. Over 1000 hours of voluntary manpower were given by local Salvation Army members.

24: Many homes are damaged by a flood. Some houses in the Meehan Street, Lane Street and Dillon's Point Road (Islington) area have water up to window level. Residents are irate and one accuses the Catchment Board of protecting the town and drawing the water into their area. The Board's engineer, Mr P. A. Thomson, stated that the new Taylor Dam had prevented a major flood.

A group of Blenheim businessmen offers £112,000 to share­holders of Marlborough Transport Ltd, in an effort to counteract a takeover bid by Transport Nelson Holdings Ltd. The offer was not accepted.


4: The Hon. T. P. Shand opens the new £30,000 additions and renovations to the Blenheim Workingmen's Club in Wynen Street (Mr S. B. Jones, president; Mr A. Martin, managing secretary). The contractor was Woodham Construction Co. Ltd and the sub-contractors Messrs A. Burnett Ltd, electrical; Adam Gibson & Son, plumbing; Jim McCormick Ltd, paintwork; Blenheim Joinery Ltd, joinery; Jowers Furnishing Ltd, carpets; W. G. G. Cuddon Ltd, ventilation. The Club was founded in November 1888.

9: The Member for Marlborough, the Hon. T. P. Shand, and Mr W. B. Parker, chairman of the Marlborough Harbour Board, travel to Picton from Wellington on the maiden voyage of the new inter-island rail-road ferry, Aranui.

10: The Chamber of Commerce (Mr H. M. Matson) asks the National Roads Board to subsidise the proposed third rail ferry. The Board declined the request.

13: The Mayor, Mr S. P. Harling, drives the first car over the newly-completed £49,000 Lower High Street Bridge. It was officially opened by the Hon. P. B. Allen, Minister of Works, on October 5. The old bridge, which had served for 80 years, originally cost £500.

Marlborough College boys are not allowed to cultivate the current fashion of youths wearing long hair. Any boy wishing to remain a pupil is required to keep his hair neatly trimmed.

16: Blenheim grows; the rates increase 9.5%. In the estimates £4000 is allowed for a new digger; £9290 for new kerbing and channelling and three major road works are in hand — the im­provement of Alabama Road, Scott Street and Nelson Street. The R.N.Z.A.F. plans the building of 15 houses in the Borough for servicemen stationed at Woodbourne.

A Blenheim woman who failed to appear for jury service was excused, as she was over seventy, deaf, and ill in bed.


A Blenheim firm, Glenroy Products Ltd, designs and builds an experimental foam plastic sandwich house in Dillon's Point Road.

7: The T.A.B. (Mr P. G. McNabb, manager) transfers from Alfred Street to the Elastrator Company's new building in Scott Street.

16: The Opawa Rugby Football Club holds its 60th jubilee with Mr H. Adams president. Six "originals" are still in Blenheim: Messrs J. Dixon, F. Mogridge, G. Connolly, H. Oben, J. O'Rourke and A. Hadfield.

The newly-formed Blenheim Community Arts Theatre presents its first production, "Jubilee". Chairman, Mr T. Harle; Mr M. Bradley, producer.

21: The Hon. T. P. Shand opens the long-awaited Marlborough Centennial Hall. Architects, Messrs E. 1. Hubbard and G. C. Highet; builders, T. H. Barnes & Co. Mr A. M. Hale, chair­man of the Centennial Association, Mr F. W. Horton, chairman of the building committee, Messrs V. Talbert and L. Jowers, committee members. The Hall was vested in the Borough Council in November 1968.

30: Mr E. Y. Penny's bookshop is sold to Miss N. Mellett, of Nelson. Mr Penny's father had been a bookseller in Blenheim as far back as 1884.


Messrs C. Pateman and R. A. White buy the St. Andrews home­stead, built 40 years before by Mr P. C. Monro, for conversion into licensed motels.

14: Death of Councillor C. C. Dix, who had served continu­ously on the Council for 22 years.

24: The new £2400 Plunket Rooms in Redwoodtown are opened by the President of the Marlborough Branch of the Plunket Society, Mrs E. C. Craven.

The Council decides that as the standard of British manufacture has fallen so low, it must appoint consulting engineers in London to check the production of pumping equipment it has ordered.


Graham Brooks is the overall winner of a painting competition sponsored by a local firm, Pride Fabrics (Mr J. S. O'Hanlon, managing director). The judge was Mr Robert Chilvers, a prominent Marlborough artist.

Few Blenheim residents escape from inconvenience caused by Borough works, including six miles of water mains, re-sealing and general reticulation.


The Express opens its new Printing Works in Arthur Street. Mr Arthur Hind, works manager. The first job put through the new works is a poster advertising the Marlborough Walk for the Public Relations Association.

A Blenheim choir, the St. Andrew's Singers, is chosen to repre­sent New Zealand in the equal voice section of the European Broadcasting Union International Choral Contest (Elizabeth Wemyss, conductor).


Blenheim land agents advertise for more houses to sell in one of the town's most prosperous and progressive years.

26: The Hon. T. P. Shand is re-elected Member for Marlborough.

There were some awkward moments when it was realised that an artistic member of the National Party Women's Club had in­advertently decorated the Town Hall before an address by Sir Walter Nash, a Labour Party politician.

Rates produce £183,973; building permits £856,824; area 2497 acres; valuation, capital £14,631,000, unimproved £3,687,000.

Cite this page

Beverley, A. (2023). The First Hundred - 1966. Retrieved April, 24, 2024, from