The First Hundred - 1967


Last Modified: 18-3-2023 17:18

Mayor: Mr S. P. Harling

Councillors: Messrs 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.


Television has changed the pattern of society for many people. Meetings are poorly attended. Book withdrawals from the Library fall drastically. Some children neglect their homework and family life in the evenings is, in many cases, non-existent. "Peyton Place" and "Coronation Street" are favourite pro­grammes.

Mr J. C. G. Watt resigns as Borough Engineer and Mr K. G. Cloughly is appointed.

Many Blenheim girls wear the new fashion, the "mini" skirt, which is said to be like a good speech — short enough to create attention, but long enough to cover the essentials.

The Council receives a sketch plan and details of a proposed £185,000 municipal building opposite Seymour Square. Test bores for the foundations were taken in February.

31: 73 students move into the new Marlborough Colleges Hostel, the £108,100 Innes House. Mr J. S. Knowles, house manager; Mrs A. G. Mason, matron. It was officially opened by the Hon. A. E. Kinsella, Minister of Education on March 11.


The Transport Department's new vehicle testing station is opened by the Minister of Transport, the Hon. J. B. Gordon. There are 9400 vehicles registered in Blenheim.

The Council is irate when, on three recent occasions, television announcers confused Blenheim with Nelson. Councillors sug­gested that the N.Z.B.C. required geography lessons.

The Council decides to press on with the preparation of a town plan.


11: At a national Lions' Convention held in Blenheim, Mr F. L. Anderson is elected district governor.

12: The Bishop of Nelson, the Right Rev. P. E. Sutton, lays the foundation stone for the St. Christopher's Church Hall, Red­woodtown. It was opened and dedicated on August 10, 1968.

There would be heavy Borough expenditure in the next three years, said the Mayor, Mr S. P. Harling — a water reservoir £30,000, fire station £48,000 (Borough's share), sewage dis­posal £140,000, municipal chambers £180,000.

18: A Blenheim speedboat, Tru-Jen, owned by Bill Ruffell, Harry Rutledge and Harry Bungate, breaks the New Zealand water speed record in Picton Harbour (126.744 m.p.h.). It won the Masport Cup on February 10, 1968.

Police Inspector A. Hunt and Senior Traffic Officer W. P. Gibson are of the opinion that Blenheim is a "tough" town for noisy vehicles.

22: A milestone in Blenheim history is reached when it is an­nounced that over £1,000,000 worth of building permits have been issued by the Borough for the 12 months ended in February.

The Council names a new reserve, between Maxwell Road and Burleigh "Churchward Park" after the late Mr W. T. Church-ward, a community leader and Crown solicitor.


Geoff Hocquard, of Blenheim, a New Zealand champion axe-man, has great success at the Royal Easter show, Sydney. He captained the New Zealand team on three occasions. He also represented the country in Canada in August.

5: Blenheim's newest industry is Controls Manufacturing Co. Ltd in Grove Road (Mr D. A. Duthie, managing director).

Blenheim is the most heavily populated borough in the South Island (13,242).

Miss Shirin Crisp wins the Waterlea Fashion Stakes held each year during the Marlborough Racing Club's autumn meeting. The newly-formed service club, Blenheim Round Table, receives its charter. Mr B. T. Holmes, president.

26: The Council appoints Mr M. G. Clarke as Town Clerk to succeed Mr A. F. Wagner, who was to retire in October after 11 years' service.


5: The Hon. T. P. Shand makes the first call through the new telephone exchange to Mrs E. M. Smith, the widow of a former Mayor of Blenheim, Mr C. T. Smith. Blenheim's telephone system was opened on March 30, 1887, with 33 subscribers. The first automatic exchange was installed in 1920, and by 1967 there were 4600 subscribers.

Dr W. A. Evans, of Blenheim, is elected national president of the N.Z. Social Credit Political League.

Mr W. B. Brockie, of Richmond, designs and constructs a rockery in Pollard Park to contain indigenous Marlborough plants.

20: The N.Z. Pony Club championships are held in Blenheim. Miss A. Baxter, of Ashburton, won the A 1 section for the second year in succession.

The Marlborough Rugby Supporters' Club decides that the rugby mascot, Ferdinand the Bull, be retired and replaced by a new mascot, Blennie the Beaver.


A former Mayor and Labour Member of Parliament, Mr E. P. Meachen, retires from Workers' Union secretaryship after many years. He was succeeded by Mr R. M. Fitzgerald.

8: "Argyll" in Weld Street, one of Blenheim's stately old homes, is converted into flats. It was first owned by Alfred Dobson who laid out the town of Beaver (Blenheim) in 1857. He built "Argyll" in 1866. It was rebuilt by Mr Richard McCallum during World War I.

28: The Mayor, councillors and members of other organisations travel to Wellington to press Government for forestry in Marl­borough.


Miss A. M. Mowat retires after serving 15 years as secretary for the National Party in Marlborough.

 10: Blenheim changes with the rest of New Zealand to decimal currency.

11: Two Marlborough College boys, Tim Barclay and Andrew Terry, set a new world squash record of 24 hours 10 minutes at the Squash Courts in Auckland Street.

Mr R. A. Mason, of Spring Creek, gives the scow Echo to the Echo Preservation Society (Mr D. C. Irving, chairman), which the Society plans to restore as a showpiece. The Society decided in September that it would form the basis of a maritime museum in Marlborough.

The Council investigates the possibility of establishing a bridle path from Burleigh along the Taylor River to town.

The Council is irate with Government in regard to the transfer of National Roads Board income (motor licensing fees) to the consolidated fund. "We don't want to see our roads financed with political funds," said the Mayor, Mr S. P. Harling.


The Mayor and Councillors act as waiters at a Save the Children Fund dinner when $369 was raised. The Mayor had an awk­ward moment when he spilled a cup of tea in a lady's lap.

17: The Marlborough Lucerne Meal Company's factory on the Old Renwick Road is extensively damaged by fire. Production was quickly restored.

24: The Council agrees to a sub-divider's request to name a street Karina Street. A Councillor objected as the name had no connection with Blenheim history. Why lose any sleep over a street name, said the Mayor; according to a letter in The Express recently people were sick of history anyway.


Mr P. H. Clarke, of Blenheim, is selected as a rugby All Black to tour the United Kingdom and France.

 13: Marlborough's representative rugby captain, Ray Suther­land, plays his 100th first-class game.

14: The Marlborough Branch of the N.Z. Retail Motor Trade Association celebrates its 50th anniversary.

16: The St. John Ambulance Brigade receives, for the first time, an ambulance of its own (Mr A. S. Allan, sub-district officer). To celebrate the completion of the roof of the new Senior Citi­zens' Club, custom is followed and the club "shouts" for the men on the job, Messrs A. Peard, K. Forsyth, M. Mehlhopt and D. H. Parker. The contractor was Mr L. B. Saul.

22: The Blenheim Round Table inaugurates a Sportsmen's Dinner for charitable purposes. Alan Sutherland, a re­presentative rugby player, won The Marlborough Express Sports­man of the Year Trophy, and $550 was raised for the Marlbor­ough Branch of the Crippled Children Society (Mrs W. F. Watters, president).

It is suggested that the Borough Council wants the public to remain ignorant of Council business until this business has been discussed, cut and dried and decided upon. The Mayor said it was a good idea to tell people what the Council was going to do before it was done, but one councillor maintained that someday something really serious would happen through premature publicity.


Blenheim Jaycee (Mr T. W. Loach, president) raises $1550 in a mystery envelope project to buy new instruments for the Muni­cipal Band (Mr D. L. Kidd, project convener).

9: After closing at 6 p.m. for 50 years, hotels in Blenheim and throughout New Zealand are allowed to serve drink to customers up until 10 p.m.

9: There is a record first-night attendance of 813 people at the Blenheim Operatic Society's 50th anniversary production "Student Prince" (Mr H. D. Duncan, president).

20: There are many organisations in Blenheim raising money for charity. "Charity has become so competitive that unless we treat it as a business we're not going to get anywhere," said Mrs G. F. L. Dillon, president of the Marlborough Sub-Centre of the Red Cross.

The Council's monthly wage bill is $17,728.

A councillor stated that for some unknown reason Blenheim's bees were dirtier than other bees; they stained washing, houses and paintwork. Stricter measures were in the offing, he said.

A correspondent bewails the non-existence of colourful characters in present-day society. Were we a generation of drab conform­ists whose only contribution to life was some public utterance, seemingly so important at the time, but in the light of subsequent events, becoming as useless as the minute paper on which it was recorded? he asked.


2: Cr H. E. McKinley, chairman of the Blenheim Fire Commit­tee, announces that approval had been given for the raising of $220,000 for a new Blenheim Fire Station.

7: Hallenstein Bros Ltd open new premises on the same site in Market Place on which they have traded for 77 years. Mr H. L. Sidaway, manager.

Just under 1000 attend a St. Mary's Catholic Church dinner in the Centennial Hall. The Rev. Father P. J. Butler, parish priest.

The Council charges a $5 licence fee to any person keeping a horse or pony in the Borough.

A Blenheim racing motor-cyclist, Mr Ivan Miller, represents New Zealand in Australia. He later rode with great success in the United Kingdom.


13: Mr D. Palatchie breaks the New Zealand one-mile colts' track cycling record at Athletic Park, Blenheim (2 minutes 7.1 seconds).

At a public meeting called by the Marlborough Branch of N.Z. Travel & Holidays Association (Mr N. Verity, president, Mrs G. C. Highet, secretary), 70 people supported a proposal to heat the Olympic Pool. If the people of Blenheim wanted the Olympic Pool heated they would have to be prepared to meet the cost, said the Mayor, Mr S. P. Harling. Cr L. C. Duckworth stated that Blenheim needed a better water supply, not a heated pool; a reservoir was the first essential.

The Marlborough Red Cross (Mrs L. Whiteford, Mrs E. B. Parker, Miss K. Broughan) organises and delivers meals-on-wheels to elderly and infirm citizens. Many Blenheim women assist with this work on a roster system.

Rates produce $398,726; building permits $2,328,910; area 2497 acres; population 13,650; valuation, capital $31,126,000, unim­proved $7,514,000.

Cite this page

Beverley, A. (2023). The First Hundred - 1967. Retrieved May, 29, 2024, from