“The Sick, Faint Feeling of Violent Shakes,” Jane Deans

For one of our city’s most famous early women settlers, poor health had marred not only her voyage to New Zealand but also her arrival to her new home at Riccarton. From the moment Jane Deans boarded the sailing ship at Plymouth for Canterbury in November of 1853, she suffered f
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The Earthquake Wave at Lyttelton, 1868

The town of Lyttelton on Saturday morning (15 August) was thrown into a state of great excitement owing to a most extraordinary rise and fall of the water in the harbour...
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The Cathedral as it is

September 1888 – the most destructive earthquake since the Canterbury Pilgrims landed

Shortly after 4 o’clock this morning the whole of the South and a portion of the North Island was shaken by a violent shock of earthquake, the most severe experienced for more than 20 years...
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McTaggart Butcher Shop after 1901 earthquake

1901 Earthquake – a warning for Greengrocers & ‘Portly Ladies’

Earthquakes in Christchurch are not unusual events, we’ve been beset with them since European settlement began – and no doubt long before. What is most disturbing of all is that our European pioneers knew of the danger that stone and brick buildings posed in earthquakes. C
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Johann Franz Julius von Haast and house

Julius von Haast and his Milkcan Seismometer

German born colonist, Sir Julius von Haast, was an explorer specialising in geology. Amongst his many achievements was the founding of the Canterbury Museum. Born Johann Franz von Haast in 1822, in Bonn, he studied geology and mineralogy before travelling throughout Europe and Russia,
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A Poor Joke! A Premonition of What Was Yet to Come.

This photographically produced postcard of Christchurch’s Provincial Government buildings, appearing twisted and warped, was a semi-humorous card sent out at Christmas after the Murchison earthquake in 1929. Titled “The Camera doesn’t lie”,  it was the Commissi
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Alexander McKay, Government Geologist, circa 1911

Government Geologist reports on ‘extraordinary earthquake phenomena’

After the September, 1888 earthquake centred in Hanmer caused extensive damage to the Christchurch cathedral, the government geologist, Alexander McKay was sent out to review the land damage. This article, published in an English newspaper, outlines the ‘extraordinary phenomena&
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Crowd outside Christ Church Cathedral 1888

Quakes Haunt Christchurch Since Settlement Began

The underlying geological issues hidden beneath Christchurch’s swampy plains meant that the city’s founders and their surveyors who chose this site for their planned city, knew nothing of the dangers. The tranquil flat expanses provided no clues to the benign faults which
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