This page looks at the important council events that took place between 1851 and 1860.

Year Date/Month Event
1851 11 February

The Land Office, the first public building erected in Christchurch, opens. It was located on the corner of Oxford Terrace and Worcester Boulevard.

1851 June New Zealand Constitution Act provides for provincial self government and as a result, the Canterbury Association resolved to cease as from 30 September.
1851 20 July James Edward Fitzgerald is elected first Superintendent of the Province of Canterbury.
1851  27 September The first meeting of the Canterbury Provincial Government took place. Between 1853 and 1876 New Zealand was ruled by a method of government which included elements of a federal system.
1853   John Hall is elected to the Canterbury Provincial Council and soon becomes Magistrate.
1854   The population of Christchurch is approximately 924 .
1855  

An area of 500 acres was set aside for Hagley Park and the first trees were planted in 1863. The inner city was defined by four avenues with deciduous trees – oak, lime and chestnut. The new Provincial Government took over the role of the Canterbury Association, a law was passed which stated '…the land commonly known as Hagley Park, shall be reserved forever as a public park, and shall be open for the recreation and enjoyment of the public'. Hagley Park was included in the original plans in 1850  by Edward Jollie. These plans are commonly referred to as The Black Maps.  

1856 31 July Christchurch became New Zealand's first City under the terms of a royal charter. This was because it was the 'seat' for a bishop.  The Reverend Henry John Chitty Harper was made a bishop by the Archbishop of Canterbury. For more information visit the Christchurch City Libraries webpage 
1857 19 June Complaints reported that the Avon and Heathcote Rivers are becoming clogged with watercress.  Canterbury Provincial Government approves £1500 for clearance.
1857 24 October

Lyttelton Railway Tunnel advocate William Sefton Moorhouse is elected as the Province’s second Superintendent and later served a second term from 1866 to 1868. 

1859 26 May

Public Library begins as the Mechanics Institute in Town Hall.

1859 December Canterbury Provincial Government passes Canterbury Municipal Ordinance, permitting the formation of local government. This ordinance did not receive the assent of the Governor. A revised ordinance succeeded in March 1861.
1860 December

First town clock and tower arrives – in 147 packages. The clock and iron tower, commissioned by the Canterbury Provincial Government, was not erected as originally planned.  Presented to the City in 1876, it was eventually placed at the corner of High and Manchester Streets in 1897 for Queen Victoria’s jubilee.  However in 1930, the Jubliee Clock and Victoria Clock Tower were moved to its present site in Victoria Street.