8 Wednesday April 18 2018 Latest Christchurch news at www.star.kiwi SELWYN TIMES News Remembering the sacrifices of Due to strong public interest after the Rolleston 150 th celebrations in 2015, Selwyn district councillor Jeff Bland and Wayne Stack, a historian who also works for the district council, recognised that continuing to promote local history would have long-term social and economic benefits within the district. Mr Stack will provide a series of monthly features focusing on various historic places and people who have stories that add value to the district’s heritage. Anyone with suggestions for future features should get in touch with Mr Stack on 021 119 9107. This month, he looks at the impacts of war on the district Our Great history WITH WAYNE STACK ALTHOUGH Waitangi Day is officially New Zealand’s national day of celebration, arguably it is Anzac Day that truly brings us together as a nation. In 20th-century New Zealand, few families escaped being affected in some way through sacrifice in some form as a result of the World War 1 and 2, and to a lesser degree, the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam. Most had a family member who served in the wars or knew of someone who was part of our country’s military contribution to them. Everyone who served overseas during these wars was affected by them; whether through being killed or wounded, or suffering psychological effects from combat experience. These shared experiences and loss crossed social class and racial boundaries. And it is now, more than ever, that the importance our military heritage has played in forming our national character and international reputation – based on the sacrifice of volunteer and conscript citizensoldier servicemen and women – is being recognised and understood. The district has in the past and continues to play an important role in New Zealand’s military heritage. Burnham Military Camp is the largest New Zealand Defence Force base in the South Island and will become the largest in New Zealand with planned expansion over the next five years. The camp currently also includes the Regimental History Centre; the only museum in BACK IN TIME: Items which belonged to the Canterbury Regimental Band are on display at the Regimental History Centre at Burnham Military Camp. the South Island dedicated to preserving the history and providing education about the volunteer corps and citizensoldiers of the South Island territorial regiments. After the withdrawal of the British Army from New Zealand in 1870, there was no standing professional army in the colony. The defence of New Zealand was then reliant on protection from the Royal Navy and numerous corps of armed citizen-volunteers. These volunteers were motivated by desires to defend their families and property, and there were social, economic and recreational opportunities provided through volunteer service. Commissioned officers of each local corps were elected annually and usually came from the professional classes, wealthy landowners and businessmen who employed many of the volunteers. As a whole, the volunteer force lacked professionalism and uniformity. With only limited training, the corps remained little more than military social clubs focusing on musketry drill and horsemanship. The district had four volunteer corps: the Malvern Mounted Rifles, the Ellesmere Mounted Rifles, the Waimakariri Mounted Rifles and the Ellesmere Guards Rifle Volunteers. These local corps were all established around the period of the Boer (1899-1902), when British imperial martial fervour was at its height. The Ellesmere Mounted Rifles was the first formed in August 1898, with its headquarters at Leeston. In 1900, it had 85 members and later formed C Company of the 1 st Battalion of the North Canterbury Mounted Rifles. The Malvern Mounted Rifles (based at Waddington) and the Waimakariri Mounted Rifles (based at West Melton) were both established in April 1900. By 1903, the Malvern Mounted Rifles, which formed as D Company of the 1 st Battalion, North Canterbury Mounted Rifles, had 77 members, while around the same time, the Waimakariri Mounted Rifles, which formed E Company of the same battalion, had 76 members. Khaki-coloured jackets and trousers was the common uniform among these mounted rifle corps, with the Ellesmere Mounted Rifles having green facings on the jackets. The experienced horsemanship of the young farmers and highcountry shepherds within the district made them ideal material for volunteer mounted soldiers, with a number volunteering to serve in the New Zealand contingents which fought in South Africa during the Boer War. The Ellesmere Guards Rifle Volunteers was a small infantry corps established in 1900 with its headquarters at Doyleston. Less fashionable than the Mounted Rifles, by 1902 the corps had 59 members and later formed as L Company of the North Canterbury Infantry Battalion. The uniform consisted of khaki jacket and trousers, along with a field service cap. In 1910, all the remaining volunteer corps within the district were transferred into the newly-formed Canterbury Territorial Force regiments which proved more effective in preparing volunteers for active service in World War 1. Arts Culture & Heritage SELWYN Selwyn Arts guide Want to feature in ACH’s free art guide? Distributed widely across Selwyn and Canterbury Register for free by 25 May at www.selwyn.govt.nz
SELWYN TIMES Latest Christchurch news at www.star.kiwi Wednesday April 18 2018 9 Local News Now Fire rages, homes at risk Selwyn families in wartime The Leeston and Sheffield domains were used at this time as venues for annual training camps. The Ellesmere Mounted Rifles established a rifle range near Hart’s Creek, which was named ‘Taiaroa Range’ after Mr H Taiaroa, who had provided the land, and there was fierce competition between the local corps for musketry prowess. Under the 1909 Defence Act, all able-bodied men aged 18-25 had to serve in the territorials, where compulsory military training promoted greater efficiency and ensured New Zealand could provide a sizeable volunteer expeditionary force when World War 1 broke out in 1914. The numerous war memorials throughout the district are permanent reminders of the service and sacrifice that many young men from the district made during the conflict. The Burnham Camp provides the district with an ongoing connection to our military past, present and future. The camp site initially housed an industrial school for children (equivalent to a modern borstal) which was established in 1873 and closed in 1918. The first Territorial Annual camp was held at Burnham in 1918 and the site was purchased from the Education Department in 1920 for the establishment of a permanent army camp. Both loved and hated by the 47,000 South Island citizensoldiers who trained there for overseas service during World War 2, as well as more than 35,000 who trained there under the post-war compulsory military training schemes (many serving in Korea, Borneo and South Vietnam), it is a place that has moulded characters and created memories of comradeship and sacrifice. It was only after World War 2 that New Zealand established a regular professional army, with HISTORICAL: A diorama of the World War 1 western front trench at the Regimental History Centre. Burnham being the primary military establishment in the South Island. This also shaped the character of the district, especially Rolleston, which has effectively become a garrison town due to the number of military families living there. A memorandum officially recognising this relationship between the district and the New Zealand Defence Force was signed last year. Within the camp, the Canterbury Regimental History Centre celebrates and preserves the heritage of our citizensoldiers. Historical taonga, such as the bass drum of the Canterbury Infantry Battalion which was used to carry bandages ashore at the Gallipoli landing and the Charles Upham VC collection, are preserved and displayed for prosperity. The centre has engaging displays and a growing collection, but limited public access to the camp means that viewing can only be conducted by appointment. COURAGE: The Malvern Mounted Rifles would train at the Sheffield Domain. In an effort to ensure our military heritage remains in the South Island, discussions are currently under way between interested parties to have the collection transferred to a purpose-built location in Rolleston for the establishment of a Citizen-Soldiers Museum, unique within New Zealand and a tourist attraction for the district. •To make an appointment to view the Regimental History Centre, call David Clarkson on 027 676 6870 BRAVE: The Ellesmere Mounted Rifles in Camp Circa. New sections selling now There’s no better place to settle out west than at Falcon’s Landing. Pop in to our sales and information office, 17 Branthwaite Drive, this Thursday, Friday or Sunday from 1pm to 3pm to find out more. Contact us on 03 741 1340 or mail email@example.com anytime.
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