THE WAY WE WERE
A week of immersion in local history with book launches, tours, talks, walks, displays, workshops, performances, special events, and Lego!.
City Library Heritage Team coordinator Maria Shiva hardly knows where to start when picking ‘must attend’ Local History Week events. She likens it to ‘‘speed-dating with history’’.
‘‘There is just so much to choose from - there are walks, talks, workshops and displays, and a couple of book launches. There’s even Lego.’’
However, to start with, Shiva settles on the story of Palmerston North horsewoman and trainer Hedwick ‘Granny’ McDonald.
The first woman in New Zealand to be granted a professional trainer’s licence, McDonald trained the1938 Melbourne Cup winner, a little-known New Zealand-owned 8-year-old gelding called Catalogue.
She was never credited with the feat because under Victoria Racing Club rules, she could only train under her husband’s name.
Granny is the subject of historical fiction novel Racing the Boys by Australian author Jacqueline Dinan, who researched the book in city library’s Ian Matheson Archives.
The New Zealand launch of Racing the Boys takes place in the library at 3pm on Sunday, October 30, with items from the Granny McDonald community archive on display.
The launch, just two days before the running of the 2016 Cup, jumps the rest of the History Week field, officially under way on Monday at 11am.
The first talk at midday is
‘‘There's just so much to choose from.’’ City Library Heritage Team coordinator Maria Shiva
about the gold and platinum in ‘‘them thar hills’’, with the annual Mina McKenzie Memorial Lecture at 7pm.
Other highlights include Te Korari, a guided walk through The Square with Nuwyne Te Awe Awe and Henare Kani, and another performance by Warren and Virginia Warbrick of Tahi80 - the hole in the ground, combining European and Maori art and music traditions.
Department stores played a prominent role in the city’s social history - the PDC, Rosco, the DIC, Milne and Choyce, Arthur Barnett, Collinson and Cunninghame. The city library of course now occupies the former Rosco/DIC/Arthur Barnett building.
’’People might like to bring along mementos, as well as their memories. They might have a teacup or some other souvenir from the city’s department stores.’’
Guests of the Friday gathering are welcome to dress the part.
Other events include tours of the Massey University Archives, the hospital’s David Warnock Medical Museum and Lethenty Historic House in Bulls, open days at Hoffman Kiln, Caccia Birch and the Palmerston North Electric Power station.. Bookings are essential. The full programme is available at the city library and online.
Activity outside the Palmerston North railway station on Main St, circa 1907/08 is one of the iconic photographs highlighting this year’s Local History Week.