News, Events and Culture

Local History Week remembers the 1960s

Friday October 20 2017

While the Beatles were twisting and shouting, Palmerston North was experiencing its fair share of change, too.

Archive photo from 1960s shows Council worker on a truck collecting household rubbish.

The 1960s saw the introduction of paper bags for household rubbish collection. "Previously residents put out their own metal rubbish bins for collection and emptying by the Council. Safer, quicker and more hygienic bags was the verdict on this innovation." [Council and Community, 2002, Ian Matheson]

This year’s Local History Week remembers the 1960s. The centre of Palmerston North was dominated by trains, its status as a university city was freshly minted, and residents were experiencing a leisure boom.

The ninth annual celebration of the city’s history is coordinated by the heritage team at Palmerston North City Library and runs from 4 to 12 November.

“The 1960s were a time of change in Palmerston North with some major events happening – the moving of the railway from going through The Square, Massey College becoming a university, and the opening of the Lido, to name a few,” says PNCC’s acting Heritage Team Leader, Maria Shiva.

Te Manawa historian Cindy Lilburn will lead a walking tour through the three blocks of former railway land in the central city and comment on the quirks of living in a railway town. The last train departed the Main Street Station in 1963.

In a lunchtime talk, Massey University historian Geoff Watson will share his research about how Palmerstonians experienced a leisure boom in the 1960s as they now had the time and the means to enjoy a wider range of activities.

Fellow Massey historian Michael Belgrave will share Palmerston North’s transformation from a college town to university city. This included residents accepting the modernist architecture of the university almost without question.

“Learning about Palmerston North’s history helps to connect the people of today with what the settlers and others in the past have gone through,” Mrs Shiva says. “For many people they can learn about the part that their ancestors have played in the history of Palmerston North. Connecting with the past means we can move forward with confidence into the future.”

A three-hour workshop on Sunday 12 November will introduce participants to archival, genealogical and photographic resources they can access to make the history of their house come to life.

Residents are encouraged to share their memories of the 1960s in Palmerston North at the event Our History, Our Stories. Writers from the Palmerston North History project will share some of their research from the 1960s. They are researching the city’s history ahead of its 150-year anniversary in 2020.

The Square Edge Makers’ Market on Sunday 5 November will have a 1960s theme. Shoppers are encouraged to wear their best 1960s-inspired outfit for a fashion parade, and bring along an item to tie-dye.

Other highlights include viewings of 1960s movies The Shadow of Vietnam and Don’t Let it Get To You, and tours of The Square, Terrace End Cemetery and Turitea Dam. Hoffman Kiln, Palmerston North Electric Power Station and Caccia Birch House will have open days and the Pahiatua Railcar Society is running trips from yesteryear.

The week includes an Armistice Day service on Saturday 11 November at the Cenotaph and a talk by retired brigadier Roger Mortlock on peacekeeping.

Campaign graphic for local history week 2017 shows archive photo superimposed on retro wallpaper.