News, Events and Culture


75th Jubilee, more floods and a visit by Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh and later by the Queen Mother.

Palmerston North 1952 Jubilee Train

Palmerston North 1952 Jubilee Train


  • Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School opens
  • St Mary's Primary school opens
  • St James' primary school opens
  • City boundaries extended to include Milson and Kelvin Grove


  • Population 30,531
  • Work begins on the new water treatment plant and water mains
  • Boundary Road renamed Tremaine Avenue in honour of Geoffrey Tremaine City Mayor from 1947-1956
  • City Council raises a loan of £267,000 for improvements to water supply after a previous attempt was rejected by residents


  • Brigadier General Leslie Wilton Andrew, VC, DSO and commanding officer of the Central Military District retires (born in Ashhurst)
15-22 March
  • City celebrates 75th Jubilee
  • Memorial Park War Memorial obelisk officially unveiled by Sir Howard Kippenberger
  • A further £267,000 loan is raised to complete the water supply improvements, the addition is required due to increasing costs and increases in the project scope - the dam is now to be 30m in height


  • The large hangar and workshop of the National Airways Corporations (NAC) situated at Milson Airport is destroyed by fire, subsequently NAC moves their engineering headquarters to Christchurch
  • Roslyn Primary School opens
27-29 January
  • Major Flood of the Manawatu River, Hokowhitu and Awapuni under water, the largest since 1902
  • City boundaries extended to include Awapuni
  • Construction of the new 30m Turitea water supply dam begins (the Upper Turitea Dam). The Council's engineers department perform the work
  • New Water Treatment Plant opened and 525mm water main is in place


  • Philip Oscar Selwyn Skoglund elected as MP for Palmerston North
7-8 January
  • Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh visit Palmerston North, they stayed overnight in the Grand Hotel and attended a Civic Dinner in the ROSSCO building tea rooms
  • Memorial Park officially opened as a war memorial for World War Two, previously known as Fitzroy Park


  • Freyberg High School opens
  • Refurbished Opera House opens
  • Loan of £65,400 for airport development approved by ratepayers


  • Population 35,632
  • William Blair Tennent elected Mayor
  • PDC Department Store on The Square purchased by Consumers' Co-operative Society (Manawatu) Ltd
  • Queen Elizabeth College (QEC) opens, this School evolved from the former Technical School in Princess Street in 1906
  • Central School on Featherston Street becomes Central Normal School
  • Our Lady of Lourdes Church opened
  • Palmerston North Teachers' Training College opens in Princess Street in the old Technical School Buildings
  • At the suggestion of Blair Tennent, the YWCA takes over Willowbank to provide a hostel for female students at the new Teachers College
9-10 November
  • First International Agricultural Aviation Show held at Palmerston North Airport


  • Takaro Primary School opens
  • Ross Intermediate School opens
  • Sealed Runway and new terminal building completed at Palmerston North Airport
  • Clock Tower in The Square completed and informally presented to the City. The Tower was made possible by a £10,000 donation from local businessman Arthur Hopwood and contains the clock and chimes originally on the Post Office Tower
  • New 30m dam at Turitea is completed for the City's water supply; it is still in use today. The dam stores 1.68 million m 3 of water


  • Awapuni Primary School opens
  • Winchester Primary School opens
  • Queen Mother visits Palmerston North


  • Gilbert Murray Rennie elected Mayor
  • City Council gifts land at Hokowhitu to Crown for university purposes, now site of Massey University College of Education-Hokowhitu Campus
  • Old railway line between Foxton and Palmerston North is closed
  • Milson Railway deviation officially opened on the northern side of the City

Most dates are taken from tertiary sources and accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Researchers are strongly advised to check specific dates in other sources to confirm accuracy to their own satisfaction. All corrections or additional information and dates gratefully considered - please contact the Ian Matheson City Archives.