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2014 Historical Anniversaries

First, a quick note to my regular readers – thanks so much for all your support and encouragement over the past year.  I hope you all enjoyed the holiday season and are ready to make the most of 2014.  To get things started here is a short list of some upcoming historical anniversaries to keep an eye out for both here in New Zealand and internationally.

NEW ZEALAND

50 Years ago – The Beatles tour New Zealand with concerts in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Ringo Starr being greeted with the hongi, Wellington. Hill, Morris James, 1929-2002 :Negatives of Wellington, and national events and personalities. Ref: 1/4-071854-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22787513

Ringo Starr being greeted with the hongi, Wellington. Hill, Morris James, 1929-2002 :Negatives of Wellington, and national events and personalities. Ref: 1/4-071854-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22787513

100 Years ago – The Auckland Exhibition was in full swing.  It ran from 1st December 1913 through until 18th April 1914.  Crowds enjoyed cultural experiences, industry and trade exhibits, aeronautical displays and giant water chutes.  They probably had candy floss as well.

100 Years ago – The First World War begins.  Check out the WW100 site for ways to contribute to the commemorations here in New Zealand. There are many ways to get involved and plenty of upcoming publications to look forward to.  Here at History Geek I’ll be ramping up the amount of First World War related posts including sharing previously unpublished ephemera, photographs and correspondence from my personal collection.

150 Years ago – In 1864 the New Zealand Wars continued with major engagements in the Waikato at Paterangi and Orakau (Rewi’s Last Stand); Taranaki and Tauranga.  Last year I was disappointed at how little media attention was given to the anniversaries of significant New Zealand Wars battles, so expect some more History Geek posts on this conflict.

General Duncan Alexander Cameron with a group of soldiers of the Colonial Defence Force. Ref: 1/2-029252-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23062638

General Duncan Alexander Cameron with a group of soldiers of the Colonial Defence Force. Ref: 1/2-029252-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23062638

200 Years ago – Christmas Day 2014 marks the bicentenary of Samuel Marsden’s sermon at Oihi – the first Christian service to be held in New Zealand.  Wow, bicentenary.  We are getting old aren’t we?

INTERNATIONAL

50 Years ago – The Gulf of Tonkin Incident.

50 Years ago – The release of two of my favourite films – Zulu and Goldfinger.

100 Years ago – Charlie Chaplin makes his first appearance on the big screen.

100 Years ago – The First World War commences.  I’ll be posting updates on centennial commemorations throughout the year – there are some exciting projects going on around the world.

150 Years ago – The American Civil War continues.  Additional to bloody battles on land there is a notable world-first at sea – the H.L. Hunley becomes the first submarine to sink an enemy vessel.

200 Years ago – The ‘Burning of Washington’ by British troops followed by the Battle of Baltimore – during which the defense of a fort inspired a poet to pen some lines about the rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air.  “O say can you see by the dawn’s early light….”

200 Years ago – Napoleon is defeated by the Sixth Coalition, is forced to abdicate and takes a vacation to Elba Island.  Spoiler alert:  He gets bored and comes back for another go.

Napoleon farewells the Imperial Guard, 1814 Wikipedia Commons

Napoleon farewells the Imperial Guard, 1814
Wikipedia Commons

So what can you expect here on History Geek this year?  I’ll certainly be marking some of the anniversaries mentioned above but you can also look forward to plenty of previously unpublished content from my personal collection, perhaps a review or two, musings on heritage related topics and a collage of colourful stories from the past – there will be shipwrecks, gold rushes, crooks, cooks, captains, fancy dress balls, trenches and wenches.  Probably postage stamps too.

To make sure you don’t miss out on all the above you can follow my blog via email or Facebook by clicking the buttons over on the front page.  While you are over there also check out the recently updated blogroll – I’m thrilled to be part of a growing community of fantastic history related bloggers both here in New Zealand and overseas.  Go check out what they are doing, they are all highly recommended!  All the best for 2014 – it should be an exciting year.
© Lemuel Lyes

8 replies »

  1. It’s certainly a significant ‘anniversary year’ this year – maybe more than most with the WWI stuff coming up. That picture of Cameron outside Gate Pa is evocative of the period. I recall visiting the site and finding it was almost completely invisible – a bowling club, a church and a small park as I recall. You have to wonder what Cameron et al would have thought of that. I suppose we still have Hamilton, of course – marking Captain Hamilton who fell in that battle.

    • Thanks to politicians the WW1 centenary is already causing controversy over in the U.K. It will be interesting to see how the commemorations unfold over the upcoming years.

      There are far too few images taken during the NZ Wars – but I do like that one of Cameron. Perhaps because it looks so similar to the many photographs taken at the same time on the battlefields of the American Civil War. I haven’t visited Gate Pa but I’m not too surprised about the bowling club – sadly that part of our history doesn’t seem to be particularly well commemorated. I never knew that about Hamilton though!

      • It’s a great story (if tragic); John Fane Hamilton, Commander of HMS Esk, shot down at Gate Pa – and commemorated in the new town on the Waikato.

        I have a couple of concerns about the WWI centenary here. I suspect public interest won’t be sustained much beyond 25 April 2015, and we’ll lose the focus on the Somme, Passchendaele etc.

        I also keep seeing the same few people involved in the project as key authors, presenters and so forth – I’ve had a disturbing impression for a long time that in a practical sense, military history in this country is effectively run as a closed shop, and I’d be sorry to suppose that the entrenched in-crowd in Wellington and Massey had latched on to the WW1 gravy train, to the effective exclusion of anybody outside their favoured little circles.

      • I can certainly understand your concerns re: the local commemorations. I suspect that you are right about the Gallipoli centenary being likely to overshadow the commemoration of any other NZ involvement – let alone aspects of the war that we weren’t necessarily directly involved in.

        The main thing I’m excited about on the local front is the various digitization projects currently underway – newspapers, troopship magazines, letters, photographic archives, military records etc. Many of these were projects were already underway anyway but the upcoming centenary commemorations certainly seems to have sped the process up – nothing like a fixed deadline and a bit of extra funding to get things moving! I’m also excited to see what the next generation ‘Cenotaph’ database will look like. I’m hopeful that this momentum will continue to make more local historical resources more easily available,and I look forward to seeing what new insights easy access to this material will bring and what innovative ways these collections can be used to engage the public.

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