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Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 10am – 4 pm, Weekends and Public Holidays 10am – 2pm.

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Our Cambridge Collection has changing exhibitions about Cambridge.  Much of our collection is in storage to ensure its preservation for future generations.


100 years: 1904 Nov – Dec

November 1904

On 15 November 1904 the first Waikato Independent rolled off the press. The Editorial stated, “It should be a means of materially assisting in the welfare and development of the town and furthering the advancement of the outlying districts”.

The building trade was brisk with quite a number of handsome residences in the course of erection and Mr Grayson was adding a new wing to the Cambridge State School.

All Borough rates not paid by 21 November would be sued for without further notice.

The Cambridge Choral Society was practising for the ‘Messiah’; the Band was rendering choice selections in the Domain; and the Oddfellows Lodge met fortnightly with around 90 members.

Permission was granted by the Cambridge Borough Council for the Anglicans to hold a Rose Show and Fancy Fair on Victoria Square. They ultimately raised £180.

“Bookworms, lovers of standard literature, and the reading public generally have no reason to complain that their mental pabulum is not well catered for, as far as the Cambridge Library is concerned”. The shelves were liberally stocked and any particulars were gladly supplied by the courteous librarian, Miss Dickinson.

The Editorial ran that “… the Post Office staff were shockingly cramped for room, being compelled to perform their daily duties in an ill-ventilated pokey, stuffy, and dirty-looking dungeon, which should have been long ago condemned and consigned to oblivion”.

Only two or three more subscribers were needed to open a Telephone Bureau in Cambridge.

At the monthly Cambridge Borough Council meeting the Mayor reported (among other things) that there were 118 sanitary pans in use. “He had inspected the night-soil depot, and found the sanitary arrangements in perfect order.” Legal action was sought with regards to the one or two people in town still using the ‘long drop’.

It was decided to form a footpath from the town boundary to the cemetery gates – which along with the fence needed painting.

Mr Arnold Wilkinson convened a meeting of cyclists at the Criterion (Central) Hotel, for those interested in road racing. Victoria Square was the scene of skirmishing drill by the Waikato Mounted Rifles (D Squadron).

30 November was St Andrew’s Day and the banks were to be closed for business.

December 1904

A thunderstorm passed over Cambridge at 11 o’clock today, the loud peals of thunder being followed by a heavy downpour.

Te Waikato Sanatorium for TB sufferers started a monthly journal called ‘Sanatorium Times’ and with the help of the local ‘full-blown brass band’ they produced a lively concert. Lionel Isherwood, photographer, produced a neatly bound album of views of Cambridge.

There was an epidemic of mumps which laid aside several adults and juveniles. Mrs Farnsworth’s cow was caught on the cowcatcher of the 2:30 pm train. Mr A C Tribe, the letter carrier ‘whilst in the execution of his postal duties’ was thrown from his horse near the Criterion (Central) Hotel.

Miss Brunskill won a gold brooch as first prize in the Ladies Shooting Match, over 200 yards, with a score of 24 out of 25. Miss Nora Bruce was second with 23 and Miss A Ormiston was third also with 23.

The weather was rather unsettled – November had 4.92 points of rain. A thunderstorm in Cambridge West stopped the opening of their tennis season.

The Hautapu News reported that one dairyman’s supply of milk was down by 100 gallons and there were 40 suppliers to the Hautapu factory and 30 to the Fencourt creamery. Messrs Beer & Son from Queensland had started a blacksmiths near the factory and there was talk of a store opening. The Jamiesons from ‘Cowland’ in Taranaki were greatly impressed with the Waikato prospects.

The Alexandra Hall was the venue for the Band of Hope contests, under the auspices of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. There was everything from Darning, Hat Trimming and Potato Peeling to Elocution and Vocal contests. Names such as Brockelsby, Boyce, Willis, Stubbings, Kite, Perkins, Roberts, Simpson all feature in the prize list.

The new High Level Bridge was being thoroughly thrashed about in Letters to the Editor and those interested in forming a trout hatchery met at the Masonic Hotel.

(The Family Bible belonging to Robert Burns, with birth entries, was sold for £1560.)

The five (three foot high) incandescent gasoline lamps arrived from America. After the iron posts arrived from England they ‘proved a powerful illuminant which brilliantly lit up the path of the wayfarer on his homeward beat.’

In the Ladies Column there were tempting recipes for Christmas Dinners. Roast Duck stuffed with sage and onions. Roast Turkey, Christmas Cake, Honeycomb Pudding, Orange Delight, Orange Jelly, Strawberry Cream, Lemon Cheese, Trifle and Plum Pudding served with brandy sauce.

The special Christmas services at the local churches were largely attended.

‘Sons of the Sea’ and ‘Two Vagabonds’ were staged by the Cambridge Dramatic Society to large audiences. Cambridge Brass Band discoursed festive music in the streets and serenaded several citizens with carols. They made £10 for the Band fund.

A Tangi for Tamihana at Tauwhare Pa attracted several caravans of Natives and two local photographers on a ‘shadow catching’ mission were turned away.

The moonlight night enabled many country settlers to journey into town on Christmas Eve. The streets were crowded with promenaders and several business places were decorated with palms, nikau and Christmas mottos. The crowd was well behaved with no cases of drunkenness or riotous conduct.

Dr Roberts thought the Lake at the Domain was not fit to bathe in and ladies were deterred from walking around the lake by bathers appearing without the necessary trunks.