This account describes the damage in the Amuri district, North Canterbury, caused by the earthquake of 1 September 1888. The writer is ‘The Warrigal’, and the piece was published two weeks after the quake in the Weekly Press. Although there was widespread shaking and some damage in Christchurch, most people were unaware for some weeks that there had been more serious damage in Amuri. Below is a transcription of the account.
TRIP THROUGH THE AMURI.
A GLANCE AT THE RUINED HOMESTEADS.
THE MYSTERIOUS "BOOMING."
EFFECT ON THE HOT SPRINGS.
BY "THE WARRIGAL"
FERRY HOTEL, WAIAU, September 6.
When the people of Christchurch had recovered from their alarm occasioned by the earthquake on the morning of September 1st, which damaged the Cathedral spire, injured other buildings in a minor degree, caused thousands of people to awake at one moment in terror and confusion, one of the commonest questions asked was—“What about other parts of the country?” Telegrams from the West Coast, from the North Island, from Southland and Otago, speedily assured the questioners that no serious damage had been done in those distant parts; and anxiety was for a time allayed. It was not until telegrams from Culverden appeared in the papers that the general public became aware how seriously the earthquake had been felt in a region comparatively near to Christchurch. Then it became known that homesteads were wrecked, and the population of the Amuri district terrified by violent earthquakings and loud subterranean noises. Further telegrams appeared and related how Woodbank, the pleasant home of Mr W. Atkinson, St. Helens, the well-known residence of Mr Low, Leslie Hills, the old home place of the Rutherfords, were wrecked, and their inhabitants only saved from injury by something like miracles. Alarming rumours came of another dozen places damaged, of lights in the sky, of thunderous noises, and other strange phenomena; but now something like order is being obtained from the various reports, and we are beginning to know how matters really stand. After a rapid journey to the Hanmer Plains, and a brief visit to various places there, I can say without exaggeration that if the recent earthquakes had been as severe on the Canterbury Plains as they have been on the Hanmer Plains and in other portions of the Amuri District, Christchurch instead of being able to congratulate itself on having escaped a very serious injury, would have a wholly different tale to tell. When one sees the wrecks of flexible low built houses here in Amuri, one can easily imagine what would have become of high brick and stone buildings, or even high wooden houses.
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Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Reference: Weekly Press, 14 September 1888
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