The needs of the Council were obviously quite a bit different then. As well as offices and the Town Hall, one of the other priorities identified was the need for stables and a grazing area for the Council's horse.
Councillors were looking to the future though even back then, and made sure the new building would be capable of having electric lights installed at a later date.
The Town Hall served additional functions over the years. During the 1918 influenza epidemic, it was used as a headquarters for the relief effort, with seventy volunteers provided nursing and medical care, and meals and soup being prepared and distributed from the supper room. The meals were delivered in Mayor John Brown's car.
The Town Hall also functioned as a telegram receiving office between 1914 and 1923.
By the 1950s the Town Hall was heavily used and showing signs of wear and tear. The existing buildings were extended in 1960, and new borough offices were opened on the site of this new Rārākau: Riccarton Centre in 1964.
The Mayor of the day, Ted Bradshaw "expressed his personal pleasure at the move, and considered that staff would find the building a tremendous relief after the poky quarters in which they had existed for many years."
Upon amalgamation with the Christchurch City Council in October 1989, the former Town Hall complex became the Riccarton Community Centre and the former Council offices were leased out as a bar and restaurant.
It is great to see that this site that has served the local community for so long will continue to do so in the form of this purpose built Rārākau: Riccarton Centre.
I understand that there are many events planned for January and February (including displays of historical information, an expo involving local Riccarton organisations and a Riccarton photo competition).
I’m particularly interested in the history of all the places in Outautahi Christchurch, Maori and European. Pūtaringamotu meaning the place of an echo or severed ear, both of which have stories, and of course the name Riccarton comes from a parish in East Ayrshire, Scotland, where the Deans brothers were born.
Today a new chapter in the rich history of this area begins.
So, I encourage you all to enjoy this new facility in the heart of Riccarton - a place that reflects the heart and spirit of this wonderful community.