Addington special constables' camp in 1913

Addington special constables' camp in 1913

The former Addington showgrounds (now AMI Stadium) was used as a camp for mounted special constables during the 1913 strike (click on thumbnail to see full image).

In Christchurch the strike was largely centred on Lyttelton. When attempts were made to load ships on 18 November, strikers invaded the wharves and forcibly stopped work. The next day special constables began enrolling and a camp was set up in the city, at Addington. After a period of training and planning the specials went into action early on the morning of 25 November. A party of around 800 mounted and foot special constables made their way over the Port Hills and took over the Lyttelton wharves without any fighting in a surprise raid.

The authorities in Christchurch and Auckland learned from the experiences of Wellington. Specials were concentrated, trained and organised in camps before being sent out in large, well-disciplined groups in well-planned operations to take over the wharves. This avoided the violent clashes seen in Wellington, where badly organised groups of specials had charged large groups of strike supporters.

See more images of Christchurch during the 1913 strike here, including specials marching along Moorhouse Ave and Oxford Terrace (Flickr)

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