Site History

“The Shirley Community Centre is located in a park like setting on the corner of Shirley Rd. In May 1977 the building and site became surplus to Ministry of Education requirements.
In October 1977 Christchurch City Council was appointed to control and manage the site pursuant to the Lands and Domains Act 1953.
The site was set aside for use as a Community Centre and the running of the Centre was handed over to the Shirley Community Centre Society, which had been established earlier in the year to lobby for the building to be used as a Community facility. The centre opened for hire in March 1978, as a ‘place for cultural, educational and recreational activities’.
Over the next almost 25 years funding from the City Council, fundraising and volunteer work from members of the Society and the local community have restored this building to a pleasant, well appointed Community Centre the local community can be proud of. It is well used by both local and citywide community groups, clubs and some commercial ventures, and is largely self-funding.”

The Shirley Community Centre building was a Category 2 historic place (#7117) & demolished in 2012, due to earthquake damage.
“Facilities Rebuild Tranche 1, 21. Shirley Community Centre. Replace. Section 38 (claim insured value).”

The land at 10 Shirley Road is classified as reserve, vested in the Council by the Crown to be held “in trust for local purpose (site for a community centre)”.
“That means the land could not be used for any other purpose than a community centre.
It also appears the land could not simply sit ‘vacant’.”
9. Shirley Community Facility Rebuild – 10 Shirley Road (2015)

Shirley Road History
Originally Shirley Road started at Westminster Street (now Aylesford Street), before crossing over Hills Road to Marshland Road.

“Susannah Buxton (née Shirley) was married to John Buxton (1806–1886). On her deathbed in 1868, she asked her son, Joseph Shirley Buxton (1833–1898), to gift land to the Methodists to build a church. Her wish was carried out and the Shirley Methodist Church was named after her. The suburb eventually became known as Shirley after the church.”,_New_Zealand

Significant Park Trees
There are 8 Significant Park Trees (Protected Vegetation) along the northern & eastern boundary of the Shirley Community Reserve.

Dudley Creek
Dudley Creek runs along the southern boundary of the Shirley Community Reserve, 10 Shirley Road.

Chancellor Street Heritage Houses
“This former Workers’ Dwelling Act dwelling has historical and social significance as one of seven houses built on the east side of Chancellor Street in 1914 as part of the Chancellor Street Settlement under the Workers’ Dwellings Act 1905. The act and its successors established the first programme of public housing provision in New Zealand by central government.”
“New Zealand Premier ‘King’ Dick Seddon’s Liberal Government (1893-1906) wanted architectural variety, rather than uniformity, in the design of the workers’ dwellings. Local architects submitted entries to design competitions held throughout New Zealand and the dwellings were built by local contractors.”
“The Chancellor Street houses also form part of New Zealand’s heritage of state housing generally. The setting is the original 1914 rectangular land parcel with a small garden between the house and the roadway and a larger open space at the rear.”
– 72 Chancellor Street:
– 70 Chancellor Street:
– 66 Chancellor Street:

Dudley Character Area
“In Christchurch, some of these homes were designed by some prominent local architects including Hurst Segar, Cecil Wood, Barlow and England. Three pockets of these homes were built in Christchurch in 1918 to 1920, one being in Chancellor Street.
Of the three pockets of these homes built in Christchurch, little remains of the other two, so Chancellor Street is unique in the fact that they are all still there and are in good hands.”
Chancellor Street Today by Alan Williamson

Shirley Playcentre (back right corner of the Shirley Community Reserve)
61 Chancellor Street:
“Shirley Playcentre operates under the guidance of the Canterbury Playcentre Association. The playcentre is a parent cooperative with parents encouraged to be involved in all aspects of the playcentre’s programme and management.
Shirley Playcentre is located in the Shirley Community reserve. Since the 2012 ERO report, the playcentre’s main focus has been to upgrade the outdoor environment.
The community has become increasingly transient and culturally diverse due to the changes in employment in the local area.”

NZ Society of Genealogists – Canterbury Branch
“10 Shirley Road was the home for NZ Society of Genealogists – Canterbury Branch, for 21 years from February 1990 until the February 2011 earthquakes. We were hoping that a new Community Centre would be built on the same site to serve the local community in many ways, and possibly return ‘home’.”
Fiona Lees, NZ Society of Genealogists – Canterbury Branch, Convenor
“Our city has special needs with what we have been through in the last decade, where the community have shown how strong they can be supporting each other, and desperately need safe and welcoming meeting places to suit all needs.”
– Pages 61-62, Letter from Fiona Lees, Convenor, NZ Society of Genealogists – Canterbury Branch
– Pages 63-70, NZSG Canterbury Branch, 50th Anniversary – February 2018, includes photos of Shirley Community Centre

“Established in 1968, that makes the [NZ Society of Genealogists] Canterbury regional branch the oldest in New Zealand…For Lees, that passion was wanting to know more about where she came from and what influences made her the person she is today.”