The Christchurch Club was established in 1867 and very little was recorded in the local papers of the early shows. The clubs first president was the first Mayor of Christchurch William Wilson. Ten pounds was raised in subscriptions and the clubs stated objectives were to improve the various breeds of poultry in the province. Membership fees were set at £5 Shillings and £10 shillings to serve on the committee.
The practice of exhibiting poultry quickly became popular in Christchurch. The local shows in 1875 and 1880 received favorable reports in the weekly press with good crowds attending. Over the years entries continued to increase. There were 758 entries in 1855 with birds coming from Melbourne, Auckland and Wellington and throughout the South Island which necessitated the move to a bigger hall. In 1890 entries increased to 843 and then in 1894 they received 1011 entries.
There were plenty of incentives for the working class to participate. For instance in 1885 the prize money for 1st, 2nd and 3rd was 15 shillings, 10 shillings and 5 shillings while special prizes were valued at £2 pounds. The average weekly wage at that time was only £2 pounds.
Meanwhile the Christchurch Clubs Annual Show was setting records. The 1900 Show was declared a Grand National Show. A win here the weekly press declared was a breeders mark for the colony. The show lasted 3 days, entries totaled 1,249 entries the second biggest show of its kind to that date. The biggest was 1,280 entries at the previous Christchurch Show in 1899.
At the Clubs 125th Jubilee Show in 2009 show entries were 2,000. In fact 2 of the most senior members of the club have been exhibiting for over 70 years and are still going strong.
A big thank you must go to David Hill of Oamaru who researched the early days of the club for us.