Superbly updated guide

19:48, May 27 2013
Book review
The Streets of Timaru


Jack Hamilton and Keith Bartholomew

South Canterbury Museum, $39.99

The earlier version of this book has sat on my desk at work for years. Somewhat dog-eared now, it's a small, slim hardcover volume that has proved useful time and time again.

Published in October 1975 by the South Canterbury Historical Society, it is, however, a straightforward volume, with no illustrations and, from experience, some frustrating gaps.

Its successor is in a different league altogether. A joint project between the historical society and the South Canterbury Museum, and made possible by way of local sponsorship, this is a stylish, heavily illustrated book, chock-full of information about Timaru's history.


Writer and researcher Keith Bartholomew has taken JB Hamilton's original idea and expanded and improved on it, to the point that this book would sit comfortably on the coffee table or the bookshelf. It is much more than a pure reference book, and is an enjoyable read, one that can be picked up and put down at your leisure.

The original 248 entries now number 448; the references for buildings and the like have been updated, and there is more in the way of former names of streets; and the book is amply cross-referenced for ease of research.

There are photographs of street scenes, and of the people who chose the names of, or gave their names to, Timaru streets.

Included with the book is an indexed street map, and the book itself offers an index of personal and property names. An appendix with accompanying map clearly shows the growth of the town, showing the movement of the boundary from 1856 to 1998.

Another worthy addition to this sparkling new tome is the information previously included in a handy booklet produced by the museum, on the subdivisions of Timaru. Preston St residents, for example, in the 1880s, would have considered themselves residents of the suburb of Paignton.

The Streets of Timaru is a credit to all those involved and well worth a place on Timaru bookshelves.

The Timaru Herald