Friday, 3 January 2014

Invercargill's Heritage Buildings & More

The light was just right later in the afternoon of New Years Day, bright with no sun to cast deep shadows, so I took the opportunity of clicking a few photos of the beautiful heritage buildings located around Invercargill city. And an added bonus was that there was virtually nobody about & hardly any vehicles to clutter my photos, the only negative being Christmas decorations that still adorned some buildings & streets. With Invercargill being a very small city I only had to move a block or two & then a street or two before stopping for the next photo, I would estimate that all these buildings are located within a 3km square. And they are pretty impressive for an often maligned southern provincial city. 

St Mary's Basilica- opened in 1905 & once described as Australasia’s “prettiest church” the neo-Classical architectural style Basilica is a dominant Invercargill landmark with it’s copper clad dome.

The Basilica is located across the rail line from the Otepuni Gardens where a lovely meandering path winds its way down the side of the creek & through the formal gardens.
Fleming & Company Flour Mills- opened in 1886 on the site of a wooden flour mill that was destroyed by fire, it remained operational until 2006 & is on the NZ Historic Places register. The mill is just a street away from our camp ground & just along the road from the Basilica.

Civic Theatre- The Civic Theatre is one of the most significant historical buildings in Southland & is designed in the Edwardian Baroque style. It was built in 1906 as municipal offices & has undergone a $15.8million upgrade to turn the rather tired “grand old lady” into a beautiful performing arts & events centre.

St Johns Anglican Church is next door to the Civic Theatre & designed in the Gothic Style by the same architect.

And just a block further down the road is the First Presbyterian Church which was designed in the Italian Romanesque style. The First Church contains over one million bricks, it was opened in 1915 at a cost of £18,181. This is one of the premier examples of church architecture in NZ, the bell tower rises 32 metres above the street & draws attention to the elaborate patterns of brickwork. Imagine following that while you're laying bricks metres off the ground. You would only have to get one wrong for it to stand out like a sore thumb.

Railway Hotel- Built in 1896 this beautiful building incorporates elements of Victorian, Edwardian & Baroque revival architectural styles. The hotel is one of the last remaining in NZ still being used for it’s original purpose.

Bank Corner & Trooper’s Memorial- the memorial  was erected to remember those that served in the African Boer War.

The former Bank of New South Wales stands on the site where Invercargill’s  commercial activity began in 1856. 
On one corner is a feature wall which has been constructed  to represent the Maori & Celtic roots of the city.
Historic buildings & facades of Invercargill City- there are many styles of heritage buildings within the inner city precinct from Arts & Craft & Nouveau/Deco to Victorian.

More bright & colourful city buildings including the Grand Hotel which certainly looks grand on the outside but a bit dubious on the inside!
I suppose we should be grateful that they don't demolish these old buildings but I can't for the life of me understand why the powers-that-be allow such garish paint jobs & advertising on such a lovely building. It'll be that all important dollar that does it.

WEA Building- The three storyed WEA building was built in 1912 as a Coffee & Spice Mill for David Strang & built in front of the original (& recently rediscovered) 1885 mill. Strang invented & patented soluble coffee powder.

The impressive Invercargill Cenotaph, c1986. This city doesn't do things in small.

Water Tower- This is a much better photo of the Water Tower than the one I posted a few days ago. The busy main road that runs along the front of the tower is closed to traffic at the moment (major road works) but I was able to pretend I was a resident & park there while I took photos.
The foundation stone for the tower was laid in 1888, the cupola was removed in 1934 & replaced in 1988 with the assistance of NZ Aluminium Smelters. The tower contains 200,000 common bricks, 80,000 red pressed bricks, 15,000 yellow pressed bricks & 4,000 pressed black bricks.


Southland Masonic Centre- The Masonic temple was opened in 1926 at a cost of £14,116 and is in the Graeco-Doric Style with a red brick & smooth plastered portico, supported by 6 fluted columns. The Lodge is regarded as one of the most impressive lodges in the Southern Hemisphere  & received a silver medal in 1934 from the NZ Institute of Architects.

And the final photo is one of the abandoned church that we can see over the back fence of the camping ground. I haven't managed to find out any history on this yet although there is someone living in there as I've seen a light on in the middle of the night. The windows are boarded up and the grass needs to be mown.

There is one more grand neo-Georgian style building I need to shoot but that will have to wait until we visit the park with the family. In the meantime I hope you enjoyed your virtual tour around lovely Invercargill City.

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