After taking in the sight’s from the top of the Cable Car we walked through to the Carter and Dominion Observatories and read up on some of the history of the site and buildings. Next to the Dominion Observatory formerly Hectors Observatory building was once a gun battery, one of 6 to protect the city and harbour in 1894-1904 in what was known as the Russian Scare. The gun was never actually mounted but stored in the bunker below.
Hectors Observatory also employed astronomers as time keepers for shipping, railways and government ministers along with civil servants. Accurate time is required to work out longitude essential for ships navigators. There is an old Krupps cannon on site, a German made 135mm field artillery captured by NZ troops in France in 1918 and bought back to NZ as a trophy. In 1920 it was gifted to the City of Wellington and thought to be the only one of it’s kind left from the 190 originally made.
The path back down to the city took to the Lady Norwood Rose Garden which was a bit past it’s best at this time of year but nice still the same.
From here it lead us to a place we had heard plenty about back in the early 1960’s, the Bolton Street Cemetery or what there is left of it. The urban motorway sliced right through the middle of this sacred site with what finished up as 3700 burial sites being moved. Head stones were stored at a council yard in Wilton for years until the development was completed and then returned in an orderly fashion. All the remains were buried in a vault below the memorial lawn by the Chapel. Only 2000 of the burial site’s had headstones.
We eventually arrived back at the railway station in good time so it was McDonald’s for a light shared tea before returning to the station and boarding our train.
However the fun wasn’t over yet as we were delayed leaving Wellington by 5-10 minutes. At Upper Hutt we were further delayed as we had to wait for a South bound goods train. The Main Trunk line is closed for repairs and all goods trains are being re routed down through the Wairarapa. We eventually got home only 20 minutes later than expected so it wasn’t too bad but we were in need of a good cuppa to finish the day.