Monday, 31 December 2012

Wellington Revisited.

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.

Dominion Observatory, formerly the Hector Observatory built in 1907 changed the name in 1925.Dominion Observatory, formerly the Hector Observatory built in 1907 changed the name in 1925.Carter Observatory, Botanical Gardens.Carter Observatory, Botanical Gardens, Wellington

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 In 1920 it was gifted to the City of Wellington and thought to be the only one of it’s kind left from the 190 originally made.

Botanic Garden Battery 1894 -1904 with a captured German Krupps cannon.Botanic Garden Battery 1894 -1904 with a captured German Krupps Cannon.

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.

Lady Norwood Rose Gardens.Lady Norwood Rose Gardens.

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.

The Beehive. Part of NZ's Parliament buildings.The Beehive. New Zealand's Parliament buildings.NZ's Government Buildings, the largest wooden building in the world. Completed in 1876. That's all timber.New Zealand’s Old Government Buildings, the largest wooden building in the world. Completed in 1876. That's all timber.

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.

Wellingtons Grand Railway Station.Wellingtons Grand Railway Station.

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.


Peter Berry said...

This post brings back many memories of our own visit to all these places earlier this year. The statue in front of the Parliament building, I forget his name, is of a 19th century figure who played a large part in New Zealand's history. Interestingly for us, he emigrated there from Euxton near Chorley, UK, also the home town of Sir Bradley Wiggins, the winner of the 2012 Tour de France and an Olympic gold medal in cycling. Euxton is about 10 minutes from where we live! All this (obviously not the Bradley Wiggins part), is noted on the plaque below the statue.

Derek and Dot said...

Hi Peter and Margaret
Hopefully they are fond memories of our home town. I think the statue you are referring to would be Richard John Seddon a Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1893-1906.