A return and a farewell to this heritage-listed maternity hospital and it’s sprawling arts and crafts 1920’s styled grounds. Demolition machines arrived at the former Maternity Hospital on Nov 30th (2020)- the 1927 building was rubble by the afternoon. Heritage NZ confirmed they had not been aware of the coming demolition and were “saddened to hear” that this important part of New Zealand’s medical and social history had been demolished.
In 2014 on a Urbexcentral excursion in the hills- Gunner (as per usual), saw this tower as a challenge rather than an obstacle and couldn’t be talked out of free climbing it. We waited in trepidation at the bottom, as he proceeded to knock the bastard off.
Welcome to the complete video document of Gunner’s adventures with Urbex Central at Erskine College in Island Bay, Wellington, New Zealand, in the years after its closure in 2012.
Part One: Rage Against The Dying Of The Light [0:00]
Several years ago now, we visited Erskine College at night. We found our way into its pristine Gothic chapel, which was added to the college in 1929-30. It had at that time recently been operating as a wedding venue before being declared earthquake prone. We lit up the chapel once more, first with candlelight and then with halogen flood lights powered by a petrol generator. Over the course of the next three years we revisited the college and documented it as best we could, while the destruction from vandalism seemed to be advancing mercilessly towards the chapel. Today most of the college has been demolished to make way for a housing development, while the chapel remains, albeit emptied out and boarded up. We’re happy to bring you the chapel as we first found it.
Part Two: Ascension Day [5:59]
In the year following our first visit to Erskine College, tagging had visibly advanced to the choir loft at the back of the chapel. Hung high out of reach of taggers’ sharpies are the stations of the cross, the closest of which to us depict scenes where Jesus is “aided by Simon” and “stripped of his garments”. By this time Urbex Central had evolved into a highly active and — more importantly — a warm collective, as evident in moments of playful cooperation captured on video. Thankfully one of the organs was foot-powered.
Part Three: Walk Towards The Falling Water, I Will Meet You There [10:36]
In 2009, a poetic arts student wrote in chalk on top of a set of wooden shelves: “Walk towards the falling water / I will meet you there”. Construction began on Erskine College, a former Catholic girls’ school, in 1905, with a chapel added in 1929-30. In 1985 it ceased operating as a college, and in 1992 a trust was formed and given responsibility for its heritage protection. Between 1997 and 2009 it was tenanted by a tertiary art school. The chapel then reopened as a wedding venue until being declared earthquake prone in 2012.
Part Four: Acts of The Apostle [17:47]
Another year has passed, and once more the chapel is inviting exploration. We know the space well enough now to relax in the moment and capture details hitherto unseen. With explorers almost entirely absent from the frame, the gentle zooming in and out of the camera seems to capture an aspect of human experience deeper than adventure: our cyclical approaching and withdrawing from faith and/or artistry of many kinds as we navigate our lives.
Elvis was the tender age of 19 when he recorded “That’s Alright Mama” in “a new, distinctive style” on the Sun label. Many of the arrivals at this commune founded in 1973 were of a similar age, seeking to live in a new, distinctive style under the sun. A painter’s easel stands overlooking the hillside on which the communal meeting house was built, and the nearby house still contains once-cherished paintings and art books.
A return and a farewell to an enormous, decaying industrial site- on the eve of its imminent demolition, decontamination and redevelopment. The soundtrack (The Overload) by Talking Heads, is the finale from their 1980 album “Remain in Light”.
This former rail tunnel has sat abandoned since 1900. It is now three-quarters buried by the earth, and half-flooded. Distinctive arrow imprints on the red and brown clay bricks indicate the presence of prison labourers in its construction. Prisoners serving terms with hard labour wore arrows on their uniforms to visually distinguish them from civilian workers, and they marked their handmade bricks with arrows, as a kind of self-portrait. Finding this tunnel was a team effort involving anecdotes from rail workers, hand-drawn maps of enthusiasts, and – finally – simply groping through thick vines in search of the source of faint sounds of trickling water. The entrances are completely obscured in dense overgrowth. The thrill of finding something so untouched for so long is indescribable.
Driving rural back roads in the Waitomo region, we came across several well-worn former abodes. Interestingly to us, many a collapsing farmhouse had a companion tree somewhat alleviating its loneliness, presumably planted by its former occupants.
The current temporary closure of this commercialised geothermal area in the North Island of New Zealand allowed us to capture nature steadily continuing its activity in the peaceful absence of human occupation. According to Māori legend, New Zealand’s geothermal areas were created by two ember-bearing travellers – not on the sea, but through the earth. The two sisters of ocean navigator Ngātoro-i-rangi heard his call for their help from the midst of a blizzard at Mount Tongariro. They loaded six kete baskets with glowing embers and summoned Te Pupu and Te Hoata – the subterranean goddesses of fire – to deliver them to their imperilled brother. The goddesses dived deep into the earth and carried the baskets of heat from Hawaiiki (the Polynesian homeland) to Aotearoa. Each time the goddesses surfaced on their voyage they left a trail of embers, creating geothermal sites at Whakaari (White Island), Moutohorā (Whale Island), Rotoiti, Tarawera, Rotorua, Ōrākei Korako, Wairakei and Tokaanu. By the time they reached Ngātoro-i-rangi at Ketetahi, Tongariro, only one kete of fire remained to save his life.
So I finally decided to check out this abandoned house which has been awaiting demoliton for a long time in Christchurch!
To my suprise this place still survives to this today however I imagine it’s far beyond repair judging by the damage.
That’s all for now, enjoy the pics.
This small settlement and area of mining is located in Millerton on the West Coast of New Zealand.
Once a bustling town of 700, there now remains around 30 people who still call this place home. The area is littered with abandoned tunnels and mining carts and was a real ‘gold mine’ of interest for the urbexcentral gang.
LITTLE KNOWN FACT: The Millerton football (soccer) club, known as the Millerton All Blacks, were twice runners-up in the Chatham Cup, New Zealand’s knockout football competition, in 1932 and 1933.
Located in Brooklyn, Wellington this Freemason’s lodge was the largest lodge in the Wellington region.
The secretive Freemason’s had left a lot of treasures to be found when they abandoned the lodge, we looked through numerous documents such as a detailed explanation of the initiation ceremony members must go through to become a lodge member. We felt a certain eeriness to the place as we explored and photographed the lodge but also felt a little sad for the members of the lodge and what the future of the Freemasons may be.
We hope you enjoy the pictures and video.
Located in Wellington, New Zealand this former teachers college was built in stages between 1966 and 1977 by architects Toomath and Wilson. Teaching here focused on social good and personal development and was what the architecture was meant to represent. Victoria University originally bought the campus for $10 and then on sold it to Ryman Health for 26 million dollars last year. (more…)
Along the wharf of this small West Coast town sit these old electric coaling cranes. They are in a terrible state of disrepair and reported that if left any longer would begin to pancake on themselves.
Built in the 1900’s and used up until the 1970’s these cranes had been defunct for the past 50 years and without any restoration or maintenance had fallen victim to the weather of this West Coast town. There are plans to move the cranes and restore them but it uncertain if financially feasible. While taking photos of these cranes I spoke to a local who seemed really upset the cranes were being removed and thought it was a total waste of heritage.
After hearing a rumor about a mysterious train tunnel in the South Island of New Zealand myself and DerelictNZ went out to investigate.
Sadly our first attempt was a bit of a fail after spending a whole afternoon trying to find it but after some more research urbexcentral returned and this time success!
The tunnel was fully bored and constructed in the early 1940’s however it was given up on after some of the walls started breaching. The damage inside the tunnel is pretty substantial and it felt pretty unsafe to lurk through, from the crazy angles and curvature in the tunnel I suspect the kaikoura earthquake in 2016 played a part in the damage.
A couple of old chimneys tower over an abandoned glass factory near the village of Krushevo, in the municipality of Sevlievo, in Gabrovo Province, northern central Bulgaria. Gunner thanks his generous and kind hosts, Nicola Miller and Jonathan Taylor.
Located in a sleepy town that has had its fair share of earthquakes lies this little aquarium on the wharf, abandoned and closed down due to earthquake damage. In operation, it seems the aquarium was well loved and although small was full of interactive activities for children who visited.
Due to an injury this explore posed a little bit of a challenge to UC but thanks to fellow explorer DerelictNZ we were able to successfully explore this place and enjoy its wonder; such as an inflatable shark, not quite the infamous Melbourne shark but close enough.
Located between Tokyo and Mount Fuji, we eventually found this bowling alley ‘Yukio jamaji’ on google maps. Walking around the bowling alley felt a bit like a time capsule – seemingly locked in time, closed down and untouched for the last 10 years.
With mixed information regarding the security in place at this location we went in cautiously but were pleasantly surprised by the gloomy abandonment we found.
A little bit of luck goes a long way in the world of urban exploring and we happened to stumble upon this hotel in Masterton in the North Island of New Zealand just before it began being demolished and destroyed forever.
This old hotel had an amazing art deco staircase and some other interesting features including housing a recording studio. There were signs of squatters in some of the rooms which was also reported in local news papers.
Due to redevelopment of ‘a new chain store coming to town’ the hotel has now come to the end of its life and will be demolished.
Late last year we explored the abandoned waterpark “Ho Thuy Tien” near Hue, Vietnam. This place has been fairly well documented by UE and backpackers before, so to mix things up a bit we decided to predominately explore the park via bicycle- and we’re talking about the old school one speed bicycle variety with a basket on the handle bars.
It took 30-40 minutes in the heat & humidity to bike there from Hue city, courtesy of Google Maps. At the main gate we were surprisingly waved through by a guard. We were expecting a “fee” like all other locals and visitors alike. Perhaps he felt because we’d biked all the way out there we deserved the “free” entry- what ever the case it was good karma. Locals we spoke to later just could not believe we’d been given “free” entry.
Closed a decade ago- probably because of the high priced tickets and lack of attractions- the park has over the years become a hang out for local youth, urban explorers, backpackers, and on weekends (in this case) a bus load of students. Apart from getting the neck slit gesture after outstaying our welcome at some local lads bbq on top of the waterslide section- it was a safe and surreal experience- and then we had to bike all the way back to town…
This abandoned courthouse was built in 1913. It was designed to reflect New Zealand’s ties to the British Empire. The building was only used until 1970 as a courthouse and was continued to be used for government buildings till the 1990’s.
Since then it was laid unoccupied and fallen into disrepair although meant to be restored, it is far from that. Hope you enjoy the pictures, it was a solid explore and one of urbex centrals’ most desired locations along the West Coast of New Zealand.
This hospital is one of the most intact abandoned hospitals left in New Zealand. Closed in 2007 and subsequently purchased privately, this hospital has been left abandoned and untouched.
Inside the hospital it’s quite amazing how much is left, from X-ray machines to a fully functioning theater its as if the hospital could open again at any minute although left abandoned 10 years ago.
We first visited this hospital in 2012 and now once again in 2017, not much has changed but it remains one of Urbex Central’s favourite explores in the North Island of New Zealand.
Tongui town – This abandoned street was built in 2011 as a ‘bar street’ development.
Six years later and the place is a ghost town, abandoned in central Beijing, there was a mixture of themes used in this European style town including Italian and Swiss. It is unknown whether this site will ever be used as its intended purpose and what a strange sight to see in Central Beijing.
As you can see none of the internal parts of the building were completed and they were all joined together through a tunnel underneath the street, we hope you enjoy the pics, UC.