Good Night, Nurse

In 1973, under the watch of Matron Grattan, this now-demolished former nurses’ home at Wellington Hospital operated by “standards of conduct . . . akin to those of personal freedom, co-operation and responsibility which are acceptable in a private home, yet with the extra consideration necessary due to the number of residents under one roof.” Lunch was served daily in the dining room between the hours of 12 midday until 1:15pm, and dinner from 5-6:30pm. Suitable frocks, skirts and slacks, and a scarf to cover any hair rollers in use, were required while dining, and nurses were directed “not to linger about in the front foyer in a dressing-gown”. By the end of the first decade of the 2000’s, several floors had been converted to hostel accommodation. Residents cooked their own meals in tiny kitchens on each floor, warnings were prominently displayed about cleaning up cooking messes and theft of food from the communal fridges, and the reception office appeared to have been equipped with a cricket bat for self-defence.

Demolition was swiftly carried out in February, 2019, with signs on the perimeter fence indicating a children’s hospital is to come.

 

 

New Zealand’s Island Fortress

Another victim of the earthquakes, this historic wartime island was once used as a quarantine station, Maori fortification and a defence against Russian attacks.

On arrival and after a short swim across to the island we navigated our way up the steep barbed wire bank. Once inside the fort we were met by a beautifully designed historic fort which included a labyrinth of tunnels with torpedo and mine stores. The two disappearing guns on the fort were completed in 1895 and were never actually used to fire a shot in their years as part of the island fortification.

We hope they can restore this unique part of New Zealand’s history once again for visitors to appreciate it.

 

The Farm

Inside an abandoned former catholic girls school/farm/’rehabilitation unit’ we visited in mid 2013. Founded by a French sisterhood in 1953 -“the girls who came into the care of the sisters often had problems that could not be resolved in their normal environment and needed the loving care of others to restore their sense of self-worth.” The first residents stayed at the ’13’-room Manor built by its previous owner; and over the years the Catholic order embarked on a building program that included a 25-girl dormitory, two-story working/training block, visitor accommodation and sports facility. The last building was an expanded convent for the growing number of sisters at the facility. At it’s peak there were apparently up to 50 nuns in the house, and at least 70 girls. The farm/school/borstal/convent finally closed down in the early 1980’s.

Escuela Mala

A re-posted video of Petone College from early 2013. This former high school- abandoned, vandalized and the victim of numerous arson attacks- has finally been euthanized to make way for a retirement village. Escuela Mala loosely translates as “bad school” in Spanish.

Bad Education (redux)

One of our old haunts has finally been demolished. Hutt Valley High School (formerly Petone Technical College) was closed in 1998, but partially used up until 2002. The site had been heavily vandalized over the years and targeted on a number of occasions by arsonists- most recently this past January. This last fire was the nail in the coffin for the former school. The remaining buildings were demolished last month to make way for (ironically) a retirement village.

 

 

 

 

 

Carpe Diem

This former high school closed in 2007, and despite more than $85,000 spent on security since, fed-up residents have arranged patrols after systematic vandalism and theft. A poster in one of the classrooms ironically proclaims “seize the day”- yeah right… The New Zealand Government is currently trying to offload 52 closed schools. Doing so is more complex than selling a private home, and steps required under the Public Works Act can cause big delays. Obstacles to sale include locating former owners and their successors if the land was gifted, or for the right of first refusal, and complex Maori land claims. But for local residents the delays further the pain of school closures, as past community hubs turn into eyesores.

Smash You Bro

This car wreckers yard was the set of the New Zealand cult classic film Smash Palace released in 1981. The junkyard offers a rare opportunity to see cars from multiple eras and in various states of decay – some are even in the process of being reclaimed by nature by means of plants growing inside them.

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for Urbex Central. Thanks for watching and stay tuned for 2014…

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 25,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Thermal Resort

 

This abandoned thermal resort has sat vacant for years, cats both living and dead can be found throughout the premises and the place has a very peculiar air about it. The lawns are mowed, the garden tended to and the cats fed. Someone has been looking after this place, despite the fact that it does not seem to have functioned as a business for many years.
The area this is located in has a reputation for being a little bit dodgy, and I couldn’t help but feel on edge walking around with a DSLR when there was a ute (SUV for you Americans) parked in an abandoned service station across the road with two unsavory types eyeballing me.

Building compute

This 1930′s era totalisator building was a real joy to explore and document, thousands of people used to attend the race courses of New Zealand commuting by train for the big day. Now one of the last untouched buildings of its kind in New Zealand and  sitting idle as a pioneer of New Zealand’s computing history.

For the video of our explore :  Excitation

Gunner

Gunner hardly requires an introduction here at Urbex Central. No doubt you’ll be more than familiar with his antics- in particular his dizzying, vertigo inducing videos. Our chief explorer has been very busy this year- very busy indeed… Unfortunately due to a recent rooftopping accident, he’s going to be a bit quieter over the next month or two. Lets hope Gunner recovers well over the holiday period and is back in force in the New Year.

Tunnel 5l

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Tunnel 4 final

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Artillery

This coastal artillery battery (one of many) was built to defend New Zealand’s capital Wellington against a Naval attack. Work began in 1908 on constructing a 2 gun battery using 6″MkVII guns. By 1912 these 6″ guns were manned by the Wellington Naval Artillery Volunteers. At its prime at the beginning of World War II, this fort had a total of no less than four different batteries of guns, and became the HQ for the heavy artillery regiment that manned the various coastal defence batteries in and around Wellington.

Future Fix

Exploring the grounds of a former historic hospital- unfortunately now earmarked for demolition due to the large amount of asbestos and at least a $50m repair bill.

Portal

This 253 meter long former railway tunnel- constructed in the 1870′s- came to the end of it’s working life in 1955 when a replacement tunnel was opened. Apart from a bit of water seeping in through the cracks, it still seems in pretty sound order after all these years.

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Hospital on the Hill pt 4: Wards

Exploring some of the wards of the abandoned hospital in central New Zealand featured in our previous posts.

Click on each thumbnail to view the full picture.

The previous posts may be viewed here:
https://urbexcentral.com/2013/10/05/hospital-on-the-hill-pt-3-utilities/
https://urbexcentral.com/2013/09/25/hospital-on-the-hill-pt-2-hospital-laundry/
https://urbexcentral.com/2013/09/24/hospital-on-the-hill-pt-1-exterior/

More to come…

Drainy Season

Now that Wellington’s violent (some reaching 200km/hr winds) spring storms are finally ebbing away we can get back down into the slippery drains running through the city.

We recently explored an urban stream running through an industrial area – and found a drain, complete with concrete slipways in the process.
After traveling down the long tunnel we reached an impasse, a slippery slope into a deep pool of turbulent water – this is definitely a drain we will check out at the end of summer when we can progress further.

ill Institute

This purpose built institute- and accommodation halls- is now largely vacant and abandoned… Constructed in the early 1970s in typical Brutalist style- the imposing, totalitarian and fortress like qualities are not exactly an architecture form for aspiring students…

Ford

Fording a stream in a rather unconventional manner, because here at Urbex Central we feel you don’t always need to take Urban Exploration seriously 🙂

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Man on Wire

Gunner gets in some tight rope walking practise up the cables of an abandoned suspension bridge. This particular bridge was a crucial factor to the success of this region in the early to mid 19th century. Check out Gunner’s video of the event here

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Hilltop Sanatorium

This imposing building on the hill overlooking a small country town has had several uses in it’s lifetime.
It was initially constructed as a hospital for veterans returning home from the great war, before being re-purposed as a sanatorium (tuberculosis hospital).
After 60 years and over 7000 patients, and with the number of cases of TB in decline in New Zealand the hospital became a safe haven for the handicapped and for people suffering from head injuries.
The hospital has gone through another metamorphosis in the new millennium and is now used as part of a larger vineyard complex, we popped by for an inspection on our travels through the North Island.

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Silence Please

Little is known about this location other than it may have once been operated by a religious organization. The former occupants seemed to have left in a hurry, leaving furniture, clothing and other daily detritus behind. They appear to have been Indian, going by the strong smell of curry and the Hindi word for silence (ilent) scribbled on the walls. We didn’t hang around long to investigate as there was a weird vibe to the place…

NZR – Boneyard

As I was rattling by on the train I noticed this small train boneyard in the middle of the countryside – and we decided that it deserved an inspection!
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Freestyle

Sometimes we don’t even have to search for a new location- we just stumble on them. This abandoned rural school and pool is a good example. We came across it accidentally while taking some time out from exploring a nearby complex. Someone’s got to brush up on their freestyle strokes though 🙂

Bad Education

This former highschool was closed about 15 years ago. The decay and vandalism that has occurred in the interim is astounding. It’s finally due for demolition soon and the land it occupies is to be developed into a retirement village.

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Cockatoo Island 2 – Tunnels

Underneath the Island, in the areas not hewn away to make room for heavy industry, Cockatoo island is criss-crossed with a myriad of tunnels, facilitating the movement of people, materials and equipment across the island. These also served a dual purpose as an air-raid shelter for use in the Second World War: one was even kitted out with an infirmary located in an annex to the main tunnel. Another tunnel has an elevator running right down into it from the buildings atop the island, down through the rock.

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Cockatoo Island 1 – Cranes

Littering the Cockatoo Island landscape, these sentinels are an imposing sight on the skyline. Many of the cranes have fallen into incredible states of disrepair, with some of the booms having become completely detached from the body of the crane.
These cranes are the subject of my first post on Cockatoo Island, one is even a familiar reminder of home.  Stothert and Pitt cranes are familiar to us from our explorations in Wellington, and are also a common sight on the Island.

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