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.
This thermal power station was completed in 1972 and was decommissioned between 2001 and 2008, it’s chimney was once the tallest structure in New Zealand, it is now being demolished and in the final stages of demolition.
We began exploring this Power Station back in Easter where after trekking down in the darkness from the top of a hill we eventually reached a shoreline where we met a couple of angry seals who we had to dodge as they tried to attack us. Once we found our way in, avoiding light and the risk of areas with motion detectors we reached the main building, our eyes were greeted with a wonderland of ‘pipe-porn’ and steel. The first thing we knew we wanted to hit was the turbine room and to reach this we needed to scale some ladders through the maze of pipes and steel.
Upon reaching the turbine room we found a gigantic space full of yellow turbines, all fully lit up, the whole place echoed as you walked through it which made us feel on edge. After documenting the turbine room we advanced on to find the control room, from intel we had been given we attempted to enter through to the control room where we were met by locked doors, the control room was not to be seen that visit.
Included in this post are pictures months apart, the second series of pictures were pictures taken when the turbine room was mostly deconstructed but we finally found an intact control panel room :).
This former quarantine station was first opened in 1872 for people arriving New Zealand with contagious diseases. The facilities were refurbished and extended in 1918-19 and were maintained in readiness until World War II (1939-45) but were little used. The accommodation blocks were used in both World War I and World War II to house interned “enemy aliens”. For over 100 years, beginning in the early 1880s, it also served as an animal quarantine station. Animals arriving in New Zealand from other countries were quarantined on the island for 30–60 days to check they were free of disease. Blood samples were taken regularly and tested. Each animal was also treated for internal and external parasites.
In 1971 this particular facility, a maximum security animal quarantine station was completed. Until then, New Zealand had only ever imported livestock from Britain, Australia and Canada. The idea of a maximum security animal station was to enable scientists and geneticists to study new exotic breeds from outside of these ‘safe’ countries. When the station received its first shipment of animals in March 1972, it was the most sophisticated facility of its kind in the world. This allowed for the importation of a more diverse range of exotic animals such as elk, red deer, alpaca and llama, and capacity to hold more of the traditional imported livestock. In 1985 a scheme was introduced to import ova and embryos of cattle, sheep, and goats for implantation into New Zealand livestock. This inadvertently lessened the need for quarantine stations. It meant that existing livestock lines could be diversified rather than relying on importing. The quarantine station was closed in 1995.
We explored this former Italian restaurant two years ago, just prior to demolition. Remiro Bresolin, a flamboyant pioneer of Italian cuisine in New Zealand and legend of Wellington’s social scene, took drab Wellington and gave it a splash of Italian colour. For nearly 30 years his Il Casino restaurant was a capital icon and a mecca for food lovers everywhere. The restaurant closed just prior to his death in 2007 and in it’s place now stands another inner city apartment block.
This former conference and accommodation complex- closed due to being “earthquake prone”- is still very, very vacant…