A.D. 1910

A quintessential sweet little primary school in small town New Zealand, founded in 1910. We hope the kids stood up on chairs to touch the textural mural.

All Clear

Prior to its sale to a property developer, teachers have been trained at this site since the late 1960’s by an organisation that was founded in 1888. Its brutalist architecture by William Toomath won architectural awards in 1972 and 2005. On a fresh spring morning under a clear blue sky, we found it all but cleared out.

My Teacher’s Left

In 1987, the teachers at this now-abandoned Bulgarian school were likely told to destroy all artefacts relating to the Soviet era. Instead, they stowed images of Lenin, the communist flag and other left-leaning iconography in the basement and in the attic. One teacher was committed enough to keep anti-Fascist partisan artwork in the classroom, featuring scenes of the educating of children in secret, the supplying of food and water to resistance units hiding in the woods, partisans and their supporters being apprehended by the military and by their fellow villagers, and the brutal interrogations that swiftly followed.

Rest in peace Erskine College.

Erskine college built in 1905 is due for demolition this year and any day now the demolition crews will move in. Urbex Central decided to take one more visit back before it is gone forever, come say goodbye to one of Wellington’s most famous abandoned, ‘haunted’ whatever you want to call it, buildings.

 

Expired

This large (by NZ standards) purpose built former tertiary institute expired at around the same time this Kodak Ektar 64T film did. And just like this 35mm expired film, it is apparently getting another lease of life. There are new owners and supposedly new occupants- but the only life we saw were some homies running their dogs (who tried to have a go at us); an alleged owner who asked what we were taking photos of (selfies of course) & told us to leave; and an elderly security guard who said- just leave. One of UC have a particular connection to this place, having kind of studied (sic) here when it was still a place of education- not stagnation.

Anatomy Class

The teacher in this Bulgarian classroom clearly wanted her/his students to fully know their surroundings and themselves. Anti-fascist partisan artwork was still on display well beyond the fall of communism from 1987, and about a decade later took on a state of suspended animation with the closure of this village school.

The Mansion

Built out of New Zealand native kauri wood in 1899 and the largest structure in New Zealand around in its time, this grand mansion is slated for demolition following extensive earthquake damage.

The mansion was built lavishly both inside and out for a Scottish immigrant Allan McLean, and its beauty is resounding even in its currently dilapidated state. McLean donated his mansion to women’s education upon his death, a worthy cause – we hope McLean’s can eventually be restored and not demolished.

Exploring one of Christchurch’s last grand mansions still standing brought emotions of amazement and sadness as we looked around its unique beauty and its so-far-decided future, demolition.

 

 

 

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.

International School

This International School was one of the main international schools in Christchurch, after extensive demolition in the central business district of Christchurch this is one of the last multi storey buildings awaiting demolition. There were many interesting items left here from when the earthquake happened in February 2011 which paint a sad picture of the day the people evacuated in panic and were never allowed to return.

Vacancy

This former conference and accommodation complex- closed due to being “earthquake prone”- is still very, very vacant…

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.

 

 

 

 

 

School of Poor Achievements (Part One)

An Anglican school founded in the 1840’s and once home to some of New Zealand’s Maori leaders sits decayed and vandalised after closing its doors due to bad performance and bullying. While sad to see such a grand building in such a state, it’s location and clock tower are beautiful and feel more like entering a European village than a New Zealand location.

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.

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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Tunnel 3 final

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…

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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The Centre

At the close of the Second World War, this former Air Force base was converted into a “Mental Deficiency Colony” to house children deemed ‘backward’. By the mid 1970′s it had become the largest psychopaedic hospital in the southern hemisphere, with a population exceeding 700. The centre was “deinstitutionalised” in 2005 and has been largely abandoned, but not forgotten.

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Pyro

Pyromania is an impulse control disorder in which individuals repeatedly fail to resist impulses to deliberately start fires, in order to relieve tension, for gratification or for relief. The term pyromania comes from the Greek word πῦρ (‘pyr’, fire).

This was just one of a dozen buildings torched by a pyromaniac over a single weekend two years ago.  A Porirua man was eventually charged with 13 arsons that included setting fire to five churches, but was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

The Convent

This former Catholic girls boarding school and convent was closed in the mid 1980′s. The buildings have been used for a variety of purposes over the years (including featuring in a couple of Peter Jackson films), but it has now been deemed unsafe and closed indefinately. Although carrying the Historic Places Trust’s highest heritage protection status, the closure due to being “Earthquake prone” has left it in a strange kind of limbo. The future looks very bleak indeed for this Historic landmark.

Sacred

We returned for another look at this location: urbexcentral.com/2013/02/03/e-college/

A lot of vandalism occured here last year, graffiti and general destruction. Thankfully the landlord and the new tenants have been taking great care of the place in the past few months and the vandalism doesn’t appear to have gotten much worse. Unfortunately the pigeons didn’t get the memo and have made parts of the college their home (and toilet).

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We’ll Take Care Of Your Children

This old building was once a nursery which helped to raise numerous children in the Wellington region. The building’s future is now questionable as it sits right in the path of a new roading project. It will probably either be moved or demolished, and Wellington may lose yet another historic building.
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Bad Education

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

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The College

This school was closed in the 1980s and has been mostly left to ruin. The main building was “red stickered” last year, and like many buildings in Wellington declared “earthquake prone”. It’s more than likely the buildings will now be demolished- all the more reason to explore the site while it still remains…

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