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Early Wellington



Mr. R. Barton, in a letter published in the “N.Z. Journal,” 14th October, 1843, mentions the residences of Colonel Wakefield, Messrs. St. Hill, A. Hort, Guyton, Evans, Fox and Hunter as being amongst the best buildings during that period.

Brees' Pictorial New Zealand (1847), contains views of residences and public buildings erected between the years 1840 to 1847, viz.:—Plate 8 (No. 24), the Church of England Parsonage, occupied by the Rev. Robt. Cole. Plate 9 (No. 28), Mr. Brees' Cottage. Karori Road (Hawkestone Street). Mr. J. Wake-field's and Mr. de Bathe Brandon's.

Plate 10 (No. 30). Mr. Suisted's hotel (Barrett's). the Freemasons Hall above built by him, and the Medical Hall (Messrs. Dorset and Sutton's). Plate 11 (No. 34), Mr. Wicksteed's, Karori Road, Cadet's College for survey cadets of the New Zealand Company, and Mr. Hill's. Plate 13 (No. 40), Wesleyan Chapel, Te Aro, and Mr. Brewer's house, Manners Street. Plate 14 (No. 43), The Exchange (Town Hall). Plate 16 (No. 47), Colonel Wakefield's residence, No. 49 Bank, Manners Street. Plate 17 (No. 50), Messrs. Simmons and Hoggard's windmill, Mount Victoria, and Mr. Fitzherbert's farm residence, called Victoria Cottage. Plate 18 (No. 53), Major Baker's, and the Red House or Barracks above it, built by Mr. Cooper, of the Thistle Inn. Plate 19 (No. 56), The Catholic Chapel, Boulcott Street. (No. 57), Court House and temporary church (previous to the erection of the church behind Colonel Wakefield's), Mulgrave Street, and Thistle Inn, kept by Mr. Cooper. Plate 20 (No. 60), Mr. N. Levin's and Mr. Holroyd's houses, Tinakori Road. Mr. Dorset's higher up the Tinakori range of hills. (No. 61), Judge Halswell's house, Ohiro (sec. 28). Plate 21 (No. 63), the beach at Te Aro, showing Sutton's, Lyon's, Boulcott's, Wallace's and others. Views of Molesworth's, Riddiford's, Hon. Petre's, Swainson's, Aglionby Arms, Porirua Whaling station, Fort Richmond, Hutt, and Pitoone and Paremata Pas are amongst the very fine collection of engravings.

The New Zealand Directory, compiled by Stevens and Bartholomew in 1866, gives the following information: “During the past twelve months, through the page 371 removal of the seat of Government, a large number of persons (besides officials), have come from the other provinces and the adjacent colonies to settle in Wellington, where warehouses, shops and dwelling houses have been erected in every quarter.

In a book entitled “Seventy Years of Life in the Victorian Era,” by a Physician, and published in 1893, the author writes: “Taking a steamer from Lyttelton, and continuing our passage along the east coast for 175 miles further north, we reach Wellington, since 1864 the capital of New Zealand, in which we land on a fine, but dusty and windy day, characteristically windy, hence its nickname, ‘Windy Wellington.’ The large Government buildings, the House of Assembly, and even the Governor's palace, are so many shams. In the distance you exclaim, ‘what splendid freestone structures,’ and when you go up to them and tap them with a finger, you find that they are nothing but wooden erections, painted and rough cast with sand to represent stone: but they are very handsome, being ornamented with pillars having Corinthian capitals well carved, and elaborate cornices, and surmounted by towers or high spires. They are regarded by the citizens with great pride, and a wonder of the world as the largest buildings of wood in the universe. A Roman Catholic Church perched on a pinnacle of rock high above the town was enough to deceive anyone, but on going up to it, was found to be wood also, but sculptured with figures at great expense.… The town is confined to the space between the hills and the port, so that the people have been obliged to build their houses up the steep hills, and in the gullies, and on any flat available space, natural or artificial, that they could stick a building on.”