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Early Wellington

Noah's Ark

Noah's Ark.

The late Mr. John Plimmer had great confidence in the future of Wellington. During the Californian gold rush, when numbers of Wellington people were leaving the town, he secured a strip of land on Lambton Quay, from Plimmer's Steps towards Stewart Dawson's corner. He then bought the stranded ship “Inconstant,” which, in 1850, struck on Barrett's Reef when entering the harbour, and had it towed to the Bank of New Zealand site, where he converted it into a store. The lower part was used as a bonded store, and the upper part fitted up for offices. It received the name of “Noah's Ark.” Men began to hew at the hill at the back of Barrett's Hotel, and Mr. Plimmer and his sons assisted after the brick field there had been abandoned. They hacked away at the hilly background of the Plimmer Estate, and used the spoil to drive back the sea from “Noah's Ark.” Mr. Plimmer also negotiated with the owners of the old Mechanics' Institute, for land to either make or enlarge the right-of-way by Barrett's Hotel. (Mr. T. W. McKenzie, Evening “Post,” 18/5/1910). The hull, still sound as a bell, was found when the excavations for the foundations of the existing Bank of New Zealand were made, and the oaken chairs in the board room and one at the Turnbull Library are the last of the “Inconstant's” timbers.