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How we are saving Auckland's oldest road construction

HOW WE'RE SAVING AUCKLAND'S OLDEST ROAD CONSTRUCTION

 

Along the eastern side of Albert Street, between Wyndham Street and Victoria Street West, there is an historic bluestone wall.

It's the oldest piece of road construction in the central city that was made from local material.  

It was completed in 1880 following the widening of Durham Street.

It's a split level section of roadway. The slip road off Albert Street is up to 5m below the level of the main road alignment.

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The wall is in the way of the City Rail Link Albert Street tunnel construction - but will be painstakingly preserved.

It will be carefully deconstructed stone by stone and then reconstructed in exactly the same sequence but moved one metre to the east of where it is today.  

Close monitoring is being carried out during the Albert Street construction to ensure there are no negative effects on the wall.

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Men’s public toilets are part of the wall at the Durham Street intersection and were constructed underneath the road in 1880 to ‘satisfy standards of social and visual decency’.

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The toilets have been modified over time including a major refurbishment in 1996. 

There is little remaining of the original fabric apart from some painted screens between cubicles.

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Some of the original features of the structure remain including the stair rail and the lamp.

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The cast iron screens at the entrance and within have large Star of David motifs. 

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Just inside is a framed reproduction of 1906 proposed alterations by Trevithick. 

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The toilets themselves will not be retained as toilets but the historic elements will be saved. The grill and archway will remain to maintain the look of the present structure.

The cast iron railing and lamp archway were also a significant part of the structure. When restored, lighting may be installed to make it a lit feature wall and an improved street light put at the top.

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The bluestone wall was built by contractor Daniel Fallon.

In an obituary published in the Auckland Star on 28 September 1920, Daniel Fallon is described as someone "who had much to with works in connection with the development of Auckland" and stated that "it can be truthfully stated, he built for the future."

Those works included reclamation works in the Waitemata harbour, the area that is now Victoria Park and the construction of the railway from Mercer to Ngaruawahia and Ohaupo to Te Awamutu.

   Auckland Star  28 September 1920

Auckland Star 28 September 1920