Thursday, June 14, 2012

At the foot of Albert Park

Yesterday, on the way to the central library, I hopped off the bus a stop early to get some shots for another upcoming post here -- and ended up photographing more than I intended. Anyway ... it was high time I visited the lower part of Albert Park, separated from the main area by Bowen Avenue these days.

In the above shot, the (rather interesting, I think) tall building to the right of the palm is Metropolis Hotel, fronting onto High Street. More on this, later.

Bowen Avenue, named after the 19th century governor, is a bit of an afterthought (created after Albert Park ceased to be the military base it was), but it is one heck of a busy afterthought! This is the main route up out of the Queen Street/Victoria Street gully for midtown route buses. I've travelled this way by bus thousands of times over the years (and hoofed it uphill a few times. Gasping.)

From the part of Kitchener Street which was once Victoria Quadrant (part of Felton Mathew's grand dreams for the city), this part of Albert Park on a fine winter's day looks inviting. All of this, though, was formed and planted in the 20th century. Victoria Quadrant, at the top of Courthouse, the now-vanished Warspite, and Bacons Lanes was originally partly deep gully until everything was filled in and smoothed out.

Until Council put a chain across this part during the past couple of years, motorists were treating it as a free parking space. This is a visible part of the World War II Albert Park Tunnels complex, entry No. 6.

Then, there is the former Auckland District Court building.

Still looking wonderful, 100 years after construction.

But, there have been changes.

Today, it serves only as the entry to the Metropolis Hotel in behind.

But -- at least it isn't just a facade.

This, on the southern corner of Kitchener and Victoria, is the former Kapai Broom Company building.

Some colour at the top of Victoria Street East ...

Right next to a huge neighbour, in the form of the "Gateway" artwork, by Chris Booth.

I was working in the city from 1986-1992, and would surely have seen the installation underway from around 1990. I have vague memories, but nothing I'd say was definite. For something that's survived 22 years beside a busy traffic junction, the planning starting from before one amalgamation, and now having seen through yet another -- this piece is not doing badly at all.


  1. It is a beautiful park. Gateway is looking a little lost among the trees but perhaps that makes it more interesting.

  2. Interesting to see proof of the tunnels whereas here in Vic they still deny their existence despite recent finds lol.
    Gateway is lovely!