Monday, May 18, 2015

Local character turned early morning takeaways

In a move that adds new meaning to the old saying 'There goes the neighbourhood', some of the old houses in my area are actually being driven off down the road.

In this case a 100+ year old Victorian 'corner angle bay' villa was cut into 3 parts, jacked up onto 3 hydraulic trailers then taken away in the dead of night.

The old place is apparently destined for a country plot somewhere up north. This is great of course – at least it isn't being demolished – but the continued removal, destruction and replacement with concrete tilt slab apartment blocks is changing the local character forever.

It was quite fascinating to follow the process. First of all they disconnected the power lines from the street. Then the foundations were carefully dismantled and these clever hydraulic truck trailers
(a sort of Chev Impala lowrider re-interpretation of a Kenworth trailer) are positioned underneath. The chimneys are dismantled, and away they go – in the middle of the night of course – because you can't go driving houses around in peak hour traffic can you.

I'm aware of several other old villas around the corner set to go also (view the sketch here). I wonder if this is something happening across the country, or is it just the character inner city suburbs of Auckland like Ponsonby and Grey Lynn?

Do you, like me, think it's strange that most of our heritage buildings have no historic rating or protection at all?


  1. I would like to see the final drawing of this odyssey with the house reconnected and alive again in the country side, but yes I do agree with you, it's sad to see a city become "flat" by losing it's layers of urban history, in Christchurch nature gave a big help to "developers" and we do feel that some character buildings are being demolished without people even having time to express their feelings.

  2. One of my favourite posts.
    I imagine you on your night mission going to the ´crime scene´ to chase the run away character house and I wish was there with you, sketching the last traces of this old era.

  3. 1.31am, that's dedication - an excellent head start for your upcoming reportage workshop. I don't think you really need to attend that one now :-)

  4. I had that thought too Liliana - I'm going to try to find it in Matarangi and sketch it at the new site - I agree that would be a fitting end to the series! Cheers for your comments Mário and Scott!