Waihi Railway Station Historic Area

Waihi

  • Waihi Railway Station Historic Area. Plan of Historic Area from registration report..
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Date: 6/09/1996.
  • Waihi Railway Station Historic Area.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Area Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 7329 Date Entered 6th September 1996

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

Includes the structures, land and objects in the area occupied by the railway station near the south-west boundary of the township of Waihi. Includes station building; sheds; toilets; signals; crane; yards; sidings; & 7 railway houses.

City/District Council

Hauraki District

Region

Waikato Region

Summaryopen/close

This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. This report includes text from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION:

The history of Waihi is dominated by the development and fluctuations of the gold mining industry. The first excavations for gold were in 1878 and by 1887 the London based Waihi Gold and Silver Mining Company was formed. By the end of 1893 this company had established a cyanide extraction plant in Waihi. The introduction of this new technology made it much more efficient and cheaper to extract gold from quartz and helped the Waihi Gold Mining Company to become New Zealand's largest gold producer by the mid-1890's.

The success of the Waihi gold mines had a direct and obvious effect on the development of the town. In 1886 there were only twenty families in the entire Waihi district, with a single shop and a small hotel. By the mid 1890's a thriving commercial centre had developed and by 1902 Waihi had become the North Island's largest borough with over a thousand men working in the mines.

With the development of Waihi came a recognition of the necessity of extending the Auckland rail link to the town. In 1895 the government ordered a survey of the gorge and approved the construction of a gauge line to be built between Paeroa and Waihi. This would include the construction of the Karangahake tunnel. Late in 1903, in an effort to get the line completed, the Waihi Goldmining Company advanced the Government £75,000. While the laying of the new line went smoothly it was not until 1905 that the tunnel was completed.

On November 9, 1905 the Paeroa-Waihi line was formally declared open by the Premier, Richard Seddon. For the next 22 years it was the main terminus of the East Coast Line.

The station buildings contract was for a goods shed, two stall engine sheds, privy and urinals, station building, water tallies, coal store and a platelayer's cottage. The cost was £1764-3s-6d. On opening, the yard had accommodation for 97 wagons in a loop, a middle and goods shed road. The station handled five trains daily each way between Paeroa and Waihi. By the time it closed in 1978 there were nine daily trains each way from Paeroa to Taneatua. As well as passengers, a considerable quantity of stock, coal, timber and other goods were loaded and unloaded at the Waihi station.

There have been major alterations made to the station yard in 1935 and the 1950s. The area presently consists of a four road station with the remains of a back road loop used to service the stock yards and which is now used to park old carriages.

With the expansion of New Zealand's Railways in the latter nineteenth and early twentieth centuries there came the problem of housing the itinerant railway workers. While some housing was provided by the Railways Department before 1919, it was from this date that the need to provide readily available, low cost housing close to both rural and urban railway stations throughout New Zealand became apparent. Under William Fergusson Massey (1856-1925), Minister of Railways, the Department decided to enter into a large scale housing scheme which would provide housing for all permanent members of staff. There are seven railway houses within the Waihi historic area boundaries.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. This report includes text from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Historical:

The station has considerable significance for the township of Waihi as an historical marker of the gold boom years. The completion of the line from Paeroa and the opening of the railway station in 1905 was an important development in Waihi. The speed and efficiency of the train provided an essential economic and social service for a town that had, by the turn of the century, become New Zealand's principal gold mining settlement.

The Waihi Station also has significance in the history of the New Zealand railway network. Waihi was the terminus for the east coast line from 1905 until the extension to Tahawai was opened on 1 May 1927. This extension was then connected to Tauranga and Taneatua in 1928. Waihi Station continued to serve this line (which was the only rail link between Auckland and Tauranga) until the opening up of the Kaimai deviation in 1978. Today the station is used by the Goldfields Steam Train Society which run a tourist train to Waikino.

The Waihi Railway Station Historic Area is representative of the typical country station both in the placement and design of the remaining structures. The station, many of the accompanying structures and the railway houses represent a wide cross section of typical railway architecture.

This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. This report includes text from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Architectural:

The station (Troup 'B' type) is a rectangular structure with a corrugated iron covered gable roof. There is a lean-to verandah on the rail frontage and a small lean-to porch at the rear. It is clad with rusticated weatherboard. The front features a partially enclosed verandah with a slightly pitched canopy and simple timber posts. Sawtooth valance decorations are located at either end. The exterior also features double-hung sash windows, some of which have carved brackets supporting the lower sill. The rear features a small porch lean-to which is adjacent to a centrally located external brick chimney. The gable ends feature verge boards which are either original or match the original design, but have no windows or other original decorative features.

The architect, George Troup, was appointed Head Draughtsman in 1894 and in 1902 Office Engineer for New Zealand Rail. In 1907 he became a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects. By 1919 he was the first to fill the new post of Officer in Charge of Architectural Branch of New Zealand Railways. The standard designs of the Troup period formed the basis of many new stations right through to 1945 when the last provincial link to Kaikoura was established.

Technological:

Individual structures within the area have significance as examples of past technology. These include the derrick crane which is a rare example of pre-railways technology being adapted to railways use. The manually controlled semaphore signal system is an other important example of past railway technology. While these items were once common features found throughout New Zealand, they are now significant as rare physical reminders of the practical working of the country station yard.

This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. This report includes text from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Social:

The completion of the Paeroa-Waihi railway line and the building of the Waihi Station represents an important event in the social and economic history of Waihi. Both the demands of the gold industry for coal and supplies and the demands of a rapidly increasing population for fast and efficient transport were met with the advent of the railway. As the gold industry wound down the railway continued to play an important part in the history of Waihi with the development of agriculture and other

industries and as a source of local employment.

The current use of the station by the Waihi Goldfields Steam Train Society gives the place added significance as a place of potential public education.

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Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Information Sources

Mackay, 1994

J. Mackay, 'Waihi Railway Station Historic Area Report: An Inventory of Features', NZHPT, 1994

Other Information

A copy of the original report is available from the NZHPT Northern region office

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.

Historic Area Place Name

Coal Wagon Shed
Derrick Crane
Gang Worker's Shed & Shower Block
Gent's Toilets (2)
Jigger Shed (8)
Railway Houses (7)
Semaphore & Colour Light Starting Signals
Sidings
Single Workingmen's Accommodation Huts (several)
Stock Yards
Storage Shed (2)
Waihi Railway Station
Waihi Railway Station Sheds WW570 and WW390