Inglewood Railway Station and Yard

Moa Street, Inglewood

  • Inglewood Railway Station and Yard. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: walgert – flickr. Taken By: walgert – flickr. Date: 23/11/2014.
  • Inglewood Railway Station and Yard. Former vestibule entrance. Image courtesy of .
    Copyright: walgert – flickr. Taken By: walgert – flickr. Date: 23/11/2014.
  • Inglewood Railway Station and Yard. West façade and interior of platform canopy.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: G.Meads. Date: 1/06/2009.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 9352 Date Entered 25th September 2009


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as CT TNL1/31 and CT TNL1/32 and the station building and its fittings and fixtures, as well as the associated structures known as Inglewood Railway Station and Yard thereon including the railway station boundary wall, the loading bank, stock yards ramp and former stock yard area, the remnants of male toilets, cart loading dock and the station platform and canopy. (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the registration report for further information).

City/District Council

New Plymouth District


Taranaki Region

Legal description

Lot 1 DP 19991 (CT TNL1/31); Lot 2 DP 19991 (CT TNL1/32), (NZ Gazette 1888, p.1396), Taranaki Land District

Location description

When approaching the town centre from the south via State Highway (SH) 3/Matai Street the station and yard area are highly visible on the strip of land between Moa Street and Matai Street. Parking is available on either side of these streets and there is also a parking area on the west side of Moa Street behind the reserve's eastern boundary wall. The operational railway is between Matai Street and the station building.


Built in the heart of Inglewood in 1876, the Inglewood Railway Station is the oldest remaining railway station on its original site in New Zealand.

After the conflict between some Taranaki iwi and the Crown, and the associated land confiscations of the mid to late nineteenth century, the Government instigated a policy of settlement in this province that primarily revolved around the establishment of a railway through Taranaki in the 1870s. The project to construct what would become part of the first extensive railway in the North Island attracted assisted immigrant labourers to the area and paved the way for more direct and efficient lines of communications and travel between Taranaki and Wellington. Construction of a railway between New Plymouth and Waitara began in 1875 and by 1876 a line from this had reached Inglewood. In 1885 the line linked at Hawera with the line south to Foxton, connecting at Longburn with the privately-built line to Wellington. The railway enabled the population and economy in Taranaki to grow and sustain itself well into the twentieth century.

The Inglewood Railway Station was built by Public Works Department contractors J. Gibb & G.B. Sealey in 1876 on land purchased for the purpose three years earlier. It was one of the first structures constructed on the site and the building was formally opened on 29 August 1877. The building was a 'Class 5' railway station; a modest weatherboard clad lean-to structure featuring a stationmaster's office, a vestibule area for passengers to shelter under, and a ladies waiting room. The section of the railway it served opened to public traffic on 30 November 1877. Further facilities were added to the site over time, including a goods shed that was completed in 1877 and an engine shed. The station building was extended in 1891 and 1897, and a platform canopy was added to it in 1896.

In this early period the Inglewood Railway Station was the transport hub of the town, enabling people and goods to move freely around the region and connecting them to a national network. As in other smaller towns around New Zealand, for many years the station building also doubled as Inglewood's Post Office and therefore the station also was a vital communications point for the district.

When the primary means of transport changed from rail to road based conveyance in the mid to late twentieth century, a comprehensive programme of railway station rationalisation was undertaken by the Railways Department. Because the Inglewood Railway Station was still leased and therefore a productive asset, but not so much so that it was a priority, it escaped the fate of most of its construction era counterparts in Taranaki and nationally, and was not demolished. However, the continued decline in the viability of the station meant that by the close of the twentieth century the other station facilities, such as the goods sheds and stock yards, had been removed. The station building remains intact and has had no major alterations since 1897. The subsequent land banking of the railway reserve as part of the Waitangi Tribunal settlement process resulted in a stasis that in turn affected the maintenance of the station building.

The station building at Inglewood Railway Station is the oldest railway station on its original site in New Zealand. It serves as an important physical reminder of the centrality of the railway to Taranaki's late nineteenth century social changes and economic progress. The exceptional national significance of the Inglewood Railway Station, which is a vestige of the peak railway building period in New Zealand, is supplemented by the station's importance to the region as a part of the original railway system that increased settlement and ensured industrial and economic growth. The railway reserve also features some of the oldest structures in Inglewood and documents aspects of the town's early development. The recent community effort to paint and repair the exterior of the station building is evidence of its ongoing social significance and prominence as a key local landmark. This was also recently strongly demonstrated by the outstanding public show of support for the NZHPT registration.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The railway construction in Taranaki in the 1870s and early 1880s created the first extension section of railway in the North Island and was the main impetus for increased settlement in eastern Taranaki. The railway was viewed by the government of the time as a means of establishing an unassailable hold on the region after the period of uncertainty created by wars between the Crown and some local iwi in the 1860s. Therefore, the railway construction era station building and other structures of the Inglewood Railway Station and Yard are intricately linked to this turbulent time which has had a lasting impact on race relations. The land banking of the station as part of the Waitangi Tribunal settlement process further cements this association. Inglewood Railway Station is the only substantive building remnant of the construction of the railway in Taranaki and as such it has outstanding regional historical importance.

The programmes of station rebuilding and closure undertaken by the Railways Department in the mid to late twentieth century means that Inglewood Railway Station is now the only station building, and one of oldest structures, remaining from the construction era of the railway; a feature of the province which can be directly linked to population growth and was essential to its economy. As such, the Inglewood Railway Station and Yard is an important lasting testament to, and symbol of, the success of Julius Vogel's public works and immigration policy.

The township of Inglewood was established just prior to the railway reaching the area. Therefore the station building is significant as it is one of the first purpose-built buildings in the town, and is among the earliest remaining examples of built heritage in the Inglewood district. The changes to the station building, such as those motivated by the need to expand the Post Office operations within it, and then their eventual removal, as well as the other facilities at the station, is reflective of the growth of the town. Until rail's transportation pre-eminence was overtaken by road in the mid to late twentieth century, Inglewood Railway Station and Yard was also an essential portal for the economy of this region which relied on the rail links to support the timber, dairy, and other local industries and therefore was of considerable importance.

Architectural Significance or Value:

The Inglewood Railway Station building, first constructed in 1876, is exceptional because it is the earliest remaining railway station building in New Zealand still on its original site. The station building is an exemplar of the architecturally unpretentious railway stations built to the standard 'Class 5' station design by William Henry Clayton, and later modified in a sympathetic manner. Late nineteenth and early twentieth century railway station buildings were once a prolific form of characteristic vernacular architecture, but their numbers have diminished which means that the station building at Inglewood is a now rare remaining example.

There have been few major structural changes to the station building's form since the late nineteenth century and as such it documents the evolution of Railways Department standard designs for modest sized railway stations over the 25 years to the end of the nineteenth century, in accordance with the growth of that department's operations and changing priorities. This is also evident in the verandah at the Inglewood Railway Station, which is now one of the oldest examples of a platform canopy and dates from the period when existing medium-sized stations were first being granted platform canopies. The decorative features incorporated into the verandah are indicative of the maturing of railway station architecture in New Zealand, which was the result of late nineteenth century architects being given a mandate to include features over and above the basics of necessity and function which characterised Vogel era railway station architecture.

Social Significance or Value:

The Inglewood Railway Station and Yard has outstanding local social significance because the railway and the station building were key facilitators in the establishment of the town and the settlement of the wider area. As the main portal to and from the town for passenger and freight traffic until the mid twentieth century, the station building and yard supported population movement and increases, and economic expansion. The establishment of the railway reserve at the centre of Inglewood coincided with the planned settlement of the town and as such this area, which includes the station building and associated remnants of railway activity, has always been a prominent landmark in the townscape. The Inglewood Railway Station and Yard continues to be held in very high regard by the community today.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history:

The Inglewood Railway Station and Yard is a physical remnant of the peak period of railway building in New Zealand, which was a direct result of Julius Vogel's policy that saw public works in New Zealand become a focus and resulted in a significant outlay of expenditure, and attracted more people to this country.

(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history:

The initial buildings at the Inglewood Railway Station were built to standardised plans attributed to the Colonial Architect William Henry Clayton, the first and only person to hold this position. The station also has some association with important politicians such as Richard Seddon and Joseph Ward.

(e) The community association with, or public esteem for the place:

The community esteem for the place has most strongly been demonstrated by the outstanding public response to NZHPT's proposal to register the Inglewood Railway Station and Yard, which included submissions in support from the Mayor of New Plymouth and the local Member for Parliament, and a petition signed by 735 people. The considerable community esteem for the station building was earlier demonstrated through the donation of materials and volunteering of time in order to repair the exterior of this prominent local building and landmark. In general the feedback regarding this has been positive and the care shown towards the building has instilled the community with a sense of pride.

(f) The potential of the place for public education:

Because the railway reserve is an original feature of Inglewood, and the station building one of the oldest buildings in the town, the Inglewood Railway Station and Yard has ample potential for public education regarding the development of settlement in Taranaki, the links this has to conflicts of the 1860s and their legacy, as well as the railway's contribution to regional history.

(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape:

The Inglewood Railway Station and Yard is an integral component of the historical and cultural landscape of Taranaki because of its association with the railway which was the impetus for the establishment of settlements, an influx in population, and then was a key component in the continuance of many of the settlements in eastern Taranaki in particular.

Summary of Significance or Values:

This place was assessed against, and found it to qualify under the following criteria: a, b, e, f, and k.


It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category I historic place.

The Inglewood Railway Station and Yard is a place of outstanding national and local importance. There are a number of railway station buildings within New Zealand that are comparable to that at Inglewood in size, design, and era which have been singled out as special buildings that warrant recognition as Category I historic places by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust. These include station buildings at Greymouth, Shannon, and Waverley. However, despite similarities to these places, the Inglewood Railway Station building is set apart by the fact that it is the oldest station building on its original site in New Zealand. It is also a rare remnant of the peak period of railway building in New Zealand and the earliest building existing from what would become part of the first extensive railway in the North Island. The longevity of the station building is also extraordinary because it is one of a small number of its contemporaries to survive the comprehensive mid to late twentieth century station building national replacement and demolition programme.

The construction of the railway in Taranaki was important as a main facilitator of social and economic growth regionally. The Inglewood Railway Station and Yard was integral to this locally from the time of its construction in 1876 until the late twentieth century. The railway reserve has been a feature of Inglewood since the town's inception, and the station building and associated structures rank among some of the earliest examples of built heritage in the district. Because the Inglewood Railway Station and Yard is physically central to the township and was a community and economic hub for the greater part of its existence, it is a key landmark locally and still has considerable social significance. This was recently strongly demonstrated by the outstanding public show of support for the NZHPT registration and by voluntary labours for maintenance of the building.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Clayton, William Henry

Born in Tasmania, Clayton (1823-1877) travelled to Europe with his family in 1842. He studied architecture in Brussells and was then articled to Sir John Rennie, engineer to the Admiralty, in London. He returned to Tasmania in 1848 and worked in private practice until he was appointed Government Surveyor in 1852.

He resumed private practice in 1855 and was involved with surveying in the Launceston area. In 1857 he was elected an alderman on the Launceston Municipal Council. By the time Clayton immigrated to Dunedin in 1863 he had been responsible for the design of many buildings including churches, banks, a mechanics' institute, a theatre, steam and water mills, breweries, bridges, mansions and villas, in addition to being a land surveyor and road engineer.

In 1864 he entered partnership with William Mason. Mason and Clayton were responsible for some important buildings in Dunedin including All Saints Church (1865) and The Exchange (former Post Office) (1865) as well as the Colonial Museum, Wellington (1865). These were two of the most prominent architects of their day in New Zealand.

In 1869 Clayton became the first and only Colonial Architect and was responsible for the design of Post and Telegraph offices, courthouses, customhouses, Government department offices and ministerial residences. His acknowledged masterpiece is Government Buildings, Wellington (1876) a stone-simulated wooden building and the largest timber framed building in the Southern Hemisphere.

Clayton was a prolific and highly accomplished architect both within the Public Service and in private practice, in New Zealand and Australia.


New Zealand Railways

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

The Inglewood Railway Station and Yard is prominently located in the centre of the town of Inglewood, north-east of Mount Taranaki in the North Island. The railway station building and yard were constructed as part of the first extensive railway construction programme in the North Island and date from 1876. As such, the station building is regarded as the oldest railway station still on its original site in New Zealand.

The history of settlement in Taranaki is long and often fraught with periods of conflict. There is archaeological and traditional evidence of Maori settlement in South Taranaki dating back to the 14th century. Taranaki had a wealth of natural resources which made it an attractive area to settle and the resulting immigration to, and then migration within, the region meant that by the early nineteenth century there were several iwi present in Taranaki with what would become Inglewood being at the centre of Te Atiawa's rohe (district). European influence in the area began to be felt from the late 1820s with the arrival of small groups of whalers and traders. When the Plymouth Company was formed in early 1840 the potential for conflict between European settlers and authorities, and local iwi was heightened. Although the first few years of settlement at New Plymouth appear to have been relatively harmonious, by the end of the 1840s settlers were looking to extend their influence and the seeds of conflict between iwi and the Crown were well and truly sown.

The hostilities between some Taranaki iwi and the Crown around the mid nineteenth century, and the resultant land confiscations from the 1860s, have been a significant feature of the race relations and politics of the province for 150 years. Armed conflict between Te Atiawa and other local iwi, and the Crown from 1860, was the product of the strong opposition that these iwi expressed to land purchases in their area, such as the Waitara Block. The hostilities meant that under the New Zealand Settlement Act 1863 the Government was able to confiscate land from those who were deemed to be 'rebels' whether the individual hapu of the area taken were actively involved or not, and led to 185,000 acres of land within Te Atiawa's rohe being confiscated.

Railways were initiated in Taranaki only a few years after the abating of the wars in 1869, and were seen as a means of cementing European ascendency in the province. In the 1870s New Zealand was in the grip of its first surge of railway construction which was brought about by Julius Vogel's (1835-1899) public works and immigration policy. Vogel, then the Colonial Treasurer in William Fox's government, proposed a bold expansionist policy which was adopted by the House in 1870. As part of this plan it was intended that a railway in Taranaki would facilitate access to, and communication between it, and Wellington, and promote settlement which could support the railway and utilise the vast industrial and agricultural potential of the province. The anticipated spin-off of this for the Government would be the establishment of a permanent and unassailable hold on the region. The opinion that a railway was the means of achieving this seems to have been relatively common view and had been suggested to Government officials by a local European settler as early as 1864.

In Taranaki the first step was to construct a railway between New Plymouth and Waitara. The contract for this section was let to a London company, John Brogden & Sons, in 1873 and it opened for traffic on 14 October 1875. This was then extended inland to Inglewood from Sentry Hill, the route for which was surveyed by Charles Wilson Hursthouse (c.1841-1911). The construction of this section of the railway then proceeded between 1875 and 1877. Railway construction throughout New Zealand was close to its peak during the period when this section was being established, and 1876 was said to have seen 'a very large expenditure' on this infrastructure. In accordance with Vogel's policy, assisted immigrant workers were principally used to build the railway from Sentry Hill to Inglewood and also cleared the bush for settlement. Many of these immigrants were of Polish descent, but there were also German, Dutch, Swiss and British immigrants who did the work and resided in or around Inglewood. After the railway had reached Inglewood it continued steadily on and had arrived at Stratford in 1879 and Hawera by 1881.

When the railway through Taranaki, from New Plymouth to Foxton, was eventually completed in 1885 it became what has been called the 'first extensive section of railway in the North Island'. It connected to the Wellington & Manawatu Railway south of Longburn, the line between New Plymouth and Wellington totalling more than 450 miles of continuous route length. New Zealand's first public railway was created between Christchurch and Ferrymead in 1863, and the South Island was then quick to cement its lead in railway construction mostly through the ambitious efforts of the Canterbury Provincial Council and the resulting competition between it and its neighbours. Despite lagging behind its southern counterpart, public railways began to be built in the North Island from the early 1870s at places such as Auckland, Wellington, and Napier. However the Taranaki railway was a pioneering transport route in the North Island and laid the foundation for subsequent larger projects such as the North Island Main Trunk, which was only in its conceptual stage when the Taranaki railway was being completed.

By the time the railway line neared Inglewood in 1876, formal settlement had already begun. The first town lots were sold in early 1875 as a result of political agitation from New Plymouth which convinced the Government to sell over 100,000 acres of the inland Taranaki land which had been confiscated after the conflicts of the 1860s. The ‘dense mass of virgin bush' was quickly cleared and used for slab huts and the other rough architecture which characterised the town early on. The approach of the railway was the cause of much excitement among the existing settlers in Inglewood and surrounding district. People tracked its progression in letters and by April 1876 the railway is reported to have been close to Inglewood.

In preparation for the arrival of the railway a ‘Class 5' station was built at Inglewood in 1876, on land purchased for that purpose in 1873. The Public Works Department contracted the construction of the station building and a stationmaster's house to J. Gibb and G.B. Sealey for £410. The opening of the building was formally celebrated on 29 August 1877, and the section of the railway line that it served opened to public traffic on 30 November 1877. Also in 1877, the goods and engine sheds were constructed by different contractors which completed the initial complement of buildings at Inglewood Railway Station. This was to be a staffed station and in accordance with the standardised plans of the time, which were the result of the drive to construct railways in the most efficient and cost effective manner possible, it did not have a verandah but featured a central roofed shelter which acted as a vestibule and had the stationmaster's office on one side, and the ladies' waiting room on the other.

It is probable that the design for the set of standardised Vogel era railway stations was the work of the first and only Colonial Architect, William Henry Clayton (1823-1877). Through his appointment as Colonial Architect during the period of implementation of Vogel's expansionist schemes for public works and immigration, there is no doubt that Clayton contributed greatly to New Zealand architecture in the eight years he held this office. Crighton writes that Clayton, charged with the responsibility of providing the public facilities needed to support Vogel's policy, which included Customs houses, immigration barracks, court houses, post offices, railway stations, prisons, schools, offices, government employees' cottages and hospitals,

‘devised standard plans to answer the problem of quickly erecting numerous small wooden buildings throughout the colony, from the goldfields in the southern provinces to the north of Auckland. At least 80 post offices alone were constructed between 1870 and 1877. The standard-plan buildings were successful because of their appropriate simplicity, but their appearance belied the wealth of engineering and architectural experience which generated them.'

The standardised railway station designs from the Vogel era are commonly attributed to Clayton because he was the architect-in-chief, however, they may have been worked up by one of his staff, such as Pierre Finch Martineau Burrows (1842-1920), and then signed off by Clayton.

Because rail was the main means of transporting the mail, in smaller towns during the late nineteenth century it made sense to have the Post Office in the railway station building. Combining stationmaster duties with those of postmaster was also a common occurrence and Inglewood was no exception. The original Post Office in Inglewood was set up in the Government Store in 1875 and was then moved to another store before being incorporated into the railway station building in 1878. Prior to this there were a relatively large number of post offices which had been included in railway stations, mostly in Canterbury, but Inglewood was only the eighth instance of this in the North Island and was the second in Taranaki behind that in the Waitara station building. The Inglewood station building was expanded in 1891 and 1897 in order to enhance the passenger facilities, but also at the Post Office Department's request. By 1901 Inglewood had a population of over 700, and five years later this had risen to 1,152. With this increasing population to service a specialist Post Office was required, and as such a dedicated building was constructed opposite the railway reserve which enabled the Post Office to move out of the station building in 1902. The growth within, and then removal of the Post Office from, the station building is indicative of the development of Inglewood from a small tent settlement to a thriving town. This growth can be attributed to the economic stimulus and resulting population growth that stemmed from its proximity to a railway and associated station.

As discussed earlier, it was the prospect of the railway link from New Plymouth to Patea and onto Wellington, and the workforce this required, which first brought people to Inglewood, and once the railway was constructed it continued to do so. Until the mid twentieth century conveyance by train was the main form of passenger transport when travelling between towns and longer distances. As such the railway station was the main portal to and from Inglewood. The railway enabled entrepreneurs like Chew Chong (1827-1844? - 1920) to supervise his businesses in towns such as Eltham and Inglewood while being based in New Plymouth because he could easily make the return trip to these places in a day. The station was also a lifeline for seriously injured or ill people in the Inglewood area who required treatment at New Plymouth Hospital. Unfortunately, this meant that at least one person, Henry Conrad who was hurt while tree felling, died at the railway station while awaiting transportation. The railway also enabled politicians to travel to, and within Taranaki. On occasions when notable people, such as Premiers Richard Seddon and Joseph Ward, visited the town Inglewood Railway Station was the site of their formal greeting. On one visit Seddon even delivered his address standing on a chair on the platform.

New Zealand railway stations facilitated travel and communications and therefore they were the ‘central community hub' of towns. By 1884 there were several passenger services running between Hawera and New Plymouth, and a twice-weekly service to Wellington was added to this in 1886. Therefore, when combined with the steamer service between New Plymouth and Onehunga, for two decades (until the opening of the North Island Main Trunk Line in 1908) Inglewood Station was a stop on the quickest route from Wellington to Auckland. Further travel opportunities became available in 1933 when the Stratford-Okahukura Line was completed, which connects Taranaki to the North Island Main Trunk and northern cities. The landmark status of the railway station within the community was also helped by its central locality, and the prominence of the railway reserve gained further standing in the early twentieth century when the northern portion was leased to the Town Board so that they could construct Inglewood's commemorative band rotunda in 1911. The civic focus of the railway reserve was again enhanced in 1924 when the Inglewood's war memorial was built on the northwest corner. These structures and other significant buildings close by, like the Post Office, meant that the area around the railway station became the civic centre of the Inglewood.

Rail was not only a primary means of transporting people, but the station and yard was also vital for the movement of freight and goods to, from, and through the town. For the first few years of its existence the station building and platform had a direct associated with incomes of some local people. It is recorded that many Polish immigrant women supplemented their families' meagre earnings while the men were away undertaking bush felling contracts, or if times were particularly tough, by going to the station and selling the wild fungus, known as ‘Taranaki wool,' to Chew Chong as he disembarked from the train. In this way Chong is said to have saved many Polish families from starvation. However, it was not only personal commerce that benefited from having a station in the vicinity. Local businesses depended on Inglewood Railway Station for the transport of their products. Despite being completed in 1876, the railway station building was only officially opened on 29 August 1877. The immediate worth of the station to the district is evident because on that day a consignment of timber from Colonel Trimble's mill was railed from Inglewood to New Plymouth for use in the construction of its government buildings. The importance of the railway link for industry is also demonstrated by the fact that Henry Brown, who was to become a prominent local businessman and personality, purposely built his timber mill close to the station soon after it was finished and connected to it with a private siding.

Aside from benefiting an early timber industry, the station also facilitated the growth of other local industries such as the dairy and other agricultural industries. By 1908 it is reported that ‘a large co-operative dairy factory' as well as a ‘large and successful bacon-curing factory' had been established close to Inglewood. As such timber, pigs, dairy products, and sheep were also listed as main exports out of the station. The construction of facilities for loading sheep at the station were completed in 1902, but only after a five year struggle and several petitions by locals which were driven by the opening of the Waitara Freezing Works. Despite most sheep being transported to Waitara by road by the 1930s, the yards were still used for the animals on their way to the Patea works. This consistent usage and an increasing amount of pig traffic in this period motivated another upgrading of the station yard facilities. In the early 1920s it was also necessary to extend the goods shed by 30ft.

In 1929 it was acknowledged that ‘Motor services on the main roads are now a formidable freight and passenger transport competitor with rail,' but it was asserted that ‘they can never replace the railways for the main classes of freight and passenger traffic.' However, by the mid 1960s this conviction was doubted and it was estimated that the opening of one road bridge per day was needed to keep up with demand. Consequently, the national rail network has experienced major change over the past 40 years. Just as the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was the peak of railway building in New Zealand, the mid twentieth century saw a focus on expanding and enhancing road infrastructure assets. The growth of competition in passenger traffic from road, and to a lesser extent air travel, by the mid twentieth century was exemplified by Queen Elizabeth II using a combination of these modes of travel during her coronation tour of New Zealand in late 1953 and early 1954, whereas earlier royal tours mainly depended on ship and train transportation. Although the Queen did not stop in Inglewood, like she did at Hawera, Stratford, and New Plymouth, the royal train used for this portion of the tour had to pass through Inglewood, and the station and yard would have been a coveted position for the crowds of locals hoping to glimpse the young queen as she waved from the carriage.

Because of greater competition from road transport, in smaller centres including Inglewood returns from rail passengers, and then freight, declined. Although New Zealand Railways (NZR) diversified into road services (New Zealand Railways Road Services were the country's biggest bus and coach operators, for example), in the mid to late twentieth century New Zealand Railways looked to streamline their operations, facilities, and resources throughout New Zealand's rail network. Taranaki was not immune to this, as rail services deemed to be uneconomic were discontinued. However, in the late 1950s Inglewood station still had many freight and several passenger services from, or stopping at, the station daily and as such requests for improved office facilities at the station were acceded to. It was reported that prior to this there had been no change to the office area since it was first expanded for the Post Office in the late nineteenth century. The alterations included the opening up of the public lobby in order to increase accessibility. Because the office area was then exposed to the public, provision was made for a separate stationmaster's office. However, the viability of the station continued to decline because passenger train services had been significantly reduced by 1970 and then remaining passenger train services from New Plymouth were stopped in 1983. New Zealand Railways Road Services continued to use the station for both passengers and parcels until the major changes of the early 1990s. This withdrawal made Inglewood's station building largely redundant aside from providing public toilets.

The drive for efficiency and modernisation also saw NZR instigate an extensive nation-wide programme of station replacements and closures. This programme seems to have been particularly comprehensive in Taranaki with modern station buildings constructed at Patea (c.1960), New Plymouth, (1961) Stratford (1961), Lepperton Junction (1965), Midhirst (c.1965) and Hawera (1968), and there were calls for the Inglewood's station building to be likewise substituted for a new one. There was possibly an element of wanting to ‘keep up with the Joneses' in the Borough Council's determination for this to happen, but for NZR Inglewood was a lower priority than the other stations. The station building and yard at Inglewood was still a useful asset which forestalled closure or demolition, and the facilities were also in a satisfactory condition so their modernising was not imperative. However, Inglewood Railway Station was also not deemed sufficiently important enough to justify any significant expenditure and the station building was left as it was. From a rail heritage perspective, the perceived mediocrity of Inglewood Railway Station was therefore a saving grace for the station building. However, by 1975 the use of the stock yards had diminished dramatically and accordingly they were removed. The Borough Council was happy with this and continued an unsuccessful campaign for the station building to be replaced.

The NZR programmes of station modernisation and rationalisation mean that the Inglewood Railway Station is now the only original station building and one of oldest structures remaining from the construction era of the railway through Taranaki. The programmes also extended to other stations around New Zealand, and resulted in the demolition of many buildings or their removal as in the case of station buildings like Onehunga Railway Station (1874) which was bought by the Auckland Railway Enthusiasts' Society in 1962 and moved off site. Therefore, because the core of the Inglewood Railway Station dates from 1876, it is now considered the oldest in situ station building in New Zealand.

By the mid 1990s Inglewood Railway Station had closed and the yard had been almost completely cleared. Because the land was surplus it was land banked during this period as part of the Waitangi Tribunal settlement process. This ushered in a period of inaction regarding the station while the future of the land was being decided. Since 2005 the station building was showing signs of neglect and by early 2009 had been vandalised. This resulted in a community-driven project to remedy problems which had accumulated due to the building's lack of use and maintenance. This focused on making the building weatherproof by replacing areas of the exterior cladding which were degraded, and also painting the exterior. All of the materials, and a majority of the labour required to do this, were donated by the local community. For years the condition of the station building had been a source of embarrassment locally, especially because of the prominent position it has in the townscape of Inglewood. However, local feedback since the completion of the exterior repair work suggests that the building, and the community's efforts in helping it, have become a source of civic pride. The long history of the use of the station building and this recent community activity lends weight to the assertion that within New Zealand the ‘railway station was one of the most important places in...cities and towns. It was something of a community institution.'

Physical Description

Construction Professionals:

Architect - William Henry Clayton (See DNZB entry)

Builders - J. Gibb and G.B. Sealey - New Zealand Railways Department

Physical Description and Analysis:

The Inglewood Railway Station and Yard consists of a mostly level and cleared block of land between two of the town's original main streets. This setting is important because it has always been a relatively open space at the centre of the town, which has been flanked from early on with compact rows of commercial buildings. The setting also draws attention to the main feature of this section of land, which is the station building and platform situated immediately east of the operational railway line. However, there are also other features within the extent of this block which also contribute to the heritage value of the piece of land as a whole.

The eastern side of the reserve is bounded by a low wall dating from c.1911 which runs between the station building and the band rotunda on the northern corner of the block. The wall is of concrete construction and has large stones embedded in it. At the station end the wall forms a reverse 'L' shape, and since its construction has acted as a retaining wall at this end. The earth behind the wall is level with the platform and the top of the wall. This land then gradually descends but the wall maintains a constant height, so that approximately half of the wall stands alone. This lower flat area east of the railway line also features a carpark which is a mid-late twentieth addition and the access to which necessitated removing of a small section of the wall.

The western side of the current line, which was previously the station yard that included several other tracks and the goods shed, is a flat area of land which is mostly shingled but also features some patches of grass and has been landscaped on the outer edge. Central to this area is the only remnant of the yard facilities that were opposite the station building for approximately 100 years: a concrete loading bank with ramps on either end. This probably dates from when the goods shed was constructed in 1877.

Towards the southern end of the railway reserve the land is grassed and rises slightly. This section is landscaped and features mature trees and park facilities such as benches. However, the former railway functions of this section of the reserve are maintained through the topography and also the presence of another concrete ramp which has steel rails attached to it and was the ramp leading into one of the stock yards.

Immediately south of the railway station building and adjoining the platform is the remnant of another building which has been demolished: the concrete pad of the men's toilet block which was constructed by the early twentieth century. The complement of railway and railway station related structures is then completed at the back of the platform close to the station building. The 'U' shaped concrete structure was the cart loading dock for the station and as such opens directly out onto the street level. Given its function this is likely to date from the initial construction period or late nineteenth century.

The Station Building Exterior:

The consistent use of a corrugated iron lean-to roof and weatherboard cladding throughout the two main extension periods of the building in 1891 and 1897 is sympathetic to what was already present in the original 1876 building, as well as conforming with railway station designs of the resultant size, which were newly constructed in the closing decade of the nineteenth century. With the exception of central city railway stations of the larger metropolitan centres, weatherboard clad, timber construction railway station buildings were the norm throughout New Zealand until the mid twentieth century. The initial building at Inglewood unsurprisingly conformed to this and was a 'Class 5' Vogel era station, although it has also been said to have been a 'Class 4' station. These two standards types were relatively similar in dimension and features, but the 'Class 4' stations generally featured a deeply recessed central vestibule and had more exterior decorative features. Images of the Waitara station building, which was a contemporaneous structures also described as a 'Class 5' station, indicate that the slight recessing of the central vestibule, and the double doors flanked by small arch topped windows, were standardised features of the 1876 Inglewood station building. The photograph of the Waitara station also suggests that the decorative arching on the main façade of the Inglewood building is most likely a post-construction addition. The pilasters on each end of the vestibule façade decoration echo those used on the platform canopy flanking supports, and therefore probably date from the 1890s.

The major extension of the building happened in 1891. The practice of enlarging existing stations buildings when necessity required was common Railways Department practice and the station buildings at Inglewood, Shannon, and Waverley are indicative of this policy. All of these railway stations are considered modified Vogel-era buildings. As a result of the 1891 extension the existing ladies waiting room of the Inglewood building was added onto in order to create the stations store and the new ladies waiting room at the southern end of the building. The existing office was significantly enlarged northwards. When the platform canopy was designed in 1896 it would have been to the specifications of the then existing station which indicates that the station was its current length by 1896 and that the later 1897 extension did not affect this.

The 1897 lean-to on the north-eastern corner of the building, perpendicular to the main body of the building, is likewise of a sympathetic style to the previous construction periods, but forms an unusual clean rectangular façade when viewed from the northern end, and then is strongly contrasted with the gable of the platform canopy. In addition, this large 1897 extension has a small lean-to on its south-east corner which currently contains the office's kitchenette. This feature appears in a c.1910 image of the station building and therefore dates from the same period as the large addition it is connected to, or soon after. The painted timber weatherboards, bargeboards and fascias of the building are likely to consist primarily of heritage fabric from the associated periods of the building's expansion, although there have been instances such as the recent repair work at the station which resulted in areas of rotten timber weatherboards being replaced. The main area where new boards were inserted is the southern corner of the office area.

Because of the gentle grade running up to the platform, the station building features timber baseboards on the eastern and northern sides. On the eastern elevation there are two platforms with stair access to doors. The southernmost of these is concrete, while the other is constructed from timber. The concrete platform and associated 4-pane glazed double doors date from a period after 1955, as does the timber platform and stairs which lead to the double 3-panel glazed doors from the office area. An image from c.1910 shows that there was a small lean-to in the approximate vicinity of the concrete platform that was demolished sometime after 1953. The timber platform and stairs may be a remnant of the lean-to shown in this image or may have been constructed when the lean-to was removed. The only addition to the building to be constructed after the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century is the lean-to addition at the southern end which was added after 1955, and possibly even dates from the 1970s. It is uncertain when the two chimneys, which were connected to the office and ladies waiting room respectively, were removed but it would seem it was at some stage in the mid to late twentieth century as they still appeared in the 1955 plan of the building.

The majority of the windows in the building are double hung sash windows dating from the respective construction periods. However, at least one of these was added subsequent to the date of its associated extension, and that is the easternmost window on the northern façade. This does not appear in early images of the building but was a feature by the mid twentieth century. Aside from this, the eastern façade provides the main deviations from the norm in that the ladies waiting room has a casement window which is unusual within the building, and adjoining toilet block also has casement windows.

Station Building (Western Façade):

The western façade is the main face of the building. The focal point of this elevation are the double doors framed by timber arches which indicate the 1876 heart of the building, and clearly delineates the extent of the necessity-driven subsequent additions to the building. The fabric in this section of the building appears to date from 1876.

The western façade is punctuated with five access points. From the northern end of the building these are a set of double doors with two glazed panels in each and also a single door leading into the office area, double timber doors providing access to the vestibule, and then a single door into the ladies waiting room and another into the later lean-to toilet block addition. The second set of doors leading into the office is a post-1955 addition. This door is in the position of what was previously an 1891 window and it can still be traced on the building through the rectangular framed section of weatherboards above the door which echoes the dimensions of the windows to its north. Originally the vestibule of the 1876 station seems to have been an open area and it is uncertain when the double doors were added, but they do not appear on the 1955 plan of the building. The other doors all appear consistent with the construction date of their immediate surroundings.

Other features of the western side of the station building include a small, now blocked off, ticket window which is just north of the second door into the office area, as well as utility boxes either side of this access point. Then in between the door and the first window of the ladies' waiting room is an interpretive 'Heritage Trail' panel with an arched top. The final fixtures and fittings on the exterior of this side of the building are the signalling equipment machinery boxes at the southern end. The signalling levers also remain on the platform and sit on a timber base.

Platform and Verandah:

The platform was first constructed in 1876 and was subsequently altered when the verandah was built in 1896. It is also said to have been extended by a further 150ft in 1904. By 1944 the platform at Inglewood and other regional stations were in need of 'patching and top dressing' and this was done towards the end of that year. Aside from this remedial work the platform did not undergo any significant alteration after its current form was established in the early twentieth century.

The verandah is an example of a closed end, number 2, late post-Vogel era platform canopy. Unlike later station buildings which had a platform canopy incorporated into their initial design, such as that at Greymouth (1894-95), the verandah at Inglewood was a post-construction addition and dates from 1896. The 'railway iron' arched canopy supports are distinctive aspect of station verandahs created between the Vogel and Troup eras of railway station design, and were also present at the first Masterton and Pahiatua stations. This form of canopy support can also be seen in the contemporaneous platform canopy of the Waverley Railway Station, which is also a closed end verandah. From the southern end of the building one can see that the gabled roof of the canopy mirrors the pitch of the lean-to of the roof on the building, and joins the building slightly below the level of its roof.

The verandah's gable ends feature painted thin vertical timber curved-end sections with a small decorative circular puncture in each. These extend in a level manner across the verandah's closed end from a point coinciding with the beginning of the main body station, and then curve in a concave form towards the outer edge of the canopy. The southern gable end also features a decorative trefoil motif which although was an original feature of the building, is a recent addition, as are the Inglewood place name placards on each end.

The small timber frame and rusticated weatherboard clad walls mean that the verandah is classed as a closed platform canopy. Aside from the decorative treatment of the canopy gable ends, the closed ends also feature one of the few examples of conscious decoration in the building with each featuring a pilaster capped with a simple capital. The form of these is then mirrored by post supports of the verandah at each end, which are opposite their timber counterparts and create a suggestion of classical influence and a defined entrance.

Station Building Interior:

Four main interior spaces which listed from the northern end of the building are: the office area which is the largest internal space; the former vestibule area which was the area first created in 1876; the storeroom; and the ladies waiting room which lead into the building's toilet block at the southern end. Because of disuse, vandalism, and the roof not being sealed to a satisfactory standard, the northern interior spaces are in particular need of remedial and restorative work. The use of plywood to cover and protect the windows and glazed areas in the doors against vandalism is also most obvious from the interior.

Office area:

The office area features a large open space as well as a smaller office which was used by the station master and opposite this a kitchenette and storage area in the lean-to visible on the exterior. Evidence of the 1955 alteration to the interior of this section can be seen with a ridge in the ceiling above the public counter marking what was the dividing wall between the office and the then public lobby, and also the outline of the old office doorway can be seen on the short wall of the stationmaster's office. The counter which is fitted in this area appears to be contemporaneous with these alterations. However, a feature of this area that dates from c.1891 is the Milner 67B safe which is still in its original position, encased in concrete against the western wall in what was the Post Office area.

The ceiling and wall linings also most likely date from the 1950s remodelling period or later. There was a fire in this section of the station in 1966 which meant that part of the roof, interior lining, and some of the exterior cladding required replacement at that time. Because of a lack of general maintenance, by late 2008 there was a significant leak in the roof which affected the linings of the roof and floor in the office area and as a result the ceiling lining is water damaged.

Former vestibule:

This is the oldest part of the building and while this legacy is visible on the exterior, the interior provides no indication of this as the linings seem to date from the mid twentieth century. This is because it made the transition from being essentially a shelter open to the elements and flanked by rooms to an interior space. What would have been the interior/exterior doors from 1876 were removed when the 1891 extensions to the building were undertaken, and then later the position of the internal access to the office was changed from being towards the eastern to the western side of the building. This was a post-1955 alteration and probably coincided with the replacement of the interior linings. Unlike the office, this room does not have any major fittings or fixtures.

The main evidence of the damage cause by vandals is in the interior wall which separates the vestibule from the storeroom. Here a large hole has been made in the lining, presumably because there is no other means of internal access to the storeroom from the north.


The access to this room is from the double doors which open to the eastern side of the building. This room has hardboard linings on the ceiling and walls, and timber skirtings and architraves which are similar to those in the vestibule and may date from the same period, and the damage to the lining on the dividing wall is more substantial than that of the vestibule.

Ladies' waiting room and toilet block:

This is the second largest of the interior spaces and has timber match ceiling lining and upper wall sections. The lower sections of the walls are lined in acoustic and plain hardboard. Until the mid to late twentieth century this room, like the office, had a fireplace but both of these have been removed. This room features a porcelain hand basin and larger stainless steel sink in its south-eastern corner below the casement window of the eastern elevation.

There is an accessway to the toilet facilities from the south-west corner to the room. Including the later addition of the lean-to at the southern end of the building, this area provides three separate toilet cubicles as well as two external doors which allowed public access to the toilets after staffing at the station was reduced. The toilet has been removed from the southernmost cubicle in the lean-to and the cistern is likewise missing from what was the toilet space of the 1891 extension. Despite this the general condition in the ladies' waiting room and toilet section of the building is relatively good.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1876 -
Station building constructed

Original Construction
1877 -
Goods and engine sheds constructed

1891 -
Station building extended

1896 -
Verandah/platform canopy constructed

Original Construction
Cart loading dock constructed

1897 -
Station building's office area extended eastwards

1900 -
Men's toilet block constructed

1902 -
Stock yards constructed

1904 -
Platform extended

Lean-to in vicinity of main platform constructed

Original Construction
1911 -
Eastern boundary wall constructed

Goods shed extended by 30ft

1944 -
Platform patched and dressed

Easternmost window added to northern facade

1955 -
Office interior of station building altered

1966 -
Fire in office area necessitates the replacement of some interior and exterior cladding

Demolished - Other
Lean-to by platform demolished

1974 -
Station building painted

Southern lean-to added to station building when toilet block extended

Fireplaces and chimneys removed from station building

1975 -
Stock yards removed

Demolished - Other
1977 -
Goods and engine sheds demolished

1990 -
Station yard sheds and crossing loop removed

Demolished - Other
Men's toilet block demolished

2009 -
Station building painted and some exterior cladding replaced

Construction Details

Concrete, glass, timber, steel, stone.

Completion Date

13th August 2009

Report Written By

Karen Astwood

Information Sources

Cyclopedia of New Zealand, 1908

Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908, Vol. 6, Taranaki, Hawke's Bay, Wellington, 1908

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Crighton, Anna. 'Clayton, William Henry 1823 - 1877', updated 22 June 2007, URL:

Leitch, 1988

David Leitch and Bob Stott, New Zealand Railways: The First 125 Years, Auckland, 1988

Mahoney, 1987

J. D. Mahoney, Down at the Station: A Study of the New Zealand Railway Station, Palmerston North, 1987

McLintock, 1966

An Encyclopedia of New Zealand, Government Printer, Wellington, 1966

Lambert, 1983

G & R Lambert. An Illustrated History of Taranaki, Dunmore Press, Palmerston North, 1983.


New Zealand Government Executive

New Zealand Government Executive

'Heads of Agreement between the Crown and Te Atiawa: Summary of Historical Background to the claims by Te Atiawa'

Scanlan, 1977

A B Scanlan, Taranaki's First Railway, New Plymouth, 1977

McGavin, 1976

T A McGavin, A Century of Railways in Taranaki, 1875-1975, Wellington, 1976

Brown, 1975

R W Brown, Te Moa: 100 years history of the Inglewood community, 1875-1975, New Plymouth, 1975

Cassells, 1984

K R Cassells, The Foxton and Wanganui railway, New Zealand Railway and Locomotive Society, Wellington & Auckland, 1984

Conservation Plan

Conservation Plan

Ian Bowman, 'Conservation Plan: Inglewood Railway Station,' November 2007

Other Information

A fully referenced Registration Report is available from the NZHPT Central 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.