I am constantly on the hunt for images of Old St Paul’s, and this is one of my favourites. This one was taken in around 1868, when the church was brand new. It is fascinating to see how empty Thorndon was at the time.
This comes from the Alexander Turnbull Library, which provides its image in such high resolution that close-up focus on the details of the image is possible. The image gives a great view of the church, even down to the decorative crocketing feature along the ridgeline of the roof. This feature was removed when the original timber shingles were removed and the church reroofed in 1895. It also emphasises how prominent the church must have been from the harbour at this time.
The building to the right of the church is the first Bishop’s Residence, and you can see by the shadows the peculiar shape of the chimneys, which went up and over the roof, designed to keep the smoke away from the house in the windy conditions.
It is fascinating to see the cottages of Thorndon in such detail, and how incredibly plain and unadorned they are:
It looks to me as if someone had just spent a lot of time working on fences fairly recently.
The image also shows the barren hills of Mount Victoria really clearly – the settlers having burnt all the forests off it – and the large number of ships in the harbour.
Image credit: ‘View across Thorndon, Wellington, taking in Old St Paul’s, Wellington Harbour, and part of Mount Victoria’. Ref: 1/2-010900-F. Unknown Photographer, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22805280