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Historic landmark open for show and tell

Historic landmark open for show and tell

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The 1918 birdcage lift located in the Victoria University Law Library.

1 December 2008

Historic landmark open for show and tell

If the walls of the large wooden old Government Buildings in Wellington could speak, what would they say?

Saturday 6 December will be an opportunity for members of the public to find out, when the 132-year-old former seat of government will be open for visitors to explore and enjoy.

Co-hosted by the Poneke Area of the Department of Conservation and Victoria University of Wellington, the open day offers the chance for people to view the interior of the building and learn about the history and restoration of the old Government Buildings.

“One of the major roles of the department is preserving our heritage – this includes sites of historic and cultural values and well as the natural”, says DOC Poneke Area historic ranger, Paulette Wallace. “The department’s policy recognises the need to ensure that places like the Government Buildings are safeguarded for future generations, but also that these places are being used and enjoyed now.”

Visitors to the open day will be entertained by live jazz music, guided tours at 11am, and a 2pm talk by Allan Ross, DOC’s Wellington Conservator during the 1994-1996 Government Buildings restoration project.

As well as reconnecting Wellingtonians with the historic heritage at their back doorstep, the open day will also be an opportunity for DOC to canvas support for volunteers, so that old Government Buildings can be open to the public during weekends and public holidays.

A highlight will be public access to areas not normally open to visitors. One of these areas, the Victoria University Law School Library, is the location of a 1918 birdcage lift and also the lift shaft of the old hydraulic goods lift. “The goods lift was notoriously difficult to maintain particularly given that it was used by young public servants of the day to joy-ride in!” says Ms Wallace.

The old Government Buildings has a rich history. It was built in 1876 to house Government Ministers and practically the entire Wellington-based public service of the day, including Treasury, the Education Department and even the Inspector of Asylums. Today, Government Buildings is home to Victoria University’s Law School.

Find out more about old Government Buildings: www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-visit/wellington/poneke/government-buildings/


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