Dunedin Railway Station is one of the most photographed landmarks in the country. It was opened in 1906 to cater for the travelling public of the commercial centre. Its sheer size, grandiose style and rich embellishments, not surprisingly, earned architect Mr George A Troup, the nickname of ‘Gingerbread George’.
It was designed in the Flemish Renaissance style, similar to that of Otago University and the nearby Law Courts. The base is of stone from Port Chalmers and the body of the building is constructed in basalt quarried near Kokonga in the Maniototo, with facings of Oamaru limestone. Polished granite pillars from Bluff Hill support the arched colonnade in the front of the building. Red Marseille tiles adorn the roof.
A prominent feature of the building is the large square tower at the south-west corner which rises to a height of more than 37m. It houses a set of three clocks each facing the city. A fourth face was not included in the design because it would have looked out over what was then the harbour edge. The clock faces are each 1.5m in diameter and are illuminated after dark.
The original floor consisted of 725,760 porcelain squares manufactured by Royal Doulton in England especially for New Zealand Railways. The classical ornamentation of cherubs and foliage which lines the walls beneath the balcony is original Royal Doulton china.
Above the hanging balcony are two stained glass windows, each depicting an approaching train. These are assembled so that, from whichever angle one looks, it appears an engine is approaching with its headlight burning. The illumination of the headlight is achieved by a marble of clear glass allowing sunlight to stream through.
Today, the station is served by daily sightseeing trains to Middlemarch, Pukerangi, and Palmerston.
The largest Gingerbread house you’ll ever see
- 15 minutes