Landmark & Views

Wellington Town Hall

New Zealand / The Pacific

Wellington Town Hall was built in 1901, the foundation stone having been laid by HRH The Duke of Cornwall and York (later George V) during his Empire tour. He and the Duchesss visited ‘Breezy Wellington’ (as the crew called it) between 18 and 21 June.Originally the Town Hall had a tall tower and faced Cuba Street. The Wakefield Street and Civic Square façades were side elevations hence the unusual composition of the porticos, while the street level of civic square was much lower. The ornate clock tower was removed in 1934 as an earthquake precaution and in 1980 the Michael Fowler Centre was built to replace it – however a public outcry made sure that the Town Hall was not demolished, the building being a much loved landmark. The only concern remains that it may not be safe in an earthquake. To that end, it was fully refurbished between 1991 and 1992, but it is now again closed to the public for earthquake strengthening.The Town Hall possesses some of the finest acoustic qualities for a concert venue of its type in the world. It has hosted many notable events. When the American singer, Kenny Rogers (b. 1938) performed there in 1973, sound levels reached such a crescendo that the stage ceiling collapsed on the band, dropping dead pigeons, empty and dead eggs, nesting material, plaster rubble and dust all over the stage and the band’s equipment. The concert continued regardless.

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