“The grandest 'Gingerbread House' you'll ever see.”
This building perhaps embodies Dunedin's wealthy inheritance. During the city's most prosperous years this railway station was the country's busiest, handling up to 100 trains each day.
Though there have been many debates about whether the building is actually beautiful or not, the overall effect is undeniably grandiose and the station is New Zealand’s most photographed building.
Construction began in 1903 and the station was officially opened in 1906. Dunedin's fourth railway station, it was designed in the fashionable, desirable and highly expensive Edwardian Baroque style. Unusually though, architect George Troup uses an experimental collaboration of Classical and Neo-Gothic imagery, which creates a grand and classically regimented structure, with an assorted and asymmetric countenance.
Troup displays such an unrestrained freedom of expression most prominently in the Italianate clock tower at one end and the Gothic spire at the other, as well as the use of Classical motifs to create upwards gestures reminiscent of Gothic architecture. The combination of over the top decoration and the intricate use of contrasting dark basalt and white Oamaru limestone earned its architect the nick-name "Gingerbread George".
The exceptional attention to detail is not limited to its exterior. The foyer and booking hall's elaborate ornamentation is bathed in a soft golden light that reinforces the wealth of the city of Dunedin at the time.
Today, a farmers market runs in Anzac Square just outside the station every Saturday morning, and daily sightseeing trains run from the station through the Taieri Gorge and up the Coast. Directly across the square from the station is Lower Stuart Street, which leads to the city's centre, The Octagon.
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Dunedin Railway Station
- Sun - Sat: 12:00 am - 11:59 pm
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