The sight, sound and smell of stock

The ‘rural servicing centre’ has moved around Hamilton over the years as the town expanded and industries waxed and waned.  If the sights of Morrinsville, Cambridge and Te Awamutu tell us anything as we quickly skirt those towns via the by-pass, it is that large chunks of rural servicing has moved clear out of Hamilton in recent years.

In the early days of the growing metropolis, the rapid expansion from Grantham St and Hillsborough Tce into Victoria St, Hood S and Collingwood St saw the ‘polite’ services moving too close to the ‘not so polite’ services – stables and stock yards.

The ‘polite’ business owners of the early 1900s were constantly distressed by the aromas from the close-by livery stables and stock sales yards on and about Victoria St with waste draining to the river. Dining rooms, doctors and drapers, to say nothing of banks, bakers and boarding houses, rubbed shoulders with livery and bait stables, farriers and stock yards and the ‘polite’ and the professional did not care for the sight, sound and smell of the stock – livestock that is and the product of the livestock.

The problem had only one viable solution – move the stock! And so they did, lock stock and barrel you might say.

The first was the saleyards which moved to Ward St. This was a new street opened by the council and running parallel to the railway until the railway line curved away towards Frankton. At least the saleyards were in very close proximity to rail transport. The next to move was the Hamilton Horse Bazaar which had been in Dalgliesh’s Stables in Victoria St. And, this is the very interesting structure which occupied the Ward St site from c1908 to the mid-1960s.

We have no record of who designed it, but what a very elegant building it was (I think) for a basic utility. The imagination that allowed the otherwise very tedious slab-sided front to be interrupted by such a mix of styles – the turrets either side of the door creating such a positively mediaeval look and on their flanks, an office or amenity extension with a pagoda roof. Gosh, a touch of chinoiserie in colonial Hamilton?

The building which was used mainly for agricultural related purposes, horse sales, winter shows and suchlike, having been truncated at the eastern end in the 1940s to allow the passage of Alexandra St, was completely demolished in the mid-60s. Downtown Plaza sits on that block now.

The rural service centre of Hamilton had long since begun its move away from Ward St.

Email Perry, go on.

Hamilton Central Libraries

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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

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