Mural find at Garrison Hall, Port Chalmers

### ODT Online Wed, 4 May 2011
Mystery mural uncovered at Garrison Hall
By Nigel Benson
A mural which has been hidden for more than 100 years has archaeologists excited. The 20.4m by 3.6m mural was discovered behind a hardboard wall in the Port Chalmers Garrison Hall last week.

“Finding this has just been amazing; it’s hugely exciting. It’s very rare to find something like this. I was utterly gobsmacked,” architectural conservator Guy Williams said yesterday. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s of national significance.”

Read more + Images (click to enlarge)

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Construction, Design, Geography, Heritage, People, Project management, Site

8 responses to “Mural find at Garrison Hall, Port Chalmers

  1. Elizabeth

    Guy Williams sent me this link providing context for the mural, special thanks!
    [Japanese Village, Port Chalmers]

    • Elizabeth

      Archivist David Murray (Hocken Collections) has promptly provided two further links to Papers Past:

      The first names the artists for the Japanese Village:–100-ODT-1—-0%22

      short url

      The second describes a mural for an Ice Carnival which preceded the Japanese Village:——-10–1–on–0%22garrison+hall%22+scenic+artist+chalmers-ARTICLE-

      short url

      • Elizabeth

        A little behind the news, as tweeted today about the authorship…

        ### 08:56 Thursday 5 May 2011
        Morning Report with Geoff Robinson & Simon Mercep
        Mystery surrounds century old murals discovered in Dunedin
        The discovery of two gigantic 100-year-old plus murals in a Port Chalmers’ hall in Dunedin has got art historians excited, but it’s a mystery as to who painted them.
        Audio Ogg Vorbis MP3 (3′25″)

        • Elizabeth


          (7.01pm) @DunedinTV 19th century painting discovered at Port Chalmers Garrison Hall #channel9 #dunedin #tv #nz

        • Elizabeth

          Architectural conservator Guy Williams rightly comments:

          More details had emerged now the mural had been cleaned, but he was not entirely convinced of the history of murals in the hall. “It is looking seriously interesting [but] the story is one that evolves; it can change. For us, there are still questions. It’s not wise to jump to conclusions about what we’ve got.”
          ODT Link

        • Elizabeth

          ### D Scene 18-5-11
          Wonder wall (page 1 cover image)
          Experts are pondering whether a newly uncovered heritage mural in Port Chalmers is an artwork of national significance. See page 3
          {continues} #bookmark

          Register to read D Scene online at

          Mural may be significant (page 3)
          By Wilma McCorkindale
          Experts working on a historic mural find at Port Chalmers are turning their attention to the possible national significance of the artifact. The large murals were found blanketing the interior walls of the old Port Chalmers Garrison Hall [1887] when its demolition started about a fortnight ago. The New Zealand Historic Places Trust [Otago Southland area manager] Owen Graham said – along with Dunedin Public Art Gallery and Otago Settlers Museum personnel – his organisation’s focus was on establishing the importance, including nationally, of the murals. Within that, the trust’s role was to investigate possible Government assistance to help with the artifact’s management.
          {continues} #bookmark


          Under the surface (page 9)
          By Wilma McCorkindale
          Archaeologists moved back on the site of the Port Chalmers Garrison Hall on Monday, to begin investigating what other artifacts lie in the building. Guy Williams & Associates working at the site under a New Zealand Historic Places Trust archaeological authority, is in the business of the archaeology of heritage buildings and structures and the sites they sit on. Williams was certain the hall was hiding plenty more fascinating finds, to go with the massive murals discovered on its walls a fortnight ago. Williams was now sending his team to ground – under the piles of the hall. The building had been a naval and artillery garison, built by the government with the help of volunteers.
          {continues} #bookmark


          Mural decision soon (page 10)
          By Wilma McCorkindale
          D Day for the future of century old murals on the old Port Chalmers Garrison Hall will fall somewhere near the end of next week, Rhonda Abercrombie of City Property said. That’s when Dunedin City Council (DCC) would likely make a decision on recommendations from Dunedin Public Art Gallery and Otago Settlers Museum conservationists conducting further research into the significance of the murals. City Property had met with the experts as well as New Zealand Historic Places Trust staff and archaeologists to discuss handling of the artifacts. Pending the further research they would be returning to council with their findings during the next week.
          {continues} #bookmark

        • Elizabeth

          ### June 9, 2011 – 8:11pm
          Further artistic discoveries found at the former Garrison Hall
          There have been further artistic discoveries at the former Garrison Hall in Port Chalmers. The team looking into the site’s historical significance believe there may have been an earlier painting on the now famous 100 year old canvas.

  2. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Thu, 12 May 2011
    Options for mural subject of meeting
    By John Lewis
    The future of a mural, recently uncovered in the Port Chalmers Garrison Hall, was discussed at length yesterday by Dunedin City Council representatives and interested parties. The 20.4m by 3.6m mural was found behind hardboard walls earlier this month during demolition work inside the building.
    Read more

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