This simple but elegant house standing at the northern end of The Terrace defies definition by architectural style or indeed its place in time. Constructed in fact at the end of the 20th century, equally the house could have been designed by a Christchurch modernist such as Peter Beaven, in the 1960’s.
The house relies on simple shapes and proportions for its picturesque appearance, without eleborate decoration. For many years the house was the home of the Hervey family; Russell Hervey being a long-standing Timaru City Councillor and Mayor. Soon after retiring from his intensive commitment to local body affairs, Russell Hervey became a founding Chairman of the Timaru Civic Trust, steering the raw enthusiasm of its members in to a coherent body and indeed registered as a Charitable Trust.
Soon after its formation the Civic Trust mounted an intensive campaign to save the Landing Service Building from total demolition as planned by the Timaru City Council. Momentum grew, and ironically a former Mayor was leading an activist group against the very body that he had served so well.
A particular occasion comes to mind. Sir Peter Tapsell that elegant and well spoken MP, the first Maori to be appointed Speaker of the House of Representatives, came to visit. Russell Hervey accompanied Sir Peter to the Landing Service Building. On a day of stormy clouds with many pigeons perched within the roof trusses, Sir Peter considered the building to be an absolute gem; an asset that any New Zealand city “would give its eye teeth” to have as part of its fabric. Over lunch in the white house on The Terrace, the battle to save the building took another step forward.
By the 1960's traffic problems emerged in Timaru and several firms were consulted. Putting aside the plan for an eastern bypass, a two-pronged approach was developed for the CBD. This involved relocating State Highway 1 out of the centre of town, together with a one-way arrangement for Stafford Street. This latter proposal was clumsy and was eventually abandoned; however SH 1 was relocated as planned to its present location.
There remained the problem of connecting heavy traffic with the port, and after much debate the Port Loop Road was the selected outcome. This necessitated an overhead bridge linking Sefton Street with the proposed loop.
The design of the Port Loop Road was handed to a private consultancy in Dunedin headed by Eoin Garden, rather than the normal engagement of the Ministry of Works for roading projects.
This innovative structure has flexible joints to allow for thermal and seismic movement, with modified rubber gaskets clearly visible in many locations. The whole structure is anchored by steel tendons cemented underground at the Hydro Grand corner.
The massive concrete spans to form the bridge were poured below and hoisted in to place by elaborate lifting rigs as shown in this photo (courtesy of the South Canterbury Museum 2014/136). Pairs of hefty panels are laid side by side with a central joint, forming almost a four lane road.
The Port Loop Road was opened by Timaru's staunch MP Sir Basil Arthur in 1972.
Fears over the visual impact of the Port Loop Road upon the recreational areas of the Bay reserve have been softened by quite intensive planting together with the grassy banks.
View by date