The locally produced book "The Streets of Timaru" contains some interesting photos. One grainy black and white image (on p. 144 for those interested) was taken about 1889 by Adolf Fischer. The view is from the Evans Atlas flour mill looking north. It's a story of a new town getting off to a strong start. There are wharves, railway sidings, indeed a railway station.
At centre stage in the photo stands Turnbull's Wool Store. Within just a few decades of settlement the town had found clay, built brickworks to make bricks, and was consuming them in large numbers to build wool and grain stores for a burgeoning farming industry.
Timaru's hotel building era was yet to come; the town fabric was more rustic and labour intensive with many small workshops located in the CBD.
Turnbull's wool store is a fine asset to the town centre, and no doubt new uses will be found to fill its capacious interior. The exterior has some appealing quirks – the neo Georgian windows near The Terrace (in a wool store?), the original signage still showing through (Miles Archer & Co.) and the unique end to the building where it abuts the railway line. Many an architect has wondered how to handle a simple gable end where it meets a boundary at an odd angle. The answer here is breathtakingly simple – you just slice a corner off the building to make it fit!
This brick façade glows in the morning sun and is a unique element on the Timaru waterfront.
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